July 2018 - World: Quick connection between Star Alliance flights.
Star Alliance, which brings together a large number of airlines, including United Airlines, Lufthansa (and its Belgian, Swiss and Austrian subsidiaries), Air India, Air China, Air Canada, ANA, Thai Airways and many others, offers an assistance service to travelers in case of tight connection between flights. This service monitors flight delays and passengers' connection time. It intervenes to help each traveler with a close connection in order that he does not miss the connection with his next flight.
This proactive service operates in 11 major hubs: Frankfurt (FRA), London Heathrow (LHR), Munich (MUC), Chicago (ORD), Denver (DEN), Houston (IAH), New York-Newark (EWR), Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), Washington Dulles (IAD) and since end July 2018 Toronto (YYZ).
July 2017 - USA: Additional controls on passenger's computers.
The United States, which banned onboard computers on flights from a few Muslim countries in March 2017, decided not to extend this ban to other transatlantic flights. Instead, they require the absence of explosives in computers to be controlled on all flights prior to departing to the USA. These measures were decided late June 2017. They must be implemented within 21 days and additional security measures within 120 days. The laptop ban would only apply to airlines that do not comply with these new requirements.
The laptop ban on flights from Muslim countries was lifted in July 2017.
About 2,000 commercial flights of 180 airlines from 280 airports in 105 foreign countries arrive daily in the United States .
February 2017: United States - Basic Economy airfare.
After Delta Airlines in 2016, American Airlines in March 2017 and United Airlines in April are going to introduce a Basic Economy class in order to face the competition from low cost airlines (such as Spirit Airlines in the United States).
The holder of such an air ticket can bring only a small hand luggage that fits under the seat (no access to overhead bins). His seat will be assigned only at check-in (fee to choose a specific seat). Boarding will occur in the last group of travelers. Basic Economy air tickets are neither changeable nor refundable. That fare is offered first on a few routes and it will be available later on other routes. Travelers in Basic economy class enjoy free snacks, soft drinks and inflight entertainment like the other travelers.
December 16, 2016: United States - Virgin America.
Air Alaska has just bought Virgin America, the main hub of which is San Francisco. So, it becomes the 5th largest airline in the United States. It owns a fleet of 286 airplanes serving 116 destinations. The largest U.S. airlines are, in order, American Airlines (which merged with US Airways), Delta Airlines (which absorbed Northwest), United Airlines (merged with Continental) and Southwest Airlines (merged with AirTran). JetBlue is the sixth largest American airline.
3 March 2016: United States - New train station of the World Trade Center.
Featured by its 111 meter-long and 49 meter-high hall, the new train station of the World Trade Center in New York has been opened to the public with several years of delay and a huge budget overrun.
The hall will house a large shopping center, the shops and restaurants of which will open next August. Only a portion of the train station is operating. Currently, there is no clock in this train station.
February 11, 2016: United States - Partnership between American Airlines and Uber.
American Airlines and ride-hailing service Uber have formed a partnership that enables customers of American Airlines to book easily and at promotional conditions transfers to and from the airport. The agreement currently applies to 11 U.S. airports: Charlotte-Douglas International (CLT), Chicago-O’Hare International (ORD), Dallas / Fort Worth International (DFW), Los Angeles International (LAX), New York-JFK (JFK), New York-LaGuardia (LGA), Philadelphia (PHL), Phoenix-Sky Harbor International (PHX), San Francisco (SFO), San Jose (SJC) and Washington-Ronald Reagan (DCA).
December 18, 2015: United States - Restrictions on visa waiver (ESTA).
Nationals of 38 countries (mainly European countries) who benefit from the visa exemption (ESTA) to visit the United States will be required to apply for a visa if they visited Iraq, Syria, Sudan or Iran during the last 5 years or if they hold the nationality of any of these countries. Approximately 20 million people, including 13 million Europeans, benefit yearly from the visa waiver for stays of up to 90 days in the United States. The new restrictions on visa waiver embarrass especially on the one hand Iran, which fears that the restrictions will prevent European businessmen from visiting Iran and on the other hand foreign holders of dual nationality.
The United States also announces a tightening of issuance conditions of the K1 visa, also known as "fiancé visa", which allows a foreign person to travel to the USA in order to marry a US citizen.Mid-November 2015: USA - Seaworld in San Diego, CA.
Seaworld, the famous marine animal park in San Diego, CA, announced the phasing out of orca shows which will be replaced in 2017 with a more educational attraction. Since a few years, the Seaworld amusement parks have experienced a significant drop of visitors in the wake of growing protests at the treatment of the orcas held in captivity.
July 2015: Airport of Los Angeles (LAX)
Los Angeles has just authorized ride services such as Uber and Lyft to pick up passengers from the airport. The change may be implemented as early as September 2015. A bit more than a dozen U.S. airports allow passenger pick up by those companies.
May 29, 2015: New York - The One World Trade Center Observatory opens to visitors.
The Observatory of the One World Trade Center, also known as Freedom Tower, in New York opens to visitors. The skyscraper rises to a height of 1,776 feet (541 m.), including the spire of the tower. The observatory consists of three floors: the 100th floor offers a 360 degree view on New York. The view can extend up to 80 km in clear weather. The 101st floor is reserved for private events and the 102nd floor includes two restaurants and a cafeteria.
The admission fee to the panoramic Observatory is $32. Three to four million visitors are expected annually.
In addition to this tower, the WTC complex includes other buildings such as the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, 4 other towers, as well as the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, the completion of which is scheduled on December 17, 2015.
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