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June 16, 2020

In this edition of the Travel News Brief: interactive map shows which countries are open for travel, airline flight additions and reductions, United adds health assessment during check-in, airline safety and cleanliness updates, U.S. passport services resume, car rental promotions, updates on hotel reopenings, U.S. states with quarantine measures in place, hurricane season, meetings updates and more!

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A Step-by-Step Checklist for Travelers Returning to the Road

For travelers returning to the road amidst the recovery stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, new and changing guidelines have created a distinctly different business travel experience. While some of these restrictions may present an initial learning curve to adjust to, these changes will improve the overall well-being and safety of travelers in the long-term.

But where do you start and how you do know what processes have changed? Below we’ve compiled a step-by-step checklist to walk you through the new travel journey and provide you with the information you need to travel smart and stay safe. Read More

Why You Need to Think of Your Corporate Travel Program Like a Business

For those in the business of business travel, the unique needs of companies and their travelers have never been more relevant than they are today. At Direct Travel, we have experienced the far-reaching effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on corporate travel programs and are helping clients get their travel programs back on track. Notably though, the level of impact has varied greatly from business to business.

Yet, big or small, struggling or thriving—companies of all sizes can improve the efficacy and economics of their travel programs as they prepare to safely resume travel. One way to ensure success in this process is to approach your travel program as a microcosm of what it truly is—a business of its own. Read More

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Direct Travel’s “Flights for Heroes”

Direct Travel Blog — Direct Travel is giving away 100 pairs of airline tickets to healthcare heroes in the new Flights for Heroes initiative…Read More

Concur Plots Road Ahead with Booking Tool Rebuild

Business Travel News — SAP Concur continues to hold a dominant position in the corporate booking and expense management vertical, but the company is facing increased challenges from other players seeking to carve out market share by emphasizing user experience, customization and access to a full range of content, including NDC. Read More

This Interactive Map Tells You Which Countries Are Open for Travel

Lifehacker — If you’re curious about which countries have opened up to tourists, this interactive map put out by the International Airline Transportation Association is a great tool. Read More

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Delta Set To Suspend Flying In Select Secondary U.S. Cities

Insider Travel Report — Starting July 8, Delta will suspend service at 11 airports that it says have very low customer demand. Read More

United Airlines Asks All Passengers to Take Health Self-Assessment as Part of Check-In Process — United is the first major U.S. airline to ask all passengers to complete a health self-assessment during their check-in process. Read More

Delta's CEO Discusses Safety Measures

Delta News Hub — Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian discussed the measures the airline is taking to provide an added measure of safety for passengers and employees, as well as moving toward travel recovery in a recent appearance on "Conversations with Mike Milken" podcast.Read More

United Airlines Restores Flights at 150 U.S., Canadian Destinations in July, Add Nonstop

USA Today — In another hopeful sign for air travel, United Airlines is going to reinstate some of the flights it had suspended due to the coronavirus at 150 U.S. and Canadian destinations. Read More

Delta Air Line Suspends 5% of Domestic Service

Travel Market Report — In response to a drop in customer demand, the carrier will suspend operations to 11 U.S. airports. Read More

United Offers Additional Flexibility for Refund Requests Due to Schedule Changes — Starting June 6, eligible customers can request a refund back to the original form of payment if their itinerary was impacted by a schedule change that causes a delay of 2 or more hours or a flight cancellation where no protection is available. Read More

American Airlines to Resume More Than Half of Domestic Schedule in July

Business Travel News — American Airlines plans to restore its system-wide schedule to 40 percent of its capacity levels compared with a year prior, including operating more than half of its usual domestic schedule, for July and August. International service, meanwhile, will resume to about 20 percent of its levels a year ago. Read More

Delta Extends Seating Caps Through the Summer

Business Travel News — Delta Air Lines will maintain its capacity caps in place through Sept. 30. Read More

United Airlines to Return to 11 Cities in Asia, Europe and South America in July

The Points Guy — United Airlines will resume flying a quarter of its schedule in July as the carrier builds back its route map from the depths of its coronavirus pandemic cuts. Read More

United Airlines Resuming Asia Flights

Travel Mole — Thanks to a modest rise in demand, and a little more optimism for the speed of recovery, United is restarting service to Tokyo-Haneda, Hong Kong, Singapore and Seoul, South Korea. Read More

Air Travel is Bouncing Back ... Sort Of

CNN — Air travel is nowhere near pre-pandemic levels. But it began bouncing back in May. Read More

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U.S. Passport Services Start to Resume After ‘Unprecedented Challenge’

Travel Market Report — On Friday, Carl Risch, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, detailed what changes are in store for passport seekers as the U.S. works to safely continue passport services amid the pandemic. Read More

TSA Eyes Passenger Self-Screening at Airports

Travel Pulse — The system has been likened to self-checkout kiosks at grocery stores. 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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COVID-19 Pandemic Forces Dramatically Lower Rental Car Prices

KOMO News — With domestic air travel beginning to pick up rental car companies are counting on more reservations because their vehicles are sitting in lots with no where to go. The surplus of vehicles puts tremendous pressure on rental car companies. Translation: Good availability and lower than normal rental prices. Read More

National Car Rentals Offers New Promos to Address COVID-19 Crisis

Insider Travel Report — National Car Rental says it has recognized the need to go above and beyond over the past few months as a result of the impact the COVID-19 global health crisis. That’s why National is once again supporting its loyal customers with program adjustments and accommodations. Read More

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Why You Might Not Get Housekeeping Service During Your Next Hotel Stay

The Points Guy — As travelers begin to trickle back into hotels across the country, they’re finding an experience that’s quite different than it was before the global health crisis, with a heavy emphasis on cleanliness, sanitization and social distancing. Read More

8 Things You Need to Know About the Reopening of Hotels

Travel Pulse — With hotels in places all over the world beginning to open their doors back up, here's what guests should anticipate ahead of their next stay. Read More

Hyatt Extends Cancellation Policy Through July 2021

Business Travel News — Hyatt Hotels Corp. has updated its cancellation policy and now will allow reservations booked directly through Hyatt for stays through July 31, 2021, to be canceled at no charge up to 24 hours before the scheduled arrival. Read More

Marriott Has Reopened All China Hotels

Travel Mole — Occupancy slowly improving in China and US…Read More

Hotel Companies Publicize Detailed Plans for New Cleanliness Protocols

Northstar Meetings Group — To help thwart the spread of COVID-19, hospitality companies are beefing up hygiene plans to reassure guests, meeting participants and their own employees. Read More

California Hotels Are Opening Amid Unclear Rules

Afar — Even though the state and L.A. County are at odds about whether it’s safe and even permitted, hotels across California are reopening to leisure travelers. Read More

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States Are Reopening, But Many Still Require Travelers to Self-quarantine. Here's Where.

USA Today — These states require travelers to quarantine…Read More

Sacramento International Airport Installs PPE Vending Machines

CBS Sacramento — California's Sacramento International Airport has installed vending machines containing personal protective equipment in both of the facility's terminals. Gloves, masks and wipes are available. Read More

COVID-19 Will Curtail These 10 Coveted Travel Amenities

SF Gate — As travel demand creeps back over the next year, there will be a lot of changes when we hit the roads and skies again. One of the biggest changes will be the absence of many things travelers, especially those in business class, might have taken for granted in the pre-pandemic days. Read More

Busy Atlantic Hurricane Season Predicted For 2020; Pacific Near Normal

Insider Travel Report — June 1 marks the beginning of hurricane season, which will continue through November. Read More

5 Ways the Pandemic May Change Airports for the Better

CNBC — Flying this summer is predicted to be more tedious than in the past, but experts say the pandemic is pushing positive change at airports at breakneck speed. Read More

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IMEX America Canceled

Prevue Meetings — The news that IMEX America, due to take place at the Sands Expo from September 15 to 17, has been canceled is reverberating throughout the industry. Read More

How to Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus at Events, According to the CDC

Successful Meetings — The recommendations cover cleanliness measures for facilities, as well as critical steps to take before, during and after a meeting. Read More

Which States Are Reopening and Where Can You Hold Events?

Northstar Meetings Group — Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Ohio and Washington, D.C. transition to the next phase of reopening, as do Miami beaches and the Florida Keys, even as many cities nationwide manage widespread political protests. 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: