Ovation's weekly client e-newsletter, the Informed Traveler, keeps readers updated on travel industry news and trends.
Following is a recap of February's Top 5 (most clicked by Ovation clients) e-newsletter stories.
Five airlines have recently joined the TSA PreCheck program, bringing the total number of participating domestic and international carriers to 47, reports Condé Nast Traveler. Air France, Brussels Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Philippine Airlines and World Atlantic all agreed to recognize the trusted traveler program, which works at more than 190 U.S. airports. In order to join TSA PreCheck, carriers have to meet all TSA security requirements and upgrade reservations systems to sync with the U.S. government's Secure Flight prescreening system. To read more, click here.
As part of its $4.4 trillion budget proposal, the Trump administration has proposed increases to the security, customs and immigration fees paid by airline and cruise passengers, reports Travel Weekly. The administration, which continues to support privatization of U.S. air traffic control, is also calling for cuts to federal subsidies for small-community air service and long-distance Amtrak service. The trade group Airlines for America spoke against the proposals, stating, "Increasing taxes in any form will add to the cost of flying for millions of Americans, curtail job growth and limit the options small and medium communities currently enjoy." To read more, click here.
Members of the House of Representatives have concerns over the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) use of bomb-sniffing dogs to shorten checkpoint lines by steering more travelers through PreCheck lanes, reports USA Today. When there are long lines for standard screening, passengers who have been sniffed by an explosives-detection dog can move to the Precheck lane where they leave on shoes and coats, and leave laptops and small containers of fluids in their carry-on bags. Critics worry that moving travelers without background checks into the PreCheck lanes could jeopardize security. Another concern is discouraging membership in PreCheck if the lines get too long with non-members. To read more, click here.
Beginning April 2, 2018, the U.S. State Department will raise the passport execution fee from $25 to $35. The charge applies to travelers that are required to apply for a passport in person, including first-time applicants, children under 16, adults renewing passports issued more than 15 years ago and individuals with lost, stolen or damaged passport books. The State Department stated that the increase in the fee was due to "recovery of the costs to the U.S. government of providing the consular service." Adults who renew their passport by mail do not pay an execution fee and will not be affected by the change. To read the full story from the Washington Post, click here.
Carriers around the world, including the three largest in the U.S. (American, Delta and United), have been developing and opening new airport lounges to appeal to the highest level of premium travelers, reports Travel Weekly. For example, American Airlines' new Flagship Lounges include expanded seating, shower suites, specialty cocktail bars serving premium wines and most also provide a sit-down dining area for Flagship first-class passengers. To read more, click here.