Lawyers Travel's weekly client e-newsletter, the Informed Traveler, keeps readers updated on travel industry news and trends.
Following is a recap of August's Top 5 (most clicked by Lawyers Travel's clients) e-newsletter stories.
A new Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights was introduced last week in the Senate, proposing expanded protections for air travelers in the United States and penalties for airlines failing to meet specific standards, reports Transportation Today. The legislation addresses numerous areas of concern within the airline industry. For example, it would require a minimum $1,350 repayment charge on airlines that deny passengers boarding due to overselling their flights and encourages the establishment of compensation for those passengers that willingly relinquish their seats. It would also demand compensation to passengers dealing with delays or cancellations, with the longer the delay, the higher the repayment and would require immediate refunds for lost or damaged bags. Among other protections within the bill, it would also prevent airlines from further shrinking seat sizes without a US Department of Transportation (DOT) determination of minimum seating size standards.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has announced that it has begun verbally advising travelers who present non-compliant licenses of the upcoming REAL ID requirement and enforcement date. Beginning October 1, 2020, each traveler must present a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, state-issued enhanced driver’s license or another acceptable form of identification, to fly within the United States. Individuals who are unable to verify their identity will not be permitted to enter the TSA checkpoint and will not be allowed to fly. “The security requirements of the REAL ID Act are an important step in enhancing commercial aviation security,” said TSA Acting Deputy Administrator Patricia Cogswell. “REAL ID implementation is a little more than a year away – now is the time to prepare.”
American Airlines plans to improve first class to add more leg space, extra in-seat power and other amenities on some retrofitted short-haul aircraft, reports Skift. “The seats that we used, they didn’t have some storage underneath,” American's Chief Financial Officer Derek Kerr said. “They didn’t have holders for iPads that people want. They didn’t have a cup holder type of thing. The approval is in place for that, and all aircraft will be modified." American expects to begin the project to change first class cabins next spring.
US airline safety regulators have banned select MacBook Pro laptops on flights after Apple recently said that some units had batteries that posed a fire risk, reports Bloomberg. In a statement, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it was “aware of the recalled batteries that are used in some Apple MacBook Pro laptops” and stated that it alerted major US airlines about the recall. The FAA also reminded airlines to follow 2016 safety instructions for goods with recalled batteries, which means that the affected Apple laptops should not be taken on flights as cargo or in carry-on baggage by travelers.
San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has announced a ban on single-use plastic water bottles as part of its zero-waste initiative, reports Airport Technology. The move means that SFO will become the first airport in the US to prohibit the use of plastic bottles in airport premises. Once the ban is enforced, all plastic water bottles will be removed from restaurants, cafes and vending machines at the airport. Instead, travelers will be required to bring their own containers and refill them at the airport. The ban will not affect flavored water or juice, though the airport may extend the ban to include them in the future. In preparation, the airport has installed more than 100 hydration stations that dispense free filtered water.