Airlines

Southwest Airlines tighens rules on emotional support animals

Southwest Airlines is the latest airline to tighten its policies on passengers traveling with trained service and emotional support animals.

The new rules go in to effect Monday, September 17, 2018.

Under Southwest Airlines’ new rules, each customer will only be able to travel with one emotional support animal (or ESA) and ESAs will be limited to only cats and dogs.

During travel, the airline will always require each ESA to be kept in its carrier or be kept on a leash.

Customers traveling with ESAs will continue to be required to present a complete, current letter from a medical doctor or licensed mental health professional on the day of departure.

As part of these new policies, Southwest is also recognizing fully-trained psychiatric support animals (PSAs) as trained service animals.

The airline said it informally accepted PSAs as trained service animals in the past. Now the airline will formally accept this type of service animal. PSAs are animals that are specially trained to perform a task or work for a person with a mental health-related disability. To travel with these animals, the airline will require only a credible verbal assurance.

When it comes to traditional trained service animals, Southwest says it is going to adopt the DOT guidelines and accept only dogs, cats, and miniature horses.

“For the health and safety of our Customers and Employees, unusual or exotic animals will not be accepted,” the airline said in a statement and, “As is the case today, the Customer with the disability must be able to provide credible verbal assurance that the animal is a trained service animal.”

“We welcome emotional support and trained service animals that provide needed assistance to our Customers,” said Steve Goldberg, Southwest’s Senior Vice President of Operations and Hospitality said in statement, “However, we want to make sure our guidelines are clear and easy to understand while providing Customers and Employees a comfortable and safe experience.”

Southwest’s new rule announcement comes affter Alaska, American, Delta, JetBlue, and United have also updated their policies.

What do you think of the new rules? Fair?

Southwest Airlines has served its last little bag of peanuts

 

Southwest Airlines has served its last little bag of peanuts.

Earlier this month Southwest Airlines announced that, in the interest of the health of passengers with peanut allergies, the airline would stop serving peanuts during flights starting August 1.

“Peanuts forever will be part of Southwest’s history and DNA,” the airline said in a statement, “However, to ensure the best on-board experience for everyone, especially for customers with peanut-related allergies, we’ve made the difficult decision to discontinue serving peanuts on all flights…Our ultimate goal is to create an environment where all customers—including those with peanut-related allergies—feel safe and welcome on every Southwest flight.”

 

To mark the day, Orlando International Airport set aside a display case containing the ‘relics of aviation history.’

Will you miss the peanuts?

Delta Air Lines’ new uniforms. Passport plum and all

Delta Air Lines’ 64,0000 uniformed employees will look different.

It is the new uniforms created by fashion designer Zac Posen and produced by Lands’ End that we’ve been hearing about and now get to see in the sky and in airport terminals being worn by  Airport Customer Service, Delta Cargo, In-Flight Service, Ground Support Equipment Maintenance and TechOps employees.

Delta didn’t just give Zac Posen the contract and say “Come back when you’re done.” Here’s the process the airline says it used to get from the old uniforms to here:

  • A Cross Divisional Uniform Committee made up of 24 employees from each frontline division helped guide the three-year uniform creation and development process
  • 80+ employee focus groups that Zac Posen and Lands’ End teams attended
  • 165+ changes made based on direct employee feedback
  • 73 hours spent collecting data via job shadows by Zac Posen and his design team
  • 52 stations across the globe involved in focus groups and job shadows
  • 1,000 employee wear testers who put the uniform to the test over 3 months and across 5 continents
  • 30,000+ survey responses and emails from employees
  • 64,000 uniformed employees across 300+ stations around the globe
  • 60,000+ Wings and Name Bard handmade in the U.S. by Engage2Excel
  • 200+ show options available via Zappos at Work
  • 3+ years in the making
  • 25,000+ employees fitted
  • 1.2M items were produced for the May 29 launch

Delta’s uniforms used to be navy and red. Now they’re Passport Plum – a shade said to flatter every skin tone – Cruising Cardinal, Groundspeed Graphite, Traveling Thistle and Skyline Slate – and have signature details incorporated such as a collar on the women’s blouse that is inspired by the wing of an airplane, and pockets for passports and pens.

Here’s Delta’s new in-flight safey video, with special appearances by – the new uniforms:

This summer everyone may be at the airport

The Memorial Day weekend signals the start of the busy summer travel season and it looks like a lot of people will be spending a lot of time in airports.

According to the trade group Airlines for America (A4A), a record 246.1 million passengers — an average of 2.68 million per day — are expected to travel on U.S. airlines between June 1 and Aug. 31, 2018.

That number is up 3.7 percent from last year’s record of 237.3 million passengers.

Below is the group’s handy infographic that explains what’s in store.

A4A’s tally doesn’t include the Memorial Day holiday weekend, but if you’re headed to the airport this weekend keep in mind that security checkpoint lines are apt to be longer than usual (I’ve gotten a couple of  alerts from my my airline already, which makes me a bit nervous) with many kids and out-of-practice travelers in the mix.

As always, arrive early and pack your patience.

Stop harassing the flight attendants

 

We didn’t need the #MeToo movement to know that flight attendants are often subjected to verbal and physical sexual harassment on the job.

But let’s hope the #MeToo movement – and the recent survey of more than 3,500 flight attendants at 29 different airline by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA – puts a stop to it.

According to the study, more than two-thirds of flight attendants in the U.S. have experienced sexual harassment during their flying careers.

More than one-in-three flight attendants say they have experienced verbal sexual harassment from passengers, and nearly one-in-five have experienced physical sexual harassment from passengers in the last year alone.

What’s being done about it? Not enough.

While Alaska, United, and even Spirit have taken some step to address the issue, 68 percent of flight attendants say they saw no efforts by airlines to address workplace sexual harassment over the last year.

“While much of the coverage of the #MeToo movement has focused on high-profile cases in the entertainment industry and politics, this survey underscores why AFA has long been pushing to eradicate sexism and harassment within our own industry,” said Sara Nelson, AFA President. “The time when flight attendants were objectified in airline marketing and people joked about ‘coffee, tea, or me’ needs to be permanently grounded. #TimesUp for the industry to put an end to its sexist past.”

Here’s more detail from the survey results:

*35 percent of flight attendants experienced verbal sexual harassment from passengers in the last year. Of those, 68 percent faced it three or more times, and a third five or more times in the past year.

Flight attendants described the verbal sexual harassment as comments that are “nasty, unwanted, lewd, crude, inappropriate, uncomfortable, sexual, suggestive, and dirty.”

*18 percent of flight attendants experienced physical sexual harassment from passengers in the last year. More than 40% of those suffered physical abuse three or more times. This type of harassment included having their breasts, buttocks and crotch area “touched, felt, pulled, grabbed, groped, slapped, rubbed, and fondled” both on top of and under their uniforms. Other abuse included passengers cornering or lunging at them followed by unwanted hugs, kisses and humping.

*Only 7 percent of the flight attendants who experienced abuse have reported sexual harassment to their employer. More often, flight attendants said they respond to verbal and sexual harassment by avoiding the passenger, directly addressing the passenger about their behavior or using another method to try to diffuse or deflect the situation.