Pizza Party! Delta Buys Pies for Rerouted Passengers
Fact: Pizza makes everything better. Even flight delays.
On Wednesday, passengers on Delta flight 802 from Atlanta to NYC's LaGuardia airport got a tasty surprise when their flight was rerouted due to bad weather: boxes upon boxes of pizza pies and bottled water waiting for them when they de-planed in Syracuse, New York.
Watch the video, reported by the Weather Channel, here.
This isn't the first time Delta Air Lines has bought pizza for its passengers. Back in May, the airline's crews placed orders when weather delayed more than 650 flights. Same with storms in Atlanta this past November—flight attendants passed out slices from the aisle.
Delta's dough-licious behavior can be traced back several years. In 2013, station managers arranged for a cop car to pull up and deliver 60 pizzas to a plane stuck on the tarmac for hours in Boston. Not too long before that, 160 pizzas were delivered to a Delta plane delayed in Savannah.
Back then, a Delta spokesman told USA TODAY, "Delta can't control the weather, but we can control how we respond to weather delays and irregular operations. In situations like these, Delta people have the decision-making power to take care of our customers — even having pizza delivered plane-side."
U.S. Will Resume Commercial Flights to Cuba
For the first time in more than 50 years, U.S. commercial flights to Cuba will soon become a reality. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx signed an agreement in Havana on Tuesday setting the stage for U.S. carriers to submit applications to operate commercial flights, with new routes likely in a matter of months. At present, the only flights between the U.S. and Cuba are charter flights, such as those operated by Cuba Travel Services partnering with JetBlue. Ready to visit Cuba? Well, it's not yet as simple as buying a plane ticket. Travel by U.S. tourists is still restricted, but the Treasury Department has expanded the categories under which Americans are allowed to visit the communist-ruled island, including exceptions for artists and journalists, those visiting family, and people-to-people education programs (we like package tours like those offered by Friendly Planet and Intrepid Travel). The resumption of commercial flights is another big step toward opening Cuba to American travelers. Last fall, we knew that commercial flights were on the horizon, and that played a role in our naming Cuba our No. 3 “Where to Go in 2016” destination. If you’re looking for some travel inspiration, check out our latest video, “A Gorgeous Day in the Life of Cuba,” above.
The Rockefeller Center Tree Arrived Today!
Budget Travel was on the scene as this year's Rockefeller Center holiday tree made an impressive arrival in NYC this morning! Actually, I happened to be at 30 Rock for Budget Travel's AMHQ segment, "Take Control of Weather-Related Travel Delays." But as a native New Yorker who grew up visiting Rockefeller Center as a little boy (my dad worked for NBC TV), it was a thrill to see the freshly cut behemoth up close like this. Turns out the tree and I had both commuted from the Hudson Valley this morning: The 10-ton, 78-foot Norway Spruce journeyed 80 miles in a flatbed truck from the Gardiner, NY, home of Albert Asendorf and Nancy Puchalski. Rockefeller Center has celebrated the holiday season every year since 1931 with a massive tree. The elaborate process of safely positioning and decorating the tree will culminate in a festive December 2 lighting ceremony. Check back with Budget Travel's This Just In blog throughout the holiday season for tips and updates about visiting NYC and other holiday hotspots!
Chile Will Protect the Ocean Surrounding Easter Island
We are thrilled that Chile’s president, Michelle Bachelet, announced yesterday at the Our Ocean conference that her nation will create a huge marine park around Rapa Nui, better known as Easter Island. Pending approval by the island’s indigenous people, a 243,630-square-mile area in the Pacific would be off-limits for fishing. The British government is also planning a marine park, of 322,000 square miles, around the Pitcairn Islands, which are Easter Island’s closest neighbors. Protecting this vast area from illegal industrial fishing is a major ecological step forward for the world’s oceans. Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin group, spoke for many of us when he blogged on Monday: “This wonderful action will protect treasures off the shores of this remote island, as well as the brilliant biodiversity that feeds the local Rapa Nui people, and helps them continue their centuries-old cultural traditions.” Easter Island is best known for its immense maoi, the iconic giant heads that were carved and transported by early settlers of the island. And we’re especially delighted by the timing of Chile’s announcement because we’re preparing a story about the island for the November/December “islands” issue of Budget Travel!
Delta Officially Bans Big-Game Hunting Trophies Worldwide
In the wake of controversy over the killing of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe by an American dentist, Delta Air Lines announced today that it would immediately "ban shipment of all lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros, and buffalo trophies worldwide as freight." Delta, the only U.S. airline with direct flights to South Africa, had been the target of pressure from individuals and organizations like the Animal Legal Defense Fund, which petitioned the airline on Change.org. According to TakePart.com: "There's no doubt the news of Cecil definitely has altered the game plan for Delta," said Chris Green, director of legislative affairs for the Animal Legal Defense Fund. "Walter Palmer is from Minneapolis—the third largest hub in the U.S. for Delta. It's not unthinkable to assume he would have chosen to carry a national treasure of Zimbabwe's back to the state's on a Delta plane." The New York Times reports that Air France, KLM, Iberia, IAG Cargo, Singapore Airlines, and Qantas banned trophies last week; they join South African Airways, and Emirates, Lufthansa, and British Airways, who had already banned them. Most non-African hunters are Americans.