Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa. EWA utilizes Brussels Air and Royal Air Moroc to fly medical personnel into Monrovia and Freetown.WHO travel and transport risk assessment and recommendations for public health authorities and transport sector.
Several domestic airlines return to "peak scheduling"."Instead of spacing flights evenly throughout the day, American in August started bunching them together. The change restores an old format of "peak" scheduling, grouping flights into busy flying times followed by lulls when gates are nearly empty. After Miami International, American next year will "re-peak" schedules at its largest hubs in Chicago and Dallas-Fort Worth." See full WSJ story.
US airline passengers pay more for security fees as of July 21, 2014
Fliers formerly paid $2.50 for each leg of a connecting flight, capped at $5 per one-way trip. Effective July 21, the fee is a flat $5.60 per one-way trip. The $5 cap on one-way travel disappeared. Congress approved the higher fees as part of the bipartisan budget act approved in December. The money will go to the general fund of the U.S. Treasury to be used to offset TSA costs for providing aviation security and to reduce the federal deficit. The security fee has been built into airfares since the TSA was created after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
Ensure your electronic devices have enough power remaining in them to power them up upon demand by security officials. Consider carrying power cords and cube taps/outlet splitters in carry-on baggage so that last-minute charging can be performed. Expect delays going through security screening before boarding flights for the US. Arrive at departure airport at least 4 hours before your flight.
Tom Ollinger, EWA President, returned from an industry inspection tour of the Maldives and Sri Lanka. His photo galleries (including an industry trip to Munich) are at- https://www.flickr.com/photos/theollingers/sets/72157645362328716/
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Airport security lanes
Fliers gripe that getting through airport security lines can be too slow. Now, it may be fliers who are slow to sign up for a program to speed them through the lines. The Transportation Security Administration is aggressively trying to encourage more people to sign up for TSA Precheck. But the effort has run into traveler confusion and aggravation.
Trying to hook new enrollees, TSA has been funneling regular travelers into Precheck lanes for a sample of swifter security. Some of the newbies get confused, however, and end up clogging the expedited lanes, angering Precheck veterans. And some regular travelers are getting the free perk so often they conclude they are already in the program and don't need to enroll.
Precheck, launched in 2011, is much-loved among travelers because they don't have to take off their shoes and light jackets, don't have to pull liquids and laptops out of baggage, and can walk through metal detectors rather than standing spread-eagle for full-body scanners. By doing background checks on Precheck enrollees and constantly scanning law-enforcement databases, TSA offers what is essentially pre-9/11 screening to "trusted travelers."
The program started by invitation only. Participating airlines could identify fliers with long-term travel records and top-tier status who met TSA criteria. The program expanded to include people enrolled in Global Entry, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection program for trusted travelers. Global Entry requires a background check, fingerprinting and interview with a Customs officer.
TSA wants lots more people enrolled in Precheck to make better use of its designated security lanes, which currently number 590 at 118 U.S. airports. Since December, TSA has encouraged travelers to apply to the program directly. The agency is opening enrollment centers across the country, letting people who are U.S. citizens or permanent legal residents to make an appointment or drop in and have fingerprints taken digitally. The $85 background-check fee buys five years of enrollment.
"It's one of the last great bargains the U.S. government is offering," TSA Administrator John Pistole joked at an enrollment-center opening last week at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. TSA said more than 1.2 million people as of December were able to use Precheck, mostly because they had enrolled in Global Entry. Since TSA began taking applications directly, some 170,000 additional people have signed up for Precheck. The program appears on track, but if more travelers don't sign up TSA will have to scale back the number of Precheck lanes at airports, Mr. Pistole said. TSA hasn't set an optimum number of enrollees for the program, he said.
Global Entry, which costs $100 for five years, is an even better deal for people also planning travel outside the U.S. because they also get included in Precheck. But the application and interview process is more extensive for Global Entry. Mr. Pistole says TSA wanted the Precheck enrollment to be quicker, easier and open to citizens who don't have passports.
To entice travelers into Precheck and test TSA's ability to handle more people, the agency has been selecting regular passengers to go through Precheck security lanes and get it printed on their boarding passes. Selection is based on criteria like passengers' travel history and the route being flown. TSA officers trained in behavior detection also can move passengers they deem low risk from regular queues into Precheck lanes.