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May 19, 2020

In this edition of the Travel News Brief: Dave Hilfman Joins Direct Travel Board of Directors, the “new normal,” regional airlines are vulnerable, Delta consolidation, traveler temperature checks and face mask requirements, passport services delayed, Enterprise launches clean pledge, ground transport companies require face masks, hotel in Florida reopen, hotel company updates and cleanliness programs, and more!

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The 4 S’s Critical to Resuming Business Travel

On a recent call, one of Direct Travel’s preferred partners shared the following staggering piece of internal news: As a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic, they are sending out what amounts to nearly a year’s worth of information every single day.

Even as restrictions in some areas ease, the travel buyer’s need to stay informed continues to grow. From temporary hotel closures and subsequent re-openings to airline route modifications and waiver policy changes, travel suppliers are pressed to get updates out, and travel buyers are equally challenged to keep up with the spread of new information. Read More

Q&A: Tracking the Long-Term Impact of Unused Tickets

As countries begin the process of safely easing travel restrictions, experts continue to theorize how long the spread of COVID-19 will last and when business travel will fully resume. While those predictions are still forming, the pandemic has led to at least one measurable travel priority for both the immediate now and the future: unused tickets.

Even as other areas of travel remain in flux, the conversation surrounding unused tickets has less to do with future uncertainties and more to do with how present challenges will shape the next two years of travel and beyond. To tackle the logistics behind how Travel Management Companies (TMCs) are managing an increasingly complex pool of waivers and vouchers, we’ve compiled a Q&A below with Direct Travel’s Executive Vice President of Customer Experience, Christine Sikes. Read More

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Industry Veteran Dave Hilfman Joins Direct Travel Board of Directors

Globe News Wire — Direct Travel has appointed industry expert Dave Hilfman to its board of directors effective May 1, 2020. Read More

World Travel and Tourism Council on What the ‘New Normal’ Will Look Like

Travel Market Report — 'A quick and effective restart of travel will only happen if governments around the world agree to a common set of health protocols,' according to the WTTC. Read More

Survey: Travelers are Becoming More Optimistic About Travel Outlook

Travel Market Report — About six weeks into the global travel shutdown, U.S. travelers are starting to become more optimistic for taking a vacation over the next six months. Read More

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How Coronavirus is Shuttering Small US Airlines

USA Today — Regional airlines, which serve smaller communities that are less profitable to airlines than larger cities, were vulnerable before coronavirus. Read More

Delta Consolidates Operations in Major U.S. Metro Areas

Business Travel News — Delta Air Lines is suspending service at 10 U.S. airports as it consolidates operations in major markets until at least September. Read More

United Will Allow Travelers to Rebook Off Crowded Flights

Business Travel News — Next week, United Airlines will begin allowing passengers on full or nearly full flights to rebook or claim a travel credit if they prefer not to sit on a crowded plane. United's move follows passenger photos widely shared on social media last weekend showing a full flight. Read More

Delta, Latam Sign Joint Venture Agreement

Business Travel News — Delta Air Lines and Latam are moving forward with their partnership plans, having signed a trans-American joint venture agreement that will combine the carriers' networks between North and South America, pending regulatory approval. Read More

Delta, American, United Allow Free Name Changes on Corporate Tickets

Business Travel News — Delta Air Lines and American Airlines each have introduced free name change policies for corporate customers. Read More

Delta Air Thins Out Cabins Further, Going Beyond the Middle Seat

Bloomberg — Delta Air Lines Inc. is taking social distancing beyond keeping some middle seats off limits, saying it will cap sales at 50% in first class and at 60% in economy sections. Read More

Air Canada Will Require Passenger Temperature Checks Before Boarding Any Flights

Travel Market Report — Air Canada announced it will be requiring temperature checks of all passengers before they are allowed to board a flight as part of a new program in response to COVID-19, becoming the first North American airline to do so. Read More

Spirit, Hawaiian Airlines Latest to Require Face Masks During Flights

TravelPulse — In addition, the discount airline revealed that all customer-facing employees also would be required to wear face coverings… Read More

Flying During Coronavirus: How Airlines Are Changing Their In-Flight Rules

Conde Nast Traveler — The first step: making fliers feeling safe in the confined space of an airplane with new onboard regulations. Read More

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You Can Expect “Several Months” of Delays for U.S. Passport Services

Afar — In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. State Department is focusing in-person passport services on those who need a passport for a life-or-death emergency for immediate international travel within 72 hours. Read More

US-Canada Border Restrictions Set to be Extended Again

Travel Mole — Tourism ban likely to last until late June… Read More

U.K. to Impose a 14-Day Coronavirus Quarantine on Travelers

Afar — Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to reopen the country’s hospitality industry by July, but travelers from abroad will be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Read More

TSA to Require Employees to Wear Masks at U.S. Airport Checkpoints

Reuters — The agency is also likely to encourage passengers to wear face coverings during screening, but not mandate the practice… Read More

TSA Could Check for Fever as Part of Future Airport Screening

Travel Pulse — An airline trade group has approached the Transportation Security Administration regarding the feasibility of checking passenger temperature during security screenings. No decision regarding health screenings has been finalized, TSA said. 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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Enterprise Holdings launches new 'Complete Clean Pledge'

Travel Pulse — To promote peace of mind, Enterprise is expanding and relaunching its cleaning protocols, training up its employees to perform new and more comprehensive sanitization procedures, both for their own protection and in the interest of customer service and safety. Read More

Lyft's New Health Protocols Include Wearing Face Masks and Opening Car Windows — Here's What to Know (Video)

Travel + Leisure — As all aspects of the travel industry are rolling out new protocols to keep travelers safe amid the coronavirus pandemic, Lyft is no exception with its new Health Safety Program. Read More

Amtrak to Require Facial Coverings for Passengers

Business Travel News — Amtrak will require passengers to wear facial coverings in stations, trains and buses beginning May 11. Read More

Uber Will Soon Require Drivers and Riders to Wear Face Coverings in the US

CNN — As it anticipates a restart to its core rideshare business amid the pandemic, Uber (UBER) plans to require drivers and riders to wear face masks or face coverings when using the platform in certain countries, including the United States. Read More

Amtrak Extends Perks and Status Due To Coronavirus

Forbes — For those who ride Amtrak often enough, there’s good news — your elite status and earned benefits will be extended. Read More

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Hotels Reopen in Florida as Restrictions Ease

USA Today — While some hotels and resorts in the region never closed their doors amid the coronavirus pandemic, others that closed for more than a month have started to reopen to guests – ahead of what's usually one of their busiest holiday weekends. Read More

Omni Hotels & Resorts Launch “Stay A Part of Safety”

Omni Hotels — At Omni Hotels & Resorts, the health and safety of our guests and associates has always been, and always will be, our top priority. COVID-19 has changed every facet of our world and the way we do business. Read More

Hotel Companies Ease Loyalty Program Status, Point Expiration Policies

Business Travel News — Much as hotel companies have implemented extended cancellation and change policies in response to the coronavirus outbreak, many also have altered their loyalty program policies, at least temporarily. Read More

What Will Staying in a Hotel Look Like in the Near Future?

CNN — Goodbye, breakfast buffets and bellhop service. Hello, temperature screening and keyless check-in. While pandemic-era policies are still being developed at hotels around the globe and will no doubt vary widely, it's safe to say that guests will see big changes the next time they check in anywhere. Read More

Radisson, Red Lion Release New Cleanliness Programs

Business Travel News — Following in the footsteps of the American Hotel & Lodging Association and several hotel companies, both large and small, Radisson Hotel Group and Red Lion Hotels Corp. on Wednesday released enhanced cleanliness guidelines for their properties. Read More

Choice, Wyndham Release New Cleaning Initiatives

Business Travel News — Choice Hotels and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts each have released new cleaning initiatives and protocols. Both hotel companies are part of AHLA's Safe Stay advisory council. Read More

MGM Will Start With Just Two Las Vegas Hotels When the City Reopens

Travel Market Report — MGM also gave some positive signs for the city’s future, including an update on 2021 bookings and its group business. Read More

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Airports Require Passengers to Wear Face Masks

Smart Brief — Airports are beginning to require everyone in their facilities to wear face masks and marking off safe "social distancing" spacing. Read More

How to Disinfect Your Space on an Airplane

New York Times — Here are some tips for cleaning your area of a plane and keeping healthy on a flight. Read More

U.S. Travel Industry Partners Outline ‘The New Normal’ Guidelines

Travel Market Report — Task force of physicians and travel leaders authored health-focused travel guidance across all segments of travel. Read More