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September 8, 2020

In this edition of the Travel News Brief: CDC lifts traveler quarantine, airlines eliminate change fee, airline policy updates, new flight schedules and routes, Virgin Atlantic provides COVID-19 Cover insurance, airports with COVID-19 testing facilities, TSA’s touchless system, update to Uber mask policy, Enterprise acquires Canada’s Discount Car and Truck Rentals, Eurostar to launch Amsterdam to London route, changes at Nashville’s airport, Hawaii requires new screening process and more!

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How to Get the Most Out of Attending Virtual Events

It’s the annual convention you look forward to attending every year, but this time, the event destination is wherever you plug in your computer.

Providing a temporary solution to the travel restrictions posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual and hybrid events have exploded in popularity. While travel is slowly resuming, the advanced planning required for large-scale events means in-person conventions and tradeshows may take longer to return. According to PCMA’s COVID-19 survey, 87 percent of meeting planners have already cancelled events due to the pandemic, and approximately 70 percent anticipate taking those events online. Read More

Tips for Planning a Touchless Travel Experience

What measures are your travelers taking to protect themselves on the road?

From face masks to hand sanitizers, personal protection equipment (PPE) is becoming second nature to today’s road warriors. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a shift in how travel buyers and suppliers prioritize the health of employees on-the-go, and the convergence of safety and technology is creating a secondary form of PPE-like tools for the digital sphere. Read More

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CDC Lifts Quarantine

Recommend Magazine — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has very quietly lifted its 14-day quarantine for travelers. Read More

COVID-19 in September: Which US States Have Travel Restrictions?

Travel Pulse — Plenty of states are not presently imposing restrictions on out-of-state travelers. Read More

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The Major U.S. Airlines Have All Ditched Their Change Fees—for Good

Afar — Travelers can now book a bit further in advance, knowing that if circumstances change they can adjust their flight plans in response. Read More

Delta to Block Middle Seats for the Rest of the Year

Business Travel News — Delta is extending its policy of blocking middle seats through at least Jan. 6, though might ease some of its other capacity restrictions before then, the carrier announced. Read More

American Airlines Shuts Down Service to 15 US Cities

Business Traveler — Nine of the cities have no other air service, but the carrier says the flights could return if the CARES Act is renewed. Read More

United Makes Basic Economy Slightly Less Restrictive

The Points Guy — Basic economy customers are able to purchase an Economy Plus seat at check-in; those who’d like a little extra legroom can pay for the privilege 24 hours before their flight. Read More

United Bringing Air Service Back to Cheyenne, WY

Smart Brief — United Express flights between Cheyenne, Wyo., and Denver are to resume Nov. 11, giving the Wyoming capital its first air service since April. Read More

Delta Doubles Cabin Cleaners in 'Pit Stop' Revamp, Buys Kits to Test for Germs

Reuters — Delta Air Lines has doubled its staffing to handle revamped pre-flight “pit stops” for deeper cleaning and wants to ensure that tray tables and restroom door handles are germ-free with a new testing process. Read More

Alaska Airlines is Making Travel Almost Entirely Touch-free

Alaska Airlines Blog — With hygiene and safety concerns top of mind, Alaska Airlines has made it easy for your travels to be almost entirely touch-free. Read More

ExpressJet Airlines to Cease Operations by Next Month

Travel Mole — United Airlines' regional contract ends soon…Read More

Virgin Atlantic Will Provide Free COVID-19 Insurance for All Bookings

Insider Travel Report — To support customers and provide additional peace of mind, Virgin Atlantic Airways has introduced Virgin Atlantic COVID-19 Cover, which will apply to all existing and new bookings traveling from Aug. 24, 2020 until March 31, 2021. Read More

Delta to Resume Service to 11 Key Transatlantic Destinations This Fall

Frequent Business Traveler — Delta Air Lines announced it will restart non-stop service to 11 transatlantic routes this fall. These routes were suspended as travel plummeted amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Read More

American Airlines Gets FDA Approval for Disinfectant that Lasts Seven Days

Travel Market Report — The new microbial is effective for up to seven days, the longest-lasting surface disinfectant ever approved by the EPA. Read More

It’s Wheels Up as New Salt Lake City International Airport is Unveiled at Ceremony

Salt Lake City Tribune — The new Salt Lake City International Airport — described as a “cathedral to transportation” — is now cleared for takeoff, despite recent worries that the COVID-19 pandemic might delay that. Read More

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These U.S. Airports Are Getting COVID-19 Testing Facilities

Afar — Passenger testing facilities are in the works. Read More

TSA Tests Touchless System That Matches Your ID to Your Face, Avoids COVID-19 Risks

USA Today — The Transportation Security Administration is testing a system that matches your ID to your face, avoiding person-to-person contact that could spread the coronavirus. Read More

Bishop International Airport to Utilize Smart Helmets to Measure Temperatures, Facial Recognition

Click On Detroit — Authorities with Bishop International Airport in Flint, MI announced Friday it will be the first airport in the United States to utilize Smart Helmets. Read More

TSA Continues Piloting “Self-service” Checkpoint Technology

Transportation Security Administration — Effort promotes social distancing, reduces contact between officers and passengers…Read More

Miami International Airport Debuts New Scanners that Lets You Keep Electronics in Bags

Travel Market Report — New CT scanners have been installed at six TSA checkpoints at Miami International, allowing passengers traveling through those lanes to leave laptops and other electronic devices in their carry-on bags. 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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Masks Required: Uber Will Soon Require Selfies for Some Riders with an Expansion of a Mask Verification Feature

USA Today — You may soon need to take a selfie as proof you are wearing a mask before your next Uber ride. Read More

Enterprise Acquires Canadian Rental Provider

Business Travel News — Enterprise Holdings' Canadian subsidiary has completed the acquisition of Canadian car and truck rental provider Discount Car and Truck Rentals. Read More

Amtrak Partners with Lysol Maker to Boost Disinfection Protocols

Business Travel News — Amtrak is partnering with Lysol manufacturer RB to improve its disinfection protocols for its trains, stations and lounges. Read More

Eurostar to Launch Direct Amsterdam to London Route in October

The Guardian — The high-speed rail service had been due to start at the end of April but was delayed following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Read More

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What to Look for in a Hotel During COVID-19

Afar — Yes, it can be safe to stay in hotels—but it’s all about understanding your tolerance for risk and being prepared for the fact that, well, everything is different. Read More

IHG Enhances Meeting Distancing, Cleanliness Protocols

Business Travel News — InterContinental Hotels Group has enhanced its Meet with Confidence meeting-safety program, including adding elements from its IHG Way of Clean safety and cleanliness measures that were expanded in May, the company announced. Read More

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Nashville Airport to Split into 2 Terminals for Construction

AP News — The airport will operate as North and South terminals starting Tuesday, when construction will begin on an expansion of the central lobby, according to a news release. Read More

Hawaii to Require Visitors to Fill Out 'Safe Travels' Form Prior to Arrival

USA Today — The move is part of a new screening process that includes temperature checks, as well as secondary screening for visitors with symptoms…Read More

Delta is First US Airline to Put Hand Sanitizer Stations on Planes

Travel Pulse — Up to five stations being installed on aircraft…Read More

7 Ways the United Club Experience has Changed Due to the Pandemic

The Points Guy — I recently flew United Airlines and I was keen to check out how the lounge experience has changed due to the pandemic. What follows are seven impressions from my visit. Read More

JFK, LaGuardia to Get COVID-19 Testing Sites for Incoming Travelers

USA Today — New York will set up COVID-19 testing sites for incoming passengers at its two largest airports as part of the latest effort to stop travelers from bringing the coronavirus to the state. Read More

Face Mask Warning for Air Passengers

Travel Mole — Passengers who refuse to wear face masks risk being booted off flights and slapped with a heavy fine, warns airline body IATA as some airlines tighten rules for those who can't wear masks for medical reasons. Read More

Is It Safe to Fly Yet?

Prevue — We have about a 1/4300 chance of getting Covid-19 on a full two-hour flight—that is, about 1 in 4,300 passengers will pick up the virus, on average. The odds of getting the virus are about half that, 1/7,700, if airlines leave the middle seat empty. Read More

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2020 Meeting Room of the Future™

Creative Group — This powerful infographic from IACC Meetings depicts the Meeting Room of the Future™ based on information from the latest report. We investigate what it will look like meeting safely in this new atmosphere. Read More

5 Ways to Communicate in Virtual Events for the Biggest Impact

Creative Group — Communication can make or break an event, especially in a virtual environment. To leave the biggest impact, follow these five tips. 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: