Ovation's weekly client e-newsletter, the Informed Traveler, keeps readers updated on travel industry news and trends.
Following is a recap of March's Top 5 (most clicked by Ovation clients) e-newsletter stories.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued an immediate order to ground the Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 planes based on new information about the crash of an Ethiopian Air Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. The White House Administration announced the order earlier this afternoon. The order will ground more than 70 aircraft flown by U.S. airlines. Under these circumstances, airlines will either change the equipment for the specific flight or allow changes to another flight. Click above to read more from CNN.
The biometric secure identity platform, CLEAR, now allows travelers flying on Delta (and with a linked SkyMiles account) to visit CLEAR kiosks and move straight to the security bins after identity verification without showing ID or a boarding pass, reports Condé Nast Traveler. "We use biometrics to do that ID check, but up until now, we’ve still also scanned your boarding pass," CLEAR president and co-founder Ken Cornick said. "Now, we’ve actually combined those two steps into one. So you are either using your fingerprint or your iris, and we are identifying you and pulling your boarding pass information in real time. For now, the perk is only available to those flying on Delta, but Cornick says he expects more in the future.
U.S. citizens visiting parts of Europe will need authorization from the European Union (EU) starting in 2021, reports CNN. Last year, the EU announced it was creating a European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) that will require "pre-travel screening for security and migration risks of travelers benefiting from visa-free access to the 26 European countries that make up the Schengen area." Under the ETIAS, visa-free travelers, including U.S. citizens, will need to request ETIAS authorization before visiting the Schengen Area. Travelers will be able to complete an application and pay a service fee of 7 euros (roughly $8) online. The authorization will be valid for three years.
The UK government has announced that passengers of some countries will be allowed to use the e-passport gates, aimed at reducing wait times significantly, reports Airport Technology. Under the new scheme, which will begin in June, non-European Economic Area (EEA) travelers from the U.S., Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea will be able to use e-passport gates at UK airports and Brussels and Paris Eurostar terminals. However, all passengers landing at UK ports and airports will continue to undergo complete identity and security checks.
From 2013 to 2018, the six largest U.S. carriers lowered the number of frequent flyer miles required for some domestic flight awards, reports Skift. According to data compiled by IdeaWorksCompany and CarTrawler, the average price, in loyalty miles or points, for a domestic rewards ticket declined 13.5 percent over that time. To entice travelers to use their miles, airlines have decreased the number of miles needed to book a ticket, increased the numbers of seats per plane available for rewards travel and enhanced the buying power of each mile. The prices to redeem miles have also declined in tandem with airfares.