Air Travel News: More Flights to the Caribbean


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Osobuco and side dishes on served on LAN.

Our Monday morning air travel digest, with deals, tips and anything else that travelers may want to know.

LAN AND TAM GET A NEW NAME

As part of their merger, the South American airlines LAN and TAM are changing their name to Latam. The unified airline expects to spend the next three years rolling out its new identity in aircraft, airports, offices, website and uniforms, beginning in the first half of 2016. Latam will unite passenger and cargo airlines for LAN Airlines and its affiliates in Peru, Argentina, Colombia and Ecuador and TAM Linhas Aéreas of Brazil. The company says it is the largest airline in Latin America with more than 1,500 flights per day.

ONBOARD, THE CUISINE OF PERU

The Latam affiliate still known as LAN Peru has introduced new Peruvian dishes on flights from Lima to Los Angeles, Madrid, Miami and New York. Entrees, which include chicken with rice and pastas like ricotta-stuffed cannelloni, are distinguished by their use of salsas, citrus and chiles, and desserts include South American favorites like flan. The new meal service is being tested indefinitely and may or may not expand, depending on flier feedback.

UNITED ADDS FLIGHTS TO CARIBBEAN

Northern snow birds can get to the Caribbean more directly next winter. United Airlines has announced new high-season service to two Caribbean destinations. Beginning Dec. 19, United will fly nonstop from Newark to St. Kitts. Weekly round trips will take place on Saturdays and run through April 30, 2016. Also scheduled Dec. 19 through April 9, the airline will begin weekly Saturday service from Chicago to St. Lucia. United already operates year-round between Newark and St. Lucia on Saturdays and will double departures from the airport with a new seasonal round-trip added on Sundays between Dec. 20 and May 1.

SENATOR CRITICIZES AIRLINE FEES

Consumers commonly gripe about airline fees, and now one senator is demanding the airline industry justify them. A staff report released earlier this month by the office of the ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee targeted the airline industry for failing to clearly disclose extra fees for options like preferred seats and for gouging consumers when it comes to itinerary changes or cancellations.

“The traveling public is being nickel-and-dimed to death,” Senator Bill Nelson of Florida, a Democrat, said in a news release. “What’s worse is that many fliers don’t learn about the actual cost of their travel until it’s too late.”

He said he planned to press Senate colleagues to act on the report’s recommendations, which include linking airline change fees to lead time before departure, disclosing the cost of carrying checked baggage versus the fee charged, and clearly stating on airline websites that preferred seat charges are optional. He plans to do this when the Senate begins working on legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration before an Oct. 1 deadline.

NEW PREMIUM ECONOMY SERVICE ON SINGAPORE AIRLINES

For long-haul fliers who can’t afford business class but can’t abide the economy squeeze, Singapore Airlines has introduced its Premium Economy cabin. Compared with economy, features include extra leg room with a calf rest and foot bar, an eight-inch seatback recline, noise-canceling headphones, 13.3-inch video screens, multiple power outlets at each seat and more storage space. Premium fliers can pre-order main course selections and receive priority check-in. The service was started earlier this month on Singapore to Sydney routes on new Airbus and Boeing aircraft and will be rolled out to Hong Kong and London next. The service will come to Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco flights to and from Singapore in December.



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