Delta eyes South America

Delta Air Lines plans to spend $1.9 billion to buy a 20% stake in South American airline group LATAM, in its largest acquisition since the Delta-Northwest merger in 2008. If approved, Atlanta-based Delta expects the deal to make it stronger in South America, a crucial region of the world where it trails behind competitors. With the partnership, Delta said travelers would have access to more destinations around the world; the airlines would also expand in Miami as part of the expansion. That would put Delta and LATAM ahead of the current No. 1 American Airlines and No. 2 United Airlines. The deal is subject to regulatory approvals; the full regulatory review is expected to take one to two years.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Are airline seats too small?

This November, over the course of 12 days, 720 volunteers will go through the motions of every air traveler's nightmare: an emergency evacuation. The testing will take place at the Federal Aviation Administration's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute in Oklahoma City, and authorities will use the results to collect 3,000 data points. They will use that information, as mandated by last year's FAA reauthorization, to determine how small airplane seats can safely get, and how close rows of seats can be to one another. Under federal regulations, planes must be able to be evacuated within 90 seconds. In a statement, the agency said it was required to "issue regulations to establish minimum dimensions for airplane seat width, length and pitch that are necessary for the safety of passengers." But the statement did not commit to any changes, saying that the FAA planned to finish evacuation testing by the end of the year to "determine what, if any, regulatory changes are necessary to implement the requirement."

Washington Post

No more plastic bottles

When the Norwegian Encore, the newest ship from Norwegian Cruise Line, launches in November, it will carry no plastic water bottles to offer guests. The 4,000-passenger ship will instead carry Just Water, with a carton made mostly of paper, and a cap made of sugar cane. The company aims to switch its entire fleet over to the more sustainable drinking water option by the beginning of 2020, an effort that it says will eliminate 6 million single-use plastic bottles per year.

New York Times

Avoiding kids on flights

Airlines often go (a little) out of their way to help parents with young children, offering them fruit juice, toys and baby seats. Now, a special accommodation may benefit another class of fussy traveler (usually less tearful, but no stranger to tantrums): people who are annoyed by babies. Or at least that's the case on Japan Airlines, which has introduced a feature on its website that shows prospective travelers where toddlers and babies will be sitting, allowing them to avoid children if they so desire. "Passengers traveling with children between 8 days and 2 years old who select their seats on the JAL website will have a child icon displayed on their seats on the seat selection screen," the site says. "This lets other passengers know a child may be sitting there." It is unclear when the tool, which features an icon of a smiling child, was rolled out; Japan Airlines did not respond to requests for comment. The feature drew attention after travelers highlighted it on social media, drawing a mix of reactions.

New York Times