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December 1, 2020

In this edition of the Travel News Brief: CDC issues new advice, US/Canada border closure extension, Delta and ATL launch a trans-Atlantic COVID-19 test program, United makes Covid-19 tests available for travelers to 10 destinations, United and American scrap change fees for long-haul international flights, Delta and WestJet cancel joint venture, Aer Lingus to Join Oneworld Alliance, Boeing 737 MAX will return to service, airports to offer COVID-19 testing, TSA policy updates, traveler tips and much more!

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Why Now is the Right Time to Implement Rate Assurance

Making investments in your corporate travel program can be a challenging line item to tackle in your 2021 budget proposal. Business travel is still recovering from its earlier pandemic lows, and future travel plans for many organizations remain in flux.

Fortunately, one of the smartest travel technologies businesses can integrate into their travel programs doesn’t necessarily carry an out-of-pocket price tag: Rate Assurance. From small traveling teams to large corporate programs, companies of all sizes can take advantage of rate assurance to minimize expenses and drive ROI. Direct Travel recently rolled out our own rate assurance solution powered by TRIPBAM, and we’re ready to walk you through how it works and why it matters to your business. Read More

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Direct Travel Redefines Hotel Buying with Expansive Solutions

Globe Newswire — Direct Travel, Inc., one of North America’s largest travel management companies, announced that it has re-conceptualized how they approach hotels in today’s environment. Read More

CDC Issues New Advice for International Travelers: Get 2 COVID Tests

Afar Magazine — The agency has laid out new guidelines to help reduce the risks when traveling internationally. Read More

Canada Extends U.S. Border Closure Until Dec. 21

Travel Market Report — Canada has reportedly chosen to extend its closure of the U.S. border to non-essential travel until at least Dec. 21. Read More

Business Travelers Itching To Get Back On The Road

Global Business Travel Association — News of effective vaccines renews optimism for a return to travel and in-person events in 2021…Read More

Business Travel in 2021 - Is It Possible to Plan Ahead?

Biz Community — There are a few considerations for travel teams to keep in mind when planning their corporate travels for 2021…Read More

Britain and U.S. Sign Aviation Deal for Post-Brexit Flights

Reuters — Britain and the U.S. have signed a deal for the continuation of flights between the two countries as the UK prepares for the end of its transition period with the European Union. Read More

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Delta to Launch First Quarantine-Free, COVID-Free Travel to Italy

Insider Travel Report — Delta Air Lines, the Aeroporti di Roma and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport have joined in a trans-Atlantic COVID-19 testing program that will enable quarantine-free entry into Italy, in accordance with a decree expected to be issued soon by the government of Italy. Read More

United to Launch Covid Testing for 10 Latin American, Caribbean Markets

Business Travel News — United Airlines on Dec. 7 will begin making Covid-19 tests available for travelers to 10 destinations in the Caribbean and Latin America. United has worked with officials in all countries to ensure that both residents and visitors will be allowed entry with a negative test, according to the carrier. Read More

United, American Airlines to Scrap Change Fees for Overseas Flights

Reuters — United Airlines and American Airlines will scrap change fees for long-haul international flights, mirroring their move on domestic flights in a bid to revive bookings and air travel demand hit by the pandemic. Read More

Delta, WestJet Cancel Joint Venture

Travel Pulse — Saying that demands by the U.S. government for approval of a new alliance were unfair, Delta Air Lines and Canada’s WestJet Airlines have canceled their previously announced plans to develop a joint venture. Read More

Delta Air Lines Commits To Blocking Middle Seats Through March 2021

Forbes — Delta Air Lines will soon be the only remaining legacy carrier in the United States to block middle seats. Read More

BA, American Airlines Plan Voluntary Covid-19 Testing Plan

Meetings + Conventions Magazine — The U.K carrier is trying to persuade the British government to scrap rules requiring most international travelers to quarantine for 14 days. Read More

Boeing 737 MAX Cleared by the FAA to Return to Service

Travel Market Report — The news brings an end to a 20 month grounding that started in March 2019. Read More

Lufthansa and Swiss to Trial Touchless Airport Tech

Business Travel News — Lufthansa and Swiss passengers on selected flights through Frankfurt and Munch airports this month will be able to pass through both security and the boarding gate using touchless biometric technology from, according to the carriers. Read More

DOT Gives Tentative OK for Aer Lingus to Join Oneworld Alliance

Travel Weekly — Final approval would allow it to jointly schedule, market and operate flights with American, British Airways, Iberia and Finnair. Read More

Alaska, American Reciprocal Benefits for Elites to Come in March

Business Travel News — American Airlines and Alaska Airlines will begin offering reciprocal benefits to elite members of one another's loyalty programs in the spring, the carriers announced. Read More

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TSA Hits Another Pandemic Passenger High During Holiday Week

Travel Market Report — The new high mark came even as the CDC recommended against travel. Read More

Chicago To Add COVID-19 Testing Facilities at O’Hare and Midway Airports

Chicago Tribune — The Chicago Department of Aviation is planning to add COVID-19 testing facilities at O’Hare and Midway airports by next month for travelers and employees. Read More

CDC Recommends Pre- and Post-flight Testing for International Air Travel

Politico — Those planning to fly should get tested 1 to 3 days prior to the flight and again 3 to 5 days after traveling. Read More

Delta to Add Facial Recognition Checkpoints in Detroit

Business Travel News — Delta Air Lines is building a "curb-to-gate" facial recognition program for domestic travelers at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport. Read More

TSA Updates Travelers on Coronavirus Policies Ahead of the Holidays

Afar Magazine — You’re allowed more hand sanitizer. Be sure to pack it. Read More

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Accor and Ennismore to Create Standalone Boutique-hotel Company

Travel Weekly — The entity will bring Ennismore's Hoxton and Gleneagles properties under the same umbrella as Accor's Delano, SLS, Mondrian and other brands. Read More

Extended Stay America Adds Seven Properties to Its Portfolio

Business Travel News — Extended Stay America has added seven new properties to its portfolio through conversions, bringing the total number of hotels in its system to 647, the company announced. Read More

COVID-19 Measures at Marriott

Prevue Meetings + Incentives — Here is a look at what Marriott is doing to enhance its health and safety protocols as it welcomes back event and meetings business. Read More

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International Fliers May Soon Need to Get COVID-19 Vaccinations

Afar Magazine — Major airlines around the world are discussing the possibility of a “vaccination passport” for travelers. Read More

Multiple Digital Health Passports Now Available for COVID Travel Verification

PhocusWire — The CommonPass” digital health passport will expand use in December for multiple international routes. Read More

U.K. to Allow Shorter Quarantine for Inbound Travelers, After Negative Test

Business Travel News  — Travelers arriving in England beginning Dec. 15 from countries not on the United Kingdom government's travel corridors list will be able to cut short their quarantine by getting a negative test no sooner than five days after arrival, the U.K. transport secretary announced. Read More

Should I Worry About Using a Public Bathroom During COVID-19?

Smarter Travel — We answer this question, plus others on Thanksgiving travel, trip cancellations, and more in this month’s edition of our travel advice column. Read More

Hawaii Tightens Covid Test and Quarantine Rules for Visitors

Travel Weekly — To avoid quarantine, visitors must have their test result uploaded to Hawaii's Safe Travels system or in hand at the time of their flight's departure. Read More

Closure of U.S. Land Borders with Canada, Mexico Extended

Travel Pulse — According to, current travel restrictions between the three countries were set to expire on Saturday, but a rising number of coronavirus cases across North America has forced officials to extend the closure. Read More

Airlines Will Play 'Key Role in the Distribution' of COVID-19 Vaccines

Yahoo Finance — The airline industry will play a crucial role delivering coronavirus vaccines worldwide after pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer (PFE) win approval for their pandemic fighting inoculations. Read More

Lessons Learned Traveling During the Pandemic: Personal Precautions, Deals and More

USA Today — Our world changed almost nine months ago, as the COVID-19 pandemic reality settled on the United States and the world. Since, we’ve had months of mostly sheltering at home and plenty of time to address our latent wanderlust. Read More

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England To Allow Business Events Up To 4,000 Guests

Meetings & Incentive Travel Magazine — The limit of 30 people for business events has been scrapped, as Boris Johnson revealed the details of the updated tier system to take effect in England when the national lockdown ends in December…Read More

How to Plan Safer Meetings

Successful Meetings — Follow these best practices for preventing, detecting and responding to Covid-19 and other illnesses. Read More

Where Can You Hold Events? Here's the State-by-State Reopening Status

Northstar Meetings Group — Philadelphia and most of California have imposed new restrictions on restaurants and gatherings, while Iowa and Hawaii have introduced new mask mandates. 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: