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Travel Headlines

    Air France will launch a new airline specifically for passengers aged 18 to 35. On Thursday, the airline announced its new airline, Joon, which will begin operating routes this fall.  >> Read more trending news According to a news release, Joon’s targeted clientele is young working professionals whose lifestyles revolve around digital technology. “Designed for our millennial customers, (Joon) will offer more than just a flight and a fare -- it will offer a global travel experience,” Dominique Wood, executive vice president of brand and communications at Air France, said in a statement. Joon’s flight attendants will wear casual, chic uniforms. Joon will begin operating flights from Paris-Charles de Gaulle this fall, with plans to expand to longer routes by next summer. The airline will not be a low cost airline.  >> Related: Low-cost airline considers replacing seats with standing space Wood said the airline plans to release more details about Joon’s destinations and fares in September. “This generation has inspired us a lot,” said Caroline Fontaine, vice president of brand at Air France. “They are opportunistic in a positive sense of the word as they know how to enjoy every moment and are in search of quality experiences that they want to share with others. Joon is a brand that carries these values.”
  • There are some things you should and shouldn’t do on a plane; one of those is rub your feet on the armrests of the person in front of you. >> Read more trending news Jessie Char, 30, shared on social media that she had a “nightmare” flight due to a pair of unwelcome feet. Char live tweeted her experience, which was horrible for her but entertainment for others. >> Tour de France cyclist shares gruesome photo of veiny legs It all started with an empty row on her JetBlue flight from Long Beach to San Francisco where she took her seat, “Today” reported. 
  • Low-cost airline Frontier Airlines will add 21 destinations and 85 routes to its lineup, the company announced Tuesday.  >> Read more trending news  The airline plans to grow to a total of 82 cities total with more than 1,000 routes by next summer, according to a news release. That’s more than double the current number of total routes offered by the airline. >> Related: Pilot 'congratulates' passengers for drinking all alcohol on plane The airline also plans to add more planes to its fleet, growing from 63 to 76 jets by the end of 2018, according to USA Today.  “Customers will benefit not only from the broad new selection of nonstop routes, but our growing network will provide more than 1,000 new connecting route options,” Frontier CEO Barry Biffle said in a statement. “By taking advantage of our natural share of connecting passengers, we can offer our low fares to even more of America.” >> Related: American Airlines to decrease legroom for passengers To celebrate the announcement, the airline is offering limited-time one-way fares as low as $39. Among the 21 cities that the airline will service, 18 are destinations the carrier previously serviced.  >> Related: Low-cost airline considers replacing seats with standing space Buffalo, New York; Charleston, South Carolina; and Pensacola, Florida, are the new cities added to the airline’s route map. The 18 cities it will restore service to include the following:  Albuquerque, New Mexico Boise, Idaho Calgary, Alberta, Canada El Paso, Texas Fargo, North Dakota  Fresno, California Grand Rapids, Michigan Jackson Hole, Wyoming Jacksonville, Florida Little Rock, Arkansas Louisville, Kentucky Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Ontario, California Palm Springs, California Reno, Nevada San Jose, California Spokane, Washington Tulsa, Oklahoma At least 20 new destinations are being added to Frontier’s Denver flight schedule, “suggesting that it's looking to funnel more connecting passengers through the airport,” USA Today reported. Frontier Airlines’ largest hub is in Denver. >> Related: Baby born on flight gets free plane tickets for life It’s unclear when exactly the airline will begin offering many of the new routes between cities. Frontier said it planned to add all newly announced routes by Spring 2018 but did not provide specific dates.  Read more at Frontier. 
  • A hopeful traveler stumbled across the hotel deal of a lifetime. Rose Lawrence quickly took the chance to book a deal in which a normally priced $1,100 room was being offered for much less. But the hotel said it will not honor her deal. >> Read more trending news Lawrence’s excitement quickly turned into frustration and shed light on an online booking fiasco when hotel management from the Trump Hotel in Chicago told her it would not be honoring the deal. In between homes at the time, Lawrence was looking for a place to stay with her teenage son for a few nights when she turned to Booking.com and spotted the incredible rate. RELATED: Greenpeace drops massive banner on Trump Tower in downtown Chicago “I saw a deal, and, like anyone else, I’m taking it,” Lawrence told WGNTV. The deal was for eight nights in a two-bedroom suite for a total of $253, and, according to reports, it was confirmed by Booking.com and the Trump Hotel. Lawrence took advantage of the opportunity after it appeared to be legitimate, but when she called to confirm, hotel reps told her otherwise. “I decided to call the hotel and talked with a revenue manager who then proceeded to beg me,” Lawrence told WGNTV. “She literally said, ‘I’m begging you to cancel this because I’m going to lose my job if you don’t do this.’ She just really started to lay it on thick.” Lawrence and the hotel’s revenue manager then began debating and negotiating shortly after, but the two were unable to reach a resolution settlement. Left scrambling to find a place, Lawrence said she will be forced out of her home in just a few days. “Now I’m really stressed out because I have to have a place to stay, and I don’t know how this is going to roll out, and I just feel like they should’ve honored what they did,” she told WGNTV. “I think they should honor what they stated out there. Yeah, it was a mistake or their glitch, but (the revenue manager) made it really clear that it was her mistake.” RELATED: A Washington, D.C. artist just used a Trump hotel as a way to speak out against President Trump Booking.com said it is trying to work with both parties to resolve the situation. The hotel wants to cancel her reservation and offer a $30 credit for a future stay.
  • A family of five from New York City captured on video an altercation with JetBlue staff after they got kicked off a JetBlue plane at Florida’s Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport. >> Read more trending news Tamir Raanan and Mandy Ifrah said they were heading home with their three children on July 2 when Ifrah got into an argument with another passenger over her 1-year-old daughter kicking the back of the person’s seat, WTVJ reported. She told WTVJ the issue was shortly settled with the passenger. In a cellphone video recorded by Raanan and Ifrah, a JetBlue manager is then seen speaking to the couple and asking them to get off the plane. “I want to hear from you, what was the story you heard? I want a reason why?” Ifrah is heard asking the JetBlue manager. “I want my kids home in New York.”  Ifrah and Raanan became angry and did not agree to exit the plane. The manager did not specify a reason in the video, but is heard offering them a refund for the flight.  Then, Broward County sheriff’s deputies got involved. “Whether it’s right or whether it’s wrong, it’s their plane, and they can do whatever they want to do,” a deputy can be heard explaining to the couple.  “Don’t worry we will get a lawyer and handle it the right way, you had no reason to kick off my family,” Ifrah says to the manager and deputies. The family told WTVJ that they did not get their checked luggage back until a week later, and JetBlue banned them from all future flights but did not say why.  The airline issued a statement on Wednesday over the incident, explaining why the family was taken off the plane:  'After a verbal altercation that included physical threats and profanities against a nearby customer, the aircraft door was reopened and our airports team politely asked the customers to step off to discuss the situation. The customers refused repeated requests and our crew members deplaned the entire aircraft. Law enforcement escorted them out of the gate area and we provided a refund,” the statement said. JetBlue also added that the family was “not removed due to the actions of their children.” “We are investigating whether the customers’ behavior warrants restrictions on JetBlue travel and we thank our crew members for their professional handling of this unfortunate incident,” the statement said.
  • As Disney fans gather in Anaheim, California for the D23 Expo, one part of the fan-fest had the internet burning up before the show officially opened. >> Read more trending news On display during the comic-con for Disney enthusiasts is an extremely detailed model of the Star Wars lands that are being built in both Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida. Videos of the display are on YouTube. Take a look: The model is the centerpiece of the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts “A Galaxy of Stories” area of the biennial event. The Star Wars-themed lands are scheduled to open in 2019. The idea of the lands was announced two years ago at the 2015 D23 Expo. The model debut is just the appetizer for those looking to devour any information they can about the new lands. More information will be released during the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts presentation Saturday. The presentation is scheduled for 3 p.m.
  • Dozens of beachgoers in Panama City, Florida, teamed up to form a human chain to save a family from drowning. >> Watch the news report from WBRC here According to the Panama City News Herald, Roberta Ursrey heard her sons shouting for help in the water Saturday. But when she and other family members swam out to save them, they also became trapped by the rip current. As the nine family members struggled in the water, Ursrey said her mother had a heart attack. >> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 'I honestly thought I was going to lose my family that day,' Ursrey told the News Herald. 'It was like, 'Oh, God, this is how I'm going.'' But that's when Jessica Simmons of Alabama jumped in to help. She swam to the family with a boogie board as her husband and other beachgoers began to form a human chain from the shore, the News Herald reported. The good Samaritans then pulled each family member back to the beach.  >> See the viral photo here “It was the most remarkable thing to see,” Simmons told the News Herald. “These people who don’t even know each other and they trust each other that much to get them to safety.” >> Read more trending news Ursrey, who said her mother was hospitalized and her nephew broke his hand, said she's grateful for her rescuers. “These people were God’s angels that were in the right place at the right time,' Ursrey told the News Herald. 'I owe my life and my family’s life to them. Without them, we wouldn’t be here.” Read more here.
  • Joseph Daniel Hudek IV, the Florida man accused of assaulting a flight attendant on a Delta Air Lines flight from Seattle to Beijing, appeared Friday in U.S. District Court in Seattle and is facing a federal charges. >> Read more trending news A Delta Air Lines flight from Seattle to Beijing returned to Sea-Tac Airport Thursday evening after Hudek, 23, reportedly assaulted and injured a flight attendant. Sea-Tac Airport spokesman Perry Cooper said 45 minutes after the departure of Delta Flight 129, there was an in-flight disturbance in the first-class cabin in which a passenger assaulted a flight attendant. The flight had departed Sea-Tac shortly after 5 p.m. There were approximately 210 passengers and 11 flight crew on board the plane. Hudek was in the first-class cabin, traveling on a 'dependent pass.' According to KIRO-TV, Hudek’s mother is a Delta employee. Prior to takeoff, Hudek asked a flight attendant for a beer, which he received. He did not have any additional alcoholic drinks, and he did not appear to be intoxicated, court documents state. Approximately one hour into the flight, Hudek reportedly used the lavatory twice and after exiting the lavatory the second time, he lunged toward an exit door, grabbed the handle and attempted to open the door.  At that time, the flight attendant asked for assistance from other passengers in the area and notified the cockpit of the situation. The pilot called in the situation and the plane was diverted back to Seattle. As the attendant continued to struggle with Hudek, he reportedly then punched the attendant twice in the face and hit a passenger who was trying to assist the attendant in the head with a wine bottle.  Witnesses then said that Hudek again attempted to open the exit door. A passenger who tried to pull Hudek away from the door was also punched multiple times. As the struggle between the passenger and Hudek continued, a flight attendant grabbed two wine bottles and hit Hudek on the head twice, eventually breaking one of the wine bottles. One passenger, who did not want to share his name said: “They broke two bottles of wine on his head. I tried to choke him and he just threw me off like a rag doll.' Court documents state that Hudek seemed unfazed by a full bottle of wine being broken over his head and shouted something along the lines of, 'Do you know who I am?' Eventually, a passenger assisting the flight attendants was able to get Hudek into a headlock and as Hudek struggled to free himself, several other passengers came to assist in subduing him. After restraining him long enough, they were able to secure Hudek with zip ties. Hudek reportedly remained 'extremely' combative and several passengers were needed to restrain him until the plane landed at Sea-Tac. Dustin Jones, who was seated directly behind the curtains separating first class from the rest of the plane, said he could tell a scuffle was going on. “One of the flight attendants ran back and said there was a Code 3. There was a serious fight up front,” Jones said. Britteny Gardner, who was on the flight, said that in the main cabin passengers heard an announcement asking for a doctor. “Somebody that was working had blood on their shirt,” Gardner said. Despite what happened, a passenger told KIRO-TV that the crew and the rest of the passengers remained mostly calm. Witnesses on the plane said they were afraid for their lives when they saw the force with which Hudek attempted to open the door; he reportedly pushed the emergency lever halfway up. A flight attendant said that given the flight's low altitude it would have been possible to open the door. The plane landed at approximately 7:10 p.m. and officers boarded the plane and took Hudek into custody. Hudek was also combative with officers. Once back at Sea-Tac, Hudek was handcuffed and zip-tied to a wheelchair as he was rolled out of the terminal, according to Jones. 'He started yelling for help,' Jones said. 'And so he turned the wheelchair over in the middle of the airport, screaming for people to help him, just being belligerent.' A flight attendant and passenger were immediately transported to a hospital to be treated for injuries sustained in the incident. Delta released the following statement: “Flight 129 returned to Seattle following a security incident with a passenger. The passenger was restrained onboard and was removed from the flight by law enforcement without further incident when the aircraft arrived back in Seattle. The flight is scheduled to re-depart for Beijing later this evening.” The FBI told Sea-Tac officials there is no information that the incident is a national security threat.
  • A sign at a county airport in Michigan left some travelers puzzled this week. The sign was posted before the security checkpoint at Chippewa County International Airport. It says, 'Please remove fudge from your bags.' The sign includes an illustration of a piece of fudge. An image of the sign was posted on Twitter by a traveler. >> Read more trending news The airport offers convenient access to Mackinac Island, which is known for its fudge. There's approximately 12 fudge shops on the island, and there's a fudge festival held annually in August, according to WXYZ. Airport Manager Tami Beseau told MLive that the fudge sign is Transportation Security Administration policy, not a local airport ordinance. While candy is permitted in both carry-on and checked baggage, it may need additional screening, Beseau said. The soft, dense consistency of fudge could allow someone to slip contraband inside the candy, according to Beseau. A person who commented on the MLive story went a step further, saying the real reason the TSA screens fudge is because it has a similar shape and consistency to C-4 explosives.  Travelers should follow all TSA regulations posted at the airport they are traveling through. While a block of fudge may not require special handling at airports nationwide, those who are traveling through an area known for fudge should be prepared for extra screening.
  • United Airlines is making headlines again. And once again, it’s not good. >> Read more trending news This time, the airline forced a woman flying with her 2-year-old son -- both of whom were ticketed passengers with seats -- to give up her son’s seat to another passenger and make the flight from Houston to Boston with her son in her lap. The woman, Shirley Yamauchi, said she paid $969 for the June 29 flight, according to the Houston Chronicle. “Not a single airline employee on that flight asked me why I had a large child on my lap,” Yamauchi of Kapolei, Hawaii, told the Houston Chronicle. “I didn’t feel safe or comfortable, but I really didn’t have a choice.” On its website, the Federal Aviation Administration recommends against parents traveling with lap children because “your arms aren’t capable of holding your child securely, especially during unexpected turbulence.” United’s own policy on traveling with children states that “once infants turn 2 years old, they are required to have a purchased ticket and occupy a seat.” These are not the first headlines United has made this year. In April, a man made international news after he was forcibly removed from a United flight after not voluntarily giving up his seat. The month before, the airline sparked outrage after barring a couple of teenagers from flying because they were wearing leggings. With outrageous news about airlines making waves so frequently, what should you do if you believe your rights are being violated before or during a flight? Document everything. If you’re going to go up against the airline, you’re going to want a paper trail. Save every email, transcribe every call, take down every name of every person you talk to, and, if it gets really bad, shoot video. You want as much information, and evidence, as possible to make your case. Make social media your best friend. Post about the infraction on social media, and be sure to tag the airline. The louder you are, the better chance you have of catching the attention of someone who can help. Know your rights. The sad truth is that airline passengers have very few rights, but it doesn’t hurt to get familiar with the airlines’ individual “contracts of carriage,” which are filed with the government and outline each airline’s rules and regulations. Here’s what the United Airlines contract of carriage looks like.  Call customer service. Even if you’re at the airport, calling customer service — especially once you’ve read the contract of carriage and know your rights — can offer a quicker solution than standing in line after line of disgruntled fellow passengers. Call center representatives sometimes have more information, and more ability to make change, than gate agents. You may also want to file a complaint with the Department of Transportation. If it’s really bad, reach out to local news outlets. Ever notice how every time local news starts covering an airline story, the airline seems to take swift action? Nobody wants a public relations nightmare on their hands. Getting media coverage can be a quick way to get attention, and a solution.

Local News

  • Those anticipating next month’s solar eclipse have an opportunity to view the rare spectacle at the University of Georgia.  The event, Eclipse Blackout 2017 hosted by the university's geography department, will allow onlookers to view the moment Aug. 21 at Sanford Stadium.  “UGA is in a great position to view a 99.1 percent “blackout” from a total solar eclipse,” organizers wrote on the event page.  MORE: 7 things to know about the total solar eclipse crossing the nation this August MORE: Get your free eclipse glasses at these metro Atlanta libraries The first 5,000 guests will get free, custom UGA viewing glasses and can expect to see other views from around the world on the stadium’s big screen. The eclipse is expected to be over Oregon at 1:15 p.m. EDT and end in South Carolina about an hour and a half later. Peak darkness in Athens is projected to be at 2:38 p.m.  The eclipse is the first in nearly 100 years to cross the country. Due to its rarity, astronomers are calling it the Great American Eclipse.
  • Trouble appears to be brewing in Elbert County, where Bowman Mayor Betty Jo Maxwell has filed harassment complaints with the Sheriff’s Office in Elberton, complaints against Bowman City Councilman Clay Rooker. The Mayor says the Councilman made threats. The Elbert County Sheriff’s Office says its investigation is ongoing. 
  • A Jackson County man is among those charged in a bribery case in Rome: David English is 38 years old, from Hoschton. He’s facing theft, bribery, and RICO allegations, accused of taking bribes as a security contactor for the Floyd County School System. English owns Southeastern Security Professionals; he’s accused of taking more than $60,000 from the school district in Rome over a four-year period that ended in 2014. 
  • Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Kelly Girtz says he will kick off his 2018 campaign for mayor with a rally on September 9. Girtz joins Harry Sims as Commissioners who say they will run to replace a term-limited Athens Mayor Nancy Denson. Also in the race are Antwon Stephens, Richie Knight, and Sam Thomas.  'We can build a strong foundation that will support Athenians of every walk of life, one that will set the stage for great lives for generations ahead,” said Girtz. “A safer, healthier, more prosperous Athens is awaiting, and I can't wait to work with you to build it.”  The election for Athens-Clarke County Mayor will be held on May 22, 2018. 
  • The victim of a Thursday accident at a quarry in Oglethorpe County has been identified. Matthew Kantala was 36 years old, from Elberton. The Oglethorpe County Coroner's office says he was struck by a piece of falling granite at the Blue Sky Quarry on Veribest Road. OSHA is investigating. 

Bulldog News

  • Georgia Bulldog running back Elijah Holyfield will go through a pre-trial diversion program after his marijuana arrest of earlier this year. The son of former heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield was arrested May 1. He’s a sophomore on the Bulldog team that opens the 2017 season in 47 days. Holyfield is expected to be suspended for the September 2 home game against Appalachian State.  The sportswriters who attended last week’s SEC Media Days in Hoover Alabama voted the Georgia Bulldogs as preseason favorites to win the SEC East in coach Kirby Smart’s second season in Athens.
  • Kirby Smart said earlier this week that the Georgia football team should embrace the expectations. Well, here they are.   Georgia is officially the favorite to win the SEC East, albeit a slight one, as the Bulldogs were selected first in the division in the annual preseason media poll. Florida, the two-time defending champion, came in a close second. Georgia received 1,572 points, including 138 first-place votes, edging out Florida (1,526 points and 96 first-place votes.) The two were followed by Tennessee (998 points and three first-place votes), South Carolina (897 and five first-place votes), Kentucky (869), Vanderbilt (554) and Missouri (388). This is the fourth time in the last six years that Georgia has been picked to win the division. It met those expectations in 2012, then came short in 2013 and 2015. Last year, for Smart’s first season as Georgia’s head coach, the media picked Georgia to finish third. The Bulldogs ended up in a three-way tie for second. “When you come to the University of Georgia, the expectation is to win championships. That’s what we expect to do at the University of Georgia, and that’s the standard we’ll be held to,” Smart said from the podium during his turn at SEC media days. Georgia also received six votes to win the entire SEC championship, third-most behind prohibitive favorite Alabama (217) and Auburn (11).  Auburn and Mississippi State, the two West division teams that Georgia faces, were picked second and sixth in their division, respectively.  
  • Georgia Bulldog running back Nick Chubb was named Georgia Collegiate Athlete of the Year at last night’s Atlanta Sports Awards show. Chubb and his Bulldog teammates are today 50 days away from the season opener against the Appalachian State Mountaineers, a September 2 contest in Sanford Stadium.   Chubb, a native of Cedartown, Ga., was chosen from an all Bulldog group of finalists including track and field’s Keturah Orji and swimming and diving’s Olivia Smoliga, who were both 2016 U.S. Olympians.   This marks the second year in a row that a University of Georgia student-athlete has won the Collegiate Athlete of the Year honor after golfer Lee McCoy enjoyed the honor in 2016. The first accolade of this sort was given in 2006 and since football’s D.J. Shockley won the inaugural honor, there have been nine Bulldogs to garner the award. Five of those Georgia team members selected have been football players, including Jarvis Jones going back to back in 2011-12.   Chubb finished his third season as Georgia’s No. 2 all-time leading rusher with 3,424 yards, trailing only Herschel Walker (5,259). Named one of the team’s overall captains following the 2016 season, Chubb went for 1,130 yards and eight rushing touchdowns last year. This marked the second 1,000-yard season of his career after Chubb tallied 1,547 yards and 15 scores as a freshman in 2014. He was named the SEC Freshman of the Year and a Freshman All-American following his first year.   Chubb returned in 2016 following a season-ending knee injury that he sustained in game six of his sophomore year in 2015. In his season debut last year, Chubb exploded for 222 yards on 32 carries (6.9 average) and two touchdowns in the win over #20 North Carolina during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. He completed his third year with a 147-yard performance during the victory over TCU in the Liberty Bowl.
  • Georgia will be getting a key player back at full speed in time for fall camp.   Speaking at SEC Media Days on Tuesday, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart Bulldogs defensive tackle Trenton Thompson will be ready to go after an offseason that including rehabbing a shoulder injury and withdrawing from spring classes in February to deal with an unspecified medical issue. Thompson will be a big part of a Bulldogs defense that returns ten starters from last season. In 2106, Georgia finished No. 16 in the nation in total defense, allowing only 327.5 yards per game while allowing 24 points per game, good for 35th overall. A sophomore last season, Thompson recorded 56 total tackles, including 9.5 for a loss and five sacks.  
  • HOOVER, Ala. — Georgia football signees Robert Beal and Devonte Wyatt have yet to qualify to enroll at UGA, but coach Kirby Smart remains hopeful it will happen soon.  “They’re not ready yet to come in yet,” Smart said on Tuesday at SEC Media Days. “We think we could get them in any day, any minute. And that’s the hope.” Beal is a linebacker who finished his high school career at Suwanee’s Peachtree Ridge High School, after also spending time at IMG Academy and Norcross High School. He was rated a 4-star prospect by 247Sports, Rivals and Scout, and a 5-star by ESPN. At one time, he was committed to Notre Dame. Wyatt is a defensive lineman from Decatur’s Towers High School. He was rated a 4-star prospect by 247Sports and Scout, and a 3-star by Rivals and ESPN. Neither player was expected to contend immediately for playing time, given the team’s veteran depth at their positions. But coaches were clearly high on the potential of both. “We talk to them a lot about staying in shape, because they’re not there with our guys working out,” Smart said. “So those guys get a program, they’re encouraged to do it, it’s hard to oversee it. So you want those guys to work out and stay in shape so that when they do qualify they’re able to come in and help.”