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September 18, 2018

Air Travel: United's New Boarding Process, Europe's New Budget Airline

A streamlined boarding process for United and a potential new budget airline in Europe lead this week's air travel news affecting the meetings and events industry. 

United Airlines Updates Boarding Process

United Airlines reports that it is enhancing its boarding process by providing more space at the gate, a shorter wait in line and improved boarding information.

The changes include reducing the number of boarding lanes from five to two for more space and less time on line. With this spare time, flyers can go to a United Club or lounge or airport restaurants and shops, United said.

People who use the United app can get alerts when boarding has started so that they know when to head to the gate. As time goes on, the airline said that it will expand these notifications to text messages. Updated boarding information is also available on digital displays in the gate area.

Proposed New Budget Airline in Europe

In budget news this week, an entrepreneur and part-time Ryanair pilot, Alvaro Oliveira, is looking to launch a new low-cost carrier in Europe, according to The Telegraph. Tentatively called Swiss Skies (a working title), the proposed airline would be based in Basel, serving destinations in the United States, Asia, Middle East and Brazil. A fleet of 38 A320neo aircraft is planned by 2023. 

World's Longest Biofuel-Powered Flight

In sustainable travel news, this Friday United Airlines operated a flight from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Zurich using a blend of sustainable aviation fuel -- 30 percent biofuel and 70 percent conventional jet fuel -- making it the longest flight to date by a U.S. airline powered by a biofuel volume of this size. SFO has signed a memorandum of understanding with fuel producers and a group of eight airlines, which includes United, to work cooperatively on expanding the use of sustainable aviation fuel at the airport. 

New Flights in Europe

In new flight news, this week Air France announced plans to fly from Paris - Charles de Gaulle to Dallas - Fort Worth, making it the 13 destination in the United States operated on departure from the airline. From March 31 to June 30 and from September 4 to October 25, 2019, the flight will operate on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, adding a Saturday frequency from July 1 to September 1, 2019. The flight will operate on an Airbus A330

Also this week Air Italy launched new service between Milan and Bangkok. Operated on new long-haul Airbus A330-200 aircraft, the new service runs four times weekly, increasing to five times weekly from October 28. 

This week Icelandair announced a second bank of flights as part of its 2019 schedule, beginning in May of that year. The new bank of flights will operate to major cities in Europe, including Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Oslo, Paris, Stockholm, and Zurich, as well as to Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, New York, Toronto and Washington, DC. The new bank of fights from North America will arrive in Iceland at approximately 9:30 am with connections to Europe departing around 10:30 am. Flights returning from Europe land in Keflavik around 6:30 pm with departures to North America at approximately 8:00 pm.

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