What's New in Travel
Mobile Passport Now Officially Authorized by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Mobile Passport was originally tested at a select few airports across the country and is now a reality! Officially authorized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Mobile Passport allows travelers to submit their passport control and customs declaration information via their cell phone or tablet.
There are five easy steps to MPC:
It's Hawaii Time!!
Alaska 72-hour Flash Sale is on now!!
Alaska Airlines is running a 72-hour sale on fall travel to Hawaii! Nightly rates start at just $113 per person, Sea-Tac to Kauai, with hotel, for 7 days, double occupancy. That adds up to a mere $1582 total per couple! With prices like that there is no reason not to go!
Alaska Airlines Tests CLEAR
CLEAR now offers a Biometric way of proving travelers identity in addition to their membership ID cards. Machines that scan finger prints and retinas to prove identity have been installed so instead of producing photo ID at every airport check point, travelers can now just go through a quick scan and away they go. This trial is for a select 200 frequent flyers out of Mineta San Jose Airport and since April has received tons of positive feedback. This may be the beginning of a new security standard for all U.S. airports.
Lufthansa Plans Overhaul of Airfare System
In October, Germany’s Deutsche Lufthansa AG plans an overhaul of its ticketing system that will require passengers to pay extra for checked baggage, seat reservations, and flight changes or cancellations. There will be three types of fares offered in economy class, ranging from “light fare” which will allow carry-on baggage only to traditional economy class. Other European low cost airlines such as Ryanair already have similar systems in place.
Alaska Airlines adds Hainan as Mileage Plan Partner
Alaska Airlines continues to expand their Mileage Plan with the addition of the China-based carrier Hainan Airlines. With this newest addition, Alaska Mileage Plan members can now earn miles by traveling on Hainan Airlines which flys non-stop from Seattle to Beijing and Shanghai. As an added perk, Mileage Plan members will receive double miles while traveling on Hainan starting July 23rd through October 31st and vice versa for Hainan Fortune Wings Club members while traveling on Alaska.
Delta Announces Changes to SkyMiles
Delta's SkyMiles program will adopt a "Supply and Demand" approach to free flights and upgrades.
This new program will require more miles for free flights and upgrades for more popular flights than other less popular flights. This new program will go into effect June 1st, 2016. With these changes, Delta joins other carriers such as JetBlue, Southwest, and Virgin American who also employ a similar program.
New Center Runway at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
New Marriott Now Open in Bellevue, WA
With the completion of this new full service Marriott, travelers to the Seattle area now have another option when it comes to meetings and conferences. With 17 event rooms to choose from ranging in size from 6,240 to 600 sqft., and many different configurations possible it is sure to have a room to fit your needs. The guest rooms feature a large 55 inch flat screen TV and high-speed wireless internet to help with relaxation after a productive day. Located in downtown Bellevue, this hotel is a quick jaunt across the lake away from downtown Seattle making it a convenient option for Seattle business travel as well.
Emirates Improves Travel to Dubai
The experience at Los Angeles International Airport's Terminal 5 today reflects the style of the city and its travelers as Delta Air Lines unveils the completion of a three-year terminal-wide refurbishment, including the airline's first private check-in lounge, Delta ONE at LAX. The $229-million Delta project was completed in partnership with Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) and the City of Los Angeles.
Additionally, a renovated Sky Club offers more space and an improved customer experience, including 100 additional seats; new shower suites and renovated bathrooms; an updated food area with cafe seating; and new furnishings and fixtures. New restaurants and shops in Terminal 5 feature celebrity chefs and retail brand names that reflect the cuisine, culture and lifestyle of Los Angeles.
Arriving in Costa Rica with Alaska
Alaska will soon be flying to two exciting destinations in Costa Rica: San Jose and Liberia. Connect through LAX and enjoy low intro fares this fall from $299* one way.
DOT Makes Inflation Adjustments for Denied Boarding Compensation, Baggage Liability and Civil Penalties
Effective with air transportation taking place on August 25, 2015, the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) is raising the maximum denied boarding compensation amount (in effect since August 2011) from $650 to $675 in cases in which alternate transportation is offered arriving less than two hours after planned arrival of the original flight, and from $1,300 to $1,350 in cases in which alternate transportation is not provided. The DOT is also raising the minimum liability limit airlines may impose for mishandled baggage in domestic air transportation, from $3,400 to $3,500. Finally, the regulation raises the maximum civil penalty that can be assessed as a result of DOT aviation enforcement actions for these provisions from $2,500 to $2,750. These amounts are being raised to account for inflation.
Starwood Personalizes Guest Visits with Robot Butlers, Smart Mirrors and More
Starwood personalizes guest visits with High-Tech. Guests at selected Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide will be given a more high-tech experience as part of their stay when the hospitality group begins rolling out smart technology for concept rooms.
What to expect? Touch the mirror to get weather updates, unlock the door using an iPhone or Apple watch, and have a robot butler deliver necessities such as sewing kits, toothbrushes and toothpaste.
Starwood was one of Apple's early launch partners to offer room entry through the Apple Watch.
LIMITED TIME GROUP OFFER FROM STARWOOD MAUI!!!
Bringing the right bags on board
Starting on May 25, 2015 at Toronto-Pearson (YYZ) and expanding progressively to other airports throughout the month of June, Air Canada will have staff at both check-in and security checkpoints to quickly confirm and tag carry-on bags that meet Air Canada’s existing carry-on dimensions as “approved.”
If a customer's carry-on baggage needs to be checked Air Canada will be happy to help with that at check in. If a customer gets to security and needs to check a bag that exceeds allowable size limits, not to worry. The customer will receive a special card that will get them quickly back to a check-in agent, and then on to their departure gate.
Here’s what the tag will look like:
Air Canada carry-on policy allows customers to bring on-board one standard article, such as a roller bag, and one personal article, such as a briefcase or laptop bag. Dimensions must not exceed:
Please remember that carry-on bags which exceed Air Canada’s policy for size and number will need to be checked, and standard fees will apply.
Delta Air Lines Is Adding Three Daily Flights to Pasco, Washington
Delta has added three daily flights between Sea-Tac International Airport and the Tri-Cities Airport in Pasco, Washington. Delta will also offer three daily flights to Victoria International Airport, British Columbia, Canada.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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
|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
Car Rental 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.
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.
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:
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.
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.