The busiest winter day in history for UK travelers is forecast for Friday 22 December.
All the big British airports are expecting their busiest-ever Christmas and New Year. But on the railways, the festive season is complicated by no fewer than 10 strikes planned up to the end of the year.
Europe’s busiest airport, Heathrow, is expecting almost a quarter of a million people to pass through on 22 December, with 130,000 departing – a rate of almost two per second during the airport’s opening hours.
Passport control at Heathrow will be most stretched on Tuesday 2 January, with 127,000 arrivals.
At Gatwick, the outbound crowds will be also biggest on Friday 22 December, with almost 67,000 passengers expected to jet off from the airport – equivalent to 46 per minute, around the clock.
Manchester airport will be extremely busy on both of next two Fridays: 22 and 29 December. Top destinations include Dublin, Dubai and Amsterdam. But the airport, Britain’s third busiest, has received criticism for its security queues.
American Airlines screwed up and failed to schedule pilots to fly on Christmas. They announced a solution, they’d pay pilots time and a half to volunteer to fly when they were given off, and they’d use their pilots who were on reserve to fly (but leave themselves no cushion) and that would get them pretty close to being able to operate their schedule over the holidays.
Their pilots’ union pushed back. And it was the pilots’ union that made this a big national story, getting leverage in the media letting the world know that American had a problem at a time when everyone was trying to travel for the holidays.
Yesterday American Airlines announced that they had worked things out with their pilots’ union and there would be no cancellations at Christmas as a result of failing to schedule people to fly.
Since pilots can truly bring down an airline while flight attendants don’t have nearly as much leverage, two years ago another crew scheduling error at Christmas had American get away with paying legacy US Airways flight attendants a much smaller premium. This isn’t the first time American has messed up crew scheduling over the holidays.
American Airlines gave employees unilateral raises. Now they’re paying pilots more to come to work. And since American Airlines will never lose money again and they’re currently at the bottom end of the $3 to $7 billion annual profit range they’re promising investors, they will need to make up the cost somewhere. You are somewhere. Basic economy and 737 MAXs but the pilots get paid.
Airbnb has acquired a platform created to help people with disabilities find accessible hotels, vacation rentals and apartments.
Founded in 2015 by a pair of friends who live with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Accomable was launched in the aim of making travel more accessible for all travelers, regardless of disability, says Airbnb.
Over the coming months, the Accomable.com website will wind down and its listings will be integrated into the Airbnb platform in about 60 countries.
Listings will include detailed information on the range of accessibility adaptations that expand beyond the standard “wheelchair accessible” designation.
The checklist will be expanded to include details like “step-free” entry to rooms, entryways that are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, and a space for more descriptive information on the home’s accessibility.
The tech-savvy traveler will want to put this one on their bucket list; Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is officially building a futuristic mini-city along a 12-acre section of Toronto’s eastern waterfront. This is absolutely huge – for the city, for the country, and for the California-based tech giant in its quest to develop high-tech “smart cities” around the world.
As expected, Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs has partnered with Waterfront Toronto to develop a new waterfront community called “Quayside.”
This will mark the biggest project tackled by Sidewalk Labs to date, according to Reuters, and the citizens of Toronto are here for it.
Sidewalk Labs describes itself as a company that “imagines, designs, tests, and builds urban innovations to help cities meet their biggest challenges.”
The more than $1 billion development will see the creation of new public spaces, residential and commercial buildings, and advanced infrastructure for Toronto’s thriving tech industry.
“The district will become a place for tens of thousands of people to live, work, learn, and play,” reads a press release announcing the project in Toronto. “It will also reflect the cultural diversity and openness of Toronto, and help connect all Torontonians to waterfront beaches, parks, and communities.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, which was first to report on the rumored closure of this deal earlier in October, the smart city will span 3 million square feet in total.
That’s roughly the size of the Empire State Building.
The U.S. government is urging the world airline community to ban large, personal electronic devices like laptops from checked luggage because of the potential for a catastrophic fire.
Money.com reports that the Federal Aviation Administration said in a paper filed recently with a U.N. agency that its tests show that when a laptop’s rechargeable lithium-ion battery overheats in close proximity to an aerosol spray can, it can cause an explosion capable of disabling an airliner’s fire suppression system. The fire could then rage unchecked, leading to “the loss of the aircraft,” the paper said.
The FAA has conducted 10 tests involving a fully-charged laptop packed in a suitcase. A heater was placed against the laptop’s battery to force it into “thermal runaway,” a condition in which the battery’s temperature continually rises.
In one test, an 8-ounce aerosol can of dry shampoo —which is permitted in checked baggage — was strapped to the laptop. There was a fire almost immediately and it grew rapidly. The aerosol can exploded within 40 seconds.
The test showed that because of the rapid progression of the fire, Halon gas fire suppressant systems used in airline cargo compartments would be unable to put out the fire before there was an explosion, the FAA said. The explosion might not be strong enough to structurally damage the plane, but it could damage the cargo compartment and allow the Halon to escape, the agency said. Then there would be nothing to prevent the fire from spreading.
Other tests of laptop batteries packed with potentially dangerous consumer goods that are permitted in checked baggage like nail polish remover, hand sanitizer, and rubbing alcohol also resulted in large fires, although no explosions.
As a result, the paper recommends that passengers shouldn’t be allowed to pack large electronic devices in baggage unless they have specific approval from the airline. The paper says the European Safety Agency, the FAA’s counterpart in Europe; Airbus, one of the world’s largest makers of passenger airliners; the International Federation of Airline Pilots’ Association, and the International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Association, which represents aircraft makers, concurred in the recommendation.
Since 2006, three cargo jets have been destroyed and four pilots killed by in-flight fires that investigators say were either started by batteries or made more severe by their proximity.