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June 13, 2017

Air Travel: Qatar Crisis Disrupts Flights, Laptop Ban to 71 Airports

laptop in use on airplane
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The Qatar crisis, new talk of a laptop ban extension, and new flights from Norwegian and Delta are the top air travel news in the meetings and events industry this week. 

Laptop Ban Saga Continues: Trump Admin Talks Expansion to 71 Airports

Here we go again: Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told a House of Representatives panel Wednesday that the government is considering expanding the ban on laptops and other large electronic devices to dozens of additional airports in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, our partner publication Travel Agent reports. 

“We are looking right now at an additional 71 airports," Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly told the panel, according to a Reuters report. "We're also looking at ways that we think we can mitigate the threat" without expanding the ban.

Kelly’s deputy will attend a conference in Malta to present “minimum increased security standards,” Reuters reported. If other nations are able to meet those standards, the ban will not be necessary, Kelly said. 

Qatar Update: More Countries Sever Ties, Charter Flights Continue

More countries have severed ties with Qatar as an ongoing diplomatic crisis continues to disrupt air travel, Travel Agent reports. 

Four additional countries – Mauritius, Mauritania, the Maldives and Libya’s eastern-based government – joined the original five of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen in cutting diplomatic ties with Qatar. Etihad, Emirates, Fly Dubai and Gulf Air have cancelled all flights in and out of Doha. 

Qatar Airways reports that its three charter flights to bring passengers from Saudi Arabia to Doha were concluded successfully June 6. The airline has organized an additional flight with Kuwait Airlines on Wednesday to transport the remaining passengers. Qatar Airways has asked all passengers to report to the airport three hours before the flight. 

All passengers booked on affected flights will be provided with alternative options, including a full refund on unused tickets and free rebooking to the nearest alternative destination, Qatar Airways said. 

Norwegian Air Launches New Routes From U.S. to Barcelona

In new flight news, Norwegian launched new routes from Los Angeles, Newark and Oakland to Barcelona, Spain. Later this summer, the airline will add service from Fort Lauderdale to Barcelona, and this fall, Norwegian will fly nonstop service from Los Angeles, New York City/Newark and Oakland/San Francisco to Rome

Service from Los Angeles International Airport to Barcelona-El Prat Airport launched June 5, and operates twice weekly until the end of August, when it becomes a thrice weekly service. Service from Newark Liberty International Airport to Barcelona launched June 6, with a twice weekly service until the end of August, when it will operate four times per week. Flights from Oakland International Airport to Barcelona launch June 7, and will initially operate twice weekly until the end of August, from when it will operate three times per week. Flights from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to Barcelona will launch on August 22, 2017, and operate twice weekly.

Delta Launches New Daily Service Between Atlanta and Seoul

Finally, Delta Airlines has launched a new flight to Seoul-Incheon from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Delta Airlines Flight 27 departed June 3, 2017, at 1:05 p.m., marking the new daily service between Delta's Atlanta hub and Seoul-Incheon International Airport. Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and other dignitaries addressed customers prior to the flight's departure. 

The new service compliments existing Korean Air service between Atlanta and Seoul-Incheon, giving customers more nonstop options to and from Asia as well as additional cargo capacity between the U.S. and South Korea. The flight is being operated on Boeing 777-200LR, equipped with 37 lie-flat seats with direct aisle access in Delta One, 36 seas in Delta Comfort+ and 218 seats in the main cabin. Every seat as personal in-flight entertainment on demand along with Wi-Fi and power ports.

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