May 7-13: Port Authority Threatens To Replace TSA; Senators Urge Airlines to Drop Bag Fees; Tourist Breaks Historic Statue; Man Threatens to Bomb Plane Over Beer; & Burger King Opens a Sauna

Port Authority Threatens To Replace TSA

As we head into the busy travel season, some travelers might not be looking forward to dealing with potentially long security lines at the airports. And as we all know, the long lines extends beyond being unbearable, as American Airlines reported that 6,800 passengers missed their flights back in March while trying to through the lines. Now some agencies, including the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, are threatening to replace the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at LaGuardia, JFK and Newark airports if the agency doesn’t come up with a solution to reduce the wait times. A letter to the TSA reads, “We can no longer tolerate the continuing inadequacy of the TSA passenger services.” This certainly won’t be the first, as over 22 airports have replaced the TSA with government-approved private security companies, including San Francisco and Kansas City.

While it remains to be seen if the Port Authority or any other airport, including Atlanta and Seattle, follow through with their threats, we can hope for shorter lines soon as the TSA was given approval by Congress on Wednesday to re-allocate $34 million in funds to hire more agents to help manage the lines. $26 million of the total will pay for overtime and part-time hours, and $8 million will be used to hire and additional 768 officers as early as this month, which was originally scheduled for September.

Senators Urge Airlines to Drop Bag Fees

And while we’re on the topic of long security lines, Senators Richard Blumenthal and Edward Markey wrote a letter to the airlines urging them to drop their checked bag fees, at least for the summer. Their belief is that if the airlines waive the bag fees, travelers will be less likely to try and bring everything onboard the cabin, thus shortening the wait times at airport security lines. The proposal came about after TSA chief Peter Neffenger reported last year an “an increase in checkpoint screening of baggage due to fees charged for checked bags.” However, Jean Medina of Airlines for America, which represents the airlines said, “We have seen NO data to suggest charging customers to check a bag equates to a 27 percent increase in the number of carry-on items.” Of course the airline representative would claim that. After all, airlines made almost $60 billion in in ancillary fees in 2015, and 20 percent of it came from bag fees, which amounts to $12 billion.

Tourist Breaks Historic Statue

Another day, another tourist breaks a work of art trying to take a selfie. The unlucky location this time is the Rossio Railway Station in Lisbon, Portugal. The unnamed perpetrator was attempting to regal the world with a picture of himself and a statue of Dom Sebastiao, the 16th century ruler of Portugal and the Algarves. Located on the outside of the station, the free-standing statue was shattered when it was knocked over. The 24-year old tried fleeing the scene but was arrested by the police.

Man Threatens to Bomb Plane Over Beer

It goes without saying that there are some things you shouldn’t yell out in public: fire when there isn’t one, or threatening to bomb something. However, a passenger on a Ryanair flight clearly didn’t get that memo. Last week, a Ryanair flight from Tenerife to Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain was disrupted when a man made a false bomb threat after he was denied a beer as the plane was getting ready to land. According to reports, the man got up off his seat and ran down the aisle yelling “there’s a bomb! It’s going to explode!” Several passengers confirmed that the man said “I’m going to detonate a bomb because they won’t serve me beer.” The plane landed safely, but was parked away from the terminal while the police searched the man’s belongings. The man was later arrested by Spain’s Civil Guard. So, will Ryanair ban the man for life?

Random News Story of the Week: Burger King Opens a Sauna

This is probably something no one ever thought would happen, but it’s real and it’s in Finland. A Burger King location in Helsinki recently added a full service sauna, complete with waitstaff. The sauna includes showers, Burger King-themed benches and towels, a lounge and a TV with gaming capabilities. According to Elizabeth Friend, who wrote the original piece, this is “a powerful example of localization, demonstrating an understanding of local preferences while also offering customers the novelty experience of a sauna alongside their Whopper and fries.”

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