Ovation's weekly client e-newsletter, the Informed Traveler, keeps readers updated on travel industry news and trends.
Following is a recap of December's Top 5 (most clicked by Ovation clients) e-newsletter stories.
1. Homeland Security Considers Merger of PreCheck and Global Entry
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will consider merging its Transportation Security Administration (TSA) PreCheck and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Global Entry trusted-traveler programs, reports Travel Weekly. The TSA and CBP, both agencies of the DHS, are taking a "good, hard look" at combining voluntary vetting programs that allow travelers to get through checkpoints quickly. The programs have roughly 12 million members combined, and merging the two could boost membership, unify biometrics initiatives and bring down costs. To read more, click here.
2. Airlines are Banning Smart Luggage That Lacks Removable Batteries
Many airlines are beginning to ban smart luggage that doesn't have a removable battery, reports Fortune. Most smart luggage are powered by lithium-ion batteries, the same type found in the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which have been known to catch fire on flights. Airline officials say they want to get the word out early about the smart luggage ban, in order to prevent passengers from making such purchases during the holiday season. For travelers with smart luggage containing removable batteries, they will be asked to remove those batteries before checking their bags. Batteries in carry-on luggage can remain installed as long as the passenger is able to remove them. To read more, click here.
3. How Air Travel Will Change in 2018
Airlines and airports are rolling out many new innovations and technology that will enhance the travel experience in 2018, reports Condé Nast Traveler. Products and services such as automatic check-ins and "roaming" robots will help make traveling easier and more convenient, while new facial biometric technology will help speed up security lines. In-flight Wi-Fi will also improve in the new year. Insiders say travelers can expect uninterrupted, high-speed internet on most overseas flights in 2018. Gogo, a provider of in-flight Wi-Fi, is rolling out a satellite-based system that will offer speeds of up to 70 megabits per second. Additionally, complimentary texting will become available on more flights. To read more, click here.
4. DOT Suspends Proposed Rule Requiring Airlines to Show Baggage Fees at Booking
The Department of Transportation (DOT) has released a statement announcing it would withdraw a proposed rule that would force airlines to disclose baggage and other fees at time of ticket purchase, reports NPR. The Obama administration proposed and drafted the rule, but it was never finalized because the Trump administration froze the rulemaking process shortly after taking office. Democratic Senators Ed Markey, Elizabeth Warren and Richard Blumenthal released a joint statement condemning the DOT's decision, saying that travelers "...deserve transparency when buying an airline ticket." To read more, click here.
5. American Airlines' Partnership with Casper Elevates Its Branded Amenity Offerings
Earlier this year, American Airlines announced its partnership with global sleep company Casper to offer a best-in-class sleep experience to travelers seated in First, Business and Premium Economy on long-haul international and transcontinental flights, reports Skift. The airline will provide travelers with a suite of advanced custom sleep offerings and products including a mattress pad, duvet, pillow, day blanket, lumbar pillow, pajamas and slippers. American's partnership with Casper follows the airline's existing partnerships with Cole Haan, 3LAB Skincare, C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries and Clark's Botanicals. To read more, click here.