Aer Lingus will fly Minneapolis to Dublin

Aer Lingus, Ireland’s second-largest airline, plans to fly nonstop between Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and Dublin next summer. The daily flight to Ireland’s capital marks the sixth nonstop European destination from MSP and gives area travelers a new, and possibly more affordable, way across the Atlantic Ocean. Tickets will go on sale this month with the cheapest fare class beginning at $759, Aer Lingus said. But an online search reveals much lower prices — less than $400 round-trip — from Dublin to Chicago. “Aer Lingus is not a discount carrier, but they do try to remain competitive,” said George Hobica, founder of ­Airfarewatchdog. “They do tend to have some pretty good fares.” Aer Lingus will fly the route, which begins July 8, on a Boeing 757.

Kristen Leigh Painter

Cuba advisory softened

Travel to Cuba can be confusing, in light of U.S. travel restrictions and advisories. But recently the State Department softened the travel advisory on Cuba from a Level 3 (reconsider travel) to a Level 2 (exercise caution). U.S. travelers can still legally visit Cuba, but Americans may no longer carry out direct transactions with 180 companies, including 83 hotels, that are controlled by Cuba’s military. Also, regulations no longer allow individual travel to Cuba under the people-to-people category. Now those who want to travel under this category, which is designed to encourage meaningful contacts between Cubans and Americans, must be part of an organized group and a representative from the organizer must accompany them. Individuals can still travel to Cuba for religious or humanitarian purposes, or travel by journalists or family visits.

Miami Herald

Great Barrier Reef ‘recovering’

Following dire warnings of reef die-off after massive coral bleaching in 2016 and 2017, Tourism and Events Queensland has issued a “positive update” on the status of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, reporting that some affected areas are showing “substantial signs of recovery.” The nonprofit Reef and Rainforest Research Centre has reported signs of recovery due to a milder 2017-18 summer, as well as cooperation among science, industry and government in supporting the reef’s recovery, the Queensland report said. Stretching more than 1,430 miles along Queensland’s spectacular coastline, the Great Barrier Reef is the longest coral reef in the world and the first coral reef ecosystem to be awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status.


Lawmakers take on fees

The news that JetBlue and United Airlines have raised fees for checked bags and some flight changes has provoked two U.S. senators and a congressman, who are calling for “relief from this fee gouging.” Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., wrote to 11 U.S. carriers, including JetBlue, United, Delta and American, asking if they had plans to raise any more fees. The lawmakers demand that the airlines justify all higher fees, saying recent increases don’t seem to be tied to any “appreciable increase in the cost of the services provided that may justify these higher fees.” Markey, Blumenthal and Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., added language in the latest FAA funding bill requiring airline fees to be “reasonable.”

Los Angeles Times