Healthier options at MSP
In recent years, airports have amped up the availability of healthful snacks, meals and drinks. Much of the push is coming from concession companies. HMSHost, for example, which has a presence in more than 120 airports globally, launched an initiative earlier this year titled “Eat Well. Travel Further” at 11 U.S. airports, including Minneapolis-St. Paul International. The program, created in collaboration with nutritionists, includes five bento boxes, each under 500 calories, such as a vegan box with a lentil and chickpea salad and veggie chips, and one geared for children with diced chicken breast, cubed Cheddar cheese and chocolate-covered raisins, as well as snacks (think kale chips and roasted chickpeas) and drinks. The program will be rolled out at more airports in coming months. They’re sold at HMSHost food markets and stands throughout the airports and are each labeled with an “Eat Well. Travel Further” sticker.
New York Times
JetBlue raises bag fees
JetBlue Airways became the first major U.S. carrier to raise the fee for a first checked bag to $30. The $5 increase is effective for trips booked starting Monday. JetBlue also increased the charge for a second checked bag to $40 and for a third piece to $150 from $100, according to the airline’s website. Delta, Sun Country, American Airlines and United charge $25 for the first bag and $35 for the second. Fees for a third piece of luggage vary. Southwest Airlines is the only large U.S. airline that doesn’t charge for a single checked suitcase. As with all such fees, passengers who purchase more expensive fares or have reached a certain loyalty program level can be exempt from the fees.
United ups fees for seats
Starting later this year, United Airlines plans to charge an extra fee for economy seats that are near the front of the plane but otherwise look and feel like any other coach seat. The airline has yet to disclose the amount of the fee or how many seats would be designated what they will call “select standard” economy seats. Certain fliers, such as those at the premier status of the airline’s loyalty reward program, can book the select standard economy seats without an additional charge. American and Delta already charge an extra fee to book the most desirable economy seats.
Los Angeles Times
Hands off the monk seals
A man was fined $1,500 for touching a Hawaiian monk seal and harassing a sea turtle on Kauai, and then posting videos on social media. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the Alabama resident, who was vacationing on Kauai last year, agreed to pay the fine, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported on Friday. In a video posted on Instagram, the man strokes the head of a sleeping monk seal on Poipu Beach. The startled seal quickly turns toward him, and he runs away. The man panned his camera to a sign from the NOAA urging beachgoers to maintain a safe distance from wildlife. Hawaiian monk seals are a critically endangered species, protected by both state and federal laws. While investigating the man’s Instagram account, officials also found a video of the man aggressively pursuing a sea turtle while snorkeling at Poipu. All species of sea turtles in U.S. waters are listed as either threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act, according to the NOAA.