Weekend News From The World Of Travel

Another exciting weekend, as the government shutdown continues to hit airports and football fans begin booking flights to Atlanta. And if you want to spend some time in Canada, here’s a United flight for you…

TSA Absenteeism Reaching 10%

The TSA issued a report that said that absenteeism reached 10% yesterday. That compares to 3.1% a year ago. Notably, many called in because they didn’t have the resources to get to work. It’s not exactly a high-paying position, and a not insignificant number of employees don’t have the finances to go this long without a paycheck.

The only plus side is that I’ve never seen passengers and TSOs treat each other better. Even at 5:30 on a Saturday morning, people were friendly to each other, with many of the passengers wishing TSOs well over what looks to be a protracted shut-down. Lines were definitely moving a little more slowly, but they were moving. I consider that a win.

Boarding today at Baltimore, the pre-check line was closed, meaning that you had to go through the regular line if you didn’t have the alternative (which I’ll write about in the next day or two, but is called “Clear”).

The TSA as an organization, though, is beginning to feel the effects of the culture that they have created. It was never known as a great place to work, and I wouldn’t blame employees in the slightest for quitting their jobs to do something that actually paid them. Management has no goodwill to fall back on.

Superbowl Flights

In the annual Superbowl flight update, LA fans hold the advantage. While flights from both Boston and LA can be had for about $350 with one stop, the $680 you’ll pay from Boston for a non-stop exceeds the $530 that it will cost you from LAX. It’s perfectly understandable, though, that Rams fans will pay less. Is it really worth $500 to fly across the country and see your team lose?

United Passengers Visit Canada

Another reason to make sure to bring extra snacks on your flight. A few days ago, a flight from Newark to Hong Kong was diverted to Goose Bay, Canada when a passenger faced a medical emergency. And then the plane broke. Passengers faced a 14-hour delay on the tarmac, as there were no immigration officials to process them. The plane sat on the tarmac, as temperatures dropped below zero. Apparently, though, passengers and crew managed to stay sane. Reports from the passengers regarding the crew seem to be excellent.

Fortunately, the next day, the passengers were treated to Timbits and coffee, and eventually got into the airport, making them the first people ever who wanted to hang out at the gate.

This isn’t the first time that the region has come through for stranded passengers. Read a bit about Operation Yellow Ribbon to see an example of some heroic Canadian friends.


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