Travel News This Week: Sky-High TV Streaming, Big Spenders Flock to U.S.

by  Maryrose Mullen | Feb 22, 2013
Southwest Airlines plane
Southwest Airlines plane / Boarding1Now/iStock

Like most planes, trains, and automobiles, news in the travel world moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss a great deal, or the newest airline perk. We’ve scoured all corners of the internet to round up the most notable travel news this week, from a low-cost French rail service to speedier TSA screenings.

Southwest Airlines is offering passengers the chance to watch their favorite on-demand movies and television shows, plus eight channels of live news and sports. Since the carrier does not have seatback video players, flyers can watch on their personal electronic devices for a mere $5.

The French rail service SNCF launched Ouigo, a high-speed train that boasts low-cost tickets. To promote the service, which begins in April, SNCF is offering tickets for as low as 10 euros!

The U.S. set a new record of $168.1 billion in foreign visitor spending in 2012, with 66 million tourists venturing here from overseas. Spending from foreign visitors has steadily risen in the past three years, and American hot-spots have seen the most action, including Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and New York City. The Obama Administration has set a goal to bring in 100 million foreign visitors by 2021.

Four more airports will begin offering TSA PreCheck, an expedited security screening for frequent flyers. Travelers who don’t pose a security risk earn a few perks, such as being allowed to keep their shoes on and keep their liquids and gels in a carry-on. The grand total of airports currently offering TSA PreCheck is 40.

U.S. airlines saw their profits dip in 2012, with ten major carriers earning a combined $152 million in profit – a mere 21 cents per passenger. However, airline efficiency improved: 82 percent of flights arrived on time, and only three bags out of 1,000 were mishandled on domestic flights.

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