The Latest Air Travel Updates: Best and Worst Airlines of 2015; Driver Licenses Still Allowed as ID for Domestic Travel; and United Dethroned

The Wall Street Journal ranked the best and worse airlines of 2015 in seven different categories, including on-time arrivals, canceled flights, extreme delays, 2-hour tarmac delays, mishandled baggage, involuntary bumping, and complaints. Overall, Alaska, Virgin American, and Delta took the top three slots, while American, the U.S.’s largest carrier, came in last place (ninth). Spirit, known for its complaints, came in eighth, while United, the U.S. third largest carrier (behind American and Delta), came in seventh.

Read the complete 2015 Airline Scorecard in The Best and Worst Airlines of 2015.

Travel Weekly reports that residents in all states will be able to use any state-issued driver’s license for domestic air travel until Jan. 2, 2018, despite earlier claims that any passengers with a state-issued identification that did not meet the standards of the Real ID Act would be denied boarding. In order for a state to be compliant with the Real ID Act, there must be anti-counterfeit technology in the card, verification process for the applicant, and background checks conducted on employees issuing the licenses. According to the TSA, only 23 states are in compliance with the act.

Bloomberg Business reports that Delta Air Lines Inc. has passed United Continental Holdings Inc. to become the second largest airline in the U.S. American Airlines Group is currently the first. Delta had 209.6 billion revenue passenger miles in 2015 while United only had 208.6 billion.

In the ever evolving saga of Gate-gate:

According to a release by Delta, a judge has ruled that Delta can continue to operate its five daily flights between Dallas Love Field and Atlanta while the gate allocations are being ruled by lower courts. Southwest Airlines currently operates 18 of the 20 gates at Dallas Field.

American Airlines is applying to enter a joint business venture with LATAM Airlines Group to offer coordinated schedules between the U.S. and Canada, and six South American countries—Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. The new venture would allow for expanded routes, more destinations, seamless connectivity between flights, and more.

Southwest Airlines announced its new nonstop service from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Costa Rica’s Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (LIR), subject to governmental approval. The new flights are set to launch on April 12, 2016.


JetBlue Airways started its service between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Palm Springs International Airport (PSP), which will fly five times a week, Thursdays through Mondays, through May 1, 2016.

JetBlue has expanded its codeshare agreement with Icelandair to have its B6 code on flights between New YorkJFK, Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), Orlando International Airport (MCO), Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and Icelandair’s hub in Reykjavik (RKV).

JetBlue flights and services were operating as normal on Friday, Jan. 15 after a power outage at a Verizon Data Center forced flights on Jan. 14 to be grounded for some time before restarting with delays and cancellations, according to JetBlue’s blog. JetBlue.com even went down while customers flying between destinations had to speak with airport crewmembers in order to find flight updates and information.

Gatwick Airport in the U.K. announced that it served a world-record 40.3 million passengers in 2015, the most for a single runaway airport. This is thanks to the 2.7 million passengers who traveled through Gatwick in December, up almost 5 percent from the previous year.

Travel Weekly reports that Frontier Airlines will launch 42 new routes between April and the end of June, from Austin, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Nashville, New Orleans, Portland, Ore, Raleigh/Durham, St. Augustine, Fla., Indianapolis, Memphis, and St. Louis. Almost all flights will connect to larger airports, such as Los Angeles, Orlando, and Atlanta.

 

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