Now Boarding: Air Travel Updates for Week of May 25

Runway closed at DFW…again; Delta is sweet on SEA; and Delta orders 125 pizzas, but were they delivered in under 30 minutes? Here are this week’s air updates.


Latest Information

Star-Telegram reports Dallas/Fort Worth Airport (DFW) has closed Runaway 18L for the second time this week. A storm drain collapsed overnight. Flights are currently being diverted to DFW’s six other runaways. The storm drain caused a 25 foot by 25 foot sinkhole on a grassy area next to the runaway earlier this week, forcing the shutdown of 18L on Tuesday.


This Week’s Updates

JetBlue Airways launched service to its latest destination, Nevada’s Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO) from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). Reno-Tahoe is JetBlue’s 89th destination, and the flight will depart from JetBlue’s Terminal Five in New York City.

The Hill reports that the Department of Transportation will increase the penalties for airlines that mishandle passenger baggage by up to $100. Airlines will be liable for reimbursing passengers for lost luggage it lost up to $3500, an increase from the current limit of $3400. The DOT is also upping the penalties for airlines that overbook flights and deny passengers boading. Passengers who are denied boarding will be eligible for between $675 and $1350 in compensation. The new rules go into effect 90 days (from May 26).

United Airlines’ employees will take part in Pride festivals this June in five of the airline’s hub markets—Chicago, Denver, Houston, New York City, and San Francisco, and it will host celebrations for customers and employees in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Newark (New Jersey), San Francisco; and Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The Chicago Business Journal reports United took official delivery of a new Boeing 737-900 ER narrow body aircraft at Boeing Field in Seattle with an all-female cockpit crew for the first time. Captain Kim Noakes and First Officer Jan Lumbrazo flew the plane to Chicago O’Hare Airport with an all-female flight attendant crew and every seat filled by women who work for United Airlines in other capacities. Women make up fewer than seven percent of all U.S. commercial airplane pilots.

Delta Air Lines will add service at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) to Boston; Orlando; Pasco, Wash.; and Victoria, British Columbia. Victoria will be a new destination for Delta and is subject to government approval. Delta will also expand service to Bozeman, Mont., from Seattle. The new flights include:

– Daily flights to Boston’s Logan International Airport (BOS), starting April 4, 2016.

– Daily flights to Orlando International Airport (MCO), starting Dec. 19, 2015.

– Three daily flights to Tri-Cities Airport (PSC) in Pasco, starting Nov. 1, 2015.

– Three daily flights to Victoria International Airport (YYJ), starting April 4, 2016.

– One daily flight Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN), starting Aug. 1, 2015 (expanded from Saturday-only seasonal service).

Delta took delivery of a new Airbus A330-300 widebody aircraft from Airbus’s headquarters in Toulouse, France. The new aircraft is Delta’s first Airbus purchase by Delta after its merger with Northwest Airlines in 2008, and it is the first of 10 new A330-300s scheduled to enter Delta’s fleet by 2017.

Travel Pulse reports that Delta navigated more than 63 flight diversions in one night. Due to rain- and thunderstorms, the Atlanta-based airline was forced to divert the fourth highest number of flights in the company’s history (as well as cancel 150 mainline and Delta Connections flights and delay 653 more flights). The diversions spread to more than 17 cities and affected more than 7,000 customers. At Knoxville, Tenn., where six flights were diverted, a station manager for Delta arranged for 125 pizzas and a police escort to deliver the pizzas quickly to the airport and the passengers.


Travel Weekly reports Vacation Express launched seasonal weekly, direct service from Memphis to Cancun, now through Aug. 3. The flights depart midmorning on Monday and return on Sunday afternoons. All customers receive complimentary drinks and one free checked bag per person. Flight only packages are available.


Last Week’s Highlights

JetBlue Airways will launch service from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood (FLL) and Orlando (MCO) to Mexico City’s Benito Juarez International Airport (MEX), staring Oct. 1. This will JetBlue’s second destination in Mexico and its 35th in Latin America and the Caribbean region. JetBlue will also begin daily service between Orlando and Baltimore-Washington Airport (BWI) on Nov. 12 and twice daily service between Philadelphia (PHL) and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood (FLL) on Nov. 19.

Southwest announced new nonstop service from Ronald Regan Washington National Airport (DCA) to Orlando, beginning Nov. 1. Speaking of Orlando, Southwest is investing $9.5 million for a renovation and expansion project of its maintenance hanger and parts facility at Orlando International Airport. Southwest transports more than 8.6 million visitors to the Orlando area each year and is the largest carrier in Orlando based on daily departures. Southwest will also begin twice daily service between Austin Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) in Austin, Texas and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Nov. 1.

Travel Pulse reports that United Airlines will begin service from its Newark (EWR), New Jersey hub to Newcastle International Airport (NCL) in England. The seasonal service will be offered five days a week and run through September. No other major carrier has offered Trans-Atlantic service to Newcastle previously.


Cover Photo Credit: Markus Mainka/