JetBlue Airways recruits flight attendants for its Mint premium service from the cream of the crop to provide the highest level of customer service. According to Rachel McCarthy, vice president of in-flight experience for the carrier, the highly personalized service is paying off because a high number of Mint fliers remember the name of their crew member. McCarthy said "50-70% of the surveys call the crew members out by name. We have people who have flown Mint 15, 20 times. They feel connected to us."
United's Vice President of Sales for the Americas Jake Cefolia highlighted the improvements the carrier has made to enhance the customer experience this year, including 31,000 fewer cancellations, growing partner networks and stronger Wi-Fi service.
Transportation Security Administration officers at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport demonstrated how passengers who are unprepared or carrying contraband slow down security screening lines. In the demonstration, a line of 13 volunteers made it through security in 3.5 minutes. The same group of passengers took nearly 12 minutes when one passenger left a laptop in a bag and three carried prohibited items, including a gun, a throwing star and a bottle of water.
Experts say the airline industry is motivated to achieve fuel efficiency. "In our industry, emissions are closely linked to fuel, and fuel is life," said Richard Aboulafia, an analyst for the airline industry. "In other words, we're the best self-disciplining industry on the planet."
A group of 15 airline executives discussed the future of the industry during a dinner at the 2015 Skift Global Forum in Brooklyn, N.Y. Trends in the industry include more on-demand options, wearable technology and greater personalization for customers from different cultures.
Miami International Airport is offering a program to help passengers with special needs practice boarding flights. "They get to have a dress rehearsal of the travel experience," said Dickie Davis, public and customer relations director for the airport. "People, especially people with autism but other disabilities too, need that confidence-building."
Reinforced doors in cockpits, computerized screenings and trusted traveler lists are just some of the key improvements to US security that are making holiday travel safer. Others include screenings for explosives and heightened awareness by passenger.
The US State Department on Monday issued an alert warning Americans about a heightened threat of terrorist activities everywhere in the world. "US citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using transportation. Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds or crowded places," the agency said.
Thirteen passengers on American Airlines Flight 1671 from Mexico mistakenly skipped screening by US Customs and Border Protection after arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Friday. The travelers were mistakenly directed to the domestic terminal after disembarking their flight.
Police were called to Minnesota's Rochester International Airport after FedEx employees became suspicious of a package. A drug-sniffing dog alerted on the package, which turned out to contain methamphetamine. The package's recipient was arrested after accepting delivery.
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