From systemwide computer woes to shortened TSA wait times, it's been a busy week in travel. Here's a recap of this week's top travel stories.
Glitch Grounds Planes on April Fools' Day
In what was certainly an unfunny April Fools' prank for passengers, a major computer outage left planes grounded across the country for Southwest, American, Delta, and other carriers. The interruption was caused by a glitch in a program used to calculate weight and balance info required for departure. While the actual outage lasted only about 40 minutes, the effects rippled across the flight network, inconveniencing passengers nationwide.
These Are the Top Airlines in the World
TripAdvisor revealed the winners of its 2019 Traveler’s Choice Awards for airlines, where very few American carriers managed to snag top honors. In fact, of the world’s top 10 airlines, Southwest was the only U.S. carrier to make the list at number 6. Singapore Airlines grabbed the top spot, followed by Qatar Airways, EVA Air, Emirates, Japan Airlines, Azul, Air New Zealand, Jet2.com, and ANA.
Results were based on airline reviews and passenger ratings.
In the North American categories, Southwest was named both best airline and best low-cost airline. Delta Air Lines won for best major airline, with Alaska and Hawaiian both placing at the top for best midsize airline.
Did your favorite airlines make the list? Check out the full list of winners.
Ex-United Boss Plans to Launch New Airline
Are you sick of the ultra-low-cost carrier model yet? Well, brace yourself for another entrant to the market, this one from former United CFO, Andrew Levy. The airline will go by the name XTRA, at least for now, and, according to Levy, will stand out from the current crowd of low-cost carriers by offering better service. Flights will operate from second-tier airports, a similar strategy Levy employed as co-founder of Allegiant Air.
According to investor documents, XTRA plans to have five aircraft by year’s end, expanding to 45 planes by 2023.
No Need to Remove Liquids & Laptops
Remember those 3D scanners the TSA began testing last summer? Well, the TSA must have been pleased with the purchase because they’re now ordering 300 more to be installed at airports across the country.
The new scanners will allow passengers to keep items like computers and liquids stored inside carry-ons, meaning security lines should move a little quicker.
Look for these new scanners to arrive in airports just in time for the summer rush.
The Latest on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302
According to a preliminary report prepared by the Ethiopian Transport Ministry, pilots correctly followed procedure in response to the "repetitive uncommanded aircraft nose-down conditions" of last month’s Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max 8 crash. A Boeing spokesman says the company will review the report when released, though the Ethiopian Accident Investigation Bureau tells CNN that the report was relayed to Boeing last Monday.