This week’s round-up brings the latest airline and travel news – from TSA adding new hires to shorten security lines, SeaWorld ending controversial orca shows and breeding programs, and American changes baggage allowance for some premium cabin passengers, to Disney considers resort fees, and meats from a vending machine. Enjoy!

TSA Wants Shorter Wait Times

In an effort to cut down on the security lines at airports, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is now hiring more screening officers and moving canine teams to busier airports. This change of course comes about after it was decided that the TSA would cut 1,700 jobs back in September. This is a welcome relief for major hubs, such as Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport which threatened to replace TSA with private security to help alleviate the security lines that can take up to an hour. TSA is reminding passengers that in order to get through security checkpoints faster, they should print boarding pass early, pack their carry-on liquids in the correct containers and empty their pockets, and the all-important reminder, always arrive at the airports early, and don’t be the jerk who shows up 10 minutes before your flight is scheduled to leave, and throw a tantrum when you miss your flight.

SeaWorld Ends Orca Breeding Programs & Shows

After years of negative press and sentiment following the 2013 documentary “Blackfish” that detailed the treatment of killer whales and their trainers, SeaWorld Entertainment on Thursday said they are ending their breeding program for the orcas and will eventually phase out the live performances. The group of orcas will continue living at SeaWorld, even though activists are pushing for the mammals to be released into the wild, despite claims by SeaWorld that they won’t survive being out of captivity. The company will also halt plans to expand the orca habitat in its San Diego location.

American Changes Baggage Allowance for Premium Cabins

Don’t worry. If you’re flying in coach, you’ll still have to pay $25 to check your first bag. However, if you fly American Airlines’ business or first-class cabins, starting March 29 you might notice that your checked-bag allowance will have gone from three checked-bags to just two. This only applies if your flight has two-cabins. Some travelers will still be able to check three bags, including first-class passengers flying on a three-cabin aircraft, AAdvantage Executive Platinum elites, Oneworld Emerald elites and active U.S. military and/or dependents.

Disney Considers Resort Fees

As if taking a trip to Disneyland or Disney World isn’t pricey enough, you might soon have to fork over more money to stay at a Disney property. Disney recently sent out a survey to select visitors on their thoughts about paying an extra $15 per night in resort fees that will cover things that are currently included in Disney resorts’ room rates such as Disney Magical Express, MagicBands, priority Fast Pass resort planning, Extra Magic Hours, parking and Wi-Fi. If this pans out, Disney will join a growing number of hotels (especially those in Las Vegas) who are tacking on this fee, which isn’t listed when you make a hotel reservation.

Random News Story of the Week: Meats from a Vending Machine

Vending machines are a familiar sight for everyone, but the ones in the U.S. are typically limited to drinks, snacks, the occasional questionable looking sandwich and sometimes beauty products. Unless you’ve been to Japan and have come across their vending machines that sells all kinds of things including fresh eggs from a local farm, umbrellas and clothing. If you’ve been to France in the past five years, you might have noticed machines selling baguettes. Now L’ami Txulette, a butcher shop in eastern Paris has upped the ante and started offering meat from a vending machine located outside their shop (to go with the vending machine baguettes, of course). Florence and Michel Pouzol, owners of said shop, spent €40,000 (approximately USD$45,000) on the machine wanted customers to be able to buy delicatessen on days they are closed or during late night hours. The machine will accept cash or credit cards, and will dispense vacuum-packed meat meats like duck confit, beef carpaccio and faux-filet steaks. The prices from the machine are typically 20 euro cents more.

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Kim has been hunting flight deals and writing travel articles for over 13 years. His articles have appeared in the Boston Herald, Chicago Daily Herald, and Frommer’s Budget Travel, among other publications. Amsterdam, Bangkok, Rome, and Sydney are some of his favorite destinations and he aspires to one day live in Italy. La dolce vita!

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