A riot on Flight 33

by Jon Surmacz on December 31, 2004

Northwest passengers nearly riot — Some of the 300 passengers stuck on an international flight that was delayed 18 hours by fog, regulations and mechanical glitches said the passengers were almost ready to riot as the wait dragged on. Food and water ran short, and the toilets stopped working before Northwest Airlines Flight 33 finally reached Seattle early Wednesday, 28 hours after leaving Amsterdam.

A busy New Year for travel — Travelers can expect full flights and crowded highways during the New Year’s holiday as two airlines continue to recover from a troubled Christmas weekend that left thousands of people stranded or without their bags. Up and running: Comair is back, but the New Year’s weekend could bring more travel delays.

Airline fee lawsuit expands — Airlines are bilking passengers and the government out of more than $50 million a year by keeping fees and taxes that they should be refunding, alleges a Framingham attorney who hopes to press a class-action lawsuit against 15 airlines. Evans J. Carter, who currently represents 14 frequent fliers from across the country, claims that major carriers, including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and British Airways, pocket unprocessed fees and taxes collected on certain tickets that are nonrefundable and valid only for the day, time, and flight for which they were sold.

On Carnival, a cruise to nowhere — Barry Jones and his wife, Elizabeth, drove seven hours from Athens, Ga., to Mobile’s cruise-ship terminal. He was anticipating a walk among the Mayan ruins near Cozumel, and she was looking forward to basking in the warm Caribbean rays aboard Carnival’s cruise ship Holiday. But Thursday afternoon, cruise-line officials told the Joneses and some 1,700 others that the Holiday, slowed by mechanical problems, couldn’t reach Cozumel and instead would simply motor around in the Gulf of Mexico until Monday.

Disney cruise worker found dead in cabin — An off-duty Disney Cruise Line worker died Monday of an unexplained cause in her cabin aboard the Disney Wonder cruise ship while it was docked in Nassau, a company spokeswoman said. Disney Cruise Line spokeswoman Rena Langley said a memorial service was held Thursday for crew members who were friends with the worker, 24-year-old Anna Maria Parzysz, an assistant beverage server from Poland.

Aloha, Bankruptcy! — Aloha Airlines, the Hawaii based airline, has become the latest US carrier to seek bankruptcy protection. Parent group Aloha Airgroup said escalating fuel costs, above average plane leasing rates and tough competition forced it into the move.

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