This week: Thanksgiving plans, angry passengers and new technology

Okie dokie, let’s get this week’s news round-up going as we’ve got a lot to get through! Our tour will bring you to Singapore, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Moscow and London. It’s obviously been a news week from around the world!

With the US Thanksgiving long-weekend only days away, headlines about airports preparing frantically for a storm of passengers keep increasing on a daily basis. One particular airport caught our attention though: Los Angeles International (IATA: LAX). The Los Angeles Times wrote that shortages of customs and immigration agents have been causing significant delays for thousands of travelers, forcing them to wait on their planes or stand in line for up to three hours before being processed.

Over in Singapore, Changi Airport (IATA: SIN) makes it into the LateDeparture headlines for a second time this week. The first time was when we wrote about their noble efforts of teaming up with Singapore Polytech to provide a real-world experience for students through SPELL, a retail store wholly run by students (read the full story here). The second time isn’t quite so rosy. The Sydney Morning Herald wrote about a Hong Kong Airlines Airbus 330 flight carrying 159 passengers that had been delayed in Singapore for almost nine hours due to a technical fault and a fracas between two groups of passengers which left an old Chinese women with an injured hand. The story continued when the furious Chinese passengers refused to leave the same plane at Hong Kong airport (IATA: HKG) for several hours until they were paid compensation for flight delays. Accused with mishandling the situation in Singapore, Changi Airport responded with an official statement saying “while the passengers were awaiting updates from the airline on their flight arrangements, Changi Airport worked with the airline’s ground handling agent, SATS, to facilitate meal arrangements for the affected passengers. Customer service agents were also deployed to provide assistance such as distributing mineral water to passengers and assisting them in checking on alternative flights to Hong Kong. Airport police officers were also present to assist with crowd control.”

Over in Australia Boeing made some dream headlines this week when its new 787 Dreamliner visited Sydney and Melbourne for the very first time ever. LateDeparture was lucky enough to witness the landing in Melbourne – watch the video on YouTube.

Crossing back to the Northern Hemisphere, in the United Kingdom Passenger Terminal Today wrote that the new-look North Terminal at Gatwick Airport (IATA: LGW) was officially opened by former Prime Minister John Major following the completion of the £73 million (US$115.5 million) project to extend the building to accommodate 20 million passengers per year by 2020.

And finally we finish with a bit of technology news coming from Russia. According to the Wall Street Journal Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport  (IATA: SVO) will launch a service it says will be the first in the world — video flight check-in via Skype. The airport forecasts that between 15% and 20% of all the passengers will be using the Internet-based video phone service.

Have a great week everyone and remember to follow us on Twitter for all the latest up-to-date stories during the week.

[Photo from Flickr – Some rights reserved by cobalt123]