The US State Department has announced that individuals who have a US passport and have a conviction of a sex offense against a minor will have their passport revoked and reissued with one that contains a disclosure citing their criminal conviction.
The passport will contain language printed on the inside back cover stating that “The bearer was convicted of a sex offense against a minor, and is a covered sex offender pursuant to (specific regulation cited).”
The State Department has asked the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide them with a list of registered offenders so that they can begin contacting current passport holders who qualify for the ‘sex offender’ passport. The DHS is responsible for maintaining a federal database of all child sex offenders in the country.
According to the State Department, this ‘enhancement’ is part of ‘Megan’s Law’ that was passed last year to increase penalities for sex offenders of minors.
Hopefully none of you reading this need to worry about it.
While Air Berlin navigates bankruptcy through the German legal system, it has announced that cuts to under-performing long haul routes will take place almost immediately. The decision comes as a result of a dramatic fall-off in bookings that has taken place since the bankruptcy announcement.
As far as I can tell, here are the canceled routes:
Berlin – Abu Dhabi will be canceled beginning September 17.
Berlin – Chicago will be canceled beginning September 30.
Berlin – Los Angeles will be canceled October 1.
Berlin – San Francisco will be canceled October 1.
Dusseldorf – Boston will be canceled October 1.
For now flights from Berlin to Miami and New York (JFK) remain unaffected as do flights from Dusseldorf to Boston, Fort Myers, Orlando, New York, and Miami. Also unaffected at this point are flights from Dusseldorf to Cancun, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Punta Cana, Puerto Plata, Varadero, Curacao, and Havana. I suspect these aforementioned routes won’t stay on the timetable for long but at this point AB plans to operated them as scheduled.
It is widely expected that Lufthansa will come away with a significant stake in Air Berlin after negotiations are completed between the German government, Air Berlin, and Lufthansa. It also appears that Easyjet will stand to benefit from certain Air Berlin assets as well. At this point it appears that Ryanair is the odd man out and will not be a benefactor of AB’s bankruptcy.
Over the last few days, German media has been reporting a new concept being considered by Lufthansa to further enhance cost savings when it comes to flight operations out of the hubs in Europe.
Lufthansa’s Harry Hohmeister has unveiled plans that will create a potentially new ‘Flexible Routing’ fare that will allow Lufthansa to change already issued tickets for passengers willing to be more flexible in their trip routing.
The reasoning behind this concept will allow Lufthansa to self-direct passenger flow through hubs based on demand and pricing. For example, Frankfurt Airport charges Lufthansa up to 20% more for handling long haul LH flights and passengers than Munich, Zurich, or Vienna charge. Having passengers reroute through lower cost hubs obviously would net a positive impact on LH’s bottom line. In their planning, LH would be able to determine in advance if other hubs and flights have capacity to handle last minute changes. If not, the flex fare passenger would fly their original ticket.
An example could look like:
A passenger books a flight from Chicago to Berlin. The original booking would have the passenger transit through Frankfurt enroute to Berlin. Under a flex routing fare, Lufthansa could re-ticket the passenger a few days before the flight to have them fly Chicago – Munich – Berlin, Chicago – Vienna – Berlin, or Chicago – Zurich – Berlin and thus avoid the extra costs associated with routing a passenger through the more pricey Frankfurt.
Passengers flying under a flex routing fare would be informed days or weeks ahead of their trip, letting them know if their original routing has changed.
Please understand that only a ‘flex routing’ fare class would subject a passenger to a last minute rerouting. Passengers flying on traditional fare classes would not be subject to these kind of changes.
Lufthansa has already sent a ‘shot across the bow’ to Frankfurt by announcing a transfer of 5 A380 aircraft to Munich, thus already reducing capacity at Frankfurt and potentially preparing for the roll out of the new flex-routing fares and increasing capacity in Munich.
In his comments, Hohmeister indicated that passengers agreeing to a flex routing fare would be well rewarded for their willingness to be flexible.
Plans are in place to unveil the new program for Lufthansa and Austrian operated flights at the beginning of 2018.