May 23-29: DOT Holds Airlines Accountable, Eastern Flies Again, Pizza for Delayed Passengers, Bomb Threat to Avoid Missing Flight, & Flight Attendants Show Support for One of Their Own

This week’s round-up brings the latest airline and travel news – from DOT increases fines for airlines over mishandled bags and overbooking, Eastern flies again, and pizza for delayed passengers, to bomb threat to avoid missing flight, and flight attendants show support for one of their own. Enjoy!

DOT Increases Fines for Mishandled Bags and Overbooked Flights

The U.S. Department of Transportation on Tuesday announced that the penalty airlines have to pay for mishandled bags will increase by $100 to $3,500. While $100 doesn’t seem like much for airlines, it could potentially cost airlines as much as $1 million a year. In addition, penalties for passengers getting bumped from on overbooked flight will also go up, and passengers will be compensated from anywhere between $675 and $1,350. The new penalties will go into effect sometime over the next three months. Great news indeed!

Eastern Air Lines Returns

For those of you old enough to remember Eastern Air Lines or have fond memories of it, here’s a bit of good news: Eastern started flying again out of Miami on Thursday. The airline started in 1926 and was considered one of the “Big Four” domestic airlines up until bankruptcy in 1991. The re-inaugural flight was to Havana, Cuba, in partnership with HavanaAir Charters. Eastern will fly that route twice daily, and plans to add more flights to Havana and other Caribbean destinations from Miami and New York City over the next few months.

Pizza for Delayed Flight Passengers

If only all our delayed flights offer services like this one. This past Thursday, a Delta Air Lines flight from Philadelphia to Atlanta was diverted to Knoxville because of bad weather, one which caused Delta to cancel 106 flights. While stuck in Knoxville, the flight’s captain and crew ordered pizza for everyone, delivered on a baggage cart, which help elevate the stranded passengers’ mood. According to Delta spokesman Morgan Durrant, “It’s part of an effort company-wide when weather disrupts our operation to get food and beverages to delayed customers.” The flight eventually made to Atlanta three hour late. Hats off to Delta for this new rule.

Random Story of the Week: Late for Your Flight? Don’t Make a Bomb Threat

Of all the things people do for loved ones, making a bomb threat so your girlfriend won’t miss her flight isn’t one of them. This past Saturday, a 33-year old called in a bomb threat to the Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport in France in hopes of delaying his girlfriend’s flight, who was stuck in traffic. The police was able to trace the call and arrested the man, who could face jail time of up to two years and a fine of up to 30,000 Euros (USD$32,950).

Flight Attendants Show Support Over Photo Flack

And if you’re a flight attendant, don’t pose for a photo inside the aircraft engine well and post it to social media, even though it’s considered a rite of passage by those working in the airline industry. Spirit Airlines flight attendant, Ericka Paige Diehl, landed in hot water this week when passengers on her flight from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport noticed her climbing into the engine well. When asked by one of the travelers what she was doing, she supposedly replied with, “Taking a picture.” Spirit’s media relations manager Irisaida Méndez said, “We investigated it further and we took the appropriate action that goes in accordance to the investigations’ results,” but stopped short of divulging what the actions were. Now flight attendants are coming out in support of Diehl by posting photos of themselves in a plane’s engine well. As one supporter posted on Instagram with her own photo, “Just crazypants this FA is getting flack for her engine pic! We’ve all done it!”

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