A Schooling Debate: In Person or Remote?

Readers discuss an article about rising tensions as some teachers’ unions push for remote learning. Also: Snacks on planes.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #chicago-ill, #children-and-childhood, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #education-k-12, #snack-foods, #teachers-and-school-employees, #united-airlines

United Airlines Cuts Flights as Workers Call in Sick

The airline said was cutting its flight schedule to manage the shortage as workers call in sick.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #kirby-scott-1967, #newark-liberty-international-airport-nj, #shortages, #united-airlines, #vaccination-and-immunization

Ex-United Flight Attendant Used Dead Child’s Identity, Officials Say

Ricardo Cesar Guedes used the name of a boy who died in a car accident in 1979 to get his airline job and a U.S. passport, according to a criminal complaint.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #airport-security, #bush-george-intercontinental-airport, #frauds-and-swindling, #houston-tex, #identity-theft, #passports, #united-airlines, #united-states

Nearly 3,000 Flights Are Canceled on Monday

A storm in the Washington area knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of people, adding to the problems facing airlines, like staff shortages.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #american-airlines, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #delays-transportation, #delta-air-lines-inc, #jetblue-airways-corporation, #shortages, #southwest-airlines-company, #transportation-security-administration, #united-airlines

More Than 2,400 U.S. Flights Cancelled, Many in Chicago

More than 2,400 flights were off by midday — more than half concentrated in Chicago — due to crew shortages and snowfall. It was by the worst day for airlines in a holiday week that saw thousands of cancellations.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #american-airlines, #delta-air-lines-inc, #southwest-airlines-company, #united-airlines

Flight disruptions continue with thousands more cancellations as Omicron thins airline crews.

At least 2,400 more flights were canceled globally on Monday, including about 900 U.S. flights.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #alaska-airlines, #american-airlines, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-omicron-variant, #delays-transportation, #delta-air-lines-inc, #jetblue-airways-corporation, #southwest-airlines-company, #united-airlines

Thousands of flights are canceled as Omicron thins crews.

On Sunday alone, about 1,300 U.S. flights and some 3,000 international ones were dropped.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #alaska-airlines, #american-airlines, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-omicron-variant, #delays-transportation, #delta-air-lines-inc, #jetblue-airways-corporation, #southwest-airlines-company, #united-airlines

Airlines Cancel Hundreds More Flights as Virus Scrambles Air Travel

The virus, and winter weather, are making flights trickier during a busy season.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #american-airlines, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-omicron-variant, #delays-transportation, #delta-air-lines-inc, #jetblue-airways-corporation, #southwest-airlines-company, #transportation-security-administration, #united-airlines

Omicron Variant Surfaces Amid an Airline Travel Rebound

With several countries imposing new restrictions, the question now is whether travelers will be deterred.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-omicron-variant, #delta-air-lines-inc, #travel-warnings, #united-airlines

Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Will Test Airlines

Thanksgiving will be the biggest test of the system’s resilience since the pandemic began, with millions more passengers than last year.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #airports, #american-airlines, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #delays-transportation, #delta-air-lines-inc, #flight-attendants, #southwest-airlines-company, #thanksgiving-day, #travel-and-vacations, #united-airlines, #weather

275 Minutes on Hold: Why Airline Customer Service Still Can’t Keep Up

It’s been a familiar and infuriating story during the pandemic: Hours waiting for an agent only to have the call dropped. The ordeal of rescheduling canceled flights. Delayed refunds. What gives?

#airlines-and-airplanes, #airports, #american-airlines, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #customer-relations, #emirates-airlines, #labor-and-jobs, #travel-and-vacations, #united-airlines

Inside United Airlines’ Decision to Mandate Coronavirus Vaccines

Over the course of a year, the company and its unions grappled with when and how to require vaccination for its 67,000 U.S. employees.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #assn-of-flight-attendants, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #earnest-josh, #flight-attendants, #hart-brett-j-1969, #kirby-scott-1967, #labor-and-jobs, #motivation-and-incentive-programs, #nelson-sara, #organized-labor, #pilots, #united-airlines, #vaccination-and-immunization, #vaccination-proof-and-immunization-records

The Station: Apple car shakeup, how Sept. 11 changed travel, and a pledge from airlines

The Station is a weekly newsletter dedicated to all things transportation. Sign up here — just click The Station — to receive it every weekend in your inbox.

Hi readers: Welcome to The Station, your central hub for all past, present and future means of moving people and packages from Point A to Point B.

Twenty years and one week ago, I was riding the monorail system at the Newark airport and pointed to the twin skyscrapers looming in the distance. “I can’t believe you’ve never been to the top of the World Trade Center,” I said to my then fiancé and now husband. Days later, I would walk into a restaurant in a Slovenian town and see a report on the TV about a plane crashing into one of those towers. Like so many of us, we spent the rest of that day watching the news and wondering what would happen next.

In all, four aircraft were hijacked the morning of September 11, two of which crashed into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon and the fourth in a field in Pennsylvania. In all, 2,996 people were killed.

The September 11 terrorist attacks triggered a series of events that would change the world forever, including how we move about it. My September 6, 2001 flight to Newark and then onto to Europe was the last time I would experience what now seems unimaginable: getting to an airport less than 45 minutes before my plane took off.

My trip home from Europe provided a forecast of what air travel would look and feel like, although some measures like when we were separately interviewed two different times prior to boarding, ended up being temporary.

Within months of my arrival home, passenger screening and security at airports would be handled by a new federal agency called the Transportation Security Administration. Security wasn’t the only aspect of air travel that changed.

The airline industry experienced skyrocketing losses that sparked a wave of cost-cutting, new fees for travelers and consolidation. According to the GAO, the U.S. airline industry lost $23 billion between 2001 and 2003 and some of the nation’s biggest airlines including USAir and United Airlines filed for bankruptcy.

The airline industry would suffer financial losses during the Great Recession of 2008, causing more bankruptcies and consolidation. Today, most domestic flights are controlled by four airlines: American, Delta, Southwest and United.

After recovering and stringing together a few years of profitability, the airline industry (and how we travel) would get hit again: this time from the COVID-19 pandemic.

p.s. Thanks to co-worker and cybersecurity editor Zack Whittaker for the photo (featured as the main image for the post) he snapped yesterday.

As always, you can email me at kirsten.korosec@techcrunch.com to share thoughts, criticisms, opinions or tips. You also can send a direct message to me at Twitter — @kirstenkorosec.

Micromobbin’

We’ve talked before about the possibilities of shared micromobility to help cities create more equitable and accessible transit ecosystems. Shared operators have expanded this idea to support activism.

Agencies and operators provided free or discounted trips for demonstrators to get to events, according to the North American Bikeshare and Scootershare Association’s 2020 report on the state of the shared micromobility industry, Many even donated or fundraised for racial justice nonprofits.

Not only are they aiding the fight on the ground, the report also shows that nearly three-quarters of all operators stated that diversity was a part of every hiring decision, and 69 percent reported that women and POC are represented at all levels of the organization.

Operator update

Lime is back in Oakland with 500 scooters and plans to scale up to 1,000 over the coming weeks. The company pulled out of the city last year during the pandemic. This time, it’s focusing on “Communities of Concern” as designated by the city, and will deploy half its fleet to these neighborhoods that have been traditionally underserved by transportation.

Tier is hooking up with Irish computer vision startup Luna. Tier is adding Luna’s cameras and smart city technology to its shared e-scooter fleets across Europe and the Middle East. To handle the increase in work, Luna is hiring 15 new staffers to cover computer vision/AI, hardware, IoT and project management roles in Ireland. Interestingly, the partnership comes from an Ireland trade mission to Germany to better understand how the two countries could work together within the e-mobility and automotive industry. Luna just recently launched a pilot with Voi in England, and Ford-backed micromobility operator Spin is slowly pushing out Drover AI’s similar tech on scooters in the United States.

Speaking of Voi, the Swedish company is working with the UK government’s Kickstart Scheme to help create jobs for people ages 16 to 24 years old on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment. Voi is recruiting 25 young people across the country to work as Warehouse Operatives and Fleet Specialists. The young ones will be ensured a job for at least six months and will hopefully learn a thing or two about a growing transport industry.

Bird has tweaked its branding. It recently announced its scooters and bikes will now be made in “Electric Sky” blue, as opposed to its black, white and silver color scheme. The color evokes eco-friendly transportation, clear skies and cheerful days. It’s reminiscent of Revel’s blue mopeds and Swapfiets’ bikes.

Taking liberties with the term “micromobility”

Chinese EV maker Xpeng says it’s going to make a robot unicorn for children to ride. The quadruped will navigate multiple types of terrain, recognize objects and provide “emotional interaction.” The robot pulls from Xpeng’s experiences with AI and automated driving development. The rendering looks cute and soft, for a metal beast, but the horn could be a bit longer IMO. Bonus: it’s not creepy-looking like Xiaomi’s robot dog.

Dutch startup Squad Mobility has introduced details for its small, low-cost electric city car that’s equipped with solar panels which drip feed the battery throughout the day. The company hopes to come out with a prototype for the solar-assisted quadricycle by October this year and begin deliveries by the end of next year. While it would be a fun passenger vehicle for city folks, the end game is to get in good with one of the car-sharing or shared micromobility operators and sell fleets of the Squad car for shared use.

At the Munich Motor Show, BMW revealed a couple of electric bike concepts that look pretty wicked. The Motorrad Vision AMBY looks like a motorcycle, but is probably more along the class of off-road motorbike, complete with fat tires and a seat-to-footrest ratio that brings to mind all the shredding that can be had. The i Vision AMBY is more of a traditional road e-bike, but maybe one that’s inspired by Back to the Future, such is its retrofuturistic vibe and, I’ll say it, postal service-beige frame.

ADAS in scooters

The desire to keep shared electric scooters off sidewalks has driven the development of advanced technology in the micromobility industry. Once the province of geofencing, scooter companies are so eager to get a leg up on the competition that they’re now implementing technology similar to advanced driver assistance systems usually found in cars. Check out my story in Extra Crunch that digs into this trend.

Micromobility America event

The folks who write our other favorite micromobility newsletter are going to be hosting a micromobility event in the SF Bay Area. On September 23, a range of experts, founders, investors and builders will be sharing top insights about the world of lightweight electric vehicles and their potential to disrupt transportation, including:
Brazilian racing driver Lucas Di Grassi, American entrepreneur and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, senior writer at Wired Lauren Goode, analyst and founder of the term “micromobility” Horace Dediu

Register now, if you still can. Space is limited.

— Rebecca Bellan

Deal of the week

money the station

Investors continue to sink money into ride-hailing companies. Cao Cao Mobility, the ride-hailing unit of Chinese automaker Geely Automobile Holdings, is the latest example.

The company raised $589 million (RMB 3.8 billion) in a Series B round led by Suzhou Xiangcheng Financial Holding Group, an investment company backed by the Xiangcheng district government of Suzhou. Suzhou High-Speed Rail New City Group and three other state-controlled enterprises also participated.

The raise brings the company’s total funding to around $773.2 million (RMB 5 billion).

As TechCrunch reporter Rebecca Bellan notes, Cao Cao is positioned for further growth and a larger market share, as long as the Chinese government believes the company is operating fairly. Its competitors Didi Global and Amap have come under increased government scrutiny that has hurt their business, while giving Cao Cao a boost.

A cybersecurity investigation prompted the Chinese government to temporarily remove Didi Global from Chinese app stores. As a result, Cao Cao, which is currently available in 62 cities in China, saw ride volume increase 32% in July.

Other deals that got my attention this week …

Accure, the Aachen, Germany-based battery safety software company raised $8 million in a Series A round led by Blue Bear Capital. Capnamic Ventures and 42CAP also participated.

BP Ventures, the investing arm of oil and gas giant BP, made a €10 million ($11.9 million) investment in Ryd, a German in-car digital payments provider. The funds will be used to help Ryd expand its service into international markets and build out its offering.

Delhivery, the Indian logistics firm, courted Lee Fixel’s Addition as an investor before its expected IPO in the next two quarters: The Gurgaon-headquartered firm disclosed in a regulatory filing that Addition invested $76.4 million in the startup as part of a Series I round. Delihivery hasn’t disclosed the total raise or other investors.

Delimobil, the Russian car sharing company, has chosen banks to organize its IPO listing and is seeking to raise around $ 350 million, Reuters reported.

Skydweller Aero, the U.S.-Spanish aerospace startup, received an additional $8 million in oversubscribed funding led by Leonardo S.p.A, Marlinspike Capital and Advection Growth Capital. The funds were added to its Series A round, which had previously reached $32 million. The company said it has also partnered with Palantir Technologies to use its Foundry analytics platform to process information at-scale and onboard the aircraft designed for telecommunications, government operations and emergency services.

Tritium Holdings, the Australian developer of DC fast-charging technology for electric vehicles, raised A$40 million  ($29.4 million) from the investment arm of Cigna.

WattE, a company trying to develop a network of truck stops and run a fleet of 12,000 electric trucks to share, will receive a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission. The grant is for the construction of the state’s first electric truck stop. The company also recently closed a $6 million Series A round led by Canon Equity.

A little bird

blinky cat bird green

I hear things. But I’m not selfish. Let me share what the little birds are telling me.

You likely spotted the widespread coverage, including by TechCrunch, that Ford Motor hired Doug Field, the engineering executive who was VP of Apple’s special projects team and its secret, not-very-secret car program.

Field, who also once worked as senior vice president of engineering at Tesla, was named as Ford’s chief advanced technology and embedded systems officer. Soon after the news broke, reports came out that Kevin Lynch, who led development on the Apple Watch, had taken over Field’s role on the car project.

All of this had TC readers wondering (at least according to my DMs and emails) whether Apple’s car program was at risk. I reached out to some folks and one source told me that Apple employees were in Korea meeting with battery manufacturers as early as last week, which suggests that the game is on. You might recall, The Korea Times reported back in early August a team from Apple was visiting battery manufacturers LG Chem, SK, and Hanwha as part of “early talks.”

It seems those talks are still happening.

Policy corner

the-station-delivery

Welcome back to policy corner! Big news out of the aviation industry this week, as major airlines pledged to make 3 billion gallons of “sustainable aviation fuel” available to aircraft carriers by 2030, in line with a federal goal of reducing aviation emissions by 20% by the start of the next decade.

The announcement was made by industry group Airlines for America (A4A), whose members include United Airlines, Delta, American Airlines and Southwest. The group had previously set a target of 2 billion gallons by 2030 back in March. (Also yesterday, United made a separate announcement that it would purchase 1.5 billion gallons of SAF from startup Alder Fuels, pending certain conditions are met. Check out my story on the deal here.

A4A stressed the importance of federal action to support the development of SAF, including a “blender” tax credit for SAF mixed with conventional fuel and public-private research partnerships into SAF tech.

But this would be just the beginning, if President Joe Biden has his say; his administration wants a “fully zero-carbon aviation sector by 2050,” according to a White House fact sheet released Thursday. Aviation accounts for 11% of the country’s transportation-related emissions, the fact sheet says. Plus, while 3 billion gallons of fuel certainly sounds like a lot, a United spokesperson told TechCrunch that the airline consumes around 4 billion annually, and the White House says demand overall could be as high as 35 billion gallons per year by 2050.

To meet that demand, Biden said he is seeking that SAF incentives be included in the $3.5 trillion spending bill currently being debated by Congress, including a tax credit and $4.3 billion earmarked for funding SAF projects.

It’s important to note two things: one, as it currently stands, SAF is more expensive than conventional jet fuel, itself a considerable cost for airlines. Two, the above goals on behalf of the airlines are non-binding, voluntary agreements. Taken together, that means (in my humble opinion) that a tax incentive or something like it will be necessary for SAF to achieve cost parity with conventional fuel — and for airlines to actually adopt it.


The other policy items that caught my eye this week come from the great state of New York. The first is out of New York City, which set a target to install 40,000 public Level 2 chargers and 6,000 DC fast chargers by 2030. This buildout, outlined in the Department of Transportation’s EV plan, will be necessary for the city to reach its target of being fully carbon neutral by 2050.

Finally, the New York State House signed a bill into law requiring all passenger vehicles sold in-state to be zero-emission by 2035, making it the second state (after California) to introduce a set deadline to phase out internal combustion engine cars. It’s hard to know whether this is the start of a sea change in state policy or whether NY and California are anomalies, but I can see this type of legislation becoming more popular in the coming years.

— Aria Alamalhodaei

Notable news and other tidbits

Autonomous vehicles

Anthony Levandowski, the controversial and presidentially pardoned autonomous vehicle technology engineer, sat down with The Information for an interview that included details about his company’s pivot from big rigs to dump trucks.

Aurora co-founder Sterling Anderson laid out the autonomous vehicle company’s development process in a blog post this week. Aurora collaborated with half a dozen OEMs and has integrated its self-driving system into eight distinct vehicle platforms. Anderson wrote that the outcome “is a highly refined Driver-vehicle interface and a structured process for the design, development, and launch of vehicles designed for it that we call the Aurora Driver Development Program.” Side note: Aurora has made its Pittsburgh office its official headquarters.

Intel subsidiary Mobileye and rental car giant Sixt SE announced plans to launch a robotaxi service in Munich next year. As I noted in my article, the robotaxi service will leverage all of Intel’s, and more specifically Mobileye’s, assets that have been in development or purchased in recent years, including the $900 million acquisition in 2020 of Moovit, an Israeli startup that analyzes urban traffic patterns and provides transportation recommendations with a focus on public transit.

Through the partnership, riders will be able to access the robotaxi service via the Moovit app. The service will also be offered through Sixt’s mobility ONE app, which gives customers the ability to hail a ride, rent, share or subscribe to vehicles. Caveat: this won’t be a large-scale service in the beginning; it will start small and operate similarly to other early rider programs first modeled by nuTonomy and Waymo.

WeRide, a Chinese autonomous vehicle technology company, unveiled its first cargo van. The company said it will work with Chinese automobile manufacturer Jiangling Motors and Chinese express delivery company ZTO Express to commercialize its first self-driving van at scale. The “robovans” will be based on JMC’s battery electric vehicle model with a fully redundant vehicle platform, combined with WeRide’s full-stack software and hardware autonomous driving (AD) solutions.

Electric vehicles (and batteries)

GM extended a shutdown at its Orion Assembly Plant by another two weeks due to a battery pack shortage related to the widespread Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV safety recall. GM said the extended downtime at the Orion plant will last through September 20. Orion Assembly Plant in Michigan has been shut down since August 23.

Ford has hired six senior-level executives to its newly minted commercial vehicles and services business unit as the automaker prepares to bring to market the E-Transit cargo van and the F-150 Lightning Pro pickup truck — two electric vehicles it’s betting will become commercial customers’ new workhorses.

Sila Nanotechnologies’ next-generation battery technology made its commercial product debut in the new Whoop fitness tracker, a milestone that caps a decade of research and development by the Silicon Valley startup. This matters because Sila Nano has joint battery ventures with BMW and Daimler to produce batteries containing the company’s silicon-anode technology, with the goal of going to market in the automotive industry by 2025.

Solid Power, a battery developer backed by Ford and BMW, is preparing to start pilot production of its solid state batteries early next year. A new production facility will be dedicated to manufacturing a sulfide-based solid electrolyte material and pilot production of its commercial-grade, 100 ampere battery cells. Those pouch cells are expected to go to Ford and BMW for automotive testing in early 2022.

Meet Squad Mobility and learn about its vision of the perfect urban vehicle. Here’s a hint: it’s small, cheap, electric and includes solar.

Tesla set the official record for electric vehicles at Nürburgring with a Tesla “Model S Plaid,” that driven by Andreas Simonsen circumnavigated the 20.8-kilometre. (12.9-mile) Nordschleife loop in 7:35.579, according to a statement from the motorsports complex.

Toyota Motor said it will oppose a proposal by Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives to give union-made electric vehicles in the United States an additional $4,500 tax incentive, Reuters reported. The company said the proposal discriminates “against American autoworkers based on their choice not to unionize.”

Volta Trucks, a full-electric commercial vehicle manufacturer, said its first vehicles will be manufactured in Steyr, Austria, by Steyr Automotive, formerly MAN Truck and Bus Austria.

Delivery and sharing

DoorDash, Caviar, Grubhub, Seamless, Postmates and Uber Eats have sued the City of New York over a law that would permanently limit the amount of commissions the apps can charge restaurants to use their services. The companies are seeking an injunction that would prevent the city from enforcing the legislation, unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

Plentywaka co-founder and CEO Onyeka Akumah was interviewed by TechCrunch as part of its ongoing founders Q&A series.

Misc. stuff

Hyundai Motor Group laid out its hydrogen strategy, announcing it will provide hydrogen fuel cell versions for all its commercial vehicles by 2028. Hyundai’s goal is to achieve cost competitiveness comparable to that of EV batteries by 2030. The company also shared details about its high-performance, rear-wheel drive hydrogen sports car, the Vision FK, with a targeted range of 373 miles. Hyundai did not share when the vehicle would go into production.

GM unveiled the 2022 Chevrolet Silverado, a full-sized pickup truck that received a major technology upgrade, including its hands-free Super Cruise advanced driver assistance system and an infotainment system with embedded Google services, as well as an overhauled interior.

David Zipper wrote a piece for Slate examining the growing problem of infotainment systems.

#airlines, #anthony-levandowski, #apple, #apple-car, #automotive, #bmw, #cao-cao-mobility, #caviar, #delta-airlines, #doordash, #ford, #grubhub, #intel, #mobileye, #postmates, #seamless, #tesla, #transportation, #united-airlines

Flight Attendants’ Hellish Summer: ‘I Don’t Even Feel Like a Human’

For cabin crews, the peak travel season has turned into a chronic battle involving frequent delays, overwork and unruly passengers that leaves them feeling battered by the public and the airlines.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #american-airlines, #anxiety-and-stress, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #delays-transportation, #flight-attendants, #frontier-airlines-inc, #jetblue-airways-corporation, #organized-labor, #southwest-airlines-company, #spirit-airlines, #united-airlines, #working-hours, #workplace-hazards-and-violations

United Asks Flight Attendants Not to Tape Passengers to Seats

Their union called the memo a publicity stunt. But plans by the F.A.A. to fine passengers suggest that the skies remain unruly, as does American Airlines’ extension of its alcohol ban.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #american-airlines, #assn-of-flight-attendants, #aviation-accidents-safety-and-disasters, #flight-attendants, #nelson-sara, #united-airlines

How Do I Show Proof of Vaccination When Traveling?

Proof of vaccination has become increasingly vital to accessing local restaurants and distant countries alike. Our columnist takes a deeper dive into what that means for travelers.

#american-airlines, #british-airways-plc, #content-type-service, #delta-air-lines-inc, #excelsior-pass-mobile-app, #france, #identification-devices, #italy, #musee-dorsay, #musee-de-lorangerie, #nyc-covid-safe-mobile-app, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #secure-identity-llc-clear, #travel-and-vacations, #united-airlines, #vaccination-proof-and-immunization-records

zeroheight raises $10M round led by Tribe Capital to scale DesignOps for UX teams

High quality UX for websites and apps is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have if a company is to succeed. But scaling the impact of UX teams is not simple, and in recent years teams have turned to what’s know as DesignOps platforms to help them.

Now, a new startup hopes to become a key DesignOps platform for UX teams, and has raised money to help it, in turn, scale-up.

zeroheight has now raised a $10 million Series A funding round led by Tribe Capital, with participation from Adobe, Y Combinator, FundersClub, and Expa, as well as angel investors including Tom Preston-Werner (co-founder of GitHub), Bradley Horrowitz (VP Product at Google), Irene Au (built and ran UX design for Google) and Nick Caldwell (VP Engineering at Twitter).

London-based zeroheight will now expand to the San Francisco/Bay Area, and grow the team across the board. Its focus so far has been on UX documentation but it will now also explore other areas such as closing the gap between design and development.

Co-founder Jerome de Lafargue said: “zeroheight does for UX what DevOps platforms like GitHub do for building and shipping code, providing a central place to document and manage UX components, coupled with design APIs that allow teams to skip the design hand-off stage entirely and speed up the UX delivery process.”

He said the company addresses the scaling problem for UX teams: “Problems have emerged because UX teams have grown dramatically in the past few years, because UX is now so important for most companies to just compete. And so because of this you now need centralization, you need components that are reusable so that teams can be efficient and not lose quality as it keeps shipping.”

zeroheight counts several Fortune 500 companies like Adobe and United Airlines as customers among its 1,300+ customer base.

#co-founder, #europe, #fundersclub, #github, #google, #london, #san-francisco, #tc, #tom-preston-werner, #touchwiz, #united-airlines, #y-combinator

Heart Aerospace raises $35M Series A, lands order with United and Mesa Airlines for 200 aircraft

Swedish electric aviation startup Heart Aerospace has received its biggest order to date: 200 of its inaugural ES-19 electric aircraft from aviation giant United Airlines and its regional airline partner Mesa Air Group.

The deal, which includes an option of purchasing up to 100 additional aircraft, was announced together with a $35 million Series A funding round. Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures, United’s venture arm and Mesa led the round. Seed investors EQT Ventures and Lowercarbon Capital also participated.

The ES-19 is a regional airplane that seats 19 and runs on batteries and electric motors instead of traditional jet fuel. The startup says it will deliver the first aircraft for commercial use by 2026. These aircraft will be designed for flights of up to 250 miles based on today’s battery technology.

Heart has made a full-scale prototype of its electric propulsion system, the core of its technical innovation. But the company still has to complete many steps along the way to its proposed date of commercial operations. Chief amongst these is actually assembling a prototype of the full aircraft, testing it and getting it certified with relevant authorities in the U.S. and Europe.

Heart’s founder, aerospace engineer Anders Forslund, said this recent funding round will go toward working with suppliers to validate the safety and reliability of the myriad other systems that need to go in the aircraft, like the avionics system, flight control and even the all-important de-icing system. The company’s talking with around 50 suppliers for these remaining parts, he said. The aviation startup is also building a massive test facility to assemble and demonstrate the full prototype ES-19.

Heart’s in a relativity advantageous position compared to electric air taxis, at least with regard to regulators, because it intends to slot in with existing aviation infrastructure (no special vertiports for the ES-19). Besides the electric propulsion system, which is admittedly a major innovation, the company will be relying on existing technology for other individual systems.

Image Credits: Heart Aerospace

Forslund noted in an interview with TechCrunch that the 2026 launch date is “not just something that we have as a lofty goal that we’d like to parade around on the internet, but it’s what our suppliers are working toward, what our certifying authorities are working toward as well.”

Although the company is based in Sweden, it’s likely that final assembly of at least some of the aircraft will take place in North America to fulfill orders with companies in those countries, Forslund added.

The agreement with Heart is the latest electric aviation wager made by United this year. The airline also put in a $1 billion order and invested in air taxi startup Archer Aviation in February (Forslund declined to specify the financial amount of United’s order). Both the Archer and Heart orders are conditional on certain safety and operational standards, and both companies are at least a handful of years away from going to market. The investments mark the beginning of a sea change in aviation — one already well underway in personal vehicle transportation — toward lower- and zero-emissions technologies.

The deal may also revitalize the 19-seat plane, once a mainstay of regional air travel. The plane type has fallen victim to unprofitable margins resulting in the retirement of more than 1,500 of the aircraft over the past 30 years. Regional air travel has also steadily declined in the United States since the 1990s. Mesa was at one point the largest operator of the 19-seater.

On its website, Heart points out that the smaller conventional planes are no longer economical when the engine cost of ownership is equivalent for a 19- or 70-seater. But it says that its electric aircraft will change the equation. The ES-19 electric motor is 20 times less expensive than an equivalent turboprop and maintenance costs will be reduced by 100-fold, Heart claims.

Heart was founded in 2018 after being spun out of a research project at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. The company joined Y Combinator’s winter 2019 cohort after closing its $2.2 million seed in May of that year. Heart’s grown to around fifty employees and shows no signs of slowing down.

“Aviation is difficult, and we want to build a plane that doesn’t reinvent the wheel,” Forslund said. “[We’re] just focusing on building an aircraft that’s electric, that’s safe, that’s efficient, and that’s reliable and it’s something that airlines can find profitable in operating.”

#breakthrough-energy-ventures, #electric-aviation, #heart-aerospace, #transportation, #united-airlines

United Airlines agrees to purchase 15 Boom supersonic airliners

United Airlines is the first official U.S. customer for Boom Supersonic, a company focused on making supersonic commercial flight a reality once again. Boom unveiled its supersonic sub-scale testing aircraft last year, and intends to start producing its Overture full-scale commercial supersonic passenger jet beginning in 2025, with a planned 2029 date for the beginning of commercial service after a few years of flight testing, design refinement and qualification.

United agreed to purchase 15 of the Overture aircraft, provided they meet United’s “safety, operating and sustainability requirements,” and the agreement also includes an option for the airline to purchase an additional 35 after that. United is obviously interested in the benefits of supersonic flight, which aims to reduce travel times by half, but it’s also looking to boost its sustainability profile with this deal with Boom.

Boom’s goal is to be the first commercial aircraft that runs on net-zero carbon footprint fuel right from day one. The company is focused on sourcing and using 100% sustainable aviation fuel, and part of the arrangement between the two companies includes United working in collaboration with the startup to develop and improve production sources for that sustainable fuel.

U.S. airlines committed jointly to a goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and as part of that they agreed to partner with government and other stakeholders to accelerate the development and commercialization of sustainable aviation fuel, so this team-up with Boom could be a key driver of those aims for United long-term.

#aerospace, #aircraft, #airline, #aviation, #boom-supersonic, #boom-technology, #concorde, #driver, #sound, #tc, #transport, #united-airlines, #united-states

United Airlines Wants to Bring Back Supersonic Air Travel

The airline, which plans to buy planes from Boom Supersonic, a start-up, could become the first to offer ultrafast commercial flights since the Concorde stopped flying in 2003.

#airbus-industrie, #airlines-and-airplanes, #boeing-company, #boom-supersonic, #japan-airlines, #travel-and-vacations, #united-airlines, #united-states

Flying and Climate: Airlines Under Pressure to Cut Emissions

The airline industry might not be able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for decades because most solutions are not yet viable.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #alternative-and-renewable-energy, #bioenergy-and-biofuels, #carbon-dioxide, #europe, #european-union, #fuel-efficiency, #fuel-emissions-transportation, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #kirby-scott-1967, #neste-oyj, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #politics-and-government, #united-airlines, #united-states

6 Things You Should Know About Traveling to Europe This Summer

Shifting flight schedules, varying hotel flexibility and new tech: A lot has changed since the last time you packed that passport.

#air-france, #airlines-and-airplanes, #american-airlines, #cellular-telephones, #content-type-service, #delta-air-lines-inc, #europe, #european-travel-commission, #hilton-worldwide-holdings-inc, #hotels-and-travel-lodgings, #jetblue-airways-corporation, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #restaurants, #resy-network-inc, #summer-season, #travel-and-vacations, #united-airlines

Once Crippled by the Pandemic, Airlines See a Fast Recovery Coming

As demand for tickets recovers, airlines are calling back workers, adding flights and planning for a summer they say could be normal.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #american-airlines, #company-reports, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #delta-air-lines-inc, #flight-attendants, #labor-and-jobs, #pilots, #southwest-airlines-company, #united-airlines, #united-states

Electric Aircraft Start-Up Accuses Rival of Stealing Its Secrets

A lawsuit by Wisk, partly owned by the Google co-founder Larry Page, says two engineers took sensitive files before joining Archer.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #archer-aviation-inc, #boeing-company, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #industrial-espionage, #intellectual-property, #inventions-and-patents, #mergers-acquisitions-and-divestitures, #page-larry, #start-ups, #suits-and-litigation-civil, #united-airlines, #venture-capital, #wisk-aero-llc

Were the Airline Bailouts Really Needed?

Once again, we have socialized an industry’s losses and privatized its profits.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #american-airlines, #coronavirus-aid-relief-and-economic-security-act-2020, #delta-air-lines-inc, #executive-compensation, #lobbying-and-lobbyists, #parker-doug-1961, #stimulus-economic, #travel-and-vacations, #united-airlines

The Relief Bill Will Save Tens of Thousands of Airline and Airport Jobs

Aviation workers will be protected from furloughs through September under the bill President Biden signed Thursday, but a full travel recovery could take years.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #airlines-for-america, #american-rescue-plan-2021, #american-airlines, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #labor-and-jobs, #law-and-legislation, #layoffs-and-job-reductions, #stimulus-economic, #travel-warnings, #united-airlines, #united-states-politics-and-government, #vaccination-and-immunization

United Adds to Its Orders for Boeing 737 Max Planes

The airline is also speeding up deliveries of the planes in a show of confidence in the jet, which was recently allowed to fly again after major updates.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #boeing-737-max-groundings-and-safety-concerns-2019, #boeing-company, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #united-airlines

Pratt & Whitney Engines Scrutinized After Boeing Jet Mishaps

Regulators are investigating episodes involving Pratt & Whitney equipment that rained debris from planes and forced emergency landings.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #aviation-accidents-safety-and-disasters, #boeing-company, #engines, #federal-aviation-administration, #prattwhitney, #raytheon-company, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #united-airlines

United Flight Sheds Debris Over Colorado After Engine Failure

The airplane, a Boeing 777-200 that had 331 people on board, scattered debris across several neighborhoods outside Boulder, Colo., before landing safely in Denver, according to officials.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #aviation-accidents-safety-and-disasters, #broomfield-colorado, #colorado, #denver-international-airport, #engines, #united-airlines

Airlines Still Don’t Know When Passengers Will Return

Experts say that tourists could come back in the spring or summer but that more profitable business travelers could stay away for a year or longer.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #airlines-for-america, #alaska-airlines, #american-airlines, #business-travel, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #delta-air-lines-inc, #jetblue-airways-corporation, #southwest-airlines-company, #travel-and-vacations, #united-airlines

With a reported deal in the wings for Joby Aviation, electric aircraft soars to $10B business

One year after nabbing $590 million from investors led by Toyota, and a few months after picking up Uber’s flying taxi businessJoby Aviation is reportedly in talks to go public in a SPAC deal that would value the electric plane manufacturer at nearly $5.7 billion.

News of a potential deal comes on the heels of another big SPAC transaction in electric planes, for Archer Aviation. If the Financial Times‘ reporting is accurate, then that would mean that the two will soon be publicly traded at a total value approaching $10 billion.

It’s a heady time for startups making vehicles powered by anything other than hydrocarbons, and the SPAC wave has hit it hard.

Electric car companies Arrival, Canoo, ChargePoint, Fisker, Lordstown Motors, Proterra and The Lion Electric Company are some of the companies that have merged with SPACs — or announced plans to — in the past year.

Now it appears that any company that has anything to do with the electrification of any mode of transportation is going to get waved onto the runway for a public listing through a special purpose acquisition company vehicle — a wildly popular route at the moment for companies that might find traditional IPO listings more challenging to carry out but would rather not stay in startup mode when it comes to fundraising.

The investment group reportedly taking Joby to the moon! out to public markets is led by the billionaire tech entrepreneurs and investors Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn, and Mark Pincus, who launched the casual gaming company, Zynga.

Together the two men had formed Reinvent Technology Partners, a special purpose acquisition company, earlier in 2020. The shell company went public and raised $690 million to make a deal.

Any transaction for Joby would be a win for the company’s backers including Toyota, Baillie Gifford, Intel Capital, JetBlue Technology Ventures (the investment arm of the US-based airline), and Uber, which invested $125 million into Joby.

Joby has a prototype that has already taken 600 flights, but has yet to be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration. And the success of any transaction between the company and Hoffman and Pincus’ SPAC group is far from a sure thing, as the FT noted.

The deal would require an additional capital infusion into the SPAC that the two men established, and without that extra cash, all bets are off. Indeed, that is probably one reason why anyone is reading about this now.

Alternatively powered transportation vehicles of all stripes and covering all modes of travel are the rage right now among the public investment crowd. Part of that is due to rising pressure among institutional investors to find companies with an environmental, sustainability, and good governance thesis that they can invest in, and part of that is due to tailwinds coming from government regulations pushing for the decarbonization of fleets in a bid to curb global warming.

The environmental impact is one chief reason that United chief executive Scott Kirby cited when speaking about his company’s $1 billion purchase order from the electric plane company that actually announced it would be pursuing a public offering through a SPAC earlier this week.

“By working with Archer, United is showing the aviation industry that now is the time to embrace cleaner, more efficient modes of transportation,” Kirby said. “With the right technology, we can curb the impact aircraft have on the planet, but we have to identify the next generation of companies who will make this a reality early and find ways to help them get off the ground.”

It’s also an investment in a possible new business line that could eventually shuttle United passengers to and from an airport, as TechCrunch reported earlier. United projected that a trip in one of Archer’s eVTOL aircraft could reduce CO2 emissions by up to 50% per passenger traveling between Hollywood and Los Angeles International Airport.

The agreement to go public and the order from United Airlines comes less than a year after Archer Aviation came out of stealth. Archer was co-founded in 2018 by Adam Goldstein and Brett Adcock, who sold their software-as-a-service company Vettery to The Adecco Group for more than $100 million. The company’s primary backer was Marc Lore, who sold his company Jet.com to Walmart in 2016 for $3.3 billion. Lore was Walmart’s e-commerce chief until January.

For any SPAC investors or venture capitalists worried that they’re now left out of the EV plane investment bonanza, take heart! There’s still the German tech developer, Lilium. And if an investor is interested in supersonic travel, there’s always Boom.

#adam-goldstein, #airline, #baillie-gifford, #canoo, #chargepoint, #co-founder, #corporate-finance, #e-commerce, #economy, #evtol, #federal-aviation-administration, #finance, #fisker, #intel-capital, #investment, #jet-com, #jetblue-technology-ventures, #joby, #joby-aviation, #lilium, #linkedin, #lordstown-motors, #marc-lore, #mark-pincus, #private-equity, #proterra, #reid-hoffman, #reinvent-technology-partners, #software-as-a-service, #spacs, #special-purpose-acquisition-company, #tc, #the-adecco-group, #the-financial-times, #toyota, #transportation, #uber, #united-airlines, #vettery, #walmart, #zynga

United Airlines orders 200 vertical-takeoff electric airplanes

Passengers head toward a tiny aircraft that isn't quite a helicopter or a propellor plane.

Enlarge / An artist’s rendering of Archer’s first aircraft, due out in 2024. (credit: Archer)

The success of uncrewed electric drones in the last couple of decades has caused some people to wonder if similar construction techniques to those used in drones could be employed to create small electric aircraft to carry people.

Not only are electric motors more reliable than conventional engines, but they’re also light enough that you can put several of them on a single aircraft, offering an extra margin of safety. The ability to use several motors—together with sophisticated software—means greater design flexibility, opening the door to new types of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft that straddle the line between conventional airplane and helicopter.

This technology got overhyped in the late 2010s. Uber, for example, announced in 2017 that it was aiming to launch a VTOL taxi service in Dallas and Dubai in 2020. Instead, Uber sold off its air taxi efforts to startup Joby in December 2020.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#archer, #cars, #electric-airplanes, #policy, #united-airlines, #vtol

How the Stock Market’s Relentless Rise Saved Companies

When the pandemic hit, banks cut credit to businesses that suddenly looked risky. Investors happily stepped in, buying their stocks and bonds.

#amc-entertainment-holding-inc, #banking-and-financial-institutions, #carnival-corporation, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #credit-and-debt, #dennys-inc, #royal-caribbean-cruises-ltd, #stocks-and-bonds, #united-airlines

Testing Requirement Is the Latest Curveball for the Travel Industry

The United States now requires a negative coronavirus test for all arriving international travelers, which has hotels adding testing suites and airlines enhancing mobile apps with health features.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #airports, #bahama-islands, #caribbean-area, #casa-de-campo-la-romana-dominican-republic-hotel, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #delta-air-lines-inc, #hotels-and-travel-lodgings, #mexico, #mobile-applications, #tests-medical, #travel-and-vacations, #travel-warnings, #turkish-airlines, #united-airlines

Passenger Who Had Medical Emergency on Flight Died of Covid-19, Coroner Says

The episode in Louisiana raised concerns about the risks travelers face, even with heightened safety precautions in place.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #california, #centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #emergency-medical-treatment, #flight-attendants, #jefferson-parish-la, #los-angeles-calif, #louisiana, #united-airlines

United Helps to Contact Passengers After Possible Covid 19-Related Death on Flight

The flight, United 591 from Orlando to Los Angeles, was diverted to New Orleans on Monday after a passenger had a medical emergency on board.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #aviation-accidents-safety-and-disasters, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #flight-attendants, #new-orleans-la, #united-airlines

Airlines Gear Up to Transport Vaccines That Could Revive Travel

Planes are one part of an elaborate supply chain to move billions of doses of vaccines around the world.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #american-airlines, #belgium, #carbon-dioxide, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #delta-air-lines-inc, #drugs-pharmaceuticals, #federal-aviation-administration, #united-airlines, #united-parcel-service-inc, #united-states, #vaccination-and-immunization

Help! How Can I Help My Toddler Wear a Mask on a Plane?

Flying with a small child is difficult enough. Now try to get one to keep their mask on.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #american-airlines, #children-and-childhood, #jetblue-airways-corporation, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #southwest-airlines-company, #united-airlines

Couple Boards Flight After Testing Positive for Covid-19

Wesley Moribe, 41, and Courtney Peterson, 46, were charged with reckless endangerment after they flew from San Francisco to Hawaii, despite being told to isolate, the police said.

#hawaii, #kauai-hawaii, #united-airlines

Boeing’s 737 Max Will Be Flying Again. Here’s What You Need to Know

It will take weeks, if not months, for American, United and Southwest to get the plane back into service — and reassure travelers about its safety.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #american-airlines, #aviation-accidents-safety-and-disasters, #boeing-737-max-groundings-and-safety-concerns-2019, #boeing-company, #delta-air-lines-inc, #federal-aviation-administration, #southwest-airlines-company, #travel-and-vacations, #united-airlines

Hawaii’s Reopening May Be Good for Tourism. Is it Good for Locals?

The travel industry and the islands’ authorities say using testing could create a model for reopening international travel. But some locals object to being part of the experiment.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #hawaii, #states-us, #travel-and-vacations, #united-airlines

Hawaii’s Reopening May Be Good for Tourism. Is it Good for Hawaiians?

The travel industry and the islands’ authorities say using testing could create a model for reopening international travel. But some locals object to being part of the experiment.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #hawaii, #states-us, #travel-and-vacations, #united-airlines

Stocks Post Worst Day in 4 Months as Infections Rise Around the Globe

The S&P 500 was down 3.5 percent after France and Germany announced new lockdown measures, an unwelcome reminder of the recovery’s fragility.

#boeing-company, #business-travel, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #delta-air-lines-inc, #government-bonds, #mastercard-inc, #sap-ag, #stimulus-economic, #stocks-and-bonds, #travel-and-vacations, #united-airlines, #united-states-economy, #visa-inc

How United Airlines Is Trying to Plan Around a Pandemic

The airline has to figure out which planes to stash in the desert and which ones to park at airports without knowing when demand will recover.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-aid-relief-and-economic-security-act-2020, #coronavirus-reopenings, #labor-and-jobs, #travel-and-vacations, #united-airlines

Airline Miles Programs Sure Are Profitable. Are You the Loser?

United and Delta have been boasting to lenders about fat margins in frequent-flier mile programs. Time for customers to pay a bit more attention.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #american-express-company, #content-type-service, #credit-cards, #customer-loyalty-programs, #delta-air-lines-inc, #frequent-flier-programs, #travel-and-vacations, #united-airlines

Airlines, Facing a Slow Recovery, Begin Furloughing Thousands

With few people traveling and lawmakers deadlocked on a stimulus package, American Airlines and United Airlines are cutting more than 30,000 jobs.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #american-airlines, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-aid-relief-and-economic-security-act-2020, #delta-air-lines-inc, #law-and-legislation, #layoffs-and-job-reductions, #southwest-airlines-company, #stimulus-economic, #travel-and-vacations, #treasury-department, #united-airlines, #united-states, #united-states-economy, #united-states-politics-and-government

Now at the Boarding Gate: Coronavirus Tests

Airlines and airports are offering the tests as a way for travelers whose results are negative to avoid quarantines at their destinations, and to revive travelers’ faith in flying.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #hawaii, #hawaiian-airlines-incorporated, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #travel-and-vacations, #united-airlines

United Airlines is making COVID-19 tests available to passengers, powered in part by Color

There’s still no clear path back to any sense of ‘business-as-usual’ as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, but United Airlines is embarking on a new pilot project to see if easy access to COVID-19 testing immediately prior to a flight can help ease freedom of mobility. The airline will offer COVID-19 tests (either rapid tests at the airport, or mail-in at home tests prior to travel) to passengers flying from SFO in San Francisco to Hawaiian airpots, beginning on October 15.

United worked directly with the Hawaiian government and health regulators to meet the state’s requirements when it comes to quarantine measures, so that travellers who return a negative result with this pre-trip tests won’t have to observe the mandatory quarantine period in place upon their arrival. That’s obviously a major barrier to travel to a popular tourist destination like Hawaii, since a two-week quarantine eats up all or more of the typical period of stay for anyone coming from the mainland.

The airline has partnered with two companies to provide the tests: Color for the at-home kit, which is ordered by a physician and provides results within 1-2 days of receiving the sample, and GoHealth Urgent Care, which will be provided the on-site tests at the airport using the Abbot ID NOW rapid COVID-19 test that returns results in just 15 minutes.

If passengers choose the Color option, they’re advised to request the test kit at least 10 days before they fly, and then to provide their sample for testing within 72 hours before they fly, in order to ensure first that they receive the sample kit in time, and second that the results are recent enough that it’s extremely unlikely they’ve contracted COVID-19 in the ensuing time prior to their flight. Passengers choosing this method can even return the sample via a drop box at SFO, with the results arriving after their landing, but still curtailing their mandatory quarantine period once received.

The on-site option will require scheduling a visit to the testing facility in SFO’s international terminal in advance, with tests available between 9 AM to 6 PM PT every day at the airport.

This is just a pilot program, and that’s a very good thing, because it will be crucially important to see what happens as a result of this kind of deployment, and its ability to skip the quarantine period. The two-week quarantine after travelling, which is fairly widely adopted globally at this stage in the pandemic, is intentionally meant to apply in most locations regardless of test results, no matter the source or recency.

That’s because at this stage in testing, the results aren’t anywhere near foolproof – testing has potentially less efficacy at detecting COVID-19 in asymptomatic individuals, for instance, and when viral loads aren’t yet high enough to provide reliable measurement. Those situations can result in false negatives, which isn’t an issue when the 14-day quarantine periods are mandatory and universal.

Tourism, especially domestic U.S. tourism, is vital to the economic wellbeing of states like Hawaii – and widespread testing could be a lever to open up more of this kind of economic activity both elsewhere in the U.S. and internationally. But it’ll require close and careful study, scrutinized by health professionals, as well as improvements in the accuracy and consistency of diagnostics before these measure should expand beyond the pilot stage.

#aerospace, #airline, #coronavirus, #covid-19, #gohealth, #hawaii, #health, #medicine, #physician, #prevention, #quarantine, #san-francisco, #tc, #united-airlines, #united-states

Help! My Very Direct Flight Added a Stop and So Many More Passengers

Sarah Firshein tries to resolve how a nonstop with seat selection became a packed “split flight,” with concerns over proper cleaning and an arrival two hours later than expected.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #allegiant-air, #american-airlines, #content-type-service, #delta-air-lines-inc, #flint-mich, #international-air-transport-assn, #orlando-fla, #prices-fares-fees-and-rates, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #rebates-and-refunds, #transportation-security-administration, #travel-and-vacations, #united-airlines

United Airlines’ website bug exposed traveler ticket data

A bug in United Airlines’ website let anyone access the ticket information for travelers who requested a refund.

The airline’s website lets users check their refund status by entering their ticket number and last name. But the website wasn’t validating the last name, making it possible to access other travelers’ refund information by changing the ticket number.

Oliver Linow, who found the bug, told TechCrunch that he could see traveler surnames, the payment type and currency used to buy the ticket, and the refund amount.

United, like most other airlines, lets passengers access and modify their upcoming flights using only a passenger’s ticket number and last name.

Linow reported the issue to United on July 6. It took the airline a month to fix. But Linow did not hear back again from the airline.

It’s not known for how long the bug was present. United did not respond to our emails with questions about whether the airline informed data protection authorities about the incident.

Companies found in violation of European data protection rules can be fined up to 4% of their annual revenue.

Airlines have withheld billions of dollars worth of refunds during the pandemic amid a sharp decline in passenger numbers. United later received a $5 billion share of a $25 billion U.S. federal aid package aimed at keeping the airline industry afloat.

Earlier this month, United said it would furlough about 20% of its staff — some 16,370 employees.

#aerospace, #airline, #aviation, #cybersecurity, #data-breach, #privacy, #security, #united-airlines