Puget Sound Business Journal has named Executive Travel Consultants (ETC) one of the top five travel agencies on corporate travel in the Puget Sound region early this year. Job well done ETC!
ETC will be closed on November 27th and 28th in observance of Thanksgiving.
For after-hours travel needs when we are out of the office, please contact our After Hours service at 1-866-382-4584.
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.
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:
Starting on Nov. 6th,
Denver International Airport has installed 16 BorderXpress Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks, which will be maintained by Innovative Travel Solutions, to expedite the customs entry process for international travelers. This service is available without pre-registration and at no cost to the user.
Passengers with passports issued by the U.S., Canada and 38 other countries are eligible to use the kiosks, where they can fill out customs forms and scan their passports before printing out a receipt and delivering it to a customs' officer.f
With this new service, United will provide convenient one-stop connections to MEL from more than 37 U.S. cities.
Enter the Hertz Dream Car Getaway and get double points for your rentals 10/1–12/15/14. Ten lucky Hertz Gold Plus Rewards® members will win a three-day Dream Car rental, airfare for two and a two-night weekend stay! Not a member? It’s free and easy to join at hertzgoldplusrewards.com.
There are many ways to earn entries:
• One entry for registering at HertzDream.com.
• One entry for each qualifying rental through 12/15/14.
• One entry for each extra you add to your rental, such as Hertz NeverLost® GPS, Prepay the Fuel, SiriusXM® Satellite Radio, and Protection Plans.
In addition to your entry, your qualifying rentals are twice as rewarding with double points.* Make your dreams come true and register today!
*Double Points Terms and Conditions: Only rentals made after registration will be eligible to earn double points 10/1–12/15/14. All Hertz Gold Plus Rewards program rules and restrictions apply. Dream Car Getaway Sweepstakes: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase will not improve your chances of winning. Open to legal residents of the contiguous U.S. and D.C., 25 or older. Ends 12/15/14. Void where prohibited or restricted. For full rules and complete terms and conditions, visit HertzDream.com.
Basic Economy is Delta’s value-fare product for price-driven customers. Basic Economy Product Attributes, 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.
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:
For all other carriers, customers need to claim their baggage and recheck with the airline separately ticketed.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs & Border Protection (CBP) will begin new layers of entry screening at five U.S. airports that receive over 94 percent of travelers from the Ebola-affected nations of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone this week.
The five airports are New York JFK International, Chicago O’Hare, Washington Dulles International, Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson, and Newark Liberty airports.
“Entry screening” for each traveler who has been in an affected country includes taking the traveler’s temperature; observing them for other symptoms of Ebola; and asking about their exposures and symptoms.These measures complement the exit screening protocols that have already been implemented in the affected West African countries.
The first-known Ebola patient in U.S. was admitted into hospital on Sept. 28th. He traveled from Liberia in late September to Texas via Brussels and Washington D.C.
Here are a few of questions and answers that may help you understand the situation when you travel.
Yes. For flights coming from West Africa, airports have put in to place temporary systems for checking passengers for fevers. An elevated temperature is one of the first symptoms of Ebola.
Yes. Airlines are allowed to deny boarding to any passenger who exhibits the symptoms and could potentially spread the virus through the flight.
Ebola is contagious if you come into contact with a person’s bodily fluids – blood, semen, urine, feces, etc. The Centers for Disease Control chief Tom Frieden said, "There is zero risk of transmission on the flight.”
All that said, use caution and your own judgment when travel.
Air Canada has begun cracking down on oversized carry-on bags as it plans to launch a $25 fee for the first checked bag beginning November, 2014.
The carrier has begun with a trial program at Pearson International Airport in Toronto with extra staff at gates to make sure carry-ons are within size and weight limits.
Air Canada cabin baggage rules provide for "one standard article and one personal article" on to its planes per passenger free of charge.Each article has a maximum weight limit of 10 kilograms.Standard articles should be no larger than 23 x 40 x 55 centimeters, and personal articles are limited to 16 x 33 x 43 centimeters.
*Photo Source: thinktankphoto.com.
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.
A dual-brand hotel next to Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond is being planned.
The hotel will be a Starwood property and operate under the Aloft and Element flags. These are the first Aloft and Element hotels in the Puget Sound region.
Starwood bills the Aloft brand as "urban cool in unexpected places" with "a forward design and tech-savvy space." Element properties, which have kitchens in the rooms, are extended-stay hotels. A conference center and a restaurant and bar will link the two hotels together.
It began with a video posted on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration YouTube channel. In it, FDA health promotion officer Lindsay Davison talks about TSA regulations regarding prescription drugs: "Passengers should inform [TSA] officers of medications and separate them from other belongings before screening begins."
Davison was actually quoting from a page on the TSA site called “What To Expect If A Passenger Needs Medication,” last revised on April 24, 2014.
That information turns out to be wrong. TSA has revised its site since then. Here is the current information:
United will have Personal Device Entertainment (PDE) on more than 200 aircrafts. PDE enables customers to access a free onboard library of movies and TV shows through personal decives such as smartphone, tablet or laptop.
Customers booked on PDE flights will receive an email the day before travel advising them that PDE will be available so they can come prepared with their devices.
United is also adding in-seat power to all PDE fleets. Additionally, nearly 500 newly installed electronics charging stations at airports enable customers to power up devices before boarding aircraft.
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.
Key Changes Summary
These changes apply only to Delta-marketed flights and for customers ticketed in Economy class.
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) would stop giving lucky, randomly selected air passengers PreCheck privileges, a practice which has allowed travelers to pass through faster airport security lines without having been fully vetted for and enrolled in PreCheck.
Meanwhile, the agency is still working to expand the successful PreCheck enrollment program. The program is now available at 118 major U.S. airports.
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:
Register today, then book and fly Delta or Delta Connection-marketed and -operated flights from Seattle by December 31, 2014, and you will earn double miles and double Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) on the nonstop segment out of or into Seattle. It's unlimited!
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.
Frontier currently has 3 levels of status in its mileage elite program – Base, Ascent, and Summit. As of February 20, 2015, the Ascent and Summit elite programs will merge to become only one status level – Frontier Elite. It is a blend of the two current tiers, with status being earned at 20,000 miles (currently 15,000 for Ascent and 25,000 for Summit), or 25 segments, and changes in benefits.
United Airlines is taking a humorous approach to its latest safety video, like the United flight attendant who steps into a cab and explains to the shocked cab driver how to buckle his seat belt, etc.
It’s a well done video shot around the planet, taking advantage of the latest shooting style and light humor common in many contemporary videos.
The Hampton Inn & Suites Bellevue Downtown-Seattle is situated across Lake Washington from downtown Seattle, WA. This hotel is presently accepting reservations for arrival November 13, 2014 and beyond.
Here is the address: 11405 Northeast 2nd Place, Bellevue, Washington, 98004, USA
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.
Here is the address: 200 110th Avenue NE, Bellevue, WA 98004
On June 20th, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced plans to implement the increased per-passenger Sept. 11 Security Fee to $5.60 per one-way trip effective July 21. Currently the fee is $2.50 per flight segment.
Under TSA’s interpretation of the law, a fee of $5.60 is imposed on each “one-way trip,” inclusive of connecting flights. Yet for a single fee to apply to a one-way trip, the connecting time between continental domestic flights must be four hours or less. For international flights and domestic flights outside of the continental U.S. (Alaska and Hawaii), the connecting time between flights must be 12 hours or less. If layover lasts 4+ hours (domestic flights) or 12+ hours (international flights), another $5.60 fee will be added.
Due to the new $15 per hour minimum wage requirement for certain businesses in SeaTac, MasterPark At SeaTac Airport starts charging a "Living Wage" Surcharge of 99 cents per day on top of other taxes and fees.
On April 28th, 2014, Lufthansa introduced optional, paid-for seat reservations in the lowest-priced Economy Class booking classes on intercontinental routes. Passengers will therefore be able to reserve the seat they want in advance on all long-haul flights for a uniform charge of $35/Euro 25 per flight segment.
It will still be possible to choose a seat free of charge when checking in online starting 23 hours before departure.
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.
The Port of Seattle welcomes Metsker Maps, historic Seattle cartography experts, as its newest store last week at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
The small, local family-owned business features unique maps, globes, books, guides, travel accessories and children’s items.
Metsker Maps has been a fixture in Seattle for over 60 years. The main store moved from Pioneer Square to the Pike Place Market in 2004.
The store is located post-security at the beginning of the B concourse next to McDonald’s.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a level 2 Travel Alert on Middle East Respiratory Syndrome(MERS) and provides special precautions for travelers.
CDC does not recommend that travelers change their plans because of MERS. CDC recommends that you pay attention to your health during and after your trip to countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula. Call a doctor right away if you develop fever and symptoms of lower respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, within 14 days after your travel.
MERS is caused by a coronavirus known as MERS-CoV. Symptoms of MERS have included fever, cough, and shortness of breath.MERS can affect anyone. MERS patients have ranged in age from 2 to 94 years old.
In honor of Oregon Wine Month, Alaska Airlines has partnered with the Oregon Wine Board and Travel Oregon to offer the "Oregon Wines Fly Free" Program.
Beginning May 1, visitors traveling from Oregon on an Alaska Airlines flight can check a case of Oregon wine for free.This will be a year-round program.
According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), 40% of travelers are being screened at expedited security lanes, resulting in faster-moving checkpoint lines. TSA plans to provide expedited screening to half of all fliers by the end of 2014. Travelers enrolled in the TSA's PreCheck program, military personnel and travelers deemed low-risk on a per-trip basis are given access to expedited security screening.
Frontier Airlines says it will cut its base fares by an average 12% while adding new fees for carry-on baggage and requests for particular seats. The airline also will charge $5 to $50 more for front-of-the-plane or exit-row seats with more legroom. Frontier already charges $1.99 for soda and bottled water on its flights.
The Transportation Security Administration is expanding the PreCheck expedited screening program to international airlines. On April 29th, Air Canada became the first international carrier to participate. Other international carriers are expected to join shortly.
Nine U.S. airlines currently participate in the program: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways, and Virgin America.
Newark Liberty International Airport’s AirTrain service will be partially shut down for much needed repairs through May 1 and completely suspended from May 1 – July 31, 2014. During the closure, free shuttle buses supplied by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey will serve as an alternate mode of transportation to/from the Hertz rental location and between terminals. Please make an allowance for possible delays when planning your travel.
Effective May 1, 2014, Delta Air Lines is making the following changes to their Skymiles Program:
Discontinued:All Mileage Plan elite level members will no longer receive the following:
The merged American Airlines and US Airways has made changes to their loyalty programs.
Among the key changes at American and US Airways:
Alaska Airlines will begin flying from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to Baltimore and Albuquerque, N.M. beginning in September.
As part of the service expansion, Alaska will drop some routes from its national schedule, including dropping flights between Los Angeles and San Jose, Calif., on April 5; Portland, Ore., and Long Beach, Calif., on Aug. 23; Atlanta and Portland on Sept. 1; and summer Anchorage-Denver flights.
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.
Alaska Airlines brings more flights and more low fares to Salt Lake City from Portland, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Boise and Las Vegas, plus a 3rd daily flight from Seattle. All new flights will begin in June 2014.
Register between now and June 15th, you will earn double elite qualifying miles will be earned between June 9th and August 1st. 2014.
Starting next month, passengers on certain United Airlines flights will be able to view more than 150 movies and nearly 200 TV programs for free on Apple devices outfitted with iOS 7.
To watch the free content, Users will have to download the latest version of the United app. Laptop owners will have to download and install a browser plug-in to watch certain types of content. Users will be able to download the app and plug-in at any time during their flight without having to purchase United Wi-Fi.
United will have the new system installed on most domestic aircraft by the end of 2014.
Register today, then book and fly Delta or Delta Connection®-marketed and -operated flights from Seattle (SEA) by December 31, 2014, and you will earn double miles and double Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) on the nonstop segment out of or into Seattle (SEA). The more you fly the more you earn—it's unlimited!
Although rules remain unchanged, United Airlines is look to enforce its policy more strictly. It has installed new equipment for checking bag sizes at many airports.Anyone stopped at security with bulky luggage will be sent back to the ticket counter to check the bag for a $25 fee .Passengers are allowed to take one bag aboard measuring no more than 9 inches by 14 inches by 22 inches, along with an additional small item such as a laptop bag or purse.
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.
Alaska Airlines is allowing customers to check one box of pineapple without charge on domestic itineraries from Hawaii stations to the mainland. The box must be properly packaged and meet Hawaii Agriculture regulations.
Alaska Airlines is going to add new daily routes between Seattle and New Orleans starting on June 12, Seattle and Tampa, FL starting on June 20, and Seattle and Detroit starting on September 4.
Southwest Announces New Routes From Dallas Love Field
Southwest Airlines has announced a line-up of 15 new routes from Dallas Love Field Airport. Starting from October 13 of 2014, the carrier will add non-stop services to Baltimore, Denver, Las Vegas, Orlando and Chicago, following by other routes including Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York and Phoenix the following month.
The new flights will be available for booking from May and expected to lead to more competitive fares, at least in the short time.
International Partner Miles Help Earn Elite Status with Alaska Airlines
Starting January 15, 2014, flying on Alaska Airlines’ international partners will earn credit towards your Elite Status. Alaska’s international partners include: Aeromexico, Air France, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, Fiji Airways, KLM, Korean Air, LAN and Qantas.
Alaska Airlines Brings More Nonstop Service to Salt Lake City
Alaska Airlines will bring more nonstop flights and more low fares to Salt Lake City from Los Angeles, Portland, San Diego, and San Jose, plus a 3rd daily flight from Seattle. All new flights will begin in June 2014. Double elite qualifying miles will be earned between June 9TH and August 1st, 2014 if you register between now and June 15th, 2014.
Customers Can Bid for An Upgrade on American Airlines
Customers can now bid on upgrades to first or business class cabins on some American Airlines flights. The airline's new Plusgrade program is being piloted in several markets and allows passengers to submit bids for upgrades six days before flight. However, the company declined to specify which markets are included in the trial. The airline will charge the customer if the bid is accepted, and says the program will not affect elite frequent-fliers' upgrade requests.
Delta will add new daily nonstop flights to Seattle from San Diego, San Francisco, Seoul, London, Hong Kong and Portland, Oregon beginning next year. The new service will provide customers with convenient connections to the airline's growing international network from Seattle.
Delta's new Seattle service includes:
Earn Double Miles on Alaska Airlines
You can earn Double Miles that credit towards status on Alaska Airlines’ flights to selected cities that pass through Seattle. You must register before your first qualifying flight between Seattle and Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Santa Rosa, San Diego and Las Vegas.
FAA Approves Use of Most Electronic Devices Throughout Flights
The Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday announced that airline customers will soon be able to use most of their electronic devices throughout their entire flight, accepting recommendations made recently by an agency advisory group. However, voice communication on cell phones remains banned.
The FAA expects customers will be able to use their devices from take-off to touch down by the end of the year, but left certification and implementation plans and timetables to the individual airlines.
Previously Executive Travel has provided free Automatic Flight Insurance on all tickets we issue for our corporate travelers. This insurance covered loss of life, limb or sight.
The insurance was provided through Cook & Co which underwrites the insurance with Zurich American Insurance Company. Zurich is the only company that offers this type of flight insurance and as yet does not have the proper filings in Washington State, so this insurance is no longer available at this time.
Zurich is working on obtaining the proper filings. When that happens we will again offer the insurance and notify you.
If you are thinking about investing in an electronic expense reporting product, you should be aware that there are several products available and there are compatibility issues among them. Executive Travel can provide guidance and recommendation as to what system best fits your company---give us a call.