Corporate Travel Management News and Tips

Coronavirus Updates

June 3, 2020 | For Travel Managers, For Travelers

Please click here for information on the Coronavirus and travel bans.

Click here to download the travel bans report.

Please click here for information on current airline operations

 

Week of June 1, 2020

Wednesday, June 3
UA prepares to bring back international flights in July

Due to increases in demand, United will restore service to cities in Asia, Europe and South America.  Read the full story: The Points Guy 

Monday, June 1
TSA explores passenger self-screening at airports

The Transportation Security Administration is pursuing the development of technology that would allow passengers to screen themselves and avoid contact with TSA agents, similar to self-checkout at the grocery store.  Read the full story: Bloomberg Government

 

 

Week of May 25, 2020

Thursday, May 28
Airports are exploring ways to make their environments safer

Touchless technology, facial recognition, iris scanning, expanded mobile phone usage and luggage sanitizing may become standards for airports of the future.  Read the full story: CNBC

 
Wednesday, May 27
Delta to provide travelers with safety essentials

Beginning June 5, Delta Air Lines will offer complimentary care kits to travelers upon request.  Read the full story: Delta News Hub

 

Week of May 18, 2020

Thursday, May 21
TSA prepared for summer travelers with updated security procedures

In response to COVID-19, procedure changes rolling out nationwide by mid-June.  Read the press release: TSA.gov

 

Monday, May 18
U.S. travel industry releases “Travel in the New Normal” guidelines

The U.S. Travel Association submitted a detailed document to the White House and state governors detailing guidance for travel businesses to keep customers and employees safe.  Read the full story: U.S. Travel Association

Click here to read the entire “Travel in the New Normal document.

 

Week of May 11, 2020

Friday, May 15
AA offering free name changes to Business Extra accounts

Companies with active Business Extra accounts get one free name change on tickets purchased on or before May 31.  Read the full story: Business Travel News

 
Wednesday, May 13
United updates rebooking policy for full flights

To avoid placing passengers in middle seats, United will allow customers on flights that are expected to be close to full capacity to choose to rebook on a different flight or receive a travel credit. Read the full story: The Points Guy

 

Week of May 4, 2020

GBTA’s advice to postpone hotel RFP process sparks debate

Following a statement by the Global Business Travel Association endorsing postponement of the hotel RFP process until 2021, many spoke out about the flaw in this thinking and offered other perspectives. 
Read the full story: Business Travel News

 

Hotel Industry Issues Safe Stay Guidelines

On Monday, the American Hotel & Lodging Association unveiled guidelines in anticipation of a future surge in travel.  Read the full story: USA TODAY

 

U.S. Travel Association Issues Guidelines for Reopening Travel

As restrictions are beginning to ease around the country, the USTA issues guidelines to assist businesses on how to operate safely in the “new normal.”  Read the full story: Northstar Meetings Group

 

Week of April 27, 2020

 
Airlines under pressure to require passengers to wear masks

The House transportation committee is urging airlines to require all passengers and crew to adopt mask requirements.  Read the full story: Travel Weekly

 
Jet Blue institutes face mask requirement 

Beginning May 4, the airline will require all passengers to wear face masks during travel.  Read the full story: Travel Weekly

 
TSA Response to COVID-19

TSA makes adjustments at security screening checkpoints in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Read the update: TSA.gov

 

Southwest implements electrostatic cleaning and disinfecting across its fleet

Read the full story: Southwest

 

 

Airbnb launches new protocols for hosts

Following the lead of major hotel chains, Airbnb introduces new cleaning protocols and waiting periods between guest visits.  Read the full story: Business Travel News

 

Week of April 20, 2020

 

Air Canada is suspending service to the U.S. after their last scheduled flight on April 26 following an extension of border restrictions between the U.S. and Canadian governments.  The airline plans to resume flights on May 22 barring another extension of government restrictions.  Air Canada was already operating on a significantly reduced schedule with service to only 11 cities in the U.S.  Change fees for affected customers will be waived.  

 

SafeDistance technology is being introduced at multiple airports to measure the average distance between people in security lines.  Read the full story: PhocusWire

 

Marriott International plans to use electrostatic sprayers to sanitize guestrooms and public areas.  Read the full story: Travel Weekly

 

Many hotel companies are temporarily relaxing loyalty policies and extending expiration dates for use of points.  Read full story: Business Travel News

 

Week of April 13, 2020

A state-by-state list of travel restrictions

The New York Times has provided a list of the various travel rules in place in all 50 states including updates and restrictions on driving, hotels and restaurants.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/10/travel/coronavirus-us-travel-driving-restrictions.html

 

Week of April 6, 2020

In-person passport services available only for qualified emergencies

The State Department has advised they are only offering in-person service at passport agencies or centers for those with a qualified life-and-death emergency and need to travel within 72 hours. 

While some acceptance facilities are still accepting new applications, many such as libraries and some post offices are not, so it is best to call ahead.  Passport renewals can still be done by mail.  In all cases, the State Department recommends waiting until they resume normal operations as there are currently significant delays with processing passports. 

Check the State Department website for information on what qualifies as an emergency. 

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports.html

 

Week of March 30, 2020

March 31st:

LinkedIn post – https://lnkd.in/eJ3cN2q

 

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the new deadline for #REALID enforcement is October 1, 2021.

 

For now, adults boarding any federally regulated aircraft can continue to use their current driver’s licenses as usual for domestic travel and wait until 2021 to obtain a Real ID-compliant license. 

 

For more information by state, including where to obtain a REAL ID, visit www.dhs.gov/real-id

 

 

Week of March 23, 2020

March 24th:

Real ID deadline postponed

To further assist in social distancing efforts, President Trump has delayed the deadline for U.S. citizens to obtain a Real ID.  Travelers were initially required to have a Real ID-compliant form of identification by October 1, 2020, in order to board flights in the U.S.  A new date has not been announced.

Sources:

https://www.travelweekly.com/Travel-News/Government/Real-ID-rollout-postponed-coronavirus

https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/airline-news/2020/03/23/real-id-deadline-pushed-back-trump-says-coronavirus/2905323001/

 

The CDC raises travel alert level for several new countries

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has raised the travel alert level to Warning Level 3 for several countries including Thailand, South Africa and India, urging Americans to avoid non-essential travel to these destinations due to the spread of the coronavirus.  This is the CDC’s highest warning level.  Travel notices can be found on the CDC’s website. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices

 

Florida Governor issues self-quarantine executive order for those arriving from NY area

To limit the spread of COVID-19, Florida governor Ron DeSantis has issued an executive order requiring all travelers arriving from the New York tri-state area to self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival. 

Source:

https://miami.cbslocal.com/2020/03/23/florida-governor-ron-desantis-to-sign-order-requiring-ny-area-travelers-to-self-quarantine/

 

More states issue lockdown orders

Several states have now followed in the footsteps of California, Illinois and New York and have placed various shelter-in-place restrictions on their residents.  However, the length and scope and vary by state, though all have ordered the closing of non-essential businesses and restricted the number of individuals allowed to gather in one place.

The Wall Street Journal has published a complete list of these states and their restrictions.

Source

https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-state-by-state-guide-to-coronavirus-lockdowns-11584749351

 

The Points Guy Breaks Down Airline Flight Waivers

Due to the severe decrease in demand, airlines continue to cancel flights and significantly reduce schedules.  Click here for a list of current U.S. airlines waivers. 

 

March 23rd:

The governor of Michigan has issued a statewide stay-at-home order that will go into effect at 12:01am on March 24, which is expected to last three weeks.  Meanwhile, the governor of Massachusetts has issued a stay-at-home advisory in effect until April 7th.  In both cases, nonessential businesses are required to close.  

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/massachusetts-michigan-governors-issue-stay-home-orders-n1166646

 

Week of March 16, 2020

March 20th:

Non-essential travel between the U.S. and Mexico will be halted

The Trump administration announced that, effective at midnight on Friday, March 20, all non-essential travel between the U.S. and Mexico will be restricted.  Currently, thousands of people cross the border on a daily basis, mainly for business reasons or to attend school.  

This is the latest effort to seal off the U.S. in order to control the spread of the Coronavirus.  Previously the president had placed travel bans on China, the European Union, Iran and the United Kingdom.  Earlier this week, it was announced that travel would also be restricted between the U.S. and Canada.  This restriction also goes into effect at midnight on Friday, March 20th.

Sources

https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/20/politics/us-mexico-border/index.html

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/trump-administration-announces-new-travel-restrictions-at-us-mexico-border-to-combat-coronavirus

North American Airline Operations Update

Source: BCD Travel

Alaska Air implements 10-15% capacity reduction

Alaska Air Group, parent company of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, has reduced April capacity by 10%, rising to 15% in May. It will monitor demand and reduce capacity on a rolling 15-day basis as needed.

American Airlines cuts three-quarters of international capacity

American Airlines has slashed international capacity by 75% between March 16 and May 6. During this period, it will operate a single daily flight each from Dallas and Miami to London Heathrow. It will also continue to operate three flights per week from Dallas Fort Worth to Tokyo. American will also suspend most flights from New York JFK, Miami and Dallas to cities across South America.

The airline expects its domestic capacity to be 20% lower in April and 30% lower in May.

Delta Air Lines reduces system capacity by 70%

Delta Air Lines has cut capacity across its system by 70%, citing a significant drop in demand following March 13’s declaration of a national emergency in the U.S. International flying will be cut by more than 80% over the next two to three months. The airline will soon completely suspend services to Paris, Johannesburg and Accra, Ghana.5 Other international suspensions include Atlanta-Santiago (until April 1) and services to El Salvador (until April 3), while frequencies will be reduced to Bermuda, Grand Cayman and Costa Rica. Delta plans to maintain cuts at this level until demand starts to recover.

Cash preservation is now the airline’s priority. The company has deferred aircraft deliveries, imposed a 25-50% pay cut among senior management, parked more than 600 aircraft (approximately half of its fleet) and accelerated the retirement of older aircraft. More than 10,000 employees have also taken voluntary leave.

JetBlue capacity cut by 40% over next two months

After a very tough few weeks of falling demand, JetBlue will cut capacity by 40% in April and May. Average daily sales have fallen below $4 million per day, while credits issued for cancelled bookings have risen to $20 million daily. To reduce costs, the airline is cutting executive pay, offering voluntary unpaid time off, and may implement further capacity reductions over the summer.

JetBlue expects to make further substantial cuts to its schedule in June and July.

Southwest Airlines lowers capacity by 20%

With a mostly domestic network, Southwest’s business has been less affected than its competitors. But with cancellations now outpacing bookings, it has decided to lower capacity by 20% between April 14 and June 5. Most cuts will be in markets where Southwest has four or more non-stop flights.

United Airlines cuts April schedule by 60%

United Airlines has cut its April schedule by 60%, including a 42% reduction in U.S. and Canada services. The airline will maintain service to all domestic destinations except Mammoth Lakes, Calif. But this may change, as United monitors demand and changes in curfews and restrictions.

United has cut its international schedule by 85% to just 45 flights per day, mainly to the Caribbean and Latin America.6 A small number of long-haul flights include daily services from Newark to Brussels, Delhi, Frankfurt, London Heathrow, Mumbai and Tel Aviv; daily service between Washington Dulles and Heathrow; and daily flights from San Francisco to Singapore, Sydney and both Haneda and Narita airports in Tokyo. United will also continue lower frequency services from Newark to Narita and from San Francisco to Melbourne, Osaka and Seoul.

In Mexico, it will offer daily flights from Houston to Cancun, Guadalajara, Leon, Los Cabos, Mexico City, Monterrey and Puerto Vallarta. There will also be daily services to Cancun from San Francisco, Chicago and Newark, to Los Cabos from Los Angeles and San Francisco, and to Puerto Vallarta from San Francisco.

Air Canada suspending most international flights and destinations

Air Canada will reduce total capacity by 50% during the second quarter of 2020.

The airline will gradually suspend most international flights by the end of March, while maintaining a few routes to help Canadian citizens return home. These “air bridges” will operate between one or more of Air Canada’s Canadian hubs and London, Paris, Frankfurt, Delhi, Tokyo and Hong Kong from April 1 until at least April 30. Its international network will shrink from 101 airports to just six.

By April 1, Air Canada plans to reduce its transborder network to the U.S. from 53 airports to 13, depending on further reductions based on demand or government border controls.

The airline intends to reduce its domestic network from 62 airports to 40 through April, but it aims to continue serving all of the country’s provinces and territories.

WestJet suspends all international services; halves domestic schedule

WestJet Airlines will suspend all commercial international and transborder flights (to Mexico and the U.S.) from March 23 for 30 days.3 WestJet is also reducing its domestic flight schedule by 50% over the same period.

International and transborder tickets are no longer available for sale during the 30-day period.

 

March 19th:

State Department Issues Level 4 Advisory Urging Americans Not to Travel Abroad Under Any Circumstances

The State Department issued its top, level-4 travel advisory, urging Americans abroad to return home or prepare to stay in place, as the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic shifted westward from China to Europe.

The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to “avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19,” it said in the new advice. “In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period. U.S. citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel.”

Until the upgrade, the department’s advice to U.S. citizens was to “reconsider” all international travel under what is known as a “level three” alert. The global “level four” warning was unprecedented as such alerts are generally reserved for specific countries embroiled in conflict, natural disasters or where Americans face specific risks.

Travelers are urged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. The Department uses these Alerts to convey information about terrorist threats, security incidents, planned demonstrations, natural disasters, etc. In an emergency, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate or call the following numbers: 1(888) 407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1 (202) 501-4444 from other countries or jurisdictions.

Sources:

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/travel-advisory-alert-global-level-4-health-advisory-issue.html

https://time.com/5806705/state-department-level-4-travel-advisory-coronavirus/

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/news/top-tier-warning-made-to-travelers-4517731/

March 17th:

Starting immediately, and for the next 8 weeks, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is recommending the cancellation of all events with 50 or more people. In areas where there is even minimal COVID-19, events should be limited to include 10 or fewer people. Examples of large events and mass gatherings include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies. People at high-risk for serious illness should remain at home and restaurants are being urged to limit service to take-out only. People at higher risk include older adults and people who have chronic medical conditions such as lung and heart disease, as well as diabetes. If there is substantial spread in your area, all gatherings should be canceled.

Limiting the spread of the virus is the top priority and we can all take responsibility to help. Stay informed, especially with updates on your local and surrounding areas. If you think you are sick or have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19, please follow these steps to prevent further spread of the illness:

  • Stay home. People who have a mild case of COVID-19 are able to recover at home. Do not leave, except to receive medical care. Do not visit public areas.
  • Stay in touch with your doctor. Call before you get medical care; many physicians’ offices have set up hotlines for questions and information. Be sure to get care if you feel worse or you think it is an emergency.
  • Avoid public transportation such as buses, subways, trains, ride-sharing, or taxis.

The Trump administration will ask Congress for $850 billion in emergency stimulus to prevent the economy from seizing up, The Washington Post reports, citing anonymous sources. The massive package, bigger than the bank bailout of the financial crisis, would include $50 billion targeted to airlines and would come on top of a $100 billion program already wending its way through Congress to provide paid sick leave for workers.

More U.S. government news:

March 16th:

At Adelman Travel, we are continuing to monitor the current situation related to Covid-19 and how it is affecting our clients. As of today, the worldwide death toll has surpassed 6,500. Measures are being taken to slow the spread of the virus as much as possible. It is in everyone’s best interest to do everything possible to be responsible and safe. Continue to:

  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds
  • If you need to cough, cough into your elbow
  • Don’t touch your face
  • Stay more than 3 feet apart from other persons
  • Stay home if you feel sick

 

The situation within the U.S. and around the globe is frequently changing. Stay informed of all changes to procedures and policy changes.

The Center for Disease Control has recommended all gathering of 50 persons or more be cancelled or postponed until further notice. This includes gyms, churches, offices, bars and restaurants. Several states have implemented measures to ensure these changes. These may seem like extreme responses, but we are doing everything we can to contain the spread. Any large group of people in closed quarters will only help to infect others more quickly. The CDC has also issued a Level 3 warning for most countries in Europe, China, Iran and South Korea and a Level 2 Global outbreak notice.

President Trump has added to the current international travel ban and is considering restriction of all domestic travel as well. The U.K. and Ireland have been added to the Europe travel restrictions that went into effect late Friday. “All options” are on the table, in regard to travel, according to a senior Trump administration official, including a halt to all U.S. flights. A few of the airline updates are:

  • Virgin Atlantic will cut four fifths of its flights and has asked staff to take eight weeks of unpaid leave. Other airlines have also taken drastic measures, with budget airlines Ryanair and EasyJet grounding most of their fleets.
  • British Airways owner IAG plans to cut capacity by 75% in April and May.
  • Austrian Airlines decided to temporarily terminate all regular flight operations starting Wednesday night, March 18, 2020. This move is in response to entry bans being imposed across the globe and a rapid decline in demand for air travel.
  • Norwegian is to cancel 85 percent of its flights and temporarily layoff around 7,300 employees.
  • Air France-KLM Group said it would reduce capacity by up to 90 percent over the coming days, with the changes scheduled to last for two months.
  • In a memo to employees on Friday, Delta Air Lines’ CEO said that because of plunging demand, the airline will slash capacity by 40% for the next few months. That includes eliminating all flights to continental Europe — a significant market for Delta — for at least 30 days. Delta will park up to 300 aircraft, a third of its mainline fleet.
  • American Airlines over the weekend said it plans to slash its international flying by 75% to May 6 and that it will cut domestic capacity by 20% in April from a year earlier and by 30% in May. It will park most of its wide-body fleet.
  • United Airlines said it expected its March revenue to be $1.5 billion lower than a year earlier and said it will slash capacity by 50% in April and May, cuts it expects to extend to the lucrative summer travel season. The Chicago-based airline, which had about 96,000 employees as of the end of last year, is in talks with unions to figure out how to reduce payroll expenses.

 

For waiver updates, all major airlines are keeping websites updated with affected travel dates and waiver codes. Many U.S. hotels have also waived cancellation fees due to the virus as of March 13th.

 

Adelman Travel does not provide advice or recommendations on the prudence of travel to an affected destination. However, we seek to provide pertinent information, allowing companies and travelers to make informed decisions regarding business travel. As the situation remains fluid, we recommend you follow the latest development via trusted news sources.

Additional Sources:

International Travel and Airline Updates

Airline Waiver Information:

 

Week of March 9, 2020: 

Coronavirus Updates: March 12, 2020

President Trump extends Coronavirus travel ban to include Europe

In an attempt to curb the spread of Covid-19 to the United States from other countries, President Trump has further extended restrictions on travel for 30 days.  

Effective after 11:59 p.m. ET on March 13, foreign nationals who have traveled to one of the 26 Schengen Area countries within the last 14 days will be denied entry into the United States.  

Any U.S. citizen or lawful U.S. permanent resident returning to the United States, who has traveled to one of the Schengen Area countries within the previous 14 days, must enter the United States through an approved airport where health screenings will take place. Possible quarantines could follow.  

The twenty-six countries that are part of the Schengen Area include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.  The United Kingdom and Ireland are not part of the Schengen Area.

The President’s latest orders are in addition to restrictions already in place for travelers arriving from Iran and mainland China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau).

Prior to boarding flights to the United States, airlines will ask all customers where they have been in the last 14 days. Foreign nationals who have visited one of the restricted countries as noted above will be denied boarding, while U.S. citizens will be rerouted to an approved entry airport as needed.

It is expected that many airlines will further modify their fight schedules based on this latest travel ban. Travelers are reminded that many airlines have already established flexible rebooking policies and should check with their carrier for specifics.

Adelman will continue to provide updated information and assistance for our travelers. We encourage you to monitor government sites including:

CDC: http://business.adelmantravel.com/e/322591/coronavirus-2019-ncov-/qqs7f/107826304?h=bD3CtB2oUv1RORTW6JP4jXvq0TMSHmqew4dQNyaoSpo

WHO: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

U.S. State Department: http://business.adelmantravel.com/e/322591/l-en-international-travel-html/qqs7c/107826304?h=bD3CtB2oUv1RORTW6JP4jXvq0TMSHmqew4dQNyaoSpo

We also encourage anyone traveling abroad to enroll in State Department’s STEP program (https://step.state.gov/) and to monitor the official government sites for the destination that you may be considering travel to or from.

 

Coronavirus Updates: March 10, 2020

Airlines again update polices in response to Covid-19

American, Delta and United announced that they will now allow travelers holding tickets to any destination in March and April to change or cancel their flight without paying a change fee, regardless of when they purchased their ticket. (Southwest already offers free changes as part of their standard policies.) Other airlines, which normally charge change fees, may also match this latest move. Check with your airline for complete details.

In what seems like a contradictory move, United quietly modified its refund policy when it reschedules flights. The change came after United announced it would be reducing its schedules by up to 20 percent internationally and 11 percent domestically. Under the new policy, United will only offer credit for a future flight (no refunds) if it can still get passengers to their final destination within a 25 hour window of the originally scheduled arrival time. Previously the window was two hours.  To review United’s full policy visit https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/help/faq/schedule-changes.html?irgwc=1&clickid=WftxjCwFBxyOUDMwUx0Mo3cjUknXaQ0-P3GS0s0

Government officials clarify advice on cruising

After the U.S. State Department issued an advisory regarding travel via cruise ships, (“U.S. citizens, particularly travelers with underlying health conditions, should not travel by cruise ship”) both Vice President Mike Pence and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, said the advice was aimed at older travelers and those with serious underlying conditions, not necessarily all travelers. Specifically in response to reporters, Dr. Fauci said, “If you are a healthy young person, there is no reason, if you want to go on a cruise ship, go on a cruise ship.”  Meanwhile, Pence, speaking after meeting with cruise ship industry leaders in Florida, said the advice was targeted to a narrower group: older people with serious health problems. “If you’re a senior citizen with a serious underlying health condition, this would be a good time to practice common sense and to avoid activities including traveling on a cruise line,” Pence said.

 

Coronavirus Updates: March 9, 2020

As of March 9, 2020, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) there have been over 109,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus COVID-19 and just over 3,800 deaths worldwide. Over 100 countries now have laboratory-confirmed cases with the most affected countries being China, South Korea, Italy and Iran. (For continued updates on these numbers see https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/685d0ace521648f8a5beeeee1b9125cd). In the case of China, reports indicate that COVID-19 cases are on the decline, which suggests spread of the virus may have peaked there and that transmission is slowing down.

It is also now being reported that early mortality rates are likely misleading as only the sickest people are being reported. Further, studies are finding that most of those who are experiencing more severe symptoms or who have died are elderly or have impaired immune systems. Most normally healthy adults are recovering well, and most children are barely being affected.

As concerns over the spread of Covid-19 continue, the U.S. State Department updated its advice for travel on cruise ships. “U.S. citizens, particularly travelers with underlying health conditions, should not travel by cruise ship.  CDC notes increased risk of infection of COVID-19 in a cruise ship environment. In order to curb the spread of COVID-19, many countries have implemented strict screening procedures that have denied port entry rights to ships and prevented passengers from disembarking.  In some cases, local authorities have permitted disembarkation but subjected passengers to local quarantine procedures.” 

Further, “CDC notes that older adults and travelers with underlying health issues should avoid situations that put them at increased risk for more severe disease.  This entails avoiding crowded places, avoiding non-essential travel such as long plane trips, and especially avoiding embarking on cruise ships.”  This is advice remains fluid.

Many airlines have further responded to fears over Covid-19 by suspending change fees on new reservations in order to build buyer confidence. Stipulations vary by carrier but many offer flexible rebooking options on new bookings through March 31. Travel providers such as airlines and rail operators including Amtrak and more are altering select schedules to targeted destinations due to decreased demand. However, travelers should not assume that all airports, security check points, flights etc. are less crowded as we are now in peak spring break travel season and many flights as still operating at capacity as many people are still carrying on with their plans.  Travelers should reconfirm all arrangements and plans as some large scale events have been cancelled.   

Overall, there are many things that you can do to be prepared and stay healthy. A critical part of that is to be educated. Here are a few things we know about the virus and what you can do to protect yourself and your travelers:

  • You do not necessarily need to cancel travel. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there shouldn’t be any travel or trade restrictions due to the coronavirus. The risk of being infected is low in many countries. (The State Department/CDCs advice on cruise travel as noted above is currently an exception to this.)
  • The virus is weaker than the regular flu. The virus seems to be a mild type of viral infection. There’s a 2% fatality rate and those 2% almost always have a pre-existing condition.
  • The virus is not airborne. It can only be transmitted by droplets and not through the air. This means that places like airports and airplanes are not high-risk as many precautions are taken to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Even if you are exposed, you can still avoid becoming sick. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your face, do not come in direct contact with unfamiliar animals or those who are infected, and always cook your food thoroughly.

If you do think you have been infected, Vice President Mike Pence said the CDC was lifting all restrictions on testing for coronavirus. There are also new guidelines being released to fast-track testing for people who fear they have the virus, even if they are only displaying mild symptoms. **

Adelman Travel will continue to keep you informed as news develops. We understand that the uncertainty is difficult and will do everything possible to ensure the safety of your travelers.

Please visit: https://adelmantravel.wpengine.com/blogs/for-travel-managers/coronavirus-updates/  for all of our past updates and visit regularly for any new information.

 

Week of March 2, 2020: 

As of Wednesday, March 4, 2020, there have been over 95,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus COVID-19 and 3,254 deaths worldwide with the most affected countries being China, South Korea, Italy and Iran. Currently, 83 countries and territories have reported cases. However, it is now being reported that, in the case of China, COVID-19 cases are on the decline, which suggests spread of the virus may have peaked there and that transmission is slowing down. While a state of emergency has been called in California, there are other experts with a different approach.

When asked if this virus was “the big one” we’ve been bracing for, Bruce Aylward, of the World Health Organization says, “No. It’s not. It can be the big one but like, for flu — whether you have a pandemic with flu, it’s a function of the virus. Look around the world. We’re seeing a whole bunch of outbreaks controlled with the right responses, and even turned around if they get to a bad state. Panic and hysteria are not appropriate. This is a disease that is in the cases and their close contacts. It’s not a hidden enemy lurking behind bushes. Get organized, get educated, and get working.” *

There are many things that you can do to stay prepared and a critical part of that is to be educated. Here are a few things we know about the virus and what you can do to protect yourself and your travelers:

  • You do not need to cancel travel. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there shouldn’t be any travel or trade restrictions due to the coronavirus. The risk of being infected is low in many countries.
  • The virus is weaker than the regular flu. The virus seems to be a mild type of viral infection. There’s a 2% fatality rate and those 2% almost always have a pre-existing condition.
  • The virus is not airborne. It can only be transmitted by droplets and not through the air. This means that places like airports and airplanes are not high-risk as many precautions are taken to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Even if you are exposed, you can still avoid becoming sick. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your face, do not come in direct contact with unfamiliar animals or those who are infected, and always cook your food thoroughly.

If you do think you have been infected, Vice President Mike Pence said the CDC was lifting all restrictions on testing for coronavirus. There are also new guidelines being released to fast-track testing for people who fear they have the virus, even if they are only displaying mild symptoms. **

 

Adelman Travel will continue to keep you informed as news develops. We understand that the uncertainty is difficult and will do everything possible to ensure the safety of your travelers.

Please visit: https://adelmantravel.wpengine.com/blogs/for-travel-managers/coronavirus-updates/  for all of our past updates and visit regularly for any new information.

 

Week of February 25, 2020: 
Despite significant efforts to contain the COVID-19 virus, the number of cases outside of China has shot up over the past week in multiple locations. With high numbers of coronavirus cases in South Korea, Iran, and Italy, all three countries are on high alert and new travel restrictions are being implemented. Revised advice has been issued for Japan and Hong Kong along with Asian cruise itineraries as follows:

South Korea has declared a state of emergency for some of its regions. Daegu and Cheongdo have been designated as ‘special care zones.’ Police are manning checkpoints in quarantined towns and more flights have been suspended. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Level 3 advisory: Avoid nonessential travel to South Korea. The U.S. State Department moved its travel advisory up to Level 2: Exercise increased caution due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Airlines including American, Delta, and United have now issued waivers for travelers who want to change their flights to South Korea through late April.

Iran is now facing border closures from Pakistan and Turkey. Travel advice for U.S. citizens remains at Level 4: Do not travel, which was originally prompted due to ongoing political tensions and terrorism.

Italy has implemented restrictions on at least a dozen towns as COVID-19 has spread to more than six regions in the country including Lombardy, Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Piemonte, and Emilia Romagna. The two most infected regions are Lombardy and Veneto in the north of Italy, home to the major cities of Milan and Venice. Restrictions include the suspension of public or private events. Schools along with museums and cultural institutions are closed for seven days. Austria has suspended train services going in and out of Italy and is considering the implementation of border controls with Italy as a precaution. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 2 alert, while the U.S. State Department’s travel advice for Italy remains at Level 2, which was originally issued due to possible terrorism. U.S. State Department officials, however, are advising citizens to “follow Italian health official guidance and avoid government-designated affected areas.”

In addition, over the weekend, the CDC upped its advisories to Level 2 for travel to Hong Kong and Japan. The U.S. State Department escalated its advisory for Japan to a Level 2.

Then, on Monday, the State Department advised cruise ship travelers to or within Asia to reconsider their trips, saying in a statement on its website, “This is a dynamic situation and US citizens traveling by ship may be impacted by travel restrictions affecting their itineraries or ability to disembark or may be subject to quarantine procedures implemented by the local authorities.”

Adelman urges all customers to continue to keep a very close eye on this still-evolving situation. Updates can be found at:

State Department – http://business.adelmantravel.com/e/322591/l-en-international-travel-html/qqs7c/107826304?h=bD3CtB2oUv1RORTW6JP4jXvq0TMSHmqew4dQNyaoSpo 

CDC – http://business.adelmantravel.com/e/322591/coronavirus-2019-ncov-/qqs7f/107826304?h=bD3CtB2oUv1RORTW6JP4jXvq0TMSHmqew4dQNyaoSpo

World Health Organization – http://business.adelmantravel.com/e/322591/iseases-novel-coronavirus-2019/qqs7h/107826304?h=bD3CtB2oUv1RORTW6JP4jXvq0TMSHmqew4dQNyaoSpo

Travelers are also urged to reconfirm all travel arrangements in affected areas. We stand ready to assist with questions and alternate reservations as needed. Please contact your Adelman travel consultant for more information.

Week of February 17, 2020:
Whether there is a health crisis such as Covid-19 or other unexpected or emergency situations, businesses need robust practices to protect traveling employees. Crises management teams should meet regularly to review the following:

Planning and Response

  • Travel management plans taking into account potential travel disruptions including possible quarantines
  • Pandemic plans including how to manage travelers from affected areas
  • Communication protocols. Systems should be tested regularly

Protective equipment and cleaning protocols

Health Education

  • Ensure employees have access to the most up-to-date information.
  • Educate employees on hygiene measures including frequent hand washing, avoiding touching their faces, ensuring food is thoroughly cooked, avoiding direct contact with animals in their environments, and keeping away from people who are sick.
  • Instruct employees to watch for symptoms including fever, cough, sore throat and shortness of breath.
  • If sick, advise employees not to travel.
  • Urge employees who may be exposed to illness to seek medical advice.

Travel advice
Advise employees to continually monitor local conditions when traveling. If going abroad, refer to the state department and/or local consular advisories.

Ask employees traveling abroad to enroll in the U.S. State Department’s free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) which provides important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in the destination country while also helping the U.S. Embassy to contact citizens in an emergency.
Instruct employees to reconfirm travel arrangements with airlines and other travel suppliers for the latest on scheduling changes, cancellations and flexible rebooking policies. Remind employees to book travel within your corporate system so that duty of care plans can be properly executed.

As your travel management partner, Adelman is prepared to help you and your travelers through unexpected disruptions, crises situations and other emergencies using all means at our disposal.

Posted in For Travelers:
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. 

Special Update February 5, 2020:
American and United announced that they are extending flight suspensions to include Hong Kong due to the continued spread of coronavirus. U.S. carriers previously suspended service to mainland China with United just reducing some of its service to Hong Kong. Now all American and United flights to Hong Kong will be cut through February 20, though this could be extended. Delta does not offer service to Hong Kong.

As demand for flights to China and Hong Kong continues to plummet, Cathay Pacific announced it is cutting its global capacity by nearly a third. This includes flights to the United States. Some Chinese carriers including Air China, China Eastern, and Hainan are now also reducing or suspending service to/from China.

Airlines continue to offer refunds and extended waivers for passengers who have been impacted by canceled flights or wish to change their travel plans. Some restrictions apply.

Last week, the U.S. State Department upped its travel advice for China from a Level 3 “Reconsider Travel” to Level 4 “Do Not Travel”. At the time of this report, State Department travel advice for Hong Kong was still listed at Level 2 “Exercise Increased Caution” but travelers should continue to watch for updates.

With at least 28 confirmed cases of coronavirus being reported across Europe, the UK, Ireland, and France have also issued statements advising their citizens to avoid “all but essential” travel to mainland China.

We recommend that travelers and travel managers continue to closely monitor the latest information on this rapidly evolving situation. As always, Adelman is ready to assist you and your travelers through all the means at our disposal.

Week of February 3, 2020:
As the coronavirus continues to spread, governments, airlines and other travel suppliers continue to update their travel advice and services. The situation is evolving so quickly that travel managers and their travelers are advised to closely monitor the latest updates and local conditions on a daily basis. The following is a recap of some of the latest changes:

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security set new policies, which took effect on Feb. 2 that restricts any foreign national who traveled within China in the last 14 days from entering the United States. Exceptions apply for immediate family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents. U.S. citizens who were in China within the last 14 days will be re-routed to one of 11 designated airports for enhanced health screening procedures. They will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. U.S. citizens who have traveled to Hubei province will be held under mandatory quarantine for 14 days after returning to the U.S. DHS officials warn that aircraft will be rerouted if officials discover mid-flight that someone on board has been in China in the last 14 days.

Last week, the U.S. State Department upped its travel advice for China from a Level 3 “reconsider travel” to Level 4 “Do Not Travel”. At the time of this report, State Department travel advice for Hong Kong currently remains at Level 2 “exercise increased caution”.

With at least 28 confirmed cases of coronavirus being reported across Europe, both the UK and France have also issued statements advising their citizens to avoid “all non-essential” travel to mainland China.

American, Delta, and United suspended all flights to and from mainland China. American and United have canceled flights through March 27 and 28 respectively. Delta has canceled flights through April 30. These dates are subject to change.

American and United suspended flights to Hong Kong through February 20, though this could be extended. Delta does not offer service to Hong Kong.

Other airlines around the world have similarly suspended or reduced services including Air Asia, Air Canada, Air China, Air France, Air India, Air New Zealand, Air Seoul, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, China Eastern, All Nippon Airways, Asiana Airlines, El Al, Emirates, Etihad, Finnair, Hainan, Iberia, Japan Airlines, KLM, Korean Air, Lion Air, Philippines Airlines, Qantas, Qatar, Royal Air Maroc, SAS, Saudi, Shanghai Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Vietnam Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic.

Airlines continue to offer refunds and extended waivers for passengers who have been impacted by canceled flights or wish to change their travel plans. Some restrictions apply. Hotels, cruise lines, and other travel providers are also working with travelers impacted by these events.

Please contact your Adelman travel consultant for more information. As always, Adelman is ready to assist you and your travelers through all the means at our disposal.

New Yorkers banned from enrolling in some trusted traveler programs
Late Wednesday the Department of Homeland Security announced that residents from the state of New York will no longer be allowed to apply for federal trusted traveler programs including Global Entry, FAST, NEXUS, and SENTRI. The ban does not apply to TSA PreCheck. The new ruling was implemented in response to New York’s recently enacted Green Light Law which allows immigrants to seek driver’s licenses regardless of how they entered the country. As part of the Green Light Law, federal immigration and customs agents lost access to the New York DMV databases as it was feared that ICE and Border Patrol would use the database to target immigrants for possible deportation. The DHS says it needs access to the New York DMV database in order to process trusted traveler applications for New Yorkers. Travelers who are currently enrolled in the affected trusted traveler programs can still use their existing memberships, but they will not be allowed to re-enroll while the ban is still in effect.

Travel Ban Extended
The Trump administration said it is extending the travel ban by placing new restrictions on six additional countries. Immigrant visas will be suspended for citizens of Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar (also known as Burma) and Nigeria. People from Sudan and Tanzania will be barred from the U.S. diversity visa program, which awards green cards to immigrants. The new restrictions won’t apply to tourists, businesses or other nonimmigrant travel, according to Homeland Security Department officials. The new order, which was signed by Trump is set to go into effect on Feb. 22.

The spread of Covid-19 Drops but Airlines Extend Modified Scheduling
According to China’s National Health Commission, except for 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 regarding 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 codeshare 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 a new service from Seattle to Bangalore, India in October and to London Heathrow in March of 2021.

Special Update January 30, 2020:
As concerns continue to grow over the spread of the coronavirus, many airlines around the globe announced they are temporarily reducing flight frequencies to mainland China. Some are completely suspending service to select airports in China, even beyond the Wuhan region. Others are simply halting all service to China on a short-term basis. Most of the schedule changes apply only to mainland China, but in a few cases, flights to Hong Kong are being modified as well.

The following is a sampling of what airlines are doing at this point:

Air France/KLM, Cathay Pacific, and Delta are reducing frequencies to airports in cities such as Beijing and Shanghai due to a severe drop in demand.

Other airlines such as Air Canada, American, British Airways, Iberia, and JetStar, said they will cancel all flights on certain routes, while others such as Air Seoul, Austrian, Lion Air, Lufthansa, and Swiss are canceling all of their flights to mainland China for a period of time.

United is significantly reducing flights to mainland China and Hong Kong.

Air India is halting service to China and reducing flights to Hong Kong.

Finnair, which has a large number of routes to China, is halting service to some cities and reducing frequencies to others but plans to maintain a full menu of flights to areas it feels are unaffected such as Guangzhou and Shanghai.

The dates and airports for which flight schedules have been modified or canceled vary greatly by carrier. Airlines may further update their scheduling plans as conditions change. Additional airlines may also decide to alter their flight schedules. As a reminder, most airlines are also offering flexible rebooking options.

In other news, following a similar move by Mongolia, Russia’s prime minister on Thursday ordered the closure of the country’s border with China to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Earlier this week, Hong Kong implemented a partial border at select crossing locations.

Florida Coronavirus Update: Gov. Ron DeSantis Issues Executive Order Requiring NY-Area Travelers To Self-Quarantine

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