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Passenger Falls Asleep and Wakes up to a Big Surprise

Plus, Beryl causes cancelations and turbulence shook another plane last week.

Last week, a hurricane ripped through the Caribbean, and now has hit Texas, bringing the state to a standstill. In other news, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) said that passenger complaints against airlines increased in 2023. And yet another disturbing turbulence incident made headlines, plus a woman got a surprise when she woke up from her nap on the flight. Here are this week’s top travel stories.

NO.1

MORE THAN 1,300 FLIGHTS CANCELED DUE TO HURRICANE BERYL

Last week, Hurricane Beryl devastated the Caribbean islands, flattening homes and killing 11 people. It was downgraded to a tropical storm when it reached Mexico, but picked up steam again over the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall in Texas as a hurricane. 

More than 1.5 million people are currently without power in Texas and it is reported that a man has died in Houston after a tree fell on the roof of his house. Coastal Texas is dealing with strong gusts of wind and more than 1,300 flights have been canceled. United, which has had the most number of cancellations, will waive change fees and fare differences. American Airlines is also allowing passengers to rebook without additional fees.

NO.2

TURBULENCE ON AIR EUROPA FLIGHT INJURES 30 

An Air Europa flight from Madrid to Uruguay made an emergency landing in Brazil after strong turbulence injured 30 people. People reported that passengers who were not wearing seat belts were thrown from their seats and hit the ceiling; the plane’s interior was damaged. 

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In a terrifying video circulated online, a man was seen stuck in the overhead bin of the plane. Injured passengers were treated in Brazil and another plane picked up the passengers to take them to their destination.

NO.3

PASSENGER COMPLAINTS ABOUT AIRLINES SOARED IN 2023

2023 was a busy year for DOT. The agency received nearly 97,000 submissions from passengers, including grievances and suggestions. Compared to 2022, that’s 11,000 more submissions, and in 2023, 91% of these were complaints. The volume of complaints was so high that it took the department until July to sort through it all. 

In 2020, the department received 103,000 complaints after the pandemic shut down air travel and airlines delayed refunds. Last year, cancelations were fewer (1.2%) compared to 2022 (2.3%), but delays remained high at 21% of all flights.

More than two-thirds complained about U.S. airlines, while a quarter were about international carriers. People also expressed dissatisfaction with airlines over how they handled passengers with disabilities—disability-related grievances increased more than a quarter. There were also reports of discrimination on the basis of race and national origin.

NO.4

BARCELONA PROTESTERS HIT TOURISTS WITH WATER GUNS

Anti-tourism protests in Spain aren’t a new development—locals in Mallorca, Ibiza, Malaga, and the Canary Islands have been taking to the streets to express their anger over mass tourism. This weekend, thousands of Barcelona residents marched through the city with banners saying, “Tourists Go Home,” and even squirted tourists at restaurants with water guns.

Locals feel that tourism has made the city unlivable for people, increasing prices, and depleting resources. The cost of housing has increased 68% over the past decade, making it harder for locals to find reasonable accommodations. Last month, the city decided to ban short-term rentals by 2028 to make houses available for locals.

Protesters demand more measures to reduce the number of tourists, including closing cruise ship terminals and eliminating public spending on promotions.

Related: Spanish City to Tourists: ‘Go Home’

NO.5

SLEEPING PASSENGER WAKES UP ONLY TO DISCOVER THAT SHE’S IN THE WRONG CITY

In the most bizarre piece of news this week, a Ryanair passenger boarded the wrong plane and reached Alicante, Spain, instead of Paris. Jem Maybank was flying from Leeds Bradford Airport in England and planned for a short city break in Paris. The 30-year-old was in a rush and incorrectly read the gate number. She gave her boarding pass to the crew, who scanned it and let her board the plane. 

There were signs that something wasn’t right. On the flight, her seat, 34A, didn’t exist. She notified the crew, who told her that it can sometimes happen when the aircraft is changed and they found her another seat. She told the Daily Mail that she thought it was weird that the flight was two hours long (instead of one), but she brushed it off. She didn’t pay attention to announcements and fell asleep. 

When she woke up, it was mountains and palm trees outside. After the rest of the passengers had deplaned, she contacted the crew, who were just as surprised. Luckily, the staff helped her get on a later plane to Paris free of charge and her advice to other passengers is to pay attention and listen to announcements. 

6 Comments
F
fouDor July 13, 2024

There is no question that mass tourism is infringing on the availability of "ordinary" long term rental accommodations for people who actually work and live in many "touristy" locations - mostly cities, around the world.
However, the governments need to decide how many short term rentals there can be vs available long term rentals for local people! Next it is up to the these governments to regulate cost and taxation. There is no way the situation is going to improve without someone stepping in.
The people who profit of tourism have got to look at the reality around them.
The unaffordability of long term accommodation is really a big problem for those who actually service the tourist traffic!

A
archsimpson6515 July 13, 2024

Just plain stupidity!

A
alicek1343 July 13, 2024

Totally the gate crew's fault. When they scanned her boarding pass, they should have actually looked at it. Heads will roll, I am sure. 

T
Tequila13 July 11, 2024

I'm going to Spain in November, hopefully there won't be an issue.

M
markbauer3453 July 10, 2024

"Protesters" not Protestants.