This week’s round-up brings the latest airline & travel news — from airlines reaping benefits of fees, Amazon Prime streaming on JetBlue, and ferry service to Cuba, to toilet issues, woman boards wrong flight to Barbados, and vandals of the week. Enjoy!

Airlines Stuck Gold with Bag Fees

Earlier this week, the Department of Transportation (DOT) released some numbers that included what U.S. airlines made last year in bag fees. The total? $3.5 billion, up five percent from 2013. Spirit Airlines’ fees alone accounted for 37 percent of its revenue, while Southwest Airlines, which offers two free checked bags, only made five percent of its revenue from fees.

Stream Amazon Prime on JetBlue

Amazon Prime members can now stream on-demand entertainment using JetBlue’s Fly-Fi internet for free, while non-members can rent or buy shows, music and eBooks through Amazon’s online stores. This Amazon Prime streaming will be offered on JetBlue flights in conjunction with the airline’s LiveTV service. This new service will be available on all of JetBlue’s Airbus A321 and A320 this year, while its Ambraer E190 will receive the service in 2016.

U.S. Allows Ferry Service to Cuba to Resume

For the first time in 50 years, ferry service between Florida and Cuba will be made available for travelers. At least four ferry companies were notified by the U.S. Treasury department that they’ve been granted licenses to operate the service. While the U.S. appears to be fast tracking this new/old service, there’s no word yet from the Cuban officials as to whether they’ll allow for the ferrying of passengers from the U.S.

Toilet Issues on Two Flights

It goes without saying that travelers have probably encountered unpleasant airplane toilets at some point in their traveling days. But imagine if you’re on a flight that has no toilet paper, which happened on a three-hour Ryanair flight from Murcia, Spain, to London Stansted this past Sunday. The flight attendants made the announcement about the lack of toilet paper during the safety demonstration. Rather than delay the flight to wait for new rolls to be delivered, the airline decided to just go without.

If you think not having toilet paper is bad, just count your lucky starts you weren’t on American Airlines’ April 25 flight from Westchester to Chicago that didn’t even have a working toilet. Prior to the two and a half hour flight, passengers were told about the situation and the captain was informed by the airline to just leave rather than wait to have the situation rectified. Interestingly, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) doesn’t have any qualms about a plane flying without a functioning toilet, leaving the decision on whether to fly to the airline.

And here we thought both airlines were secretly experimenting with either charging fliers to use the toilets or just doing away with them altogether.

Woman Ends Up in Barbados Instead of Rochester

If you’re going to board the wrong plane, ending up in Barbados is probably not the worst thing to happen. Azizgul Hussainzada, who doesn’t speak English, was on her way back to Rochester from California when she was escorted to the wrong plane during her plane change in New York’s JFK Airport. While some might take this as an opportunity to soak up some Caribbean sun, Ms. Hussainzada certainly didn’t see it that way as she’s diabetic and didn’t have her medication with her. JetBlue eventually flew her home to her rightful airport and refunded her ticket

Random Story of the Week: Bad Tourists

It’s a week of lousy behavior from tourists. First up we have a family of vandals who carved their names into the railing of the Tumalo Falls hiking trail in Deschutes National Forest, Oregon. Fellow hiker Brett Nelson and his hiking partner came across these vandals and took a picture to document the incident and have shared it on social media in hopes of identifying the culprits. With the photographic evidence, the U.S. Forest Service is able to launch an investigation into the incident.

While the family’s actions are despicable, at least they didn’t break a priceless piece of art in Cremona, Italy. Two men were reportedly hanging off the 300 year old Statua dei due Ercole or the “Statue of the two Hercules” while trying to take a selfie when the crown of the statue fell off and shattered. The statue, located in the 13th century Loggia dei Militi palace, is considered the symbol of the city. Corriere della Sera, a daily paper in Milan, reported that the police has identified the two men, who many face criminal charges for vandalism.

Moral of these two stories? Be a good tourist and respect the places you visit.

 

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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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