This Week in Travel News | The Battle Behind a Bruised Banana. Plus: Air Canada connects Canadians with more direct flights, and hopefully the last time we’ll have to mention United Airlines for a while.
By Michael Fraiman
Each Friday, we round up the week’s biggest travel headlines. Here are this week’s:
United Airlines settles down. In what will hopefully be the last time we update you on this issue, United Airlines has reached a settlement agreement with David Dao, the man who was dragged bleeding out of a United airplane in April. Reports say Dao’s lawyers are happy with the settlement, which is great for the embattled airline, because they can avoid this potentially major lawsuit. As for the jeggings girls and dead giant rabbit… we’ll see what happens.
Air Canada spreads its wings. Good news for Canadians who hate layovers: Air Canada announced its intention to introduce direct flights from Vancouver to Melbourne, Vancouver to Orlando, Toronto to Belize, Toronto to St. Vincent, Montreal to Lima, and Montreal to Phoenix. It’s hard to think this timing isn’t related to two recent expansions by rival WestJet, which recently announced a low-cost carrier arm and ordered a few Boeing 787 Dreamliners, ideal to duke it out with Air Canada in the long-haul-flight market. But as Air Canada’s chief executive, Calin Rovinescu, told reporters this week in his best business-speak, “The addition of incremental competition is something that at this stage is not troubling to us.” Canadian fightin’ words if I’ve ever heard ’em.
It ain’t easy flying gluten-free. Remember when Air Transat got flack for ditching gluten-free meals on all transatlantic flights? This sounds worse: a British man with celiac disease was served a single bruised banana aboard an nine-and-a-half-hour-long flight from Tokyo to Sydney with All Nippon Airways. (He was also given packets of salt and pepper, along with a knife and fork.) The man told the Evening Standard that when the stewardess gave him his meal, he asked if it was a joke, and quoted her as replying, “I’m really sorry, that’s the gluten-free meal.” The story blew up in the Internet’s familiar comic-outrage way, but in the airline’s defence, they’ve stated the man was served a full gluten-free meal one hour after take-off, and that the now-infamous bruised banana was simply a gluten-free snack served two hours before landing—a fact that has apparently gotten lost in the story’s virality. That may be true, but it doesn’t explain the knife and fork, does it?