In this week’s news, Southwest Airlines revises pricing for in-flight Wi-Fi; the Japanese low-cost carrier Zipair doubles down on its commitment to the Bay Area by planning to launch SFO service; the Transportation Security Administration reports hundreds of weapons were detected in carry-ons last year at several major airports but hardly any in the Bay Area; United has postponed the planned resumption of several routes to China until the fall; Mongolia’s small national airline wants to launch nonstop service to San Francisco; United and Air Canada plan shuttle-type service this summer between SFO and Vancouver as part of a big transborder buildup; two of the world’s largest airlines, including one in the U.S., have slashed their initial summer schedules; Air New Zealand brings a new economy seating option to its Los Angeles flights; low-cost Allegiant Air unveils new routes, including some in the western U.S.; facing government pressure, United and Frontier adopt new procedures to keep parents and kids seated together at no extra cost; Kansas City’s airport shuts down two old terminals and opens a big new one; and Chicago O’Hare revives post-security transfers between terminals.
The Transportation Security Administration said the number of firearms discovered in passengers’ carry-ons at airport checkpoints in 2022 hit a record of 6,542. Bay Area travelers, however, were extremely well-behaved in this regard, with minimal gun seizures, including a slight decline from the previous year. Through the 12 months of last year, TSA said, only 13 weapons were seized at San Francisco International, down from 27 in 2021; the comparable numbers for San Jose were nine in 2022 versus 11 in 2021, and for Oakland, 13 in 2022 versus 14 in 2021. At Sacramento International, TSA found 50 firearms last year versus 49 a year earlier. By contrast, the largest number of weapons seized last year was at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson with 448. Other airports in the top five included Dallas/Fort Worth (385), Houston Bush Intercontinental (298), Nashville (213) and Phoenix (196). In related news, TSA reported that at New Orleans International Airport last week, a 52-year-old passenger booked on a flight to Houston was stopped at TSA’s checkpoint when he tried to carry on a loaded assault rifle and 163 rounds of ammo. The gun was seized, and the traveler now faces a fine of up to $15,000.