American, Delta and Frontier airlines all slapped with fines for consumer rule violations — nothing for United

Frontier Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines have been fined for violating U.S. Transportation Department airline consumer protection rules, the department said on Friday.

Frontier Airlines was fined $400,000 for violating oversales and disability rules, American Airlines $250,000 for failing to make timely refunds to passengers, and Delta Air Lines $200,000 for filing inaccurate baggage reports, the department said in a statement.

Delta failed to properly report all baggage claims from 2012 through 2015 and told the Transportation Department that if it had reported all claims it would have likely fallen from fourth to fifth in rankings among carriers for fewest baggage claims in 2012 and 2013.

Delta said in a statement it was notified last year its damaged bag policy was not compliant with the department’s published guidelines and it immediately updated its policy.

Frontier “failed to seek volunteers before bumping passengers involuntarily, failed to provide bumped passengers the required written notice describing their rights, and failed to provide proper compensation to passengers in a timely manner” the Transportation Department said. It reviewed more than 200 complaints.

“Frontier remains committed to complying with DOT rules,” the airline said in a statement, adding it updated procedures “that were not effective” and “taken steps including, introducing a new reporting system.” It must also add a new quality assurance management position by Sept. 1.

American Airlines failed to process a “significant number” of refunds in a timely fashion in 2015, the department said.

The company said Friday it “is committed to providing timely refunds to our customers.”

American said it “took proactive steps to address refund delays some customers experienced in 2015 due to a systems integration issue after the merger with US Airways, including investments to improve processing times.”

Airline bumping practices have drawn more scrutiny following video of a passenger being dragged off a United Airlines flight in April.

This and other incidents have been broadcast on social media, prompting congressional hearings with airline executives that raised questions about customer service and airline cost-cutting.

Southwest Airlines Co said in April it would end overbooking, while United announced policy changes, including boosting compensation for overbooked passengers to up to $10,000.

Legislation unveiled in Congress in June would make it illegal for an airline to bump an already boarded passenger from a flight. Another measure before Congress would require new rules for airlines promptly to refund passengers for baggage fees or other fees if they do not receive the service.

(Reporting by Eric Beech and David Shepardson in Washington; editing by Cynthia Osterman and Grant McCool)

BUMP EM OFF Spain’s Iberia Airlines has been fined £22k for asking wannabe flight attendants to take pregnancy tests

A SPANISH airline has been slapped with a £22,130 fine after it was found to have forced women applying for flight attendant positions to take a pregnancy test.

Iberia Airlines was given the sanction by the Ministry of Labour of the Balearic Islands, and has since said it will remove the condition from its application process for aspiring cabin crew, and allow individuals to choose whether they inform the airline if they are expecting.

Iberia Airlines has come under fire for forcing aspiring flight attendants to take pregnancy tests

AP
2
Iberia Airlines has come under fire for forcing aspiring flight attendants to take pregnancy tests

According to Spanish newspaper El Pais, the practice was unearthed last year during a campaign against labour discrimination.

Sources within the company told the newspaper that pregnancy tests were conducted across the country.

They claimed they were part of medical examinations for candidates who had passed the selection process, so that they could incorporate them into the airline’s health protocol.

Iberia said that the tests were put in place to protect the health of the applicant, so that the airline could avoid assigning expectant mothers a task that may put their pregnancy at risk.

In a statement to The Sun Online, Iberia said the protocols ensured they met international aviation regulations.

“Iberia has strict protocols for protecting pregnant employees, including trainees, and they are not assigned duties that could endanger their health of that of the foetus,” the statement read. 

The incident comes just two weeks after Iberia celebrated their 90th anniversary

EPA
2
The incident comes just two weeks after Iberia celebrated their 90th anniversary

“In keeping with international aviation regulations, female cabin staff are relieved of flying duties as soon as their pregnancies are known.”

Iberia’s Workplace Health and Safety Officer, Dr. Maria Teresa Garcia Menéndez, said: “Given the controversy arising from the current protocol in place to protect pregnant women, we will no longer include a pregnancy test in the medical examination for new hires.

“However, we will continue to use all necessary means to ensure the safety and rights of pregnant employees, as we have always done.”

But the Ministry of Labour confirmed sanctions this week after rejecting the airline’s excuses.

In the UK, women are not required to tell an employer that they are pregnant until the end of the 15th week before the baby is due.

Spain’s flagship carrier airline still has the opportunity to appeal the decision with the Ministry if they so wish.

Late last month, Iberia found themselves in the middle of a landmark court ruling, when UK judge ordered the Spanish air operator refund a passenger the cost of his return journey after they automatically cancelled it, because he failed to check in on his first flight.

Carriers regularly cancel both legs of a trip if passengers miss the first one, but the new ruling by the Mayor’s and City of London Court could see an end to the practice, which often leaves passengers paying through the nose for another flight.

The ruling comes from a court case brought by barrister James Dove after Iberia cancelled the return leg of his flight from London to Madrid.

[via sun]

United Airlines Introduces Boeing 777-300ER To Additional Routes

United Airlines announced today additional Boeing 777-300ER service, the airline’s newest aircraft type featuring the all-new United Polaris business class seats, to its flight schedules. With the schedule update over the weekend, the airline expects to begin 777-300ER service on the following routes*:

San Francisco (SFO) – Beijing (PEK) beginning September 6, 2017 westbound (September 8, 2017 eastbound) San Francisco (SFO) – Frankfurt (FRA)** beginning October 5, 2017 eastbound (October 6, 2017 westbound) New York/Newark (EWR) to Tokyo Narita (NRT) beginning October 28, 2017 westbound (October 29, 2017 eastbound)

United Polaris business class

*Flight and aircraft schedules are subject to change.
** United offers two daily flights between SFO-FRA through October 27, 2017. The 777-300ER will serve flights UA 58/59.

Boeing 777-300ER aircraft are already in service on United’s San Francisco – Hong Kong (HKG) and New York/Newark – Tel Aviv (TLV) routes and will begin service from San Francisco to Taipei (TPE) on August 1. United expects to place into service all 14 aircraft in its first 777-300ER order in 2017. The airline recently announced an order for four additional 777-300ER aircraft.

All-New Business Class Seat

United’s 777-300ER aircraft offers a modern, spacious interior envisioned in partnership with design firm PriestmanGoode, including the airline’s all-new United Polaris business class seat. Each United Polaris suite-like pod features direct access to the aisle, a 180-degree flat-bed that measures 6’6” and 23 inches wide with infinite seat recline options and one-touch lumbar support, ample storage, multiple surfaces that enable passengers to dine while working, universal A/C power as well as 2-USB ports, a 16-inch high-definition entertainment screen, electronic privacy dividers for seats in the center of the cabin, mood lighting and an illuminated “Do Not Disturb” sign. Additionally, a marble-topped bar unit offers customers in business class a place to grab a mid-flight drink or snack.

This new seat represents the latest in the continued roll-out of United Polaris, the airline’s most significant product transformation in more than a decade, featuring a reimagined, sleep-enhancing experience for intercontinental travelers.

The Boeing 777-300ER features 60 seats in business class in a 1-2-1 configuration with direct-aisle access from all seats.

Cabin Experience

Throughout the aircraft, the cabin interior is comprised of bespoke branding elements as well as carpets, fabrics and wall laminates – that, like the United Polaris seat, were specially designed for United, as well as redesigned lavatories which include modern finishings and farmhouse-style sinks. With a focus on providing a more tranquil journey for customers, the new cabin design features LED mood-lighting to complement sleep and assist with time-zone changes as well as textured and softer touch materials which not only provide a more premium feel, but will absorb aircraft noise and other sound within the cabin.

United Economy

Seats in United Economy offer two United Private Screening options – personal on-demand entertainment with high-definition seat-back monitors and USB ports along with United’s personal device entertainment, enabling customers to play thousands of hours of movies and television programs on their electronic devices. Customers also have access to in-seat power outlets and the opportunity to purchase satellite Wi-Fi.

The aircraft features 102 seats in United Economy Plus in a 3-4-3 configuration with 34 inches of pitch, and 204 United Economy seats in a 3-4-3 configuration with 31 inches of pitch.

About United

United Airlines and United Express operate approximately 4,500 flights a day to 337 airports across five continents. In 2016, United and United Express operated more than 1.6 million flights carrying more than 143 million customers. United is proud to have the world’s most comprehensive route network, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. United operates 743 mainline aircraft and the airline’s United Express carriers operate 478 regional aircraft. The airline is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 190 countries via 28 member airlines. For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United’s parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol “UAL”.

 

United Airlines logo. (PRNewsFoto/United Airlines)

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/united-airlines-introduces-boeing-777-300er-to-additional-routes-300483041.html

SOURCE United Airlines

Related Photos: <a href=’https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/530195/United_Airlines_Saks_Fifth_Ave_Amenities.jpg target=_new>Photo</a>, <a href=’https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/95577/united_airlines_logo.jpg target=_new>Photo</a>,

This new private jet service offers unlimited flights to Europe

The INSIDER Summary

  • Surf Air is a private jet service that just launched in Europe. 
  • Members can fly unlimited trips within the continent for a montly fee.
  • The company is adding destinations like Cannes, Zurich and Milan to its roster. 
  • The service first launched in California and has become popular for making traveling less stressful.

Frequent flying is about to be taken to a new level with the European launch of Surf Air, a subscription service that lets members fly unlimited trips on a private jet for a monthly fee.

The service first launched in California, where members could fly as many trips as they wanted between destinations like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Lake Tahoe for a flat monthly fee of $1,950, in addition to a one-time new member fee.

Since the flights are often not run out of commercial airports and are within one country, users could book on a smartphone app and simply show up 15 minutes before takeoff. Surf Air conducts security screenings of all of its members, so they don’t have to go through security at the airport.

Surf Air just made its debut in Europe, scheduled to take its maiden voyage Monday from London to Ibiza, Spain. The company plans to quickly add destinations such as Cannes, Zurich, Geneva and Milan, Reuters reported.

The subscription package is marketed toward business passengers, as the 1,950 pound per month (approximately $2,230) cuts down on wait times at airports. While the price tag may seem steep, last minute flights between short haul destinations in Europe can run well over $400 roundtrip, even on discount airlines.

Surf Air in Europe currently has one jet and plans to add at least a dozen Pilatus aircraft in the next three to five years, according to the same Reuters report.

A new way to fly, as captured by @zacharyleung upon touching down in LA. Thanks for sharing!

A post shared by Surf Air (@surfair) on

The jets are equipped with reclining seats, work tables, and USB ports. Passengers can help themselves to unlimited drinks and food onboard, as there is no flight crew, the Independent reported.

“Our model is the future of air travel,” European CEO Simon Talling-Smith, told the Independent. “It’s flying without the bad bits.”

Read the original article on Travel + Leisure. via Insider

Beijing’s New Mega Airport Will Challenge Air China’s Dominance

Like ancient warlords, China’s three biggest airlines have dominated their regional cities: Air China Ltd. controlling Beijing, China Eastern Airlines Corp. holding sway in the financial center of Shanghai, and China Southern Airlines Co. ruling the roost down in export gateway Guangzhou. Until now.

Rising on a plain south of Beijing is a mega airport that is about to change the balance, bringing all three head to head in the capital as it becomes the world’s biggest aviation hub.

The new airport, due to open in 2019, has been designated by authorities as the hub for members of the SkyTeam alliance, a global group of airlines that includes China Eastern and China Southern. The two Chinese carriers will each be allowed to capture 40 percent of the airport’s passengers, gaining coveted time slots to Europe and the U.S. in Air China’s backyard.

An artist rendition of the Beijing New Airport Terminal building.
Source: Methanoia via Zaha Hadid Architects

“This is an absolute game-changer for China Eastern and China Southern,” said Corrine Png, chief executive officer of Crucial Perspective in Singapore. “Having all the SkyTeam alliance members under one roof will enable seamless flight connections.”

The invasion of Air China’s regional rivals has repercussions beyond China. As well as dominating their home bases, the big three Chinese players have each carved out a position abroad. Air China, through its Star Alliance ties with Deutsche Lufthansa AG and United Continental Holdings Inc., commands many of the routes to Europe and North America. China Eastern is the biggest carrier to Japan and South Korea. And China Southern is strong in Australia and Southeast Asia.

With access to more slots in Beijing, China Southern and China Eastern would potentially get more access to lucrative North American routes while their SkyTeam partners would get better access to the Chinese capital. In addition, China Southern, the nation’s biggest airline, would be able to draw traffic from its Southeast Asian links to fly via Beijing to the U.S.

Until then, they have to fight for slots at the existing airport which is close to capacity. Air China, part of Star Alliance, whose 28 members include United, Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa, controls 38 percent of the slots at Beijing Capital International Airport, which handled 94 million passengers in 2016—close to the maximum of 96 million.

“There are demands to add hundreds of flights in Beijing every day that get refused because we’re running out of resources,” said Liu Xuesong, general manager of Capital Airports Holding Co., the operator of Beijing’s existing airport. “The city is capable of running dual hubs.”

The new $12.9 billion airport in the southern suburb of Daxing, which was approved in 2014, would accommodate up to 100 million passengers a year with as many as seven runways. Liu estimates that by 2025, the two Beijing airports would share 170 million passengers, including 25 million on international flights.

Beijing is joining a select list of major cities with two or even three international airports, including London, New York, Tokyo and Paris. Unlike in Beijing, though, those airports usually take complementary roles, such as one serving international or intercontinental routes and the other focusing on domestic or regional flights.

“So far in history we haven’t seen any city or city clusters having two hubs of the same scale,” said Ma Chongxian, vice president of Air China’s parent company, China National Aviation Holding Co., at a conference in Beijing in May.

That’s because it’s usually airlines, rather than the government, who choose which airport to fly to, said Steve Saxon, a Shanghai-based partner at McKinsey & Co.

“China is different,” Saxon said. “The government has substantial influence over the three largest carriers,” which will help Beijing build two connecting hubs where other cities have failed.

China Southern has said it will deploy more than 200 aircraft at the new airport by 2020—about a fifth of its planned fleet by that time.

China Eastern will have “a remarkable advantage” by being a hub carrier both in Shanghai and Beijing as the capital is better positioned geographically as a connecting point for Europe and North America, said Will Horton, a Hong Kong-based analyst at CAPA Centre for Aviation. China Eastern already accounts for 50 percent of the market for the top 10 international flights from the country’s financial hub Shanghai.

The construction of the new Beijing airport isn’t all bad news for Air China. Its airport is closer to downtown, about 25 minutes in smooth traffic to the main business district in the eastern part of the capital, or the same time by train.

Planned road and rail links from the new airport would also whisk travelers into Beijing in about half an hour, but to the southwest, a part of the city that’s less convenient for most business executives, especially during the capital’s notoriously congested peak traffic times.

“Air China is likely to win share on key business routes,” said McKinsey’s Saxon, “similar to how British Airways benefits from the privileged position it has in the more convenient London Heathrow.”

That could affect the lucrative Beijing-Shanghai route, where China Eastern commands nearly 60 percent of the market, data compiled by Huatai Securities Co. show.

An artist rendition of the Beijing New Airport Terminal building.
Source: Methanoia via Zaha Hadid Architects

The division of Beijing’s airports by alliance leaves out the third-biggest group, Oneworld. Members of the group, started in 1999 by Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific and four other carriers, are instead relying on individual links with the Chinese airlines.

Oneworld member American Airlines Group Inc., announced in March a 2.7 percent stake purchase in China Southern for $200 million, and will deploy some of its flights at the new Beijing airport as part of the deal. The U.S. carrier had to postpone the launch of a Los Angeles-to-Beijing flight earlier this year as it failed to secure a time slot.

Delta Air Lines Inc., which has a 3.2 percent stake in China Eastern, should also earn more slots at the new airport.

A representative for Cathay didn’t respond to an email seeking comments.

Chinese authorities have committed to preserving slots at the current and new airports for carriers that already fly to Beijing, Oneworld said in an e-mail. It said 10 Oneworld members serve the city with a total of 163 weekly flights from 16 international destinations.

One major effect of all the expansion will be some very congested skies over China, which has some of the most constricted airspace in the world because of priority for military planes.

Bloomberg

CAPA estimates that only about 20 percent the airspace over China is open to civilian flights—one of the reasons for Chinese airlines’ spotty on-time performance record.

“There is no point opening another massive airport without addressing the restricted airspace issue,” Crucial Perspective’s Png said.

Fascinating Air Travel Secrets Your Flight Attendants Do Not Tell You

Flying has brought about a revolution in the way people travel. What used to be a risky and costly endeavor has become a normal means of transportation today. And it’s no surprise because who would really prefer driving for days or weeks when you can now simply fly your way to your intended location in just a few hours?

But did you know that a hundred years after aviation was introduced, many aspects of plane travel still remain a mystery to the majority today? Well, that’s because there are things airlines do not really disclose openly. Of course, there are many things that regular passengers aren’t privy to, but here are the juiciest air travel secrets you need to know that flight attendants do not tell you.

Those tiny holes in select aircraft windows are for your safety.

If you ever gaze out of your window during your flight and you spot a tiny hole towards the bottom, there’s no reason to be alarmed. That wouldn’t cause the plane to crash. In fact, it’s there to help keep the plane intact.

Called ‘bleed’ or ‘breather’ holes, the openings are designed to help with the air pressure inside the plane cabin. At a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet, the air pressure is so low that anyone would pass out if they were exposed to it, so a plane’s cabin must be pressurized to be able to breathe. Good for us passengers, yes, but not for the aircraft. Enter the mysterious window holes, the only way to release some of the strain pressure puts on the plane.

Another of its function? It also keeps the window fog-free so you can enjoy the view of the scenery below.

What are flight attendants for?

They may look like they’re simply air waitresses, but there’s really more to being a flight attendant than just that. Business Insider says one of the main purposes of deploying them aboard the plane is because they are the ones announcing whether or not the plane is about to crash.

“The captain will give you the same information that we know if there is time and then we will begin emergency landing procedures,” the anonymous flight attendant said. “My job is to make sure we all get out alive, so of course I would want you to be as prepared as possible.”

They are also there in case of medical emergencies. Flight attendants are actually trained to do CPR, use a defibrillator, and deliver a baby, among others. So the next time they smile at you, know that there is a lot more going on behind the scenes that you’d hope they’ll never need to do.

They dim the lights during takeoff and landing for evacuation.

If you thought its just to urge you to put your book or phone down, you’re wrong. The cabin lights are dimmed so your eyes are adjusted to the dark in case you need to find a way out.

“Imagine being in an unfamiliar bright room filled with obstacles when someone turns off the lights and asks you to exit quickly,” Chris Cooke, a pilot with a major domestic carrier, told Independent.

And in a true crisis—if the plane is filled with smoke or the power goes out—it’s easier to see the emergency lights in the aisle and the exit signs in a darker cabin. Safety during emergencies is also the reason why flight attendants ask you to put up tray tables and seats at takeoff and landing; so the person sitting by the window can get out quickly.

Not turning your phone off or putting it in flight mode can really cause a crash.

This is a plea we hear at the beginning of every flight which the vast majority comply with, even if they’re not 100 percent sure why. Most of us assume its signal could interfere with navigation instruments, possibly causing a crash. This is technically true, but it’s not safety critical.

Pilot and author of Cockpit Confidential, Patrick Smith, says it’s more of an exercise of caution. “Can cellular communications really disrupt cockpit equipment? The answer is potentially yes, but in all likelihood no,” he said in an interview. The main issue is phone signals interfering with the airplane and causing more work for the pilots during critical phases of flight. Although it affects in a small degree, Smith says “Airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are merely erring on the better-safe-than-sorry side.”

Airplane pillows/blankets are reused.

Yes, airlines change the pillow cases and blankets every day, but not every flight so that blanket you’re sleeping under may not be so fresh. Most of the time, airlines just refold and re-use them on flights, according to ex-flight attendant Fatihah Sudewo.

“It depends on how cheap the airline is, but I’ve had my share seeing them [the cleaning team] refolding the blankets for the passengers on the next flight to use,” she wrote. “At least they were generous enough to replace the pillow covers and the headrest covers.”

Flight attendants dress the pillows with new covers and take the old ones alongside the blankets at the end of the day with them to be the washed. Fresh ones then come on the first flight in the morning, so if you’re flying midday or late night, be sure to stock up on that Vitamin C and hand sanitizer before hitting the tarmac. If that’s still gross to you, you may ask for a new blanket in a plastic bag or not use one at all.

Plane water is gross.

If you want to drink water, make sure it’s from the bottle. Avoid getting coffee or tea because chances are the water used to make them comes from the craft’s water tank located under the plane which is probably not very clean.

And so are the lavatories and other cabin surfaces.

Plane bathrooms are much worse. Not only do they have constricted spaces and unflattering lighting, they are very dirty also that even flight attendants avoid them if possible. Most of them only use the lavatory to wash their hands or if they really need to go to the bathroom. If it’s a short time, they oftentimes wait until they can use the bathroom at the airport.

Other cabin surfaces like food trays are not guaranteed clean either. Diapers have been laid on them and sometimes they’re even smeared with poo. They are not regularly washed and sanitized. Most people get sick after flying not because of what they breathe but because of what they touch and food trays are one of the culprits.

Pilots can’t eat the same meal at the same time.

The pilot and co-pilot are served different meals which they cannot share. Why? So that if it causes food poisoning, there will be someone left to fly the plane. However, New York Times says it’s not FAA regulation, but rather each airline decides their own rules.

Flight attendants, on the other hand, are a different case. Depending on the airline, sometimes they have the same meal as the passengers or have a much better one. In Sudewo’s experience, she says: “Our meals are slightly better than the passenger meals. While the quality of food varies by airline, she said that there’s “at least a trolley dedicated for the crews” with fresh fruit, bread rolls, desserts, drinks and more.

Those oxygen masks only give you 15 minutes of air.

That’s right. If there is an emergency and the cabin is depressurized, the oxygen masks that come down from the ceiling are attached to tanks which typically have only 15 minutes worth of supply per person. That amount of time seems short, but 15 minutes is plenty of time for the pilot to get the craft to a safe altitude where the oxygen masks are not needed anymore. This nightmare scenario will hopefully not happen to you, but if it does, at least you know how much oxygen supply you have, right?

Which air travel secrets fascinated you the most? Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below.

Queen rocker flies into a rage over BA first class: Guitarist Brian May furious that recliner seats are no longer next to the windows

Queen guitarist Brian May is preoccupied with minor changes to the seating plan when he flies first class on British Airways

Amid the seemingly endless bad news of terrorist attacks and disasters, one man apparently has more pressing concerns.

Queen guitarist Brian May is preoccupied with minor changes to the seating plan when he flies first class on British Airways.

The 69-year-old, who is married to former EastEnders star Anita Dobson, is furious that the recliner seats have been reconfigured so they are no longer immediately next to the windows.

‘Travelling on planes has for years been something I have had to do, as part of my job,’ explains May.

‘As I fly today with British Airways, I wonder if I am the only person left in the world who likes to relax in a comfortable seat and dreamily turn my head to the window and get lost in the ever-changing wonders of the planet as they drift by?

‘I wonder this because I’m not aware of anyone except me complaining about the new way the seats are configured in BA First Class.’ May, who memorably performed a guitar solo on the roof of Buckingham Palace at the start of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee concert, wails about the seating changes: ‘I hate it. It costs an arm and a leg to travel this way and I feel that we no longer get our money’s worth.

‘In the old days you sat right next to the window and the view was wide and spectacular.

‘Now they sit you about three feet from the window and so low down all you can see from your seat is a small patch of sky. It’s boring — frustrating.’

He adds on his personal website: ‘If anyone out there agrees please let me (and British Airways) know — OK?’

It is just the latest in a string of frustrations that May has voiced publicly over recent years.

Last year, he attacked ‘b*****d basement builders’, claiming the digging of multi-level ‘iceberg basements’ was turning his West London neighbourhood into a ‘hellhole’.

An outspoken opponent of fox-hunting, he criticised Theresa May for saying during the General Election she would allow a free Commons vote on ending the ban.

 HM and Duke enjoy a surprise day off
The Queen appeared to be wearing jodhpurs and headscarf with a light beige jacket and gloves as she rode a horse in Windsor

She was supposed to be in London yesterday for the State Opening of Parliament.

Now that it has been delayed until tomorrow, the Queen took advantage of the fine weather to go for a ride in the grounds of Windsor Castle.

The 91-year-old Monarch was joined by a male companion on the hottest day of the year.

The Queen appeared to be wearing jodhpurs and headscarf with a light beige jacket and gloves.

Meanwhile, her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, could also be seen taking his coach and horses out for a ride through the sprawling estate.

Philip, 96, has been an avid carriage driver since 1971, when he took up the activity — which he described as a ‘geriatric sport’ — after giving up polo, aged 50.

He was instrumental in helping to establish it as a sport in Britain.

He enjoys regular outings with Prince Charles’s old friend Countess Mountbatten, formerly Lady Brabourne.

Prince Philip once said: ‘I thought it would be a nice weekend activity, rather like golfing.’

Kate’s touching tribute to her Porridge star father 

A heart-warming message from film star Kate Beckinsale, who celebrated Father’s Day with a poignant tribute to her late father, actor Richard Beckinsale.

In the photo she posted on social media, a young Kate lies on the floor while her father lounges on the sofa.

The Porridge and Rising Damp star died of a heart attack in 1979, when he was 31 and Pearl Harbor beauty Kate was just five.

Kate, now 43, writes: ‘I miss you so much. Happy Father’s Day. Thank you for teaching me love, and funny, and that both last forever.’

Kate Beckinsale posted this photo  on social media, a young Kate lies on the floor while her father lounges on the sofa

Outspoken cannabis critic Jeremy Clarkson once admitted: ‘If someone lights a joint within 20ft of where I happen to be, my face goes like parchment and I faint.’ 

Now his daughter Emily, who shares his views, reveals she was forced to risk getting involuntarily high in the heatwave. 

‘Our neighbour is smoking a joint outside our window,’ explained the 22-year-old, who lives in Notting Hill. ‘We have to choose between melting or accidentally getting us all (dog included) stoned.’ 

Theresa May has held private prayer sessions with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, it was reported at the weekend.

But her predecessor was less devout. David Cameron memorably once described his faith in terms of an unreliable radio signal: ‘Like Magic FM in the Chilterns, it comes and goes.’ When Welby was asked if he used to pray with fellow Old Etonian Cameron, he replied: ‘I used to pray for him.’

source

The glorious history of the best plane Boeing has ever built

This week in 1994, the Boeing 777 airliner made its first flight – kicking off a career that would revolutionize the airline industry.

Once every few decades, an airplane comes along and simply redefines what a modern airliner is capable of delivering for airlines and its passengers. In 1957, Boeing changed the game with its first jet-powered airliner, the 707. In 1969, Boeing turned the airline industry upside down with the introduction of the 747 jumbo jet. In 1994, Boeing did it again with the 777.

In the two decades since its first flight, the 777 has become the trusty long-haul workhorse for the world’s international airlines. Through May of 2017, Boeing has sold a whopping 1,911 777s – making it the best wide-body airliner in company history.

Here’s a closer look at the history of the Boeing 777.

Get the latest Boeing stock price here.

With more than two decades of service under its belt, the 777 is getting ready for a major makeover, In 2019, Boeing will introduce the next generation 777X. As expected, half of the 777X pre-orders have come from the Dubai’s Emirates.

With more than two decades of service under its belt, the 777 is getting ready for a major makeover, In 2019, Boeing will introduce the next generation 777X. As expected, half of the 777X pre-orders have come from the Dubai's Emirates.

In fact, Emirates has accounted for 15% of all 777s ever sold.

In fact, Emirates has accounted for 15% of all 777s ever sold.

Over the next two decades, Emirates would become a global aviation powerhouse. In the process, the airline would operate a fleet of more than 120 777s — the largest in the world.

Over the next two decades, Emirates would become a global aviation powerhouse. In the process, the airline would operate a fleet of more than 120 777s — the largest in the world.

However, the 777 has no greater customer than Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum. In 1996, the Sheikh’s small Dubai-based airline received its first 777-200.

However, the 777 has no greater customer than Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum.  In 1996, the Sheikh's small Dubai-based airline received its first 777-200.

… Turkish Airlines.

... Turkish Airlines.

… Air New Zealand and,…

... Air New Zealand and,...

… Air Canada,…

... Air Canada,...

… Air China,…

... Air China,...

… Air France,…

... Air France,...

… Etihad,…

... Etihad,...

… Qatar,…

... Qatar,...

… Singapore,…

... Singapore,...

… United,…

... United,...

…. Delta,…

.... Delta,...

Today, the Boeing 777 is one of the most popular long-haul airliners in the world. It’s in service many of the world’s most prominent airlines including American,…

Today, the Boeing 777 is one of the most popular long-haul airliners in the world. It's in service many of the world's most prominent airlines including American,...

Also known as the WorldLiner, the 200LR can carry 301 passengers nearly 11,000 miles.

Also known as the WorldLiner, the 200LR can carry 301 passengers nearly 11,000 miles.

In 2006, Boeing introduced ultra-long-range 777-200LR.

In 2006, Boeing introduced ultra-long-range 777-200LR.

In 2002, Boeing rolled out the extended range version of the Dash 300 called the 777-300ER. With more than 800 sold, the 300ER is by far the most popular version of the 777.

In 2002, Boeing rolled out the extended range version of the Dash 300 called the 777-300ER. With more than 800 sold, the 300ER is by far the most popular version of the 777.

In 1998, Boeing’s stretched the 777 to create the 550-seat 777-300.

In 1998, Boeing's stretched the 777 to create the 550-seat 777-300.

In 1996, Boeing rolled out a more potent version of the 777 with an even greater range called the 777-200IGW. It would later be renamed the 777-200ER for extended range.

In 1996, Boeing rolled out a more potent version of the 777 with an even greater range called the 777-200IGW. It would later be renamed the 777-200ER for extended range.

… The state-of-the-art Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental could not stop the success of the 777.

... The state-of-the-art Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental could not stop the success of the 777.

Even the record-breaking Airbus A380 superjumbo and the…

Even the record-breaking Airbus A380 superjumbo and the...

Along with the twin-engine Airbus A330, the Boeing 777 has decimated four-engine jumbo jet sales.

Along with the twin-engine Airbus A330, the Boeing 777 has decimated four-engine jumbo jet sales.

The rule change rendered modern three-engine airliners like the McDonnell-Douglas MD-11 obsolete overnight. They simply couldn’t match the four-engine jumbo jets’ people carrying ability. Nor could they match the twin-engine jets’ lower cost and increased efficiency.

The rule change rendered modern three-engine airliners like the McDonnell-Douglas MD-11 obsolete overnight. They simply couldn't match the four-engine jumbo jets' people carrying ability. Nor could they match the twin-engine jets' lower cost and increased efficiency.

With the 777, Boeing was able to convince the government to give the plane an ETOPS 180 rating.

With the 777, Boeing was able to convince the government to give the plane an ETOPS 180 rating.

In 1985, the Federal Aviation Administration softened its restrictions on the routes twin-engine jets can fly by giving the 767 an ETOPS 120 rating. That allowed the 767 to operate routes up to 120 minutes of single-engine flying time away from the nearest airport. This rule change allowed the 767 to cross the Atlantic: opening up a host of new opportunities for its operators.

In 1985, the Federal Aviation Administration softened its restrictions on the routes twin-engine jets can fly by giving the 767 an ETOPS 120 rating. That allowed the 767 to operate routes up to 120 minutes of single-engine flying time away from the nearest airport. This rule change allowed the 767 to cross the Atlantic: opening up a host of new opportunities for its operators.

At the same, early twin-engine wide-body jets such as the Airbus A300B2 were relegated to medium-haul routes.

At the same, early twin-engine wide-body jets such as the Airbus A300B2 were relegated to medium-haul routes.

…. The Lockheed L-1011 Tristar became en vogue.

.... The Lockheed L-1011 Tristar became en vogue.

As turbofan technology improved, smaller three-engine airliners such as the McDonnell-Douglas DC-10 and …

As turbofan technology improved, smaller three-engine airliners such as the McDonnell-Douglas DC-10 and ...

… Later the Boeing 747 all had multiple engines. After all, if one engine fails, there are three more to keep the plane in the air.

... Later the Boeing 747 all had multiple engines. After all, if one engine fails, there are three more to keep the plane in the air.

… Douglas DC-8, and…

... Douglas DC-8, and...

Traditionally, the prevailing logic in long haul flying has been that there’s safety in the number of engines a plane has. As a result, planes such as the four-engined Boeing 707,…

Traditionally, the prevailing logic in long haul flying has been that there's safety in the number of engines a plane has. As a result, planes such as the four-engined Boeing 707,...

In June 1995, the 777-200 entered service with United Airlines— marking the start of the plane’s game-changing career.

In June 1995, the 777-200 entered service with United Airlines— marking the start of the plane's game-changing career.

The resulting aircraft could carry 305 to 440 passengers up to 8,270 miles. The Dash 200 could cruise at 615 mph and fly at 37,900 ft.

The resulting aircraft could carry 305 to 440 passengers up to 8,270 miles. The Dash 200 could cruise at 615 mph and fly at 37,900 ft.

On June 12, 1994, all of Boeing’s hard work came to fruition with the first flight of the Boeing 777-200.

On June 12, 1994, all of Boeing's hard work came to fruition with the first flight of the Boeing 777-200.

In the back, passengers are treated to a more comfortable and quiet ride with greater in-flight entertainment options.

In the back, passengers are treated to a more comfortable and quiet ride with greater in-flight entertainment options.

Premium cabin passengers were treated to lie-flat seating.

Premium cabin passengers were treated to lie-flat seating.

The 777-200 featured a state-of-the-art two-person digital cockpit.

The 777-200 featured a state-of-the-art two-person digital cockpit.

Here is one of the 777’s signature triple axle main landing gears.

Here is one of the 777's signature triple axle main landing gears.

The jet’s high bypass turbofan engines built by Rolls-Royce, Pratt & Whitney, and GE are the largest engines ever installed on an airliner.

The jet's high bypass turbofan engines built by Rolls-Royce, Pratt & Whitney, and GE are the largest engines ever installed on an airliner.

Even though the 777-200 was smaller than the 747, it is still a massive airplane at 209 feet long with a 191-foot wingspan. The airplane weighed 506,000 lbs.

Even though the 777-200 was smaller than the 747, it is still a massive airplane at 209 feet long with a 191-foot wingspan. The airplane weighed 506,000 lbs.

To produce the 777, Boeing selected its Everett, Washington production facility.

To produce the 777, Boeing selected its Everett, Washington production facility.

Using 3D computer graphics, Boeing was able to digitally pre-assemble the 777, foregoing the need for costly and time-consuming clay models.

Using 3D computer graphics, Boeing was able to digitally pre-assemble the 777, foregoing the need for costly and time-consuming clay models.

From the start, Boeing knew the 777 would be special. It was the first airliner to be designed completely using a computer.

From the start, Boeing knew the 777 would be special. It was the first airliner to be designed completely using a computer.

During his eight years in charge of Ford, Mulally successfully guided the company through the dark days of the financial crisis without the need of a government bailout. The former 777 project manager is generally considered the best CEO in Ford history not named Henry Ford.

During his eight years in charge of Ford, Mulally successfully guided the company through the dark days of the financial crisis without the need of a government bailout. The former 777 project manager is generally considered the best CEO in Ford history not named Henry Ford.

Leading the 777 program was its general manager Alan Mulally. In 2006, Mulally left Boeing to become the CEO of the Ford Motor Company.

Leading the 777 program was its general manager Alan Mulally. In 2006, Mulally left Boeing to become the CEO of the Ford Motor Company.

… But smaller than the iconic 747 jumbo jet.

... But smaller than the iconic 747 jumbo jet.

The Boeing 777’s journey began in October of 1990 with an order from United Airlines for a twin-engine wide-body airliner larger than Boeing’s 767…

Airbus to add winglets to boost A380 sales: sources

PARIS (Reuters) – Europe’s Airbus (PA:AIR) plans to upgrade its A380 superjumbo with fuel-saving wingtip devices, or winglets, in an effort to boost slow sales of the mammoth jet, two people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The latest modifications to the world’s largest airliner will be announced at next week’s Paris Airshow, they said, proceeding with a program of efficiency improvements first reported by Reuters in March.

“We have always said the A380 has further efficiency upside potential,” an Airbus spokesman said, declining further comment.

The A380 has suffered a dearth of sales as airlines switch to slightly smaller models with two engines, which are easier to fill and cheaper to maintain.

The project to make the double-decker A380 more attractive to buyers has already led to the scrapping of its “grand staircase” in favor of a more compact structure, leaving more room for seats.

The combination of the improved aerodynamic wing performance and increased seating to more than 600 would lower the operating cost per seat, a key barometer for airlines.

Airbus Chief Operating Officer Fabrice Bregier confirmed last week that Airbus was considering improving the A380 with winglets to make it cheaper to fly.

Such devices cut fuel consumption by reducing drag, but they can involve a weight penalty because the wing may have to be strengthened.

Industry sources have estimated that the overall makeover would improve fuel efficiency by about 2 percent.

The Airbus A380 Superjumbo May Get Even Larger With New Wings

Airbus SE’s A380 superjumbo may sprout extended wings as the European manufacturer intensifies studies into the addition of curved extensions aimed at reducing drag and boosting efficiency.

The so-called winglets, which on the A380 would each measure as much as 5 meters (16-feet), could reduce fuel burn by up to 4 percent by dissipating the vortexes of rapidly spinning air created by the plane’s wings.

Airbus’s commercial aircraft chief Fabrice Bregier said Friday there’s a good chance that the company will opt to upgrade the smaller wingtip fences currently fitted on the A380. The switch, together with improved engine efficiencies, could help win orders while avoiding the greater expense of a Neo upgrade featuring new turbines and changes to the double-decker’s airframe.

“We will not launch an A380neo, there’s no business case now to do that, this is absolutely clear,” Bregier said. “But it doesn’t prevent us from looking at what could be done to improve the performance of the aircraft. So having a little bit more efficiency from the engines is clearly an option, and looking at whether we could bring new winglets is also probably a good possibility.”

Adding the extensions would require only minor modifications to the A380’s wings, with no need to strengthen the center box where they join to the plane’s fuselage, Bregier said in an interview at Airbus’s headquarters in Toulouse, France. That was a cost the company sustained when adding winglets to its A320-series single-aisle planes.

Emirates Interest

Enhancements to the A380 could help lure buyers after the world’s biggest passenger plane drew an order blank last year, and Airbus will only go ahead with the winglets upgrade if there is commercial interest, Bregier said.

Emirates, the biggest superjumbo customer, is in early talks over a deal for 20 more A380s, people familiar with the discussions said this week. The Dubai carrier told Bloomberg that while it has no plans for a purchase right now, it regularly engages with manufacturers on “product updates and enhancement.”

Didier Evrard, Airbus’s commercial programs chief, said studies into the winglets are progressing and stem from technological advancements as well as the need to make the A380 more efficient. “Ten or 15 years ago we were not able to design winglets with the right balance or drag,” he said, adding that the existing wingtips “are not the most optimal part of the A380.”

The model was formally launched in December 2000, had its first flight in 2005, and entered commercial service with Singapore Airlines Ltd. in 2007.

Even a 1 percent fuel saving would be significant for the superjumbo, which carries 200 metric tons of kerosene for a typical long-haul flight, according to Evrard, who on Monday said Airbus would need to consider slowing the A380 build rate to less than one jet a month without new contracts this year.

Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc, which is supplying engines for the outstanding A380s from existing Emirates orders, could provide range and fuel-burn improvements for the Trent 900 turbine that it makes for the model. It referred questions about potential upgrades to Airbus.

As part of its push to make the superjumbo more attractive to airlines Airbus has also devised half a dozen cabin modifications in order to accommodate more than 80 additional seats. The changes include removing an upper-deck stowage area, re-positioning the main staircase and moving to an 11-abreast layout on the main deck.