June 13-19: The Slowest Domestic Airport, UA Leaves JFK, Airline Group Retracts Bag Guidelines, Passengers Spending Night In Military Barracks, Couple Runs Onto Tarmac To Catch Flight, & More

This week’s round-up brings the latest airline and travel news – from the slowest domestic airport, United to leave JFK, airline group retracts bag guidelines, and Marriott adding Netflix to TVs, to diverted passengers spending a night in military barracks, the end of cruises to nowhere, and couple runs onto tarmac to catch flight. Enjoy!

NYC Airports Are the Slowest

Have you ever done airfare comparison shopping and wonder why some airlines take longer to fly the same route? According to FiveThirtyEight.com, a website that uses statistical data to measure the time it takes for airlines to fly a certain route, airlines have been known to add minutes to a flight, depending on airport and time of year. In its new data released this past Wednesday, it used the data on domestic flights between May 2014 and April 2015 and found that Honolulu International Airport is the fastest among the 30 large hubs, saving travelers an average of 10 minutes per roundtrip flight. A the bottom of the scale are New York City’s three airports, with LaGuardia Airport adding an average of 56 minutes to a roundtrip flight, while John F. Kennedy International Airport added 46 minutes and Newark Liberty International Airport added 42 minutes.

FiveThirtyEight also tracks airlines’ flying time for the same period and found that Virgin America is the fastest airline typically shortening a flight by seven minutes, while United Airlines came in last by adding an average of five minutes per flight. If you ever want to know which airline can get you to your destination the fastest, check out FiveThirtyEight’s tool that lists the average times between airlines on domestic routes.

United Bids Adieu to JFK

Starting on October 25, United will no longer fly from New York’s JFK Airport, and move their cross-country flights to its hub at Newark in New Jersey. This move will allow United to strengthen their hold in Newark, while allowing Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways and American Airlines to fight it out at JFK. This move will allow travelers flying on United from the West Coast to connect to other United flights, something that’s not possible right now. United will be trading its slots at JFK with Delta for its Newark slots.

Airline Group Retracts Bag Guidelines

A week after airline trade group, International Air Transport Association (IATA) released a statement proposing that carry-on bag limits should be smaller, the group is retracting its guidelines following a backlash from both travelers and certain airlines in North America. Delta released a statement saying, “Delta has no plans to reduce the size allowance for carry-on bags … Our focus and investment in the carry-on experience have been on installation of larger bins on domestic and international aircraft.” While certain foreign carriers have shown an interest in the new guidelines, six U.S. senators sent a joint letter on Tuesday stating that if airlines do shrink size of allowed carry-ons, they should end the checked bag fee. Don’t hold your breath of checked bag fees ever going away, since airlines made $3.5 billion in bag fees last year.

Marriott Offering Netflix in Rooms

Netflix streaming customers will soon be able to stream shows directly on the televisions at Marriott hotels instead of their laptop, tablets or smartphones. This new service is currently available in six Marriott properties in New York City and San Jose, Calif., and will be available at 100 properties by the end of the year. Guest need only sign into their account once during their stay, and upon check out, the account information will be erased from the TVs.

Diverted Passengers Spends Night in Military Barracks

Last week, passengers on a United flight from Chicago to London got an unexpected experience of spending 20 hours in a Canadian military barracks. The flight was diverted to snow-covered Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador and made an emergency landing due to a “maintenance issue.” Upon arrival, at Goose Bay, passengers claimed they were dropped off at the barracks that didn’t have heat, and weren’t provided with blankets, luggage or answers, while the crew was holed up in a hotel nearby. When asked about the double standard over social media, United responded via Twitter with, “The crew must rest in order to continue the flight. You can rest on board the aircraft knowing that they are in charge.” It should be noted that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has rules and regulations that require the crew to a minimum amount of rest between flights in a “environment that permits ‘sufficient’ sleep and recovery periods.” While the passengers frustrations are understandable, an article published by the Toronto Sun called the passengers “ungrateful.” Lieut. Olivier Gallant, the base’s media officer said the passengers were given a three hot meals options, transportation and long distance phone call, as well as snacks and drinks the rooms.

The End of Cruises-to-Nowhere

If you’ve been eyeing those $200, three-day cruises to nowhere, you better do it sooner than later because those kinds of cruises will go the way of the dodo bird by 2016. These cruises to nowhere has been around for a while, even though there’s currently a century old rule in place that prohibits a ship registered in a foreign country (this basically covers all major ships, as most ships are registered in the Caribbean) from making roundtrip cruises from a U.S. port without stopping in at least one foreign destination. So why the sudden change to heart? According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), it’s because crews are issued D-1 visas that allows them to work “onboard sea vessels or international airlines in the United States,” and a cruise to nowhere is considered a domestic operation.

Random News Story of the Week: Couple Runs onto Tarmac to Stop Plane

People have a tendency to go to extremes in order not to miss their flight, like the make false bomb threats. But an Italian couple has taken it to the next level when they ran onto the tarmac in a futile effort to get onto their plane. Matteo Clementi and his partner Enrica Apollonio got stuck in traffic while on their way to Malta International Airport. Upon arrival at the gate, they weren’t allowed to board because the gate was closed. Rather than throw their hands up in frustration, they went to the next gate, forced open the security door and ran onto the tarmac trying to get the pilots attention to let them board. According to the Airports and Civil Aviation Security Act, these kinds of violations can carry a fine of €2,329 (approximately US$2,645) or two years in prison. Fortunately for the couple, the court only chose to fine them.

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