With trains set to start rolling this summer between West Palm Beach and Miami with a stop in Fort Lauderdale, journalists were given tours of two train cars, a locomotive and the Brightline maintenance facility just north of downtown West Palm.
Ticket prices are yet to be announced, but those who hope to hop aboard can expect to see various ticket packages to cater to customers’ needs, Brightline President Michael Reininger said. Travelers will be able to choose between two levels of car: the Smart Coach, which has four seats across per row with an aisle down the middle; and the Select Coach, which features wider seats, free snacks, alcoholic beverages, and two seats on one side of the aisle and one seat on the other, allowing for solo seating.
Here are a few features inside the trains for travelers to watch for:
WiFi: Each Brightline train car is equipped with free on-board WiFi. Brightline officials said with multiple antennas per train, the WiFi signal will be powerful enough to allow guests to stream TV shows and movies, or play online games.
Power: Each seat has access to multiple power outlets and USB ports. One seating configuration, which has four seats facing each other with a table in the middle, has outlets between each of the seats, with another set of outlets that pops up out of the table.
Touchless bathrooms: The bathrooms on the Brightline train are mostly touchless — you still have to grab the toilet paper yourself. Toilets flush with the wave of your hand, and the sink and soap also are motion-activated. For those who forget to flush, the toilet will do it for you when you open the door to exit.
Mind the gap: Each train car has “gap fillers” that bridge the gap between the car and the station platform. There’s about a three-inch difference in height between the two, Brightline said, so the gap filler will allow travelers in wheelchairs or with strollers or walkers to safely cross.
Pet-friendly trains: Brightline trains will have room for both large and small pets. Smaller critters will have to travel in carriers, which can be stowed under a seat or in the overhead luggage area. Pet owners also can make reservations for larger pets — but they’ll get their own larger carrier at the end of the train, near the luggage racks.
The issue first was given Wednesday to suspend tolls on State Road 528, the Beachline, to assist with Brevard County’s mandatory evacuation. That highway saw delays Wednesday and Thursday as thousands of people left their homes and headed inland.
Later Wednesday, Scott expanded his order to included all toll roads in Florida. Tolls continued to be free until Sunday night.
Disney announced Thursday it would close its parks for just the fourth time in the resort’s history. The first three times also were for hurricanes: Sept. 15, 1999, for Floyd; Sept. 4-5, 2004, for Frances; and Sept. 26, 2004, Jeanne.
Here’s a wrapup of which parks are closing:
Disney’s theme parks, water parks, Disney Springs, miniature golf courses and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex will close by 5 p.m. today and will stay closed Friday. Disney also canceled Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party for Thursday.
A travel waiver typically allows passengers to change their flights with little to no penalty. The waiver offered varies depending on the airline. For information regarding a specific flight, contact your airline.
Here’s the list of travel waivers in effect. This list will be updated as more waivers are announced.
Waiver benefits: No change fee for eligible flights.
Where the waiver is in effect: Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Key West, Melbourne, Miami, Orlando and West Palm Beach.
You are eligible for the waiver if you are traveling on an American Airlines flight purchased before Oct. 4; you’re scheduled to travel Oct. 5-7; you can travel Oct. 5-12; and you don’t change your origin or destination.
Where the waiver is in effect: Augusta and Savannah, Ga.; Charlotte, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Greenville, New Bern, Raleigh/Durham, Richlands and Wilmington, N.C.; Columbia, Charleston, Florence, Hilton Head Island and Myrtle Beach, S.C.
You are eligible for the waiver if you are traveling on an American Airlines flight purchased before Oct. 4; you’re scheduled to travel Oct. 5-9; you can travel Oct. 5-14; and you don’t change your origin or destination.
Where the waiver is in effect: Cienfuegos, Cuba; Holguín, Cuba; Santa Clara, Cuba; Cap-Haïtien, Haiti; Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Kingston, Jamaica; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands.
You are eligible for the waiver if you are traveling on an American Airlines flight purchased before Oct. 1; you’re scheduled to travel Oct. 1-6; you can travel Sept. 3o – Oct. 9; and you don’t change your origin or destination.
Where the waiver is in effect: Eleuthera, Exuma, Freeport / Grand Bahama, Marsh Harbour and Nassau.
You are eligible for the waiver if you are traveling on an American Airlines flight purchased before Sept. 30; you’re scheduled to travel Oct. 2-7; you can travel Sept. 30-Oct. 11; and you don’t change your origin or destination.
Waiver benefits: Receive one itinerary change; rules and restrictions regarding standard change fees, advance purchase, day or time applications, blackouts, and minimum or maximum stay requirements will be waived. Also, travellers on eligible flights may request a refund.
Where the waiver is in effect: Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and St. Augustine.
You are eligible for the waiver if you were originally scheduled to fly Oct. 5-8 and purchased your ticket on or before Oct. 4. Travel on rescheduled flight must be completed by Oct. 29.
Waiver benefits: No change/cancel fees and waived fare differences for eligible flights.
Where the waiver is in effect: Charleston, S.C.; Raleigh/Durham, N.C.; Savannah/Hilton Head, Ga.; and Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Orlando and West Palm Beach.
You are eligible for the waiver if you were supposed to fly from Oct. 5-9 and booked your flight on or before Oct. 4. You may rebook from now through Oct. 18, before your originally scheduled flight was set to depart.
Where the waiver is in effect: Kingston, Jamaica; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Nassau, Bahamas; Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Providenciales, Turks and Caicos; Santa Clara, Cuba.
You are eligible for the waiver if you were supposed to fly from Oct. 2-6 and booked your flight on or before Sept. 30. You may rebook from now through Oct. 10, before your originally scheduled flight was set to depart.
Waiver benefits: No additional charge for rebooking for eligible flights.
Where the waiver is in effect: Charleston, S.C.; and Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Orlando and West Palm Beach.
You are eligible for the waiver if you were scheduled to fly Oct. 4-8 and rebook in the same class as originally scheduled within 14 days of the original date of travel between the same originating city and destination.
Where the waiver is in effect: Montego Bay and Nassau.
You are eligible for the waiver if you were scheduled to fly Sept. 30-Oct. 5 for Montego Bay and Oct. 2-7 for Nassau, and rebook in the same class as originally scheduled within 14 days of the original date of travel between the same originating city and destination.
Waiver benefits: No modification charge/fare difference for eligible flights.
Where the waiver is in effect: Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.
You are eligible for the waiver if you were scheduled to fly Oct. 6-7, and rebook your flight before Oct. 14. After Oct. 14, the modification charge still will be waived, but a fare difference will apply.
Where the waiver is in effect: Myrtle Beach, S.C.
You are eligible for the waiver if you were scheduled to fly Oct. 7-8, and rebook your flight before Oct. 14. After Oct. 14, the modification charge still will be waived, but a fare difference will apply.
The airline has canceled a slew of flights into and out of Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Sanford. Those flights will be rescheduled, and passengers on the affected flights will be contacted via email, Allegiant said. Check here for updates.
Four Florida cities are among 10 chosen as possible locations for flights to and from the Cuban capital beginning this fall.
The list of cities was released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Transportation and includes Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando and Tampa, along with Atlanta, Charlotte, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark and New York City.
“Today we take another important step toward delivering on President Obama’s promise to reengage Cuba,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a news release. “Restoring regular air service holds tremendous potential to reunite Cuban American families and foster education and opportunities for American businesses of all sizes.”
Foxx also said eight airlines tentatively have been chosen as carriers for Havana flights: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines and United Airlines.
In making the decision on which U.S. cities to include in the proposal, the DOT said it looked for areas with large Cuban-American populations, along with areas that are aviation hubs.
The DOT said 12 U.S. airlines applied to offer service to Havana. The department did not release the names of the four airlines that did not make the cut.
The release of the proposed cities and carriers follows an agreement signed in February between the U.S. and Cuba to open air service between the two countries after more than 50 years. The arragement allows for each country to operate up to 20 roundtrip flights each day between Havana and the U.S.
Those traveling to Cuba must fall under one of 12 categories set by the U.S. government: family visits; official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments and certain intergovernmental organizations; journalistic activity; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; support for the Cuban people; humanitarian projects; activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; exportation, importation or transmission of information or information materials; and certain authorized export transactions. Read more here about what you need to travel to Cuba.
The DOT said it will release its final decision later this summer.
As the new year begins, we’re betting All Aboard Florida’s plans for an intercity rail system in Florida will continue to be one of our top business stories.
Here are five things you need to know about the massive project.
1. It’s truly massive. The downtown Miami station is slated to have a footprint that spans six city blocks. The West Palm Beach station will be 60,000 square feet, and it’s paired with a plan for a rail-side apartment complex.
2. You could ride a Brightline train by the end of 2017. The company plans to run 32 trains a day between Miami and Orlando with stops in West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale. Service between Miami and West Palm Beach is set to begin in 2017, with the West Palm-to-Orlando route set to open by the end of 2017.
Frequest flier miles based on dollars spent instead of miles traveled
This year, three airlines switched up their frequent flier programs in a big way: issuing rewards based on the amount of money spent, instead of how many miles were traveled.
And American Airlines, Delta and United Airlines might be leading a bigger charge, CNN reports.
“We saw some of the first hints globally from international carriers,” Skift.com co-founder Jason Clampet told CNN.
The rise of Uber and Airbnb in business travel
With the addition of Uber for Business, the increasingly popular ride-hailing app made it easier for companies and employees to expense trips. Companies now can set up corporate accounts, set rules and monitor rides more closely.
Airbnb also has risen in popularity for corporate travel, CNN reports. Instead of booking costly hotel rooms, for example, a company might book a large condo through Airbnb.