The biggest travel news of January so far is the weather (of course). No form of transportation was safe from the polar vortex – car, plane or train. And stranded passengers weren’t helped by well-intended new regulations from the FAA.
New Rest Rules for Pilots
New regulations on rest times for pilots are good for safety, but could spell trouble for regional airlines and passengers. The new Federal Aviation Authority regulations that just went into effect include requiring 10 additional hours of rest for pilots before returning to work. This is leading to reported fears that flights will have to be reduced due to a pilot shortage at these smaller airlines which pay less than major airlines. The regulations are also being blamed for the suspension of JetBlue operations at New York and Boston earlier in the month.
United Revamps San Francisco Boarding Area
United Airlines air passengers departing from San Francisco will benefit from some major renovations at the end of the month. Beginning January 28, United says Boarding Area E in Terminal 3 will offer 10 gates and a viewing area. It will also have a yoga room and an interactive play area for children. For all ages, there will be an interactive information and entertainment area, along with wifi and work stations.
Japan Offers Loans to Build U.S. Maglev Line
Japan is reportedly proposing to help build a Maglev-style train that would cut the travel time between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. by half an hour. The report from Japan’s Asahi Shimbun says Japan is offering to loan half of the estimated $8 billion cost of installing the tracks just to show off its technology.
California Bullet Train
And finally, the latest on the California bullet train saga: The LA Times reports California Governor Jerry Brown’s proposal to use fees from corporate greenhouse gas emitters to fund the electric line is meeting opposition from environmental groups. They believe the money would be better spent on shorter term effective projects.