Adelman Travel Newsline
Large liquids now allowed in carry-on bags provided they are purchase duty-free in approved packaging
Under new rules now in effect, "Passengers traveling internationally into the United States with a connecting flight are permitted to carry liquids in excess of 100 ml in their carry-on baggage," says TSA spokesman Ross Feinstein, "provided they were purchased in duty-free shops and placed in secure, tamper-evident bags (STEBs)." The European Union has also implemented similar new rules allowing passengers to carry on liquids, aerosols and gels, again provided they are purchased and correctly packaged at airport shops. A STEB is a one-time use bag made of heavy-duty plastic with secure closures and special labeling codes. These bags, which have been approved by the International Civil Aviation Organization, are only available at certain locations such as duty-free shops. TSA authorities note liquids in sealed STEBs still need to be inspected at security checkpoints and any evidence of tampering will invalidate the bag. All other rules regarding the on-board transport of liquids remain the same. For more information on current regulations please visit http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/3-1-1-carry-ons.
SPECIAL NOTE: The TSA has temporarily banned all liquids, gels, aerosols and powders in carry-on luggage on all fights between the U.S. and Russia amid heightened concern about terrorism related to the Olympics and following a U.S. Department of Homeland Security warning to airlines sending flights to Russia that explosives could be hidden inside toothpaste tubes. Passengers will still be able to carry liquids in their checked bags.
London Tube strike update
Underground service is returning to normal on Friday after the first of two 48-hour strikes being staged by workers over the Government's plan to cut 950 jobs. The second walkout is scheduled to begin at 9:30 pm on Tuesday Feb. 11 and will run until Friday morning, Feb. 14 unless an agreement can be reached in new talks scheduled for Friday. If there is no resolution, it is again expected that only a few lines will run and at reduced levels. Over-ground and Docklands Light Rail (DLR) services are also expected to be effected. Visitors to London should also note that thousands of Metropolitan Police civilian workers are planning a strike to coincide with the next 48-hour Tube strike. Travelers can follow any disruption on the BBC London travel Twitter feed @BBC Travel Alert.
Hotel company releases more information on credit card data breach
White Lodging, which operates Marriott, Hilton, Radisson and Starwood hotel franchises, released additional details in its investigation of a suspected data breach involving its point of sales systems. The suspected breach occurred between March 20 and Dec. 16, 2013 at food and beverage outlets including restaurants and lounges at 14 properties. "Guests who used a debit card to pay their bills at the affected hotels during the nine month period might have had their information compromised and are thus encouraged to review their statements from that time period," company officials note. "Customers who did not use their credit card at these outlets, and who purchased to their room account at these outlets were not affected." The affected properties include: Marriott's Austin South, Boulder CO., Denver South, Indianapolis Downtown, Louisville Downtown, Midway Chicago, and Richmond Downtown; Renaissance's Plantation FL. and Flatiron Broomfield CO.; Holiday Inn's Austin Northwest and Midway Chicago; Radisson Star Plaza Merrillville, IN.; Sheraton Bayfront Erie, PA.; Westin Austin at the Domain.
Business class passengers will soon enjoy Air France's new lie-flat seats when traveling on equipped Boeing 777 aircraft. The new seats feature a pod-like design and will be arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration. Each seat includes padded headboards, adjustable soft leather headrests, electrical outlets and USB ports, noise-reduction headphones and 16" touch screens that passengers can use to access over 1,000 hours of in-flight entertainment.
On Feb. 19 Alaska will move from Terminal E to Terminal D at the Philadelphia airport. The carrier also unveiled its new cabin renovations. Upgraded aircraft will feature new slimmer, space saving seats. Alaska will also provide both 110-volt and USB power at every seat. Upgrades should be finished by the end of the year.
British Airways, Finnair and JAL
A new joint venture between British Airways, Finnair and JAL will officially begin April 1. The partners will coordinate schedules and fares on flights between Europe and Japan. Tickets for the joint venture flights are now available for purchase.
Delta Air Lines
New dining options and services will be available at nine Delta Sky Clubs in Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Detroit, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, New York (LaGuardia), Raleigh-Durham and Seattle. Guests can choose from new options such as pancakes, upgraded bagels, soups and sandwiches, hors d'oeuvres, antipasti, desserts, along with a wider variety of snacks. Delta will also offer new services such as shoe shines, manicures and chair massages.
JetBlue and Southwest
As part of the slot divestiture required for the American/US Airways merger, JetBlue and Southwest will be able to offer new service from Reagan Washington National Airport. JetBlue was awarded 24 slots, which it will use to establish new routes including service to Jacksonville, Fla. and Charleston S.C. Southwest was awarded 54 slots. The carrier said it will announce its new flight schedules and fares within the next two months for flights starting later in the year.
United will de-hub Cleveland as it cuts 60 percent of its flights in/out of the airport. Cleveland had been a hub for Continental prior to its merger with United. The flight reductions will come in stages beginning April 1, with all changes to be complete by the end of June. United has also suspended its code-sharing agreement with India's Jet Airways. The move comes after U.S. regulators cut India's aviation safety rating. American Airlines also withdrew its booking code from India's Jet Airways flights.
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
As Dallas/Fort Worth continues to see a significant increase in international traffic, the airport is adding top-notch services and amenities as it markets itself as one of four global super hubs in the United States. From parking to improved public spaces the airport expects that passengers will notice the upgrades. Some of the new features include the Centurion Lounge, which offers gourmet buffets and complimentary spa services and a new hi-tech baggage system. Terminal D offers rent-by-the-hour Minute Suites, a walking path that is marked with a series of floor-art medallions and a screened-off yoga area. Even pets are enjoying new amenities with a Paradise 4 Paws, which bills itself as a premier resort for dogs and cats.
Los Angeles International and Phoenix Sky Harbor
The TSA said that it will soon open PreCheck enrollment centers at the Los Angeles and Phoenix airports. The TSA's goal is to have more than 300 PreCheck application sites across the country.
Construction on Terminal 2, also called the Queen's Terminal, is finished and will be open to passenger traffic starting June 4. Once fully operational, it will serve as a hub for Star Alliance flights. To ease the transition, airlines will be phased into the new terminal over a span of six months starting with United Airlines, followed by Air Canada, ANA and Air China later in the month.
Newark Liberty International Airport
Port Authority officials said it will move ahead with plans to extend its PATH train system to the rail station at Newark Liberty. Currently PATH service is available from multiple points in Manhattan to both Hoboken and Newark, but there is no direct rail link to the airport.
Newark is the home of a new United Airlines Global Services reception lobby for the carrier's top frequent flyers. Eligible travelers can access the new area via the Premier Access entry located at Door 4 of the Terminal C mid-level departure area.
San Francisco International Airport
Delays are expected this spring and summer as runway construction gets underway. Two of the airport's four runways will be closed from mid-May through September. The construction project is part of a Federal Aviation Administration safety mandate, which is requiring that collapsible pavement be installed to help stop runaway planes from careening off the tarmac. Arriving flights will likely be most affected by the construction.
Travelers departing from Boarding Area E will enjoy upgraded amenities including an interactive information and entertainment area, new yoga room, kids area and free Wi-Fi. Renovations are also underway at Terminal 3, which will include a United Global Services reception area that is expected to open by mid-May.
Technology continues to drive hotel offerings
Currently offered by a smattering of brands and individual hotels, mobile check-in is expected to become more main-stream in 2014. Marriott for example plans to implement mobile-check in at all 500 of its hotels globally for its Rewards members by June. Hyatt plans on growing its mobile check-in offerings, while even smaller hotel companies such as Europe's Jurys Inn are getting into the game with new mobile check-in tests underway.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts is not only working to expand its mobile check-in product, but is also testing a new hi-tech alternative to the traditional hotel room key. Currently, two properties in the Aloft brand will allow guests to bypass the front desk and enter rooms by using their smartphone. Customers using the service will receive a message through the hotel app, which then functions as a virtual room key. Starwood hopes to have Virtual Key in place at all Aloft and W Hotels by the end of next year.
Wi-Fi access also continues to be an area of change at hotels. Some hoteliers such as Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts are extending free Wi-Fi access to its transfer cars. Meanwhile, other companies such as Hilton are looking to market tiered bandwidth programs. Hilton has begun testing a premium Internet access option offering faster download and upload speeds that will appeal to guests who want to stream high definition media. The faster service, which is being tested at Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites, will come with a fee. However, hotel officials note that basic Wi-Fi service will still be offered free of charge at most locations.
AA/US Integration Updates
Better qualifiers lead to better online search results
Can't find what you are looking for when requesting availability through your online booking tool?
When travelers either over- or under-qualify their request entries, the search results may not yield what is actually being sought. For example, when looking for a hotel, don't use the property's name. It may not be listed exactly how you have entered it and thus won't show up in the search results. Instead, use a more general parameter such as a zip code so more options are returned. To get better results when requesting air availability, enter a departure time range instead of just indicating morning or afternoon. By using better qualifiers, you will achieve better results.
Extreme January weather led to the cancellation of nearly 50,000 US Flights; Forecasts don?t look much better for February
In the span of four weeks, the United States has been hit with very harsh winter weather conditions including a Nor-Easter, two polar vortexes, record cold temperatures and a lot of snow in many areas not accustom to dealing with it. These conditions forced airlines to cancel approximately 50,000 flights, while another 300,000 were delayed, affecting 30 million passengers and costing hundreds of millions of dollars. According to masFlight, a data and software company specializing in airline operation, the number of disruptions that travelers felt is indeed unusually high compared to typical January conditions. February is not off to a good start either as more than 8,000 flights have been cancelled and another 15,400 have been delayed so far this week according to FlightStats.com. Weather forecasters are predicting yet another strong winter storm for this coming weekend.
So far this year, Adelman has experienced an unusually high call volume. This January, the Emergency Services team alone has seen a 63 percent increase in call volume compared to January 2013. When extreme travel conditions occur, Adelman Travel makes every effort to significantly increase our agent staffing in order to be able to assist our customers who may be stranded and to mitigate disruptions for others impacted by these events. In fact, during the past month, it was not uncommon for Adelman to have quadrupled the travel staff on duty during the various weather related situations compared to normal staffing levels. Unfortunately, due to the high influx of call volume and significantly longer than usual wait times while our staff contacted the airlines to rebook flights for our impacted travelers, our customers may still have experienced longer than normal hold times.
In addition to contacting Adelman during travel emergencies, please find below some tips that may help when weather or other situations disrupt your travel plans.
Non-Emergency Travel: If your travel is not urgent in nature or you are not scheduled to travel within 72 hours, it is highly recommended that you call back to your travel desk during normal business hours or attempt to use your online booking tool. This will free you from experiencing the extended hold times and will better allow our Emergency Services team to handle calls from stranded travelers.
Advice for handling weather-related flight delays and cancellations
If you're stranded, act quickly and multitask. Get Adelman on the phone and get in the airline ticketing line (if you're already at the airport). With thousands of flights delayed or canceled, competition will be fierce for seats and getting serviced as quickly as possible by Adelman or the airline is the ultimate goal.
Be sure your airline has your contact information. If your email address/phone number where you can be reached during the current weather event were not provided at the time of booking, go online and add it.
Have a contingency budget authorized. Determine what costs are you able to incur in order to rebook on another carrier should you be unable to travel using the airline on which you have been ticketed? Keep in mind you can always get a refund of your ticket if your flight was canceled. Your Adelman travel consultant is then able to search for other options on other airlines and reissue a new ticket, often more quickly than contacting a carrier to re-accommodate your travel. This is important as seats will be at a premium and could disappear before one can get through to the airline.
Check early, check often. If you do find that alternate flights are all sold out, keep checking. When the weather gets bad, there are so many flights canceled and delayed that many travelers end up missing their connections and therefore leave seats empty.
Sign up for alerts and follow Adelman, your airline and airport on social media. If you haven?t done so already, sign up for airline alerts to get flight updates emailed to your smartphone. Also, Adelman along with many airlines and airports post the speediest updates to their Twitter feeds and Facebook. Adelman Twitter feeds can be at @adelmanTRAVEL and @adelmanKnows. Adelman?s Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/adelmantravel.
Charge your devices. Charge up before you head out, and keep handy a car charger and a power pack or a few battery chargers for your portable electronic devices.
Visit our Web site at www.adelmantravel.com for more travel information, resources and unique services including corporate travel management and vacations.
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