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Getting passengers to where they're going on time is an airline's top priority. Refunding money to a passenger, well, that's not such a priority, at least for American Airlines.

David Shaw of Whitehall Township just got the refund he says he was promised in September, and he got it only after the Watchdog repeatedly pestered the airline about it. That's so un-American.


Shaw and I had just about given up hope that he'd see the $150 American had said it would refund him after a booking glitch. Then the airline told me last week that Shaw's refund had been paid this month. The airline just never bothered to tell Shaw.

He didn't know about it until I relayed the good news. I guess customer communications and satisfaction aren't priorities for American either.

The last time Shaw heard from the airline was in mid-January, when it emailed him to say it was reviewing his request and any refund would be returned to his credit card within two billing cycles.

When that didn't happen, I jumped on board and contacted American Airlines on March 18. The airline left me in stand-by for three weeks, responding only after I called to follow up April 7. A spokeswoman told me then that the airline would check into it and get back to me.

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Another week passed with no word, so I contacted the airline again last week and was told the money had been paid, on April 7.

"We sincerely apologize for the delay in issuing his refund," an airline spokeswoman told me in an email.

She ignored my question about why it took so long, saying only that the refund "didn't meet our goals for timeliness."

I would hope not.


Shaw wasn't surprised about how he was treated. He's been bounced around by airlines before. Several years ago, he turned to the Watchdog for help when it appeared United Airlines and Chase bank were going to stiff him out of frequent flier miles. He told me he fears customers will endure more mistakes as airlines such as American and USAirways merge and grow larger.

This problem started in September when Shaw and his wife were preparing to return from an overseas trip. They went to the airport in Berlin to check in for their flight and were told that despite the confirmation paperwork they had, their reservation wasn't valid.

They had only an hour to straighten things out before takeoff. Shaw said he reached American Airlines and was told it never charged the credit card he used to book the trip. He gave the representative his card information again and they got their tickets, barely making it aboard.

But they weren't home free.

American Airlines had charged an extra $150 to his credit card. Shaw said he called to ask why and was informed there was a $75 fee for adjusting each itinerary by phone.

He wouldn't have had to call if the airline had processed his reservation correctly and charged the card he supplied. He pointed that out to the representative, noting he had received confirmation of his purchase and the airline hadn't contacted him to say it had a problem charging his card.

Shaw said the rep agreed to refund the fee. Three months later, at the end of December, the airline hadn't returned the money. He wrote a letter asking where it was and got an email Jan. 14 saying his request was under review.

It's a good thing airline regulators don't track American's on-time performance for paying refunds, because I suspect seven months wouldn't garner a top rating.

American Airlines is used to its rating slipping, though. Its performance dipped in a study released this month by researchers at Wichita State and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical universities, which combined the results for American and USAirways due to the merger.

The universities annually review federal data about airlines' on-time arrival rate, lost baggage rate, passenger bumpings and customer complaints, including those about refunds. The latest report found the airline industry as a whole performed worse last year than in 2013.

Shaw said if he and his wife had missed their flight, they would have been out at least 700 Euro (about $750) to get another flight. They also would have had to deal with the domino effect that would have had on their connecting flights home.

He said from now on, he won't trust a reservation confirmation from an airline.

"I learned a lesson from a hard way," he said. "We must double check our bookings before leaving home for a trip."

If you have a beef with an airline, you can seek help from the U.S. Department of Transportation at dot.gov/airconsumer or 202-366-2220.

The Watchdog is published Thursdays and Sundays. Contact me at watchdog@mcall.com, 610-841-2364 or The Morning Call, 101 N. Sixth St., Allentown, PA, 18101. I'm on Twitter @mcwatchdog and Facebook at Morning Call Watchdog.
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Apple Watch will make the flying experience more convenient for both casual and frequent flyers, with a number of airlines updating their apps for the Apple Watch in recent weeks, or announcing support coming soon, including American Airlines, Delta, United Airlines, JetBlue, British Airways, EasyJet, Ryanair, Qantas Airways, Air Canada, WestJet, Emirates and Japan Airlines. 


Notable airlines that have not announced or planned Apple Watch support include Southwest Airlines and Virgin Airlines in the United States, and Cologne-based Lufthansa, the largest airline in Europe. As more airlines begin updating their apps for the Apple Watch, however, it is likely that others will follow in an effort to keep up with their competitors around the world. 

The roundup below provides a closer look at Apple Watch apps for several airlines across the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, France, Ireland, United Arab Emirates and Japan. A handful of other general flight-related apps are also listed that provide general flight statuses, notifications, real-time departure and delay information and more for an easier traveling experience. 

United States

American Airlines 

American Airlines Watch
American Airlines for Apple Watch provides comprehensive flight information on your wrist, including gate change announcements, an in-flight map with estimated travel time remaining until arrival, and baggage claim and connection details. You can also receive a notification when it's time to leave for the airport and check in to your fight directly from your Apple Watch. American Airlines is free on the App Store

Delta 

Delta Air Lines will also be joining the mix of airline apps for Apple Watch in a future update to its current Fly Delta app for iPhone and iPad. Delta for Apple Watch will deliver notifications about flights to users ahead of their boarding times, and it will give them access to the boarding pass stored on their iPhones directly on the wrist. 

deltaapplewatch
Delta for Apple Watch will offer flight numbers, gate numbers, flight times, and other info. If a flight gets changed, for example, users will get a notification on their Apple Watch. There will also be a notification when a flight is approaching a destination city, with information about luggage pickup. Fly Delta is free on the App Store

United Airlines 

United Airlines has not released screenshots or in-depth details about its Apple Watch plans, but it has confirmed that support for the wrist-worn device is in the works. United's app will offer at-a-glance information on upcoming flights, including gate numbers and status, and let users view their flight reservations. It will also pull a traveler's boarding pass from the Passbook app, and it's able to alert users if flight times or gate numbers change. United Airlines is free on the App Store

JetBlue 

JetBlue has updated its app with Apple Watch support, enabling users to purchase onboard premium offerings from their wrists. The new Apple Watch app provides flyers with a Glance flight status, travel countdown and smart mobile boarding pass from the Apple Watch. JetBlue is free on the App Store for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. 

Canada

Air Canada 

Air Canada Apple Watch
Air Canada, the largest airline in Canada, recently updated their app with Apple Watch support for viewing the status of your flights departing within 24 hours, seeing your countdown to boarding time from your Glances, getting notifications for checking in and boarding your flight, using Handoff from your Apple Watch to complete your check-in and viewing boarding passes from Passbook. Air Canada is free on the App Store

WestJet 

WestJet, the second-largest Canadian airline behind Air Canada, recently updated its app for the Apple Watch to allow users to keep track of saved flight statuses and details in Glances, or view a countdown of time remaining until your next WestJet flight. WestJet boarding passes saved to Passbook will also be available on Apple Watch. WestJet is free on the App Store

United Kingdom

British Airways 

British Airways Apple Watch
Keep up to date with the latest flight information using British Airways for Apple Watch. At a glance, the app allows you to view the status of your next flight, access both scheduled and estimated departure times, and view the latest weather at your destination. The app also provides up-to-date information about the flight's gate status and provides notifications on your wrist when your gate status changes at Heathrow Terminals 3 and 5. British Airways is free on the App Store

EasyJet 

Apple Watch EasyJet
EasyJet, a low-cost airline in the United Kingdom, has also updated their app with Apple Watch support recently, providing personalized flight information and real-time views of travel information checked most frequently by passengers. Apple Watch users can also tweet and post to Facebook at various stages of their trip directly from the watch face. EasyJet is free on the App Store

Australia

Qantas Airways 

Qantas Airways Apple Watch
Qantas for Apple Watch is designed to eliminate the stress that can be associated with the flying experience. The app will provide a range of up-to-the-minute travel information and notifications on your Apple Watch including: departure time and gate information, in-air departure and arrival time-zone information, transit time information, lounge access eligibility, frequent Flyer login access, baggage carousel information (at selected destinations), boarding pass access (via Passbook) and delay or cancellation notifications. Qantas Airways is free on the App Store

France

Air France 

Air France Apple Watch
Air France for Apple Watch will deliver much of the same functionality as the airline's iPhone app, access upcoming reservations, including the ability to check if your flight is on time or confirm that you are checked in. You can also view all of your essential trip information via Glances, including your gate or departure terminal, your seat and the time remaining before boarding, and obtain your boarding pass through Passbook. Air France isfree on the App Store

Ireland

Ryanair 

Ryanair has pledged support for the Apple Watch when the wrist-worn device becomes available in Ireland. 

United Arab Emirates

Emirates 

Emirates Apple Watch
While the Apple Watch is not available in United Arab Emirates until later in 2015, the airline Emirates recently updated their app with Apple Watch support for a hands-free travel experience. Emirates will be the first airline in the Middle East and African region to offer an Apple Watch app, with similar functionality as others: review your list of upcoming trips, access real-time flight information, receive notifications and access your boarding pass through Passbook. Emirates is free on the App Store

Japan

Japan Airlines 

Japan Airlines Apple Watch
Japan Airlines has developed an Apple Watch app that it will be available when the device launches on April 24. The app will offer similar functionality as the other airlines listed above. JAL is free on the App Store
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A Southwest Airlines flight attendant is suing her employer for the alleged wrongful-death of her husband, who suffered a fatal blood clot while flying on the airlines.
According to the lawsuit, financial analyst Richard Ilczyszyn suffered a pulmonary embolism during a flight in September 2014. Flight attendants allegedly heard the 46-year-old man groaning and crying in the aircraft's bathrooms.
"One flight attendant said she opened the door and she saw the top of my husband's head and his head was down and he was just whimpering, and [she] left him there," Ilczyszyn's widow Kelly Ilczyszyn claimed.
However, the airline disputes Ilczyszyn's claim and states that staff called the authorities before landing in Orange County, California.
"We offer our continued sympathy and condolences. It appears to have been an unfortunate medical event that we believe our flight attendants handled appropriately," a statement from Southwest Airlines read.

Southwest disputes the claim

Despite the airline's claim, CBS News reported that staff allegedly called the Orange County Sheriff's Department describing an unruly passenger, not someone in need of medical attention. "Apparently there's a passenger in... locked himself in the lav and is screaming and yelling," the staff member allegedly said in the recording.
According to CBS, Sheriff's deputies cleared the flight once it landed before checking up on the man. Ilczyszyn never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
"The paramedics should have met the aircraft. Absolutely. Absolutely. And he would be here today," Kelly said. The widow's lawyer Andrew Speilberger added: "Our experts say these flight attendants and the crew, the captain, did not act reasonably based on the information that was before them".
Southwest told CBS that crew members were unable to open the bathroom door and could not fully assess his condition.
"Somebody that's head is down and there's no communication is somebody that's in distress, that needs help. That doesn't need a police officer," Kelly argued. "They need paramedics."

At The Airport He Hands Her His Passport. Suddenly She Climbs Over The Desk And Does THIS! Wow!

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft in LOT’s livery have already carried half a million travellers! For this occasion, we prepared something special at Warsaw Chopin Airport. The biggest surprise for the Half a Millionth Passenger, and numerous travellers at Warsaw Airport, was an unusual flash mob performed by artists from ROMA Musical Theatre. Check it out!

Thomson and First Choice will launch the first charter service out of Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA) in seven years, starting next summer.

They they will introduce a new Thomson Airways route to Palma, Majorca from (LJLA) offering Thomson Cruises holidays to customers from the region for the first time.

It is part of a strategy by the tour operator to enable its customers to fly from their local airport to its hotels and destinations.

The new route will go on sale next Thursday, April 23.

Customers travelling from Liverpool from summer 2016 will be able to join the Thomson Majesty sailing from Palma, exploring the Western Mediterranean, with the introduction of evening stays in Ibiza and Barcelona on its Catalan Promise itinerary.

Thomson Cruises will also be offering customers the chance to add a stay in central locations in Corfu town, Palma and Malaga for those looking for a city break experience.

A range of alternative holidays will also be available from Liverpool from Thomson and First Choice, from all-inclusive holidays to villa breaks.

Flights will depart from Liverpool on Tuesdays, starting May 3, 2016, operating for 26 weeks throughout the summer 2016 season, on a Thomson Airways 189-seat Boeing 737-800.

Karen Switzer, director of aviation planning for Thomson and First Choice, said: “Adding a flight to Majorca from Liverpool demonstrates our commitment to the airport and the local area. It’s great that we can give local customers the chance to take advantage of fabulous new itineraries on board the Thomson Majesty next summer and allowing them to experience the cruise and stay programme.

“We’re excited to extend our cruise offering by making it easily accessible for those living in the North West. “

She added: “Expanding access to our destinations and hotels is part of our strategy. We hope this will enhance the holiday experience for customers.”

Andrew Cornish, LJLA chief executive, said: “This is yet another significant announcement for the sirport as we re-establish a full season holiday charter product from Liverpool for the first time in seven years. There is huge demand for charter holidays from our core catchment area.

“Today’s news means that the region’s passengers will now be able to start their Thomson or First Choice holiday with the added convenience of flying from their local airport.”
Etihad Airways chief James Hogan has met with Europe's Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc to highlight the benefits which the airline delivers to European consumers amid growing resistance from to its growth from rival carriers.
Hogan, president and CEO of Etihad, said he outlined the multi-billion euro contribution which the airline makes to European economies at the meeting, and reinforced the risks associated with rising protectionist sentiment.
The meeting comes amid criticism of Etihad from the likes of Lufthansa, Europe's largest airline group, which said last month that the Abu Dhabi carrier should “respect” European laws and engage in more due diligence in order to avoid clashing with the EU in relation to its purchase of equity stakes in European airlines.
The European Commission in April 2014 launched an investigation into Etihad’s investments in European airlines as part of a wider examination into whether foreign ownership of European airlines complies with EU airline licensing rules.
In a statement following his meeting with Bulc, Hogan said any moves to impede foreign carrier access and limit competition would not just damage Etihad and its European partners, but would also reverberate throughout the air transport industry, and potentially undermine international confidence in Europe's commitment to global trade and investment.
He said research conducted by Oxford Economics had verified that in 2014, Etihad's core operations in the European Union contributed a total of $1 billion to the combined GDP of the 28 EU member nations and supported more than 11,000 jobs.
Additionally, the airline's 2014 capital spending on aircraft and other aviation equipment contributed $2.6 billion to the EU28 GDP, and supported more than 28,100 jobs.
Additional economic benefits were also calculated based on passenger and freight flows as a result of expanded flight connectivity. In 2014, connectivity benefits to the EU28 GDP were estimated at $1.3 billion, while the amount for the past decade was $5 billion.

Hogan said: "Etihad Airways is not just another foreign airline flying to Europe to poach local traffic. We are a sophisticated partner to and investor in Europe for long-term mutual benefit, contributing billions of euros every year to EU and non-EU economies, supporting tens of thousands of jobs and both maintaining and expanding choice for air travellers to and from Europe.
"Through our own flights, our 21 European codeshare partnerships and our minority investments in five European airlines, we are adding value to Europe in a way that no other foreign airline is."
He added: "Etihad Airways is committed to Europe. But growing resistance to us from a handful of protectionist competitors could have unintended consequences well beyond limiting our development.
"If our growth is curtailed or our investments in airlines are compromised, the real damage will be to Europe in lost jobs, lost flight connectivity, lost investment in local and national economies and lost consumer choice."


© 2015 ITP DIGITAL Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).
She heard noises and insisted that something was wrong. She was laughed at but eventually proved right, her father told Crownheights.info.
Inside airplane (Reuters)
A young woman from the Chabad stream most likely saved the lives of thepassengers in a plane full of people when she suspected a malfunction in the aircraft moments before takeoff, according to Crownheights.info.

Respecting her request of anonymity, the site does not identify her, but says she is a member of the Crown Heights community and the daughter of Rabbi Kalman Winefeld. She was scheduled to return from a trip to Israel, where she spent the Pesach holiday.
Rabbi Winefeld told the story to CrownHeights.info:
“My daughter was scheduled to return to New York on Motzai Shabbos from Israel with a stopover in Moscow on Russian airline TransAero. She boarded her flight at Ben Gurion Airport and was seated at the window.

“Moments before takeoff, she realized that something was not right with the wing and heard noises that she believed were not regular noises. She first brought this to the attention of the passengers seated beside her, who in turn laughed it off and said it was just noise from the engines.”

“Not deterred, she persisted, unbuckling her seatbelt and standing up. The flight attendants, who themselves were already seated and buckled in, instructed her to return to her seat. When she told them her concerns about the plane they too laughed at her. She insisted that she will not fly on the plane if they didn’t check it out.”
The airline officials shouted at her and voiced threats, but she did not relent. Faced with what must have been her indomitable conviction, however, they agreed to delay takeoff and investigate her claim. Her father went on:

“After returning to the gate, a ground crew began checking over the airplane. At first they said it would be 45 minutes, but nearly two hours later they removed all the passengersfrom the aircraft, telling them that it did indeed require repairs.

“An additional three hours later, the passengers were notified that a replacement plane would be necessary, since the problem was far more severe than originally discovered.Passengers were sent home and told to return the following day.

“The issue was so severe that the plane, a Boeing 767, had to be grounded due to the fact that it could have had a mid-air emergency that would have threatened the lives of all those on board, airline officials explained.

“The relieved passengers – many of whom had originally expressed irritation at the woman who caused the prolonged delay – came over to her and profusely thanked her for saving their lives.”
Some might find the incident reminiscent of the miraculous insights of the Lubavicher Rebbe.
According to Chabad.org, on July 23rd 1968, the Lubavicher Rebbe met with Major General Ariel Sharon. During the meeting, the site relates, Sharon periodically checked his watch, since he was scheduled to return to Israel that night. The Rebbe suggested that Sharon stay a little longer and take another flight, and Sharon complied.
"Later that night, the EL-AL flight Sharon had planned to take was hijacked to Algeria by the ‘Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.’ All Jewish passengers were held for five weeks before being released unharmed. According to those released," says Chabad.org, "the hijackers seemed to be looking for ‘someone important,’ and they were enraged when they realized that he was not aboard. It was later revealed that the entire incident was an operation executed to capture Ariel Sharon."