Travel woes linger after gun discharge rattles Atlanta airport | News


ATLANTA — Despite claims on social media, there was not an active shooter at Atlanta’s airport, said Hartsfield-Jackson officials in a statement posted to Twitter.

A gun was accidentally fired at the airport around 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the security screening area. And it sent social media into a frenzy as visitors posted videos to Twitter of chaos unraveling.

Neither passengers nor employees are in danger, according to the statement. An investigation is currently ongoing, and Atlanta Police Department is on the scene.

The airport has since resumed normal operations, officials said in another statement around 3:30 p.m. Twitter users report that the airport is still in a state of confusion, some noting long lines and missed flights.

Delta issued a travel waiver to assist customers who were impacted by the incident, the company announced in a statement. Customers’ fare difference will be waived if their rebooked flight occurs on or before Nov. 23 in the same cabin originally booked.

Channel 2 Action News reported that the Transportation Security Administration said all passengers in the airport are being rescreened.

“This incident underscores the importance of checking personal belongings for dangerous items before leaving for the airport. Firearms, particularly loaded firearms, introduce an unnecessary risk at checkpoints, have no place in the passenger cabin of an airplane, and represent a very costly mistake for the passengers who attempt to board a flight with them,” TSA said in a statement to the news station.

Of the guns captured at airport security checkpoints across the nation last year, about 83% were loaded. As of Oct. 3, more firearms had been recovered at Hartsfield-Jackson’s security checkpoints this year than at any other U.S. airport.

Twitter users report that they heard more than one gunshot, though airport officials have not confirmed how many shots were fired. No injuries have been reported, said Atlanta police in a statement.

MARTA rail service to the airport closed for much of Sunday afternoon but has since resumed, the agency posted on Twitter. A ground stop temporarily halted flights at other airports around the country that were bound for Atlanta.

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©2021 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Visit at ajc.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Copyright 2021 Tribune Content Agency.





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Airline meltdowns raise specter of holiday travel woes






Airline meltdowns raise specter of holiday travel woes





















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Southwest blames travel woes on hourslong shutdown at Orlando airport


ORLANDO, Fla. – Southwest Airlines issued a statement on Thursday about its recent travel woes, saying they were caused, in part, because Orlando International Airport was closed for seven hours late last week due to weather.

Southwest later amended the letter from airline President and COO Mike Van de Ven, saying OIA was closed for several, not seven, hours.

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Storms moved through Central Florida on Friday, but it’s not known if OIA was shut down for hours. News 6 has reached out to the airport for comment but has not yet heard back.

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The airline said it was unable to fly in or out of Orlando while the airport was closed.

“About a quarter of Southwest’s Crew assignments include at least one Florida city. One of our largest Crew Bases is at Orlando International Airport, and that airport was shut to departing and arriving air traffic for several hours on Friday—preventing the flow of aircraft and Crews into the network,” the statement reads.

Southwest canceled thousands of flights earlier this week, leading many to speculate that the airlines’ recent COVID vaccine mandate prompted a “sickout” from pilots and staff. The airline and the pilots union, however, dispute that claim.

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Five days after the cancellations began, the airline said it was mostly back on schedule.

No other airlines suffered any similar setbacks over the past week.

In its letter, Southwest apologized for the delays and flight cancellations and promised to make changes to avoid similar issues in the future.

Below is the full letter from Southwest:

I’d like to address the operational challenges we faced recently and offer an explanation of what happened. But first, let me begin with our heartfelt apology to everyone whose travel was disrupted by these events: we are truly sorry.

The operational disruption began on Friday and was initially created by weather and air traffic constraints that stalled our Florida operations for many hours. As a result, our aircraft and Crews were not in their pre-planned positions to operate our schedule on Saturday. Unfortunately, the out-of-place aircraft and Crew resources created additional cancelations across our point-to-point network that cascaded throughout the weekend and into Monday and Tuesday. Weather and air traffic constraints were not an issue beyond Friday, but it took us several days to re-set our network after the initial challenges.

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Despite widespread rumors and speculation, the weekend challenges were not a result of unusual Southwest Employee activity, and there simply is nothing in our data that indicates that particular reason. Our Employees worked heroically in the midst of these adverse conditions and many came in on off days, or flew additional trips, to help the airline recover. I offer my sincere thanks and appreciation for their tireless work and dedication to serving our Customers.

I’m sure you are curious as to why Friday’s challenges impacted Southwest more than other airlines. For starters, flying to and from Florida is a large portion of our schedule, and disruptions to Florida quickly spread throughout our network given our point-to-point flying. In fact, approximately 40-50% of Southwest’s aircraft fly through Florida on any given day.

Additionally, about a quarter of Southwest’s Crew assignments include at least one Florida city. One of our largest Crew Bases is at Orlando International Airport, and that airport was shut to departing and arriving air traffic for several hours on Friday—preventing the flow of aircraft and Crews into the network.

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We’ve said numerous times, the pandemic is unprecedented and extremely complex—it was messy going into it, and it’s messy as we fight to emerge from it. Going forward, our number one focus is to hire more people—with a goal of hiring more than 5,000 by the end of the year and with 50% of the goal already met.

Additionally, we continue to evaluate potential network schedule changes to mitigate operational risks as we head into the holidays. There is certainly more work to be done as we approach November, and our Teams are dedicated to doing that work to support a reliable operation.

Again, I fully realize that any attempt at an explanation falls short of our ultimate goal of delivering you to your destination on time with our typical Southwest hospitality. You expect and deserve better Customer Service from us, and we are committed to making necessary adjustments to deliver on that expectation.

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We are doing our best to proactively reach out to Customers whose travel plans were impacted to offer our apologies and invite them to give us another chance to earn their business. If Customers require assistance from Southwest, they can use one of the airline’s self-service options for convenience or Contact Us via one of the methods listed on Southwest.com.

I want to thank our People, and especially our frontline Employees, who have worked around the clock to help Customers impacted by these challenges. They are our true heroes.

Finally, I want to offer my sincere apologies once again to every Customer affected over the past week, and I humbly invite you to give us another chance to make it up to you on your next trip.

Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando – All rights reserved.





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Dogs to comfort your travel woes are back at Orlando International Airport after pandemic hiatus


ORLANDO, Fla. – Traveling can be stressful but Orlando International Airport is bringing back its Paw Pilot dogs to ease those travel woes after a year-long hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The pups are back but with precautions as COVID-19 is still very much a concern. The program first launched in 2019, allowing travelers in the North Terminal to hang out for a bit with certified therapy dogs. Nine dogs were part of the program giving out doggy love and joy.

[TRENDING: Thousands skipping 2nd vaccine dose | This K-9 is stopping child abuse. Here’s how | Florida legislature passes controversial vote-by-mail bill]

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When COVID-19 cases started to rise the program was halted to prevent crowds from gathering around the Paw Pilots in action.

“It was our hope to bring back the MCO Paw Pilots as soon as it was safe to do so, while the community continues to fight the public health crisis,” Greater Orlando Aviation Authority director of customer experience Brian Engle said in a statement. “We’re so glad the timing feels right to resume this customer service initiative in an updated way that provides enhanced safety measures for the dogs, their handlers and our passengers.”

Airport officials said the Paw Pilot pups will now be stationed near concessions across from the North Terminal food court. Anyone who wants some free petting time will be asked to line up in a special area and wait their turn. Each guest will be provided with hand sanitizer before being able to greet the dogs and their handlers. Masks must be worn at all times.

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According to a news release, crowd favorite Annabel, a golden retriever, will be among the dogs visiting the North Terminal once again.

Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando – All rights reserved.



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More Than a Foot of Snow, Travel Woes – NBC Chicago


A major winter storm blanketed parts of the Chicago area with more than a foot of snow overnight, with the blast of winter weather continuing into Tuesday morning and making for hazardous conditions.

Here’s the latest on what you need to know about the winter storm from across the Chicago area:

Winter Storm Warnings End for Most, Continue for Some

The winter storm warnings and weather advisories were canceled across much of the Chicago area Tuesday morning, but for Porter County in Indiana and Kenosha County in Wisconsin, things continue through 3 p.m. CST.

CTA Service Suspended on Multiple Lines

Service on multiple Chicago Transit Authority train lines was suspended early Tuesday due to problems that arose as a major snowstorm pummeled the city.

Switching problems at Howard caused service to be suspended on the Purple Line and Purple Line Express trains, with shuttle buses offered between Linden and Howard, as well as on the Yellow Line, with shuttles between Dempster-Skokie and Howard. Red Line service was also suspended between Howard and Belmont, the CTA said, with shuttle buses available between the two stations.

Switching problems at Midway also temporarily shut down service on the Orange Line between Pulaski and Midway, the CTA said. Major delays were also reported on Brown Line trains at Kimball.

Read more here.

Winter Storm Warning Remains in Effect in Cook, Lake Counties

A winter storm warning remained in effect in parts of the Chicago area early Tuesday, with more lake effect snow to continue.

Cook County and Lake County in Illinois will remain under a winter storm warning through 12 p.m. Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

A winter storm warning for Kankakee, Kendall, Will, Grundy, Livingston and DuPage counties in Illinois, along with Lake, Newton and Jasper counties in northwest Indiana expired at 9 a.m. Tuesday, as did winter weather advisories in LaSalle, Kane, McHenry and DeKalb counties.

Read more here.

See Snowfall Totals So Far From Across the Chicago Area

A massive snowstorm dumped more than a foot of snow in some parts of the Chicago area beginning Monday and continuing into Tuesday.

Just how much snow has fallen in this latest blast of winter weather? Here’s a look at the latest snowfall totals from around the area, according to the National Weather Service:

Chicago (Albany Park) – 16 inches

Chicago (Lake View) – 8.2 inches

Chicago (Loop) – 7.8 inches

Chicago (Midway Airport) – 17.7 inches

Chicago (O’Hare Airport) – 7.5 inches

Harwood Heights – 12.3 inches

Oak Lawn – 13 inches

See more here.

Chicago-Area Schools Announce Closures, E-Learning Plans

Dozens of school districts have canceled classes or announced that they will move to e-learning on Tuesday as a result of the winter weather.

According to the latest updates from the Emergency Closing Center website, dozens of districts have announced that they will either fully cancel classes or move to e-learning as a result of the severe weather.

All in-person classes in Chicago Public Schools were canceled on Tuesday, with those classes transitioning to remote learning.

See more details, including the full list of school closures, here.

More Than 150 Flights Canceled at Chicago Airports Amid Snowstorm

More than 150 flights have been canceled at Chicago’s airports Tuesday as heavy snow and frigid temperatures continue to grip the region.

According to the Chicago Department of Aviation, 82 flights have been canceled at O’Hare as of 8 a.m. Tuesday. At Midway Airport, 73 flights have been canceled, with delays of under 15 minutes reported at both airports.

Chicago Vaccination Sites Will Be Closed Tuesday

Chicago closed its vaccination sites Tuesday as a winter storm dumped roughly 18 inches of snow on some locations.

Officials said all vaccination sites operated by the city would be closed alongside city-run testing sites. Those with appointments for Tuesday “will be notified of changes.”

“The City is assessing the overall impact from the storm and will make decisions regarding testing and vaccine operations on a day-to-day basis during the inclement weather,” city officials said in a release.

Cook County Circuit Court Closed for In-Person Hearings

As a result of continued snow and dangerous travel conditions, the Circuit Court of Cook County will only conduct proceedings by video conference and teleconference Tuesday.

Litigants who cannot attend by Zoom, due to any technical limitations, will not suffer any adverse consequences, according to a news release. Traffic court proceedings also will be held by teleconference. 

IDOT Continues Snow Plow Operations Overnight

The Illinois Department of Transportation continued snow removal operations during the overnight hours and into Tuesday morning.

In a tweet on Monday evening, IDOT said some local agencies had decided to suspend plowing “out of an abundance of caution,” though it did not specify which agencies made that decision.

Transportation officials reiterated that conditions are treacherous and it was “not the night to be driving.”

City Colleges of Chicago Moves to Remote Learning Tuesday

City Colleges of Chicago announced Monday that all in-person classes would be switched to remote learning on Tuesday.

The news came as dozens of city and suburban school districts cancel classes due to the weather. Several colleges, including DePaul, UIC and the University of Chicago, have also canceled in-person learning.

You can find a full list of current school closures here.

ComEd Steps Up Staffing to Deal With Potential Power Outages

ComEd is stepping up staffing and response crews in the event of any power outages caused by the severe winter weather.

In a statement, the company emphasized that it did not anticipate major storm-related power outages because of the lack of ice on trees and power lines, which lead to more outages than heavy snow typically does.

Still, the company says that they are doubling up crews that are involved in responding to outage tickets, and that they have extra staff available overnight Monday and into Tuesday.

This news comes as ComEd crews report to West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee to give a hand to crews battling the damage caused by recent ice storms in those states. Approximately 350 crew and contract workers were sent out, and those crews are expected to remain out of state for at least the next week.

Cook County Health Announces Vaccination Site Closures

Several of Cook County Health’s COVID-19 vaccination sites will be closed Tuesday as a result of the snow and hazardous travel conditions.

Patients who are scheduled for appointments on Tuesday will be contacted and rescheduled this week, according to a news release.

Vaccinations will continue at only the following locations: John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital, Provident Hospital and the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center.

More Than 300 Plows Hit Streets of Chicago Amid Winter Storm

With more than two inches of snow per hour possible through the overnight hours, the city of Chicago has activated its fleet of snow removal vehicles, with more than 300 expected to be out during the height of the storm.

In-Person Learning at Chicago Public Schools Canceled for Tuesday Amid Winter Storm

All in-person classes in Chicago Public Schools will be moved to remote learning on Tuesday due to heavy snowfall, the district says.

CPS students in pre-K and cluster learning classes will move to remote learning because of the storm.

“Safety is our highest priority which is why we have decided to move all classes to remote instruction for tomorrow, February 16,” said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “The extreme weather conditions expected tonight and tomorrow could present a hazardous commute to families of pre-k and cluster program students who selected in-person learning, and  in the interest of safety we are cancelling in-person classes. We expect in-person learning to resume on Wednesday and will keep families updated as additional information becomes available.”

Snow and Cold: The Advice You Need to Get Through Chicago Winters

As temperatures drop or heavy snow falls, things can get dangerous.

It’s important to be prepared, take precautions and know your resources.

Here’s a look at some things you should know as you take on Chicago winters, including the symptoms of hypothermia, how to properly dress in the cold, and much more.

City-Run COVID Testing Sites to Remain Closed Tuesday

Due to the winter conditions hitting Chicago, officials announced that city-run COVID testing sites will not be open Tuesday.

IDOT, ISP Urge Drivers to ‘Postpone Unnecessary Travel’

The Illinois Department of Transportation and Illinois State Police urged drivers to “strongly consider postponing any unnecessary travel,” warning of extremely slick conditions and poor visibility. 

“As always, our team at IDOT will be out on the roads around the clock, but if you can stay indoors, please do, especially during the overnight hours,” Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman said in a statement. “Conditions at times could be treacherous, with the cold and wind reducing the effectiveness of the materials we use to treat snow and ice. Expect extremely long travel times and always prepare your vehicle in the event you are stranded.”

Illinois officials said blowing and drifting snow throughout the state are likely “due to the amounts and fluffiness of the snow combined with high winds.”

“If you must travel, we ask that you allow additional time to reach your destination and ensure your vehicle is in a safe operating condition,” ISP Director Brandon Kelly said in a statement. “Please obey all traffic laws and posted speed limits.  Remember, speed limits are set for clear conditions. Only drive the speed limit if it is safe to do so. And please watch out for emergency responders and highway maintainers who are doing their best to keep the roadways safe.”

Track Snow Live: See Where the Winter Storm is Hitting in Real Time With Live Doppler 5

While many already saw accumulating snowfall overnight and into Monday morning, more is on the way.

Track the system as it moves through the area live using our Live Doppler 5 radar.

Click here for more.





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Border woes force Australian tour operators to join forces! | Focus


Border woes force Australian tour operators to join forces!

Continual border constraints have dented confidence in travel. However, two tour operators on each side of the New South Wales and Victorian borders, are working together to keep travelers moving within state borders.

Sydney based Cocky Guides, Australia’s leader in small group tours for blind and low vision travelers, is working with Melbourne based international tour operator Wandering the World, to continue to deliver accessible day trips for Melbourne’s blind and low vision community.

“Even with all the planning since the start of COVID, we could not anticipate the impact of Melbourne’s second wave lock down, cancelled tours and the associated social isolation our Victorian travelers experienced. It was important to assist our travelers with opportunities to travel as soon as lock down restrictions eased. The second border closure between Greater Sydney and Victoria almost devastated our plans. I was fortunate to have previously met Glenyce Johnson, the owner of Wandering the World, at an industry function, who was more than happy to step in and say we’d love to help your travelers” said the founder of Cocky Guides, James McFarlane.

Wandering the World is leading a day trip from Melbourne to the Bellarine Peninsula this weekend, allowing a group of Cocky Guides blind and low vision travelers to be supported on an adventure that builds confidence and creates social and community participation for Australians that are typically under-served by the tourism industry.

“Pre COVID my team and I led walking tours in Europe, so I am always spruiking the many benefits of a walking holiday. The most rewarding of those is getting up close and personal with the region you walk in. COVID has restricted our movement temporarily. However, this has enabled me to take the time to explore my own neighbourhood and appreciate the little things I had not noticed before. I am excited to share a taste of our Spain and Italy adventures, in the heart of the beautiful Bellarine Peninsula for Cocky Guides and our previous travelers.” said Glenyce

Accessible group adventures for blind and low vision travelers can be found online at www.cockyguides.com.au/tours. Would you prefer to discover fantastic walks around Australia? Visit www.wanderingtheworld.com.au





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