From changes in TSA policy to new airline agreements, here’s the latest air travel news to watch from this week.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has changed its policy to allow certain CBD oil and medications on planes, NBC News reports. The new rule applies to FDA-approved marijuana and products that contain hemp-derived CBD oil, which contains little to no THC, the psychoactive chemical in marijuana. (Hemp and hemp derivatives were federally legalized by the 2018 Farm Bill.) The TSA said the change was prompted by the FDA’s approval of a drug that contains CBD oil, Epidiolex, which is used to treat seizures in children with epilepsy. Other forms of marijuana, including products and CBD oils that contain THC, are still banned.
In airline news, this week South African Airways and Alaska Airlines established a new interline partnership, which will allow customers to purchase a single itinerary for travel on both airlines and enjoy connections via New York – JFK and Washington – Dulles between Alaska Airlines’ North American network and over 75 destinations in Africa served by South African Airways and its regional partners.
In flight news, this week American Airlines and St. Kitts announced plans to launch a second weekly nonstop flight from JFK. The new flight will begin December 18 and run on Wednesdays, complementing American’s existing nonstop Saturday service from the airport.
In Europe, this week Delta expanded its airlift from the East Coast to Edinburgh, Scotland. The airline launched its inaugural flight between Edinburgh and Scotland and confirmed that its service from JFK is to become year-round. The daily Boston flight will operate throughout the summer, while the JFK route will extend beyond summer into winter for the first time, creating a year-round service.
Domestically, this week Southwest Airlines announced a smattering of new and returning flights as it extended its flight schedule through January 5, 2020. On October 1, 2019, Southwest will expand its service out of Long Beach to the following cities: Oakland (four times daily); San Jose (four flights a day on weekdays and three flights on Saturdays and Sundays); Sacramento (four flights a day on weekdays and three flights on Saturdays and Sundays); and Las Vegas (two flights a day on weekends). Starting November 3, 2019, the airline will add daily nonstop service between Baltimore – Washington and Greenwich - Spartanburg, a route that was previously offered in 2016. Finally, on November 6, 2019, the carrier will add new weekly service on Saturdays between Boston and Fort Lauderdale.
In airport news, this weekend United Airlines is officially moving operations at LaGuardia Airport to the new Terminal B Eastern Concourse. Starting June 2, customers will begin using gates in the new area, which is the first phase of the $4 billion, 1.3-million-square-foot redevelopment project of Terminal B. The new facility will offer 13 new shops, restaurants and services, including a Shake Shack, Irving Farm Coffee Roasters and an outpost of the famous toy store, FAO Schwarz.
Finally, in onboard product news, this week ANA announced plans to revamp seats on its domestic flights, increasing the number of Premium Class seats and introducing larger touch panel personal seat monitors in both Premium and Economy class. Eight Boeing 777-200 and 11 Boeing 787-8 aircraft have been selected for the renovations, which are set to begin in fall 2019 and are to be completed by the first half of 2022.