TRAVEL NEWS RECAP FOR WEEK OF MAY 16TH
In this new series of posts, we recap the latest news in the air travel industry every week! For short summaries of all the top stories, visit our blog every Thursday. We’ll keep you up-to-date with all the news regarding flights, airlines, and more. Keep reading for this week’s news!
Chicago O’Hare Airport Suggests Passengers Arrive 3 Hours Before Flights – Due to long security lines, Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport told passengers to arrive 3 hours before their flights. TSA wait times have been longer than normal because the airport has faced challenges related to hiring and keeping TSA employees. In recent months, over 3,800 American Airlines passengers leaving from O’Hare missed their flights because of long security lines. The problem has also reached other airports across the country, including Newark Liberty International, John F. Kennedy International, and LaGuardia. The TSA blames an increased number of travelers, tougher security screenings, and a decrease in the number of TSA officers in the past few years.
Qatar Airways Event with JLo Causes Delta to End Sponsorship of Fox Theatre – Delta’s rivalry with Qatar heated up when Atlanta’s Fox Theatre held a private concert by Jennifer Lopez celebrating Qatar’s new Atlanta-Doha route. Delta and Qatar have been at odds for nearly 2 years because of government subsidies and airline competition. On June 1st, Qatar starts service in Atlanta with flights to Doha. Delta, a sponsor of the Fox for over 20 years, will not renew its sponsorship of the historic Atlanta theater after their contract expires on May 31, 2017.
British Airways Plans to Charge Passengers for Food on Short-Haul Economy Flights – British Airways has always given food and drink to every passenger. But now, short-haul economy passengers will be given the chance to purchase gourmet sandwiches. British Airways may bring in Waitrose, a chain of British supermarkets, to supply high-quality snacks at high prices. Low-cost airlines easyJet and Flybe already operate under this model, believing that passengers will gladly pay for better food. British Airways’ previous experience in charging for meals includes offering long-haul travelers from Heathrow the option to upgrade in advance to a gourmet menu.
American Airlines Ends In-Flight Gate Announcements – Effective May 17th, American Airlines has stopped on-board announcements of connecting gate information as flights prepare to land. Passengers can find the information themselves via tablets and smartphones. Plus, American displays gate information on the seat-back screens of newer aircraft. Flight attendants also use Internet-connected gadgets to get details about each passenger, including color-coded alerts when there is a tight connecting time, so the crew can discuss flight information with the customer.
Toronto Pearson International Airport Introduces Changes for US-Bound Passengers – Under the new design, the traditional order of security procedures is switched around. First, passengers will drop off their checked luggage, then go through a security screening, and then through US customs and immigration. This process, which is already in use at 6 other Canadian airports, improves the flow of passengers so they are always moving. The biggest change is the baggage drop, which keeps lines moving because people do not have to carry their luggage. These changes ensure that all passengers and bags have already been screened when they arrive at the US customs area, which adheres to the regulations of the US Transportation Security Administration.
London Gatwick Celebrates 80 Years of Commercial Flights – May 17th marked the 80th anniversary of the first commercial flight from London Gatwick Airport. Gatwick’s first flight was to Paris, which was one of only 5 scheduled routes during the airport’s first year of operation. Today, Gatwick serves 200 destinations in 90 countries and handles over 40 million passengers annually. Many aviation milestones have occurred at Gatwick, including the first ever Virgin Atlantic flight, which departed from Gatwick on June 22, 1984.
Hawaiian Airlines Named Most Punctual Airline in United States – According to statistics gathered by the US Department of Transportation, Hawaiian Airlines was the most punctual airline in the country during March. Nearly 90% percent of Hawaiian Airlines flights arrived on time, and only 9 flights were canceled out of 6,355 flights during the month. Delta Air Lines came in 2nd place with nearly 88% of flights arriving on time, followed by Alaska Airlines at 86%. The full DOT report, which ranks the country’s 16 largest carriers, is now available online. Hawaiian Airlines is also ranked first for punctuality from March 2015 to March 2016, followed by Alaska and Delta.
Turkish Airlines Launches Atlanta-Istanbul Route – This week, Turkish Airlines launched daily flights from Atlanta to Istanbul via Boeing 777-300ER jets. Atlanta is the 9th destination in the United States for Turkish Airlines. This new route brings a new international carrier to the Atlanta airport, plus more connections to other parts of the world.
easyJet Launches Smart-Shoe ‘Sneakairs’ – European budget airline easyJet created a vibrating shoe to help guide people through unfamiliar places. Sensors connected to the user’s smartphone by Bluetooth vibrate based on GPS data, which tells the user which way to go. easyJet plans to sell these ‘Sneakairs’ directly to passengers on board their flights. The shoes will be a practical solution for travelers who want to explore a new city without constantly having to reference a map.
American Airlines Receives Its First Airbus A321 Made in US – The Mobile, Alabama assembly plant delivered the Airbus A321 to American Airlines this week. With a backlog of orders for the same aircraft mostly from American Airlines, Mobile’s hundreds of employees will be busy through the end of the year. Another A321 plane will be delivered to American Airlines before the end of May. An additional 2 planes will be delivered in June. A total of 12 planes will be built in Mobile and delivered to American Airlines before the end of the year. The Mobile facility will also build aircraft for Spirit Airlines and Delta Air Lines later this year. The assembly plant opened last September.
Missed last week’s news? Check out Travel News Recap for Week of May 9th to catch up!