The half term holidays are supposed to be relaxing but may actually cause stress for families whose flights are cancelled. Simon Calder told the BBC what travellers can do if they find themselves in this position.
BBC Breakfast presenter Charlie Stayt asked: “If you’re one of those people whose flights have been cancelled, just go through their rights.”
Simon explained: “When you get the cancellation message from the airline, it says ’sorry, we’ve cancelled your flight, here’s what you can do, you can get a refund’ – for most people they want their holiday, not a refund.
“Or you can rebook – they say go through to the app or website, that is of course, only going to delivery EasyJet flights.”
“I was talking to someone who’s Madeira flight was cancelled and they rebooked for Monday, as it was the only one, the presenter said.
“No, that’s not correct,” the travel expert stated.
“The airline that cancels a flight has to get you to your destination on the day you were supposed to get there.
“If that means they have to spend hundreds of pounds paying for a flight on British Airways, Ryanair or Jet2, that’s what they have to do.
“It’s the law,” Simon said. “So you can rebook on other airlines.
“The other thing which airlines quite often forget to remind you, if they cancel a flight with less than two weeks notice, they have to pay you compensation.
“£220 for shorter flights, anything over 1500km in Europe or North Africa, is £350, those are your legal entitlements.”
This means that half-term holidayers will not be left in the lurch.
It comes after Gatwick has experienced several flight cancellations.
“Very, very busy, crucially an awful lot of cancellations.
“Easyjet now 28 cancellations, two and from Gatwick, they decided to cancel 240 flights pre-emptively, between now and Monday week, simply because they were getting so many on the day cancellations.
“So therefore people were told ‘Going to Seville, going to Marrakesh, those flights have all been cancelled, and I’m afraid we’ve still got more cancellations today; Porto in Portugal and Milan they’ve just dropped off the schedules.
“Not just EasyJet, TUI has just cancelled the flight to Minorca from Gatwick, and said ‘sorry your holiday is off.’”
A TikTokker has gone viral for posting a video of herself sharing a tip on how to make the most of luggage space on a Ryanair flight. Kristen Black, who goes by the username @kristenashleyblack on TikTok, shared the tip to help others fit more clothes in their Ryanair carry-on bag.
Passengers flying with Ryanair are only allowed one carry-on bag with them on a flight.
To take more clothes with them on holiday, they must pay extra to put a bag in the hold.
This can sometimes cost passengers more than the flight itself, and so it’s worth trying to pack light to try and fit everything in one bag.
Kristen has shared how passengers can make more room in their bag.
When Trevor Lau’s Air Canada flight from Orlando landed at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on Monday, he didn’t know he’d be waiting over two hours on the plane.
But due to staffing issues at customs, the flight crew told him they’d only allow passengers with connecting flights to disembark in a timely manner.
“People were getting aggravated and disgruntled, complaining, and they were taking it out on the poor flight attendants,” Lau said.
Finally, after hours passed, passengers were allowed to leave. A flight attendant remarked that the delay wasn’t that bad compared to what they’d experienced recently.
But the ordeal wasn’t completely over — a long line at customs awaited.
Lau’s experience isn’t unusual. International arrivals at Canadian airports are so backed up, people are being kept on planes for over an hour after they land because there isn’t enough space for the long lineups of travellers, says the Canadian Airports Council.
Lau says he doesn’t know who to blame for the delay — but the council does.
It’s calling on the federal government to do away with random tests and public health questions at customs to ease the serious delays passengers face when they arrive in Canada.
The extra steps mean it takes four times longer to process people as they arrive than it did before the pandemic, said the council’s interim president Monette Pasher. That was fine when people weren’t travelling, she said, but now it’s become a serious problem.
“We’re seeing that we clearly cannot have these public health requirements and testing at our borders as we get back to regular travel,” she said.
The situation is particularly bad at Pearson, Canada’s largest airport, where passengers on 120 flights were held in their planes Sunday waiting for their turn to get in line for customs.
Sometimes the wait is 20 minutes, while at other times it’s over an hour, Pasher said.
Airports are simply not designed for customs to be such a lengthy process, she said, and the space is not available to accommodate people. The airport is also not the right place for COVID-19 tests, she said, especially since tests are rarely required in the community.
“Getting back to regular travel with these health protocols and testing in place, the two can’t coexist without a significant pressure and strain on our system,” Pasher said.
Government working on delays, minister’s office says
In a statement issued to CBC News, a spokesperson for Transportation Minister Omar Alghabra said the government is trying to address the delays.
“We are pleased that Canadians are excited to get back to travelling and we know there is more work to do as the sector continues its recovery. We will continuing working hard with airports, CATSA (Canadian Air Transport Security Authority), and airlines so that the travel industry can bounce back,” the statement reads.
Specifically, the government is hoping more screening personnel will address the delays and has set up a committee to investigate the problem.
“Transport Canada has worked with CATSA to develop a plan to increase the number of screening officers at passenger screening checkpoints,” the statement says.
“Transport Canada also created the Airport Operations Recovery Committee. With participants from the largest airlines and airports, as well as CATSA, the committee is investigating causes and recommending solutions to address airport wait times.”
The statement pushed back on a rumour, posted on Twitter, that the federal government asked airlines to reduce their schedules in response to the congestion.
“We can confirm that our Government has never asked, and will not be asking, airlines to cut back on their flight schedules,” it said.
Public health measures have scaled up and down over the course of the pandemic as waves of the virus have come and gone. Right now, they are the least restrictive they have been in months, with vaccinated travellers being tested only on a random basis.
Still, the requirements are out of step with peer countries, said Conservative transport critic Melissa Lantsman. She said she wants to know why the Canadian government is acting on advice that is different from the advice used by other countries.
“We’re effectively taking the government at their word that they are receiving advice and that they are acting on it, but they haven’t shared any of that with the Canadian public,” she said.
She said the lengthy delays at the airports send a negative message to travellers and she worries about the impact it will have on Canadian tourism as the industry struggles to get on its feet this season after the pandemic lull.
“It tells you to go elsewhere, that we’re not open for business,” she said.
Airlines need to cut back: expert
John Gradek, a lecturer at McGill University’s school of aviation management, said airlines have to account for the passenger volumes airports can handle and make adjustments to their flight schedules.
“Yeah the [COVID] protocols are there, but the protocols have been there for months — it’s not a brand new thing, right?” he said.
Gradek said he sees no indication that the federal government is going to budge on public health measures at airports.
“They’re not going, so therefore the number of passengers that are to be handled at an airport are less than what they were in the fall of 2019,” he said.
Ultimately, Gradek said, he wants to see more cooperation from all parties to fix the delays and congestion.
“Everybody has to work together, and from what I see happening, it’s broken down.”
Air travelers are growing increasingly less satisfied with their experience, according to the J.D. Power 2022 North America Airline Satisfaction Study released on Wednesday.
After North American airlines achieved record highs amid the COVID-19 pandemic last year, overall passenger satisfaction across all three study segments, including first/business, premium economy and economy/basic economy came in at just 798 on the 1,000-point scale, which is down more than 20 points from 2021. What’s more, passenger satisfaction with cost, flight crews and aircraft all declined in this year’s study.
Despite the dropoff, JetBlue and Southwest Airlines were among the big winners this year. JetBlue ranks highest in customer satisfaction in the first/business segment with a score of 878, edging out Alaska Airlines (876) and third-ranked Delta Air Lines (862). JetBlue also ranks highest in customer satisfaction in the premium economy segment with a top score of 851. Delta (837) and Alaska (825) swapped spots in this segment, ranking second and third, respectively.
Meanwhile, Southwest ranks highest in customer satisfaction in the economy/basic economy segment with a score of 849. JetBlue (828) ranks second and Delta (813) rounds out the top three for 2022.
J.D. Power also found that premium passengers still want their free drinks and that cost continues to be a driving factor in satisfaction as climbing fuel prices and increased demand has resulted in a 20 percent increase in average airfares through March 2022. Food and beverage satisfaction scores declined 38 points in the premium economy segment and 12 points in the first/business segment. However, food and beverage satisfaction scores increased by seven points in the economy/basic economy segment.
Overall satisfaction with cost and fees declined in the premium economy segment by 66 points, fell 33 points in the economy/basic economy segment and dropped by 21 points in the first/business segment.
“Customer satisfaction with North American airlines climbed to unprecedented highs for all of the wrong reasons during the past two years,” Michael Taylor, travel intelligence lead at J.D. Power, said in a statement. “Fewer passengers meant more space on airplanes, less waiting in line and more attention from flight attendants. But that business model was simply not sustainable. Now, with volumes surging and some remnants of pandemic-era constraints still in place, passenger satisfaction is in decline—but that’s not really bad news. If airlines can find ways to manage these growing volumes while making some small adjustments to help passengers feel more valued, they should be able to manage this return to ‘normal.'”
The study is based on performance in eight factors, including aircraft; baggage; boarding; check-in; cost and fees; flight crew; in-flight services and reservation and is based on responses from 7,004 passengers who flew on a major North American airline within the past month as of March 2022.
WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is prepared for a busy summer travel season with anticipated passenger volumes that will match and may occasionally exceed those of 2019 for the first time since the pandemic began.
The continued recovery from the low travel volumes during the pandemic may require more patience and planning than was necessary before the pandemic. Checkpoint environments and procedures have changed to enhance screening operations, ensure the safety and well-being of the traveling public, and to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
“Daily passenger volumes at TSA checkpoints show that people are traveling again, and TSA is ready for their return. Our airport security checkpoints include 47,500 highly-trained security professionals and new technologies that enhance security and reduce physical contact,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “We continue to recruit, retain, train and equip a highly-skilled workforce, and we work continuously with our airport and airline partners to anticipate and prepare for higher traffic patterns.”
Earlier today, six airport and airline partners joined Pekoske during a media roundtable at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to discuss their operational preparedness for anticipated summer season travel volumes and key changes implemented to ensure safe, secure and healthy travel. They include Sean Donohue, Dallas Fort-Worth International Airport CEO; Nicholas E. Calio, President and CEO, Airlines for America; Kevin Burke, President and CEO, Airports Council International – North America; Todd Hauptli, President and CEO, American Association of Airport Executives; Paul Doell, Vice President of Government Affairs, National Air Carrier Association; and Faye Malarkey Black, President and CEO, Regional Airline Association.
The summer travel season, which begins in late May and extends beyond Labor Day weekend, covers three full months and four major holidays, which includes Juneteenth as the newest federal holiday. Juneteenth will be recognized on Monday, June 20, 2022.
Recent security enhancements at airport screening checkpoints include two new technologies. TSA deployed Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) and Computed Tomography (CT) scanners to improve identification verification, and in some airports, enable digital identification verification at the Travel Document Checker podium and the scanning capabilities for carry-on bags. Both of these technologies enhance security and reduce physical contact within the checkpoints.
To date, TSA deployed 1,621 CAT units to 176 airports. Among those, 90 CAT units are modified and equipped to read and verify digital identification. TSA also deployed 402 CT units to 163 airports nationwide. In March, the agency announced the award of two orders for the procurement and maintenance of additional base and full-size CT scanners to be installed at checkpoints during the summer months.
The CT units provide TSA officers the ability to review a 3D image of passengers’ bags and reduce the need to search the bag’s contents. Passengers screened in security lanes with CT units do not need to remove their travel-size liquids bag or electronics.
The new CT units are currently being installed at Billings Logan International Airport in Montana, Albany International Airport in New York, Buffalo Niagara International Airport in New York, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport and Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina.
For those who choose to travel this summer, follow these five simple tips to get through the TSA checkpoint quickly and efficiently.
Tip 1: Face masks are optional, but recommended. The CDC recommends face masks for passengers aged two and older in indoor areas of public transportation and transportation hubs as an effective precaution for those who seek to avoid exposure to COVID in higher risk public spaces. CDC provides heath recommendations for domestic travel during COVID-19 and for international travel on its website at CDC.gov.
Tip 2: Pack smart; start with empty bags. Airline passengers who pack for travel with empty bags are less likely to bring prohibited items through a TSA checkpoint. Technology and modifications help reduce the need for physical contact with TSA officers, but those who take time to come prepared for the TSA checkpoint are far more likely to avoid delay and physical contact. Check for prohibited items by using the “What Can I Bring?” page on TSA.gov.
Tip 3: Know before you go. Airports, like highways, have high traffic surges and construction delays. Plan to arrive at the airport in plenty of time to check in, check bags and complete security screening in time to avoid stressful sprints to the departure gate. At the TSA checkpoint, have a valid ID card readily available and follow the liquids rule of 3.4 ounces or less, with the exception of hand sanitizer, which has a temporary 12-ounce limit in carry-on baggage.
Tip 4: Contact TSA for help if there are questions or concerns. Those who are preparing to travel and may have special circumstances, considerations or general questions about airport screening can get live assistance by tweeting questions and comments to @AskTSA or via Facebook Messenger, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. EDT and weekends/holidays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EDT. You can also call the TSA Contact Center at 866-289-9673.
TSA also offers TSA Cares, a helpline for travelers with disabilities, medical conditions and other special circumstances. You may submit a request for assistance by calling TSA Cares at 855-787-2227, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and weekends/holidays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. TSA Cares are open 365 days a year. Passengers may also use the TSA Cares form available on the TSA website which can be found at https://www.tsa.gov/travel/passenger-support.
Tip 5: Enroll now in TSA PreCheck® to “Travel with Ease.” By enrolling in TSA PreCheck, airline passengers can avoid removing shoes, belts, liquids, food, laptops and light jackets at the TSA checkpoint. Most new enrollees receive their known traveler number within five days, and membership lasts for five years. In April, 94% of TSA PreCheck passengers waited less than 5 minutes at the checkpoint.
(CNN) — Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson seems to have joined the ranks of unruly airline passengers.
“Unfortunately, Mr. Tyson had an incident on a flight with an aggressive passenger who began harassing him and threw a water bottle at him while he was in his seat,” Joann Mignano, a representative for Tyson, said in a statement.
Video obtained by TMZ Sports was taken on a JetBlue plane in San Francisco, according to TMZ. It shows a man repeatedly hitting what appears to be another passenger in the seat behind him.
The video published by TMZ does not show the entirety of the incident. A water bottle is not visible in the footage posted by the outlet.
The video of the blows lasts about 10 seconds and features audio of a person who seems to be trying to defuse the situation, calling “hey Mike, Mike.”
On Wednesday evening around 10 p.m. PT, police officers “were dispatched to a physical altercation onboard an airplane located at the Domestic Terminal of the San Francisco International Airport,” according to the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD).
Two people believed to be involved in the incident were detained, police said. One person was treated for non-life-threatening injuries, according to a statement from SFPD.
“That subject provided minimal details of the incident and refused to cooperate further with the police investigation,” the police said. Both people were released “pending further investigation.” SFPD declined to identify either subject.
The police department said it was aware of video that may have captured the altercation, and it has shared the video with the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office.
San Mateo County Sheriff’s Detective Javier Acosta told CNN that office would handle the investigation moving forward and declined to name either subject, citing the ongoing investigation.
JetBlue Airways has not responded to CNN’s requests for comment.
Tyson was in San Francisco on Wednesday at the 420 Hippie Hill event in Golden Gate Park to promote his cannabis brand, according to the event’s website and video posted online.
Cracking down on unruly passengers
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said Thursday morning that it did not have a report at the time about an unruly passenger incident aboard a JetBlue flight on Wednesday.
“The FAA looks into all airline reports of passenger disturbances,” the agency said in a statement to CNN.
The FAA directed CNN to local law enforcement for further information.
Unruly passenger behavior has spiked during the pandemic, with 2021 the worst year on record for reports of bad behavior on planes. A whopping 5,981 reports of unruly passengers were logged by the FAA in 2021.
The agency introduced a “zero tolerance” policy on January 13, 2021, after a sharp rise in unruly passenger incidents in 2020. The FAA said that under the policy, it may issue fines to passengers for unruly behavior instead of warning letters or counseling. And cases can result in criminal investigations and charges.
The FAA said Wednesday that it will make its zero tolerance policy against unruly passengers permanent. That announcement came after the federal mask mandate for public transportation was struck down on Monday. The Justice Department has filed an appeal to that ruling.
The incident aboard the JetBlue flight on Wednesday did not appear to involve masks, which are not currently required. However, mask-related incidents currently make up the majority of reports of unruly passenger behavior.
In 2022, the FAA has already received 1,233 unruly passenger reports.
Top image: Mike Tyson is seen in this December 12, 2021, file photo in Malibu, California. (Photo by JC Olivera/Getty Images)
FLINT, MI – A 45-year-old Flint man died in a crash after police said the vehicle fled from a traffic stop at a high rate of speed.
Michigan State Police troopers conducted a traffic stop shortly after midnight Sunday, April 17, near the intersection of Pierson and Clio roads in the city of Flint.
The stop was for a traffic violation, the MSP Flint Post stated in a news release.
While approaching the vehicle, troopers observed a handgun and potential narcotics. Police said the vehicle fled from the traffic stop, going south on Clio Road at a high rate of speed.
The troopers returned to their patrol vehicle and began to pursue the fleeing vehicle. The pursuit lasted roughly a mile-and-a-half before the suspect’s vehicle crashed near the intersection of Welch Boulevard and Dayton Road.
The driver, a 44-year-old Flint man, and passenger, a 45-year-old Flint man, were injured. Both men needed to be freed from the vehicle and were then transported to a local hospital for treatment.
Police said the passenger died from injuries he suffered and the driver remains hospitalized.
No MSP vehicles were involved in the crash.
Charges will be sought for the driver.
The incident remains under investigation by the MSP Second District Special Investigation Section.
“Aeroplane ear, that feeling of your ears popping, occurs when the air pressure inside of the ear and the pressure outside are not the same, preventing the eardrum from vibrating normally.
“The eustachian tube which regulates air pressure in the ear can’t usually react fast enough, but by yawning, swallowing or sucking a boiled sweet, the tube opens and allows the middle ear to receive a larger amount of air.”
Passengers could pick up a tin of boiled sweets at duty free which could help them enjoy a more comfortable flight.
Every day, flying commercial reaches new depths of pain and suffering. Airlines keep finding new ways to save pennies, which almost always translates into new humiliations for passengers. And while many of the factors that make flying so awful are systemic, including overworked flight crews and the chaos of security checkpoints, much of the misery is physical—because the seats are shrinking.
All of this means that air travel is terrible for everyone. But if you’re what the airlines refer to as a “passenger of size”—that is, an overweight traveler—it can be excruciating…and expensive, as many airlines require heftier passengers to purchase additional seats to accommodate them. Of course, airlines are free to set these policies as they see fit, and passengers must adhere to them or find themselves unwelcome onboard the plane. But don’t despair (or dispair slightly less), as there are ways to make your airline experience a little more pleasant and affordable.
Four essential rules for traveling while “of size”
When it comes to traveling as a passenger of size, there are no universal truths. Every airline has its own policies, and every plane has different seating configurations. But there are a few general pieces of advice that will serve you well, whichever carrier you choose.
Ask for a seatbelt extender. If your girth prevents standard seatbelts on airline seats from connecting properly, seatbelt extenders exist. The airline will typically have a supply of them, and will give you one if necessary—but it’s best to check ahead of time to ensure there’s one available. Keep in mind that some airlines will automatically require you to purchase a second seat if they have to issue an extender. Still, don’t buy your own—even if the packaging claims it’s “FAA approved,” it isn’t, and your airline probably won’t allow you to use it.
Seat maps are your friend. Your airline’s website or a site like SeatGuru will provide a seat map and seat specifications so you can choose the ideal spot. For example, American Airlines will tell you that on an Airbus A319, the main cabin seats range from 17.3 inches wide to 18 inches wide—but an Airbus A320’s main cabin seats can be as narrow as 16.5 inches. Generally speaking, JetBlue and Delta Air Lines offer the best average seat width (up to 18.25 inches), but some airlines will have specific seats that are wider, and every plane is different. If you can afford it, first class seats are almost always more comfortable, with seat widths topping 20.5 inches. Another strategy is to look for flights with a single-seat row, as having no neighbors to one side and the aisle on the other side will mean fewer conflicts.
Book an uncrowded flight. If possible, look for flights with a lot of empty seats. Even if you would normally be required to buy an extra seat because of your size, if the plane’s half-empty, you’ll likely be able to simply change seats to have an empty seat next to you.
Go for a bulkhead row. If you have no other information to go on when choosing a seat, go for one in a “bulkhead” row. These are the seats directly behind a dividing wall in the plane’s cabin, and often lack storage because there’s no row in front of you. What they do offer is a lot of legroom at no extra cost, and in a pinch you’ll want more room any way you can get it.
What are different airlines’ policies for larger passengers?
Since each airline has its own policies and fleet of planes, your best approach will depend on your choice of carrier. Here’s a rundown of the best tips for each major airline:
United Airlines. United requires that you be able to put both armrests down and not intrude on the seat of the passenger next to you, and be able to buckle the seatbelt (which averages about 25 inches in length). United is pretty strict about these rules, so if they seem like they will be an issue, your best bet is to just book a second seat when you buy your ticket. You’ll get the same price and have peace of mind. As United’s average seat width is just 17 inches, they should be one of your last choices anyway. Extra tip: If you can’t buy an extra seat or upgrade at the gate and have to rebook onto the next flight, United should waive the change fee.
Southwest Airlines. Southwest has pretty narrow seats (ranging from 17 to 17.8 inches), but the airline doesn’t require that you buy an extra seat (though it heartily encourages you to do so, mainly to ensure there’s enough space on the plane). The good news? If you book in advance, you can get the cost of the extra seat refunded (this isn’t a fast process, but the money will eventually come back to you), and if you wait until the day of your flight the gate agent can (and likely will) just give you a complimentary extra seat if one is available.
American Airlines. American has similar rules to United in terms of defining an overweight passenger, but generally will offer you a second seat for free if they can find one on the plane. If there are no available extra seats on your flight, you may be required to purchase two seats on the next available flight, so make sure you have some room on your credit card. Keep in mind that American generally has the narrowest economy seats in the business, with an average width of just 17 inches, though things get better if you upgrade to Premium Economy.
Delta Air Lines. Delta doesn’t require you to buy a second seat. It requires that you be able to fasten your seatbelt without an extender, but doesn’t have any policy regarding the armrests, so if you can manage to take a deep breath and buckle up, you can avoid a double charge. Also note that Delta has some planes with 19-inch-wide seats (typically in their Premium Economy Class category), and even their regular seats are close to 18 inches wide. And you can always ask to be reseated next to an empty seat if one is available.
JetBlue. JetBlue is also strict about passengers of size—you’re required to buy a second seat, period, full stop. The good news is that JetBlue offers some of the widest seats in the business (you’re almost certain to get a seat at least 18 inches wide), and also offers their Even More Space program, which offers seats with up to 38 inches of legroom (as well as early boarding). That makes JetBlue a good bet for the larger passenger—just keep in mind that if you’re still a bit too hefty for the seat, you’ll have zero choice but to buy an additional one.
Spirit Airlines. Believe it or not, Spirit Airlines may be your best bet if you’re a passenger of size and they’re going where you’re going. That’s because they offer something called “Big Front” seats on every flight. These are a small number of seats in the first few rows of their planes that offer 36 inches of legroom and a width of 18.5 inches. You can’t change the recline, but that’s a pretty small price to pay for a seat that will hold you comfortably.