United adds maple-flavored cookie to its complimentary snack rotation

United Airlines made this announcement:

Building on one of the hottest flavor trends, United Airlines (UAL) is introducing a new item into its complimentary snack rotation on domestic flights departing before 9:45 a.m. This new snack, created especially for the airline by Byrd Cookie Company, is a maple wafer cookie that combines a crunchy texture with a sweet maple flavor. The new snack will begin to roll out on flights as early as this weekend.

The Byrd Cookie Company Maple Wafer, created especially for United Airlines

While maple syrup is most often associated with pancakes and waffles, the flavor is becoming more popular in a variety of foods and beverages, with Google Trends data showing an increase in searches related to maple and many heralding it as the “next pumpkin spice.”

“We know that maple is an increasingly appealing flavor, and we are always looking for ways to capitalize on trends in taste buds,” Vice President of Catering Operations Charlean Gmunder said. “We are excited to offer our customers a light, crisp snack that is created by a woman-owned bakery.”

The cookie combines a rich buttery flavor with a hint of maple and just the right pinch of salt to create a delightfully addictive snack. It is a play on the benne wafer and a modern twist on a cookie that Byrd Cookie Company has been baking for almost 70 years. The maple wafers are baked in Savannah, Ga., and pair nicely with United’s signature illy coffee, making them perfect for the early morning traveler.

“We created this cookie using only the finest ingredients, and we continue to bake in small batches so that we can consistently deliver high-quality confections,” Byrd Cookie Company CEO Stephanie Lindley said.

Byrd Cookie Company is certified by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council as a woman-owned business.

To celebrate the new partnership, MileagePlus Exclusives is hosting a live auction where customers can bid miles to travel to Savannah, Georgia and enjoy a tour of the Byrd’s bakery and take in Savannah’s local sites. The auction is available on the MileagePlus Exclusives website for members to start bidding today at exclusives.mileageplus.com/Byrds.

This new snack replaces the Stroopwafel, the current morning snack. United is expanding its complimentary snack offerings in order to continue to appeal to a broad palate. The Stroopwafel will be available again in the future as the airline rotates between morning snack options. The Stroopwafel will remain on flights departing Europe prior to 9:30 a.m.


Fly Erbil to expand operations in Europe

Fly Erbil (Erbil, Kurdistan, Iraq) according to the airline, was established in 2015, licensed to carry out “Passenger on scheduled Flights, locally and internationally”.

Fly Erbil began to operate locally and internationally scheduled flights in 2015 with the goal of offering passengers international standards of quality and comfort on board.

Now the airline is expanding in Europe.

Erbil – Gothenburg flights will commence on June 23, 2018.

Erbil – Stockholm flights also start on June 25, 2018.

The new airline is also planning to fly from Erbil to Nuremberg starting on July 1, 2018.

All images by Fly Erbil.

Route Map:

Reuters: El Al Airlines drops plans to buy Israir

Named "Bat Yam"

From Reuters:

El Al Israel Airlines said on Wednesday it had scrapped its bid to acquire smaller low-cost rival Israir from IDB Tourism amid opposition from competition regulators.

A year ago, El Al – Israel’s flag carrier – reached a deal for its Sun d’Or unit to pay up to $24 million for Israir, which flies to the southern resort of Eilat and a host of European cities.

Sun d’Or flies to about 17 destinations in France, Italy, Switzerland, Greece and elsewhere in Europe.

Earlier this year, Israel’s Anti-Trust Authority said it opposed the merger since it would prevent El Al from operating flights to Eilat and lead to competitive concerns resulting from El Al’s control of security services at all Israeli airlines.

El Al, which argued that flights to Eilat were economically unjustified, appealed against the decision but decided to drop that appeal on Wednesday.

“In view of the passage of time from the signing of the purchase agreement and the expected time to complete the appeal process the parties were required to negotiate the commercial terms in which the agreement could be kept in place,” El Al said.

“Since the negotiations failed and no agreement was reached, the parties … withdrew the appeal.”

The withdrawal came hours before a preliminary hearing in front of an anti-trust tribunal.

“El Al and Israir will therefore be unable to consummate the merger,” the anti-trust authority said. (Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Mark Potter)

Top and Below Copyright Photos: The newest Dreamliner is named “Bat Yam”. El Al Israel Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner 4X-EDE (msn 63393) PAE (Nick Dean). Image: 942476.

Named "Bat Yam"

El Al aircraft slide show:

Ryanair: Air Traffic Control (ATC) strikes are destroying air traffic and economies across Europe

Promoting the island of Lanzarote

Ryanair has made this dire statement about the on-going ATC strikes in Europe:

An alarming increase in Air Traffic Control (ATC) strikes across Europe has wreaked havoc on airlines, their passengers and business. 2018 is shaping up to be one of the worst years ever for ATC strikes in Europe. Year-to-date, A4E member airlines have been forced to cancel nearly 5,000 flights as a result of the strikes, directly impacting around 784,000 passengers across Europe. In addition, millions of travellers have been affected by flight delays caused by airspace diversions and residual backups.

According to Eurocontrol, 39,000 flights – around 30 per cent of the total en-route delays in May- were delayed due to ATC strikes.  In addition, Eurocontrol projects total delay minutes for 2018 will be up by 53 per cent compared to 2017 as a result of strikes and capacity shortages (14.3 million in 2018 versus 9.3 million minutes in 2017).

ATC strikes have a costly impact on customers, European economies and the environment. They breach the principle of allowing people and goods to move freely across Europe, because:


  1. Customers’ journeys and supply chains are severely disrupted.
  2. Diversions to avoid closed air space result in much longer flights and burn more fuel, resulting in higher CO2 emissions.
  3. Tourism is most affected due to cancelled flights to prime holiday destinations, putting small and medium size businesses at risk.
  4. Airlines have to pay passengers compensation for the delays and rebook them on other flights, significantly disrupting customers’ travel plans and the airlines’ operations. Airlines don’t have the right to recover these costs from the ATC providers who have caused them.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) showed that the economic cost of ATC strikes in the EU between 2010-2017 was €13.4 billion*. Last summer, the European Commission said that since 2005 there have been around 357 air traffic control strikes in the EU, 254 of which have occurred in France (*).

Willie Walsh, IAG’s chief executive, said: “IAG and Ryanair are planning to submit a complaint to the European Commission as ATC strikes represent the biggest challenge for our industry. They are destroying European air traffic and having a huge impact on consumers. It’s a really frustrating cause of disruption that affects all airlines but in particular has a significant negative impact on Spain’s tourism and economy. Continuous strikes by ATC staff in Marseille have a disproportionate impact on those airlines flying from Barcelona because they control flights over most of the Mediterranean airspace. For Vueling this means that 50 per cent of its flights are affected. The EU must act now to protect the rights of the consumers and prevent long term damage to European economies”.

Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s chief executive, said: “These disruptions are unacceptable, and we call on the Governments, and the EU Commission to take urgent and decisive action to ensure that ATC providers are fully staffed and that overflights are not affected when national strikes take place, as they repeatedly do in France.

“Europe’s ATC providers are approaching the point of meltdown with hundreds of flights being cancelled daily either because of ATC strikes or because Europe’s ATC don’t have enough staff. The situation is particularly acute at weekends where British and German ATC providers are hiding behind adverse weather and euphemisms such as “capacity restrictions” when the truth is they are not rostering enough ATC staff to cater for the number of flights that are scheduled to operate.

“Urgent action must now be taken by the UK and German Governments, and the EU Commission, otherwise thousands more flights and millions of passengers will be disrupted, particularly in the peak months of July and August, unless this ATC staffing crisis is addressed”.

In response to the continued ATC strike disruptions, A4E has proposed a mandatory 72-hour individual notification period for employees wishing to strike, protection of overflights while ensuring it does not come to the detriment of local services, and a guarantee on minimum services to be provided.

IAG and Ryanair’s complaint will argue that by not adequately protecting flights over France, EU law is infringed.

“We have been working constructively and quite intensively over the last several months with French government officials and Parliamentarians to establish a stable and long-term solution to these disruptions. In this context, we urge the French government to take decisive action to resolve this issue on behalf of all our passengers, ahead of this summer’s busy travel season”, said Thomas Reynaert, Managing Director, A4E.

Consumers can also demand swifter action by EU politicians by signing A4E’s online petition:  www.keepeuropesskiesopen.com. The petition will be presented to the relevant authorities in Brussels and EU capitals by the end of 2018.

Link to PriceWaterhouseCoopers Study on the Economic Impact of ATC Strikes in the EU: https://a4e.eu/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/A4E-Economic-Impact-ATC-Strikes-Final-Report_160929-vf.pdf

Link to commission des finances du Sénat’s report.

ATC Update for today:

ATC Update – German ATC staff shortages have caused delays to 48 (11%) of our 435 first wave of flight departures this morning. Thunderstorms have also caused delays in Portugal. We sincerely regret these delays and are doing our utmost to limit their impact on flights throughout the rest of today. Customers on impacted flights have been notified by SMS text and email.

Copyright Photo: Ryanair Boeing 737-8AS WL EI-FIT (msn 44703) (Lanzarote – A Unique Island) LIS (Ton Jochems). Image: 940738.

Ryanair aircraft slide show:


Norwegian continues expansion in Ireland with first route to Canada

Norwegian.com (Norwegian Air International) (Ireland) Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 EI-FYC (msn 42825) (Jonathan Swift, Irish writer) ARN (Stefan Sjogren). Image: 940376.

Norwegian has announced it is continuing its Irish expansion with the launch of the carrier’s first route to Canada. Commencing on March 31, 2019, the new daily service between Dublin and Hamilton (near Toronto) will mark the first direct flight between the two cities, providing passengers with greater choice and flexibility at an affordable price.

Norwegian’s daily nonstop flights from Dublin to Hamilton will be operated using brand new Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 aircraft offering 189 seats in a high quality, modern single class cabin.

Norwegian will continue its growth at Dublin by continuing its summer 2018 schedule into the winter. Irish customers will continue to benefit from a double daily service to Stewart, New York and daily flights to Providence, which offers passengers more affordable access to the tourist centers of New York City, Boston and the New England area.

Flight schedule – all times local

Dublin Airport to John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport

  • Daily – Flight D81840 Departs 14.40 Arrives 17.25

John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport to Dublin Airport –

  • Daily – Flight D81841 Departs 19.45 Arrives 07.30 (+1)

Copyright Photo: Norwegian.com (Norwegian Air International) (Ireland) Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 EI-FYC (msn 42825) (Jonathan Swift, Irish writer) ARN (Stefan Sjogren). Image: 940376.

Norwegian (Norway) aircraft slide show:

Brussels Airlines introduces new Economy Light fare on North American routes

Brussels Airlines Airbus A330-301 OO-SFM (msn 030) IAD (Brian McDonough). Image: 939585.

Brussels Airlines has announced it is now offering its guests a so-called Economy Light fare option on North American routes. The new offer is the cheapest choice for price-conscious passengers who are travelling with hand luggage only and do not require ticket flexibility.

Economy Light passengers have the option of individually booking a piece of luggage or reserving a particular seat against a fee, and to personalize their experience by adding services that best meet their needs. Meals and drinks continue to be free of charge for all passengers on board. The Economy Light fares start at €383 for a return flight to New York JFK and can be booked as of today on brusselsairlines.com or via travel agencies.

Brussels Airlines is introducing the new Economy Light fare on its North American destinations (New York, Washington D.C. and Toronto) together with Austrian, Lufthansa and Swiss as well as with its A++ joint venture partners United and Air Canada.

Copyright Photo (all others by Brussels Airlines): Brussels Airlines Airbus A330-301 OO-SFM (msn 030) IAD (Brian McDonough). Image: 939585.

Brussels Airlines aircraft slide show:

Swiss will add new services this winter

Swiss International Air Lines Bombardier CS300 (BD-500-1A11) HB-JCE (msn 55014) ZRH (Andi Hiltl). Image: 941490.

Swiss International Air Lines has announced it will expand its European network from Zurich in the coming 2018/19 winter timetables.

A new service will be introduced to Bremen in Northern Germany; and Bordeaux (France), Kiev (Ukraine), Brindisi (Italy) and Sylt (Germany) become all-year destinations.

Swiss will also be introducing a new service between Geneva and Kittilä (Finland), and will offer new winter Geneva flights to Palma de Mallorca.

Swiss will initiate a new 12-times-weekly service between Zurich and Bremen in Northern Germany in the coming winter schedules. Two daily flights will be offered Mondays to Fridays, along with a Saturday morning and a Sunday evening service. The new route is aimed at both business and leisure travellers.

New all-year destinations

Bordeaux, the center of Southwest France’s famous winegrowing region, will also receive winter service from Zurich with 12 weekly flights. Swiss will also be continuing the four-times-weekly Zurich-Kiev service that was introduced this summer throughout the coming winter timetable period. The Ukrainian capital will be served Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Travellers can also fly Swiss from Zurich to Brindisi in Southern Italy this winter, with a twice-weekly (Fridays and Sundays) service. And Swiss will further be offering winter flights to the popular German North Sea island of Sylt, with Wednesday and Saturday services over the Christmas and New Year period.

More frequencies on selected routes

Swiss will also be increasing its frequencies on existing routes from Zurich this winter, in response to strong demand. Madrid in particular will receive ten additional weekly flights, which will also offer customers from the Madrid region enhanced connections onto Swiss’s intercontinental network via its Zurich hub. And frequencies will further be increased between Zurich and the German destinations of Berlin, Hamburg and Düsseldorf.

More services from Geneva

Swiss customers in the Geneva region will enjoy new flights to Kittilä in Lapland (Finland) in the coming winter timetable period. The weekly Saturday service will operate between December 22, 2018 and March 2, 2019, and is bookable exclusively via Kontiki, the specialist Scandinavian tour operator.

Geneva-based travelers will also be offered a new weekly (Saturday) service to Palma de Mallorca between December and March this winter. The island is a popular destination also in the winter months, especially among sports-minded vacationers.

Swiss will further be raising its frequencies from Geneva to Madrid (Spain), and will now offer both an evening and a morning flight on Mondays through to Thursdays. Services will also be seasonally increased between Geneva and Porto (Portugal), Moscow (Russia) and Marrakech (Morocco).

The winter timetables come into effect on October 28, 2018.

Copyright Photo: Swiss International Air Lines Bombardier CS300 (BD-500-1A11) HB-JCE (msn 55014) ZRH (Andi Hiltl). Image: 941490.

Swiss aircraft slide show: