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October 20, 2020

In this edition of the Travel News Brief: Pandemic and quarantine updates, Canada reopens borders to certain travelers, new flight schedules, American and Hyatt tweak loyalty programs, Delta to continue blocking middle seat, airlines are searching for touchless technologies, hotel property updates, tips for navigating quarantine and travel bans, tips on hosting meetings or events and more!

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How Airlines Are Making Travel Safer and Easier

When was the last time you traveled on an airplane for work? For frequent business travelers, that answer has likely stretched longer than any period in recent memory. Since the pandemic first wreaked havoc on airline routes and scheduled flights in early 2020, the industry has slowly been building back with a combination of innovative technology, new sanitization policies, and careful expansion to reopening markets. Read More

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New York Now Requires Travelers from 38 States and Territories to Quarantine Upon Arrival

Frequent Business Traveler — Travelers from 38 other territories and states planning to visit New York are required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Read More

European Union Nations Set to Adopt Common Travel Rules amid COVID-19 Pandemic

USA Today — European Union countries are getting ready to adopt a common traffic light system to coordinate traveling across the 27-nation bloc, but a return to full freedom of movement in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic remains far from reach. Read More

Where Can I Travel in the U.S. Right Now? It’s Complicated.

Afar Magazine — The most up-to-date information about traveling—safely, responsibly—across the United States right now. Read More

Canada Reopens Borders to Extended Families, Couples, Students

Travel Pulse — While U.S.-Canadian border restrictions remain in effect through at least October 21, Canada’s government is working to soften the rules to accommodate certain types of travelers. Read More

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WestJet to Slash Atlantic Region Service on Nov. 2

Business Travel News — WestJet next month will cut 80 percent of its seat capacity, about 100 weekly flights, to Canada's Atlantic region, the carrier announced. Read More

American Adjusts Elite Status Requirements for 2021

Business Travel News — American Airlines' elite status requirements for its AAdvantage loyalty program will remain lower next year than pre-pandemic levels and include a head start on earning status, the carrier announced. In addition, American is counting travel in the fourth quarter of this year toward elite status next year, according to the carrier. Read More

Delta Air Lines Will Stop Blocking Middle Seats in First Half of Next Year

Travel Market Report — On Delta Air Lines’ third quarter earnings call on Tuesday, CEO Ed Bastian said that Delta is anticipating ending its policy of blocking the middle seat on flights in the first half of 2021. Read More

American Airlines Boosting Flights to the U.S. Virgin Islands

Southern Florida Caribbean News — The U.S. Virgin Islands is expecting a major increase in American Airlines flights, beginning November 2020. Read More

Alaska Airlines Nails Down Oneworld Joining Date

Simple Flying — The carrier will formally become a member of the global airline alliance from the end of March in 2021. Read More

American Airlines Shifting Beijing Flights to New Daxing Airport

Travel Mole — AA will join codeshare partner China Southern Airlines. Read More

Qatar Airways Launches San Francisco Service

Business Traveler — Four-times-weekly A350 service from Doha to SFO is set to begin Dec. 15. Read More

How Airlines Are Scrambling to Provide Passengers with Touchless Technology

PhocusWire — "Minimum viable product" has taken on a new meaning for airlines as they rush to meet the need for contactless solutions.Read More

United Airlines Adding Four Weekly Flights to China

Travel Pulse — United Airlines announced plans to start nonstop service to China four-times-weekly between San Francisco and Shanghai, starting on October 21. Read More

Delta Extends First-class Seat Blocking Through the Holidays

The Points Guy — On April 13, Delta began blocking middle seats to maximize onboard distancing. The carrier has extended the duration of its seat-blocking policy multiple times throughout the pandemic, and as of August promised more space for travelers through Jan. 6, 2021. Read More

United Plans to Increase Service on More Than 40 Routes in November

Wheels Up Network — United Airlines plans to resume service on nearly 30 international routes in November, including flights to cities in Asia, Europe, and South America. Read More

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Airports Emerge as Testbeds for New Tech During Pandemic

Government Technology — Airports have become testing sites for new technologies amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. In some places, temperature scanning technology is increasingly being used to monitor and slow the spread of the virus in real time. Read More

Peru, Bahamas and Puerto Rico Added to WTTC’s Safe Travels List

Travel Pulse — Well over 100 destinations already use the safety stamp. Read More

Carriers, Organizations to Test International Covid-19 Digital Travel Passport

Business Travel News — Switzerland-based non-profit The Commons Project Foundation and the World Economic Forum this month plan to start trialing a digital pass that certifies incoming travelers' Covid-19 test status, the organizations announced Wednesday. The trials will be conducted with Cathay Pacific and United Airlines. 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 Car Rental Extends Free Days Validity

Business Travel News — National Car Rental is extending the validity of Emerald Club Program Free Days by a year, with benefits set to expire on Dec. 31 now good through Dec. 31, 2021. Read More

Virgin’s Hyperloop Could Mean a 30-Minute New York-to-D.C. Journey

Afar Magazine — A new manufacturing and testing site in West Virginia will bring the zero-emission technology closer to commercial operations. Read More

Uber Targets Commuters as Businesses Get Back to the Office

PhocusWire — Uber is launching two new services in response to what it says is demand from companies seeking to bring employees back to their workplaces. Read More

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New York's Nearly-100-year-old Roosevelt Hotel is Shutting Down Amid COVID-19

USA Today — New York's iconic Roosevelt Hotel is saying goodbye after being a midtown Manhattan mainstay for nearly 100 years. Read More

Red Lion Hotels Transitions GuestHouse International Brand to Extended Stay

Business Travel News — In an effort to meet demand for longer-term stays, Red Lion Hotels Corp. has relaunched its GuestHouse International brand as GuestHouse Extended Stay, the company announced. The new brand will operate in the upper-economy extended-stay segment. Read More

Hilton to Offer New ‘WorkSpaces’ Work-from-Hotel Options in U.S. and U.K

Frequent Business Traveler — Hilton International announced a new work-from-hotel option that will be available in the United Kingdom and in the United States as a pilot program. Read More

Airbnb Requires All Hosts to Follow 'Enhanced Clean' Standards

Travel Mole — Host could be booted if they don't follow guidelines…Read More

Hyatt Extends Expiration of Loyalty Program Benefits

Business Travel News — Hyatt Hotels Corp. has suspended the forfeiture of World of Hyatt reward points through June 30, 2021, the company announced. Read More

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Advice for First Time Travelers Part

Transportation Security Administration (Blog — Now that you've made it to the airport, find out more about what you need to know! Read More

Expert Tips for Navigating Travel Quarantines And Travel Bans

Forbes — The quarantine rules are complicated and often confusing and many of them change weekly. But they're worth reviewing because the fines for violating them can be considerable. Read More

US Officials Looking to Open New York-London Travel with Shorter Quarantine Times as Early as the Holidays

Fox Business — Currently, American citizens traveling to the U.K. must quarantine for 14 days and are barred from traveling in the European Union. Read More

Hotels and Destinations Are Offering Free Insurance, How Will it Impact Travel?

Travel Market Report — To boost traveler confidence, a growing number of hotels and destinations have begun offering free medical insurance to guests. Read More

Risk of Coronavirus on Planes Less Than Getting Struck by Lightning, Airline Group Says

The Points Guy — Travelers concerned about contracting the coronavirus on a flight can breathe at least a small sigh of relief following new evidence that there is a very low risk of catching COVID-19 onboard an airplane. Read More

That Airport Spa? It’s a Coronavirus Testing Clinic

The New York Times — XpresSpa used to offer pedicures and chair massages at airports. Now it’s in the coronavirus testing business at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark Liberty International airport in New Jersey. 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

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Loews Hotels Introduces New Virtual Meeting Capabilities

Business Travel News — Loews Hotels launched a virtual meetings initiative. Dubbed StreamLine by Loews, the program offers two types of services for customers moving in-person meetings to fully virtual or hybrid solutions. Read More

How to Host a Safe and Sustainable In-Person Event

Successful Meetings — Six ways to make a gathering more green, while maintaining the highest levels of health and safety. Read More

Incorporating Gamification Into Virtual Events

Successful Meetings — Gamification can be used to deliver short bursts of content and make digital gatherings more engaging. Read More

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

Successful Meetings — The CDC has updated its guidance to acknowledge the possibility for airborne transmission of Covid-19, particularly in poorly ventilated, enclosed spaces. Read More

10 Tips for Zoom Meetings

Prevue Meetings — We are all inundated with virtual meetings today. Here are 10 tips to keep in mind so you appear more approachable and likable. Read More

Vegas Can Host Larger Gatherings

PreVue Meetings — Gatherings of up to 250 can now be held in Las Vegas with bigger crowds allowed if spread out in venues that can properly accommodate them. 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: