Sun Country to remodel, eliminating first class
Sun Country Airlines is remodeling the interior of all its airplanes and eliminating first class, a capacity-boosting step in the airline’s broader revolution. Sun Country will install slimline seats, similar to those in economy class on other U.S. airlines, allowing for more seats per plane. In place of first class, the airline is establishing a version of premium economy near the front of its planes, which will come with more legroom and likely two complimentary alcoholic drinks, but no meal service. The more expensive seats in the front will be the roomiest with 34-inch pitch, gradually shrinking to 32, 30 and eventually 29-inch in the very back rows. The cabin overhaul will include USB power outlets in every seat and a full power outlet for laptops in the premium seats. “This move is not unexpected because the new owners clearly want to turn Sun Country into a lower-cost airline so it can become a more profitable airline,” said industry analyst Henry Harteveldt.
Kristen Leigh Painter
TSA has secret watchlist
The Transportation Security Administration has created a new secret watchlist to monitor people who may be targeted as potential threats at airport checkpoints simply because they have swatted away security screeners’ hands or otherwise appeared unruly. A five-page directive obtained by the New York Times said actions that pose physical danger to security screeners could land travelers on the watchlist. People who loiter suspiciously near security checkpoints could be put on the watchlist. So could those who present what the document vaguely described as “challenges to the safe and effective completion of screening.” On its own, the watchlist cannot be used to prevent passengers from boarding flights. So far, fewer than 50 people have been put on the watchlist, said a TSA deputy chief counsel.
New York Times
Mackinac Island is No. 1
TripAdvisor just named Michigan’s Mackinac Island the No. 1 summer travel destination in America for 2018. That’s ahead of Martha’s Vineyard (Mass.), Jackson Hole (Wyo.), Lake George (N.Y.) and Ocean City (Md.). “This charming island is a throwback to old-timey seaside leisure with the candy-colored facades of downtown shops,” TripAdvisor says. “Mackinac is world-famous for its homemade fudge and travelers can work off sugar highs by exploring the limestone bluffs of Mackinac Island State Park.” TripAdvisor revealed that the average summer nightly hotel rate is $347 (wow), and the average summer week expense per person is $2,905. Last December, Forbes named the island a top “secret celebrity hideaway.”
Detroit Free Press
New Midwest coasters
The Time Traveler ride opened in March to great fanfare at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Mo. Billed as the fastest, steepest and tallest spinning roller coaster, it drops riders at a 90-degree vertical angle followed by three inversions at speeds up to around 50 mph, all while spinning. At Cedar Point in Ohio, a new hybrid roller coaster called Steel Vengeance is 200 feet tall with a 90-degree initial drop and half-barrel roll. Six Flags Great America in Illinois is debuting the world’s largest loop coaster, called the Mardi Gras Hangover. The 100-foot ride puts riders on 32 face-to-face seats and takes them through several 360-degree revolutions. Minnesota’s own Valleyfair opened Delirious, a looping thrill ride that coils riders upside-down on a seven-story, 360-degree free-standing structure with a high-speed train.