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March 10, 2020

In this edition of the Travel News Brief: the latest on Coronavirus (COVID-19), airline and flight service updates, Real ID updates, Europe passport requirements, Uber surcharges in London, high-speed rail in Texas, self-driving vehicles, the introduction of LXR Hotels & Resorts, Preferred Hotels plans 20 hotel openings this year, tricks for sleeping better in flight, how to disinfect your plane seat, preventing the spread of Coronavirus at large events, 5 ways travel managers can increase program compliance, travel smart, stay informed: precautionary tips for coronavirus and more!

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5 Ways Travel Managers Can Increase Program Compliance

The cornerstone of any robust travel program is a strong corporate travel policy. Yet without the proper building blocks to raise compliance among your travelers, even the most comprehensive program may deliver benefits and cost savings that fall short of expectations. Read More

Travel Smart, Stay Informed: Precautionary Tips for Coronavirus

The safety and health of travelers is at the forefront of priorities for many companies and their travel partners. COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, is the latest concern affecting employee health and wellness on the road. What should you tell your travelers so they remain safe against coronavirus? Read More

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Updated Coronavirus Factsheet: What Travelers Need to Know About COVID-19

Travel Market Report — Here are the facts about the coronavirus, including travel insurance implications, State Department travel warnings, reactions from cruise lines and airlines, and more. Read More

Suppliers Issue New Cancellation, Change Policies Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) Impact

Travel Market Report — Here's what travel suppliers, including cruise lines, airlines, and tour operators, have changed their fine print to help accomodate travelers impacted by the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Read More

CDC Updates Airline Coronavirus Guidance for Aircraft Cleaning, Dealing with Ill Passengers

USA Today — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated guidance for airlines and aircraft crew in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, including adding a section on how to clean aircraft. Read More

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United Airlines to Test New Gate Layout at O'Hare

Chicago Business Journal — United Airlines will introduce a new departure gate configuration and concourse to passengers at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport this month to improve the customer experience. Read More

U.S. Carriers Deepen Asia Service Suspensions, Waive More Change Fees

Business Travel News — Delta Air Lines and American Airlines each have further cut service to Asia, and United Airlines has begun waiving change fees against weaker demand related to the COVID-19 outbreak. United also said that it would reduce its international schedule in April by 20 percent and its schedule across the United States and Canada by 10 percent. Read More

Delta and Latam Expand Partnership to Include Frequent-Flyer Benefits

Frequent Business Traveler — Delta Air Lines and Latam Airlines Group will offer frequent flyers the opportunity to earn and redeem miles on both airlines and extend reciprocal benefits to elite members. Read More

United, American Airlines Join Delta in Offering Fee Waivers to Italy

Travel Market Report — The airlines are waiving change and cancellation fees for flights to Italy in response to the coronavirus outbreak there. Read More

Delta Tests New Passenger Boarding Process in Atlanta

MSN — Delta Air Lines is testing a new boarding system at its Atlanta hub that meters the number of passengers lining up at one time, effectively breaking them into more groups. Read More

United Becomes Latest Airline to Raise Bag Fees

Houston Business Journal — Joining what could be a trend, United Airlines will increase the charge for checked bags by $5 starting this month. Read More

American Airlines Partners with Alaska Airlines to Expand West Coast Flights

Travel Market Report — American Airlines announced it would be expanding its partnership with Alaska Airlines to provide more options for West Coast travelers. Read More

Delta, Latam to Offer Loyalty Reciprocity, Expand Codeshares

Business Travel News — Latam Airlines and Delta Air Lines for flights beginning April 1 will enable reciprocal frequent-flyer benefits, the carriers announced. Read More

United Airlines Enters Codeshare with Indian Carrier, Vistara

Travel Market Report — United Airlines has entered into a codeshare agreement with Vistara, the full-service Indian airline, to expand travel options for customers. Read More

American, Qatar Begin Mending Fences with Codeshare Agreement

Business Travel News — American Airlines and Qatar Airways plan to begin codesharing within the next month, a sign of thawing of the past few years' frosty relationship between the two carriers. Pending government approvals, American will put its code on Qatar Airways' nonstop and connecting flights between Doha and the United States. Read More

British Airways Announces Codeshare with Royal Air Maroc

Travel Market Report — British Airways has announced that it has entered a codeshare agreement with Royal Air Maroc, one of the leading airlines in Africa, which will open up new routes across Morocco, including Casablanca, and will provide more flexibility for customers traveling between London Heathrow and Marrakesh. Read More

DOT Awarding Infrastructure Grants to More Than 250 Airports

Travel Pulse — The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has allocated $520.5 million to airports around the country for infrastructure improvements. Read More

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TSA PreCheck Could Serve as a Real ID Stand-In

Afar — Starting this October, TSA will require all travelers to present a Real ID. But this could be an easier alternative. Read More

Millions of Americans Still Aren't Ready for New Real ID

Travel Pulse — New data from a travel organization shows as many as 182 million Americans still do not meet Real ID requirements as the October 1 deadline looms. Read More

DHS Aims to Speed up REAL ID Application Process with E-Docs

Travel Market Report — Americans will now be able to submit documents through a secure online process before their in-person DMV visit for authentication and verification. Read More

Europe Passport Requirements: What You Need to Know Before Travel

Smarter Travel — Make sure your passport is up to date before heading out to European this year. Read More

Global Entry Starts Rejecting New York Residents, DHS Says Refunds on the Way

Afar — The rejections come after the Department of Homeland Security announced the new policy earlier this month. 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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Uber Has Been Adding Surcharges in London to Increase Electric Vehicle Adoption

Business Travel News — Uber since April 2019 has been adding a per-mile surcharge of 15 pence to rides in London in an effort to speed up electric vehicle adoption in the city. Read More

High-Speed Rail Service Between Dallas and Houston Moves a Step Closer

Business Traveller — It’s been discussed for many years. Now it would seem high-speed rail between Dallas and Houston has moved a step closer. Read More

ANA to Test Self-Driving Vehicles at Narita Airport

Business Traveller — All Nippon Airways (ANA) has partnered with Japanese company ZMP to test self-driving vehicles at Tokyo Narita International Airport from February 27 to February 28. Read More

Amtrak Begins High-Speed Testing for New Acela Trainset

Travel Market Report — Amtrak has begun high-speed testing for the first of its new Acela trainsets this week, in preparation for the introduction of 28 new trainsets to the company’s fleet. Read More

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Hilton Coming to Las Vegas with $4.3 Billion Multi-Brand Resort

Travel Market Report — The partnership will incorporate the Hilton Hotels & Resorts, LXR Hotels & Resorts, and Conrad Hotels & Resorts brands into a US$4.3 billion, integrated resort experience. Read More

Hilton Adds New Brand in Lifestyle Space

Travel Market Report — Targeting a more upscale crowd, the new offering has been described as an “approachable lifestyle brand” serving the “modern achiever.” Read More

Four Seasons Hotels Tops Forbes Travel Guides with the Most Five-Star Hotels

Travel Market Report — This year’s highly coveted Forbes Travel Guide has been released, and once again, Four Seasons has received the most Five-Star ratings awarded to a hotel brand in a single year. Read More

Preferred Hotels Plans 20 Hotel Openings This Year

Travel Market Report — From glitzy West Hollywood to the undiscovered beaches of Tuscany to Mumbai’s bustling city, these independent properties uniquely feature their local cultures. Read More

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13 Tricks for Sleeping Better on Planes

Smarter Travel — Sleeping on planes is nearly impossible—but these tips can help. Read More

How Safe Are Airports and Airplanes During an Outbreak?

Afar — It’s less risky than you may think, especially if you take some basic precautions. Read More

6 Things Not to Wear Through Airport Security

Smarter Travel — Avoid these shoes, accessories, and clothes for a smoother trip through security. Read More

How to Disinfect Your Plane Seat During Flu Season

Smarter Travel — There's an easy way to keep your airplane seat from becoming a petri dish of squirming bacteria. Read More

American Airlines Testing Google Language Interpreter Software at O'Hare Airport

Chicago Business Journal — American Airlines employees in the carrier’s Terminal 3 passenger lounges at O’Hare Airport have begun testing new Google Assistant language interpreter software. Read More

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

Successful Meetings — New guidelines from the CDC outline critical steps to take before, during and after a meeting. Read More

SITE Canada Recognizes Creative Group Employees

Creative Group — SITE Canada presented Creative Group’s Diane Alexander with the President’s Award and Joanne Keating with the Moira Hearn Memorial Award at SITE Canada AGM 2020 in Toronto. Read More

Managing The Swells Of Change

Creative Group — Unforeseen circumstances required a change to an incentive trip. See how we quickly sailed into high gear with a group of 1,000 to change activities and transport them without any hiccups along the way. Read More

Switzerland Bans Large Events Over Coronavirus Fears

Business Travel News — Switzerland's government on Friday banned all public and private events involving more than 1,000 people in a bid to stem the spread of the coronavirus. The ban will run until March 15. Read More

3 Ways to Make Your Meetings More Productive

Successful Meetings — 3 ways high-performance organizations make meetings effective. Read More

How to Get Attendees to Stay Until the Last Day

Successful Meetings — Four tips to keep conference seats filled through the closing keynote. 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: