AUS asks passengers to arrive early as busy travel season begins


The airport said an estimated 22 million passengers will fly out of AUS this year, making 2022 a record-breaking year. The increase in passengers comes after significant growth and investment in Austin by the airlines. 

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) is asking passengers to plan ahead for the record-breaking summer. 

AUS expects to have the busiest Memorial Day travel time in the airport’s history. Memorial Day Weekend traditionally signals the start of summer travel, but AUS daily passenger numbers have already been climbing. 

The airport said an estimated 22 million passengers will fly out of AUS this year, making 2022 a record-breaking year. The increase in passengers comes after significant growth and investment in Austin by the airlines. 

Last summer, peak travel days at AUS were Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays, and Mondays, mainly before 8 a.m. But heading into summer 2022, passengers can expect every day of the week to be busy. 

“Our COVID-19 recovery has been stronger than we ever could have imagined, which is why AUS is the strongest-recovering and fastest-growing airport in the U.S. based on seat capacity increases,” said Jacqueline Yaft, AUS Chief Executive Officer. “With unprecedented growth comes unprecedented challenges. We continue to work with our airlines, and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and concession partners to address staffing shortages that lead to lines and delays. AUS is also committed to delivering an improved passenger experience through our Airport Expansion and Development Program (AEDP). This summer, we will break ground on the first series of construction projects.”

Those near-term AEDP projects will accommodate future passenger demand and include a new outbound baggage handling system and Gate 13 renovation to maximize capacity for flights. 

As well, the Department of Aviation, along with airport business partners such as concession operators, airlines, the TSA, and more, are hiring for full and part-time positions. For airport employment opportunities, visit AustinTexas.gov/AUSJobs.

AUS has offered some tips for passengers heading into a busy travel season:

When to arrive at AUS
To help manage summer travel through AUS, passengers using general security should arrive at least two and a half hours before boarding domestic flights and three hours before boarding international flights, regardless of the day of week or time of day their flight is scheduled.
 
Travelers should budget extra time if they need to check luggage, return a rental car, or complete other activities before joining the security screening lines. First-time flyers, travelers who have not flown in years, large groups, and those traveling with small children should also give themselves extra time.
 
Preparing for TSA screening and packing properly
Security screening checkpoints open at 3 a.m. TSA PreCheck and Clear screening are available at Checkpoints 1 and 2 West. All four checkpoints lead to all gates and airlines in the Barbara Jordan Terminal.
 
TSA security delays can occur when passengers accidentally pack prohibited items in their carry-on luggage. To help avoid delays, passengers should review what they can and can’t bring with them through security at TSA.gov.
 
Parking and or dropping off passengers
An increase in travelers means more vehicles at AUS. Drivers dropping off passengers can use either the upper level for departures or the lower level for arrivals to ease congestion. Passengers dropped off at the lower level can quickly get upstairs to ticketing and security using escalators and elevators. If the lower level is congested, arriving passengers can use escalators and elevators to be picked up on the upper level.
 
Travelers looking to park onsite can visit ABIAParking.com to reserve a parking space and check for real-time parking availability before arriving at the airport.
 
Uber, Lyft, Wingz, or other rideshares use a tram service available on the first floor of the Red garage to take passengers to the rideshare pick-up area located on the ground floor underneath the rental car facility.
 
Checking into your flight
Travelers without checked luggage can bypass the ticket counters and head immediately to TSA screening checkpoints using these time-saving flight check-in options:

  • Use the lower curbside and upper curbside for drop-off — from the lower level, passengers can quickly get upstairs to ticketing and security via escalators and elevators.
  • Self-service flight check-in kiosks that allow travelers to print their boarding passes and bag tags are available inside the terminal, across from the airline ticket counters.
  • In addition to traditional check-in procedures, some airlines offer outside curbside check-in on the upper level.
  • Travelers can also save time by checking in for their flight using their airlines’ mobile app and a mobile boarding pass.

Getting the most out of AUS
Once inside the terminal, travelers can explore new art installations, concession offerings, live music stages, and more using step-by-step directions on the AUS digital wayfinding map at AirportMaps.AustinTexas.gov.
 
While airport restaurant hours may vary pending concession company staffing levels, AUS has invested in new self-service kiosks that are available 24/7 for passengers to purchase snacks, beverages, and travel necessities, including made-and-delivered-daily Sprinkles Cupcakes.

Information for Allegiant and Frontier travelers
Travelers flying with Allegiant and Frontier will depart from The South Terminal. All other airlines operate out of the main Barbara Jordan Terminal. The two terminals are not connected and must be accessed separately. The South Terminal is located near US 183 and Burleson Road, at 10000 Logistics Lane, Austin. Travelers can use the shuttle bus, which picks up from the departure level of the curbside, to travel from the Barbara Jordan Terminal to The South Terminal.



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Flight attendant shares why passengers should avoid using plane toilet paper – ‘cleaner’ | Travel News | Travel


Normally the cabin crew will put the seatbelt signs on when turbulence hits and passengers aren’t supposed to leave their seats.

If it’s an emergency passengers could try asking the crew if they can go to the toilet but the attendants might say no.

While turbulence normally feels a lot more dramatic on the plane than it actually is, someone could still fall and have an accident.

If the plane toilet paper is noticeably dirty, passengers could ask the crew to provide a fresh roll.





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Philadelphia International Airport Offers Passengers Tips As It Gears Up For Busiest Season In 3 Years – CBS Philly




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Travel tips: Things passengers should never do on the plane to avoid ‘confrontation’ | Travel News | Travel


Interestingly, “poor intercom” that makes it nearly impossible to understand what the pilot says also ranked high.

A total of 67 percent of respondents find “constantly changing travel restrictions” and Covid testing requirements “very annoying”.

This is followed by “passengers who don’t (properly) wear face masks when required”.

Flight delays or cancellations, people who don’t practice social distancing when in check-in or security lines and luggage weight and size problems were some of the other things surveyed passengers find “annoying or very annoying”.





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How to Minimize COVID-19 Risk on a Plane As Passengers Ditch Masks




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Air traffic control shuts down in Jamaica, stranding passengers


(CNN) — Air traffic control came to a stop for parts of Thursday morning and afternoon in Jamaica, forcing flight cancellations and leaving thousands of frustrated passengers stranded there or unable to reach the Caribbean island.

MBJ Airports Limited, the operator of Sangster International Airport near the popular resort destination of Montego Bay, confirmed in a news release to CNN that flights were canceled on Thursday morning “due to the suspension of air traffic services.”

The airport’s arrivals board started showing cancellations around 9:30 a.m. local time on May 12. The departures board also starting posting cancellations around 10:30 a.m.

American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest and United flights were canceled, among others.

It was a similar story at Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, the capital city. Arrivals started being canceled around 11:30 a.m., and departures were canceled starting at 12:19 p.m.

Kurt Solomon, president of Jamaica Air Traffic Controllers Association, told CNN that flights were resuming as of 5 p.m. local time on May 12.

Robert Nesta Morgan, minister without portfolio with responsibility for information in the Office of the Prime Minister, posted a news release on his Twitter account confirming that flights were resuming.

“The Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) wishes to advise the public that, as dialogue progresses between the Authority and its key stakeholders, particularly the Jamaica Air Traffic Controllers Association (JATCA), air traffic services are currently being restored,” the release said.

Since that time, Sangster showed one departure, Delta Flight DL1987 at 5:07 p.m. Manley showed one arrival, British Airways Flight BA2263 at 4:43 p.m.

Limited staffing

Sharon Hislop, manager of commercial development and marketing at Sangster, told CNN that the airport was notified Thursday morning that the air traffic control center in Kingston didn’t have enough support for air traffic because of “limited staffing.”

The JCAA then decided to suspend air traffic services and flights, Hislop said.

The air traffic control center in Kingston controls operations for all three international airports in Jamaica: Sangster, Manley and Ian Fleming International Airport in Ocho Rios.

CNN Travel reached out to the JCAA for comment via email and phone on Thursday afternoon but had not received a reply as of 8 p.m. ET.

Passengers are shown stranded in Montego Bay, Jamaica, on May 12, 2022.

Passengers are shown stranded in Montego Bay, Jamaica, on May 12, 2022.

TVJ

Hislop estimated there were about 100 passengers on each flight affected by the suspension of services.

Shops at the airport were set to remain open into the night as some passengers were expected stay at Sangster overnight, Hislop told CNN.

Local media referred to the situation as a strike, though no officials contacted by CNN confirmed that was the case.

“That’s what we’ve been hearing, but we can’t know for sure,” Hislop said when asked whether a strike by air traffic controllers led to the limited staffing that in turn led to suspension of flights.

Solomon said “a contingency team” that was working Thursday morning at the Kingston Air Traffic Control Center was unable to continue and that team stopped. Solomon was unable to say why they stopped working.

The contingency team is made up of management personnel for air traffic controllers.

Solomon also told CNN there have been persistent equipment issues at the Kingston Air Traffic Control Center, and they have been ongoing for several years.

Passenger frustrations

Justin Novak told CNN he was flying from Toronto to Montego Bay on Thursday when his flight was turned around 30 minutes before landing.

Novak says that the pilots didn’t say much except that they were forced to turn around.

“It was a tense return home. Mixed reactions but the majority visibly upset,” Novak said.

Novak was headed to Jamaica for an eight-day vacation with his wife. He’ll now lose two of the days because of the delays, he said.

“What I don’t understand Is apparently they knew this was happening but still let us board the plane.=,” Novak added. “We are rescheduled for 12 p.m. tomorrow [Friday, May 13], but who knows what will happen.”

Erin Fletcher Langen also hit problems on Thursday as she was flying from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Jamaica for work.

She was on a layover in Atlanta when the problems started. Her flight was delayed, then canceled and then there was hope when officials told them that Sangster (MBJ) reopened. Then it was officially canceled again.

“It was a roller coaster of emotions. When they said MBJ was opening, everyone cheered and clapped. When they said it was canceled (again), people weren’t necessarily mad, but sad. People were crying.” Fletcher Langen said.

She said people at the airport were saying how they haven’t traveled in a long time and a lot of people were traveling for weddings.

She said she hopes to fly out on a rescheduled flight on Friday.

Waivers offered

American Airlines, which had more flights affected at Sangster than any other airline, issued a waiver for change fees to affected passengers.

“Due to air traffic service disruptions impacting air travel in Jamaica, Delta has issued a travel waiver  for those whose travel may be impacted between May 12-13,” it said on its news website.

“This waiver allows the fare difference for customers to be waived when rebooked travel occurs on or before May 16, 2022 the same cabin of service as originally booked.”

You should check with your carrier if your flight was disrupted.

Top image: A general view of Norman Manley International Airport from 2016. (Henry Romero/Reuters)





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Israel drops on-arrival Covid tests for passengers


Israel is further relaxing its Covid-19 travel restrictions by removing the requirement to take on-arrival PCR tests from 20 May.

The country’s Ministry of Health said that travellers arriving at Ben Gurion airport will no longer have to take a PCR test from this date. 

The Israeli government also confirmed that from 10 May, international passengers travelling to Israel will now be allowed to take an antigen test before departure, instead of the current requirement to take a PCR test.

“Any passenger who chooses the antigen option will be required to perform the test in the 24 hours prior to their departure to Israel,” added the health ministry.

The relaxation in travel rules has been made due to the ongoing decline in deaths from Covid-19 as well as a drop in the number of cases being recorded in Israel. 

The country had already relaxed its vaccination entry requirements for international travellers in February and previously removed European countries from its red list in January.

Sharon Ehrlich Bershadsky, director of the Israel Government Tourist office in London, added: “It was important that we made the entry process as simple as possible for travellers whilst keeping health and safety a top priority.”



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Passengers complain of ‘chaos’ at Manchester and Birmingham airports today | Travel News | Travel


Passengers at Manchester airport said they were facing a two-hour wait at security check-in. At Birmingham, queues were described as “ridiculous”.

At least 10 flights were delayed at Manchester while four had been delayed at Birmingham by 8am.

Fiona Miller tweeted: “Utterly ridiculous. Everyone will miss their flight.”

AmiA127v1 posted: “Chaos at Manchester airport this morning. Queue for security is outside in the drop off area.

“Then snaking inside before you are even near the gate for security.”

READ MORE: Britons will need Covid certificate for at least another six months

Rajesh said: “Queueing since 4:30 this morning for getting through Manchester airport security.

“Manchester airport what a nightmare.”

Another passenger ‘Tim’ tweeted a photo of a lengthy queue outside and said: “What the hell?”

Ernesto Tripodi tweeted: “And the worst airport award goes to Stansted airport. Two and a half hours to go through passport control, terribly long queues and I wonder if this is safe at all other than unbearable.”

DON’T MISS

Birmingham Airport said the queues were due to staffing issues with almost half of its staff made redundant during Covid.

The airport has reportedly launched a recruitment drive and is aiming to recruit more security officers.

Manchester Airport has also launched a recruitment campaign to attract new staff to aid the airport.

Staffing issues have hit the UK travel industry widely with many facing huge problems ahead of the summer season.

Britons have also been urged to check their passports as today is the last day to make the ten-week deadline for renewal.

British tourists will need to get their applications in today if they want to make trips in the first week of school holidays.

Since Brexit, a British tourist must have three months left on their passport after the end date of their holiday in the EU.

It is illegal to travel without the correct documentation and experts fear as many as four million Britons could be affected.





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Training and Safety Tip: Flying with passengers


Flight engineer time is not actual hands-on flight time logged by the person. Insurance companies consider as aeronautical experience the total (hours) of all dual instruction received and all pilot-in-command time logged by the person seeking insurance coverage when considering their insurability.
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FAA: Zero-Tolerance Unruly Passengers Policy Now Permanent


The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is making permanent its zero-tolerance policy against unruly air passengers, the agency announced Wednesday. 

“Behaving dangerously on a plane will cost you; that’s a promise,” acting FAA administrator Billy Nolen said in a statement. 

The FAA implemented the policy on Jan. 13, 2021, after what it called a significant increase in unruly passenger incidents. Under the policy, the FAA issues fines to passengers for unruly behavior instead of warning letters or referrals for counseling, according to the agency. 

Most passengers reported to the FAA since the implementation were for violation of the recently struck down federal mask mandate, a decision being appealed by the U.S. Department of Justice. However, in February, the FAA referred 80 unruly passenger cases to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The agency also is working with the Transportation Security Administration to revoke TSA PreCheck from passengers who are fined by the FAA. Earlier this month, the FAA proposed the largest-ever fines against two passengers for alleged unruly behavior, in the amounts of $81,950 and $77,272.

The three largest U.S. airlines, however, this week said that they will allow back onboard some passengers who were placed on internal no-fly lists for noncompliance with the mask mandate. This includes Delta Air Lines, whose CEO Ed Bastian had led a charge for a federal no-fly list for unruly passengers. 

“With masks now optional, Delta will restore flight privileges for customers on the mask non-compliance no-fly list only after each case is reviewed and each customer demonstrates an understanding of their expected behavior when flying with us,” Delta said in a statement. “Any further disregard for the policies that keep us all safe will result in placement on Delta’s permanent no-fly list. Customers who demonstrated egregious behavior are already on the permanent no-fly list remain barred from flying with Delta.”

American Airlines said it appreciated the FAA announcement, yet also will let some affected passengers back on its flights. “We’re very grateful to our partners and the Federal government who have prioritized the safety of our crews, both our ground crews and our crews in the air, during this period,” American chief government affairs officer Nate Gatten said Thursday during the company’s first-quarter earnings call.

However, Gatten added that “in most cases, the passengers who were added to our internal refuse list as a result of mask noncompliance will be permitted to resume travel at some point in time. In cases where an incident may have started with a face mask noncompliance and escalated into anything involving something more serious or certainly an assault on one of our key members or customers, those passengers are going to remain on our permanent internal refuse list and will never be allowed to travel with us again.”

United Airlines offered a similar outlook. “Those who have been banned during this time period, it’s for a range of behavior, and some are relatively straightforward,” United president Brett Hart said Thursday during United’s first-quarter earnings call. “But there are those whose behavior went beyond just a general refusal to wear the mask. We will evaluate that behavior, and if [it] presented a risk to our team members or to other customers, then those are individuals who it is less likely that we will welcome back to our airline. We’re going to take a very thoughtful approach to evaluating this, and we’ll be getting in touch with individuals who have been banned as time passes.” 



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