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April 21, 2021

In this edition of Direct Travel's News Brief… GBTA postpones annual convention, the state of New York adjusts its COVID-19 restriction, airlines add flights, the return of in-flight food and beverage, the car rental shortage, IHG increases digital check-in, new hotel openings, travel tips, updates on meetings and incentive travel, and more!

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Introducing DirectLive: A New Series for Travel Buyers

How has COVID-19 reshaped the future of your corporate travel program? From travel restrictions and vaccine passports to market demand and supplier negotiations, the world of business travel is evolving at record pace. Join us for our new quarterly webinar series exclusively for Direct Travel buyers tasked with mapping out strategies for the future: DirectLive...Read More

Signs of the Travel Rebound Now In Progress

The COVID-19 pandemic has been characterized by an understandably frustrating series of stops, starts, and surges. Particularly for business travel, the challenge of safely returning to the road while mitigating ongoing threats from COVID-19 has been a yearlong exercise in risk management...Read More

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New York Won’t Require Fully Vaccinated Travelers to Quarantine Anymore

USA Today — New York lifted its COVID-19 quarantine and testing requirements for international travelers. Read More

Study Finds Vaccinated Travelers More Likely to Book Overnight Trips

Travel Pulse — Once vaccinated, travelers feel more confident in hitting the road. Read More

GBTA Postpones Convention to November

Business Travel News — The Global Business Travel Association's annual convention in July will be rescheduled to Nov. 17-19 but will remain in Orlando at the originally planned venue. Read More

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Delta Projects 'Significant Increases' in Corporate Travel in the Fall

Business Travel News — Delta Air Lines reported a "slow but steady" recovery in corporate travel, with a stronger rebound—as well as a return to overall profitability—on track for after the summer months. Read More

United Offers New Flights to Croatia, Greece and Iceland — United is adding three new flights to their international network, giving travelers more options for summer travel by flying direct to countries that are starting to reopen to vaccinated visitors. Read More

Have Your COVID-19 Vaccine? Airlines Are Adding Flights to Europe

USA Today — Iceland, Croatia and Greece are among the European countries reopening to vaccinated Americans, and airlines are adding flights there. Read More

American Airlines Plans Summer Domestic Capacity Hike to Near 2019 Levels

Business Travel News — American Airlines this summer plans to restore its domestic capacity to 90 percent of 2019 levels and its international network to 80 percent of 2019 levels…Read More

JetBlue and Qatar Airways Expand Codesharing

Travel Weekly — Under the enhanced agreement, JetBlue will place its code on Qatar-operated flights to nine U.S. gateways. Read More

Hawaiian Airlines to End Expiration of HawaiianMiles

Frequent Business Traveler — Hawaiian Airlines announced its HawaiianMiles frequent-flyer program would eliminate the expiration of the program’s currency, also known as HawaiianMiles. Read More

United Upgrades 14 Outdoor-focused Routes for the Summer

The Points Guy — The Chicago-based carrier filed a significant schedule adjustment for 14 routes, primarily aimed at bringing vacationers to national parks and other outdoor destinations in the West. Read More

In-flight Service is Resuming — Here’s What Food and Drinks You Can Expect on Your Next Flight

The Points Guy — Most airlines are beginning to offer complimentary snacks and drinks again on many flights. Some airlines that went dry have also resumed alcohol service. Here’s what food and drink options you can expect onboard the major U.S. airlines for the foreseeable future. Read More

United Airlines is Now Refunding Cancellations Made through Agencies

Travel Weekly — The refunds are good on all nonrefundable tickets except basic economy fares, and clients will be charged a fee. Read More

American Airlines Plans New ‘Fresh Bites’ Menus in First on Longer Domestic Flights

Frequent Business Traveler — American Airlines plans to bring back “heartier options” in its domestic first-class service on flights over 2,200 miles (3,450 kilometers), or those roughly 4.5 hours or longer. Read More

TAP Air Portugal Unveils Summer Flight Schedule, Offers COVID-19 Testing Service

Insider Travel Report — At least one European airline is betting that travel will return this summer. TAP Air Portugal says it is gradually restoring its pre-COVID flight operations with plans to operate 879 flights per week on 100 routes by August. Read More

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TSA Screened Increased Number of Travelers During Easter Weekend

Travel Pulse — The Transportation Security Administration screened more than 1.5 million people at airport checkpoints on three of four days during Easter weekend. Passenger levels still remain down more than 40% compared to 2019 levels. Read More

Government Travel Warnings & Alerts

U.S. Department of State — Information on current government issued travel warnings and alerts. Read More

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First Look: The New Las Vegas Convention Center Loop

Travel Market Report — The LVCVA this week gave a first look into the new Las Vegas Convention Center Loop, a new underground transportation system that will help serve the city and its visitors when it opens in June 2021.Read More

Car Rental Shortage Affecting Summer Travel Plans and Budgets

ABC Houston — As more Americans make plans to travel this summer, the usually cheaper option of driving may actually turn out to be more expensive because of a car rental shortage. Read More

The ‘Car Rental Apocalypse’: Why Renting a Car is Tough in 2021

The Points Guy — The pandemic has changed the travel industry in ways we never thought possible. Air traffic is recovering but still down from 2019 numbers, and many countries have kept their borders shut for close to a year now. But there’s another change that none of us thought possible: it’s getting really hard to rent a car. Read More

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IHG Adds Digital Check-in Across U.S., Canadian Properties

Business Travel News — IHG Hotels & Resorts has made digital check-in available at more than 3,000 of its properties across the United States and Canada. Read More

Latest Hilton Outpost in California has a Suite Focus

Travel Weekly — Located a few blocks from the Pacific Ocean, the Hilton Santa Monica Hotel & Suites offers an outsized number of suite accommodations. Read More

Hyatt's Andaz Brand Makes its Debut in Indonesia

Travel Weekly — The 149-room Andaz Bali draws inspiration from surrounding Balinese villages. Read More

7 Ways Hotel Stays Have Changed for Good

Travel Pulse — The pandemic has forced just about every industry to make changes, especially the travel industry, and hotels have been confronted with many unique situations in which they have had to tackle safety, health and well-being for guests. This has led to many advancements, some that Hilton believes will be long-lasting or even permanent. Read More

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10 Things Not to Do at Airport Security

Smarter Travel — Want to get through airport security as quickly and painlessly as possible? Don't make these 10 airport security mistakes. Read More

All of the Elite Qualification Changes You Need to Know About for 2021

The Points Guy — Keeping track of the myriad of changes can be a challenge to keep up with, but The Points Guy is here to help. Read More

Alaska Airlines Plans New San Francisco Airport Lounge

Frequent Business Traveler — Alaska Airlines announced plans for a new lounge in Terminal 2 at San Francisco International Airport. The airline said it will take over the space previously occupied by the American Airlines Admirals Club lounge there. Read More

U.S. Travelers Must Create Their Own Vaccine Passport

Afar Magazine — The Biden administration won’t be providing digital vaccination certificates at the federal level. So it's up to individuals to create their own. Read More

7 Things You Should Never Pack in a Carry-on Bag

Smarter Travel — Save yourself some hassle at airport security. Read More

California Aims to Fully Reopen by June 15

Travel Market Report — Restaurants, bars and gyms will open at full capacity after more than a year of restrictions. Read More

The Rise of the Dreaded "Workcation"

Axios — The pandemic has popularized "workcations" — going on a vacation, but working while there, according to Axios. Just because work-from-anywhere means we can work on vacation doesn't mean we should. Experts warn that the pandemic's upending of work-life balance could drastically worsen burnout in the U.S. Read More

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California Opens to Meetings of 5,000

Prevue Meetings + Incentive — California has announced that it will open to big meetings of 5,000 starting in June, raising hopes that other states will soon follow. Read More

How to Handle Hotel Negotiations in 2021

Successful Meetings — Flexibility and collaboration are driving group deals as face-to-face meetings get back on the books. Read More

Radisson Unveils New COVID-19 Testing Program for Guests and for Meetings & Events

Insider Travel Report — Radisson Hotel Group has launched a new comprehensive COVID-19 testing program and says it is the first hotel group to roll out a rapid testing service for meeting and event attendees at properties across its European, Mediterranean and African portfolios. Read More

State-by-State Status Updates on Gathering Restrictions

Northstar Meetings Group — California plans to fully reopen on June 15. Conventions of up to 5,000 people will be permitted, with larger events allowed if all attendees have been fully vaccinated or tested for Covid-19. Read More

Creating a Health-Safety Plan for Meetings and Events

Successful Meetings — Here's how to set and enforce new protocols as you bring attendees back to in-person gatherings. Read More

Looking for guidance on planning your next convention, incentive, or group trip? Direct Travel will assist with all your meetings and event details!  Whatever your needs may be when it comes to your event, you can always depend on us to design streamlined travel arrangements, plan strategic meetings, and deliver real-time results. For details, please send a message to: