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12 Things in Travel You Need to Know Today


12 Things in Travel You Need to Know Today (This is a recurring post, updated daily with new information)
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Sunday, October 1
Yesterday’s TSA checkpoint numbers
TSA officers screened THEY DON’T UPDATE ON WEEKENDS people at airport checkpoints nationwide yesterday, September 30. Four years ago on the same day (pre-pandemic): 2,447,687. (TSA)

Government shutdown: Biden signs stopgap measure ahead of midnight deadline
President Joe Biden signed into law the stopgap bill to avert a government shutdown passed by Congress just hours ahead of a critical midnight deadline when funding for federal agencies was set to run out. The Senate passed the measure Saturday evening after the House abruptly reversed course earlier in the day and passed a bipartisan bill to extend government funding after days of uncertainty over whether a shutdown could be averted. CNN

 

Sister-in-law of American Airlines flight attendant found dead in hotel room with ‘cloth’ in her mouth ‘shocked’ over her death
The estranged sister-in-law of the American Airlines flight attendant found gagged in a Philadelphia airport hotel is in disbelief over the mysterious death earlier this week, saying she grew distant after her husband’s death. Cleaning staff at the Philadelphia Airport Marriott room found Diana Ramos, 66, inside her room “unresponsive and with a cloth stuffed in her mouth” late Monday evening, Philadelphia Police confirmed to The Post. NY Post

 

Couple scorched when camper explodes after common mistake turns dangerous
Robert Hamlin advised that the couple had left their propane tanks open overnight, which would have flooded the camper with the gas. The camper itself did not survive the explosion, with the back end completely blown open. Emergency responders took the couple to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse for treatment, and both were admitted with non-life-threatening injuries. FOX News

 

3 adults, 2 kids die after semi-truck carrying 7,500 gallons of ammonia overturns in Illinois
Five people, including two children, were killed and five others were seriously injured after a truck carrying anhydrous ammonia overturned in central Illinois, officials said Saturday. A semi-truck carrying the chemical was found overturned on US Highway 40 in Teutopolis around 9:30 p.m. Friday, causing dangerous air conditions and mandatory evacuations for roughly 500 residents. NY Post

 

How can airlines improve their flight timeliness?
A new study shared by the University at Buffalo explores how airlines can stick to their schedules a little better. UB Operations Management and Strategy professor Milind Sohoni collaborated with professors at Michigan State University and the University of North Carolina on the study, which took a look at airlines’ on-time performance. The professors studied 11 years of flights spanning 2005 through 2015, and looked at factors like schedule padding and operational changes. KTLA

 

Why do window shades have to be open for takeoff and landing?
According to KLM, “In our flight manuals, flight attendants must ensure that [shades] are open at the emergency exits during take-off. This has to do with being able to check outside conditions in the event of emergencies.” Passengers may have to help with this safety check, since there could be times when a flight attendant won’t be near an exit door or may not be in a condition to check themselves. So if you’re sitting in an exit row, you could be charged with observing the exterior conditions before opening the door. AFAR

 

Tourist wins more than $600K at Las Vegas airport slot machine
The traveler, a Texas native named Brittany, won $643,435 at a ‘Wheel of Fortune’ slot machine in Las Vegas’ Harry Reid International Airport. Most people don’t expect to play an airport slot machine and win big — but Brittany, a lucky woman who hails from Texas, won $643,435 at a Wheel of Fortune slot machine in Las Vegas’ Harry Reid International Airport. The winning machine is located in Terminal 1, Gate A. It caters to passengers flying with a wide range of airlines, including: Allegiant, American, Avelo, Delta, Southwest, and Spirit. People

 

Orange County woman arrested in alleged $200,000 rental scam. Here’s how to avoid being conned
An Orange County woman was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of stealing more than $200,000 from people through a rental scam. Irvine resident Surong Li, 29, was arrested on charges of grand theft, possession of a fake identification and theft by false pretense, according to an Irvine Police Department news release. Li allegedly represented herself as a property manager and made lease agreements with victims for properties she did not represent, police said. Li faked the existence of some rental properties or never transferred money to the actual property owner, police said. LA Times

 

Travelers who need visas to visit Europe face a monthslong wait
For most travelers from the United States, going to Europe is a relatively smooth experience, without the need to apply for visas or pay steep fees for short visits. But for people like Duygu Yildirim, that isn’t the case. Ms. Yildirim, 36, holds a Turkish passport and lives in Knoxville, Tenn. Within Europe’s Schengen Area, a border-free zone allowing free movement among 27 European countries, citizens of Turkey and dozens of other countries, including India, South Africa and China, must apply for visas for stays of fewer than 90 days. The New York Times

 

A pristine swimming hole near L.A. has blown up on TikTok. Is it worth the hype?
Here in California, there are places that are firmly lodged in the collective psyche as pristine paragons of natural wonder. Think Yosemite Valley. Joshua Tree. The giant sequoias. And then there are places whose majesties remain largely unknown to the masses — until they end up on TikTok. Stoddard Canyon Falls near Mt. Baldy is one such place. LA Times

 

Romanian nationals caught allegedly stealing from Pasadena Macy’s; suspects may be tied to other thefts
Four Romanian nationals have been arrested and charged in connection with organized retail theft in Pasadena, authorities announced Wednesday. A section of the Pasadena Police Department aimed to combat retail theft and vehicle burglaries recently focused their attention at a Macy’s on 401 S. Lake Avenue. On Sept. 8 detectives closely monitored four people who they believe were “methodically choosing high value clothing items,” police detailed in a news release. KTLA

 

Why US hotels are missing more than 238,000 employees
Tourism is back in the US — but hotel workers are not. Hotels and resorts learned to operate with leaner staffing models during the pandemic. Three years later, Covid-era band-aids like self-service kiosks and less frequent housekeeping have now become the new normal for many firms seeking to cope with rising labor costs and perpetual vacancies. While employment in a variety of industries has now surpassed 2020 levels, the accommodation industry currently employs about 238,000 fewer workers than before the health crisis — a hole that’s likely to persist. Bloomberg

 

Saturday, September 30
Yesterday’s TSA checkpoint numbers
TSA officers screened THEY DON’T UPDATE ON WEEKENDS people at airport checkpoints nationwide yesterday, September 29. Four years ago on the same day (pre-pandemic): 2,447,687. (TSA)

 

National Park closures in shutdown could ignite partisan feuding
The Grand Canyon. Joshua Tree. The Great Smoky Mountains. America’s 85-million-acre National Park System houses some of the nation’s, if not the world’s, most breathtaking natural treasures, drawing 312 million visitors last year alone. While the park system is usually a respite from stress for people of all political stripes, it could soon become a focus of finger-pointing in the 2024 presidential campaign. Bloomberg

 

United Airlines pilots to get pay raise of as much as 40%
Pilots at United Airlines approved a new contract that includes pay raises of as much as 40% over the course of its four-year term. The Air Line Pilots Association union said the deal adds $10.2 billion in wage increases, benefits and other improvements, and was approved by 82% of pilots voting. Pilot unions have been able to secure big gains as they negotiated new contracts as airlines confronted a rapid rebound in travel demand and a shortfall of aviators. Airlines have been racing to hire and train more pilots to replace those who retired early during the Covid-19 pandemic and prepare for a wave of coming retirements. WSJ

 

JFK Airport gets 8 inches of rain Friday, new daily record
JFK Airport was walloped with 7.97 inches of rain on Friday — a new daily record dating back to 1948, when data was first collected, according to Fox Weather. Since the remnants of what was Tropical Storm Ophelia returned to the tri-state area Thursday night, the Queens airport has received a total of 8.48 inches of rain, the National Weather Service said. NY Post

 

New York City is not built for this
New York City’s sewer system is built for the rain of the past—when a notable storm might have meant 1.75 inches of water an hour. It wasn’t built to handle the rainfall from Hurricane Irene, Hurricane Sandy, or, more recently, Hurricane Ida—which dumped 3.15 inches an hour on Central Park. And it wasn’t built to handle the kind of extreme rainfall that is becoming routine: The city flooded last December, last April, and last July—an unusual seasonal span. “We now have in New York something much more like a tropical-rainfall pattern,” Rohit Aggarwala, New York City’s environmental-protection commissioner, said yesterday at The Atlantic Festival. “And it happens over and over again.” The Atlantic

 

Mystery deepens over passenger who ‘vanished’ from cruise ship as emerges he was on parole for assault
A Carnival Cruise passenger who mysteriously vanished from the ship during a family vacation was not allowed to sail because he was on probation for assault after his wife said he threatened to kill her and their kids, according to a report. Kevin McGrath, 26, was celebrating his dad’s 60th birthday on the Carnival Conquest when he failed to show up for breakfast as the ship headed back to Port Miami after a Labor Day weekend cruise to the Bahamas. NY Post

 

Maui tourism dips after wildfire aftermath drags down statewide results
Visitor arrivals and spending for the state fell in August as visitor arrivals to Maui plummeted nearly 58% and spending fell 49% after the devastating Aug. 8 Lahaina wildfires — the worst natural disaster in state history and the most deadly wildfire in over a century. Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism Director James Kunane Tokioka said in a statement that “A total of 112,259 visitors arrived on Maui in August 2023, the lowest count since February 2021 (92,611 visitors). Visitor spending of $246.7 million on Maui was the lowest since March 2021 ($262.3 million).”  Hawaii Tribune-Herald

 

A longtime city of cars, Paris is seeing a new kind of road rage: Bike-lane traffic jams
Ring, ring! It’s rush hour on Paris’ Sébastopol Boulevard, and the congestion is severe — not just gas-guzzling, pollution-spewing, horn-honking snarls but also quieter and greener bottlenecks of cyclists jockeying for space. Until four years ago, motorists largely had the Paris thoroughfare to themselves. Now, its bike-lane jams speak to a cycling revolution that is reshaping the capital of France — long a country of car-lovers, home to Renault, Citroen and Peugeot. PBS NewsHour

 

Woman paralyzed after eating expired pesto from a farmer’s market
A Brazilian woman who ate expired pesto from a farmer’s market ended up in the hospital for a year, fighting a botulism infection that left her temporarily paralyzed. Doralice Carneiro Sobreira Goes, 47, bought the pesto from a local farmer’s market in Brazil in December 2021, but didn’t eat it until the following month, according to Jam Press, The Independent reports. People

 

Malaysia’s roti canai named world’s best bread
Roti canai from Malaysia has earned global recognition as the world’s best bread, according to TasteAtlas – an international food guide website. Touted as Malaysia’s top breakfast choice, it ranked first among the “Top 50 Best Breads” from around the world on the website’s listing. Roti canai was awarded a grand total of 4.9 stars, putting it on par with the No 2 bread, Colombia’s pan de bono. South China Morning Post

 

For South Korea’s senior subway riders, the joy is in the journey
The subway rumbled toward its final stop north of Seoul. Along the way, hordes disembarked, with the determined, brisk gait of those with somewhere to be. Far from the city center, the thicket of high-rise buildings grew sparser, and the afternoon sun crept deeper into the train cars, riding on an elevated track at that point. By the end of the line, many who remained on board were noticeably older — nodding off, gazing out the window, stretching their shoulders. The New York Times

 

SAT airport gets nonstop European flight to Frankfurt, Germany
San Antonio International Airport will get its first nonstop flight to Europe when Condor adds service to Frankfurt, Germany, next summer. Why it matters: The flight raises San Antonio’s global profile and accomplishes a longtime goal of elected officials and business leaders. It will connect San Antonio to the world, with flights in Frankfort to 300 destinations in 98 countries. Axios


Accessing airport lounges is getting harder than ever
Airport lounges are once again becoming premium products, with higher barriers to entry but amenities more often matching the price of admission. The big picture: As travel rebounds post-pandemic, airport lounges are getting more popular — leading to crowds they weren’t designed to accommodate, and frustration among “elite” travelers not used to sharing those spaces with families headed to Orlando for school break. Axios

Friday, September 29
Yesterday’s TSA checkpoint numbers
TSA officers screened 2,594,802 people at airport checkpoints nationwide yesterday, September 28. Four years ago on the same day (pre-pandemic): 2,447,687. (TSA)

US air travel system facing a double blow of disruptions at the end of the week
The US aviation system is bracing for two simultaneous disruptions at the end of this week – a looming government shutdown and the expiration of a key aviation law. Officials say the double-barrel threat would result in millions of dollars in losses daily, scramble efforts to rebuild the air traffic control system, set back technology improvements and further strain the already-stressed aviation system that suffered a series of runway close calls this year. CNN

 

How a government shutdown could affect air travel and flights
The U.S. air travel system is huge and complicated, and it could show significant signs of stress in the event of a federal government shutdown. As the hours tick by without any indication of progress on a new funding bill, it looks more and more likely that the government will shut down at 12:01 ET on Sunday. Many federal programs and agencies will have to stop funding and their workers will be furloughed. NBC News

 

United Airlines passenger faces possible life sentence for alleged attempt to stab flight attendant
A federal grand jury has indicted a Massachusetts man on charges stemming from an in-flight incident in March, during which he was accused of trying to stab a flight attendant with a broken spoon. Francisco Severo Torres, of Leominster, was indicted in a Boston federal court on Wednesday. He faces one count of interference and attempted interference with flight crew members and attendants using a dangerous weapon. KTLA

 

16-year-old boy arrested in England over ‘deliberate’ felling of iconic tree
A 16-year-old boy was arrested Thursday in northern England in connection with what authorities described as the “deliberate” felling of a famous tree that had stood for nearly 200 years next to the Roman landmark Hadrian’s Wall. Thousands of visitors each year walk along Hadrian’s Wall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that guarded the Roman Empire’s northwestern frontier. Many have paused to admire and photograph the tree at Sycamore Gap, a beloved icon of the landscape that was made famous when it appeared in Kevin Costner’s 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves. NPR

 

Qatar Airways executive says invasive gynecological examinations of passengers won’t be repeated
A senior Qatar Airways executive told an Australian Senate inquiry on Wednesday there would be no repeat of an incident at Doha’s international airport in 2020 in which female passengers were subjected to invasive gynecological examinations. Australian Transport Minister Catherine King said three weeks ago that the examinations of 13 Australian women who had boarded a Qatar Airways plane to Sydney were a factor in her decision in July to refuse the Qatar government-owned airline additional flights to Australia. Yahoo

 

The CEO of Allegiant Air’s parent company is out after barely a year, replaced by the former boss
The parent company of Allegiant Air says its chief executive has resigned and that chairman and former CEO Maurice Gallagher will return to lead the budget airline. Allegiant said Thursday that John Redmond resigned as CEO and a director of the Las Vegas-based company, effective immediately. The company did not say why he left. AP

 

Plane that crashed, killing Rep. Peltola’s husband, had over 500 pounds of meat and antlers on board
A small plane that crashed in rural Alaska earlier this month, killing the husband of U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola, was carrying more than 500 pounds of moose meat and antlers from a remote hunting camp when it went down shortly after takeoff, according to an investigation report released Thursday. AP

 

Westside L.A. residents hit by string of car burglaries
A series of window-shattering car burglaries in Brentwood and Marina Del Rey have many residents in the area wondering if it might be the same thief or thieves committing the crimes. Barns Lau and Jas Singh live several miles apart, but both were victims of car burglaries overnight. Singh, a resident of Brentwood parked her Mercedes outside her apartment on Federal Avenue, near Wilshire, around midnight. KTLA

 

Earthquakes hit Italy super volcano, raising spectre of evacuations
A leading volcanologist has warned that mass evacuations might be needed in a town close to Naples, which sits on a so-called Super Volcano that has been hit by hundreds of small earthquakes in recent weeks. A 4.2 magnitude earthquake struck the area early on Wednesday, the strongest jolt in 40 years to rattle the volcanic field, known as the Campi Flegrei or Phlegraean Fields from the Greek word for burning. Reuters

 

US senator wants JetBlue CEO to answer if Spirit deal will hike air fares
Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren asked JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes to answer if the low-cost airline privately forecast its planned $3.8 billion merger with Spirit Airlines will dramatically hike air fares, according to a letter seen by Reuters. She cited reports that court documents suggested internally JetBlue had estimated fares on Spirit planes “could go up by as much as 40%,” following the merger. JetBlue said Wednesday the reported claims do “not reflect facts set out in JetBlue documents.” Yahoo

 

Why people shouldn’t record others on airplanes
Social media has recently been flooded with dramatic clips of people disrupting flights, often causing delays when they’re booted from the airplanes. Last month, a video of the 38-year-old Tiffany Gomas went viral after she was shown yelling and wildly gesticulating near the entrance of an Orlando, Florida-bound aircraft flying from Dallas-Fort Worth. Insider

 

Thursday, September 28
Yesterday’s TSA checkpoint numbers
TSA officers screened 2,132,572 people at airport checkpoints nationwide yesterday, September 27. Four years ago on the same day (pre-pandemic): 2,082,179. (TSA)

Delta CEO promises SkyMiles update after plan changes irk frequent fliers
Delta Air Lines Inc. is planning more changes to its SkyMiles loyalty program after an overhaul earlier this month triggered an avalanche of negative feedback from members who suddenly found it’s going to be harder and more expensive to reach a higher status or who lost access to airport lounges. “There will be modifications that we will make,” said Chief Executive Officer Ed Bastian, speaking at the Rotary Club of Atlanta on Monday. “No question we probably went too far” with the changes. Bloomberg

 

The FAA faces a double government shutdown this weekend. Here’s why.
A deadline to renew the law underpinning the existence of the Federal Aviation Administration coincides with the one to extend federal funding this weekend, leaving the agency facing an especially broad double government shutdown. If the FAA law and federal funding expire simultaneously, air traffic controllers and some aviation safety inspectors would continue to work while being unpaid. But the training of new air traffic controllers would cease, work on technology upgrades would be disrupted, and the agency would lose more than $50 million a day in revenue from taxes on airline tickets and fuel that help to fund its operations. The Washington Post

 

US government shutdown could add misery to air travel
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg warned on Wednesday that a partial government shutdown could disrupt air travel and said the government would need to furlough 1,000 air traffic controllers in training. If Congress does not fund government operations before Saturday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimates it would have to furlough more than 17,000 employees and halt the training. “Especially when it comes to transportation, the consequences would be disruptive and dangerous,” Buttigieg said at a press conference. Reuters

 

United improves travel experience for customers who use personal wheelchairs
United Airlines today announced new technologies and policies to improve the travel experience for customers who use a wheelchair, including a new digital filter on united.com that helps determine which aircraft can accommodate different sized chairs, and refunding the fare difference if a higher-fare flight is needed to accommodate a specific wheelchair size. United expects to launch these new tools early next year. United

Ukrainian boat captain found guilty in Danube River collision that killed at least 27
The captain of a river cruise boat that collided with another vessel on the Danube River in 2019, killing at least 27 people, was found guilty Tuesday of negligence leading to a fatal mass catastrophe and sentenced to 5½ years in prison. Judge Leona Nemeth in Budapest, Hungary’s capital, found that the negligence of the Ukrainian captain, Yuriy Chaplinsky, had caused his boat, the Viking Sigyn, to run into the tourist boat Hableany (Mermaid) from behind. The much smaller Hableany later sank into the Danube within seconds. Most of those who died were South Korean tourists. LA Times

Please return if found: British Museum seeks help to recover missing treasures
The British Museum launched a public hotline on Tuesday asking for help to locate some 2,000 missing artefacts, revealing they were mostly ancient Greek and Roman gems and jewelry. The museum said last month it had sacked a staff member over stolen, missing or damaged items in a crisis that highlighted internal failings and led to its director quitting days later. Reuters

 

Airfares are down right now. Will they stay that way long?
The surge in pent-up demand that drove high airfares last year appears to have given way to more normal seasonal demand this fall, at least for full-service U.S. carriers. But how long airfare will remain down relative to the past 18 months is an open and very unclear question. “It’s really hard to predict whether or not airfare is going to rise drastically or go down drastically,” said Katy Nastro, travel expert for the subscription service Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights), which alerts members to airfare bargains. “But compared to 2022, I don’t believe that we’ll see as dramatic upswings and downswings.” Travel Weekly

 

Biden admin announces Israel’s entry into the Visa Waiver Program
Israeli citizens have joined an exclusive club that allows visa-free entry to the U.S., a decision that comes despite tensions with Washington over the treatment of Palestinians and divisive domestic policies pursued by the Jewish state’s right-wing government. The Biden administration has formally accepted the key U.S. ally into its Visa Waiver Program after years of efforts. The decision also means all U.S. citizens will be able to request visa-free entry to Israel as part of that country’s reciprocity agreement.  NBC News

 

Dad dies in plunge from Hawaii waterfall just days after wedding anniversary
A California hiker died after he fell 120 feet below Hawaii’s Waipo’o waterfall just days after celebrating his anniversary, police said. Mark DeBarr, 66, was touring the Waipo’o Falls Trail in Kokee State Park last Friday during a family vacation when police believe he slipped and fell 120 feet below the scenic Waipo’o Falls, according to Kaua’i officials. First responders were called to the scene at around 10 a.m. and recovered DeBarr’s body from the falls. NY Post

 

Hiker, 29, found dead 3 months after going missing while camping in Switzerland
Loved ones last heard from Aidan Roache on June 22 while the Middlesbrough man was on a camping and hiking trip in the area. A British man has been found dead more than three months after he went missing while hiking in Switzerland. The body of 29-year-old Aidan Roche was found near the Eiger Trail in the Bernese Alps, according to The Independent and The Guardian. It is unclear how he died. NY Post

 

JetBlue offers new no-fee family seating guarantee
JetBlue Airways has joined three other US-based airlines in offering a no-fee guarantee that children 13 years and younger may sit next to an adult traveling with them on the same reservation. “We know traveling with young children can add challenges, and we want to do everything we can to put parents and families at ease by providing a smooth trip each time they choose JetBlue,” Joanna Geraghty, president and chief operating officer, said in a news release on Wednesday announcing the new arrangement. CNN

 

Wednesday, September 27
Yesterday’s TSA checkpoint numbers
TSA officers screened 2,054,526 people at airport checkpoints nationwide yesterday, September 25. Four years ago on the same day (pre-pandemic): 2,054,526. (TSA)

American Airlines flight attendant, 66, found dead with sock in her mouth in hotel room
An American Airlines flight attendant was found dead in a Philadelphia airport hotel room with a sock in her mouth, two days after she was supposed to checkout. The 66-year-old woman from Las Vegas was discovered unresponsive by cleaning staff at the Philadelphia Airport Marriott on Monday evening and medics pronounced her dead at around 10:40 p.m. NY Post

 

Musician says American Airlines accused him of trafficking his biracial kids
After flying from Atlanta to Los Angeles on Sept. 15, musician David Ryan Harris says he was accused of trafficking his own children. In a series of Instagram videos, Harris — a singer-songwriter who has played guitar in John Mayer’s band for 20 years and collaborated with Dave Matthews — explained that he and two of his sons, Truman and Hendrix, were met at the top of the jetway by an American Airlines employee and four police officers after disembarking the plane. People

 

Air Canada confirms Dreamliner order
Flag carrier Air Canada has placed a firm order for 18 Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in Q4 2025 with delivery completed by Q1 2027. The new Dreamliner jets will replace older, less efficient wide-body aircraft currently in the fleet. The agreement also has options for another 12 Boeing 787-10 Dreanliner aircraft. Travelmole

 

Married British Airways pilot Mike Beaton snorts coke off topless woman – then tries to fly packed holiday plane to UK
The appalled pal reported him to bosses who cancelled last month’s flight from Johannesburg to London, then drug-tested and sacked him. First Officer Mike Beaton was about to fly from South Africa to London when a worried stewardess raised the alarm. Shocked bosses then cancelled the 12-hour flight, costing the airline an estimated £100,000. The dad of one was suspended then flown home the next day as a passenger, before being drug-tested at Heathrow. When that proved positive, he was sacked. The appalled pal reported him to bosses who cancelled last month’s flight from Johannesburg to London, then drug-tested and sacked him. First Officer Mike Beaton was about to fly from South Africa to London when a worried stewardess raised the alarm. Shocked bosses then cancelled the 12-hour flight, costing the airline an estimated £100,000. The dad of one was suspended then flown home the next day as a passenger, before being drug-tested at Heathrow. When that proved positive, he was sacked. The US Sun

 

U.S. regional airlines battle with hiring, retaining pilots
The acute shortage of pilots, especially captains, continues to be a top challenge for U.S. commuter airlines, with the CEO of one of the largest regional operators saying that his airline is short by some 1,200 pilots. Speaking at the Regional Airline Association’s (RAA) Leaders Conference in Washington Sept. 26, SkyWest Airlines President and CEO Chip Childs said his Utah-based airline has around 4,300 pilots today, far short of where it stood in 2019, while demand for air service in smaller cities is growing, exacerbating the pilot gap that almost all U.S. regional carriers are grappling with. Aviation Week Network

 

Buttigieg visits Denver International Airport to tout $50M upgrades
The biggest Federal Aviation Administration project in the country is underway right now at Denver International Airport. More than $50 million went into a plan to improve safety and efficiency. The improvements are coming as some big questions loom over a potential government shutdown. “It’s exciting to see this project done,” said Phil Washington, CEO of Denver International Airport. FOX31

 

Pilots at Australia’s Qantas demand chair quit over scandals
A union for pilots employed by Australia’s Qantas Airways (QAN.AX) called for the company’s chairman to resign following a host of scandals that have drawn fierce criticism from travellers, regulators, lawmakers and its own employees. The Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA), which represents most of Qantas’s roughly 3,000 pilots, said on Tuesday it wrote to the airline’s new CEO Vanessa Hudson demanding the resignation of Chairman Richard Goyder, saying morale “has never been lower”. Reuters

 

London’s Gatwick Airport limits flights this week due to staff illness, including COVID-19
Gatwick Airport, London’s second-busiest, is limiting flights this week, partly because of an outbreak of COVID-19 within air traffic control. In a statement late Monday, the airport said a daily 800-flight limit, affecting both departures and arrivals, has been imposed until Sunday. Gatwick said around 30% of staff in the division within air traffic control are off sick for a variety of reasons, including COVID-19. AP News

 

Here’s why legendary San Francisco Tiki Bar Trad’r Sam is closed ‘indefinitely’
Trad’r Sam is a longtime San Francisco institution, serving potent scorpion bowls and tiki drinks since 1937. But now a sign on the bar’s door claims Trad’r Sam is closed “indefinitely,” and court records show a legal battle has been playing out between its owners, siblings Dorothy Riedel and John Munguia. Fans need not fear, however, according to the owners. Though a visit to the bar on Monday afternoon confirmed the bar’s parklet has been removed, there was some activity inside the premises. And in an emailed statement Tuesday, September 26, owner John Munguia promised the bar would return in a few weeks. Eater

 

Alaska Airlines adds new transcon route from San Diego
U.S. carrier Alaska Airlines is adding a new transcontinental route during the summer 2024 season, offering nonstop service between San Diego and Atlanta. The route connecting San Diego International Airport (SAN) and Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) will commence on May 16, 2024, operating daily using Boeing 737-900 aircraft. The move will increase the airline’s network to 37 destinations from SAN. Aviation Week Network

 

Carnival Legend will sail from Galveston in winter 2025-26
Carnival Cruise Line has committed to sailing a fourth ship out of Galveston for the second winter season in a row, this time by sending the Carnival Legend to sail Western Caribbean itineraries from the Texas port in winter 2025-26. The Legend’s Galveston cruises are now open for sale. Travel Weekly

 

Tuesday, September 26
Yesterday’s TSA checkpoint numbers
TSA officers screened 2,526,268 people at airport checkpoints nationwide yesterday, September 25. Four years ago on the same day (pre-pandemic): 2,368,818. (TSA)

Uber strikes deal to partner with SoCal taxi operators
A multi-year partnership between Uber and Los Angeles Yellow Cab was announced early Tuesday morning. Under the deal, Uber will combine its operations with Los Angeles Yellow Cab’s five partner taxi fleets in Southern California, including, Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties. Taxi drivers will gain access to Uber trip referrals, which should provide drivers with better earnings opportunities, a news release stated. KTLA

 

North Korea allows entry of foreigners
China’s state television has reported that North Korea started allowing the entry of foreigners on Monday — an apparent step to loosen the stringent border controls the nation put in place to tackle COVID-19 outbreaks. China Central Television said visitors will be required to quarantine for two days upon entry, citing information from North Korean authorities. North Korea implemented COVID-19 border controls in January 2020. But recently, it has been lifting the restrictions in phases and sent a delegation of nearly 200 athletes to the Asian Games in China. NHK WORLD-JAPAN News

 

A JetBlue flight hit ‘sudden severe turbulence’ near Florida that sent 8 people on board to the hospital
A Florida-bound Jetblue flight was hit by such extreme turbulence Monday that people were sent to the hospital. Flight 1256 “experienced sudden severe turbulence as it neared Florida,” JetBlue told Insider. The airline said seven passengers and one crew member were taken to the hospital. Insider

 

The world’s tallest skyscraper resumes construction after half a decade of pause
What do Philadelphia City Hall, the Empire State Building, and the Burj Khalifa have in common? They’ve all held the title of the world’s tallest skyscraper. And eventually Jeddah Tower, a neo-futuristic skyscraper planned in Saudi Arabia, will join the ranks among these iconic structures. Architectural Digest

 

Mexico residents hold parade for cartel for ‘rescuing them’
This is the shocking moment Sinaloa Cartel fighters received a hero’s welcome after they freed residents from the control of the archrival Jalisco New Generation Cartel in the southern Mexico state of Chiapas – a group that extorted and killed locals. The bizarre footage shows men and women in the town of San Gregorio Chamic across from the Guatemala border applauding the notorious criminal organization as its henchmen paraded down a federal highway aboard 20 SUVs and pickup trucks Saturday. Residents could be seen standing on both sides of the two-lane road cheering on the heavily armored cartel fighters, including some who were wearing bulletproof vests that had ‘MARINA’ (marines) printed on the back. Daily Mail

 

Woman hunted down Mexico cartel members who killed her daughter
A mother whose daughter was kidnapped and murdered by a Mexican drug cartel spent years hunting down her child’s captors in a dangerous — and ultimately fatal — mission. Miriam Elizabeth Rodríguez Martínez’s daughter, Karen Rodríguez, was abducted in the northeastern Mexico city of San Fernando, Tamaulipas, on January 23, 2012, after a group of armed men from the Los Zetas cartel forced their way into her car and took off with her inside. NewsNation

 

Lumberjack ride at Canada’s Wonderland park pauses mid-air, trapping passengers
A Canadian amusement park ride turned into nightmare fuel on Sunday after stopping suddenly, suspending passengers upside down, 75 feet above the ground, for nearly 30 minutes. The lumberjack ride, located at Canada’s Wonderland theme park in Vaughan, Ontario, contains two hydraulic arms, shaped like axes, that swing back and forth, occasionally propelling themselves into full 360-degree swings. NPR

 

It’s back to the office as key NYC subway stations reveal big ridership gains
A boost in subway ridership at key Manhattan stations this fall suggests many workers have returned to the city post-pandemic — and that companies’ push to return white-collar employees to their desks is sticking. Some of the sharpest year-to-year increases have been in office-heavy parts of Lower Manhattan and Midtown — with at least two stations hitting even their pre-pandemic levels, according to a snapshot of the MTA’s station-by-station ridership data. NY Post

 

Alaska Airlines will status match Delta travelers for 2024
Alaska Airlines is matching status of disgruntled Delta Air Lines frequent fliers as the airline recently changed its loyalty program. Alaska Airlines will now match a traveler’s status on Delta — and even raise some frequent fliers to the next status level — through 2024, according to the airline. To take advantage, travelers must request the status matching by Oct. 31. Travel + Leisure

 

American Airlines appeals court ruling halting JetBlue alliance
American Airlines (AAL.O) on Monday appealed a U.S. court decision requiring it to end an alliance with JetBlue Airways (JBLU.O). U.S. District Judge Leo Sorokin ruled in May the airlines’ “Northeast Alliance” that allowed the two carriers to coordinate flights and pool revenue violated antitrust law. JetBlue previously said it would not appeal as it seeks to protect a planned $3.8 billion purchase of Spirit Airlines (SAVE.N) that faces a separate legal challenge from the Justice Department. Reuters

 

‘Pioneer’ gynaecologist dies during BA flight on birthday trip to Nice
A leading gynaecologist has died mid-flight on her way to France for her birthday. Family, friends and colleagues have paid tribute to Professor Linda Cardozo, 73, who fell asleep on board a British Airways flight from London to Nice on Thursday while sitting next to her husband. A consultant gynaecologist at King’s College Hospital in London, Professor Cardozo failed to wake up after they arrived, the Independent reports. Metro

 

 

Monday, September 25
Yesterday’s TSA checkpoint numbers
TSA officers screened 2,671,645 people at airport checkpoints nationwide yesterday, September 24. Four years ago on the same day (pre-pandemic): 2,452,596. (TSA)

Buttigieg warns of airline disruptions if government shuts down
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg warned Sunday of airline disruptions if Congress is unable to pass funding bills or come to a short-term resolution before Friday, which would trigger a government shutdown. “A shutdown would include — just in the transportation side alone — shutting down air traffic control training at the exact moment when the country recognizes the need for more, not less air traffic control staffing, and when we have finally got cancellations back at or below normal rates,” Buttigieg said on CNN’s “State of The Union.” The Hill

 

‘Everyone on the plane is safe’: Pittsburgh Steelers charter plane diverted to Kansas City following Las Vegas game
A charter plane carrying the Pittsburgh Steelers football team was “unexpectedly” diverted to Kansas City this morning, according to Steelers Senior Director of Communications Burt Lauten. “Our team charter plane was unexpectedly diverted to Kansas City early this morning on our way back to Pittsburgh following our game in Las Vegas,” Lauten said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. CNN


This country has more of the world’s 50 best restaurants than any other
You wouldn’t be far off if you guessed Italy or France as the country with more of this year’s “World’s 50 Best” restaurants than any other. But no, that distinction goes to Spain, where six restaurants earned honors this summer on the 2023 list. (Italy had five and France had four, as did Peru, where the capital city of Lima is home to the No. 1 spot). CNN

 

How a storied national airline became reviled in its own country
Barely three years after its entire fleet was grounded, Qantas Airways has never been more profitable. But as Australia’s national airline has emerged stronger from the pandemic, it has alienated its most important constituency: Australians. They bemoan that its flights are unreliable and expensive. They are aghast at how government protectionism has made Qantas by far the biggest airline in Australia and pushed up the price of travel. They are stunned by allegations that it sold tickets for flights it never intended to fly. They cannot square how Qantas unfairly laid off hundreds of workers, then handed out enormous paychecks to its chief executive and board of directors. The New York Times

 

Dad of woman who died diving in Albania says he’ll ‘never stop’ search for answers
A man has said he’ll never stop searching for answers about the events that led to his daughter’s death while diving in Albania. George Gannon, 61, of Stone, Staffordshire, said in an interview with Sky News he hasn’t ‘even been able to cry yet’ after the loss of 29-year-old Rebecca. A former bakery owner, he added that over the past 12 months he’s spent his life savings trying to figure out what exactly happened to her, and that ‘I’ll never stop, never, never stop, until I get justice.’ Metro

 

The police seized my rental car reported stolen and Avis won’t refund me
A traveler was visiting family when police impounded her vehicle, saying it had been reported stolen. Why wouldn’t Avis give her money back, and why would they rent her a stolen car in the first place? The New York Times

 

Michael Jordan’s ultra-private, ultra-exclusive personal golf course: The Grove XXIII
For Bobby Weed, it was at once the most straightforward and most difficult brief he had ever received: “Build me the best golf course. Build me the best driving range.” And there had been plenty of briefs before. A protégé, then close friend, of legendary course designer Pete Dye, the South Carolinian served as the PGA Tour’s chief architect before launching his own course design company in 1994. Almost three decades on, Bobby Weed Golf Design has sculpted more than 20 courses from the ground up – from Stillwater, Minnesota, to Mito, Japan — and renovated many more, including Hobe Sound’s Medalist Golf Club in 2015. CNN

 

JetBlue launches Amsterdam flights from Boston
JetBlue has expanded its transatlantic route network with new Amsterdam flights from Boston Logan International Airport. It follows the successful recent launch of Amsterdam flights from New York’s JFK Airport. From JetBlue’s Boston focus city, it also offers daily service to London and in 2024 will launch service to Paris. “Our recently launched Amsterdam service from New York has already been very successful and we are thrilled to expand it to our Boston customers,” said Dave Clark, head of revenue and planning. Travelmole

 

Hawaiian Airlines logo muse and Miss Hawaii 1964, Leina’ala Drummond, passes away at 77
Leina’ala Ann Teruya Drummond, former Miss Hawaii 1964, accomplished entertainer, businesswoman, and the face representing the unique island girl profile for Hawaiian Airlines’ “Pualani of the Sky” has passed away. Born in Pu’unene, Maui, Leina’ala completed her education at Kamehameha Schools, Cannon’s Business College, and successfully finished the Hawaiian Airlines Flight Attendant Training program, starting work at 18 years old. kitv.com

 

Sports Illustrated plans to brand resorts in college towns
Travel + Leisure Co. and Sports Hospitality Ventures (a licensee of the Sports Illustrated magazine brand) are teaming up to launch Sports Illustrated Resorts. The sports-themed resorts will be located within college towns and “near universities with devoted fan bases.” Each Sports Illustrated resort will feature a full-service hotel, a vacation club and residential condos. Travel Weekly

 

British Airways San Diego: Airline to add new London flight at SAN
Traveling to Europe will become more convenient as British Airways is adding a second daily flight between San Diego International Airport (SAN) and London Heathrow Airport (LHR), officials said. Starting April 20, 2024, the new second flight (BA265 and BA264) will arrive in San Diego at 3:25 p.m. and depart for London at 5:15 p.m., SAN said in a news release Tuesday. Fox 5 San Diego

 

Sunday, September 24
Yesterday’s TSA checkpoint numbers
TSA officers screened 2,065,096 people at airport checkpoints nationwide yesterday, September 23. Four years ago on the same day (pre-pandemic): 1,966,234. (TSA)

MGM Resorts computers back up after 10 days following crippling cyberattack
MGM Resorts brought to an end a 10-day computer shutdown prompted by efforts to shield from a cyberattack data including hotel reservations and credit card processing, the casino giant said Wednesday, as analysts and academics measured the effects of the event. MarketWatch

Flight attendant arrested at PHL for carrying loaded handgun through security
A flight attendant was arrested by police at Philadelphia International Airport for attempting to travel with a loaded handgun on Friday, Sept. 15, the Transportation Security Administration said Monday. The woman had a .380 caliber handgun with her that was flagged as she went through security before working a flight, according to the TSA. The flight attendant lives in Arizona. Police arrested the woman, who now also faces a federal financial penalty for carrying a gun to a checkpoint. CBS Philadelphia

Singapore aims for passport-free departures from Changi Airport next year
Some passengers will soon be able to depart from Singapore’s Changi Airport without a passport, as part of changes to the city-state’s immigration law that allows for end-to-end biometric clearance. From the first half of 2024, biometrics will be used for authentication at various automated steps in the departure process, from bag-drop to immigration and boarding, communications minister Josephine Teo said in parliament Monday. Bloomberg

Family says 14-year-old daughter discovered phone taped to back of toilet seat on flight to Boston
The family of a 14-year-old girl who allegedly discovered a phone taped to the back of a toilet seat on a recent flight from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Boston said they believe she was targeted by a member of the crew. During the Sept. 2 American Airlines flight 1441, the girl was told by a male member of the crew to use the first-class bathroom. The crew member entered just before 14-year-old, told her the seat was broken but not to worry about it and then re-entered the bathroom after she left, her family said in a written statement. AP

Disney plans to spend $60 billion on parks and cruises
On Tuesday, Disney offered a clearer picture of the opportunity it sees, which can only be described as colossal: The company disclosed in a security filing that it planned to spend roughly $60 billion over the next decade to expand its domestic and international parks and to continue building Disney Cruise Line. That amount is double what Disney spent on parks and the cruise line over the past decade, which was itself a period of greatly increased investment. The New York Times


Lawmakers seek to ban cruise ships from spewing dirty fumes at NYC ports

Massive cruise ships would have to eschew dirty fossil fuels and connect directly to the shore’s energy grid in order to dock at New York City ports under a bill being helmed by local lawmakers. Each day that cruise ships dock at the ports in Red Hook, Brooklyn and the west side of Manhattan, they emit as much carbon into the atmosphere as 34,000 tractor-trailers, say City Councilmembers Alexa Avilés (D-Brooklyn) and Erik Bottcher (D-Manhattan), whose respective districts are home to the city’s two cruise ship ports. amNewYork

Hilton says it will ‘quickly’ move to disclose mandatory fees
Hilton said on Thursday that it would “quickly” act to “ensure mandatory fees are displayed upfront on all Hilton websites and apps.” Hilton made the comments on Thursday in a letter to U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Jerry Moran — co-sponsors of legislation to create a standard for mandatory fee display for hotels and short-term rentals. Hilton announced in the letter it now supports this legislation. (See letter, embedded below.) Yahoo

 

Brightline opens $6 billion line to Orlando, expands U.S. rail market
Rail company Brightline began operating trains Friday from Miami to Orlando, using the fastest American trains outside the Northeast Corridor to become the first privately owned passenger operator to connect two major U.S. metropolitan areas in decades. The debut of the 235-mile, 3.5-hour ride completes a $6 billion private investment in Florida. It brings the new train service to a large swath of the state, promising modern amenities and faster trip times than those available through Amtrak, the nation’s passenger railroad. The Washington Post

 

Bogus jet-engine parts fallout spreads as FAA warns airlines
US aviation regulators warned airlines and other industry players that London-based AOG Technics Ltd. improperly sold bushings for a longstanding type of General Electric Co. jet engine. The alert, known as an Unapproved Parts Notification, is the Federal Aviation Administration’s first formal warning to the US aviation sector over the potential risks posed by thousands of spare jet-engine parts sold with forged airworthiness documentation by London-based AOG Technics Ltd. Bloomberg

 

Air Belgium ceases passenger flights to focus on cargo, ACMI
Air Belgium has made the decision to halt its passenger flight operations to focus on the transport of goods and Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance, and Insurance (ACMI) services. Flights scheduled after October 3, 2023, may be canceled and “refunded on a priority basis,” Air Belgium said. Aerotime

EWR Restaurant fires back at NYT columnist after he complained about the cost of his meal: ‘Keep drinking buddy’
A restaurant fired back at New York Times columnist David Brooks after he complained Wednesday on social media about the cost of his meal, saying, “This is why Americans think the economy is terrible.” “This meal just cost me $78 at Newark Airport. This is why Americans think the economy is terrible,” Brooks wrote with a picture of his dinner, which consisted of a cheeseburger, fries and what appears to be an alcoholic beverage. FOX News

Airlines are just banks now
Last week, Delta Air Lines announced changes to its SkyMiles program that will make accruing status and taking advantage of perks much harder. Instead of relying on a combination of dollars spent and miles traveled in the air, Delta will grant status based on a single metric—dollars spent—and raise the amount of spending required to get it. In short, SkyMiles is no longer a frequent-flier program; it’s a big-spender program. These changes are so drastic that one of the reporters at the preeminent travel-rewards website The Points Guy declared that he’s going to “stop chasing airline status.” The Atlantic