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Trump's Chicago hotel won't honor woman's low fare on Booking.com

A hopeful traveler stumbled across the hotel deal of a lifetime.

Rose Lawrence quickly took the chance to book a deal in which a normally priced $1,100 room was being offered for much less.

But the hotel said it will not honor her deal.

>> Read more trending news

Lawrence’s excitement quickly turned into frustration and shed light on an online booking fiasco when hotel management from the Trump Hotel in Chicago told her it would not be honoring the deal.

In between homes at the time, Lawrence was looking for a place to stay with her teenage son for a few nights when she turned to Booking.com and spotted the incredible rate.

RELATED: Greenpeace drops massive banner on Trump Tower in downtown Chicago

“I saw a deal, and, like anyone else, I’m taking it,” Lawrence told WGNTV.

The deal was for eight nights in a two-bedroom suite for a total of $253, and, according to reports, it was confirmed by Booking.com and the Trump Hotel.

Lawrence took advantage of the opportunity after it appeared to be legitimate, but when she called to confirm, hotel reps told her otherwise.

“I decided to call the hotel and talked with a revenue manager who then proceeded to beg me,” Lawrence told WGNTV. “She literally said, ‘I’m begging you to cancel this because I’m going to lose my job if you don’t do this.’ She just really started to lay it on thick.”

Lawrence and the hotel’s revenue manager then began debating and negotiating shortly after, but the two were unable to reach a resolution settlement.

Left scrambling to find a place, Lawrence said she will be forced out of her home in just a few days.

“Now I’m really stressed out because I have to have a place to stay, and I don’t know how this is going to roll out, and I just feel like they should’ve honored what they did,” she told WGNTV. “I think they should honor what they stated out there. Yeah, it was a mistake or their glitch, but (the revenue manager) made it really clear that it was her mistake.”

RELATED: A Washington, D.C. artist just used a Trump hotel as a way to speak out against President Trump

Booking.com said it is trying to work with both parties to resolve the situation. The hotel wants to cancel her reservation and offer a $30 credit for a future stay.

Family outraged after being kicked off JetBlue flight

A family of five from New York City captured on video an altercation with JetBlue staff after they got kicked off a JetBlue plane at Florida’s Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport.

>> Read more trending news

Tamir Raanan and Mandy Ifrah said they were heading home with their three children on July 2 when Ifrah got into an argument with another passenger over her 1-year-old daughter kicking the back of the person’s seat, WTVJ reported. She told WTVJ the issue was shortly settled with the passenger.

In a cellphone video recorded by Raanan and Ifrah, a JetBlue manager is then seen speaking to the couple and asking them to get off the plane.

“I want to hear from you, what was the story you heard? I want a reason why?” Ifrah is heard asking the JetBlue manager. “I want my kids home in New York.” 

Ifrah and Raanan became angry and did not agree to exit the plane. The manager did not specify a reason in the video, but is heard offering them a refund for the flight. 

Then, Broward County sheriff’s deputies got involved.

“Whether it’s right or whether it’s wrong, it’s their plane, and they can do whatever they want to do,” a deputy can be heard explaining to the couple. 

“Don’t worry we will get a lawyer and handle it the right way, you had no reason to kick off my family,” Ifrah says to the manager and deputies.

The family told WTVJ that they did not get their checked luggage back until a week later, and JetBlue banned them from all future flights but did not say why. 

The airline issued a statement on Wednesday over the incident, explaining why the family was taken off the plane: 

"After a verbal altercation that included physical threats and profanities against a nearby customer, the aircraft door was reopened and our airports team politely asked the customers to step off to discuss the situation. The customers refused repeated requests and our crew members deplaned the entire aircraft. Law enforcement escorted them out of the gate area and we provided a refund,” the statement said.

JetBlue also added that the family was “not removed due to the actions of their children.”

“We are investigating whether the customers’ behavior warrants restrictions on JetBlue travel and we thank our crew members for their professional handling of this unfortunate incident,” the statement said.

Disney’s Star Wars-themed land models are something to see

As Disney fans gather in Anaheim, California for the D23 Expo, one part of the fan-fest had the internet burning up before the show officially opened.

>> Read more trending news

On display during the comic-con for Disney enthusiasts is an extremely detailed model of the Star Wars lands that are being built in both Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida.

Videos of the display are on YouTube. Take a look:

The model is the centerpiece of the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts “A Galaxy of Stories” area of the biennial event.

The Star Wars-themed lands are scheduled to open in 2019. The idea of the lands was announced two years ago at the 2015 D23 Expo.

The model debut is just the appetizer for those looking to devour any information they can about the new lands. More information will be released during the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts presentation Saturday. The presentation is scheduled for 3 p.m.

Must-see: Beachgoers form 80-person human chain to save drowning family

Dozens of beachgoers in Panama City, Florida, teamed up to form a human chain to save a family from drowning.

>> Watch the news report from WBRC here

According to the Panama City News Herald, Roberta Ursrey heard her sons shouting for help in the water Saturday. But when she and other family members swam out to save them, they also became trapped by the rip current. As the nine family members struggled in the water, Ursrey said her mother had a heart attack.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

"I honestly thought I was going to lose my family that day," Ursrey told the News Herald. "It was like, 'Oh, God, this is how I'm going.'"

But that's when Jessica Simmons of Alabama jumped in to help. She swam to the family with a boogie board as her husband and other beachgoers began to form a human chain from the shore, the News Herald reported. The good Samaritans then pulled each family member back to the beach.

 >> See the viral photo here

“It was the most remarkable thing to see,” Simmons told the News Herald. “These people who don’t even know each other and they trust each other that much to get them to safety.”

>> Read more trending news

Ursrey, who said her mother was hospitalized and her nephew broke his hand, said she's grateful for her rescuers.

“These people were God’s angels that were in the right place at the right time," Ursrey told the News Herald. "I owe my life and my family’s life to them. Without them, we wouldn’t be here.”

Read more here.

Delta passenger hit in head with wine bottle accused of assaulting flight attendant, charged with federal crime

Joseph Daniel Hudek IV, the Florida man accused of assaulting a flight attendant on a Delta Air Lines flight from Seattle to Beijing, appeared Friday in U.S. District Court in Seattle and is facing a federal charges.

>> Read more trending news

A Delta Air Lines flight from Seattle to Beijing returned to Sea-Tac Airport Thursday evening after Hudek, 23, reportedly assaulted and injured a flight attendant.

Sea-Tac Airport spokesman Perry Cooper said 45 minutes after the departure of Delta Flight 129, there was an in-flight disturbance in the first-class cabin in which a passenger assaulted a flight attendant. The flight had departed Sea-Tac shortly after 5 p.m.

There were approximately 210 passengers and 11 flight crew on board the plane.

Hudek was in the first-class cabin, traveling on a "dependent pass." According to KIRO-TV, Hudek’s mother is a Delta employee.

Prior to takeoff, Hudek asked a flight attendant for a beer, which he received. He did not have any additional alcoholic drinks, and he did not appear to be intoxicated, court documents state.

Approximately one hour into the flight, Hudek reportedly used the lavatory twice and after exiting the lavatory the second time, he lunged toward an exit door, grabbed the handle and attempted to open the door. 

At that time, the flight attendant asked for assistance from other passengers in the area and notified the cockpit of the situation.

The pilot called in the situation and the plane was diverted back to Seattle.

As the attendant continued to struggle with Hudek, he reportedly then punched the attendant twice in the face and hit a passenger who was trying to assist the attendant in the head with a wine bottle. 

Witnesses then said that Hudek again attempted to open the exit door. A passenger who tried to pull Hudek away from the door was also punched multiple times.

As the struggle between the passenger and Hudek continued, a flight attendant grabbed two wine bottles and hit Hudek on the head twice, eventually breaking one of the wine bottles.

One passenger, who did not want to share his name said: “They broke two bottles of wine on his head. I tried to choke him and he just threw me off like a rag doll."

Court documents state that Hudek seemed unfazed by a full bottle of wine being broken over his head and shouted something along the lines of, "Do you know who I am?"

Eventually, a passenger assisting the flight attendants was able to get Hudek into a headlock and as Hudek struggled to free himself, several other passengers came to assist in subduing him. After restraining him long enough, they were able to secure Hudek with zip ties.

Hudek reportedly remained "extremely" combative and several passengers were needed to restrain him until the plane landed at Sea-Tac.

Dustin Jones, who was seated directly behind the curtains separating first class from the rest of the plane, said he could tell a scuffle was going on.

“One of the flight attendants ran back and said there was a Code 3. There was a serious fight up front,” Jones said.

Britteny Gardner, who was on the flight, said that in the main cabin passengers heard an announcement asking for a doctor.

“Somebody that was working had blood on their shirt,” Gardner said.

Despite what happened, a passenger told KIRO-TV that the crew and the rest of the passengers remained mostly calm.

Witnesses on the plane said they were afraid for their lives when they saw the force with which Hudek attempted to open the door; he reportedly pushed the emergency lever halfway up.

A flight attendant said that given the flight's low altitude it would have been possible to open the door.

The plane landed at approximately 7:10 p.m. and officers boarded the plane and took Hudek into custody. Hudek was also combative with officers.

Once back at Sea-Tac, Hudek was handcuffed and zip-tied to a wheelchair as he was rolled out of the terminal, according to Jones.

"He started yelling for help," Jones said. "And so he turned the wheelchair over in the middle of the airport, screaming for people to help him, just being belligerent."

A flight attendant and passenger were immediately transported to a hospital to be treated for injuries sustained in the incident.

Delta released the following statement:

“Flight 129 returned to Seattle following a security incident with a passenger. The passenger was restrained onboard and was removed from the flight by law enforcement without further incident when the aircraft arrived back in Seattle. The flight is scheduled to re-depart for Beijing later this evening.”

The FBI told Sea-Tac officials there is no information that the incident is a national security threat.

Here's why the TSA wants to see your fudge

A sign at a county airport in Michigan left some travelers puzzled this week.

The sign was posted before the security checkpoint at Chippewa County International Airport. It says, "Please remove fudge from your bags." The sign includes an illustration of a piece of fudge.

An image of the sign was posted on Twitter by a traveler.

>> Read more trending news

The airport offers convenient access to Mackinac Island, which is known for its fudge. There's approximately 12 fudge shops on the island, and there's a fudge festival held annually in August, according to WXYZ.

Airport Manager Tami Beseau told MLive that the fudge sign is Transportation Security Administration policy, not a local airport ordinance. While candy is permitted in both carry-on and checked baggage, it may need additional screening, Beseau said. The soft, dense consistency of fudge could allow someone to slip contraband inside the candy, according to Beseau.

A person who commented on the MLive story went a step further, saying the real reason the TSA screens fudge is because it has a similar shape and consistency to C-4 explosives

Travelers should follow all TSA regulations posted at the airport they are traveling through. While a block of fudge may not require special handling at airports nationwide, those who are traveling through an area known for fudge should be prepared for extra screening.

What to do if you're treated unfairly on a flight

United Airlines is making headlines again. And once again, it’s not good.

>> Read more trending news

This time, the airline forced a woman flying with her 2-year-old son -- both of whom were ticketed passengers with seats -- to give up her son’s seat to another passenger and make the flight from Houston to Boston with her son in her lap.

The woman, Shirley Yamauchi, said she paid $969 for the June 29 flight, according to the Houston Chronicle.

“Not a single airline employee on that flight asked me why I had a large child on my lap,” Yamauchi of Kapolei, Hawaii, told the Houston Chronicle. “I didn’t feel safe or comfortable, but I really didn’t have a choice.”

On its website, the Federal Aviation Administration recommends against parents traveling with lap children because “your arms aren’t capable of holding your child securely, especially during unexpected turbulence.” United’s own policy on traveling with children states that “once infants turn 2 years old, they are required to have a purchased ticket and occupy a seat.”

These are not the first headlines United has made this year. In April, a man made international news after he was forcibly removed from a United flight after not voluntarily giving up his seat. The month before, the airline sparked outrage after barring a couple of teenagers from flying because they were wearing leggings.

With outrageous news about airlines making waves so frequently, what should you do if you believe your rights are being violated before or during a flight?

  1. Document everything. If you’re going to go up against the airline, you’re going to want a paper trail. Save every email, transcribe every call, take down every name of every person you talk to, and, if it gets really bad, shoot video. You want as much information, and evidence, as possible to make your case.
  2. Make social media your best friend. Post about the infraction on social media, and be sure to tag the airline. The louder you are, the better chance you have of catching the attention of someone who can help.
  3. Know your rights. The sad truth is that airline passengers have very few rights, but it doesn’t hurt to get familiar with the airlines’ individual “contracts of carriage,” which are filed with the government and outline each airline’s rules and regulations. Here’s what the United Airlines contract of carriage looks like. 
  4. Call customer service. Even if you’re at the airport, calling customer service — especially once you’ve read the contract of carriage and know your rights — can offer a quicker solution than standing in line after line of disgruntled fellow passengers. Call center representatives sometimes have more information, and more ability to make change, than gate agents. You may also want to file a complaint with the Department of Transportation.
  5. If it’s really bad, reach out to local news outlets. Ever notice how every time local news starts covering an airline story, the airline seems to take swift action? Nobody wants a public relations nightmare on their hands. Getting media coverage can be a quick way to get attention, and a solution.

Low-cost airline considers replacing seats with standing space

A low-cost airline based out of Colombia is considering ridding its planes of seats and having customers stand for the duration of flights. 

>> Read more trending news 

“There are people out there right now researching whether you can fly standing up,” VivaColombia airline founder and CEO William Shaw told the Miami Herald. “We’re very interested in anything that makes travel less expensive.”

Shaw and airline officials believe the move could fit more passengers onto planes and drive down airfare for customers, making flights more affordable for budget travelers.

“Who cares if you don’t have an inflight entertainment system for a one-hour flight?” Shaw asked in reference to seat-less planes. “Who cares that there aren’t marble floors ... or that you don’t get free peanuts?”

VivaColombia announced the purchase of 50 new planes last week, the Miami Herald reported. Those planes have more seats than most of the planes owned by the airline, a move to fit more passengers per plane and cater to the increasing tourism industry in Colombia. 

According to The Independent, VivaColombia isn’t the first airline to propose seat-less flights. Ryanair proposed standing areas on planes in 2010.

“(A plane is) just a ... bus with wings,” Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said at the time. “If there ever was a crash on an aircraft, God forbid, a seat belt won’t save you. You don't need a seat belt on the London Underground. You don't need a seat belt on trains which are traveling at 120 mph.”

Read more at The Independent and the Miami Herald

TSA begins searching books before travelers board planes

The TSA is testing a new policy under which passengers will be asked to separate their reading materials from the rest of their carry-on luggage so agents can fan through the pages to see if anything dangerous is hidden inside.

>> Read more trending news 

Right now, the book searches are happening at just a few airports, but Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said in a recent television interview that the process could expand nationwide.

Though the TSA insists agents will not pay attention to the contents of your reading material, there’s no way to verify or enforce that neutrality. Some already believe the TSA doesn’t pick passengers for extra screening as randomly as it claims. And some say it would be easy for agents to unfairly scrutinize people reading controversial political or religious content — or just an author the agent happens to dislike.

The policy also raises a new privacy concern. The United States has “a long history of special legal protection for the privacy of one’s reading habits,” notes privacy expert Jay Stanley in an analysis of the TSA’s plan for the ACLU. That history includes “numerous Supreme Court and other court decisions, [plus] state laws that criminalize the violation of public library reading privacy or require a warrant to obtain book sales, rental or lending records.”

“A person who is reading a book entitled ‘Overcoming Sexual Abuse’ or ‘Overcoming Sexual Dysfunction’ is not likely to want to plop that volume down on the conveyor belt for all to see,” Stanley said. Or what if you’re learning Arabic or studying advanced mathematics? Critics have pointed out that both of those activities attracted airport security scrutiny even before implementation of a nationwide book screening. 

Some say scholars are especially at risk of running afoul of the TSA under this new program. “Academics are unsurprisingly big readers, and since we don’t simply read for pleasure, we often read materials with which we disagree or which may be seen by others as offensive,” said Henry Reichman, chair of the American Association of University Professors’ Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure.

“For instance, a scholar studying terrorism and its roots may well be reading — and potentially carrying on a plane — books that others might see as endorsing terrorism,” he said. 

Read more of this editorial piece at Rare.us.

Mom says baby overheated as United Airlines plane sat on tarmac for 2 hours

2017 is not a good year to be an airline company, especially if that company’s name is United Airlines. 

Passenger and mom Emily France said her baby became overheated recently on a delayed flight as the aircraft waited on the Denver International Airport (DIA) tarmac, reports the Denver Post. The 39-year-old said that passengers waited for more than two hours on the plane despite a heat wave in the area. France recalled “hot air coming from the vents.”

>> Read more trending news

“We just sat and sat and sat,” she said. “I hit my call button and said, ‘I think it’s getting dangerously hot back here.'”

France also said that despite requesting an ambulance, she had to wait for 30 minutes before she was allowed to leave the plane with her son, Owen.

“They couldn’t evacuate us. It was chaos. I really thought my son was going to die in my arms,” France said as she criticized the airline for not being prepared to handle her situation.

>> Man forcibly removed from flight after not voluntarily giving up seat

Owen was treated at a children’s hospital after the incident. Doctors said he suffered from the heat but thankfully remained unaffected by heat-related medical conditions.

DIA spokesman Heath Montgomery corroborated the call for an ambulance.

A representative for United emailed the following statement to the Denver Post:

"Yesterday, a child onboard flight 4644 at Denver International Airport experienced a medical issue while the aircraft was taxiing prior to takeoff. The pilot returned to the gate as our crew called for paramedics to meet the aircraft. Our thoughts are with the child and family, and we have been in contact to offer travel assistance."

Read more here.

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