Ovation's weekly client e-newsletter, the Informed Traveler, keeps readers updated on travel industry news and trends.
Following is a recap of September's Top 5 (most clicked by Ovation clients) e-newsletter stories.
1. U.S. Issues New Travel Ban Beginning October 18
Beginning Wednesday, October 18, the Trump administration's new travel restrictions on certain foreigners from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen will go into effect. In addition, nationals of Iraq who seek to enter the United States may be subject to heightened scrutiny.
Exceptions to the new travel ban include:
- Legal permanent residents of the United States
- Dual nationals of any of the designated countries above who are traveling on a passport issued by a non-designated country
- Foreign nationals traveling on a diplomatic or diplomatic-type visa, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visa, C-2 visa for travel to the United Nations, or G-1, G-2, G-3 or G-4 visa
Additionally, visitors who currently hold valid visas from the affected countries will not have their visas revoked, and employees of businesses in the United States who are from the targeted countries may stay for as long as their existing visas remain valid. People from these countries whose visas expire will be subject to the travel ban.
Restrictions by Country Summary:
- North Korea and Syria: Entry as immigrants and nonimmigrants suspended.
- Chad, Yemen and Libya: Entry as immigrants and nonimmigrants on some business and tourist visas suspended.
- Somalia: Entry as immigrants suspended, and nonimmigrants traveling to the United States to face enhanced screening and vetting requirements.
- Iran: Entry as immigrants and as nonimmigrants suspended, except under valid student and exchange visitor visas - with enhanced screening and vetting requirements.
- Venezuela: Entry of certain Venezuelan government officials and their immediate family members as nonimmigrants on some business and tourist visas suspended.
- Iraq: Not included in the ban, however, nationals who seek to enter the United States may be subject to heightened scrutiny.
Click here to view the list of frequently asked questions from the White House concerning the new restrictions.
2. American Airlines Plans to Match Cheap Fares
American Airlines Chief Executive Officer Doug Parker told reporters at a conference that the airline will "absolutely, positively" match discount fares from low-cost rivals, reports Bloomberg. Big airlines such as American, Delta and United are competing against low-cost airlines with a new no-frills fare class, which offers cheaper prices in exchange for fewer amenities. The clash, centered in major airports, is nearing balance, Parker said. "It's not equilibrium yet, but it feels like it's getting sorted out," he said. "There is a market for ultra low-cost carriers and their product. They've proven that. Their financial performance on a margin basis is a lot stronger than ours. But we have an enormous advantage in and out of our hubs." To read more, click here.
3. Airlines Brace for More Chaos Ahead of Hurricane Irma
U.S. airlines are preparing for more chaos as the second massive hurricane in less than a month heads toward the United States, reports CNBC. Many major U.S. carriers are waiving change and cancellation fees or cancelling some flights altogether to certain Caribbean airports this week. Irma is threatening Florida, home to American Airlines hub at Miami International Airport, where it operates frequent service to the Caribbean and Latin America, and busy Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport, where Delta, Spirit and JetBlue have a large presence. To read more, click here.
4. U.S. State Department Renews Its Europe Travel Alert
The U.S. State Department has updated its Europe Travel Alert for American citizens, reports Condé Nast Traveler. The alert was set to expire on September 1st, but was renewed and extended until November 30th. The State Department issued the original alert following attacks in France, Russia, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The State Department encourages American citizens to check their website for updates on country-specific information and enroll in the free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in order to receive email alerts regarding safety and security information during a trip. To read more, click here.
5. New Airport Security Scanner Will Improve Security Lines
Earlier this week, the TSA accredited a new airport security scanner that allows travelers to pass through checkpoints without removing liquids or electronics from their bags, reports Travel + Leisure. The new scanners, called ConneCT, use Computer Tomography (CT or CAT scan) to give security agents a 3D-image of the inside of each piece of luggage. TSA agents can use ConneCT machines to bypass clutter in luggage and visually check for any prohibited items. The technology allows travelers to leave their liquids, electronics and aerosols inside their bags when passing through security, while the higher image quality allows security agents to search fewer bags by hand. The scanners could potentially speed up every security lane to TSA PreCheck level speeds, although travelers will still have to remove their shoes, jackets and belts. To read more, click here.