This week’s round-up brings the latest airline and travel news – from regulators examining airline seating in an evacuation, multiple incidences where passengers were removed from flights, to theme parks galore. Enjoy!

Regulators Examine Airline Seating in an Evacuation

It goes without saying that shrinking seats have made it harder to get to your seat. So it stands to reason that it would also make it harder to get out of your row in the case of an evacuation. However, no one knows the answer for sure as airline regulators haven’t studied evacuations scenarios under the current seat configuration that are in most current planes. According to researchers, a delay in an evacuation is more likely to come from crowding in aisles and not from the lack of leg room to get out into the aisle. The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) evacuation tests were conducted with 31 inches of space for each row, even though a lot of planes now have just 30 inches of space, and some airlines have even less at 28 inches. Cynthia McLean, the FAA’s principal cabin safety investigator, says the FAA’s Civil Aerospace Medical Institute plans to request funding from Congress to study seating density sometime in the next three years.

Passengers Removed from Flights

This has been quite a doozy of a week of unfortunate travel experiences. In three separate incidents, passengers were either removed from their flights or stopped from boarding their flight. Keren Kimchy and 8 of her family members where set to fly on JetBlue from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to the Dominican Republic when the entire family were “escorted off the plane and ‘detained for several hours.’” According to Ms. Kimchy, the whole incident started when a flight attendant asked her “brother-in-law with an attitude, if he could move out of the way that other passengers could go through.” After all the passengers had boarded, the flight attendant returned and, again with the alleged attitude, confronted the brother-in-law by asking “is every thing is ok, are we going to have a problem!” He was eventually escorted off the plane along with the whole family.

Over in Mumbai, India, a woman was stopped from boarding her IndiGo flight to Delhi because her attire was deemed “too short” and was only allowed to board after she changed in pants. A fellow passenger, Purabi Das, wrote on Facebook “She was not permitted to board because she was wearing a knee-length frock which was considered inappropriate wear by an airlines [sic] that has frocks of the same length for its stewardesses’ uniforms.” Other passengers were apparently told to not interfere or they would be barred from boarding the flight as well.

And then there’s the situation with Spirit Airlines that did have five passengers removed for trying to intervene in a situation. This past Monday, a man traveling with his girlfriend from Los Angeles to Dallas became agitated when they boarded the plane to find that one of their seats was double-booked. According to Officer Rob Pedregon, the couple was offered two seats together, “but the male passenger remained unruly and police were called.” The couple eventually agreed to leave and were rebooked on a later flight. When another group of passengers, who did not know the couple, started arguing with a flight attendant over the couple’s treatment, they too were asked to leave the flight and were rebooked for the following day.

With all the reports we’ve been reading about passengers kicked off their flight, are flight crews just more aggressive with passengers they deem to be problematic or have some passengers reached a breaking point of no longer being willing to put up with cramped seats and bad service?

Theme Parks Galore

This week, several movie studios announced their plans to build theme parks around the world. First up, DreamWorks was given the go ahead with their plans for a park in Riviera Maya, Mexico, which has been under negotiations since March. Construction will begin next year in the Punta Maroma area on 7.5 hectares (approximately 18 acres) of land, and is said to include rides, theaters, restaurants and retail shops, with appearances and themes from the company’s popular animated characters from movies like “Shrek,” “Kung Fu Panda” and “Madagascar.”

For something slightly closer to home, Lionsgate Entertainment recently signed a deal with Avatron Park to bring its movie franchise to life in a park in Bartow, about an hour north of Atlanta, with plans to open in 2019. Avatron Park CEO Dave Garrett said, “It’s going to be totally interactive, immersive. It’s technology and entertainment.” Lionsgate most well-known movie franchise is “The Hunger Games” series, and initial plans are to build the park around that popular franchise. Other movies that could appear in the park include the “Divergent” and “Twilight” series as well as dance shows based on the “Step Up” movies.

Not wanting to be left out, 20th Century Fox also announced its plans to open 20th Century Fox World Dubai in 2018, with attractions based on movies and shows like “Aliens,” “Ice Age,” “The Simpsons” and “Sons of Anarchy.” However, if you’re a fan of “Avatar”, you’ll just have to travel to Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, where the attraction is set to open in 2017.

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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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