Sun Country gets kiosks

The day has finally arrived. Sun Country Airlines passengers can now check in for their flights at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport using self-service kiosk machines, rather than standing in long ticket counter lines. The airline has also switched on a new feature allowing customers to check in for international flights online. International travelers can scan their passports at a kiosk and seat assignments can now be randomly assigned. “The only folks that have to go to the ticket counter now will be bag checkers,” said Chief Executive Jude Bricker. That’s still a lot of customers, but the airline is expecting faster and shorter waits without the other passengers clogging up the lines. Sun Country also announced a big new cargo-service partnership with Amazon Air.

Kristin Leigh Painter

Delta’s ‘existential threat’

Delta Air Lines, the most profitable U.S. carrier, expects profits and revenue to increase next year. The airline’s top executive, however, warns that concern about the environmental impact of flying — including flight-shaming and the potential for higher taxes on emissions — is “the existential threat” to Delta’s ability to keep growing. “You see it happening in Europe, it’s increasingly coming here to the U.S., you’ll see it on a global scale,” Chief Executive Ed Bastian said. “We are seen in the world’s eyes as somewhat of a dirty industry.” Bastian said the airline industry has done a “terrible” job explaining how it is reducing emissions through the use of more fuel-efficient planes, and needs to more forcefully argue for the economic and other benefits of travel. The airline has plowed some its earnings into new aircraft that will be about 25% more fuel-efficient than the planes they will replace.

Associated PRESS

Utah’s latest ski destination

Woodward Park City, an action-sports destination and ski resort, has just opened in Park City, Utah. The 125-acre property is designed for year-round use, with camps and programs dedicated to skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding and more. It includes nine ski and snowboard terrain parks, more than 10 tubing lanes, three lift-serviced mountain bike trails, two outdoor skate parks, and a 66,000-square-foot indoor facility featuring a concrete skate park, trampolines, a spring floor, air bags and foam pits. There’s a cafeteria and a third-floor cafe with a full bar that overlooks the indoor facilities. The idea, according to officials, is to create something for everyone, from first-time skiers and snowboarders to those at Olympic training levels (woodwardparkcity.com).

New York Times

Soothing airport sounds

“Go ahead, lean back, put your feet up,” says a soft-voiced woman. “And relax to some of the calming sounds of the airport.” The calming sounds of the what now? What follows is nearly nine minutes of low-key boarding announcements and musings set to a soundtrack of footsteps, crowd voices, rolling suitcases and planes taking off and landing. The audio is inspired by JetBlue’s Terminal 5 at JFK airport in New York, and it’s the airline’s way into the trend of autonomous sensory meridian response, or ASMR. JetBlue posted the video on its YouTube channel as a way to ease holiday travel stress. “We loved the juxtaposition of taking what is often associated as one of the most hectic places during the holidays — the airport — and reimagining it to create a calming experience for travelers to enjoy,” Elizabeth Windram, JetBlue’s vice president of marketing, said in an e-mail.

Washington Post