Baggage Fees Going Up, Up, Up

Jet Blue and United got the ball rolling, and now Delta and American are following suit with a baggage fee increase.

Delta and American are both increasing the fee for the first bag from $25 to $30. The fee for a second bag on both carriers is increasing from $35 to $40.

United Changes Boarding Process

United Airlines has changed the boarding process to improve the customer’s experience. In the video below the spokesman explains that United tried and reviewed the new process in various airports around the world “until we got it just right.” In time we’ll see if they got it just right or not. I’m not sure that certain things (like the boarding process) can made just right, particularly when so many different people (i.e., personalities) are involved.

Here’s United’s 2min22sec video that explains the process.

Plastic Airport Security Trays Full of Viruses

The following article was provided by Incentive Connection Travel.

The highest levels of respiratory viruses at airports are on the plastic trays used at security checkpoints, a new study finds.

Researchers took samples from a variety of of surfaces at Helsinki-Vantaa airport in Finland and found evidence of respiratory viruses on 10 percent of the surfaces.

The highest virus levels were found on plastic trays used at the hand luggage X-ray checkpoint, but viruses were also detected on shop payment terminals, staircase rails, passport checking counters, children’s play areas and in the air.

No respiratory viruses were found on toilet surfaces, according to the study published in the journal BMC Infectious Diseases.

“This study supports the case for improved public awareness of how viral infections spread. People can help to minimize contagion by hygienic hand washing and coughing into a handkerchief, tissue or sleeve at all times, but especially in public places. These simple precautions can help prevent pandemics and are most important in crowded areas like airports that have a high volume of people travelling to and from many different parts of the world,” said study author Jonathan Van Tam, a professor of health protection at the University of Nottingham, in the U.K.

“The presence of microbes in the environment of an airport has not been investigated previously. The new findings support preparedness planning for controlling the spread of serious infectious diseases in airports. The results also provide new ideas for technical improvements in airport design and refurbishment,” study author Niina Ikonen, a virology expert at the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare, said in a Nottingham news release.

Discipleship Travel LLC comments:

We have found Purell Sanitizing Wipes (see box below) to be a helpful airport travel item. We use them to clean the seat area, including armrests, seat belt buckle, tray table, etc., before getting settled into our seats. With the recent study results, it might not be a bad idea to wipe the plastic trays in security.

 

Sand and Sun in Israel

Sunset over the Mediterranean Sea at Netanya, Israel

Sunset over the Mediterranean Sea at Netanya, Israel.

Many of our tour participants think only of desert sands when they think of Israel. A trip to Israel shatters so many misconceptions …

Touchpoint Israel has published a nice article highlighting “8 Beautiful Beaches to Visit in Israel this Summer.”

A day at the beach is one of the highlights of summer for children and their parents. With 140 beaches boasting plenty of sand for digging, calm surf, warm water temperatures, and strong breezes for kite-flying, Israel is perfect for a sunny family day at the shore.

Read more … click here.

New: Basic Economy Restrictions

Just when you thought airlines had done everything they could to make flying as torturous as possible, they have thought of something else … Basic Economy. One of the new efforts to “provide more options for passengers” that many airlines have embraced is a new category of economy, which they identify as “Basic Economy.” It has even less flair than Economy. “Is that possible?” you might be wondering. In a word, YES. And, unfortunately, many group contracts are issued for Basic Economy.

Apparently too many passengers have protested that they had no idea of the latest restrictions that are found in Basic Economy, so airlines are requiring travel agents to tell their clients about Basic Economy. (Don’t say, you haven’t been warned.)

United Airlines
1. No seat selection: Seats are assigned by United at check-in and families and groups traveling together are not guaranteed to sit together.

2. No full-sized carry-on bag: A passenger may travel with only one personal item that fits under the seat in front of him or her.

3. No changes and no refunds: Ticket changes and refunds are not allowed except as stated in the United 24-hour flexible booking policy.

4. No upgrades and certain MileagePlus® member benefits are not available: MileagePlus® members, including Premier® members, will not receive Premier qualifying credit or lifetime miles; paid, earned, complimentary or mileage upgrades; or Economy Plus® seating benefits.

Delta Airlines
1. No Seat Assignments until after check in.

2. Passengers traveling together including families may not sit together.

3. No Refunds or Exchanges.

4. Last Zone boarding.

5. No paid or complementary upgrades.

6. No preferred seats including with medallion status

American Airlines
1. Only 1 carry on item that fits under the seat in front of you; you will have no access to overhead bins.

2. Seats assigned at check-in.

3. Fees to choose a specific seat.

4. Not eligible for upgrades.

5. No flight changes or refunds.

6. Board in last group.