Airlines warn 5G rollout could cause “catastrophic disruption” to travel and shipping


The chief executives of America’s largest airlines warned of a “catastrophic disruption” to travel and shipping operations if telecommunication companies roll out their 5G technology as planned Wednesday without limiting the technology near U.S. airports. 

On Tuesday, AT&T and Verizon both confirmed to CBS News that they have voluntarily agreed to postpone turning on a limited amount of towers around certain airports. 

“We are frustrated by the FAA’s inability to do what nearly 40 countries have done, which is to safely deploy 5G technology without disrupting aviation services, and we urge it to do so in a timely manner,” an AT&T spokesperson said in a statement, reiterating that the rest of their 5G launch will continue as planned.

Verizon and AT&T had already delayed the launch of their new C-Band 5G service twice due to warnings from airlines and aircraft manufacturers concerned that the new system might interfere with the devices planes use to measure altitude.

The executives, writing to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and other U.S. government officials, highlighted the risk of “economic calamity” should Verizon and AT&T proceed with deploying the new technology before the necessary upgrades and changes have been made to aviation equipment.

“We are writing with urgency to request that 5G be implemented everywhere in the country except within the approximate two miles of airport runways as defined by the FAA on January 19, 2022,” the CEOs said in a Monday letter obtained by CBS News and several other news organizations. 

“To be blunt, the nation’s commerce will grind to a halt,” they said.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Sunday it had approved some transponders to be safely operated within areas where 5G will be deployed, clearing “as many as 48 of the 88 airports most directly affected by 5G C-Band interference.”

But the airlines are worried that remaining limitations at those airports, as well as a large amount of equipment still uncertified, could trigger a crisis including the grounding of thousands of flights.

“In addition to the chaos caused domestically,” the letter continues, the lack of certified planes “could potentially strand tens of thousands of Americans overseas.”

The Reuters news agency reports that carriers late on Monday were thinking of scrapping some international flights due to get to the U.S. on Wednesday.

In a statement, United Airlines said, “The federal government’s current 5G rollout plan will have a devastating impact on aviation, negatively affecting an estimated 1.25 million United passengers, at least 15,000 flights and much-needed goods and tons of cargo traveling through more than 40 of the largest airports in the country annually.”

In addition to the transport secretary, their letter was addressed to the head of the FAA, the head of the Federal Communications Commission and the White House’s National Economic Council.

U.S. airlines also have protested against the potential costs incurred.

The executives called on authorities to “take whatever action necessary to ensure that 5G is deployed except when towers are too close to airport runways until the FAA can determine how that can be safely accomplished without catastrophic disruption.”

The letter was signed by CEOs of major airlines including American, United, Delta and Southwest, as well as the leaders of shipping giants FedEx and UPS.

“Immediate intervention is needed to avoid significant operational disruption to air passengers, shippers, supply chain and delivery of needed medical supplies,” they wrote.

The FAA released a brief statement Monday apparently seeking to allay concerns about the 5G rollout’s impact on aviation, but it stopped short of declaring any concrete next steps in the process.

“With safety as its core mission, the FAA will continue to ensure that the traveling public is safe as wireless companies deploy 5G,” the agency said.

“The FAA continues to work with the aviation industry and wireless companies to try to limit 5G-related flight delays and cancellations.”

Verizon and AT&T won contracts worth tens of billions of dollars last February to operate 5G in the 3.7-3.98 GHz frequency bands, and the rollout of the service was due to begin December 5.

Unless the major telecommunications companies are blocked by federal regulators or reach an agreement with the airlines, they are now scheduled to turn on their 5G service nationwide on January 19.





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News Wrap: Major U.S. airlines warn 5G could ground planes, disrupt travel


In our news wrap Monday, major U.S. airlines and cargo lines warned of a crisis when cellphone providers deploy new, faster 5G wireless internet service on Wednesday. Australia and New Zealand sent out surveillance flights to Tonga in the wake of an enormous undersea volcano eruption on Saturday. The U.S. and its Asian allies condemned North Korea’s fourth firing of ballistic missiles in January.



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U.S. senators travel to Ukraine to warn against Russian aggression


A bipartisan group of U.S. senators traveled to Ukraine to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other officials on a trip designed to show solidarity with Ukraine amid fears of Russian aggression.

“We believe that this is a crucial time for us to come,” Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, told reporters in between meetings. “To Russia: We stand with the Ukrainian people and with this government. In fact, Congress recently passed an increase to $300 million in security funding to Ukraine in the National Defense Authorization Act.”

With tens of thousands of Russian troops massed on Ukraine’s border, the Biden administration is threatening unprecedented sanctions and other tough steps if Russia takes military action against Ukraine. The Biden administration also has prepared a new U.S. package of military aid for Ukraine, in addition to the American military assistance that is already flowing to Kyiv, current and former officials said.

Apart from Portman, the congressional delegation included Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Kevin Cramer R-N.D., Amy Klobuchar, D-M.N., Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.

“I think Vladimir Putin has made the biggest mistake of his career in underestimating how courageously the people of Ukraine will fight him if he invades,” Blumenthal told reporters later Monday following the meeting with Zelenskyy. “And we will impose crippling economic sanctions, but more important, we will give the people of Ukraine the arms, lethal arms they need to defend their lives and livelihood.”

The visit comes days after Ukraine recovered from a massive cyberattack that downed more than 70 government websites. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told CBS on Sunday that the U.S. was still working to determine who was behind the attack, but that “this is part of the Russian playbook.”

“If it turns out that Russia is pummeling Ukraine with cyberattacks, and if that continues over the period ahead, we will work with our allies on the appropriate response,” he said.

Cramer said Monday that President Joe Biden is “right to not wait for Congressional authorization” as he moves to “build a set of multilateral sanctions” on Russia, and that additional action from Capitol Hill may be forthcoming.

“My belief is that we will be able to come together in Congress around the sanctions authority to make sure that President Biden has everything he needs, and is coordinated with our allies, to bring the crushing set of sanctions before any invasion plans,” Cramer said.

Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., suggested using the Magnitsky Act to sanction “actual individuals who are violating international law.”

“There is no question the aggression has already begun,” Wicker said.



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As winter storm looms, officials warn of hazardous travel and predict widespread power outages | Local News


By 4:30 p.m. Sunday, residents in the Triad and other areas of central North Carolina “are not going to be able to go anywhere,” Petro said. “Trees will break. Power outages will happen.”

Freezing rain and sleet will be prolonged Sunday in the Triad, resulting in toppled trees and fallen power lines, Petro said. Residents should be prepared for those scenarios, he said.

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“All hazards are on the table for this event,” Petro said.

The weather service upgraded its alert Saturday for Sunday’s storm to a winter storm warning for the Triad and Northwest North Carolina.

The warning will be in effect from midnight Saturday to midnight Sunday for Forsyth, Guilford, Davidson and Davie counties, the weather service said.

The warning will be in effect from 1 a.m. Sunday to 7 a.m. Monday for Ashe, Alleghany, Surry, Stokes, Watauga, Wilkes and Yadkin counties, the weather service said.

Gov. Roy Cooper and state officials urged residents to complete their preparations Saturday for Sunday’s storm.

“Regardless of where you live, pay close attention to your local weather forecast to get prepared and to know whether it’s too dangerous to go out,” Cooper said. “Today, make sure you have groceries, medications and other essentials like water, batteries and pet food that you’ll need for the next few days.



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Officials warn against unnecessary travel as freezing rain continues over region – The Daily Gazette


CAPITAL REGION – Freezing rain continued across the Capital Region Sunday morning as officials warned against unnecessary travel.

The freezing rain, with pockets of sleet, was to continue through the morning, the National Weather Service said.

Untreated roads and walkways will be slick, the service said.

The  service forecasted freezing rain throughout the region, with the most over Saratoga and Fulton counties, as well as northern Montgomery and eastern Schenectady counties.

“Freezing rain is far more dangerous than snow, as ice can form on pavement,” the service wrote in a flier.

Those out should also watch for falling branches and powerlines and use extreme caution if travel is needed.

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Confirmed US Omicron cases jump by a third as experts warn they’re just the tip of the iceberg


Confirmed Omicron cases jump by a third overnight: Experts warn it’s just the tip of the iceberg and US will be hit with ‘perfect storm’ TRIPLE whammy of new variant, Delta AND flu

  • Experts warn that Omicron, Delta and the flu may cause simultaneous outbreaks in the U.S. – causing a triple-pandemic this winter
  • Some warn that in the wake of the Omicron variant, Americans who are not yet boostered should return to the early pandemic lifestyle of social distancing 

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Omicron cases in the U.S. continue to increase – up 32 percent day-over-day on Thursday – and experts are warning the variant will only spread over time. Some even say that people who have not yet received their Covid booster shots might have to return to early-pandemic life to keep themselves safe.

The Delta variant is still the dominant Covid strain in the U.S., accounting for around 97 percent of sequenced cases. Omicron is quickly making up ground, though, with the newly discovered variant jumping seven-fold from making up 0.4 percent of cases to 2.9 percent of case. There have been 319 confirmed and reported cases of the variant so far, up from 241 yesterday. The flu, which largely vanished last year, is making its comeback as well.

Early data also shows that people who are only fully vaccinated, but have not yet received their booster, are still extremely vulnerable to the virus. Booster shots have been deemed effective against the variant, though, with both Moderna and Pfizer revealing data in recent days showing their vaccines will cause massive increases in antibody levels.

Only around 16 percent of Americans have received the additional vaccine dose so far though – as they were not widely available until late November – meaning that more than 80 percent of Americans are at risk from Omicron.

Dr Chris Thompson is an infectious disease expert at Loyola University of Maryland. He told DailyMail.com on Thursday that people who have not received their booster dose yet may want to bring back some early pandemic habits like social distancing, masking, frequent hand washing and more.

‘The data that I’ve seen says that you’re about 33 percent protected after a two dose regimen of either of the mRNA vaccines [the Pfizer or Moderna shots] and we don’t have good data from Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine yet. Then if you get your booster you look like you get back up into the 75 percent protection range and for preventing disease

Whether Delta or Omicron, U.S. is experiencing yet another surge of Covid cases during the holiday season. The nation is recording 121,188 new cases every day – a 40 percent increase over the past two weeks. Deaths are making a sharp rise as well, up 34 percent to 1,302 per week. The number of Americans hospitalized with the virus increased over the past 14 days as well, up 21 percent to 68,079.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projects that the situation will only worsen as well. The agency released forecasts on Wednesday night showing that weekly Covid cases will increase by 55 percent to 1.3 million per week – or 185,714 per day – by Christmas. It also predicted deaths with jump by 73 percent to up to 15,600 per day by early January – or 2,228 deaths per day.

Dr Thompson says that the Omicron variant will likely take over the U.S.’s dominant strain within the coming months, but how soon will depend on the behavior of Americans.

It’s hard to predict because so much depends on our behaviors,’ he said.

‘Travel and holidays and everything else [will affect Omicron spread], but since a fair number of people have received their booster and a lot of people are being more cautious, I’m hopeful that we can delay [Omicron overtaking Delta] for a while.’

He also said that it is likely that Omicron and Delta both continue to cause outbreaks across the U.S., just in different areas. In parts of the country where vaccination remains low, the Delta variant will continue its rampant spread. In areas where people are protected from Delta by the vaccines, the Omicron variant will manage to take hold.

Some areas of the country are already reporting sharp increases in cases. Jackson Health System, in Miami, Florida, reports that its Covid test positivity rate has reached seven percent – after only one percent of cases were coming back positive in November.  

Experts are warning that being fully vaccinated, but not boosted, is not enough to protect a person from the new mutant strain, with some even warning that people who have not yet received their booster shots – which is over 80 percent of Americans per CDC data – should return back to early pandemic habits like social distancing.

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British expats in Ireland warn fellow Britons: ‘Don’t be a stuck up arrogant Brit’ | Travel News | Travel


Jeff Smith answered a question on Quora about the way Irish people see Britons in Ireland.

He said: “There are approximately 300,000 Brits living in Ireland including me, English born. I don’t know the breakdown between English, Scottish or Welsh. I have heard Scottish accents, but not any Welsh.”

Jeff shared he had not “bothered renewing my UK passport” and was quite content where he was.

Eamon O’Kelly, who grew up in Ireland, said Britons were welcomed.

READ MORE: Safest city in the world for British expats

Jeff Smith answered a question on Quora about the way Irish people see Britons in Ireland.

He said: “There are approximately 300,000 Brits living in Ireland including me, English born. I don’t know the breakdown between English, Scottish or Welsh. I have heard Scottish accents, but not any Welsh.”

Jeff shared he had not “bothered renewing my UK passport” and was quite content where he was.

Eamon O’Kelly, who grew up in Ireland, said Britons were welcomed.





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Arrive Two Hours Early for Holiday Flights, Experts Warn — Best Life


The many struggles at airports around the country have been well documented in recent months, as major airlines have seen delays and cancellations on a massive scale. In recent weeks alone, Southwest Airlines and American Airlines each canceled thousands of flights in high-profile snafus due in large part to staffing shortages brought on by the pandemic. All of the drama for passengers around the country is only expected to get worse in the coming weeks, with demand for holiday travel surging and airlines trying to beef up their employee rosters and trim their schedules in the hopes of minimizing disruptions. If you are scheduled to travel in the midst of the mayhem, you’ll want to make a plan to move through the process as smoothly and proactively as possible to get where you’re going. Read on to find out how early experts suggest you arrive for your holiday flights.

RELATED: Another Major Airline Just Said It’s Cutting Flights for the Next 2 Months.

TSA screening line at airport

The ongoing circumstances mean you should be arriving at the airport with a much larger buffer of time than was necessary in the past, even for domestic flights. Now, both the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and airport officials around the country say travelers should plan to arrive two hours before a domestic flight.

Experts call this a “critical” tip, citing the huge demand for travel as well as long TSA screening lines. “Passengers should not cut it close or they could definitely miss their flight. We want to avoid any backlog at the TSA passenger screening checkpoint,” Thomas R. Stoudt, executive director of the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, told The Morning Call.

RELATED: The CDC Just Banned You From Bringing This on Flights.

Airport terminal crowded with travelers
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In order to guarantee that you don’t miss your flight—and miss Thanksgiving dinner with the family—always give yourself at least that two-hour buffer, experts say. But you can also get some help gauging wait times at your target airport by downloading the MyTSA app. In advance of your scheduled flight, you can check how busy the airport is likely to be on your specific day and time of travel based on historical data.

A flight attendant grabbing a plastic water bottle during service on a flight
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Consider that TSA data shows that 1,525,948 passengers passed through security checkpoints on Nov. 3, which is nearly two and a half times more than the 636,533 passengers recorded on the same day last year. That’s a lot of people going through airports at a time when the whole industry is struggling to find enough workers. A large-scale staffing shortage happened after airlines slashed rosters early in the pandemic, encouraging employees to take buyouts or furlough arrangements. But the demand for travel roared back faster than expected and left a gap at a time when hiring is difficult and job seekers have choices.

RELATED: For more travel advice delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

a crowded airport

Airlines are trying to mitigate disruptions through strategies like offering major perks to employees who work throughout the season, CNBC reports. But you’re still likely to face hiccups, so pack your patience—and a few strategies of your own. If your flight is oversold, for instance, know how to negotiate: Never take the airline’s first offer, experts say.

RELATED: Never Do This When Your Flight Is Canceled, Travel Expert Warns.



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You’ll miss your flight — and possibly Thanksgiving dinner — if you don’t heed this ‘critical’ travel advice, Lehigh Valley airport officials warn


“This Thanksgiving, travel will look a lot different than last year,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel, in a news release. “Now that the borders are open and new health and safety guidelines are in place, travel is once again high on the list for Americans who are ready to reunite with their loved ones for the holiday.”



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Is it safe to eat or drink on a flight during covid? Experts warn against it, even vaccinated.


“When [planes] turn into a flying restaurant, the dynamics of spread become very different,” Wachter says. “I would not eat at an indoor restaurant at this point, even being fully vaccinated, and so the time during which the plane is, in fact, an indoor restaurant is a time when it is somewhat less safe.”



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