Latest Airline Updates: JetBlue Adds Service to Cuba; United Gets 6s; and Alaska Adds Ski Flights


JetBlue Airways, in conjunction with Cuba Travel Services, began its second weekly roundtrip charter flights to José Martí International Airport (HAV) in Havana from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). The added flight operates on Tuesdays.

United Airlines customer service representatives will be distributing more than 6,000 hub-based workers with the iPhone 6s to meet customers’ needs faster, including printing boarding passes and baggage tags anywhere in the airport; help book alternate flight options, and more.

Sam Adams Winter LagerUnited Airlines expanded it complimentary meals and free wine and beer service to more passengers in United Economy on flights between U.S. and Bogota, Colombia and the U.S. and Quito, Ecuador. New meals include fresh fruit, a muffin, and a hot ham, egg, and cheese sandwich for breakfast; and a pan-roasted chicken breast with herbs and porcini cream sauce for later meals. Free wine and beer will also be available for United Economy passengers flying from the U.S. to Caracas or Lima, and on flights between Singapore and Hong Kong or Tokyo-Narita. Premium-cabin customers on flights from the U.S. to certain cities in South America will also receive new meal items, such as banana pancakes with chorizo sausage and caramelized pineapples or a chive omelet with Lyonnaise potatoes; and braised-beef short ribs in dark beer demi-glace sauce with sauteed mushrooms, oven-roasted potatoes, celery and cherry tomatoes, served with a fresh seasonal green salad. In the United Clubs, travelers can now enjoy Samuel Adams Winter Lager.

Travel Weekly reports the FAA downgraded Thailand’s civil aviation authority to a Category 2 rating for failing to comply with the International Civil Aviation Organization standards, meaning Thai airlines cannot establish new service into the U.S. The announcement did not specify why it reduced the rating, though it means that Thailand does not have the regulation necessary to oversee air carriers or its civil aviation authority is lacking in training or inspection procedures.

Delta Air Lines announced a 92.1 percent for on-time domestic arrivals or within 14 minutes of their scheduled arrival, an above-average 2.41 complaints per 100,000 customers, and only five mainland cancellations for Thanksgiving week.

Delta will be the Official Airline of the Minnesota Vikings through 2021 and open a Delta Sky360 Club, a 21,000 square-foot, field-level area in the U.S. Bank Stadium. An all-inclusive culinary experience, the new club is set to open in 2016 and will be located behind the Vikings bench, spanning from the 30-yard to 30-yard line. It will also feature an up-close look at the Vikings player tunnel and the post-game press conference room.

Alaska Airlines will launch several seasonal flights this month, including Los Angeles (LAX) — Gunnison/Crested Butte, Colorado, starting Dec. 16 and flying through March 26, Wednesday through Sunday. Additional Seattle (SEA) to Steamboat Springs, and Seattle and Los Angeles to Sun Valley service will return Dec. 12 and 17, respectively.

Alaska Airlines announced plans to introduce a Premium Class section in late 2016. Passengers in the section will receive more legroom and priority boarding, as well as other amenities which will be announced closer to the introduction date. Alaska will retrofit 60 aircraft by the end of 2016 and the rest of its fleet by the end of the 2017.

Mashable reports that Etihad opened its new First Class and Business Class lounge at JFK in Terminal 4, following the start of its new A380 service to Abu Dhabi from New York last week. The lounge offers two signature drinks, the non-alcoholic Abu Dhabi with cold brew coffee and cardamom-rose infusion and the bourbon-based cocktail New York with dried apples. The lounge also has a full-service bar, ample outlets in the furniture, and an exclusive lounge-within-a-lounge “Residence” for those people spending $32,000 for an in-air suite experience.

Travel Weekly reports that Royal Air Maroc is adding service three times a week to Washington Dulles (IAD) to Casablanca, Morocco, staring Sept. 8. The service will use the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner.


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