Lufthansa pilots threatened to call further strikes this week after the latest stoppage in a dispute over retirement benefits grounded two-thirds of its flights on Tuesday.
Pilots began a strike at lunchtime on Monday on short haul flights and widened that to include lucrative long haul routes on Tuesday in a protest scheduled to end only late in the evening. Thewalkout has affected 166,000 passengers and forced the carrier to cancel more than 1,500 flights. At Frankfurt airport, Lufthansa's main hub and Europe's third largest airport, queues snaked back from check-in desks, and staff were handing out drinks and snacks to those waiting. The dispute is over proposed changes to an early retirement scheme for pilots that was developed decades ago, when they had to stop work at the age of 55. Check with Lufthansa or your EWA travel counselor for the latest on LH flights' status.
TSA's PreCheck program is desperate for customers after three years of operation. TSA is hiring private contractors to launch a massive sign-up effort. It said recently it will use them to recruit and screen millions of people into trusted-traveler status. Currently 598,184 people are enrolled in PreCheck and more than 1.3 million more have PreCheck clearance through Global Entry, the Customs and Border Protection trusted-traveler program. TSA needs millions more enrolled to make sure PreCheck lines are fully used.
“I’ve got to have people in those lanes. Otherwise, officers just stand there and fuel the perceptions” of TSA as a bloated bureaucracy, TSA Administrator John Pistole says.
That push for trusted-traveler enrollment took on new urgency when Congress trimmed funding for TSA by $530 million this year and the agency cut 3,500 screener positions. TSA doesn’t have enough screeners to reserve PreCheck lanes only for PreCheck passengers. So the agency directs passengers considered low risk, often based on age, sex and destination, into PreCheck lanes, hoping that a taste of expedited screening will prompt them to pay the $85 application fee to enroll for five years.(source: WSJ)
Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa. EWA utilizes Brussels Air and Royal Air Moroc to fly medical personnel into Monrovia and Freetown.
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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