Great Moments in Travel History – November 2021

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Patrons at Zum Schwarzen Kameel in Vienna

The third worst hotel fire in modern U.S. history occurred on November 21, 1980 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The MGM Grand fire started in the Deli hotel restaurant, and claimed 85 lives out of the approximately 5,000 people who were in the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino at the time.

In November 1982, McDonnell Douglas introduced new nomenclature for its commercial aircraft, combining the “M” of McDonnell and the “D” of Douglas. The DC-9 Super 80, now known as the MD-80, became the first to use the new appellation.

On November 12, 2001, American Airlines Flight 587 crashed in Queens, New York, shortly after taking off from John F. Kennedy International Airport. With all 260 people onboard, as well as five people on the ground, losing their lives it was the second deadliest aviation disaster on American soil.

On November 6, 2002, a fire broke out on an overnight sleeper train heading from Paris to Vienna, killing 12 and injuring an additional nine passengers.

The Boeing 777-200LR Worldliner established a new record on November 10, 2005, for nonstop distance traveled by a commercial airplane, flying 11,664 nautical miles (18,771 kilometers), in 22 hours and 42 minutes, from Hong Kong to London.

On November 14, 2005, the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental program was launched with an order from Cargolux, based in Luxembourg, for 10 747-8 Freighters and purchase rights for 10 additional aircraft. The airplane is the fourth-generation Boeing 747.

On November 20, 2009, Boeing held a ceremony to mark the beginning of construction for the second final assembly site for the 787 Dreamliner program at its Boeing Charleston facility. The first Dreamliner built at the location was completed and rolled out in April of 2011.

The Gulfstream G650, a twin-engine business jet, made its first flight on November 25, 2009. The plane is Gulfstream’s largest and fastest business jet, with a top speed of Mach 0.925.

A gas explosion in the basement of the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill hotel resulted in the evacuation of over 500 guests overnight on November 22, 2014. The explosion, which took place at 11:40 p.m. local time, caused part of the building to collapse. No guests were injured, according to the London Fire Brigade.

United Airlines launched daily service to Havana from its New York area hub in Newark on November 30, 2016. The route was the first to the capital of the island nation for the carrier in over 50 years.

On November 30, 2018, Marriott reported that the reservations database of Starwood Hotels & Resorts had been hacked, compromising the personal details of up to 500 million guests. An “unauthorized party had copied and encrypted information, and took steps toward removing it,” the hotelier said. Marriott acquired Starwood in 2016.

A section of the ceiling of the Piccadilly Theater in London crashed down on theatergoers 20 minutes into the show on November 6, 2019.  The theater was packed for a performance of Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman,” starring Wendell Pierce as Willy Loman.  The play had opened on Monday.

Austria banned all smoking in restaurants, cafes, and bars starting November 6, 2019. The new law brings Austria in line with other major European countries and should allow the Alpine country to shed its reputation as the “ashtray of Europe.”

Five people were stabbed near London Bridge during an afternoon rampage on November 9, 2019. Two of the victims later died of their wounds.  The assailant, Usman Khan, was said to have been wearing a fake suicide vest and was shot dead by police.  Khan had been released from prison on license, or parole, after serving a portion of his sentence for terrorist offenses.

On November 24, 2020, New York City unveiled a public service campaign that urges New Yorkers, as well as visitors, to stay home as much as possible in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus. “It’s not too late to cancel your travel plans,” said Dr. Dave Chokshi, the city’s health commissioner, during a morning press conference at City Hall.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for 2020, held on November 26, looked familiar to television viewers across the globe but there were no throngs of spectators in the area along the parade route. There was also no parade route to speak of either. The department store filmed the performances from several Broadway shows including “Jagged Little Pill,” “Hamilton,” and “Mean Girls” as well as the Radio City Musical Hall Rockettes. The parade’s floats and marching bands traveled the length of a single city block down 34th Street on Thanksgiving Day, as opposed to the traditional 2.5-mile (4-kilometer) route that traditionally they usually took.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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