Swiss, United to Restore Geneva-New York Service


Swiss International Air Lines will resume service between Geneva and New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport starting Dec. 14, operating up to four flights per week, the carrier announced. Star Alliance partner United Airlines also plans to restore service between Geneva and Newark Liberty International Airport on Nov. 1 at the same frequency. A spokesperson for the nearby Vaud district said the decision to restart service by both carriers is “vital for business and tourism,” as many American multinational companies have regional headquarters in and around Geneva.



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Reopening drives United States flight bookings | News


New research from ForwardKeys has revealed flight bookings to the USA have soared following two announcements that the destination would reopen to vaccinated foreign travellers in November.

By mid-October, weekly bookings exceeded 70 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

The first announcement was made on September 20th, when the White House said that visitors from the United Kingdom, Ireland, the 26 Schengen countries, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil would be allowed to enter the USA, without being subject to quarantine, provided they were fully vaccinated.

That caused an immediate reaction, with week-on-week bookings from the UK jumping 83 per cent, from Brazil jumping 71 per cent, and from the EU jumping 185 per cent.

The second announcement was made on October 15th, when Kevin Munoz, assistant press secretary to the US president, named November 8th as the date restrictions would be relaxed.

Week-on-week bookings climbed higher still, jumping 15 per cent from the UK, 26 per cent from the EU and 100 per cent from Brazil.

Juan Gómez, head of market intelligence, ForwardKeys, said: “This data yet again demonstrates the enormous pent-up demand for travel.

“Immediately people heard that they would be allowed to visit the USA again; they booked; and a substantial proportion booked to fly as soon as they could.

“It is also interesting to note that bookings climbed higher once a specific date was given.

“That is not entirely surprising for two reasons. First, the certainty of a specific date inspires confidence.

“Second, those wanting to travel before the end of November could not afford to make a commitment until they knew for sure that they could travel when they wanted to.

“I am optimistic that in the coming weeks, we will see a steep increase in bookings to the USA for the Christmas period.”





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United Arab Emirates Air Force leads Expo 2020 display | News


The Knights, the United Arab Emirates Air Force aerobatic display team, and the Saudi Hawks, the Royal Saudi Air Force aerobatic team, have wowed the crowds with their daredevil moves above Expo 2020 Dubai.

The air shows are held in collaboration with the GCC Pavilion.

Running until March, Expo 2020 has invited visitors from across the planet to join the making of a new world in a six-month celebration of human creativity, innovation, progress and culture.





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American, United, Delta, Alaska impacted


One of America’s largest regional carriers, SkyWest Airlines, has canceled hundreds of flights two days in a row, and it’s not the only airline impacted.

The Utah-based carrier operates flights for American, Delta, United and Alaska airlines.

“SkyWest experienced an internal technical issue, resulting in approximately 700 flight cancellations before the issue was resolved Thursday evening,” SkyWest told USA TODAY in a statement. “We apologize to customers for the inconvenience; we are working to minimize the impact on Friday’s schedule and to return to normal operations as quickly as possible.” 

The airline said it continued to experience operational disruptions Friday as it worked to get crew and aircraft into position. By Friday evening, more than 650 SkyWest flights were canceled, according to FlightAware, which tracks flight cancellations and delays in real time.

►Airline cancel or delay your flight?: Here’s what you’re owed (and how to get it)

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United Airlines’ website had said the issue was a server outage at SkyWest.

Delta Air Lines told USA TODAY, “Our technical teams engaged with SkyWest IT to resolve the issue and minimize the impact on our customers. We are working with customers directly to accommodate them to their destination as soon as possible and apologize for the inconvenience.”

Roughly 170 of American Airlines’ flights were impacted Thursday and about 50 more were affected Friday, the airline told USA TODAY, adding that it’s been working to re-accommodate passengers and provide hotel vouchers as needed.

Alaska Airlines told USA TODAY that 80 of its flights were canceled Thursday and 53 were canceled Friday, though more were possible. “We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused for our guests,” the airline said. “We’re providing services to them as we work to get impacted travelers to their destinations as quickly as possible.”

According to its website, SkyWest serves 236 destinations across North America, and it carried 43 million passengers in 2019. 

Travelers are advised to check their flight status before leaving for the airport and to reach out to their airline if their flights have been canceled or delayed. 



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United Pilots Reserved Security Times at LAX


United Airlines is testing a program in Los Angeles in which travelers can reserve a set time to go through a special Transportation Security Administration security lane.

The carrier is reaching out to travelers with reservations through its terminal at Los Angeles International Airport to participate in its “LAX Fast Lane” pilot, in which travelers reserve a 15-minute window, occurring at least an hour before their departure time, to go through security. At the airport, agents will confirm the appointment via QR code, giving the traveler access to the reserved lane.

For the trial period, the lane will be accessible between 6:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Travelers can make their reservation within 24 hours of departure.

United is conducting the pilot program with Los Angeles World Airports, which owns and operates LAX. LAWA CEO Justin Erbacci in a statement said that “a service that allows our guests to know exactly when and how long it will take to get through airport security is a compelling service that holds great potential for busy travelers.”



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‘An explosion of red and gold’: readers’ favourite spots for UK autumn colour | United Kingdom holidays


Winning tip: The Falls of Clyde, South Lanarkshire

Follow in the footsteps of Wordsworth, Coleridge and Turner to enjoy the power and romanticism of the Falls of Clyde. Spectacular at any time of year, this walk reaches its golden, amber and feuille morte peak in the autumn months, especially after heavy rain. About 30 miles south-east of Glasgow, it’s home to badgers, otters and kingfishers on a trail that begins at the Unesco world heritage site of New Lanark (drop in to the visitor centre to find out all about the millowner and philanthropist Robert Owen) and leads to the 26-metre waterfall Cora Linn. You can have coffee at the Mill Café or stay at the New Lanark Hotel. A sepia and russet dream.
scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk
Michael

Wistman’s Wood, Dartmoor

Wistmans Wood
Photograph: David Clapp/Getty Images

Wistman’s Wood is interesting at any time of year – but especially so around dusk on Halloween, when it’s not hard to imagine the Hound of the Baskervilles might be on the loose. It is an ancient forest where time seems to have stood still. Walk around, over and under lichen-covered gnarled tree boughs and huge granite rocks at the 170-hectare national nature reserve, which also has fantastic upland heath and moorland birds –
visitdartmoor.co.uk
Kim

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Kinver Edge, Worcestershire/Staffordshire

Autumn sunset views from Kinver Edge
Photograph: Ian Henley/Alamy

Kinver Edge, a National Trust site in south Staffordshire that extends over the Worcestershire border, is particularly stunning in the autumn. A remnant of the Mercian forest, this sandstone ridge is host to trees of all shapes and sizes, with fiery autumn colours in abundance. Follow the trails up to the top and you can see countryside for miles around. If you fancy a different walk, venture into the valley near Nanny’s Rock and see the old rock houses hidden in the trees – home to troglodytes until the 1960s.
nationaltrust.org.uk
Victoria Stevens

Coffin trails, Lake District

Grasmere Lake.
Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA

For stunning autumn colours, a ghoulish twist and a dash of poetry, walk the coffin trail from Grasmere to Ambleside in Wordsworth’s Lake District. The walk is just under four miles and includes beautiful native woodland, lakes and two of the poet’s homes. Cumbria’s coffin trails were named for the corpses which had to be carried to the nearest consecrated ground. Large flat stones beside the path are where bearers stopped to take a break. En route, the Old School Room tea shop offers delicious homemade food and the bath buns at the Apple Pie cafe and takeaway would inspire anyone to poetry!
mudandroutes.com
Zoe Gilbert

Hackfall Woods, Yorkshire Dales

Nidderdale
Photograph: Bridget Mellor

Hackfall Woods in Nidderdale is a joy to explore. It was designed as a “wild romantic garden”, by 18th-century landowner and politician William Aislabie. A series of paths traverse the 47-hectare woods, with lovely ruined follies and grottos along the way. The colours in autumn are mesmerising … the view from the Ruin (the banqueting house) terrace feels like you are on top of a rainforest looking over a canopy of rich colours. Springs, cascades and an artificial waterfall operated by a pump make this a magical place.
woodlandtrust.org.uk
Bridget Mellor

The Hermitage, Perthshire

River through autumn colours at the Hermitage near Dunkeld
Photograph: Sara Winter/Alamy

For the most beautiful autumn colours, enjoy a wonderful woodland walk around the Hermitage, Dunkeld. When the leaves turn, this magical area of Perthshire forestry is transformed into a wonderland where you will experience a breathtaking explosion of red and gold among the evergreen. The Douglas firs here are among the tallest trees in the UK. Keep your eyes peeled for red squirrels and watch salmon leaping up the dam as you enjoy the vibrant autumn scenery. Parking is £3. The picturesque village of Dunkeld, a five-minute drive away, is the perfect place to enjoy a post-walk coffee and cake.
nts.org.uk
Maggie Coll

Friston Forest, South Downs national park

The Cuckmere valley.
The Cuckmere valley. Photograph: Sam Moore/National Trust/PA

Close to the coast at Newhaven in East Sussex, the River Cuckmere’s wide meanders and water meadows are a fine sight. Looking up, you’ll see the faded green, yellow and orange leaves of Friston Forest’s beeches. This is a lovely place to walk at this time of year. The paths are covered in brown and gold leaves – particularly colourful in the dappled sunshine of a bright autumn day. With hills that aren’t too strenuous and Narnia-like avenues it is wonderful. Beautiful sea views can be enjoyed nearby on top of the Seven Sisters cliffs and at Beachy Head. A reward afterwards is a visit to the the Tiger Inn in East Dean, where the sticky toffee pudding is beyond question.
woodlandtrust.org.uk
George Gilbert

Witton Woods, Norfolk

Bacton / Witton Wood
Photograph: Loop Images/Alamy

Witton Woods (also known as Bacton Woods to some) in north Norfolk has a great variety of trees – ancient sessile oak, ash, alder and chestnut and recent plantings of pine and wellingtonia – and patches of heather, broom and gorse, which make it lovely to visit in any season. It’s also great for a foraging session if you’re into spotting mushrooms in the autumn. There’s a bronze age burial mound and ancient pot-boiling site, too.
northwalshamguide.co.uk, north-norfolk.gov.uk
Lou

Allen Banks, North Pennines

The river Allen at Staward Gorge
Photograph: Clearview/Alamy

Ten miles west of Hexham, in the North Pennines area of outstanding national beauty, is Allen Banks. From the car park the footpath follows the river to Planky Mill, a good spot for a picnic, and to one of the largest areas of ancient woodland in Northumberland. Bordered by oak, beech, and birch, the gorge is framed in autumn by reds and golds. Below the canopy, the River Allen, which flows into the South Tyne just to the north, sparkles in autumn sunlight and the berries of the Scots fir gleam. Although it’s not a difficult walk, stout shoes are advisable. Allen Banks is a National Trust property: it’s free to walk there but there is a fee for parking unless you are an NT member.
northpennines.org.uk
Bernie Walker

Thorncombe Woods, Dorset

A grove of Beech trees Thorncombe wood.
Photograph: Andrew Wood/Alamy

There’s lovely autumn colour at Thorncombe Woods nature reserve next to Thomas Hardy’s cottage. The 26-hectare ancient woodland has an amazing range of mature trees, from majestic oaks to sweet chestnut, hazel and beech. The beech trees meld into a spectacular blaze of gold and copper in autumn. The woods, through which a well-preserved Roman road runs, eventually give way to Black Heath, which hosts Dartmoor ponies. There is a car park and also an independently run cafe.
dorsetcouncil.gov.uk
Anita Hunt



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United Sees Domestic, Transatlantic Business Rebound


Corporate bookings at United Airlines are “moving in the right direction,” with both domestic and transatlantic business travel showing signs of recovery in recent weeks, United CEO Scott Kirby said Wednesday during the carrier’s third-quarter earnings call.

“The effects of the delta [Covid-19] variant on our business was substantial, however we expect the worst of this wave is now past,” United chief commercial officer Andrew Nocella said. “In the last two weeks, we’ve seen several leading business indicators return to where we were in July or better.”

Among those indicators, domestic business travel demand has rebounded to the levels seen before the emergence of the delta variant, with business travel demand from United’s largest corporate accounts increasing at a rate similar to its smallest accounts, he said. Demand has been particularly strong from consulting companies but has been rebounding “across the board” in United’s business sectors, according to Nocella. 

Overall, domestic business travel is nearing the 50 percent market compared with pre-pandemic levels, Nocella said. Delta Air Lines reported a similar rate of rebound last week.

“We have not recovered fully on business traffic and have a long way to go,” he said. “Just looking at the trends of only the last few days, our level of being bullish about this has increased a lot. The numbers for the delta variant caused things to go down quickly, and now that we’re past the delta variant, it appears they’re going to go up hopefully just as quickly.”

With the reopening of U.S. borders to vaccinated European travelers a month away, “business traffic across the Atlantic is now tracking consistent with or slightly better than domestic business traffic,” he added.

The return-to-office plans for United’s corporate customers remains a “hodgepodge,” with “people in general more and more returning to their office environment,” Nocella said. United expects business travel to accelerate next year with “a lot of pent-up demand,” he said.

United reported $6.6 billion in passenger revenue for the quarter, down 36.7 percent compared with the third quarter of 2019. Domestic passenger revenue made up $4.8 billion of that total, with transatlantic routes contributing $840 million in revenues, Latin America routes contributing $743 million and transpacific routes contributing $209 million.

Total revenue for the quarter was $7.8 billion, down 31.9 percent compared with 2019. Cargo revenue was up 84 percent across the same period.

As the rebound continues, Kirby said United’s early action with vaccine mandates would benefit the carrier as it would give travelers a reason to “book with confidence” with United. To date, 99.7 percent of the carrier’s employees opted to get vaccinated, president Brett Hart said.

Kirby said that airlines not pursuing mandates, instead letting employees request exemptions and do regular testing for Covid-19, could find themselves facing operational challenges.

“They’re likely to have tens of thousands of employees that need to be tested every week,” Kirby. “People will forget to do their test, do it wrong, don’t get it done or test positive. If you think weather in one state can lead to a meltdown, imagine if you have thousands of employees calling in on one day and saying their test didn’t pass. This is in the rear-view mirror for United.”

United reported net income of $473 million for the third quarter, which included benefits of federal payroll aid. Adjusted for that and other special items, United’s net loss for the quarter was $329 million, compared with an adjusted net loss of $2.4 billion in the third quarter of 2020.

RELATED: United Q2 earnings



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United Plans Large Transatlantic Expansion for Spring 2022


United Airlines next spring will add five new destinations in Europe and the Middle East and new routes to five others as a part of the largest transatlantic expansion in the carrier’s history.

The new destinations, largely leisure-focused, include three to which United will be the only carrier offering direct service from the United States, according to United SVP of international networks and alliances Patrick Quayle. 

Service from Newark to Bergen, Norway, begins May 20, marking the only direct service to Bergen from the U.S. and the only U.S. carrier serving Norway. Service from Newark to Palma de Mallorca in Spain’s Balearic Islands begins June 2, followed by service from Newark to Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Islands on June 9, also the only direct service between the U.S. and either destination.

In addition, United will start new service between Washington, D.C., and Amman, Jordan, on May 5, the only flight by a North American carrier to Amman, Quayle said. Service from Newark to Ponta Delgada in Portugal’s Azores begins May 13, which will be the only direct service from the New York area to the Azores and will make United the largest North American carrier to Portugal, he said.

New routes to United’s current destinations for the spring include daily flights between Denver and Munich, Chicago and Milan and Washington, D.C., and Berlin, as well as an additional daily flight between Newark and each Dublin and Rome.

United in the spring also will start seven previously announced routes that had been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Those include service to Tokyo’s Haneda airport from each Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Newark by March 26; daily flights between Chicago and Zurich starting April 23; a second daily flight between Newark and Frankfurt starting April 23; daily flights between Newark and Nice, France, starting April 29; and daily flights between San Francisco and Bengaluru starting May 26.



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United adding European destinations ahead of summer travel rebound


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Chicago-based United Airlines is adding five new transatlantic destinations in Spring 2022 as it prepares for a potential bounce back in summer travel between the United States and Europe next year.

The expansion would be the largest transatlantic expansion in the company’s history and includes destinations in Spain, Portugal, Norway, the Spanish Canary Islands and Jordan.

“Given our big expectations for a rebound in travel to Europe for summer, this is the right time to leverage our leading global network in new, exciting ways,” Patrick Quayle, senior vice president of international network and alliances at United, said in a Thursday news release. 

United will be the first North American carrier to fly to the five new destinations.  

  • Bergen, Norway: Starting May 20, United will offer flights three times a week between New York/Newark and Bergen on a Boeing 757-200. 
  • Azores, Portugal: Flights between New York/Newark and Ponta Delgada in the Azores begin May 13 with a new Boeing 737 MAX 8. This will be United’s third Portuguese destination, along with flights to Porto (which return in March) and Lisbon (which are being operated from New York and are set to resume from Washington, D.C. next summer).
  • Palma de Mallorca, Spain: Travelers can fly from New York/Newark to the beach destination in the Balearic Islands in a Boeing 767-300ER starting June 2. United will offer flights three times a week. 
  • Tenerife in the Spanish Canary Islands: United is set to launch a new flight from New York/Newark to the Tenerife on June 9, offering service three times a week via a Boeing 757-200. 
  • Amman, Jordan: Flights from Washington, D.C. to Amman begin May 5 with service three-times-weekly with a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. 

Tickets for Bergen, Azores, Palma de Mallorca and Tenerife go on sale Thursday, and Amman tickets should follow soon after. 

The airline is also adding new flights to five European destinations (Berlin, Dublin, Milan, Munich and Rome) “in anticipation of a resurgence in visitors” and relaunching seven routes that had been paused during the pandemic to Bangalore, Frankfurt, Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, Nice and Zurich, all of which are subject to government approval. 

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The expansion would follow the launch of a new air travel system in the U.S. in early November that will ease travel restrictions for fully vaccinated foreign nations.

While international flight capacity saw gains this year, it has a ways to go before catching up to pre-pandemic levels. International passenger demand dropped 76% between 2019 and 2020, the sharpest traffic decline in aviation history according to the International Air Transport Association.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Bailey Schulz on Twitter: @bailey_schulz





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