Monday Briefing: Immigration Ban, Delta Outage Disrupt Air Travel

Demonstrators gather in the baggage claim area during a protest against President Donald Trump's executive order banning travel to the United States by citizens of several countries Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. // Photo by Jeffrey M. Smith/The Times Herald via AP

A wave of protests against President Donald Trump’s immigration ban, as well as a computer outage that grounded Delta flights, disrupted travel over the weekend and into Monday. 

According to ABC News, activists are planning to continue protests this week at around 10 airports across the United States over an executive order barring travelers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the United States for at least 90 days. As of Monday morning, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official told ABC News that no more individuals were being detained at airports over the order.

“ASTA remains vigilant in both monitoring the situation surrounding the Immigration Executive Order and keeping our members up-to-date and prepared to serve their clients,” said American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) President and CEO Zane Kerby in a written release. “The Order calls for the development of ‘standards to prevent terrorist or criminal infiltration by foreign nationals’ as well as inter-agency work to create ‘uniform screening standards for all immigration programs government-wide.’ We urge the Administration to conduct its review expeditiously so that travel industry stakeholders know the rules of the road when serving their clients and that travel disruptions are kept to a minimum.”

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The New York Times reports that the order stranded travelers around the world including, initially, those with green cards granting them permanent residence in the United States. The DHS later issued an order exempting legal residents from the ban. Multiple courts have intervened to block President Trump’s executive order, and a series of lawsuits remains pending. 

According to The Miami Herald, the ban affected at least one cruise ship passenger, an Iranian chemical engineer returning from a cruise to Mexico out of Port Everglades. Maysam Sodagari, a passenger on a gay cruise that this year took place onboard Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, was detained for three hours after arriving back in Port Everglades before being released. 

At the same time as this weekend’s protests, a system outage hit Delta that forced the airline to cancel about 170 flights Sunday night. Approximately 80 flights scheduled for Monday have been canceled, with additional cancellations possible. 

Delta has issued a travel waiver for flights affected by the computer outage that will allow guests to cancel their trip if their flight is cancelled or delayed by 90 minutes or more and receive a refund for the unused portion of their ticket. Even if a guest’s flight is not canceled, they may make a one-time change to their ticket without fee. The waiver is good for travel January 29 - 30. The ticket must be reissued on or before February 3 with rebooked travel to begin no later than that date. 

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