Intel in the Air: September Roundup of the Latest Aviation News

The month of September continued to showcase the airline industry’s resilience against the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Despite the recent decrease in travel demand, airlines continued to make moves, enhancing their in-flight services and taking action against global issues. Read on for the latest ‘Intel in the Air’ news roundup, where we keep our users informed with the industry’s latest happenings.

Travel Demand

According to data from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), fewer Americans traveled by air over Labor Day weekend compared to Fourth of July weekend only a few months earlier. TSA reported that 9.2 million passengers passed through airport checkpoints from Sep 2–6, a noticeable drop from the 10.1 million that passed through for the Fourth of July weekend. In 2019, more than 10.2 million people passed through TSA checkpoints over Labor Day weekend, representing a 9.5% drop since before the pandemic.

With back-to-school season starting and business travel remaining hesitant, fewer people are traveling compared to the summer months. In lieu of the drop, September continues to be the least expensive month to travel. Airfares for domestic and international travel are estimated to drop around 10% before the busy holiday season.

In-Flight Entertainment Updates

Airlines are continuing to upgrade and enhance their in-flight services and entertainment options for passengers. Delta Airlines and Spotify announced their new partnership this month to offer travelers feature playlists and podcasts as part of the airline’s in-flight entertainment lineup. Delta’s seatback entertainment systems will feature eight of Spotify’s most popular curated playlists and podcasts including Mood Booster, Relax & Unwind, RapCaviar, and Hot Country, in addition to more than 40 of the platform’s podcasts. In pursuit of creating the ultimate travel soundtrack, passengers can search for their favorite artists or discover new songs while soaring to their next destination.

Credit: Virgin Atlantic

Delta Airlines is not the only airline enhancing its in-flight services and entertainment options — Virgin Atlantic recently introduced ‘The Booth.’ This new social space onboard flights allows upper-class passengers to have a drink or enjoy the company of others beyond the confines of regular seating. Expected to debut in December, The Booth will only be available to highest-class passengers onboard flights between London and Orlando. It will eventually expand to other routes, including Barbados in 2022. The new social space fits two passengers and offers two 27-inch touch-screen monitors with updated flight information, digital art, and views from the airplanes tail and belly cameras. The Booth is also equipped with two bluetooth audio jacks to allow listening.

Dedication to Global Issues

Credit: Alaska Airlines

A number of airlines are stepping up to showcase their responsibility in aiding the many global issues our world faces. Most notably, Alaska Airlines offered to operate military charter flights to help transport families and individuals from Afghanistan into the United States. The operation is confidential and separate from the Department of Defense’s air fleet program, which uses 18 U.S. commercial aircrafts to transport Afghan evacuees. More than 111,900 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan since the Taliban seized Kabul on Aug 14.

This month, Delta Airlines continued to emphasize the importance of protecting our planet by addressing and combating the causes of climate change. The airline launched a new ad campaign highlighting its commitment to reducing carbon emissions produced from air travel. Along with the ad campaign, the airline spent $30 million to plant trees in Indonesia and Cambodia in 2020. The trees will offset the impact of its 13 million tons of carbon emissions from the same time frame they were planted. When travelers book with Delta, they can now be confident that Delta will offset the carbon footprint emitted from their flight.

That’s all for this month. Happy flying!

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