Lawyers Travel's weekly client e-newsletter, the Informed Traveler, keeps readers updated on travel industry news and trends.
Following is a recap of May's top 5 (most clicked by Lawyers Travel's clients) e-newsletter stories.
Flight attendant, Kristie Koerbel, who has over 21 years' experience, shared her 12 rules for travelers in The New York Times, advising on proper flying etiquette ahead of summer travels. Her etiquette rules aim to strike a balance between traveler's own reasonable comforts and thoughtfulness for those sitting nearby. Koerbel exposes her biggest pet peeves as a flight attendant, and also reveals who has the right to the middle armrests and whether swapping seats is required. Additional tips include the proper etiquette on seat reclining, how and when to handle seating issues, properly using the overhead bins, and more. With some common sense and courtesy, Kristie Koerbel believes her 12 rules can make flying a more pleasant experience, leading to a stress and drama free flight.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is continuing its pilot program for facial recognition technology at several major airports nationwide, reports Travel Pulse. The technology test programs are part of an effort to enhance security and streamline procedures as travel demand continues to surge. Travelers entering participating airports will be asked to walk up to a security checkpoint, insert their photo ID card into the machine, and look into a small camera. A TSA officer will verify the data is correct and passengers can move through the checkpoint faster than normal. TSA officials said the pilot program has yielded positive results and no major issues of discrimination based on age, gender, race, or ethnicity have been reported. “We take these privacy concerns and civil rights concerns very seriously, because we touch so many people every day,” identity management capabilities manager Jason Lim said. The facial recognition technology systems can be found in 16 airports, including in such major cities as Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles, and Orlando.
United Airlines has announced that it is the first US airline to support Live Activities for iPhone, giving travelers real-time access to their boarding pass, gate and seat number, and countdown clock to departure time on their Lock Screen or while unlocked in the Dynamic Island on iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, all without opening the United app. "We're seeing soaring demand for travel this summer, and Live Activities puts all the flight information you need right at your fingertips, whether your iPhone is locked or you're doing something else like checking email, listening to music or texting friends," said Linda Jojo, Chief Customer Officer for United. "This new feature is another way United is leveraging technology to improve our customers' travel journey. It's going to save passengers a lot of time, and we think they're going to love it, especially during a busy travel season." Support for Live Activities has started to roll out to United travelers and will be widely available by the end of May. To experience the new features, travelers should verify that their iPhone is running iOS 16.1 or later and the United app is up to date.
The Biden administration is creating new regulations requiring airlines to compensate air travelers and cover their meals and hotel rooms if they are stranded for reasons within the airline’s control, reports AP News. The compensation would be in addition to ticket refunds when the airline is at fault for a flight being canceled or significantly delayed. It would give US travelers protections similar to those in the European Union. The new rule is the latest in a series of moves by the Biden administration to bolster consumer protections for domestic US flights and international flights involving US destination or origin. “I know how frustrated many of you are with the service you get from your US airlines,” President Biden said. “That’s why our top priority has been to get American air travelers a better deal.” Biden added, “You deserve more than just getting the price of your ticket (refunded) — you deserve to be fully compensated. Your time matters, the impact on your life matters.” Officials at the Department of Transportation (DOT), which will write the new rules, said they don't have a set timeline for the new rule, but indicated they are working to quickly publish a notice that is required to get the process started.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved more than 100 new and more efficient flight routes in an effort to ease congestion and speed up summer travel, reports Travel + Leisure. The 169 new routes, which primarily operate along the East Coast and over the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, are more direct and mostly flown above 18,000 feet in altitude. Tim Arel, the chief operating officer of the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization, said in a statement that "The new routes will reduce complexity and redistribute volume across all available airspace. I’m proud of the FAA and [the] industry’s strong collaboration on this project to get it done." The new routes will replace “legacy routes,” which tend to zig-zag and were used when “aircraft largely relied on ground-based radar, limiting the directness of routes, instead of GPS,” according to the FAA. They will save airlines about 40,000 miles and 6,000 minutes of travel time annually.