Travel News in Headlines

It’s time for This Week in Headlines!

US To Tighten Visa Waiver Scheme

The House of Representatives has voted overwhelmingly to tighten restrictions on travel to the US by citizens of 38 nations who are allowed to enter the country without a visa. Twenty million visitors a year enter the USA under the program, which allows them to stay 90 days. The bill intends to prevent foreign nationals who have visited Iraq, Syria, Iran and the Sudan in past five years from entering the US without a visa.

Beijing Gets Its First Red Alert For Smog

Chinese officials issued a red alert (the highest level) due to Beijing’s very high levels of smog on Monday. It is the first time that officials have ever issued such an alert, which allows officials to impose restrictions on factories, curtail vehicle traffic and close schools. Officials have also requested a suspension of ongoing outdoor construction projects. Authorities have forecast at least three or more consecutive days of severe smog in the city.

BA Bans Hover Boards
British Airways has become the latest airline to ban popular hover boards from its flights. The battery powered boards, which are set to become the number one gift this Christmas, are believed to represent a fire risk due to a lithium-ion battery, which is volatile at altitude.

Air France To Fly Paris Orly To JFK
Air France will begin flights from New York’s Kennedy Airport to Paris Orly beginning in June. The daily route to Paris’ secondary airport will complement the several flights Air France offers daily between JFK and Paris Charles de Gaulle.

Bogus Doctor Worked On Cruise Ships For Five Years
The 40-year-old man was arrested in Berlin last Friday as he was about to join a ship operated by the Aida cruise line. Various media reports state that the man, who is a trained nurse but has no qualifications as a medical physician, had worked for the company since 2014 and for other lines prior to that. He treated passengers on cruise ships for five years, according to allegations. A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office in Berlin said he had treated “several hundred” passengers and crew members whilst posing as a doctor.

Air France Flight Makes Emergency Landing In Montreal After Bomb Threat

A third bomb threat caused an emergency on a San Francisco to Paris flight Monday. Following an anonymous threat, the crew of AF 083, decided to follow safety regulations to land in Montreal as a precaution. The plane landed in Montreal and was immediately surrounded by police on the runway. There were 231 passengers and 15 crew members on board, according to Canadian media. Two such bomb threats against Air France resulted in emergency landings last month.

Are Airlines Ready To Ditch Wi-Fi For Li-Fi On-Board Entertainment?
Data communications via LED bulbs may still be three to four years away from real consumer use but airlines and submarines are already looking into Li-Fi technology for use on-board carriers as a potential replacement for current Wi-Fi systems. With reported speeds up to 100 times faster than today’s Wi-Fi standards, people can’t get enough of this potential wireless technology that needs not much more than a LED bulb for fast and secure Internet and data sharing.

EU States Agree On Sharing Passenger Data
EU member governments and the European Parliament have agreed to a compromise deal with the legislature over the retention and sharing of passenger name records. Islamist attacks in Paris this year, in January and last month, lent impetus to France and other governments to press the EU parliament to relent. German members of parliament in particular have been wary of mass data collection, recalling historic abuses and revelations about US surveillance. However, a new proposal from legislators this week won interior ministers’ backing. It will enable the EU to set up an effective PNR system which fully respects fundamental rights and freedoms.

Norwegian To Add Oakland To London Gatwick Transatlantic Network

Low-cost, long-haul provider, Norwegian is set to further expand its Transatlantic network from London’s Gatwick in 2016 with the introduction of a regular link to Oakland International Airport from May 2016, serving the San Francisco Bay Area. This will be its seventh long-haul destination from the UK airport and will be the second new US market for 2016 after Boston. Norwegian currently serves Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, New York and Orlando from London and recently added a direct link to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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