The spread of Covid-19 drops but airlines extend modified scheduling
According to China’s National Health Commission, with the exception of Hubei Province, the number of new confirmed cases of Covid-19 has dropped 14 days in a row. (The World Health Organization assigned Covid-19 as the official name for the strain of Coronavirus that first started transmitting to humans in Wuhan, China back in December of 2019.) Despite the somewhat promising news the U.S. State Department Travel Advice for China remains at Level 4: Do Not Travel. In addition, several airlines have announced further cancelations and schedule modifications some of which extend into May. Some airlines have temporarily closed their airport lounges or have altered their in-flight amenities such as removing pillows, blankets and magazines, or have even suspended meal service as precautionary moves to help reduce the possible spread of the virus. Many cruise lines that offer itineraries across Asia are working to reroute their ships. Other travel providers continue to modify their offerings and are offering flexible rebooking policies. For a list of best practices in regard to Covid-19 and other unexpected situations please see our Featured Article in this week’s News Line.
American/Alaska reverse course with new major partnership plans
In a surprise move, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines unveiled plans for a new major partnership. This announcement represents a complete reversal in strategy as the two long-time partners were set to cut ties in March. Under the new plan, the two carriers will expand their existing code share operations to include international routes from Los Angeles and Seattle. Members in Alaska Mileage Plus and American Advantage will enjoy reciprocal loyalty benefits and lounge members will be given access to each carrier’s lounges in the U.S. In addition, Alaska said it would join the oneworld® global airline alliance this summer.
American Airlines officials hinted that the move was part of the carrier’s plan to reassert its dominance across the West Coast in response to Delta’s recent growth in the area. American also revealed plans to launch new service from Seattle to Bangalore, India in October and to London Heathrow in March of 2021.