What's New in Travel

Alaska Airlines Announces Preferred Plus Seating Program


Alaska Airlines has opened its preferred seating category to all customers that gives more legroom, a cocktail and priority boarding, for a fee, but only after its Mileage Plan MVP, MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75k members have had an opportunity to reserve them.

The new upgrades start at $15 plus tax. Upgrades for elites will continue to be complimentary. The upgrade can be purchased within a 24-hour check-in window on its website, through its mobile app or at the airport.


Enjoy $12 game day parking for Mariners and Sounders weekend home games


Heading to a weekend Sounders or Mariners game from out of town? Park for only $12 at Sea-Tac and take Link Light Rail downtown to the game!

Click to print the parking coupon.


Double Miles to Great Destinations with Alaska Mileage Deals


Los Angeles - Baltimore Double Miles
Earn Double Miles when you fly our new nonstop service between Los Angeles and Baltimore.
Boise - Spokane Double Miles
Earn Double Miles when you fly nonstop between Boise and Spokane.
Celebrating New Service to JFK
Earn Double Miles when you fly nonstop between Seattle and New York - JFK.
Double Your Miles
Earn Double Miles on popular routes from Salt Lake City or Seattle


Flights to Nashville, Raleigh, and Charleston With Alaska New Non-Stop Service


Alaska is opening up new service to Nashville TN, Charleston SC, and Raleigh-Durham NC from Seattle. For the first time, travelers can fly from Seattle to any of these amazing cities, non-stop.


ANA Unveils Star Wars™ R2-D2 Livery for 787-9 Dreamliner Aircraft
The First and Only Passenger Aircraft to Feature a Star Wars Character


All Nippon Airways (ANA) will introduce Star Wars livery, with the iconic R2-D2, on its newest aircraft 787-9 Dreamliner to mark the beginning of a five-year ANA Star Wars™ Project.The ”R2-D2 Jet” will take off in autumn 2015.


Planning a spring vacation? Park for only $20/day at Sea-Tac


Planning a spring vacation? Save on parking at Sea-Tac Airport and park in the airport garage for only $20/day (or $105/week) now through June!

Click to print the parking coupon.



Golf 2015 U.S. Open Will Affect Travelers to Pacific Northwest

The 2015 U.S. Open Championship will take place on June 15-21, 2015, at Chambers Bay, in University Place, Washington, on Puget Sound southwest of Tacoma.

Most Tacoma hotels are already sold out for that period. And ETC is already seeing the effects of this event in Bellevue. If you are planning on coming to the Pacific Northwest, please try to stay away from these dates and/or book early.



TSA Ramping Down Pre✓® for Frequent Flier “Opt-Ins”

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has given travelers two pathways for utilizing TSA Pre✓® expedited security screening benefits.

  • The first option is to obtain a Known Traveler Number (KTN) by enrolling in a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Trusted Traveler program – the TSA Pre✓® application program, Global Entry, NEXUS and SENTRI.
  • The second option is the airline-sponsored program that ties the benefits to the traveler’s frequent flyer number, which is limited to a single airline.
  • TSA announced that beginning April travelers who use the second option and don’t have a KTN “will notice a reduction in the frequency in which they are chosen for TSA Pre✓®.” (Those who are enrolled in a DHS Trusted Traveler Program and have a KTN will not be impacted.) TSA recommends that travelers who “want to keep receiving TSA Pre✓® on a consistent/reliable basis for the next five years” enroll in one of the four trusted traveler programs offered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security:

  • TSA Pre✓® application program: There are more than 330 application centers nationwide --> Find a location near you
  • CBP’s Global Entry
  • CBP’s NEXUS (Canada)
  • CBP’s SENTRI (Mexico)


  • Visa Separates "Ancillary" Fees From Ticket Price

    Visa is now separating "ancillary" fees for travelers when processing payments, distinguishing between ticket price and fees for such extras as in-flight meals, baggage, Wi-Fi access and entertainment.



    ACOD Strike on 22 April Will Affect Travelers in Belgium

    The socialist trades union for the public sector ACOD has announced a general strike for Wednesday 22 April. This is to protest against the policy choices in socio-economic areas made by the different governments in Belgium. The strike will hit all public services across the country: Belgian Rail and other public transport companies, postal services, education, administration etc..


    Two Port Lounges Open as The Club at SEA at Sea-Tac Airport


    The Port of Seattle welcomes the debut of The Club at SEA as part of new management of two airport lounges open to all passengers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The lounges are located within concourse A and the south satellite.

    All travelers, regardless of airline, class of service, or affinity membership can access The Club at SEA via day passes available for purchase online or onsite. Current Priority Pass, Priority Pass Select, and Lounge Club members are welcome with their existing memberships.

    Each lounge features spectacular views of the airfield, Olympic and/or Cascade Mountains, Mt. Rainier, and has more than 4,000 square-feet of space featuring a variety of settings including social spaces, areas for dining or cocktails, and quiet zones to relax or conduct business. Additionally, lounge customers have access to a number of amenities including complimentary snacks and beverages, high-speed Wi-Fi, bar service, and workstations with printers. The Club at SEA in concourse A, across from gate A11, will be open daily from 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., and the south satellite location next to gate S9 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.


    Port of Seattle and U.S. Customs and Border Protection
    Introduce Mobile Passport Control App at Sea-Tac Airport


    The Port of Seattle joined U.S. Customs and Border Protection on March 26th to introduce Mobile Passport Control (MPC) to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. MPC is the first authorized app to expedite a traveler’s arrival into the United States. Sea-Tac is the third U.S. airport to introduce the option. MPC currently offers U.S. citizens and Canadian visitors a more secure and efficient in-person inspection between the CBP officer and the traveler upon arrival in the United States.

    There are five easy steps to MPC:

    • Download the Mobile Passport Control App from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store prior to arriving
    • Create a profile with your passport information
    • Complete the “New Trip” section upon arrival in the United States
    • Submit your customs declaration form through the app to receive an electronic receipt with an Encrypted Quick Response (QR) code.
    • Bring your passport and smartphone or tablet with your digital bar-coded receipt to a CBP officer


    Additional Nonstop Service to Dubai from Emirates

    The Port of Seattle welcomes a second daily flight to Dubai, United Arab Emirates from Emirates airlines at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Emirates started selling seats on March 24th for the additional flight which will begin July 1.

    Flight details for Seattle-Dubai additional flight
    Flight Departs Arrives Service Begins
    EK227 DXB at 3:20 a.m.               SEA at 6:55 a.m. (same day)                  July 1, 2015         
    EK228        SEA at 9:40 a.m. DXB at 10:55 a.m. (next day) July 1, 2015   


    2015 Corporate Travel Index:
    Business Travel Costs Drop in Asia/Pacific region


    The data in Business Travel News' 2015 Corporate Travel Index shows that combined hotel rates and miscellaneous costs for 2014 declined year over year in 15 of the 22 Asia/Pacific markets, many of them by double-digit percentages. With the exception of Jakarta (up 7.2 percent)and New Delhi (up 5.5 percent), increases were about 2 percent or less. Overall, the average daily hotel cost in the Asia/Pacific region in 2014 was $184, down 14.7 percent from the 2013.


    2015 Corporate Travel Index:
    Top 10 US Cities With The Highest Business Travel Costs In Hotel, Car Rental and Food

    Hotel Costs:.

    Car Rental Costs:.

    Food Costs:
    .


    2015 Corporate Travel Index:
    U.S. Hotel And Dining Costs Drive Business Travel Per Diem Increase


     

    The data in Business Travel News' 2015 Corporate Travel Index shows that daily corporate hotel expenses across 100 U.S. markets increased about 3.5 percent year over year. Multiple markets experienced double-digit percentage growth in average daily rate, but San Francisco beat out second-place New York by a significant margin. Other top-five markets for daily hotel expenses included Boston, Washington, D.C., and Honolulu..

    Dining makes up more than 31 percent of daily on-the-ground business costs, and the average U.S. cost to eat three meals a day was $96.89. Honolulu, dependent on imported goods, topped this year's list as the priciest city for business dining with a total daily cost of $129.25. Trailing just behind were New York and Seattle.


    Southwest Airlines to Update Rapid Rewards® Program


    Southwest Airlines is in the process of updating its Rapid Rewards® program. Beginning April 17, 2015, the number of Rapid Rewards Points needed to redeem for certain flights will vary based on destination, time, day of travel, demand, fare class, and other factors. Real world examples won’t be available until the new system kicks in, so we’ll all have to wait to see what exactly it means.Most likely the redemption rate will rise for many flights.


    United Removes 2nd Bag Charge For Some South American Countries and Reduces Heavy Bag Charges and Weight Allowances for Mexico


    Effective for ticketing and travel on/after March 5, 2015, United will remove the second bag charge for Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. The previously announced second bag fee still applies to MileagePlus Premier Silver, General, and non-members traveling in the United Economy cabin to/from Panama and El Salvador.

    Effective for ticketing and travel on/after March 5, 2015, UA is reducing the heavy baggage pricing to/from Mexico from North America, Central America and South America. At the same time, the standard heavy weight for a checked bag out of Mexico will be set at 50lbs. Any weight above 50lbs will be deemed heavy and applicable charges may apply.


    Congratulations to Our Agent Tina Who Has Just Become a Kenya Specialist!


    Thinking about going to Kenya? Contact Tina at 425-453-8200 or email her at tina@etctravel.com .


    Download the Gogo Video Player Before You Fly Alaska


    Introducing Alaska Beyond™ Entertainment, which allows you to watch premium movies, TV shows, and free exclusive content on your own device.

    Alaska Beyond™ Entertainment is currently being rolled out on 737s—you'll know if it's available by an announcement from the flight team or a card in your seatback. Enjoy over 70 movies, 60+ TV shows and exclusive content from Alaska.

    Beyond Entertainment will be available above 10,000 feet. The Gogo Video Player will be required to watch Movies and TV shows. Make your travel day easier and get the Gogo Video Player before you fly:

     


    Wi-Fi Officially Free at Hyatt-branded Hotels


    Starting February 14, Hyatt Hotels Corp. offers free Wi-Fi for all guests across an unlimited number of mobile devices or laptops, and across any number of social spaces and guestrooms regardless of their booking method, or whether or not they are members of Hyatt's loyalty program.

    Platinum and Diamond Hyatt Gold Passport members will receive a free upgrade to premium Wi-Fi service in those spaces wherever available, and guests will have the option to purchase premium service in those locations.


    DHS to Install 340 Passport Kiosks


    The Department of Homeland Security will install 340 passport kiosks nationwide in an effort to speed up entry for international air passengers.In addition, a program, first used at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. to allow certain passengers to submit their passport and customs information with their smartphones will be rolled out to 20 additional airports by the end of next year.

    The move is part of an effort by the Obama administration to double international tourism to the United States over five years.


    Port of Seattle Welcomes New Hainan Airlines Service to Shanghai


    Hainan Airlines will begin new nonstop service between Seattle and Shanghai, China on June 22, 2015. Hainan will operate two-class Airbus A330-200 four days a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday).


    First Bag Free for Visa Signature Cardholders


    As a Thank You to Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® consumer cardholders, Alaska is covering the cost of your first checked bag when you travel between February 1, 2015, and April 30, 2015, on any Alaska Airlines flight. Learn More


    ANA Has Increased Economy Class Free Baggage Allowance From 1 to 2 Pieces


    For passengers with tickets issued on/after January 8, 2015, All Nippon Airways (ANA) has increased economy class free baggage allowance from 1 to 2 pieces.


    Delta Amends Basic Economy Fares, Effective For Travel on or after February 1


    Basic Economy is Delta’s value-fare product for price-driven customers. Delta New Basic Economy Product will be effective for travel on or after February 1, 2015.

    Delta customers who wish to select seats in advance, make ticketing changes, or take advantage of paid or Medallion complimentary upgrades may elect to purchase an Economy class fare.


    United Travelers Can Earn Up To 12,000 Miles Per Flight Segment
    ---In addition to base earnings and other bonus miles typically earned

    Beginning January9, 2015 and for travel completed through February 28, 2015, MileagePlus members can significantly boost the award miles they earn when flying in premium cabin.

    Customers who purchase premium-cabin tickets for United and United Express-operated flights and United-marketed flights operated by partners Air Canada, ANA, Austrian, Brussels Airlines, Copa, Lufthansa and Swiss can take advantage of the promotion.

    2015 New Year Bonus Miles Promotion Chart
    MileagePlus status level Long-haul and p.s.® flights Short-haul flights
    F, A, J, C or D fare class Z or P fare class F, A, J, C or D fare class Z or P fare class
    Premier® 1K® 12,000 miles 3,500 miles 1,000 miles 500 miles
    Premier Platinum/Gold/Silver 6,000 miles 1,000 miles 500 miles 250 miles
    Member 3,000 miles - 250 miles -

    Learn More


    Alaska Launching New Service In 2015



    A Trip to Seoul on Delta's Direct Flight From Seattle

    The Food, The Palace, The Shopping, The Night Life and The DMZ

      

      

    ETC Agent Tonya just came back from a Delta Travel Agent Familialization Trip to Seoul. She has shared her experience and knowledge with all the agents at Executive Travel. Our agents now can help you plan an awesome trip to South Korea based on the actual experience. Our Vacation Experts will make your trip easier!

    Call ETC Vacation Specialist at 425-453-8200 or email us at vacation@etctravel.com to check out details.  


    Hilton, Marriott to Implement Fee for Last-Minute Cancellations

    Beginning Jan. 1, Hilton and Marriott hotels will charge a single night's room rate for late cancellations, a move that emulates the airline industry's fee increases in recent years. Traditionally, hotels have allowed same-day cancellations without penalty, but the new rule requires canceling your reservation by the day before your arrival.

    Even hotels within large chains have varying cancellation policies, and the changes planned by Marriott and Hilton address only those last-minute cancellation rules. Policies won’t change for hotels that already have cancellation policies.


    United Updates its Through-check Baggage Policy

    Effective for travel on and after March 1, 2015, when a customer has two separate tickets, United will through-check bags only when the secondary ticket is for travel on the following carriers:

  • United and United Express
  • Star Alliance partner airlines

  • Short Nosed Dogs and Cats will be Prohibited as Cargo or Checked Baggage

    Effective October 30, 2014 Short‐nosed dogs (such as bulldogs and pugs, among others) and short‐nosed cats (such as Himalayans and Persians), known as brachycephalic animals, will be prohibited from traveling in cargo as checked baggage or as commercial shipments on all Alaska Airlines‐ operated flights.

    No "Through-check" Bags To The Customer's Final Destination--Update From American Airlines


    Recently, We sent you a message on American Airlines' New No 'Through-check' Bags policy which was supposed to be effective on October 1, 2014. On October 10, 2014, American Airlines has updated this policy. Here is the update:

    For travel commencing prior to February 1, 2015, American Airlines airport staff will continue to “through-check” customer bags if an OA interline agreement exists.

    Travelers are advised to check-in directly with an airport representative and provide documentation they are ticketed on separate tickets and ask the staff to check the baggage to the final destination.

    For tickets issued on/after October 15, 2014 for travel on/after February 1, 2015, American will only ‘through-check’ bags” when the separate ticket is for travel on the following carriers:

  • American Airlines and American Eagle
  • US Airways and US Express
  • oneworld® partner airline
  • For all other carriers, customers need to claim their baggage and recheck with the airline separately ticketed.


    Check the Date! Passport Validity Requirements for Travelers




    The U.S. Department of State has asked travel agencies to help remind their clients traveling internationally that they should closely monitor the validity of their own and their family members’ passports. Many countries throughout the world require travelers’ passports to have at least six months’ validity at the time of entry. If a traveler’s passport does not meet this requirement, a traveler may be refused boarding by an airline at the point of departure or even while transferring planes in another country. Travelers could also be denied entry upon arrival in a foreign country.

    If U.S. citizen travelers are denied entry to a country while abroad and need a new passport immediately, they should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Travelers denied boarding in the U.S. and needing an immediate passport can call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778 to schedule an appointment at one of 28 passport agencies around the country.


    Hilton Now Allows Guests to Select Their Exact Hotel Room

    In July, Hilton became the first hospitality company to offer room selection and customization via mobile and Internet-based floor plans.Guests can currently select their exact room online or via the Apple and Android HHonors apps across five Hilton U.S. brands: Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites. That covers nearly 1,000 Hilton hotels. The functionality will also be available at DoubleTree by Hilton and Embassy Suites Hotels properties within the U.S. this fall.

    That’s in addition to digital check-in, digital checkout and the ability to order food, beverage and other items that will be waiting for you when you step into your hotel room.

    By the end of 2014, digital check-in and room selection will be available at more than 4,000 Hilton Worldwide properties across 11 brands in 80-plus countries via members' Hilton HHonors accounts.


    Come LIKE Us On FACEBOOK

    We know you all have a Facebook… Right? Well, Executive Travel Consultants (ETC) does too! Don’t forget as your scrolling through your news feed to check out ETC’s latest travel updates and find your chance to SAVE on vacation packages and much more! ETC is always looking out for their customers! So, come LIKE us on Facebook. Then you will get the chance to watch and hear what is happening in the travel world from professionals. Now is the time to click that LIKE button and keep updated on travel trends. Find our Facebook page at:


    United Adds Passport Scanning To Its Mobile App

    United Airlines introduced passport-scanning function to its mobile app for iOS and Android devices. Passengers on United Airlines will be able to scan their passports and check in for international flights on their smartphones or other mobile device.

    Here's how it works: Check in 24 hours before your flight using United's app and you'll be able to scan your passport using the camera on your phone/device. After it has been verified through a security company, you can print out your ticket, skip the check-in counter at the airport and head straight to security.


    Stay Charged: TSA Bans Powerless Devices From Flights

    The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced Sunday that on certain overseas flights to the United States, it will not permit “powerless devices” — cellphones and computers that cannot be turned on. The traveler with powerless devices may also undergo additional screening.

    According to Reuters, TSA officials singled out smartphones, including the Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy, for extra security checks on U.S.-bound flights from Europe, the Middle East and Africa.


    Delta Launching New Seattle Service To Popular Ski And Beach Destinations

    This Fall Delta Air Lines will add new service from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to popular ski and beach destinations, including Spokane, Wash.; Maui, Hawaii; Bozeman, Mont.; Calgary, Alberta; Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

    Service to Spokane and Calgary will begin Nov.3, 2014. Service to Maui, Bozeman, Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta will begin Dec. 20, 2014.



    A Trip To Dubai

    Is Dubai on your travel list? Consult with ETC Vacation Experts, they will provide great help to you. ETC President Angie just came back on a Travel Agent Familialization Trip to Dubai. She has shared her experience and knowledge with all the agents at Executive Travel. The agents now even can tell you which side of the hotel you should stay so you can get a good night sleep besides all the fun trip plans. Our Vacation Experts will make your trip easier for you.



    Delta Makes Radical Change to Frequent Flier Program

    Starting in 2015, Delta’s frequent flier program will be revamped to reward members not by how many miles they fly, as in the past, but on how much they spend on airfare.

  • Miles you earn toward Award Travel will be based on ticket price
  • General SkyMiles members will earn 5 miles per dollar spent
  • Delta SkyMiles Credit Card Members will continue to earn an additional 2 miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases with the Card, so as a general SkyMiles member with a Delta SkyMiles Credit Card, you could earn 7 miles per dollar