At Ovation, we remain committed to providing excellent service to our valued clients throughout the COVID-19 global pandemic. Click the link below to view our travel resources guide which includes traveler health & safety information, interactive risk maps, client communications, travel management best practices, webinar recordings and more regarding COVID-19.
Ovation's weekly client e-newsletter, the Informed Traveler, keeps readers updated on travel industry news and trends.
Following is a recap of October's Top 5 (most clicked by Ovation clients) e-newsletter stories.
1. TIPS FOR FLYING DURING COVID-19, ACCORDING TO TSA DIRECTORS
In mid-October, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that it screened more than 1 million travelers in a single day. As more travelers take to the sky, TSA Directors around the country have recommended a variety of tips for flying during COVID-19 to ensure a safer experience, reports Travel + Leisure. TSA's advice for travelers include tips such as washing hands, wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, removing items from pockets prior to going through a checkpoint and placing food items in clear plastic bag, packing smart, following expert guidance and more.
Amtrak announced earlier this month that it is ready to offer enhanced train travel experiences with social distancing in mind, bringing about limited seating arrangements to decrease the risk of COVID-19 this holiday season. Amtrak has many features to help mitigate the risks of COVID-19, such as enhanced cleaning protocols, contactless amenities, social distancing on board and in stations, required face coverings and sophisticated air filtration. Its trains also keep the middle seats empty to promote social distancing. “By combining our enhanced safety efforts with the guidance of our full-time medical director and public health and safety teams who are working in partnership with experts from the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, we want to ensure our customers feel a renewed sense of confidence when they travel with us this holiday season,” said Amtrak President and CEO Bill Flynn. Amtrak also strongly encourages travelers to plan ahead and book early to guarantee available tickets. Bookings will be limited to allow for more physical distancing in seating areas.
Hilton Hotels Corporation has announced that it has made several adjustments to its Hilton Honors loyalty program, including point extensions and lowered status milestones. No Hilton Honors points will expire until December 31, 2021. Previously, points could expire if a member did not show activity in their account for at least 15 months, according to the program's terms and conditions. Further, Silver, Gold and Diamond members who were set to downgrade in 2020 or 2021 will have their status extended to March 31, 2022. Hilton also has lowered the status qualification requirements by 50 percent across all tiers, including stays, nights and base points in 2021. As previously announced, all 2020 nights automatically will roll over to the 2021 calendar year. Hilton is the latest major hotel chain to extend its loyalty program, joining Hyatt and Marriott.
With COVID-19 in constant fluctuation in the United States, travelers should be aware of the different travel restrictions set in place throughout the country. While some US states have no restrictions on travel, other state-specific COVID-19 safety information, including possible face covering mandates in public settings, is relevant for travelers. Click the link for a comprehensive list of state-specific travel restrictions and safety mandates currently in place across the US as assembled by CNN.
Four US airlines have cut tens of thousands of flights from their November schedule due to COVID-19. American Airlines removed 86,000 flights, or 46 percent, of flights in November as it copes with low demand. United Airlines has also reduced its flight plan for the same time period by 52 percent. Additionally, Delta Air Lines has reported flight reductions in November, as well as Southwest Airlines, which plans to reduce the number of its November flights by 36 percent. The announcement of the reduction means United now has the smallest number of flights operating next month out of the four carriers, with 72,566. American, meanwhile, will carry out a total of 99,362 flights - the most out of the four airlines - in November, despite the cuts.