This week’s travel news: American Airlines’ pilot situation is confusing; a silly new airline is born; and a tool that calculates your passport’s worth.
By Michael Fraiman
Every Friday, Outpost’s online editor rounds up the week’s biggest travel headlines.
Oh, how we pine for the days of overbooking. This week it was announced that American Airlines had actually run afoul of under-booking this time—with their own pilots. The airline announced that a computer glitch meant they accidentally scheduled 15,000 holiday-season flights without pilots, a situation that would be difficult to rectify because so few pilots had already booked the time off. The latest news (as I write this) is that American has claimed they’ve found pilots for most flights—all but a few hundred—yet pilots don’t believe it, since their private booking system shows thousands of unclaimed flights. It’s unlikely that thousands of people will show up to abruptly cancelled flights, but who knows? Maybe American Airlines will just bump everyone. Just another reason for everyone to pile up on airline outrage.
American isn’t the only airline making news this week. Air France-KLM has officially launched their silly new #millennial-branded airline, Joon. After facing a wave of initial criticism (including some admittedly nasty words from yours truly and a blunt takedown by our senior editor), the folks behind the chic Insta-friendly airline have seemingly changed nothing, instead adding such in-air perks as free WiFi, programs from Viceland and RedBullTV, virtual-reality headsets and baobab juice. You know what they’re not offering, though? Cheaper fares. Don’t they realize that the only thing millennials want is to save money? Why do they think tiny homes and mason jars have become so popular? I’m curious to see how long Joon lasts, or if it will prove me wrong and become a smash luxury success.
In the news department of “fun online sites you can spend 10 minutes on,” a coder created an online tool to calculate the value of your passport. The developer posted the tool to reddit, where it was promptly both lauded and criticized for a few inaccuracies (it’s a work in progress, after all). The site answers three questions: What’s the best second passport you could own? What’s the combined power of your passports for dual citizens? And what’s the difference between any two passports? So it turns out the best second passport for Canadians is a German one, which the site determines by how many countries it allows you to enter visa-free, how much land that covers and how much easier it would make your travels. (For comparison, a South African passport would grant you access to 10 additional countries, but you’d lose some freedom of movement around the world.) Check out the tool here.