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December 17, 2019

In this edition of the Travel News Brief: travel payment trends coming in 2020, new flight service and airline codeshare agreements, prepare for REAL ID, French union ground strike, IHG launches digital in-room guest entertainment, Hyatt to introduce 3-tier reward levels, Marriott expansion in 2020, traveler tips, top 10 meeting destinations, F & B trends for 2020, 2020 business travel events you can't miss, and more!

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2020 Business Travel Events You Can’t Miss

As 2019 draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on everything you have learned in the past year and plan for the year ahead. There is no better way to level up your skills and get motivated for the coming year than by attending a business travel event or conference. Read More

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The Big Travel Payment Trends Coming in 2020

PhocusWire — Just a few years ago it was customary to pay for travel with cards, or perhaps even cash in some markets. Fast-forward to the present, and we're seeing a range of trends that re-define how people pay for travel. Read More

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Delta Private Jets to Combine with Wheels Up

Business Travel News — Delta Air Lines next year will merge its Delta Private Jets business into private aviation platform Wheels Up. Read More

Air Canada Announces New U.S. Transborder Routes and Services for Next Summer

Air Canada — Air Canada announced two new seasonal summer routes and added service to major U.S. destinations from Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver. Read More

Delta Air Lines and LATAM Enter Into Codeshare Agreement

Travel Market Report — The proposed partnership will significantly expand service connectivity to destinations throughout South America, beginning in 2020. Read More

Delta Does Away with Middle-seat ‘Upgrades’

The Points Guy — If you’re a Delta Medallion member, the days of being “upgraded” into a middle Comfort+ seat may be over. Read More

United Has Made It Way Simpler to Get a Business Class Upgrade

Conde Nast Traveler — The airline is launching a new PlusPoints system for its most elite fliers to upgrade to business class. Read More

United Orders Airbus Long Range Jets

Travel Mole — A321XLR aircraft will serve transatlantic routes…Read More

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What Travelers Need to Do to Prepare for REAL ID Compliance in 2020

Travel Pulse — The first thing travelers should know about REAL ID is that they only have until October 1, 2020, to ensure that their driver's license is compliant, otherwise, a passport or some other acceptable form of identification will be needed to pass through the TSA checkpoint and board a domestic flight. Read More

DHS Drops Plan to Require Facial Scans of US Citizens

Tech Crunch — The Department of Homeland Security will not proceed with a proposal to require all US citizens to submit to facial scans when entering and exiting the country. Read More

American Adds Passport-Scanning Tech to Mobile App

Business Travel News — American Airlines has added a passport-scanning feature to its mobile app, with which passengers can scan relevant information and go to their gate without having passports checked by customer service agents. The feature scans the Near Field Communication chip embedded in passports to verify basic information entered by travelers into the app. Read More

Is Clear Worth It? Here’s How to Try It for Less to Find Out

Afar — Even if you have TSA PreCheck, now might be the time to add Clear to your list of ways to get through airport security faster. 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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French Union Warns Strikes Could Last Through Christmas

Meetings & Conventions — Paris commuters crammed into the only two fully working Metro lines Thursday as labor strikes over pension reforms crippled France's train services for an eighth day and a major union warned the work stoppages could continue without pause until Christmas. Read More

Chrissy Taylor Named Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise Holdings

Travel Pulse — She will become CEO of the mobility leader on Jan. 1, 2020. Read More

This High-speed Train Is Expected to Go From Portland to Vancouver in Just Two Hours

Travel + Leisure — An idea for a new train line may get you from Portland to Vancouver in less than half the time it would take to drive…Read More

Hertz and Air France Launch Hertz DriveU, a New High-quality, Hassle-free Airport Transfer Service

Hertz — Longstanding partners Hertz International, part of Hertz Global Holdings, Inc. and Air France are now offering passengers of the French flag carrier the new transfer service with private driver Hertz DriveU at more than 300 airports globally. Read More

5 Airports Ending Uber and Lyft Curbside Pickup

Smarter Travel — Where curbside pickup has been nixed: See if your airport is on the list. Read More

Why Airlines Want You to Go By Train

CNN — From air to rail: Dutch airline KLM has announced plans to replace one of its daily flights between Brussels and Amsterdam with a high-speed train. Read More

Who's Regulating Self-Driving Cars? Often, No One

Wired — Two hearings reveal that neither the federal government nor many states are monitoring the hundreds of self-driving vehicles being tested on U.S. roads…Read More

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InterContinental Hotels Group Launches New Guest In-Room Digital Experience

Insider Travel Report — InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has launched IHG Studio, a new digital in-room guest entertainment solution. Read More

Hyatt Expands Small Luxury Hotels Partnership

Business Travel News — Hyatt Hotels Corp. has expanded its World of Hyatt loyalty alliance with Small Luxury Hotels (SLH) of the World. Read More

Big Changes Coming to World of Hyatt: Peak and Off-peak Pricing Added in March 2020

The Points Guy — Beginning in March 2020, Hyatt will introduce three tiers of awards — off-peak, standard and peak — for all redemption types, including standard rooms, club-access rooms and premium rooms/suite awards. Read More

Marriott Eyes Over 30 Luxury Hotel Openings Globally in 2020

Travel Pulse — Marriott International is expecting to open more than 30 luxury hotel properties around the world in 2020. Read More

Hyatt Unveils Big Expansion for Luxury Portfolio

Travel Mole — More than 20 new luxury hotels to launch next year…Read More

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How to Check Your Hotel Room for Hidden Cameras

The Points Guy — This post has been updated with additional information after hidden cameras were found in a Hyatt hotel on December 12, 2019. This post was originally published on March 21, 2019. Read More

Over 47 Million People Are Expected to Fly U.S. Airlines During Peak Holiday Time, Report Shows

Travel + Leisure — A total of 47.5 million people are expected to fly all over the world on U.S. airlines during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday period — a 3 percent increase from last year, according to an airline trade group. Read More

You Can Now Pre-order Your Inflight Meal on Select United Flights

The Points Guy — United now lets you choose your inflight meal on select routes within a window of five days to one day before departure. Read More

New Legislation Aims to Crack Down on Disruptive Air Travelers

Travel Market Report — As tales of airline passenger misconduct become more commonplace — and more serious — with an increasing number of people taking to the skies, a new legislative effort to punish troublemaking flyers has started to gain steam. Read More

This New Economy Seat Design Will Finally Let You Sleep on an Airplane

USA Today — It’s called “Interspace” and it could change economy flying forever. Read More

18 Anxiety-Busting Tips for Nervous Flyers

SmarterTravel — These expert tips can help you overcome your fears of all things related to flying. Read More

Guide to Airport Security — The challenges of air travel and airport security shouldn't scare you. We'll ease your way through airport security — often the most time-consuming part of your journey. Read More

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Charlotte Convention Center Undergoing Expansion

Meetings and Conventions — Meeting space at the venue will increase by 50,000 square feet. Read More

10 Meetings Destinations on the Rise

Northstar Meetings Group — These cities moved up Cvent's list of top meetings destinations for 2019 because they have been improving their infrastructures, hotel offerings, convention centers and attractions. Read More

10 Food and Beverage Trends to Know for 2020

Travel Market Report — Healthy ingredients, local cuisine influences, and new choices for drinks and coffee are among the trends taking hold for the new year. 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: