TSA Could Face Major Staffing Issues Just In Time For Thanksgiving Travel Crush


As the November 22 deadline for all federal employees to be vaccinated quickly approaches, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) may have trouble keeping up with the influx of holiday travelers due to low worker vaccination rates. 

Thanksgiving is one of the busiest holidays for travel in the United States and is just 3 days after the federal deadline for vaccinations. According to a report from the Los Angeles Times, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management says that employees who do not get the vaccine can face disciplinary action, including termination. With only about 60 percent of TSA employees partially vaccinated, this means that airport security — which already faces a great deal of stress during busy seasons — could slow down considerably. 

In an interview with CNN, TSA Administrator David Pekoske mentioned that he is “very hopeful” that employee vaccination rates will increase before November 22 so the organization can avoid possible staffing issues as people travel to be near friends and family for Thanksgiving.

Lisa Farbstein, a spokesperson for the TSA, commented that the organization expects many workers to get the vaccine in time for the deadline and that the TSA hopes rates will increase before the holiday. She provided more information on steps that the TSA is taking to make the process easier for employees: “At TSA, we are hosting employee town halls, sending broadcast emails, and posting details on the requirement in break rooms on how and where to upload documents for proof of vaccination status.”

According to Pekoske, the TSA is working on contingency plans in case the numbers do not increase. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer helped encourage these plans, pushing for the use of bomb-sniffing dogs to streamline security checkpoint efficiency. “Late last week, the TSA hinted at a potential real travel mess as Thanksgiving approaches,” Schumer stated at a news conference over the weekend. “And that’s because they reported that 40 percent of their workforce remain unvaccinated from COVID-19.”

The trade association that represents many airlines based out of the U.S., Airlines 4 America (A4A), declined to comment on specific predictions for the outcome of the holiday travel season, but did provide the following statement: “We remain in routine communication with our federal partners to prioritize a safe, seamless travel experience.”

Time will tell how smoothly the holiday travel season will go, but fliers will certainly want to make their plans carefully.

Be sure to keep up to date on all our travel news.



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Will the Rental Car Shortage Ease in Time for Holiday Travel? – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth


Over the spring and summer travel season, renting a car at your destination may not have always been a given. Inventory was low as travel demand picked up in 2021, explained Willis Orlando with Scott’s Cheap Flights.

“Folks would buy these cheap flights, arrive at their destination and go to rent a car – which used to be a very easy, routine thing to do and find themselves out of luck,” said Orlando.

Read on to hear from experts in the travel industry.

“They’re just about back”

Orlando said an early spot check of Thanksgiving weekend car rental prices showed they’re leveling out from highs seen earlier this year.

“In the summer, when the car rental agencies had their backs against the wall and were scrambling to fill demand, they bought up new cars, they started rebuilding their supply. Now, they’re just about back where they were pre-pandemic,” Orlando said.

The American Car Rental Association’s Greg Scott said it’s too soon to say things are back to “normal”.

“I hate to sound pessimistic, but it’s not a science. We don’t exactly know where it’s going to go,” said Scott.

ACRA, which represents approximately 98% of the car rental industry, estimates rental companies had 1.7 million vehicles at the start of the pandemic. When travel slowed in 2020, Scott said the industry sold around half its fleet. In 2021, car rental companies are buying back cars, though not as many as in pre-pandemic years.

“We’re still selling cars and purchasing cars, but the number of cars we’re purchasing is way down as an industry. Quite frankly, the number of cars that we would like to purchase is higher than what we’re able to purchase right now,” explained Scott – pointing to ongoing supply chain challenges.

Scott said, at the same time, demand remains unpredictable. COVID-19 variants continue to impact travel and it’s unclear if business travel will return to pre-pandemic levels.

Late hurricane season and fall severe weather can also drive up demand for rental cars in certain markets – which could impact the holidays.

Book early

“I think that somebody who, two years ago, would arrange their hotel and their airlines six months out for their Christmas vacation, but wait until the last week or so to think about a car rental probably is making a mistake,” said Scott.

He recommends consumers reserve their vehicles when booking flights or hotels.

“Go online, reserve one now, lock in a good rate for yourself. Very often you have free cancelations. If plans change, you’re off the hook, you’re fine,” said Orlando.

Shop around for discounts

Be flexible about the vehicle you want and where you pick up. Consumers may have better luck at a neighborhood car rental location versus an airport counter.

When you book, search for discount codes that apply to you. The company you work for may get a discount for employees – even on leisure trips. There may be an alumni discount for your school.

Tap into loyalty programs through the car rental company, your hotel or airline. You may get discounts through memberships at your auto club, even a warehouse or wholesale club. Your credit card may also offer perks.

NBC 5 Responds is committed to researching your concerns and recovering your money. Our goal is to get you answers and, if possible, solutions and a resolution. Call us at 844-5RESPND (844-573-7763) or fill out our customer complaint form.



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Travel back in time with Whitewater Valley Railroad | News


The Whitewater Valley Railroad is hosting excursions this month that train riders don’t want to miss.

Wild West Train


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USMNT vs. Panama result: USA loses for first time to Panama in qualifying


The winning goal came on a second-half own goal, which was befitting of a sloppy match which didn’t have much flow to it. A 54th-minute corner kick was deflected by Panama captain Anibal Godoy and off U.S. forward Gyasi Zardes and into the back of the net. In fairness, it was a just lead for Panama which did more to seek out a winner during the course of the 90 minutes. It was the same night that Panama clinched its first-ever World Cup qualification.

U.S. manager Gregg Berhalter made seven changes to his starting lineup from the team that beat Jamaica 2-0 on Thursday and there was little cohesive play on display from the Americans who couldn’t muster a shot on goal all game. Scoring hero Ricardo Pepi started on the bench and came on with 20 minutes remaining, but didn’t have many touches as the match was stop-start for most of the rest of the way after the goal.

In the first half the Americans were second to most every ball and the Panamanians were gliding by their U.S. counterparts, combining well and creating multiple threats from wide positions. Alberto Quintero, Edgar Barcenas and Freddy Gondola were buzzing. U.S. goalkeeper Matt Turner needed to come up with several tip saves to keep Panama off the board, including on two direct corner attempts.

Berhalter brought in Tyler Adams and attacking catalyst Brenden Aaronson to try to change the course of the match, but the goal came 10 minutes after the halftime break and the match continued in similar fashion.

The Americans will look to close the October series of qualifiers on a positive note this Wednesday against Costa Rica in Columbus, Ohio. Costa Rica is coming off a victory against El Salvador.

USA vs. Panama score

  1H 2H Final
Panama 0 1 1
USA 0 0 0

Goals:
PAN – Gyasi Zardes (own goal) – 54th min.

USA vs. Panama live updates, highlights from World Cup qualifier

Standings and results: Updated World Cup qualifying table

(All times Eastern)

Final: Panama 1, USA 0

90th min.: Seven minutes of stoppage time. Feels about right. The USMNT has a chance here for one last push.

89th min.: This last 15 minutes feels like one long stoppage. Panama makes two more subs to kill time and that was after a time-killing injury that required a stretcher.

81st min.: Stoppage in play as the trainers come in to treat a collision of heads between Kellyn Acosta and Armando Cooper. Credit the Panamanian team for challenging every ball. If the USA is to make a final push, it’s not going to be easy to get past the men in red.

77th min.: Not much is happening here. This game is plodding toward the final 10 minutes. No clarity on the ball from either side. The own goal off a corner is a fitting goal for this second half. Alfredo Stephens gets a yellow for a challenge on Kellyn Acosta.

68th min.: SUBS – Final three subs for the USA: Pepi, Roldan and Yedlin on for Zardes, Weah and Moore. Like-for-like subs. Meanwhile, Panama’s Armando Cooper comes in for Godoy and Eduardo Guerrero is on for Rolando Blackburn.

66th min.: Injury sub for Panama. Captain Anibal Godoy comes out on a stretcher and Alberto Quintero takes the armband. Meanwhile, the USMNT makes a triple substitution.

63rd min.: Strong combination play by Panama down the right side, deep in the U.S. half. It’s threatening, but no end product. Panama not backing down.

57th min.: SUB – Panama brings in Alfredo Stephens for Freddy Gondola. Panama bringing in fresh legs. The home team wants the second.

54th min.: Goal Panama! On a corner from the right side, Anibal Godoy gets a touch with his head, the ball goes off Gyasi Zardes and in. The USMNT was having a strong start to the second half. Panama is dangerous on set pieces.

46th min.: SUBS – Tyler Adams and Brenden Aaronson on for Yunus Musah and Paul Arriola. And Adams immediately getting stuck in.

Halftime: Panama 0, USA 0

Halftime: The USMNT has simply been slower, less cohesive and second to every ball. There have been no standouts for the Americans outside of goalkeeper Matt Turner. If the Panamanians had been more clinical around the area, they could’ve had the lead in this first half. Turner came up with some big tip saves. It was perhaps too much to expect crisp play from a starting XI when there have been seven changes to the USMNT starting lineup.

45th min.: What a save by Turner! Quintero finds Barcenas on the right and he curls a ball to the far post that Turner has to tip away for a corner. It was going in. Panama has been the better side here by a country mile.

42nd min.: In the last 10 minutes or so Alberto Quintero is the roaming player while Edgar Barcenas has gone wide right. It’s causing the USMNT problems when they can find him in the space behind the U.S. midfield.

38th min.: Hopeful shot from distance from Shaq Moore, but it’s nowhere close to goal.

34th min.: Giveaway by the USA (Kellyn Acosta) and Alberto Quintero is driving down the heart of the USMNT defense, he dishes to Gondola, but Matt Turner comes up with the one-handed save. It wouldn’t have counted for a really tight offside. Sloppy from the USA so far.

27th min.: Not making this up — Panama just attempted two olimpicos (goals off corners). Matt Turner has to tip both curling balls out of play. 

25th min.: Yunus Musah is the brightest player on the field for the USMNT and starts the move that frees Sebastian Lletget on the left. His cross into the box misses Paul Arriola, who wanted the penalty call. He felt he was held in the box. No call.

21st min.: It’s been a passive start by the USA. Gregg Berhalter looks frustrated on the sideline. The Americans can’t keep any sustained possession and Panama is going right back down their throat.

14th min.: Fantastic cross into the box by Gondola on the left and Rolando Blackburn can’t get on the end of it. A great cross on the edge of the U.S. six-yard box.

11th min.: Panama now enjoying a spell of play and no surprise that the threats are being generated out wide. Alberto Quintero active on the right and Freddy Gondola on the left. The USMNT is absorbing the pressure well so far.

4th min.: Early corner kick for the USMNT and Walker Zimmerman sends a header which the ‘keeper, Luis Mejia, tips over the bar.

1st min.: We’re off. A Nashville SC player captaining each side:

6:05 p.m.: Pregame festivities are out of the way. Teams are in position. Match is set to kick off.

5:39 p.m.: Filling up:

5:05 p.m.: USMNT in the white. Assuming Panama in the red:

4:31 p.m.: The USMNT takes an undefeated record into the Rommel Fernandez.

4:23 p.m.: American Outlaws enjoying Panama:

4:04 p.m.: Fans already making their way inside the stadium:

How to watch Panama vs. USA

  • Date: Sunday, Oct. 10
  • Time: 6 p.m. ET
  • TV Channels: Universo
  • Streaming: fuboTV , Paramount+

The USMNT’s fifth World Cup qualifier will be broadcast in Spanish on Universo, which also streams on fuboTV , which is available on a free 7-day trial .

New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser.

The English-language broadcast will be carried by Paramount+.

USA vs. Panama lineups

Matt Turner, Walker Zimmerman, Yunus Musah and Paul Arriola are the only repeat starters as U.S. manager Gregg Berhalter makes wholesale changes to the side. The USMNT is without Weston McKennie, Antonee Robinson and Zack Steffen, who all headed straight to Columbus, Ohio in preparation for the third and final World Cup qualifier to be played in October on Wednesday against Costa Rica. McKennie is resting a sore quad, while Robinson and Steffen will sit out the trip to Panama to avoid UK travel restrictions which would have required an extended quarantine after travel to that country.

DECOURCY: Pepi was the one dual national the USMNT had to have

USA starting lineup (4-3-3, left to right):  1-Matt Turner-GK — 21-George Bello, 18-Mark McKenzie, 3-Walker Zimmerman (c), 5-Shaq Moore — 6-Yunus Musah, 23-Kellyn Acosta, 17-Sebastian Lletget — 20-Tim Weah, 9-Gyasi Zardes, 7-Paul Arriola, 

USA subs: 13-Sean Johnson-GK, 2-Sergino Dest, 22-DeAndre Yedlin, 12-Miles Robinson, 15-Chris Richards, 4-Tyler Adams, 8-Gianluca Busio, 14-Luca de la Torre, 10-Cristian Roldan, 19-Matthew Hoppe, 16-Ricardo Pepi, 11-Brenden Aaronson

Panama head coach Thomas Christiansen brought in eight new players into the October squad compared to the callups he made for the September qualifiers. The notable absences are regular September starters Andres Andrade (Arminia Bielefeld / Germany), Adalberto Carrasquilla (Houston Dynamo / USA) and familiar name Cecilio Waterman (Everton / Chile).

MORE: USMNT’s Aaronson filling Pulisic’s creative void

As far as changes from the lineup that lost 1-0 on Thursday to El Salvador, wide midfielder Jose Luis Rodriguez is replaced by Freddy Gondola. Center mid Abdiel Ayarza is out, with former Columbus Crew wide mid Cristian Martinez taking over his spot.

Panama starting lineup (4-4-2, left to right): 1-Luis Mejia-GK — 15-Eric Davis, 3-Harold Cummings, 4-Fidel Escobar, 23-Michael Amir Murillo — 17-Freddy Gondola, 20-Anibal Godoy, 8-Cristian Martinez, 19-Alberto Quintero — 10-Edgar Barcenas, 14-Rolando Blackburn

Panama subs: 22-Orlando Mosquera-GK, 12-Jose Calderon-GK, 13-Jiovany Ramos, Jorge Gutierrez, 6-Oscar Linton, 2-Cesar Blackman, 5-Abdiel Ayarza, 21-Cesar Yanis, Eduardo Guerrero, 7-Jose Luis Rodriguez, 11-Armando Cooper, Ismael Diaz, 18-Jair Catuy, 16-Alfredo Stephens, 9-Gaby Torres, Abdiel Arroyo

USA vs. Panama odds, prediction

Odds courtesy of DraftKings

Pick: Panama +0.75 Asian Handicap (-125)

A total of 14 out of 19 matches in official competitions between these two teams have been decided by one goal or fewer. Four of the five results that were more lopsided happened to be U.S. home matches during World Cup qualifying. Berhalter teed this one up for the betting crowd:

“They don’t let up a lot of chances,” Berhalter told media in Panama. “They have the lowest expected goals [against] of the first four games. We’re second lowest. [They’re a] strong defensive team, heavy crossing team. The one outlier game was the last game, and I don’t know if you saw the field conditions and what they were dealing with, it was a very difficult game to play. It was monsoon-type rains, field was flooded. It was an abnormal game. It’s a good team. It’s a very physically strong team. They’ll be very aggressive in duels, they’re very good attacking in the penalty box.”

The Panama +0.75 Asian Handicap refunds half the bet if Panama loses by a goal. A draw or a Panama victory is a winning bet.

Prediction: Panama 1, USA 1

  • Moneyline: Panama +360 / Draw +245 / USA -130
  • Spread: Panama +0.5 (+100) / USA -0.5 (-135)
  • O/U 2.5 total goals: Over +125 / Under -165
  • Both Teams To Score: Yes +115 / No -155





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Breeze Airways launches with Spirit pricing and JetBlue niceness, just in time for travel’s rebound


“I really didn’t want to launch in the heat of covid,” Neeleman, whose most recent start-up airline was the Brazilian carrier Azul in 2008, said in an interview in April. “When we saw that vaccines were kind of on the horizon, I said, ‘Let’s just slow our roll a little bit and try to hit this thing, try to get the timing right.’”



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