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May 4, 2021

In this edition of the Direct Travel News Brief… REAL ID full enforcement date, new airline flight schedules, United returns to JFK, TSA extends mask mandate, re-opening New York City, tips for staying connected in a virtual world, traveler tips, Savannah Convention Center expansion, smart planning for hybrid meeting experiences and more! 

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DHS Announces Extension of REAL ID Full Enforcement Deadline

Department of Homeland Security — DHS is extending the REAL ID full enforcement date by 19 months, from October 1, 2021 to May 3, 2023, due to circumstances resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Read More

Nearly Half of Business Travelers Ready to Fly Domestically

Business Travel News — More than half of business travelers from North America and the Asia-Pacific region would be comfortable flying domestically now amid the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new survey, but far fewer business travelers from Europe, the Middle East and Africa would say the same. Read More

Europe Unveils Plans to Open to Vaccinated Americans

Afar Magazine — The wait is over: American travelers who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 may soon enter the European Union, the head of the European Commission said. Read More

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Delta Air Lines Becomes First Carrier to Resume Service to Greece

Travel Market Report — Delta will be the first airline to resume service to Athens with daily flights from New York-JFK and Atlanta. Read More

Delta’s New Fast, Reliable Wi-Fi Could be a Game Changer

Insider Travel Report — Delta will outfit nearly all of its domestic mainline fleet with best-in-class high-speed Wi-Fi by the end of 2022. Read More

United Adds Over 480 Daily Flights to U.S. June Schedule as Air Service Returns from Pandemic

Insider Travel Report — United Airlines said in June it will fly its largest schedule since before the pandemic to meet growing demand for summer travel. Read More

United Returns to New York’s JFK Airport

Afar Magazine — After a five-year hiatus, the airline has started offering service to San Francisco and Los Angeles from the New York hub again. Read More

All U.S. Airlines Will Resume Flights to Costa Rica

Wheels Up Network — All U.S.-based airlines that served Costa Rica before the pandemic have resumed service to the Central American country or have plans to do so in the near future. Read More

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TSA Hits New COVID-19 Pandemic Air Travel Record

Travel Market Report — The TSA has not seen a day of fewer than one million passengers since March 10. Read More

TSA Extends Mask Mandate Aboard Flights Through Summer as Travel Increases

NPR — The federal mask mandate, which was set to expire on May 11, will remain in effect through Sept. 13, according to updated guidance issued by the Transportation Security Administration on Friday. 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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Lyft Agrees to Sell Self-Driving Car Division

Business Travel News — Lyft has agreed to sell its Level 5 self-driving car division to a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corp. for about $550 million in cash, the company announced this week. Read More

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Sustainable Travel Bucket List: 10 of the Best Eco-conscious Hiltons Around the World — Whether you’re an eco-friendly traveler or just looking to stay at a unique property that is sustainable and making a positive impact in their local community, consider these 10 properties on your travel bucket list. Read More

Homewood Suites by Hilton Unveils New Prototype

Business Travel News — Extended-stay brand Homewood Suites by Hilton this week unveiled a new brand refresh and prototype design, about two years after it updated its public spaces and suite interiors, according to Hilton Worldwide. Read More

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New York City Set to Fully Reopen July 1

Afar Magazine — If the vaccine rollout continues apace, the city could return to normalcy this summer—here's what that means. Read More

The Most Helpful Translation Apps for Travelers

Afar Magazine — With these free iPhone and Android apps, you can easily learn how to say “please” and “thank you” in any language necessary. Read More

How to Avoid Getting Sick on an Airplane

Afar Magazine — When traveling by plane, there are some ways to minimize the spread of germs. Read More

Sanitization Remains a Key Concern for Travelers

Travel Pulse — Vioguard, a leader in UV-C technologies for infection control, has just released the results of a consumer survey aimed at better understanding the importance of elevated sanitization protocols in the minds of travelers, especially as post-pandemic travel begins to open up. Read More

CDC Further Relaxes Mask Guidance for Vaccinated People

Afar Magazine — Just in time for summer, masks are no longer required for the vaccinated when in an uncrowded environment outside. Read More

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Staying Connected in a Virtual World

Creative Group — In a recent study, 1/3 of employed people reported feeling disconnected from their coworkers during COVID-19. Here are Creative Group’s tips for staying connected in a virtual world. Read More

Smart Planning for Hybrid Experiences

Creative Group — As the world opens up to face-to-face events again, it will be critical to determine where live, virtual, and now hybrid events fit within your portfolio. Here are eight Key Considerations of Smart Planning for Hybrid Experiences. Read More

How to Address Attendee Concerns

Northstar Meetings Group — Creative Group’s very own Melissa Van Dyke, VP, Design and Insights, breaks down the behavioral science behind how COVID-19 impacts the travel and event experience in this latest Northstar Meetings Group article. Read More

How to Plan for a Safe In-Person Event in 2021

Successful Meetings — Top tips for reducing contagion and keeping attendees safe at face-to-face meetings. Read More

Gratitude: Not Just for Thanksgiving Anymore

Creative Group — After the darkness that defined much of 2020… you may be feeling a little worn out. But just like after every night, a new day eventually dawns. Here’s why Creative Group believes weaving gratitude practices into your next event is so important. Read More

Officials Break Ground on $271 Million Savannah Convention Center Expansion

Northstar Meetings Group — The project will add a 40,000-square-foot ballroom and 100,000 square feet of exhibit space to the Georgia events venue. 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: