A worldwide improvement in baggage handling, more concerning Zika stats and a JetBlue pilot’s drunken joy-flight comes back to bite—this week in travel news.
Woman refuses to turn of cell phone, removed from flight
ABC News reports that a woman was forcibly removed from from a US Airways flight this past weekend after she refused to turn off her cellphone before takeoff. The flight from Charlotte, NC to Ft. Lauderdale was held up as the woman became unruly. She was arrested and later charged with battery, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Mishandled bags down 10% in 2015
In news that doesn’t quite seem true (but totally could be…), Travel Weekly reports that the number of bags airlines worldwide mishandled went down 10% in 2015. In its annual analysis, SITA, the information technology company for the air transport industry, reported 1 million fewer bags mishandled compared to 2014 statistics. This decrease comes despite 218 million more passengers flying in 2015.
U.S. airlines mishandled 3.3 out of every 1000 bags––a rate half the worldwide average. European airlines mishandled 7.8 bags per 1000, while Asian airlines mishandled just 2 per 1000.
JetBlue pilot in court for ‘FUI’
Travel Pulse reports that JetBlue pilot Dennis Murphy was in court after being arrested last April for flying under the influence. Murphy was selected for and failed a random sobriety test after flying roundtrip between JFK and Orlando.
The two flights carried a total of 270 passengers. If convicted, Murphy faces up to 15 years in prison.
Airline satisfaction hits record high
USAToday reports that airline passengers on U.S. carriers are happier than they’ve been with service since 1994. The American Customer Satisfaction Index‘s 2016 report saw fliers give airlines an average 72 out of 100 total points, with JetBlue and Southwest receiving the highest scores (both scoring 80/100) among competitors.
Lower fuel costs are the most likely culprit, since the savings went into increasing onboard amenities (snacks!), updating cabins, terminals and even buying brand new aircraft.
Drone strike reported by British Airways pilot
In “how annoying are drones, tho?” travel news, a British Airways pilot reported a drone strike against his plane as he was landing an Airbus A320 at Heathrow. None of the 132 passengers and five crew were injured and no arrests have been made.
Guys, seriously. Stop flying your drones by airports. It’s not a good look.
2 billion in Zika risk zone
NBC News reports that joint research teams from the University of Washington, Oxford and others have released new data with some alarming conclusions. The researchers found that more than 2 billion people worldwide live in areas suitable for the transmission of the Zika virus.
The most at-risk areas are low-elevation, humid regions. There are 42 countries currently experiencing Zika outbreaks. South and southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands region and northern Australia, Central and South America and the southern United States are all environmentally suitable for the mosquitoes that transmit Zika.
Spirit Airlines to add smaller cities
In budget-carrier travel news (my favorite!), Skift reports that Spirit Airlines is looking to expand in more ways than one. It plans to expand its fleet from 83 aircraft to 148 by 2022. With this new set of planes come plans to add more routes.
Spirit will announce its first routes to mid-sized cities later this year.
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