As the East Coast braces for Hurricane Florence to hit Thursday, several airlines have issued travel advisories.
Here is the list of airlines that have waived fees as of Monday evening:American Airlines
American Airlines will waive its change/cancellation fee if you are traveling through Sept. 16 at one of these airports:
The waived fees are valid if you booked your ticket by Sept. 10.Delta Air Lines
The Atlanta-based airline is waiving fees for flights scheduled from Sept. 13 to 16 to these airports: Charleston, South Carolina; Fayetteville, North Carolina; Greensboro, North Carolina; Jacksonville, North Carolina; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; New Bern, North Carolina; Norfolk, Virginia; Newport News, Virginia; Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; Richmond, Virginia; Savannah, Georgia; and Wilmington, North Carolina.
The offer is valid for tickets booked by Sept. 10 and tickets must be reissued by Sept. 20.
The airline said it is also capping air fares for flights from certain cities. The fare cap is $299 each way in coach class for flights to Atlanta from coastal cities in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia through Sept. 16. Some fares may be less.
The fare caps for flights from inland cities such as Raleigh-Durham are higher, up to $599 each way for coach class to the West Coast.Frontier Airlines
Frontier Airlines said it has enacted guidelines through Sept. 16 at airports in Charleston, South Carolina; Charlotte, North Carolina; Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Norfolk, Virginia; Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; and Savannah, Georgia.
The airline has not specifically outlined what the guidelines are or if it is waiving fees.JetBlue
JetBlue will waive fees and fare differences for flights that are traveling in Charleston, South Carolina; Charlotte, North Carolina; Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; and Richmond, Virginia.
Their customers have until Sept. 20 to reschedule if they originally booked flights before Sept. 10. You can rebook online at jetblue.com or call 1-800-JETBLUE.Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines said flights for Charleston, South Carolina; Charlotte, North Carolina; Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina; Norfolk/Virginia Beach, Virginia; Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; and Richmond, Virginia, could be impacted.
Anyone with flights into or out of those airports from Sept. 11 to 17 can rebook without paying an additional charge. Customers can reschedule their flights online or by calling 1-800-435-9792.Spirit Airlines
Spirit Airlines said it is waiving the fees for flights at Asheville, North Carolina; Greensboro, North Carolina; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and Richmond, Virginia. The original travel dates must be from Sept. 12 to 16.
Customers must rebook their flight by Sept. 20 or a fare difference may apply.
– Information from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was used in this report.
BrewDog will celebrate the opening of its new “beer-hotel” in Ohio this weekend.
The brewery said the hotel, named the DogHouse, is the “world’s first craft beer hotel,” according to BrewDog’s website.
Other features include a lobby bar with games and activities, a marketplace for takeaway food, international continental breakfast daily and select dog-friendly rooms. Guests also will have views of the brewery throughout in order to watch the brewers work.
All rooms include in-room refrigerators stocked with BrewDog beers, in-shower fridges, in-room taps, 42-inch flat screens and plenty more.
In addition to the craft beer escape, BrewDog also has unveiled its on-site, interactive beer museum. This 6,000-square-foot space provides a journey through the brewing process, a deep dive into the history of craft beer, and a hands-on experience of "the fundamental four" ingredients that contribute to the creation of a craft beer.
Established in 2007, BrewDog has grown from selling craft beer in the United Kingdom to exporting to 60 countries and 49 bars around the world.
The first night patrons can sleep at the DogHouse hotel will be Aug. 26, according to the website.
The Economist Intelligence Unit's annual Livability Survey, which ranks 140 cities worldwide on factors like stability, health care, culture, education and infrastructure on a scale of 1-100, was released this week.
The top U.S. city was Honolulu, which ranked 23rd worldwide. Pittsburgh was the next highest-ranking American city, coming in at No. 32 overall.
Washington (No. 37), Minneapolis (No. 39), Boston (No. 42), Chicago (tied for No. 44), Miami (tied for No. 44), Seattle (No. 46), San Francisco (No. 49) and Atlanta (No. 50) were the only other U.S. cities to rank in the top 50 globally, CNBC reported.
The No. 1 city worldwide was Vienna, Austria, with an overall livability rating of 99.1 out of a possible 100. Pittsburgh, by comparison, had a 92.1.
While no U.S. city cracked the top 10, Canada had three cities rank high, with Calgary (No. 4), Vancouver (No. 6) and Toronto (No. 7) all among the best in the world
– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.
A man made it through Austin Bergstrom International Airport with a loaded gun after it was missed by a Transportation Security Administration security officer.
According to KVUE, police reports say that on June 16, a man from Georgetown, Texas, went through TSA Checkpoint 1 in the airport with no problems. After he went through the checkpoint, he told police he went to look for his headphones in his carry-on bag and noticed his gun, a Ruger LCP .380, was in one of the front pockets. It had six bullets in it.
The man alerted a Delta agent, who notified police. Austin Police Department officers ran a check on the man’s background and made sure the gun wasn’t stolen. The man’s bag was searched for other illegal items, KVUE reported.
The man emphasized that he was not aware the gun was in the bag, and he apologized to police multiple times.
Because he reported the gun after noticing it was left in his bag and passed a background check, the APD did not charge him.
The TSA said in a statement to KVUE that the security officer responsible has been fired.
“After a thorough investigation, TSA determined that a Transportation Security Officer made an error and did not identify the firearm at the checkpoint,” the agency said. “The officer is no longer employed by TSA.”
Two parents in Orlando are upset after they say their children were stranded in Atlanta without their knowledge while the children were flying as unaccompanied minors on a Frontier Airlines flight from Iowa.
They say no one contacted them after the plane carrying their children was diverted to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport due to weather and that Denver-based Frontier should have called them to ask if it was okay to drive the children to a hotel before they decided to make that move.
Etta, age 7, and Carter, age 9, were flying July 22 from a visit to see their grandparents in Des Moines, Iowa, back home to Orlando, scheduled to arrive at 10:46 p.m.
But storms in Orlando caused a ground stop, and the flight diverted to Atlanta late at night.
The children stayed at a hotel with an airline worker and shared a room with four other children. It was the children’s first flight without their parents.
The incident highlights what can go wrong when children fly unaccompanied -- even on a nonstop route -- if a flight is diverted to an unfamiliar city.
While the Frontier flight diverted to Atlanta, sometimes flights get diverted to an airport in a small town where the airline may not even have staff.
“This was the first year I said okay, they’re old enough to fly on their own, they know their phone number, they know their address,” said Etta and Carter’s mother Jennifer Ignash. But when the flight got diverted, “it was like, okay, panic.”
Frontier charges a $110 unaccompanied minor fee per child and does not allow unaccompanied minors on connecting flights.
The airline said in keeping with its policy, “the children were attended to at all times by a Frontier supervisor, placed in a hotel room overnight, and provided with food. Our records show that the children were in contact with their mother before being transported to the hotel and with their father the following morning before leaving on the continued flight. We understand how an unexpected delay caused by weather can be stressful for a parent and our goal is to help passengers get to their destinations as quickly and safely as possible.”
Ignash, who was waiting at the Orlando airport for her children that night, said multiple flights were diverted from Orlando, and “when that happens, it’s just a madhouse.” She got word that the children’s flight was diverted, and tried calling Frontier’s customer service line but says they couldn’t get her information about her children.
Ignash says she didn’t get a call from a Frontier employee until the next morning.
But an older unaccompanied minor on the flight let the children use his cell phone to call and text their parents.
“Without that child, we would have had zero idea where our kids were,” Ignash said.
Ignash says an employee using a personal vehicle took the children to a hotel, where six kids from the flight stayed in adjoining hotel rooms. The parents say they do not know who the employee was who drove the children or stayed with them in the hotel room.
“We never gave approval for that to happen,” Etta and Carter’s father, Chad Gray, said.
Alan Armstrong, an Atlanta aviation attorney Gray contacted, said he thinks there should be procedures and personnel at the airport to handle the problem.
“They just make it up as they go along,” Armstrong said.
Ignash said if parents decide to let their children fly as an unaccompanied minor, they should “understand what the airline’s policy and procedure is and get a direct contact.”
Gray said the worst part was not knowing what was happening.
“It was a bunch of circumstances that came into play all at the same time. I just don’t think Frontier is prepared to handle all those at once,” Gray said. “You like to minimize the risk that your kids have and you want to protect them. And not having any control over the process whatsoever, I think, is really, really frustrating.”
WSBTV.com contributed to this report.
Amid gripes from frequent fliers about difficulty using their miles for free flights, airlines are making some changes and adding features in an effort to keep travelers loyal.
U.S. News evaluated the programs based on aspects like the size of their networks and the speed at which users can get enough points or miles to earn a free flight or hotel.
Delta came in behind No. 1 ranked Alaska Airlines, and ahead of JetBlue, American and Southwest frequent flier programs in the U.S. News ranking.
Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program has ranked higher in some other loyalty program rankings, based on the ease of finding reward seats.
As some frequent fliers face frustration with redeeming miles for flights, Delta has added other uses for miles. Earlier this year, Delta began allowing frequent fliers to redeem their miles for Delta gift cards. But those who get the most benefits in Delta’s frequent flier program are elite medallion members who reach a certain threshold of spending and flying.
The U.S. News Best Airline Rewards Programs are below. More information is at USNews.com.
A Southwest Airlines employee was arrested and charged with voyeurism Sunday morning at Sea-Tac Airport in Seattle.
A witness told KIRO-TV that he saw Port of Seattle police officers surround the suspect and put him in handcuffs near gate B-9 about 11:30 a.m.
The suspect, Nicholas Williams, 25, who works for Southwest, was arrested on suspicion of voyeurism.
He was booked in to the King County Jail and appeared before a judge Monday afternoon.
Prosecutors say Williams put a camera in a bathroom at the gates that children sometimes use on their own.
Investigators say Williams admitted he had done it four or five times before.
Southwest Airlines released the following statement:
"We will work with the appropriate authorities as they investigate an accusation that involves one of our Seattle employees. We do not have additional details to provide."
Besides working for Southwest Airlines, Williams also volunteers at the Chehalis Centralia Railroad and Museum. He posted pictures on his Facebook page last Friday.
The judge set his bail at $90,000. If he gets out of jail, he is not allowed to have contact with children.
Trekking through some of the country’s most beautiful terrain just got cheaper.
Thanks to the Department of the Interior’s Every Kid in a Park program, fourth-grade students can enter any of more than 2,000 of the nation’s national parks and other federally managed lands and waters for free for one year.
Fourth-grade students can sign up for the free pass at everykidinapark.gov.
The first three members in a group with a visiting fourth-grader will be granted free entry as well at sites that charge per person. For those that grant payment and entry by car, any accompanying passengers in a private, non-commercial vehicle with a fourth-grader will be allowed to enter at no charge. Educators can also obtain free passes.
The Every Kid in a Park program encourages children to be active and explore nature at a time when more than 80 percent of American families live in urban areas and young people are more tethered to electronic devices than ever.
According to the program, the goal of the promotion is to “inspire fourth graders nationwide to visit our federal lands and waters, whether it is a backyard city park or a national forest, seashore, or marine sanctuary. By targeting fourth graders year after year, the program works to ensure every child in the U.S. has the opportunity to visit and enjoy their federal lands and waters by the time he or she is 11 years old.”
In June, the inter-agency program announced that Every Kid in a Park has been renewed for the 2018-2019 school year. Passes will be available Sept. 1.
Learn more and get a pass at everykidinapark.gov.
No it wasn’t the sequel to a Samuel L. Jackson movie. Someone really did try to get a snake smuggled onto a plane.
Officials said a passenger traveling to Barbados from Miami International Airport tried to get a python onto a flight, but it wasn’t brought on the plane in plain view, it was being smuggled wrapped in nylon, inside a hard drive, WSVN reported.
The snake was a baby, WFOR reported.
Transportation Security Administration officials found the snake during a screening process of checked luggage, multiple news outlets are reporting.
Baggage screeners found what was described an “organic mass” during a screening process, WFOR reported.
“Upon the TSA officer’s discovery of the organic mass, one of our TSA bomb experts was called into the baggage screening room to investigate the innards of the hard drive and that is when he discovered the mass was a live snake,” Sari Koshetz told the Miami Herald.
The snake wasn’t the only one who didn’t get on the flight. The unidentified passenger also didn’t go to Barbados, the Herald reported.
The snake was taken away by U.S. Fish and Wildlife officers and the TSA said the passenger faces a fine, WFOR reported.
As travelers flock to northwest Florida beaches this summer, an unwelcome guest may await them.
According to the Pensacola Beach Lifeguards Facebook page, purple warning flags indicating dangerous marine life have been flying along the shore this week thanks to an itch-inducing pest commonly called "sea lice."
WEAR-TV reports that the term is a misnomer: The creatures are really thimble jellyfish larvae, not lice, and cause a rash known as "seabathers' eruption."
"People affected by sea lice may feel a prickling sensation on their skin while in the water, but the rash caused by the microscopic organisms typically occurs several hours after exposure," the station reported.
The rash often can be treated with hydrocortisone and antihistamine creams available at most drug stores, according to the Florida Department of Health. If you have symptoms, you may need to see a dermatologist, the department said.
Swimmers can reduce their risk of being stung by not wearing T-shirts in the water, using sunscreen, practicing good hygiene and taking off wet swimsuits immediately after getting out of the ocean, the department reported.
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