Oct. 3-9: Norwegian Air to Offer $69 Flights to Europe; Airline Industry Doesn’t Want TSA Fees for Highway; Disney Raises Annual Pass Prices; & more

This week’s round-up brings the latest airline and travel news – from Norwegian Air to offer $69 flights to Europe, airline industry doesn’t want TSA Fees for Highway, and Disney raises annual pass prices, to Alaska CEO admits airline lost his luggage, Alaska expands overhead bins, and air marshal sues after getting kicked off plane

Norwegian Air to Offer $69 Flights to Europe

For those who are always on the hunt for cheap airfares to Europe (who isn’t?), keep your eye on Norwegian Air Shuttle. The airline’s chief executive officer, Bjørn Kjos, said in an interview Tuesday that the budget airline may offer one-way tickets to Edinburgh, U.K., and Bergen, Norway, for $69 starting in 2017. One way Norwegian could offer such low trans-Atlantic flights is by flying from U.S. airports that have low fees and currently have little to no international service such as New York’s Westchester County Airport and Hartford Bradley International Airport in Connecticut. Nothing is in place yet as custom stations will have to be set up in airports, but Mr. Kjos “is confident [that] can be arranged.”

Airline Industry Doesn’t Want TSA Fees for Highway

The airline industry is urging Congress not to divert over $7 billion in TSA and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) fees to the maintenance and improvement of highways, a move that was approved in a bill by the Senate in July. The group wrote to the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee stating that “Airline passengers should not be used as a piggy bank to pay for highway investments that benefit highway users … Additionally, using TSA security fees to offset the deficit in the Bipartisan Budget Act was a misguided policy choice that redirected important security funds away from their intended and needed use. To charge travelers more without an increase in service or benefit cannot and should not become a common practice for policy makers.” The funding is currently set to expire Oct. 29.

Disney Raises Annual Pass Prices

If you’re planning on purchasing an annual pass to either Disney parks in the U.S., prepare for a sticker shock. The change came about after the Walt Disney Company conducted an online survey this past summer exploring different price structures. First off, the no-blackout $779 Premium Annual Passport for Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., has been eliminated and has been replaced by two new options: the Disney Signature Passport for $849 and the no-blackout Disney Signature Pass for $1,049. Both passes include Photopass downloads, parking, up to 15 percent off select dining and up to 20 percent off select merchandise. Over at Walt Disney World in Orlando, the seasonal pass been replaced with gold and silver passes for $549 and $389, respectively, up from $329. The two-resort Premier Pass, offering access to both parks has gone from $1,099 to $1,439.

Alaska CEO Admits Airline Lost His Luggage

When you’re the CEO of an airline that offers a guarantee that you’ll receive your bag within 20 minutes of your plane’s arrival at the gate, it’s no doubt a little embarrassing when your own bags go missing, and probably not an experience you want to admit to the public. However, Alaska Airlines’ president and CEO Brad Tilden, did just that at a recent summit in Washington, D.C., when his bags got waylaid on his way out to the capital. Alaska’ offers up to 2,500 miles or a $25 travel voucher should your bag not come out at the allocated time, and there’s no word on whether Mr. Tilden took advantage of his company’s policy.

Alaska Expands Overhead Bins

While on the topic of Alaska Airlines and bags, here is some good news for those who fly them frequently. In the age when everyone is lugging their bags onto the main cabin to avoid check bag fees and hunting for overhead bin space, Alaska has decided to expand the overhead bin space on their planes by 50 percent. This new configuration will now hold 178 standard-size bags, up from 118. Planes that have already have the larger bins will go into service this Saturday and Alaska expects at least half of their fleet to be retrofitted with the expanded bins within two years.

Random News Item of the Week: Air Marshal Sues After Getting Kicked Off Plane

This past Monday, air marshal David Maldonado filed a lawsuit against the Transport Security Administration (TSA) stemming from an incident back in Aug. 4, 2012. According to the lawsuit, a flight attendant allegedly spilled a tray of drinks on Mr. Maldonado on purpose and “’laughing hysterically’ and did not offer an apology or try to clean up the mess.” Additionally, the air marshal also claims that his colleagues, who was traveling with him, were offered three meal options, while he was only given one. When the air marshal approached the pilot about his treatment and threaten to file a complaint, the pilot allegedly responded with “Are you mad? Because I don’t want a mad person with a gun on my plane.” After Mr. Maldonado stepped off the plane to file a complaint, the unnamed pilot made his own phone call to Mr. Maldonado’s supervisor and stopped him from reboarding the plane, and was subsequently suspended for seven days.

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