In brief: Long tarmac delays reappear in the US
The US government has yet to fine airlines for 14 excessive tarmac delays in June, London enjoys a tentative night of quiet after a period of street unrest, New Caledonia returns to calm after four people died in protests over rising airfares, Hawaii welcomes its first nonstop flights from China, and more. Here are the stories travellers are buzzing about:
Airlines avoid fines despite long airport tarmac delays
In June, after leaving their gates at US airports, 14 planes sat idle for more than three hours, according to data released yesterday by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. That is the most since April 2010, when regulators gained authority to fine airlines up to $27, 500 per passenger for any commercial flight that sits on an airport's aprons and taxiways for more than three hours. Yet the Transportation Department has not issued any fines since the new rule came into effect, as USA Today's Roger Yu reports this morning. For perspective, 14 delayed flights is still well below the record 268 such tarmac delays that happened in July 2009, which sparked a passengers' rights movement that lead to the stricter rules.
Quiet night in London
The UK capital had a quiet night last night, thanks to a near tripling of the police presence on the streets. But street unrest spread to parts of Manchester and Birmingham. Yesterday, the Visit Britain tourism authority pulled its "You're Invited" advertisement from BBC iPlayer programmes for foreign audiences. A spokesman told the Guardian, "They are not appropriate at this time."
"Four die in clashes over rising airfares"
Last Saturday in the south Pacific archipelago of New Caledonia, four residents died when a 10-day protest over the rising cost of local air travel turned violent outside the Mare Island Airport, report Reuters. Since then, French mediators have achieved a tentative calm between supporters of Air Caledonie, the main local carrier that has attempted to avoid bankruptcy by raising its ticket prices, and many locals who can't afford to pay the newer, higher fares. New Caledonia is essentially a protectorate of France, and French president Nicolas Sarkozy is scheduled to visit the islands later this month.
Hawaii welcomes its first nonstop flights from China
China Eastern Airlines began direct service between Shanghai and Honolulu yesterday. Officials greeted the visitors with leis and traditional music. This year overall, tourism officials predict that more than 90,000 Chinese travellers will visit the islands via the new direct flights, existing flights with stopovers in Asian airports and cruise ships, according to the Associated Press.
The mega re-tweet
We scour Twitter to highlight a standout travel tweet.
"Lots of traveling doesn't make me a travel expert, it just makes me want to travel more."
-- @earthXplorer, aka, longtime travel blogger JD Andrews, who has visited 76 countries, shooting and editing tourism video over two decades. BBC Travel featured Andrews in a recent Forms of Identification Q&A.