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April 7, 2020

In this edition of the Travel News Brief: DOT rules airlines to provide refunds for flight cancellations, a second Marriott data breach, TripBam technology hotel booking and cancellation analysis, Delta and United extend loyalty program benefits, airline service suspension, new onboard service policies, the State Department is no longer taking new passport applications, Real ID deadline extended, hotel cancel policies, cleaning your credit cards, disinfect your suitcase, traveler tips and more!

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GBTA Webinar Recap: Managing a Prolonged Crisis

The rapid spread and sustained impact caused by COVID-19 has caught many companies off-guard. Unlike most past health scares or global emergencies, the pandemic has extended well beyond the typical business cycle, challenging even the most rigorous of crisis communication plans and risk management strategies. Read More

Travel Industry Mobilizes to Help During the Pandemic

Talk of the current COVID-19 pandemic has dominated global conversation. While the information changes almost hourly, a new narrative of progress is forming. From local communities coming together to “flatten the curve,” to corporate tech giants donating medical masks and big-name manufacturers pledging to produce much-needed ventilators, these stories of unified response give reason for encouragement. Read More

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Managing and Preparing for Crisis

Join Direct Travel for a BTN Thought Leadership Webinar, Managing Travel During a Crisis, on April 21 at 1 PM ET. With the impact of COVID-19 changing daily, this timely topic will feature a panel of industry experts sharing their recommendations for how to best manage your travel program—including travel policy, Duty of Care, supplier relationships, and other related topics.


Federal Excise Taxes Suspended for Many Business Aviation Operators

National Business Aviation Association — As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the federal air transportation excise taxes that apply to commercial operations (i.e., Part 135 flights) are suspended effective March 27, 2020, through Jan. 1, 2021. Read More

U.S. DOT: Carriers Must Offer Refunds for Canceled or Significantly Delayed Flights

Business Travel News — The U.S. Department of Transportation on Friday issued an enforcement notice to airlines, saying they are required to provide refunds, not vouchers for future travel, for flights that have been canceled or required a significant schedule change. Read More

Marriott Reveals Its Second Customer Data Breach in Two Years

CBS News — Marriott said that hotel guests' names, loyalty account information and other personal details may have been accessed in the second major data breach to hit the company in less than two years. Read More

Tripbam Offers Hotel Booking and Cancellation Analysis to Gauge Covid-19 Recovery

Business Travel News — Hotel reshopping technology tool Tripbam has created a dashboard to show clients year-over-year in hotel cancellations, average daily rate and new bookings created for any time period. Read More

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Delta Extends Elite Status, Club Memberships and Rolls Over Qualifying Miles To Next Year

Forbes — Delta Air Lines has become the first major U.S. carrier to extend the benefits in its loyalty program for a full year. Read More

United, Following Delta’s Lead, Extends Elite Status for All Premier Members and More

The Points Guy — Like Delta, United is extending status to all its current Premier members through the end of the 2021 program year, which ends on Jan. 31, 2022. Read More

American Extends Suspensions into the Summer

Business Travel News — American Airlines has extended its capacity cuts into the summer, suspending more than 60 percent of its international capacity for the peak summer season. Read More

United Extends Travel Credit Window as Delta Expands Travel Waiver Amid Coronavirus Crisis

USA Today — Good news for travelers who are weary of flying anytime soon due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic: United Airlines and Delta Air Lines are making some changes to help. Read More

Carriers Announce More Service Suspensions

Business Travel News — Carriers around the world continue to slash capacity as they contend with increasing restrictions and little demand amid the Covid-19 outbreak. Read More

Airlines Reduce Food, Drink services to Combat Spread of Coronavirus

USA Today — Major U.S. airlines are updating their food, drink and seating policies in an effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. Read More

US Passengers Still Flying Amid Pandemic

Newsweek — The latest data released by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) shows a significant fall in passengers using flights in the U.S. since President Donald Trump declared a national emergency over coronavirus on March 13—but also that hundreds of thousands of people are still flying. Read More

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U.S. State Department Stops Issuing New Passports

Travel Market Report — Those with “qualified life-or-death” emergencies will still be able to apply, but the State Department is no longer taking new applications as the impact of COVID-19 continues. Read More

China to Deny Entry to Foreign Nationals

Business Travel News Europe — China has announced it will temporarily prohibit foreign nationals from entering the country starting 28 March, even if they hold valid visas or residence permits, to try to stop the deadly coronavirus from being imported back into the country. Read More

Trump Postpones Real ID Requirements Due to Virus Concerns

Bloomberg — The Trump administration will delay the Oct. 1 deadline for Real ID compliance because of the coronavirus pandemic. A new deadline will be announced soon. Read More

You Can Submit Your Real ID Documents Online

Smarter Travel — Still no Real ID? While you're home, submit your documentation to save time in line later. Read More

TSA to Accept Some Expired Licenses at Airport Security

USA Today  — The Transportation Security Administration is now allowing a grace period for those who haven't been able to get their licenses renewed amid the coronavirus pandemic as people work on social distancing, reports The Arizona Republic. 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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Demand Drop Hits Car Rental Industry

Business Travel News — Car rental suppliers are reporting a sharp drop in bookings in the months ahead, though most are continuing operations amid the Covid-19 outbreak. Read More

Hertz Addresses Coronavirus Impact, Closes Stores

Auto Rental News — Hertz Global Holdings Inc. provided a business update on the adverse impact on travel demand from the coronavirus. Read More

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The Hotel-Room Workout You Can Do Anywhere

Smarter Travel — Stay in shape no matter where you are. No gear (or extra space) necessary. Read More

Marriott, Hyatt Revise Global Cancellation, Reward Points Expiration Policies

Business Travel News — Marriott International and Hyatt Hotels Corp. each have revised its cancellation policies to cover global reservations as a result of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, following InterContinental Hotels Group's move to do the same. Read More

Hotel and Resorts Continue to Adjust Cancellation and Change Policies

Travel Market Report — As COVID-19 continues to disrupt travel, hotel companies and resorts have altered their cancellation and change policies to further accommodate guests. Read More

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Turn Social Distancing into Emotional Connecting

Creative Group — Emotional connecting in a time of uncertainty is important for our overall well-being. Read More

How to Clean Your Credit Cards

The Points Guy — Whether you’re tapping to pay, swiping your card or inserting the chip, that means your card is touching where hundreds or even thousands of cards have also touched recently… Read More

The One Thing You’ve Probably Forgotten to Disinfect While Traveling

Afar — Viruses—and not just the coronavirus—can survive longer on nonporous, water-resistant surfaces like plastic passport covers. Read More

Not Traveling? You Might Want to Put These Subscriptions on Hold

The Points Guy — In many ways, it feels like our lives are on hold — so it might be time to consider putting certain travel subscriptions on hold, too. Read More

How to Disinfect Your Suitcase

Smarter Travel — We’re currently in “disinfect everything” mode. So while you’re stuck at home, why not give your suitcase a wipe-down? Read More

A Safe, Practical Guide to Getting Outside While Social Distancing

Afar — Yes, you can (and should!) leave your house to go for a walk right now. Read More

17 Signs That You Miss Traveling

Afar — You’ve taken to carrying your passport, even when just heading out to do some yard work. Read More

Tokyo Olympics Officially Postponed

Wheels Up — The IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020. Read More

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Grand Hyatt Hotel to Be Built Adjacent to Miami Beach Convention Center

Meetings & Conventions — Plans call for two levels of meeting space and 800 guest rooms. Read More

Wynn Unveils Expanded Convention Space

Northstar Meetings Group — The two-level expansion project more than doubles the meeting space at Wynn and Encore Resorts Las Vegas. Read More

Convention Centers and Hotels Become Coronavirus Emergency Care Facilities

Northstar Meetings Group — These venues are contributing beds and space to help alleviate the pressure on overcrowded hospitals. Read More

What Event Planners Need to Know About Food Waste

Meetings & Incentive Travel Magazine — It's estimated that 15 to 20 percent of food at events goes to waste… Read More

Proposed Milwaukee Convention Center Expansion Would Doubles Space

Milwaukee Sentinel — The expansion would add 112,000 square feet to the facility's main exhibition hall for a total of 300,000 square feet… 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: