Travel News: December 13-19 (Beer and Steak, Economy Perks, Santa Videos and More)

This week’s round-up brings the latest airline travel news – from economy perks, fear of flying, fuel prices and holiday videos, to new fare classes, on-time arrivals and diversions. Enjoy!

Delta to Introduce New Fare Classes

Economy, business and first class are about to become a thing of the past. Delta will be rolling out a new fare structure in March, consisting of five classes: Basic Economy, Main Cabin, Delta Comfort +, First Class and Delta One. Each one is designed to meet specific needs from boarding, seating and luggage preferences to perk-heavy flights.

Southwest Tumbles from First to Last in On-Time Arrivals

Government rankings show that Southwest Airlines no longer dominates in punctuality among the largest five carriers in the U.S. In 2013 and much of 2014 the airline dropped to the bottom of the pack. However it did top American and United in October, according to figures released last week.

Airlines Rolling Out Economy Perks

While it is true that seats and legroom are shrinking in economy class, there is at least a bright spot. It seems airlines are employing slight-of-hand techniques to give passengers a sense of space and comfort. Look out for things like larger TV screens, privacy headrest flaps and sleep kits on your next flight.

European Airlines Tackle Fear of Flying

European airlines have found a new way to make money: fear of flying courses and seminars. Starting at $200 and sometimes exceeding $5,000 (for private), the courses often combine practical knowledge, psychological discussion and relaxation techniques – as well as flight simulations or actual flights. Key players include Easyjet, British Airways, Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Virgin Atlantic and Air France.

Government Asked to Investigate Why Fares Remain High, With Fuel Prices Low

Sen. Charles Schumer is on a mission. He wants to know why air passengers are still paying sky-high prices for their tickets when oil prices have plummeted and he wants the Department of Justice and Department of Transportation to investigate.

Delta Gets into Holiday Spirit with New Safety Video

Just in time for the holidays, Delta has come out with a new safety video featuring everyone and everything from the Yule Logs, Snowmen, Ebenezer Scrooge, a Nutcracker, Elf on the Shelf and Santa Claus. You can see the video on TravelPulse. And if this has whet your whistle for more creative safety videos, Conde Nast is showcasing the best of 2014.

Random Story of the Week: All We Want Is Beer and Steak

Passengers aboard a United flight from San Francisco to Sydney, Australia last week found themselves stranded on a tarmac in Canberra for 7 hours. It seems that, after a forced diversion from Sydney to Canberra, local customs and immigration were not able to process them, so they had to hang out in an “area outside the aircraft” until Sydney was able to receive them. In Europe things were even worse thanks to a data system glitch by air traffic control firm Nats. Around 2,000 passengers found themselves in another country as flights were diverted and tens of thousands of additional airline passengers were also impacted. Updates

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