Tuesday, November 30News That Matters

Tag: Airports

Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Will Test Airlines

Business
Widespread flight cancellations. Excruciating waits for customer service. Unruly passengers.And that was all before the holiday travel season.Even in normal times, the days around Thanksgiving are a delicate period for the airlines. But this week is the industry’s biggest test since the pandemic began, as millions more Americans — emboldened by vaccinations and reluctant to spend another holiday alone — are expected to take to the skies than during last year’s holidays.A lot is riding on the carriers’ ability to pull it off smoothly.“For many people, this will be the first time they’ve gotten together with family, maybe in a year, year and a half, maybe longer, so it’s very significant,” said Kathleen Bangs, a former commercial pilot who is a spokeswoman for FlightAware, an aviation data p...

275 Minutes on Hold: Why Airline Customer Service Still Can’t Keep Up

Travel
“When you cannot plan things on your day off, it can break your morale,” said Edison Fraser, the transportation coordinator for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, a union that represents reservation agents for Southwest Airlines.Emirates, which employs 1,900 people to handle calls, says that the median wait time to get an agent on the phone is just over six minutes. The company, which is one of the world’s largest airlines, pulls this off by giving agents goals involving a specific number of seconds for handling various types of calls, emails shared with The New York Times show. Keeping a call to around 500 seconds, or 8.5 minutes, became far more stressful during the pandemic, said a former Emirates reservation agent, who asked not to be identified by name ...
Should Passengers Be Vaccinated or Tested to Fly Within the U.S.?

Should Passengers Be Vaccinated or Tested to Fly Within the U.S.?

Travel
Dr. Patrice Harris, the former president of the American Medical Association and the chief executive of eMed, which sells at-home coronavirus tests to travelers and Delta Air Lines, said the “it’s-too-complicated” argument is a poor excuse. “The key is making the right thing to do, the easy thing to do,” she said.Hawaii is the one state that requests proof of vaccination or a negative test from domestic visitors. In order to avoid quarantine, travelers can upload an image of their C.D.C.-issued vaccination card or a negative coronavirus test to the state’s Safe Travels system. The system has gone through several iterations: Early on, checking test results created terrible lines at airports and caused havoc for travelers with connecting flights said Peter Ingram, the chief executive of Hawa...

No Charges for Passenger Who Prompted La Guardia Emergency Landing

Travel
A passenger whose erratic behavior prompted pilots to make an emergency landing at La Guardia Airport on Saturday afternoon was not charged after the authorities determined that he “did not make a verbal threat” and was not carrying a suspicious item, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said.The man, who was not identified by the Port Authority Police Department, was briefly detained and questioned by the authorities, including the F.B.I., and then released, the spokesman, Thomas Topousis, said on Sunday.“The Port Authority Police Department determined there was no criminality,” Mr. Topousis said in a statement on Sunday.Shortly before 3 p.m. on Saturday, a pilot of the plane, which was a Republic Airways aircraft operating as American Flight 4817, told workers at...
La Guardia ‘Security Incident’ Draws Emergency Response

La Guardia ‘Security Incident’ Draws Emergency Response

Travel
Firefighters and police personnel converged on a plane that had traveled from Indianapolis and landed at La Guardia Airport on Saturday afternoon after a “security incident,” according to a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman.The plane landed shortly after 3 p.m., and all the passengers got off board safely, said the spokesman, Steve Kulm.The flight, a Republic Airways aircraft operating as American Flight 4817, declared an emergency and landed “in response to passenger behavior near the end of the flight,” a Republic spokesman, Jon Austin, said.“Our crew responded to the situation in accordance with our procedures and with professionalism and a concern for safety of all aboard,” he said. “Law enforcement and first responders met the aircraft, and the passenger involved in the incide...
Biden Doubled Mask Fines for Travelers. What Does it Mean for Passengers?

Biden Doubled Mask Fines for Travelers. What Does it Mean for Passengers?

Travel
Since February, when the T.S.A. first announced that everyone — except children under 2 and people with some disabilities — is required, by law, to wear masks on airplanes and in airports in the United States, the agency has received more than 4,000 reports of mask related incidents, according to R. Carter Langston, a T.S.A. spokesman.However, only 126 people have faced fines, he said.Also, though one might come away from Mr. Biden’s announcement with the belief that T.S.A. officers at airports are responsible for fining noncompliant travelers, that’s generally not the case, said Becky Esquivel, a T.S.A. officer at the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas and the vice president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 1250, a union representing government employees a...
Airplane Travel After 9/11: Just Get Through It

Airplane Travel After 9/11: Just Get Through It

Travel
In addition to the infrastructure challenges of American airports are problems inherent in the dominant hub-and-spoke model, where passengers coming from smaller airports connect to their final destination via hubs like Atlanta, Chicago or Denver. Bad weather then ripples throughout the system, causing hundreds or thousands of delayed or canceled flights. Although this model sprung up after airline deregulation in 1978, it has thrived in the years since 9/11, Mr. Safdie said.“The worst thing is to be in an American airport when bad weather starts delaying flights,” he said. Nearly a quarter of flights in the U.S. were delayed this summer.There are ways to avoid the worst of the flying system, like enrolling in TSA PreCheck, a trusted traveler program from the Transportation Security Admini...
The Trouble With Airports, and How to Fix Them

The Trouble With Airports, and How to Fix Them

Travel
During this summer of frequent flight delays and cancellations, many travelers spent more time in airports than expected, often subjected to blaring TV news, rock-hard seats and scarce electrical outlets. Add anxiety over Covid-19 and disagreements regarding mandated masking and it’s little wonder incidents of bad behavior have surged in the air. The Federal Aviation Administration reported more than 4,000 cases of unruly passenger complaints this year through August, initiating more than 700 investigations to date, compared to 183 in 2020.Deep into a six-hour travel delay recently, as I was pondering the role of airports in aggravating travelers, I found my way to Denver International Airport’s Concourse B-West and a set of new gates with floor-to-ceiling windows, modular furniture, high-...
Airport Lounges Reopening: What Travelers Should Know

Airport Lounges Reopening: What Travelers Should Know

Travel
I am traveling. Are lounges crowded?As states lifted indoor capacity restrictions, lounges followed suit and customers are streaming back in. Passenger volumes at Alaska, Delta and United clubs are close or equal to pre-Covid numbers, according to those airlines.This is leading in some cases to the return of a prepandemic lounge problem: overcrowding. Jenn Taylor, 58, an executive with the Nexus software company, traveled once a week before the pandemic and found lounges to be “an absolute oasis.” Leaving for a recent business trip from her hometown, Atlanta, she stopped by the Delta Sky Club before her flight. After one look inside, she decided to grab a cookie and wait in the boarding area. “When every seat is full there is no such thing as social distance,” she said of the lounge.What s...
Help! I’m Traveling to Europe. All The Required Documentation Is Dizzying

Help! I’m Traveling to Europe. All The Required Documentation Is Dizzying

Travel
Dear Tripped Up,I know that vaccinated Americans are not required to quarantine when visiting France, but are they required to take a Covid test — either going there or returning home? And although I updated my Clear app to show that I have been vaccinated, I don’t know who is responsible for looking at it: Is it the airline when you check in, an officer when you go through security or someone on the ground when you land? BobDear Bob,Once upon a time, the requirements for international travel weren’t all that complicated: always a passport, sometimes a visa.Today, to leave one country and enter another is to contend with confusing rules and restrictions that continue to change as borders reopen and travel resumes.Americans will encounter varying health protocols while traveling abroad. Fra...