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January 25, 2022

In this edition of the Travel News Brief: 5G rollout effects on travel, flight schedule updates, Delta extends flight credit expirations, sustainable aviation fuel levy, traveling with your COVID-19 vaccine card, WMATA service adjustments, Hilton permanently extended its points-expiration policy, IHG changes its loyalty program, many traveler tips, a healthy meeting toolkit and more!

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Shifting into Focus: 2022 Business Travel Forecast

Like the temporary blur of a camera lens before it shifts into focus, the picture ahead for business travel in 2022 appears to be sharpening into a clear view despite a hazy start to the New Year.

Even as omicron variant concerns challenge an industry accustomed to COVID-19 setbacks, the year ahead promises rapid growth. Just how quickly and how far business travel will rebound depends on a variety of economic factors, including evolving variants, supply chain limitations, and staffing shortages. While companies and their travelers can’t control those elements, they can plan ahead and mitigate risk in their corporate travel programs. Below we take a look at where the industry is at today and where it’s heading next with our 2022 forecast. Read More

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American Airlines Confirms Some Onboard Service Cuts

The Points Guy — American Airlines has confirmed there will be onboard service reductions after complaints from flight attendants. The airline has been under pressure from the flight attendants union for some time to reduce service on planes including meal and beverage services. Read More

Telecoms Agree to Delay 5G Rollout Near 'Some' Airports

Business Travel News — AT&T and Verizon agreed to delay the new cellular service near some airports after several passenger and cargo airlines warned it could trigger "significant operational disruption." Read More

Carriers Prune Winter Schedules After Holiday Cancellations

Business Travel News — The flight cancellations that beleaguered the airline industry during the recent Christmas and New Year holidays have eased but not abated entirely. To counter the need to cut flights, the largest airlines in the U.S. have scaled back upcoming schedules in January, February and March. Read More

Delta Extends Flight Credit Expiration Date by One Year

Business Travel News — Delta Air Lines customers with flight credits on the books from the airline now will have until Dec. 31, 2023, to rebook their ticket for travel through 2024. Read More

American Airlines, Aer Lingus Launch Codeshare Agreement

Business Travel News — American Airlines and Ireland's Aer Lingus have launched a codeshare agreement. Read More

Air France, KLM Add SAF Surcharge to Airfares

Business Travel News Europe — Air France and KLM have introduced a new sustainable aviation fuel levy to their ticket prices, beginning Jan. 10. Read More

Virgin Atlantic to Launch Heathrow-Austin Service

Business Travel News — London-based Virgin Atlantic will launch new direct service between Heathrow Airport and Texas' Austin-Bergstrom International Airport beginning May 25, 2022. Read More

Singapore Airlines to Resume Newark Flights, Extend Status

Business Travel News — Singapore Airlines will restore daily flights from Newark Liberty Airport with nonstop service beginning March 28, 2022. Read More

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TSA Really Wants You to Stop Losing Your COVID-19 Vaccine Card

The Points Guy — If you’ve misplaced your vaccine card and you traveled recently, you may want to check the airport. Specifically, you may want to see if you left it at security screening. 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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Metro Announces Service Adjustments to Combat New COVID-19 Variant in Washington, D.C.

Intelligent Transport — WMATA has announced new service adjustments and an updated employee testing and vaccination policy to combat the spread of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant. Read More

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Hilton Permanently Extends Point-Expiration Policy

Business Travel News — Hilton Hotels Corp. permanently has extended its Hilton Honors points-expiration policy to 24 months from the date of last activity from 15 months. Read More

IHG to Begin New Loyalty Program Rollout in March

Business Travel News — IHG Hotels & Resorts on Wednesday announced changes to its loyalty program, including a new tier and bonus point earning structure, which will go live during March. Read More

Hilton Opens Its First Lifestyle Hotel in New York

Travel Weekly — The Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea is the first newbuild under the Motto brand, which launched in 2018. Read More

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Americans Can Get Free At-home COVID-19 Tests — But They Won’t Work for Travel

CNBC — Most takeaway tests won’t provide results you can use before a flight or cruise…Read More

Why You Should Always Choose a Window Seat During Flu Season

Travel + Leisure — Some seats tend to be safer from germs than others...Read More

How to Stay Calm When Your Trip Goes Wrong

Afar Magazine — If the road gets bumpy, try these mindfulness techniques…Read More

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Healthy Meetings Toolkit & Pledge

Prevue Magazine — The National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity offers the Healthy Meeting Toolkit, along with a full slate of resources to make every meeting healthier. Read More

Fort Worth Convention Center Expansion Funds Approved

Northstar Meetings Group — Money from the American Rescue Plan Act will jump-start the stalled Texas project...Read More

3 Strategies for Meeting in States with Vaccine Mandate Laws

Prevue Meetings — What’s a planner to do if the event organizer wants to require proof that attendees are fully vaccinated, but they are meeting in a destination where the state law prohibits vaccine 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: