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July 14, 2020

In this edition of the Travel News Brief: Direct Travel launches “Direct Go” -- a new travel booking and management mobile app powered by Deem, information on the EU travel ban, many airlines require travelers to sign health acknowledgment, new airline flight routes and services, TSA changes for increase traveler protection, hotel safety and cancellation policy updates, where to travel today, information on an immunity passport, where to hold meetings or events, meetings sanitation protocols and more!

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4 Tips for Planning a Successful Virtual Meeting

As event planners and meetings management companies construct an ever-evolving roadmap for safely resuming in-person meetings and events, the demand for virtual events has skyrocketed. One source suggests that virtual events have risen more than 1,000 percent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yet, drawing on the age-old wisdom, quality and quantity are rarely synonymous. Anyone can host a Zoom call or flip the switch on their webcam, but how do you create engaging programming and turn your digital meeting into a virtual experience? To answer this question, we’ve turned to Direct Travel’s wholly owned subsidiary, Creative Group, which offers solutions for meeting & event management, incentive programs (group and individual), and employee recognition. Below you’ll find our key takeaways for elevating your virtual meetings and events. Read More

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Direct Travel Debuts Deem-Powered App

Business Travel News — Direct Travel has launched a new travel booking and management mobile app powered by Deem, the travel management company announced. Dubbed Direct Go, the app is available today for iOS and Android devices. Read More

UK Eases Quarantine Rules for Travelers/span>

CNN — The United Kingdom government has relaxed quarantine rules for travelers from a number of destinations, including France, Italy, Belgium, Germany and Spain. Read More

There Are Some Important Exceptions to the EU Travel Ban, Including for Family Members

Afar — As Europe opened up its external borders to a select set of foreigners on July 1, citizens from countries that didn’t make the list can bypass the restrictions if they fall into several categories of travelers. Read More

Major U.S. Airlines Announce Health Acknowledgment Requirement

Airlines for America — Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines now or will require passengers to complete a simple health acknowledgment during the check-in process. Read More

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Delta, Latam Apply for Antitrust-Immune Joint Venture

Business Travel News — Air Lines and Latam Airlines Group this week filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation an application for antitrust immunity for their planned joint venture. Read More

United Launching New Tel Aviv Route from Chicago

Travel Pulse — Route takes off from September…Read More

Air Canada Exploring Rapid, Portable Covid-19 Testing

Business Travel News — Air Canada is working with biotech firm Spartan Bioscience Inc. to determine how to best deploy portable Covid-19 testing technology, the carrier announced. Spartan is developing a proprietary swab for the collection of DNA samples for its Covid-19 test, which includes a test cartridge and portable DNA analyzer device. Read More

Delta Reopens Sky Clubs and Reintroduces Beer and Wine Domestically

Insider Travel Report — As travel demand increases, Delta is making changes to their Sky Clubs and food service in the air. Clubs in Chicago O’Hare, Denver, Miami, Nashville, Orlando, Phoenix and San Francisco will join Clubs that are already operating in Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, New York La Guardia and JFK, Los Angeles, Minneapolis - St. Paul, Seattle, Salt Lake City, and Washington D.C. as they reopen throughout July, with additional Clubs reopening as travel increases over the coming months. Read More

Finally Some Good News: Lufthansa Resumes Selling First Class Tickets

The Points Guy — Fans of Lufthansa’s incredibly refined and consistent first class product can breathe a sigh of relief, as the German flag carrier has resumed selling first class tickets on U.S. routes. Read More

United Airlines to Resume Shanghai Service

Travel Market Report — United Airlines this week announced it will resume twice-weekly service between San Francisco and Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport, beginning July 8, more than three months after halting the service due to COVID-19. Read More

United to Restore 25,000 Flights in August

Business Travel News — United Airlines is restoring about half of its domestic schedule in August as well as some international routes, particularly in Latin America, the carrier announced. In all, the carrier will triple the number of flights compared with June, adding about 25,000 domestic and international flights in August. That will bring United to about 40 percent of what its schedule was last August. Read More

Delta Partners with Mayo Clinic for Covid Prevention Practices

Business Travel News — Delta Air Lines is partnering with Mayo Clinic to help adjust its standards and protocols to minimize Covid-19 transmission among employees and customers. Read More

United Offers No Change Fees through July 31, 2020 — Now you have until July 31, 2020, to make changes to, or cancel, any travel through the end of the year without change fees...Read More

Lufthansa Will Offer COVID-19 Tests to Customers at Frankfurt and Munich Airports

Travel Market Report — The test results will be made available within hours and will help healthy Lufthansa customers avoid quarantining when they arrive in Germany or Austria. Read More

Two Canadian Airlines to End Spaced Seating Policies

Business Travel News — Both Air Canada and WestJet are ending spaced seating policies on July 1. Read More

United Flight Attendants to Carry Thermometers

Travel Pulse — United Airlines continues to take extra steps to ensure its workers are safeguarding against the coronavirus. Read More

Delta Extends Block on Middle Seats, Flight Capacity Limitations

Travel Pulse — Delta Air Lines revealed it would continue to block middle seats and limit passenger numbers in every cabin through September 30. Read More

Overhead Bins Are Now Banned for All Flights in Italy

The Points Guy — Italy’s National Civil Aviation Authority announced a decree intended to prevent people from congregating while onboard planes by banning the use of overhead bins. Read More

American Airlines to Lift Capacity Caps July 1

Business Travel News — As of July, American will allow flights to be completely sold, though travelers will be notified of full flights and be allowed to move to less crowded flights without charge when available. Read More

Aeromexico Files for Bankruptcy

Meetings & Conventions — The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the Mexico City-based airline to seek Chapter 11 protection…Read More

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TSA Adds New Coronavirus Protections for Screeners

USA Today — Transportation Security Administration officers will be required to change their gloves more frequently and wear face shields when screening passengers, in changes the agency is making this month to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Read More

Chicago Will Require Visitors from 15 States Quarantine

USA Today — Chicago is taking a page from New York's playbook: The city is requiring visitors from 15 states with high COVID-19 infection rates to quarantine for 14 days. Read More

Reopening for Global Entry, Trusted Traveler Enrollment Centers Postponed Until August

Travel + Leisure — U.S. Customs and Border Protection has postponed the reopening of enrollment centers for traveler programs, including Global Entry, until August 10. Read More

‘Stay Healthy. Stay Secure’

Transportation Security Administration — TSA remains committed to the health and safety of our frontline workers and airline travelers. So as you begin traveling once again, you may notice a few changes to airport screening procedures. Not to worry though, these changes are designed to help contain the spread of COVID-19 and to keep you safe and healthy. Read More

How the Pandemic Has Affected Passports, Global Entry, TSA PreCheck and More

The New York Times (subscription required) — Travel is gradually returning, but not without disruptions. Here’s what to expect when applying for official travel documents and membership in security programs. 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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National Stays on Top with Buyers

Business Travel News — National Car Rental maintained its undefeated record in BTN's annual Car Rental Survey… Read More

Amtrak’s Private Rooms Help Travelers Social Distance in Style

Recommend Magazine — Their own space. That’s what travelers are looking for as they step into a travel landscape where New Normal regulations are in place. Read More

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Hospitality and COVID-19: How Long Until ‘No Vacancy’ for US Hotels?

McKinsey & Company — COVID-19 has affected every sector across the globe, and the hotel industry is among the hardest hit. Read More

Choice Hotels Tightens Cancellation Policy

Business Travel News — Choice Hotels has updated its cancellation policy, tightening some of its features. Read More

Virgin Hotels Updates App with More Contactless Features

Travel Mole — Keyless entry among new tools…Read More

Hyatt Planning First New Build Alila resort in US

Travel Mole — San Diego resort will open early next year…Read More

Small Luxury Hotels Unveils “Stay Small, Stay Safe” Initiative

Insider Travel Report — Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) has launched a “Stay Small, Stay Safe” initiative offering enhanced health and detailed safety guidelines for all 520 member hotels in 90 countries. Read More

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Where Can Americans Travel Right Now?

Afar — With all of the rules and regulations, figuring out where Americans can travel at the moment is no easy task—so we’ve done the work for you. Read More

What Is an Immunity Passport—and Do I Need One to Travel?

Afar — As destinations open their borders and travel slowly resumes, the health of visitors and citizens in the age of coronavirus remains a concern. Read More

These Noise Canceling Headphones Are Perfect for Both WFH and Flying

Afar — The best noise canceling headphones work just as well for noisy airplanes as they do for drowning out loud neighbors. Read More

How to Sanitize a Hotel Room

Smarter Travel — As soon as you walk into your hotel room, you should clean these germy areas. Read More

COVID-19 in July: Which US States Are Still Restricting Travel?

Travel Pulse — A new swell of coronavirus cases is on the rise since the lifting of lockdown measures, and travelers aren’t yet free to blithely bound across states lines in pursuit of the perfect vacay. Read More

Chicago Orders Quarantines for Travelers From 15 States

Travel Pulse — Hoping to keep the lid on the coronavirus outbreak, the city of Chicago will require visitors from states with a surge of cases to quarantine for 14 days. Read More

UK to Lift Ban on Non-Essential Travel to up to 90 Countries

The Guardian — Overseas holidays and visits to up to 90 countries will be possible for Britons from Monday without the need to quarantine for 14 days on return. The Foreign Office is expected to lift its ban on non-essential travel to nearly all EU countries, British territories such as Bermuda and Gibraltar, and Australia and New Zealand. Read More

US Travel Association Encourages Mask Usage, Healthy Travel Practices

Travel Pulse — Wash your hands, wear a mask and social distance. Read More

Face Masks Now Mandatory in Las Vegas

Recommend Magazine — As the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Las Vegas, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak has ordered face masks be worn by everyone in public starting June 25. Read More

Airlines Refunding Tickets for Passengers with Elevated Temperatures

Travel Pulse — It's good news for travelers concerned about being turned away. Read More

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

Northstar Meetings Group — Leaders in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have expanded their 14-day quarantine rule for visitors from states seeing a spike in cases…Read More

Vegas Gets Back to Business as Hotels Reopen and Prepare for Small Meetings

Northstar Meetings Group — Many construction projects are ahead of schedule, the LVCVA's Chris Meyer told attendees of Northstar's Interact Las Vegas digital event. Read More

What To Do If A Meeting Attendee Gets COVID

Prevue Meetings — It's important to have a contingency plan outlining what to do if an attendee shows symptoms of COVID-19 during your meeting. Read More

Hotels Add New Meetings Sanitization Protocols

Business Travel News — Along with new sanitization standards, several hotel companies are implementing new procedures and protocols around their meetings and events—for whenever they return—related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Read More

Revised CDC Guidelines

Prevue Meetings — The newly revised CDC Guidelines for events and gatherings are meant to supplement—not replace—state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules and regulations. 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: