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Southwest Airlines cancels dozens of flights amid inspections after deadly engine failure

Southwest Airlines said it canceled about 40 flights Sunday as it inspects engine fan blades in the wake of an engine failure last week that led to one passenger’s death.

>> Memorial service held for woman killed during Southwest Airlines flight

That’s about 1 percent of Dallas-based Southwest’s daily schedule of nearly 4,000 flights. The airline encouraged passengers to check their flight status. “We anticipate minimal delays or cancellations each day due to the inspections,” Southwest said in a written statement.

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines has the same type of engines on the Boeing 737s in its fleet and is also adding ultrasonic inspections of the engines, but said it doesn’t expect any operational impact to customers.

>> Who was Jennifer Riordan, the passenger killed on a Southwest Airlines flight?

Both airlines last week, in advance of the Federal Aviation Administration’s official release of an emergency airworthiness directive, said they would accelerate the inspections.

The FAA on Friday issued the anticipated directive requiring airlines to inspect fan blades on certain engines within 20 days. The directive draws from information gathered in the investigation of Southwest’s engine failure last Tuesday. The FAA said the inspection requirement is estimated to affect 352 engines in the United States and 681 engines worldwide.

>> Passenger killed in Southwest Airlines emergency landing identified

The CFM56-7B engine that blew on the Southwest flight showed evidence of “metal fatigue,” according to the National Transportation Safety Board. That engine model is on all of Southwest’s 737-700s and 737-800s, which make up the vast majority of Southwest’s fleet.

>> Read more trending news 

Delta has a fleet of about 185 Boeing 737s with the engines, out of a fleet of more than 800 planes of various types.

Tips for celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Disney's Animal Kingdom

On Earth Day, April 22, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will celebrate its 20th anniversary with entertainment, parties, and educational experiences for a limited time.

Party for the Planet

It wouldn’t be a milestone celebration without a party, and all 500 acres of Disney’s Animal Kingdom will come alive with a wild party that includes animal encounters, activities, and special desserts the Party for the Planet celebration that will take place from April 22 until May 5.

During the two-week celebration, guests can attend conservation talks by animal-care experts and participate in enhanced interactions with some of the more than 2,000 animals at thepark.

Take a Peek Backstage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Rafiki’s Planet Watch has long been a favorite of guests at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and during the 20th anniversary it will take center stage. 

After boarding the antique train you will make your way to Rafiki’s Planet Watch to find educational exhibits and activities that help create awareness of animal issues, and for the rest of the year you will also get a ‘backstage experience’ with animal experts around animal nutrition, visit the veterinary hospital, and hear how Disney promotes global wildlife conservation.

A New Show Debuts

On April 22 a new show, UP! A Great Bird Adventure featuring Russell and Dug from the Disney•Pixar animated comedy-adventure film, will make its debut.

Senior Wilderness Explorer Russell and his fuzzy friend Dug and park guests will encounter exotic birds from around the world in a free-flying show, multiple times a day.

Special Anniversary Photo Opportunities

Disney Photopass photographers will have a specially branded oversized picture frame to celebrate the park’s 20th anniversary, as well as ones that will help the “Reverse the Decline” initiative to help protect 10 threatened animal species. Recently the program has been credited with the birth of two critically endangered Sumatran tiger cubs at the park.

The Wilderness Must be Explored…Caw, Caw, Roar

The popular park scavenger hunt centered around “Up”’s Wilderness Explorer will have a new, limited-edition badge to earn through fact-finding challenges.

The Wilderness Explorer Program is one of the free experiences available at Walt Disney World.

Dine with Animal Experts

If learning about animals is your passion, six different Tiffins Talks offer intimate dining experiences with specialty food and beverages that complement the topics shared by animal and conservation experts.

You can find more information on the Tiffins Talks here.

Merchandise & Treats

It wouldn’t be a celebration at Walt Disney World without commemorative merchandise, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom 20th anniversary is no exception!

The merchandise offered will include t-shirts, hats, pins, Alex and Ani bangles, 2 styles of Disney Dooney & Bourke purses, a limited edition banshee for adoption in Pandora, and more.

In addition the merchandise there is also a special-edition print that was created by renowned Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde, and he will be available on April 22 from 1-4 p.m. to sign prints at Discovery Trading Company. Quantities are limited. 

There are going to be two celebratory cupcakes, a Tree of Life Cupcake will be available at Creature Comforts and Flame Tree Barbecue, and an Earth Day Cupcake will be available at Pizzafari and Restaurantosaurus.

On the savory side, there are delicious plant-based burger offerings at Nomad Lounge and Restaurantosaurus. Nomad Lounge will offer Impossible Burger Sliders with tomato chutney and smoked onion on a brioche bun and served with yucca fries. At Restaurantosaurus, you’ll find an Impossible Burger with avocado and tomato on a brioche bun.

Tiffins will offer a limited-time 20th Anniversary Chef’s Lunch Tasting Menu. Served daily from 11:30am to 3:30pm, this 3-course tasting menu celebrates the cuisines of Africa, Asia, and South America. Walk-ups are welcome!

All of these offerings will be available during Party for the Planet at Disney’s Animal Kingdom through May 5.

Can't make the celebration in person?

If you want to experience the 20th Anniversary moment during Sunday's Celebration, the Disney Parks Blog will be live streaming the #DisneyAnimalKingdom20 ceremony starting at 10:15 am EST!

Wild Adventures Before an Incredible Summer

All of these wild adventures help kick off an ‘Incredible Summer’ at Walt Disney World that includes a new celebration at Disney’s Animal Kingdom! 

Donald and his friends from Ducktales will premiere a ‘dino-tastic’ celebration Memorial Day weekend in DinoLand, U.S.A. as Donald celebrates his discovery that bird ancestors were actually dinosaurs. DinoLand U.S.A. will feature colorful new décor and playful character greetings with rarely seen pals like Scrooge McDuck, Launchpad McQuack and more.

Make sure to follow @icFloridaEvents on Instagram and Twitter for the latest news and fun that Central Florida has to offer. And to use the #icFloridaInsider when you post for a chance to be featured!

Related video: 

Alaska Airlines introduces new rules for emotional support animals

Alaska Airlines announced Thursday it is making policy changes for passengers who fly with emotional support and psychiatric service animals.

Starting May 1, the airline will require passengers traveling with those type of animals to provide animal health and behavioral documents. The airline said a signed document from a medical doctor or mental health professional will also be needed.

>> Read more trending news 

All of the documents must be submitted at least 48 hours before flight departure, Alaska Airlines said.

Ray Prentice, Alaska Airlines’ director of customer advocacy said, "We are making these changes now based on a number of recent incidents where the inappropriate behavior of emotional support animals has impacted and even injured our employees, other guests and service animals."

The airline reported at least 150 emotional support and psychiatric service animals travel on its planes daily.

The airline said passengers can obtain the necessary documents on alaskaair.com beginning April 30.

The policy changes do not apply to traditional service animals, Alaska Airlines said.

Learn more here.

Cruise ship MSC Armonia crashes into Honduran port, destroys part of pier

What happens when the person steering a massive ship into port misjudges the space between the vessel and the dock? Now we know, because the whole thing was caught on video.

The MSC Armonia was coming into port on the island of Roatan in Honduras, but the ship was bearing down on the pier, NPR reported.

>> Read more trending news 

The ship crashed into the dock and tore out a chunk of the pier before running aground on the nearby beach.

The vessel was held for a few minutes before it was reversed back to the ocean, the Mirror reported.

MSC Cruises, the company that owns the ship, emailed NPR a statement, “While maneuvering alongside, for reasons that are currently still being duly investigated, the ship deviated from her course and grazed the end of a pier.”

The company said that guests and crew were not at risk and that the ship sustained minor damage, NPR reported.

It was heading to the next port of call in Belize as it continues its 14-night Caribbean trip, the Mirror reported.

The video of the crash can be viewed here, but warning, profanity can be heard from the onlookers.

Best Places to Live 2018: Did your city make U.S. News' annual list?

It’s another good day to live in Austin, Texas

>> Watch the news report here

Last year, Austin knocked Denver from the No. 1 spot on U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Places to Live in the U.S.” And this year, it didn’t budge

>> Florida beach named nation's best in TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice awards

As in years past, the publication ranked the 125 largest cities in the country based on a variety of factors and data. Five indexes were used to compile the list: job market, value, quality of life, desirability and net migration. Cities were graded on each of these indexes on a 10-point scale, which were then averaged for an overall score. 

Overall, Austin earned a 7.7 out of 10. Of the measurements, Austin scored highest in the net migration category with 9.4. Austin also scored high in the desirability index with an 8.9. 

>> Read more trending news 

The top 10 cities are:

1. Austin

2. Colorado Springs, Colorado

3. Denver

4. Des Moines, Iowa

5. Fayetteville, Arkansas

6. Portland, Oregon 

7. Huntsville, Alabama

8. Washington, D.C. 

9. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota

10. Seattle

>> See the full list here

Austin Mayor Steve Adler took to Twitter to share the good news:

It’s not all sunshine in the greatest place to live in the U.S., however. Or maybe it’s too much sunshine, in at least one category. U.S. News and World Report noted Austin’s higher-than-average housing costs, its notoriously bad traffic, issues with segregation and those hot, hot summers as negative factors. 

Delta, Sears, Kmart data breach: Customer payment info possibly compromised in cyberattack

Update Apr 5, 2018 3:45 PM EDT: In addition to Delta Airlines, Sears Holdings announced that customer data from Sears and Kmart stores, including names, addresses and credit card numbers, may have been exposed during a security breach last fall.

>> Read more trending news 

Sears Holdings uses the same online chat service as Delta, [24]7.ai, and said in a statement posted on its website that it believes fewer than 100,000 customers were affected by the breach.

“As soon as [24]7.ai informed us in mid-March 2018, we immediately notified the credit card companies to prevent potential fraud, and launched a thorough investigation with federal law enforcement authorities, our banking partners, and IT security firms,” company officials said.

Sears Holdings said the credit card information of customers making purchases online between Sept. 27, 2017 and Oct. 12, 2017, may have been compromised, but that anyone using a Sears credit card was not affected.

The company said there’s no evidence its stores were compromised or that Sears’ internal data bases were compromised.

Sears Holdings is establishing a hotline for customers to find out more about the breach by Friday.

(Previous story)

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines is the latest victim of a cyber incident.

>> Watch the news report here

Delta announced Wednesday that a "small subset" of customers may have had their payment information compromised online.

"(I’m) a little uneasy. I think they'll take care of it, so it will be OK, but the first gut reaction is a little nerve-racking," traveler Nicole Ladin told WSB-TV's Carl Willis at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Delta's main hub. 

>> Visit WSBTV.com for the latest on this developing story

According to Delta, [24]7.ai, an online chat service they use, was hacked from Sept. 26 to Oct. 12 of last year, and payment information may have been compromised.

Delta said the airline was notified about the breach last Wednesday.

"It's just ... I think they have to make it 100 percent, to make it work 100 percent," traveler Marquise Bishop said.

Delta said the company will launch a special webpage at Delta.com/response at noon Thursday to address customer questions and concerns.

>> Read more trending news 

The airline also will start directly contacting customers who may have been impacted and ensure that customers are not responsible for any fraudulent payment card activity that may have happened.

Ladin told Willis that her mind will still be on her wallet as she flies home.

"Especially when you're a frequent flier. It gets a little nervous that that information has been leaked," Ladin said.

Here's is Delta's full statement about the cyber incident: 

"Last week, on March 28, Delta was notified by [24]7.ai, a company that provides online chat services for Delta and many other companies, that [24]7.ai had been involved in a cyber incident. It is our understanding that the incident occurred at [24]7.ai from Sept. 26 to Oct. 12, 2017, and that during this time certain customer payment information for [24]7.ai clients, including Delta, may have been accessed – but no other customer personal information, such as passport, government ID, security or SkyMiles information was impacted.

"Upon being notified of [24]7.ai's incident, Delta immediately began working with [24]7.ai to understand any potential impact the incident had on Delta customers, delta.com, or any Delta computer system. We also engaged federal law enforcement and forensic teams, and have confirmed that the incident was resolved by [24]7.ai last October. At this point, even though only a small subset of our customers would have been exposed, we cannot say definitively whether any of our customers' information was actually accessed or subsequently compromised.

"We appreciate and understand that this information is concerning to our customers. The security and confidentiality of our customers' information is of critical importance to us and a responsibility we take extremely seriously. Delta will launch delta.com/response, a dedicated website, noon ET April 5, which we will update regularly to address customer questions and concerns. We will also directly contact customers who may have been impacted by the [24]7.ai cyber incident. In the event any of our customers' payment cards were used fraudulently as a result of the [24]7.ai cyber incident, we will ensure our customers are not responsible for that activity."

>> Click here for more information from [24]7.ai

TSA Instagram post: Cool it, Aragorn, you don't need your blade on the plane

The Transportation Security Administration is not known for its sense of humor. “I was just joking” is probably the last words heard of many travelers before they are dragged into one of those private rooms at the airport.

But it turns out the TSA makes an exception for its Instagram account (did you know the TSA has an Instagram account?). When a traveler at San Antonio International Airport tried to bring a highly questionable item in his carry-on baggage, the TSA had some fun with it.

Yes, you can carry your sword in Texas — it’s still legal, believe it or not — but you can’t fly the friendly skies with it. In the post, TSA joked “We expected this would happen once they started offering direct flights from San Antonio to Gondor.”

RELATED: Open carry for swords is a fortnight away — shop local and arm thyself

Carrying on the “Lord of the Rings” reference, TSA continued: “Whether you’re a Ranger of the North, or a United States Marine, we know you need to travel with your sword. It’s fine, just place it in your checked baggage.”

A traveler trying to take his sword on a plane (where it would be somewhat effective against hypothetical terrorists, but not so good for snakes and such) probably doesn’t happen often. The TSA couldn’t resist a final joke for King Arthur / Monty Python enthusiasts: 

“Oh, on a slightly unrelated note, a farcical aquatic ceremony does not entitle you to carry your sword on the plane. Just in case you were wondering…”

Sadly, there’s no word on the fate of the traveler or his sword.

This isn’t the only time whoever mans the TSA Instagram account had a little fun. Take a look at some of the other tongue-in-cheek posts.

You'll soon be able to cruise Pittsburgh's three rivers on a Tiki boat

When you think of Tiki bars and exotic tropical drinks, you probably don’t think of Pittsburgh. But starting this spring, you’ll be able to cruise the three rivers – Tiki style.

>> Read more trending news 

Cruisin' Tikis Pittsburgh will offer two-hour sightseeing charters on the Monongahela, Allegheny and Ohio rivers starting in May. Each 16-foot boat fits six people. They’re BYOB and children are allowed.

According to a comment on its Facebook page, a two-hour tour will likely cost $400 or about $67 per person. That includes the cost of the boat, the captain and possibly a crew member.

Cruisin' Tikis already operates service out of the following locations:

  • Carolina Beach, North Carolina
  • Exhuma, Bahamas
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
  • Islamorada, Florida
  • Key West, Florida
  • Lake George, New York
  • Madeira Beach, Florida
  • North Miami, Florida
  • Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida
  • Tampa Bay, Florida
  • Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

If you plan on riding the three rivers, you'll get some great views of the city skyline and stadiums

Earth Hour 2018: Landmarks around the world go dark for climate change awareness

From the Sydney Opera House to Paris' Eiffel Tower, landmarks around the world went dark Saturday night for Earth Hour.

>> Read more trending news 

The "symbolic lights-out event," which began in Sydney in 2007, is designed to raise awareness about climate change, according to the World Wildlife Fund

>> Click here or scroll down to see photos from the event

Delta under fire after flying a puppy to the wrong airport

Delta Air Lines is coming under heat after accidentally flying a puppy to the wrong airport.

>> United suspends pet cargo service in wake of mix-ups, dog death

Josh Schlaich posted about the incident on Facebook over the weekend when he was trying to figure out where the 8-week-old puppy was. He was supposed to pick up the puppy at the airport in Boise, Idaho. But instead he got a message from a Delta rep at the Detroit airport saying the puppy would be sent to a boarding location because of a flight delay.

>> Dog dies on United Airlines flight after being placed in overhead bin

After misrouting and confusion, the puppy was eventually delivered safely and “seems happy and healthy,” Schlaich posted later in the weekend.

But the incident has drawn national attention, in the wake of an incident in which a puppy died in an overhead bin on United Airlines.

Delta issued a statement after the incident: “We know pets are important members of the family and apologize for the delayed shipment of a dog, which is now in the hands of its owner, after it was routed to the wrong destination. Delta teams worked quickly to reunite the dog and his owner, while remaining in constant contact with the customer throughout the process to update him on the status of his pet.”

>> Read more trending news 

The airline said it refunded the shipping costs and started a review of the incident.

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