2020, what a year. As we close the final chapter on a book no one intended to read, we’re reflecting on the state of the travel industry, the huge strides airlines and industry leaders have made to recover, and the future of air travel. December brought signs of goodwill, holiday cheer, and a light at the end of the tunnel as we welcomed the news of the vaccine.
Read on for the latest ‘Intel in the Air’ news roundup, where we keep our users informed and in-the-know on the industry’s latest happenings.
Airlines Doing Good.
It seems that the holiday season had major airlines rethinking their new years’ resolutions, with major names making changes to their sustainability plans. Japan Airlines made headlines this month as they debuted an ‘ethical choice meal skip’ option, inviting passengers to opt-out of inflight meals in an effort to reduce waste. In a similar fashion, United Airlines pledged to cut greenhouse gases by 100% by 2050. The plan? Switch to sustainable aviation fuel, which produces 80% fewer emissions, and invest in sustainable technologies including carbon capture and sequestration. JetBlue is also using this time to give back, coming off the news of their revamped ‘Mint’ program. The airline is donating unused and retiring cabin equipment to local homeless shelters and soup kitchens.
Three Million Holiday Travelers Take to the Skies.
Despite CDC and government urging to stay home for the holidays, TSA screened more than one million travelers per day during the weekend before Christmas. Federal suggestions haven’t been entirely ignored, considering in 2019, TSA screened more than two million passengers per day during the same weekend. States across the nation are returning to lockdown procedures and enhancing travel restrictions as cases continue to rise.
Does Santa Have to Quarantine?
The holiday season always seems to inspire the world’s leading airlines to get festive. In the past years we’ve seen ugly sweater promotions, themed flights, and more. The airline leading the pack this year is none other than ‘the official airline of Santa Claus,’ Finnair. The Helsinki-based airline is offering families the chance to virtually visit Santa Claus for just €10. The eight-flight promotion will use virtual reality to deliver a 360-degree experience of Santa’s hometown of Rovaniemi. Even better- all proceeds will be donated toward UNICEF’s work to fight COVID-19 worldwide. In other Santa related news, Dr. Anthony Fauci assured the children of America that Kris Kringle himself was more than safe; assuring listeners that he traveled to the North Pole and vaccinated Santa himself.
The Vaccine Takes Off, and it’s Flying United.
In spectacular speed, the United States approved not one, but two COVID-19 vaccines during the month of December, and airlines are playing a major role. United Airlines, one of the world’s largest carriers, has already begun transporting vaccine doses on passenger planes in the US; becoming the first commercial airline to fly vaccines to the US. Multiple airlines have followed in suit, including Alaska Airlines committed to distributing the vaccine to Alaskan communities and beyond.
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