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Casino mogul Steve Wynn says Las Vegas shooter would have triggered alarms at his hotels

Casino mogul Steve Wynn identified Las Vegas as a target city nearly two years ago, and he told Fox News anchor Chris Wallace on Sunday that he increased spending on security at his hotels by “tens of millions of dollars” in attempt to “identify and pre-empt any kind of terroristic or violent threat.”

>> Watch the interview here

Wynn suggested that the training and steps implemented at his properties would have set off alarm bells if Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock had tried to launch his mass murder scheme from one of them.

>> Read the latest on the Las Vegas shootings

Specific training techniques include Wynn hotels housekeeping staffs, room service staffs and anybody else who enters a guest room doing visual inspections every time. He added that a room with a “Do Not Disturb” sign displayed on its door for longer than 12 hours is investigated.

“The scenario that we’re aware of would have indicated that [Paddock] didn’t let anyone in the room for two or three days,” Wynn told “Fox News Sunday.” “That would have triggered a whole bunch of alarms here.”

>> On Rare.us: Somber photos of Las Vegas emerge after the city cut its lights for 11 minutes

Wynn said guns are not allowed in his hotels, unless they belong to employees who are required to carry them. He said guests who are found to have guns, “we eject from the hotel.” Wynn said they discover guests with guns “continually.”

>> Read more trending news

After the shooting, Wynn hotels started using wands to detect potential metal objects on guests, as well as inspecting luggage upon entrance to the hotel.

>> On Rare.us: The father of Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock was a “minister” — of a criminal nature

Paddock had been known to stay at Wynn resorts, among many others. Wallace asked Wynn if his security teams had much of a profile on him, and if anything should have raised a red flag.

“The most vanilla profile one could possibly imagine. A modest gambler, at least by our standards,” Wynn said.

Royal Caribbean cancels cruise, uses ship for Puerto Rico hurricane relief

Cruise line Royal Caribbean has sent one of its ships to help Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

>> Jennifer Lopez donating $1M to aid hurricane relief in Puerto Rico

According to CNN, the company canceled an upcoming Adventure of the Seas cruise so the ship, which holds 3,800 people, could pick up evacuees and bring supplies to Puerto Rico. The cruise ship also will travel to St. Croix and St. Thomas.

>> How to help Hurricane Maria victims: Where to donate, how to volunteer and more

Royal Caribbean tweeted about the ship's arrival in storm-ravaged San Juan on Wednesday.

>> Read more trending news

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

"Adventure of the Seas arrived in San Juan to drop off supplies and pick up evacuees. Next up: St. Thomas & St. Croix," read the tweet, which included photos.

>> See the tweet here

Read more here.

Delta to launch free in-flight messaging

The days of being out of contact during a flight are coming to an end.

>> Read more trending news 

Delta Air Lines officials said the airline will offer free in-flight mobile messaging via iMessage, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp starting Oct. 1.

On Delta’s planes equipped with in-flight Wi-Fi, passengers will be able to exchange real-time messages with those on the ground via Delta’s Wi-Fi portal web page, according to the airline officials.

The in-flight messaging will not enable the exchange of photos or video files, however. And some of Delta’s smaller regional jets don’t have Wi-Fi capability that would enable the messaging.

“We know many of Delta’s customers want or need to stay connected in the air and on the ground, which is why we’re investing in an easy, free way to send and receive messages inflight through some of the most popular global platforms,” Tim Mapes, Delta’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer, said in a news release. “Coupled with our investments in seat-back screens, free entertainment and high-speed Wi-Fi, free messaging is one more way customers can choose how to make the most of their time on Delta flights.”Read more at Delta.

The best US cities to avoid effects of climate change, according to report

Weeks after parts of Texas, Florida, Georgia, many of the Atlantic islands and other regions were ravaged by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, in the wake of Hurricanes Jose and Katia and in the midst of Hurricane Maria, climate change has gained steam again in continued conversations about global warming and humans’ interactions with the earth.

>> Read more trending news 

Included in those discussions are worries that parts of Florida are in danger as sea levels rise.

A new report by Business Insider lists 13 American cities that are “the best U.S. cities to live in to escape the worst effects of climate change.”

“The bottom line is, it’s going to be bad everywhere," Bruce Riordan, the director of the Climate Readiness Institute at the University of California, Berkeley, told Business Insider.

But “there are places that might at least temper the effects of climate change,” according to Vivek Shandas, an urban-planning professor at Portland State University.

Shandas and a group of researchers looked at a variety of factors, including policy and politics, community organization and infrastructure, to determine the cities safest from the dangerous effects of climate change over the next 50 years.

According to the report, the Pacific Northwest is the best U.S. region to live to escape the negative effects of climate change, according to Shandas, who said that “their infrastructure tends to be newer and more resilient to major shocks” like heat and rising water.

Austin, Texas, about 160 miles from Houston, which was hit hard by Hurricane Harvey, is also among the top 13 cities -- in part because of durable infrastructure as well as plans to combat carbon dioxide levels and offset emissions.

“We often write off the South as somewhere that’s going get hammered by heat waves and hurricanes, but there are some really interesting places like Austin,” Shandas told Business Insider.

Here’s the full list in no particular order: 

  • Seattle, Washington
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Austin, Texas
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Baltimore, Maryland
  • Portland, Oregon
  • San Francisco, California
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Salt Lake City, Utah

Read more at Business Insider.

Passengers upset after flight minutes from landing returns to departure airport

Passengers on a late night flight to Santa Fe Tuesday were confused when the plane, just minutes from landing, instead returned to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.

Passengers and those waiting at the airport for loved ones to arrive told KRQE that it was a clear, calm night. After the flight's captain told passengers they were returning to DFW but didn't give a clear reason why, passenger Leighann Gagnon said other staff told her it was because there was no one in the control tower at Santa Fe's Municipal Airport.

>> Read more trending news

While the airport's control tower is unstaffed from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m., flights can still land, and do so on a regular basis, KRQE reported.

American Airlines and airport staff clarified to KRQE that it was due to a technical malfunction at the National Weather Service, which could not provide a wind speed reading to the pilot. A wind speed reading is require by law in order to land, KRQE reported. 

Passengers were miffed that American Airlines didn't land in Albuquerque, but American officials said they don't operate out of Sunport International Airport, so that's why the flight returned to DFW.

When passengers arrived back at DFW at approximately 1 a.m. Wednesday, everything was closed and passengers were not offered a voucher for a hotel or a meal, KRQE reported. Passengers couldn't access their luggage because airport staff were not available. American Airlines officials said since it was not at fault, it could not issue vouchers per company policy.

Passengers took off for Santa Fe at 7 a.m. Wednesday. This time, the flight landed successfully at Santa Fe's Municipal Airport.

Florida Keys hotel in Netflix series ‘Bloodline’ closed in wake of Irma

The Islamorada hotel featured in the Netflix series ‘Bloodline’ is closed indefinitely in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

>> Read more trending news 

Last year, Palm Beach Daily News travel writer Cheryl Blackerby  wrote a piece about her trip to Islamorada and how the Moorings Village and Spa and other Florida Keys locations became stars of the show.

‘Bloodline’ ended earlier this year but is still available on Netflix. Meanwhile, Islamorada and the Keys are trying to recover after being decimated by Irma. As a result, the Moorings announced last week on its website it would not accept reservations for the rest of 2017.

On Sept. 11, the Moorings also posted on its Facebook page: “The security, well-being and safety of our guests and staff is always the highest priority in all emergency situations. Due to the mandatory evacuation of the Florida Keys and ramifications of Hurricane Irma, The Moorings is currently closed and not accepting reservations for the remainder of 2017. Once the storm passes and we can return to the property and assess damage, we will make a decision regarding re-opening. We appreciate your understanding and ask for your patience during this time. Our thoughts remain with all of those affected by the storm.”

Read more at Palm Beach Daily News.

>> PHOTOS: Netflix ‘Bloodline’ series and real life collide in Islamorada

>> PHOTOS: Paradise destroyed in Florida Keys

Hurricane Maria: Airlines cap fares for flights out of affected cities

Update 1:30 p.m. Sept. 19: American Airlines and United Airlines announced that they are capping some of their fares as Hurricane Maria churns over the Caribbean.

>> Read more trending news

American Airlines said it will cap until Sept. 24 one-way, nonstop fares from airports in Antigua, Haiti, the Turks and Caicos islands, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and St. Kitts and Nevis. Fares for travel in the airline’s main cabin will be capped at $99, while premium cabin fares will be capped at $199.

United Airlines officials said the company is adding additional seats for its flights leaving Puerto Rico. The airline capped its nonstop flights in economy class at $384.

>> Hurricane Jose and Hurricane Maria: Live updates

The announcements came in response to a letter sent to nearly a dozen airliners from Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, requesting that the airlines cap fees for people fleeing from Maria.

“Individuals and families should not be forced to delay or cancel their evacuation efforts because of confusion over the cost of airfare,” Nelson said.

Original report: Delta Air Lines said it is capping main cabin one-way fares at $199 for flights out of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Punta Cana, Santo Domingo and Santiago in the Dominican Republic as Hurricane Maria approaches.

Atlanta-based Delta is also adding two extra flights from San Juan to Atlanta for those who want to get out of the hurricane’s path.

>> More hurricane coverage from WFTVAction News Jax and the Palm Beach Post

Delta is waiving change fees for travelers with flights booked to, from or through San Juan, Punta Cana, Santo Domingo and Santiago from Sept. 19-26.

Southwest Airlines is canceling its flights scheduled to and from San Juan for Tuesday after 6 p.m. and Wednesday, and to and from Punta Cana on Wednesday.

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Florida to resume charging tolls after being suspended for Hurricane Irma

UPDATE - Sept. 19: 

Florida authorities said the state will resume charging tolls on its turnpike and other roads and bridges at 12:01 a.m. Thursday after they were suspended during Hurricane Irma.

Original story:

More than a week after Hurricane Irma hit parts of Florida, the state’s tolls are still suspended while cities rebuild and residents return to their homes and repair damages to property, some with the help of friends and family members traveling into the state.

>> Read more trending news 

Others have traveled to the state to volunteer with repair efforts.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott suspended tolls after ordering Floridians to evacuate ahead of the hurricane. Millions of people fled the state. 

Scott wrote on Twitter Monday that tolls would remain suspended as residents and officials “focus on recovery efforts.”

It’s unclear when toll fees will be reinstated, but Scott said he would keep people updated. 

Woman claims sexual assault on red-eye flight to Charlotte

A 33-year-old woman was flying a red-eye flight from San Diego to Charlotte, North Carolina, on Monday when a stranger took the seat next to her younger sister.

>> Read more trending news 

She said they were instantly nervous when he first spoke to them.

"He said, 'I get to sit next to the two most beautiful women on the plane,' and we were concerned," the woman, who did not want to be identified, told WSOC-TV.

The direct flight was more than four hours long, leaving late Monday from San Diego and arriving early Tuesday morning in Charlotte.

As the American Airlines flight was just taking off, the victim told WSOC the man leaned over.

"He actually reached over, over the top of the armrest that was separating he and I, and just basically rubbed down my entire thigh," she said.

She said one of his fingers briefly got caught in a hole in her jeans.

Her sister, seated in the window seat, told her to call the flight attendant. Instead, she wanted to handle it quietly.

"I hit his arm away from me, and just you know, made it very clear, do not touch me," she said.

The man mumbled something and she moved as close to her sister as possible, then later, fell asleep.

Earlier, she had noticed the smell of alcohol on the man's breath, but didn't think he was acting drunk.

She was jolted awake about an hour into the flight.

"I woke up to him completely on top of my left side. He had his arms on me and I was hitting him," she said.

She pressed the button for the flight attendant, who took the man to the front of the plane. She didn't see him again until they landed in Charlotte, and police were talking to him at the gate.

"The bruises came up the next morning, and I didn't know those were there, from kind of fighting him off of me," she said.

WSOC reached out to American Airlines Thursday, but did not receive a response.

The district attorney in San Diego said the office is not involved in the investigation.

>> Related: Delta will now pay passengers up to $9,950 to give up seats

It's not clear if the suspect has been identified. A report was filed with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police, but the department told WSOC there were no arrests.

>> Related: Woman claims Delta paid her $4,000 to give up seat on overbooked flight

Woman claims Delta paid her $4,000 to give up seat on overbooked flight

How much money is a single football game worth to you?

For a plane full of University of Georgia fans heading to South Bend, Indiana, to watch their team play Notre Dame last weekend, that number is pretty high.

>> Read more trending news

WSB-TV sports director Zach Klein was on a full Delta Air Lines flight Friday morning leaving from Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

The plane was overbooked and when the crew realized it was overbooked, they started offering money for someone to give up their seat.

“Offers started at $2,200. Then it was $2,800. Later it got to $3,000,” Klein said.

Tracy Jarvis Smith eventually took the offer when the crew bumped the amount to $4,000.

“$4,000 was my magic number,” Smith later tweeted.

According to Klein, Smith was bumped for a 7 p.m. flight that day.

“Not one fan wanted to get in late,” Klein said.

Klein posted a photo with the Georgia fan who took Smith’s seat.

Smith also tweeted later that day. She said she got in about eight hours later than she had planned, making it worth the money.

The Georgia Bulldogs went on to beat the Fighting Irish 20-19.

>> Related: Delta will now pay passengers up to $9,950 to give up seats

 

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