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News Roundup: OK Go’s New Video and More

OK Go releases another gravity-defying video, ringing in some travel cheer for the weekend. More seriously, there’s a lawsuit over bogus “safe ride” fees, a proposal for emissions standards and a call to limit airline seat shrinkage. This week in travel news, people went out of their way to make the world of travel a bit better for everyone.

Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tennessee: future patron saint of air travel?

It’s not news that airline seats have shrunk over the years but that finally someone may be doing something about it. CNN reports that Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tennessee, has proposed federal minimum size standards for airline passenger seats. Though everyone is excited over it for other reasons, Cohen is proposing the bill based on safety concerns.

Cohen is calling for the FAA to investigate seat safety with respect to the pitch in emergency exit rows. He believes passengers are at risk and that there needs to be sufficient testing on rows with seats under 29 inches (in pitch).

Climate change to make transatlantic flights longer

BBC reports that flights from the UK to the U.S. could take longer as the climate changes. The study, published in Environmental Research Letters, finds westbound flights could take over seven hours as airliners encounter stronger jetstream currents. The study also predicts an increase in the frequency and severity of turbulence. On the bright side, flights from the U.S. to the U.K. could take under five and a half hours!

Unfortunately, it’s a net increase in travel time for round-trip flights. And what’s really bad: the effects are predicted to be additive. More fuel will be needed to cover the increase in flight time, leading to greater emissions and thus even longer flight times, etc.

Bad Aibling train crash

BBC reported that there was a train crash in the German state of Bavaria. Ten passengers and crew died after two commuter trains collided head-on on a single track route. It appears one of the trains ran a red light and the automatic contingency braking system subsequently failed.

U.N. proposes emissions standards for air travel

Skift reports on Monday that the U.N. proposed greenhouse gas emission standards for airliners and cargo planes. New aircraft designs are required to meet the proposed standards by the year 2020. Designs already in production must comply by 2023. The hope is to reduce emissions by more than 650 million tons between 2020 and 2040.

There are some who believe the reductions are insufficient. Fuel-efficient planes expected to be in production by 2023 could reduce emissions up to three times more than the U.N. requires. The newest Airbus and Boeing designs already meet the U.N. criteria.

Cause determined for last week’s Daallo Airlines explosion

Points and miles blog Point Me To The Plane reported last week on the mid-air explosion on a Daallo Airlines flight from Mogadishu to Djbouti. At the time, the cause was unknown. This week, the BBC found that a bomb caused the explosion that forced the Airbus 321 to make an emergency landing. The bomb was perhaps hidden in a passenger’s laptop or wheelchair according to Somali officials. No organization has yet claimed to be behind the explosion.

Uber offers settlement over bogus safety claims

For anyone who stopped to wonder what a “safe ride” fee was, this week Uber offered up an answer: nothing. BBC reports that the rideshare company has offered a $28.5 million settlement in regards to two lawsuits that argued its safety claims were misleading. Not just misleading, but downright meaningless. Uber will be renaming the charge—it’s now a “booking fee.” How exactly does it cost money to book a ride on an app that already charges users for use of the service? Beats me.





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