Airline check-ins won’t turn into a ‘Weight Watchers-like’ scenario, despite passengers being heavier, say industry experts

Managing Director of investment bank Cowen Helane Becker wears a blue top with a large green necklace
Helane Becker, an airlines analyst and managing director of investment bank Cowen.

  • Airlines won’t weigh passengers to stay within safety limits despite being heavier, says experts.
  • Airlines can conduct passenger surveys and use CDC population averages to calculate weights.
  • American Airlines told Insider that its average passenger is now eight pounds heavier.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Airline passengers have gotten heavier, but companies are unlikely to weigh individual passengers at the check-in desk to help keep an aircraft within its safety limits, two industry experts told Insider.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which regulates commercial airlines, told Insider that while weighing passengers was “an option,” most companies would use other methods.

Henry Harteveldt, president of travel research firm Atmosphere Research Group, told Insider that this was highly unlikely to happen.

“The airline check-in experience is not going to turn into a Weight Watchers-like scenario,” he said. “Airlines do not ask passengers how much they weigh, and they’re not about to start doing so.”

American Airlines told Insider on June 10 that its average customer now weighs 182 pounds in summer and 187 pounds in winter, an “eight-pound increase for both seasons,” a company spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

Unnamed airline officials also told the Wall Street Journal that average passenger and baggage weights had risen between 5% and 10%, but did not specify over what period.

The FAA gave companies until June 12 to submit new average passenger weight estimates, a vital part of an aircraft’s weight and balance calculations needed for safe travel.

The agency gives airlines options for how to calculate passenger weights, including weighing customers before boarding, or by asking them to volunteer their weight – in this case, the FAA’s advisory document says that operators “should make a reasonable estimate” of a passengers’ weight if they believe that it had been “understated.”

But Helane Becker, airlines analyst and managing director of investment bank Cowen, told Insider that she doesn’t see this occurring in the US.

She said the trend in rising passengers weights is not new, and that she expects to see “airlines adjusting charges for overweight bags.”

“It is likely they will accept less mail and other small packages to be able to stay under weight limits,” Becker said.

Other FAA options include conducting random passenger weight surveys, or using official population weight estimates from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

American and Southwest Airlines told Insider that they use figures from the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to calculate weight and balance.

The most recent NHANES published in January shows the average US adult male weighs 199.8 pounds, up 4.1 pounds from the previous report in 2016, while the average US woman weighs 170.8 pounds, an increase of 2.3 pounds over the same period.

American also told Insider that there would be no changes to its customer experience, despite the revised weight estimates.

Industry body Airlines for America, which speaks on behalf of ten major airlines, said in an emailed statement it didn’t “anticipate there will be any noticeable changes” for customers.

Delta Air Lines said they had developed an “implementation plan” to minimize any impact on customers, although it did not share any details.

Alaska Airlines told Insider that the impact of weight changes would be “negligible” and would only “effect select long-haul routes during headwind conditions.”

United Airlines declined to share their FAA weight submission with Insider. JetBlue did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Airlines could hike charges on overweight baggage because passengers are getting heavier, according to an industry expert

Passengers sit in an American Airlines airplane before flying from California to North Carolina
Passengers board an American Airlines flight from California to North Carolina

  • Airlines could use higher passenger weights to charge more for baggage, says an industry expert.
  • American Airlines said its average passenger weights had risen by eight pounds.
  • But experts say airlines are unlikely to weigh passengers before they board their flights.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Airlines could hike charges on overweight baggage as they try to account for heavier passengers, an industry expert told Insider.

American Airlines confirmed to Insider on June 10 that its average passenger weights had increased, while airline officials told the Wall Street Journal that average passenger and baggage weights had risen between 5% and 10%, but did not say over what period.

Henry Harteveldt, president of travel research firm Atmosphere Research Group, told Insider that he wouldn’t be “surprised if airlines use the higher passenger weight estimates to charge passengers more money.”

Airlines might reduce their weight limit for checked bags, increase charges for overweight luggage, or both, he said.

“Somewhere, in the bowels of an airline’s headquarter building, a zealous financial analyst is licking her or his lips, relishing the chance to use this as an opportunity extract more money from that airline’s passengers.”

Weight estimates are used to calculate the weight and balance of the aircraft before take off – vital data needed to ensure the plane can fly safely. Keeping within weight limits can be harder in hotter climates and at higher altitudes where more energy is needed to lift the plane, requiring more fuel.

Airlines had until June 12 to submit new average passenger and baggage weight estimates to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the government body that regulates commercial airlines, the Journal reported.

An American Airlines spokesperson told Insider that its average passenger weight was 182 pounds in summer and 187 pounds in winter, “an 8-pound increase for both seasons.” The spokesperson also said that American expects carry-on baggage to be five pounds heavier in new estimates, and checked bags to be 4 pounds heavier.

American told Insider it plans to use larger aircraft for flights where it anticipates there may be weight issues, and limit ticket sales “if necessary.” It added, however, that most of its flights are able to accommodate heavier passengers. A company spokesperson said there would be no change in customer experience following the weight changes.

Harteveldt said airlines “constantly” look for ways to reduce aircraft weight, for example, by buying lighter seats, scrapping in-seat entertainment hardware, and reducing the size of toilet cubicles.

Harteveldt added that he has even known airlines to buy lighter cutlery and cups to save weight, and stocking the plane with fewer food and drink items.

Helane Becker, airlines analyst and managing director of investment bank Cowen, told Insider that the “trend in heavier people has been going on for years,” and that she expected airlines to both change overweight bag charges and accept less mail and fewer small packages.

Southwest Airlines told Insider that the FAA had approved its submission in early June and had no plans to “increase overweight or oversized baggage fees.”

Industry body Airlines for America, which speaks on behalf of 10 major airlines, also said that it doesn’t “anticipate there will be any noticeable changes” for customers, in an emailed statement.

Delta Air Lines said they had developed an “implementation plan” to minimize any impact on customers, although did not share any details.

Read the original article on Business Insider

United, Delta, and American Airlines call for Biden lift restrictions and approve transatlantic travel between the US and UK

Scott Kirby 1   Photo by Chip Somodevilla:Getty Images
United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby.

  • Airline bosses have called for restrictions on US-UK travel to be relaxed in a joint statement.
  • United Airlines and Delta Air Lines are among the six carriers calling for a travel corridor.
  • Airlines have suffered record losses since the start of the pandemic.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Airline bosses have called the opening of a travel corridor between the US and UK amid both countries’ “world-leading vaccination programmes” in a joint statement released Monday.

The chief executives of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and JetBlue joined British carriers Virgin Atlantic, and British Airways in urging President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to lift travel restrictions between the two countries.

The bosses of the US Travel Association and London’s Heathrow Airport also joined the call ahead of the G7 meeting in Cornwall, England this week.

“There is a clear opportunity to safely open up travel between these two low-risk countries,” the statement said.

The group urged the US government to allow fully vaccinated UK travelers, or those who can show a negative COVID-19 test, to enter the country.

The US is on the UK’s “amber list” for travel, meaning that visitors arriving from the US into the country must quarantine for 10 days, and take two COVID-19 tests.

“Experts have encouraged governments, businesses and the public to follow the science,” United CEO Scott Kirby said. “United and other airlines have done that and implemented the necessary safety protocols to re-open key international routes like the air corridor between our two countries. We are ready.”

Airlines posted record losses in 2020 after the pandemic forced them to suspend international travel. American Airlines reported a $8.9 billion annual loss in 2020.

International airlines are expected to lose up to $157 billion across 2020 and 2021, the International Air Transport Association predicted last year.

Many have announced new incentives to encourage people to travel – United offered its MileagePlus passengers a chance to win a year of free flights.

United said last week that it would require all external US-based hires to be vaccinated against COVID-19, following a similar decision by Delta last month.

Read the original article on Business Insider

United Airlines says it will require all new US-based employees to be vaccinated. Current staff are exempt, but some will receive extra vacation if they get jabbed

FILE PHOTO: United Airlines president Scott Kirby speaks before the departure of the "Flight for the Planet", the most eco-friendly commercial flight in history of aviation, according to the airline, from O'Hare International Airport to Los Angeles, in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., June 5, 2019. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski
United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby

  • United Airlines will require all new US-based staff to be vaccinated, an internal memo said.
  • United will not require current staff to get vaccinated, but has offered incentives.
  • Delta Air Lines said last month it would mandate COVID-19 vaccines for new hires.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

United Airlines has said it will mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for all new external hires, the company said in an internal memo shared with Insider.

All new employees receiving job offers after June 15 will be asked to show proof that they are fully vaccinated, United said in the memo.

“As we welcome new employees to the company, it’s important we instill in them United’s strong commitment to safety,” the memo said. “They will be required to upload their COVID vaccine card in My Info no later than 7 days post hire date.”

The airline said the new rule applies only to US-based hires, with an exemption for internationally-based staff. “Reasonable accommodation” will be given to hires who are not vaccinated on medical or religious grounds, per the memo.

The airline will not require current employees to get jabbed, but will strongly encourage it by offering incentives. Last week, United said it would give vaccinated flight attendants up to three additional days of vacation, according to a letter shared by the Association of Flight Attendants.

United has also offered its MileagePlus passengers the chance to win a year of free flights if they can show they’re vaccinated.

In January, United CEO Scott Kirby said he wanted to make vaccines mandatory, and encouraged other companies to to the same.

United follow Delta Air Lines which last month last month announced that it would require all new employees to be vaccinated, and may bar current staff from working on international flights if they refuse to get the jab.

Read the original article on Business Insider

United placed a $3 billion order for 15 supersonic jets. Meet Boom Supersonic’s Overture

Boom Supersonic United Airlines
A rendering of a Boom Overture aircraft in United Airlines colors.

  • United Airlines entered the supersonic realm on Thursday with an order for 15 Concorde-like jets from Boom Supersonic.
  • Overture is estimated to fly up to 88 passengers in an all-business class cabin at a top speed of Mach 1.7.
  • New York to London could be flown in under four hours while San Francisco to Tokyo could be flown in six.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Boom Supersonic is a Colorado-based startup that’s leading the development of supersonic aircraft to usher in a new era of commercial air travel.

Boom Supersonic

Its newest partner is United Airlines, which is on track to become the first US airline to fly supersonic jet aircraft thanks to an order for 15 of Boom’s flagship aircraft, Overture.

Boom Supersonic United Airlines
A rendering of a Boom Overture aircraft in United Airlines colors.

Read More: United Airlines is buying 15 supersonic jets that could fly Newark to London in less than 4 hours

Boom hopes to get travelers flying greater than the speed of sound by 2030, less than 30 years since the iconic Concorde’s retirement from the skies in 2003.

Concorde

Read More: Boom Supersonic just sold 15 faster-than-sound jets to United. Its CEO explains how fuel efficiency and better economics will help him succeed where the Concorde failed.

Overture is a Concorde-like plane that plans to fly at Mach 1.7, greater than the speed of sound.

Boom Supersonic

Up to 88 passengers will fly in Overture in a 1-1 all-business class configuration.

Boom Supersonic

Overture aims to also fly above traditional aircraft at a cruising altitude of 60,000 feet. No current commercial aircraft can currently access that height.

Boom Supersonic

The New York-London route is a prime candidate for the aircraft with United touting a three-hour and 30-minute journey time from its hub at Newark Liberty International Airport to the UK capital. Newark-Los Angeles would be slightly shorter if overland flights are permitted.

Boom Supersonic United Airlines
A rendering of a Boom Overture aircraft in United Airlines colors.

Other potential routes include Newark-Frankfurt, Germany at just four hours…

Boom Supersonic United Airlines
A rendering of a Boom Overture aircraft in United Airlines colors.

And San Francisco-Tokyo, Japan at six hours. Overture’s range, however, would have to be extended to make this route work without stopping for fuel.

Boom Supersonic United Airlines
A rendering of a Boom Overture aircraft in United Airlines colors.

Overture, in its service for United, will be net-zero carbon and be powered by sustainable aviation fuel.

Boom Supersonic United Airlines
A rendering of a Boom Overture aircraft in United Airlines colors.

United’s sustainability efforts include a plan to become “100% green by 2050 by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions 100%.”

United Airlines Eco-Skies Boeing 737
United Airlines’ “Eco-Skies” Boeing 737.

But making Overture mainstream would require an expansion of a sustainable aviation fuel infrastructure as the biofuels are currently limited to certain airports.

Sustainable aviation fuel
Sustainable aviation fuel powering an Air France aircraft.

A total of 15 aircraft to be purchased were outlined in the agreement with options for 35 more if United desires. A single model costs $200 million, making the deal worth $3 billion.

Boom Supersonic United Airlines
A rendering of a Boom Overture aircraft in United Airlines colors.

Source: Washington Post

The deal is not yet set in stone. Boom will have to meet “United’s demanding safety, operating and sustainability requirements.”

Boom Supersonic

Overture is expected to debut in 2025 with its first flight planned for 2026.

Boom Supersonic

The first passengers are expected to fly on Overture in 2029, truly marking the beginning of a new era for supersonic travel.

Boom Supersonic

The development of the Overture is currently in the prototype phase. Boom rolled out the XB-1 in October with plans to fly the aircraft from a base in Mojave, California later in 2021.

Boom Supersonic XB-1

Read More: The startup that wants to bring back ultra-fast supersonic travel just unveiled the prototype for its Overture passenger plane – take a look at the XB-1

United isn’t the only airline interested in Overture, however. Japan Airlines and Virgin Atlantic Airways are both investors in Boom with pre-orders for the aircraft.

Boom Supersonic

Boom’s aircraft may also fly the American president as the US Air Force is interested in using Overture as a future “Air Force One.”

Boom Supersonic

Read More: The Boom Overture jet is vying to become the first supersonic Air Force One — here’s an early look

United has been at the forefront of investing in new aircraft technologies, even if they are years away from being realized.

United Airlines

In February, United entered the urban air mobility realm with a $1 billion order for electric vertical takeoff and land from Archer.

Archer Aviation electric aircraft VTOL

Read More: United just ordered $1 billion worth of eVTOLs from a startup that aims to launch intra-city passenger flights in 2024

United’s regional airline partner Mesa Airlines will operate the aircraft intended to shuttle passengers to and from major airports in congested cities, like Los Angeles.

Archer Aviation electric aircraft VTOL

“Our mission has always been about connecting people and now working with Boom, we’ll be able to do that on an even greater scale,” Scott Kirby, United’s chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Boom Supersonic United Airlines
A rendering of a Boom Overture aircraft in United Airlines colors.

Read the original article on Business Insider

United Airlines is buying 15 supersonic jets that could get you from New York City to London in 3.5 hours

Boom Supersonic
The future United Airlines plane from Boom Supersonic.

Hello! This story is from today’s edition of Morning Brew, an awesome daily email read by 2.9 million next-generation leaders like you. Sign up here to get it!

Cicadas aren’t the only thing that return every ~17 years. The promise of supersonic commercial flight reemerged yesterday when United Airlines announced it’s buying 15 jets from Boom Supersonic.

Supersonic = faster than the speed of sound. Boom’s planes could cut flight times in half and get you from a bagel breakfast in NYC to teatime in London in 3.5 hours.

Catching a flight that quick hasn’t been possible since 2003, when the iconic Concorde jet retired. It was an expensive, gas-guzzling machine, and the loud booms it made while breaking the sound barrier woke up enough babies that Congress banned supersonic flights over US soil in the ’70s.

  • Now, Boom and other supersonic startups are working on net-zero emissions and noise-muffling tech.

Looking ahead…supersonic jets are largely in the development phase; Boom’s never actually built a full-scale version of its Overture aircraft, and it’ll need to clear regulatory checks before passengers hop onboard in 2029. Just last month, one of the leading supersonic jet makers, Aerion, shut down because of financial troubles and concerns about fuel-efficiency and noise regulations.

This story is from today’s edition of Morning Brew, a daily email. Sign up here to get it!

Read the original article on Business Insider

You could win a year of free United Airlines flights with your vaccination record. Here’s how to enter the sweepstakes.

United Airlines
United Airlines airport check-in counters.

  • United Airlines just unveiled its new “Your Shot to Fly” sweepstakes.
  • United will give away 30 pairs of round-trip tickets, and five contestants will win a year of free travel.
  • MileagePlus members must submit their vaccine records to be eligible to for the sweepstakes.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Vaccinated with nowhere to go? Don’t want to deal with rising airfare prices? You’re in luck: United Airlines is now offering its vaccinated MileagePlus members the chance to win a year of free flights.

Pent-up demand for travel has stayed constant throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. But now, this demand is hitting an inflection point as vaccine rollout continues globally and people are traveling again. As a result, leisure airfare with airlines like Southwest are nearing pre-pandemic prices again, CNBC reported.

If you’re interested in having your post-vaccination “revenge vacation” but deterred by these steadily increasing airfare costs, look into United’s new “Your Shot to Fly” sweepstakes, which was created to help “incentivize people to get their shot,” Scott Kirby, United’s CEO, said in the press release. You could win a free round trip or, even better, a year of free travel.

United’s MileagePlus members interested in entering the sweepstakes must upload their COVID-19 vaccine records onto the airline’s Travel-Ready Center via its website or app by June 22.

From there, throughout June, the airline will give away 30 pairs of round trip tickets under any class of service to any destination United flies to. And on July 1, the airline will announce the five winners of its ultimate sweepstake prize: the five contestants and their plus ones will win a year of free travel with the airline, once again to any destination and under any class.

“Thanks to the vaccine, more and more destinations are opening up for travel – and we know our customers are eager to fly,” Kirby said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Airlines like United and Delta are making it easier than ever to access elite status and its perks like free first class upgrades

United Airlines and Delta Air Lines aircraft at Los Angeles International Airport.
United Airlines and Delta Air Lines aircraft at Los Angeles International Airport.

  • United Airlines and Delta Air Lines are making their top flyers earn elite status this year.
  • But both are making it easier to reach the top levels of their frequent flyer programs.
  • Average travelers now have a better chance at getting status, and the perks that come with it.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The upper echelons of airline frequent flyer programs have historically been reserved for airlines’ most frequent flyers and top spenders. But airlines, eager to get their top flyers back in the air, are making it easier for more travelers to reach the coveted levels of status, and all the perks that come with it.

United Airlines and Delta Air Lines have rolled out new programs that help speed along the process. And the result will be flyers spending fewer dollars and less time in the air in order to join or renew their membership in the elite status club.

Delta is giving all of its SkyMiles members 50 percent more of the qualifying credits needed to earn elite status. Currently, flyers need to fly a certain amount of miles, while also spending a certain amount of money with the airline to achieve elite status.

The minimum spending amount to earn elite status on Delta, known as “minimum qualifying dollars” or MQDs is $3,000. A flyer will also have to fly at least 25,000 miles, known as “minimum qualifying miles” or MQMs, or 30 flight segments, known as “minimum qualifying segments” or MQS, to qualify.

Flyers booking tickets in economy will earn 50 percent more MQDs, MQMs, and MQSs with each flight. Those that pay more for Delta Comfort+, Delta One business class, first class, or Premium Select premium economy seats will earn 75 percent more of each category.

Delta customers that book their tickets using SkyMiles, also known as award tickets, will also earn credits towards qualifying for status. Award tickets are traditionally exempt from counting towards status on most airlines because no revenue is being earned, so this is a major shift from Delta.

Tickets that are purchased using a combination of cash and miles will also count towards qualification.

Delta’s is largely egalitarian and even members on the lowest rung of the elite status ladder – known as Silver Medallion – can be upgraded to first class on any domestic US flight if seats are available.

Insider put Delta’s elite status to the test during the pandemic and received over $800 in upgrades across three flights alone, including an upgrade to Delta One business class on a flight from Los Angeles to New York.

Other perks of earning elite status with Delta include a free checked bag, access to priority check-in and boarding lines, dedicated phone lines, and complimentary lounge access, depending on the level of status.

United’s MileagePlus program is similar to Delta’s where flyers have to earn a certain number of premier qualifying points, or PQPs, while also flying a certain number of flights to qualify for elite status. Those thresholds were lowered by United in November, however, to make elite status more easily attainable.

Attaining Premier Silver status, for example, only requires 3,000 PQPs and eight flights. That’s down from 4,000 PQPs and 12 flights.

All MileagePlus members will earn bonus PQPs for their first three trips to kickstart the process while existing Premier members received 25 percent of the PQPs required for their status level at the beginning of the year.

From there, MileagePlus Premier members had an opportunity to pick between receiving another 25 percent of the required PQPs for their status level after three trips or have 10 percent of the required PQPs deposited with no travel required. The latter option was meant for flyers that didn’t plan on flying before the promotion’s expiration date.

Read More: Airline workers have lower rates of COVID-19 than the general population – and airline CEOs say it’s proof that flying is safe

United offers a similar upgrade model to Delta where any elite status holder can receive an upgrade if there are seats on most domestic flights. Additional perks of having elite status with United include a free checked bag, access to priority check-in and boarding lines, and dedicated phone lines.

Both models make it easier for all flyers to earn elite status while United’s is slightly geared toward helping existing elite flyers keep their status. Both strategies differ, however, from last year when airlines simply extended status levels through 2021.

But now, airlines are giving frequent flyers a reason to get back in the air and start flying again.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Flying to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket is surprisingly cheap this year as wealthy people look for summer escapes

Martha's Vineyard
  • Travel between New York and the vacation spots of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard is heating up.
  • Smaller carriers like Cape Air, Tradewind Aviation, and Elite Airways offer semi-private flights.
  • JetBlue, Delta, and United also plan to fly to the New England coast.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

It’s the time of year again when wealthy people flee the concrete jungle of New York City in search of beaches and wide-open spaces.

New England hot spots like Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket Island are primed for an influx of summer visitors as COVID-19 restrictions wane. But with the coronavirus still a threat, wealthy people are more likely to dig deeper into their pockets and splurge on a more exclusive means of travel.

Airlines and luxury private operators are gearing up to accommodate any and all travelers – with new flights in addition to their usual services that can transport flyers in as little as 45 minutes.

Read More: Airline workers have lower rates of COVID-19 than the general population – and airline CEOs say it’s proof that flying is safe

Here are all the options travelers have when flying between New York and the Massachusetts Islands this summer.

Flying commercial

JetBlue Embraer E190
A JetBlue Embraer E190 aircraft.

Three major airlines serve Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket from New York’s three area airports and Westchester County Airport north of the city. Flying commercial is often the least expensive option, especially with a mix of carriers on the routes.

JetBlue Airways offers the greatest variety of service to the islands with flights from John F. Kennedy International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, LaGuardia Airport, and Westchester County Airport. Flights use JetBlue’s Embraer E190 aircraft, and one-way fares can be as low as $75.

Delta Air Lines also offers flights from JFK and LaGuardia to both islands on regional jets. One-way fares are as low as $85, and first class is offered for a premium on some days.

United Airlines is offering non-stop flights only between Newark and Nantucket. It also uses regional jets, and schedules show United will deploy its swankiest of them all, the Bombardier CRJ550, with 10 first class seats, 20 “Economy Plus” extra-legroom seats, and 20 standard economy seats.

Elite Airways

Elite Airways
An Elite Airways Bombardier CRJ200 regional aircraft.

Elite Airways is the newest carrier to offer service between New York and Massachusetts, with flights from Westchester to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard starting Memorial Day weekend. The carrier is set to use Bombardier regional jets on the routes with fares starting as low as $129.

The airline also boasts complimentary amenities like a free checked bag, advanced seat assignments, and onboard snacks and drinks.

Cape Air

Cape Air Boston Logan International Airport
Cape Air aircraft at Boston Logan International Airport.

One of America’s largest independent regional airlines, Cape Air, offers a semi-private experience between New York and the New England coast.

Five routes are offered from New York – three from Westchester and two from JFK. Both airports offer flights to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, with service to Provincetown, Massachusetts also available from Westchester. Service differs depending on the departure airport.

Flights to and from Westchester use a private terminal away from the airport’s main commercial terminal. At JFK, flights use Terminal 5, which JetBlue also uses.

Cape Air flights between New York and Massachusetts use Cessna 402 twin-engine piston aircraft with no WiFi or in-flight entertainment, and often no co-pilot. It’s truly a back-to-basics experience but does the trick on short flights. Passengers can also request to sit in the cockpit if there’s no co-pilot.

But even with the basic aircraft and a single pilot, one-way fares for the summer often run more than $200.

Blade

Blade helicopter
A Blade Bell 407 helicopter.

Helicopter company Blade offers weekender flights between Westchester and the Massachusetts Islands using Pilatus PC-12 turboprop aircraft starting May 27. Flights to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket are available and use private terminals on both ends of the journey.

One-way fares start at $725 plus tax and do not require a membership.

Wheels Up

Wheels Up
A Wheels Up Beechcraft King Air 350i.

Wheels Up, a membership-based private aviation firm, is resuming its Nantucket shuttle from Westchester starting Memorial Day weekend. Travelers can purchase seats on its Beechcraft King Air 350i turboprop aircraft for $795, with flights departing on Fridays at 5 p.m. and returning on Sundays at 5 p.m.

Flights use private terminals at both ends of the journey, so flyers can skip the security checkpoint. One carry-on bag, or a set of golf clubs, is permitted.

However, the shuttle is only available to Wheels Up members. There are three tiers of annual memberships, with the most basic “connect membership” costing $2,495 per year and a one-time initiation fee of $2,995.

Tradewind Aviation

Tradewind plane
A Tradewind Aviation Pilatus PC-12.

Private aviation firm Tradewind Aviation is also resuming shuttle services between Westchester and Massachusetts.

The company uses single-engine Pilatus PC-12 turboprop aircraft with luxurious interiors that feature executive-style leather seats. Tradewind flights use private terminals on both ends of the journey.

Prices and flight times vary day to day, but one-way fares are often between $400 and $1,000.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Delta and United are now offering flights to all of the European tourist countries welcoming vaccinated Americans

United Airlines and Delta Air Lines aircraft at Los Angeles International Airport.
United Airlines and Delta Air Lines aircraft at Los Angeles International Airport.

  • Delta Air Lines and United Airlines have added flights to the three mainstream European countries open to Americans: Iceland, Croatia, and Greece.
  • All three countries are welcoming US tourists with proof of vaccination, with some also allowing for just a negative COVID-19 test.
  • American Airlines hasn’t been as nimble, focusing more on South America and only launching flights to Greece and Israel for the summer.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Europe is once again just a flight away for many Americans.

US airlines were quick to adjust their route maps when coronavirus pandemic travel patterns shifted towards domestic destinations. And with Europe gradually opening up to American tourists, airlines are making similar adjustments to accommodate the international jet set.

Delta Air Lines announced its latest international route between New York and Dubrovnik, Croatia, scheduled to start on July 2. Flights will operate four-times-weekly with departures from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and return flights from Dubrovnik Airport on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

It’s Delta’s first and only route to the Southern European country, which has seen newfound interest from Americans as vaccinated travelers, as well as those presenting a negative COVID-19 test or proof of recovery, will be able to enter the country. Croatia is situated on the Adriatic Sea and boasts countless historical towns and villages on its over 1,000 miles of coastline.

United Airlines will also serve Croatia with flights between Newark and Dubrovnik launching on July 8. The three-times-weekly flights from Newark Liberty International Airport depart on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and return from Dubrovnik Airport on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Fridays.

Both airlines will use Boeing 767-300ER wide-body aircraft on their respective routes to Dubrovnik.

Croatia also borders Montenegro, another European country open to vaccinated Americans, according to the US Embassy in Montenegro. Dubrovnik itself is only 25 miles from the border with Montenegro and US citizens need only present proof of recent vaccination or recovery, or a negative COVID-19 test less than 72 hours old, when entering.

Delta and United have been the most eager to serve the reopening European continent, and have also launched flights to Iceland and Greece, the two other mainstream European tourist countries opening to Americans.

Iceland will be served by United this summer from Newark, starting June 3, and Chicago, starting July 1. Delta serves the Land of Fire and Ice via Reykjavik from New York and begins flights from Boston and Minneapolis on May 20 and May 27, respectively.

Greece, also welcoming vaccinated Americans or those with a negative COVID-19 test, is also served by the two airlines.

United will fly to Athens from Washington, DC starting July 1 and resume its Newark-Athens route on June 3. Delta will similarly resume its New York-Athens route on May 28 and launch a new route between Athens and Atlanta starting July 2.

American Airlines has been less nimble than its competitors on Europe’s reopening, focusing instead on the Americas. Some additions east of the Prime Meridian have been the New York-Athens route starting on June 3, Miami-Tel Aviv route starting on June 4, and New York-Tel Aviv route that launched on May 6.

While Greece is opening its doors to all vaccinated or COVID-19-negative Americans, however, Israel is being more restrictive with its opening and is only slated to welcome vaccinated group tours on May 23 but not individual tourists yet.

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South America has been American’s main focus with new flights to cities in Chile, Colombia, and Brazil starting this year. American has not yet relaunched flights to Iceland or Croatia, despite serving both countries prior to the pandemic.

But American could soon shift to Europe as more countries welcome US citizens. For now, airlines can rejoice that European route launches are once again common after more than a year.

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