Travel News: January 3-9 (#UnitedWithIvy, Musical Instruments, Taekwondo and More)

This week’s round-up brings the latest airline travel news – from #UnitedWithIvy, new DOT Rules for flying with musical instruments, and passenger fines, to stranded flights, the world’s safest airline and flight attendant training. Enjoy!


In case you missed it, United Airlines has been catching a lot of flak in the news recently for its reportedly poor treatment of a 3-year-old disabled passenger on a flight from the Dominican Republic. Social media has helped fan the flames and critics have been flocking to both sides; to either defend or lambast the airline. That hasn’t stopped the airline from acknowledging that the flight attendant involved handled the situation poorly and offering the family an apology.

Musicians Rejoice at New DOT Rule

Better late than never. The U.S. Transportation Department has finalized a rule that requires airlines to accept smaller musical instruments as carry-on. I’m sure Sons of Maxwell would have appreciated this ruling back in 2009; you can see their video “United Breaks Guitars” on YouTube.

Fines as High as $30,000 for Passengers Behaving Badly

Last year’s slew of bad behavior on flights, led one journalist to investigate what type of fines unruly passengers can expect to receive from the FAA if found guilty. Don’t want to fasten your seatbelt? Not able to smoke on board? Imbibed a little more alcohol than you should? All of these things and more can result in a $30,000 plus fine – especially if you get physical with a flight attendant.

Another San Francisco Flight Stranded on Tarmac

Last month we shared the “beer and steak” story about a San Francisco to Sydney flight that was stranded on tarmac for 7 hours. Now it seems, it has happened again – only this time with an Etihad Airways flight from Abu Dhabi to San Francisco which spent 12 hours on the tarmac. Based on passenger comments, it seems travelers didn’t have access to water, let alone a steak dinner – yikes!

In somewhat related news, passengers on a recent Southwest flight expressed their appreciation for the gate agent that serenaded them with impromptu song renditions as a way to help ease their flight delay.

World’s Safest Airline has released its list of the world’s safest airlines. Leading the charge is Qantas. High ratings also went to Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific Airways, British Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, Finnair, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines. At a domestic level, Alaska Airlines and JetBlue scored in the low-cost carrier category.

Random Story of the Week: Flight Attendant Training

Ever wondered how airlines train their flight attendants? According to Jaunted, some airlines equip their attendants with some rather unusual skills – including jungle survival techniques, taekwondo black belts, and how to select and pair wine with your in-flight meal.

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