Grounded
September 9, 2019

British Airways says it's "extremely sorry" to have to cancel just about every flight scheduled for the next two days as its pilots go on strike.

The airline on Monday announced that "nearly 100 percent" of Monday and Tuesday's flights have been canceled, CNN reports. This comes amid the beginning of a strike announced by the British Airline Pilots Association in August amid a pay dispute with the company.

"After many months of trying to resolve the pay dispute, we are extremely sorry that it has come to this," British Airways said in a statement. The airline said it will offer affected customers refunds or the ability to rebook their flight.

British Airways typically operates about 850 flights daily, The Associated Press reports. CNN reports the airline's pilots hadn't gone on strike since the 1970s. On Sunday, the British Airline Pilots Association said management "didn't reply" to a proposal last week that would have prevented this strike; British Airways, which has offered an 11.5 percent pay raise over three years, says it's "ready and willing to return to talks with BALPA."

In addition to this 48-hour strike, the British Airline Pilots Association also announced a strike planned for Sept. 27. British Airways on Monday told customers with flights booked for this date that "we'll be in contact in the next few weeks if your flight is impacted." Brendan Morrow

September 6, 2019

With 20 or so Democrats still running for president and a small but hardy band of Republicans challenging President Trump for the GOP nomination, you might have forgotten that former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz was also likely running to be America's chief executive. Well, now he's not. On Friday, Schultz told supporters in a letter that he is formally dropping out of the race, explaining that it was harder than he had expected to catch fire among moderate voters and he doesn't want to risk helping re-elect Trump.

Schultz, 66, announced his intention to run for president as an independent in January, appeared on TV quite a bit, then dropped out of view, explaining later that he had undergone three back surgeries. In Friday's three-page letter, Schultz insisted that American has a "exhausted majority who want common sense, collaborative, and truthful government," but said they have "largely tuned out of political life," and so "extreme voices currently dominate the national dialogue, often with a vitriol that crowds out and discourages thoughtful discussions."

Schultz also appeared to suggest that he did not want to risk siphoning votes from former Vice President Joe Biden or another Democrat whose views overlap with his own. "If I went forward, there is a risk that my name would appear on ballots even if a moderate Democrat wins the nomination, and that is not a risk I am willing to take," he wrote. Democratic leaders, The Washington Post notes, will be relieved at Schultz's decision. Peter Weber

January 17, 2019

President Trump may want House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to fly commercial, but first lady Melania Trump certainly doesn't have to.

After the speaker suggested she might rescind her invitation for Trump to deliver the State of the Union address, the president promptly shelved what he called her "public relations" trip to "Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan" scheduled for Thursday afternoon. Members of Congress usually use Air Force One for these trips.

Air Force One still took off that afternoon, but it didn't head overseas, Politico's Jake Sherman and aircraft-watching CivMilAir tweeted. It was using code that typically means the first lady is onboard, and it was headed for Mar-a-Lago's city of Palm Beach, Florida.

Pelosi hadn't announced her Congressional Delegation, or codel, trip before Trump issued the letter, in which he encouraged her to either "negotiat[e] with him" about the ongoing government shutdown or take a commercial flight to Afghanistan. Pelosi responded by saying her codel was stopping in Brussels to meet with "top NATO commanders, U.S. military leaders and key allies." She was also headed to Afghanistan to meet with troops and "obtain critical national security and intelligence briefings," adding that a stop in Egypt was never part of the plan.

As NPR's Kelsey Snell pointed out, codels are usually not publicly announced for security reasons, making Trump's "flying commercial" suggestion useless. Kathryn Krawczyk

November 27, 2014

Harsh winter weather on the East Coast forced the cancelation of more than 700 flights on the day before Thanksgiving, one of the busiest travel days of the year. About 3,000 more flights were delayed, and more than 7,000 homes and businesses in the Northeast were left without power. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency and emergency speed restrictions on highways and other major roads. Connecticut alone reported at least 125 accidents on slippery snow-covered roads. Harold Maass

September 13, 2014

Air France said today it will reduce its Monday flights by about 50 percent, in anticipation of company pilots' week-long strike.

"We ask (the passengers), if possible, to change their tickets to avoid this period, which is a little uncertain," Francois Gagey, Air France's chief executive, said. Gagey added that the strike will cost Europe's second-largest airline millions each day.

Pilots are striking over Air France's plan to expand "Transavia," a discount unit that aims to compete with lower-cost Middle East carriers. The pilots' union is upset over the company's refusal to honor identical labor contracts for employees who could be transferred to the budget airline. Sarah Eberspacher

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