The Czech Republic tries on a new moniker, U.S. state governments continue to make terrible decisions and a student is removed from a Southwest flight for speaking Arabic—this week in travel news.
Norwegian air wins permission to expand in the U.S.
Great news for budget-conscious flyers.
Skift reports that U.S. Department of Transportation gave preliminary approval for Norwegian Air to run low-cost routes from Ireland to locations in the U.S. This decision comes after two years of scrutiny and review.
U.S. airline unions are largely against the Norwegian Air expansion, saying it will create unfair competition on key routes across the Atlantic. Ireland’s tax and labor laws are weaker than those in the U.S., which could allow Norwegian Air to price their flights well below average American carrier fees.
New name for the Czech Republic
The Washington Post reports that the Czech Republic has decided on a new, official shorthand name for the country—Czechia. The name has been up for debate since the breakup of Czechoslovakia.
“Czechia” still has to win cabinet approval and be officially registered with the U.N. But once it passes, the Czech Republic will join the ranks of many other European nations with popular short-form monikers. (The Republic of Poland, the Slovak Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany to name a few.)
Student removed from Southwest flight for speaking Arabic
CNN reports that UC Berkeley student Khairuldeen Makhzoomi was removed from a Southwest flight and questioned by the FBI after a passenger overheard him speaking Arabic and reported him for suspicious behavior. Makhzoomi was returning from D.C. after having dinner with the U.N. Secretary. After intensive questioning, Southwest refused to fly him back—so he booked a return flight with Delta instead.
Southwest (and the person who reported him) have yet to apologize.
UK advises against travel to the U.S.
CNN reports that the UK has issued a travel warning for its LGBT+ citizens in the wake of the laws passed in North Carolina and Mississippi (and the threat of more to come). There are currently 100 pending bills in 22 states that could soon affect LGBT+ Americans in the near future.
These states could stand to lose millions in business and tourism. Let’s hope more countries will soon follow in the UK’s footsteps.
Congress looks to require parents to sit with kids for free
The Chicago Tribune reports that the Senate recently added an amendment to the FAA reauthorization bill that would require airlines to allow parents to sit next to their children on flights at no additional cost. The bill would also require airlines to make special accommodations for pregnant passengers.
The Senate unanimously approved the amendment’s addition.
Women-only train compartments available in Germany
East German rail company Mitteldeutsche Regiobahn recently introduced special train cars exclusively for female passengers according to NBC News. The change was made at the behest of MRB’s customer base, and are primarily designed for women who are traveling alone.
There is no word yet on whether or not customers have embraced the new compartments, nor if the move is precedent setting for other transit companies in the region.
Americans and Canadians may soon need visas to visit Europe
Bad news for frequent travelers. Paste Magazine reports that the European Union is currently considering new visa requirements for American and Canadian citizens. While Americans and Canadians can visit Europe without a visa as part of the Visa Waiver Program, there is no reciprocity for Croatia, Poland, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania.
The U.S. government says these countries have not yet met the requirements for the Visa Waiver Program. But if the U.S. and Canada don’t reconsider, the EU may rescind passport-only travel. The EU set a deadline for the decision at July 12.
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