The month of October demonstrated an accelerated push towards expanded and safe travel by airlines ahead of the holiday season. More Covid-19 travel restrictions were lifted, the demand for travel began to pick back up, and new advancements and mandates were made to protect travelers.
Read on for the latest ‘Intel in the Air’ news roundup, where we keep our users informed with the aviation industry’s latest happenings.
Earlier this month, Southwest Airlines announced that their entire workforce of 56,000 employees must be vaccinated against Covid-19 by December 8. This decision followed other major airlines’ moves and the Biden administration’s mandate that requires all federal workers to be vaccinated. The weekend following the airline’s announcement, Southwest canceled around 2,000 of their flights across the country leaving passengers stranded. Southwest blamed cancelations on inclement weather and air traffic control issues, but federal regulators speculated the service disruptions could be due to staffing issues. Travelers are warned to expect more delays and cancelations as the holiday season and federal vaccine mandate deadline approach.
Advancements in Operations:
For the convenience and comfort of passengers, major airlines have partnered with companies to enhance their travels. The demand for travel appears to be rising and several airlines are making major efforts to improve the overall safety and experience of travel from the moment passengers enter the airport, to the moment they arrive at their destination.
United Airlines partnered with PayPal to develop a QR code passengers can use to make in-flight purchases. This move aims to create more contactless interactions onboard planes improving the overall safety of passengers.
To ease the stress of airport procedures, Delta Airlines is expanding their partnership with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The airline is implementing a ‘digital identity experience’ at its hub in Atlanta, Georgia. TSA Precheck and Delta SkyMiles customers can now pass through security and board their flights using facial recognition. Travelers will also no longer have to keep track of a physical boarding pass or display one on their phone.
Orlando International Airport is also minimizing wait times at airports with their newest service, ‘Reservation Lane powered by Clear,’ which allows flyers to plan for a timed and expedited entry through security.
Delta Airlines is adding over 100 flights out of John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports beginning in November. As countries begin opening to international visitors, Delta is increasing the number of daily flights from New York to popular destinations in Europe.
A new regional airline, aha!, was born this month for flights launching out of Reno-Tahoe International Airport. The new airline is part of ExpressJet and offers eight new easy west coast routes.
As the busy travel season nears, what’s next for the world of aviation? Find out on our next ‘Intel in the Air’.