MAY 13, 2020

At Ovation, we remain committed to providing excellent service to our valued clients throughout the COVID-19 global pandemic. Click the “Read More” link below to view our travel resources with travel information regarding COVID-19 including: Airline Face Covering Regulations, Passport Delays, Airline and Hotel Refund Policies, Loyalty Program Extensions and Real ID Extensions.

Starting today, Delta Air Lines has announced it will suspend service at 10 airports in markets with more than one Delta-served airport to allow more front-line employees to minimize COVID-19 exposure risk. Suspended airports include:

  • Akron-Canton Airport (CAK)
  • Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW)
  • Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR)
  • Long Beach Airport (LGB)
  • Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (MHT)
  • Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport (PHF)
  • Oakland International Airport (OAK)
  • Stewart International Airport (SWF)
  • T. F. Green International Airport (PVD)
  • Westchester County Airport (HPN)

Delta has suspended operations at these airports until at least September 2020. Ovation has generated reports of affected travelers and is contacting them to assist with re-accommodations.

Beginning June 1st, Amtrak is restoring Acela service on the Northeast Corridor on a modified schedule in response to anticipated increased demand. According to Amtrak, modified service will include the restoration of three weekday Acela roundtrips, and Northeast Regional frequencies will also be increased from eight to 10 roundtrips. In addition to the Acela and Northeast Regional, trains will be restored to service by monitoring demand, working with state partners and continuing to prioritize customer and employee safety.

Additionally, Amtrak continues to take extra steps to sanitize stations and trains, and has begun requiring all customers in stations and on trains and thruway buses to wear a facial covering. Facial coverings can be removed when customers are eating in designated areas, in their private rooms or seated alone or with a travel companion in their own pair of seats. Small children who are not able to maintain a facial covering are exempt from this requirement. Customers must supply their own facial covering.

Beginning June 1st, Frontier Airlines will begin conducting temperature screenings for all travelers prior to boarding, reports Business Travel News. The carrier will screen travelers with touchless thermometers, and travelers with temperature at 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher will be given time to rest before a second screening. If their temperature does not go below 100.4 degrees upon that second screening, the traveler will not be allowed to board and Frontier will rebook them for travel on a later date. Frontier is the first US carrier to announce temperature checks; Air Canada announced earlier this week it would conduct them beginning May 15th.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has announced that its employees must wear facial protection while at screening checkpoints. The decision to require TSA officers to wear facial protection is part of an additional measure to help minimize spread of COVID-19 and help raise the overall health and safety level inside the airport environment. “TSA is making this change to protect our employees and travelers as social distancing cannot always be maintained in the screening process.” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. TSA is also encouraging travelers to wear facial protection, and individuals may be asked to momentarily lower their facial covering for identity verification purposes or if screening equipment alarms on it. TSA is considering further changes to its screening system to further minimize the risk and to limit physical interactions in the security checkpoint. The agency will continue to communicate any changes to the screening experience with the traveling public as these decisions are made.

Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) has announced that all travelers and employees must wear face coverings in all public areas within Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) terminals, reports Airport Technology. The new measure is in accordance with the guidance issued by public health officials and the policy issued by the City of Los Angeles to mandate face coverings. Travelers may be asked to remove or adjust the face coverings by officers from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) during security screening. LAX joins a growing number of airports now requiring face coverings including Denver (DEN), San Diego (SAN), San Francisco (SFO) and Seattle-Tacoma (SEA).

Lyft is ramping up efforts to protect riders and drivers by announcing a Health Safety Program with new policies, commitments and products designed to protect riders and drivers. Lyft’s Health Safety Program will include:

  • Personal health certification for drivers and riders
  • Required face coverings for drivers and riders
  • Health safety education for drivers and riders
  • Distribution of cleaning supplies and face coverings for drivers
  • Personal Health Certification  

Before using Lyft, every rider and driver will be required to self-certify that they will wear face coverings throughout the ride, are symptom-free and will follow CDC and local guidelines related to COVID-19. Anyone who does not agree to the personal health certification will be unable to request a ride or drive with Lyft.

The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) has suspended the air transportation federal excise taxes (FET) that apply to commercial operations, including Part 135 operators, in order to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 on the general aviation industry. As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which provides more than $2 trillion of relief to the economy, NBAA has secured the following excise tax relief provisions included in the legislation:

  • The federal air transportation excise taxes that apply to commercial operations (i.e., Part 135 flights) are suspended effective March 27, 2020, through January 1, 2021
  • The suspension of taxes is not retroactive and only applies to flights conducted after March 27, 2020
  • The suspension includes all taxes that a commercial operator normally pays, including the 7.5% tax on amounts paid, applicable domestic and international segment fees and the 4.3 cents per gallon portion of the fuel tax (the 0.1 cents per gallon tax to fund the leaking underground storage tank fund is not included in the suspension)
  • Any business that was collecting or remitting these taxes before is covered by the suspension. For example, if an air charter broker collects and remits these taxes on behalf of an operator, the suspension would apply to them
  • In addition to Part 135 operations, there are some Part 91 flights that the IRS deems commercial, such as timeshare flights. The suspension would apply to these flights as well

In addition, the 6.25% tax on air transportation of property is suspended through January 1, 2021.

Delta Air Lines and LATAM Airlines Group and its affiliates have signed a trans-American Joint Venture Agreement that will combine the carriers' route networks between North and South America. The agreement will offer travelers more options, frequent flyer benefits, smoother connections and mutual lounge access. “While we remain focused on navigating the COVID-19 crisis and protecting the safety and well-being of our passengers and employees, we also have to look to the future to ensure the best possible customer experience and support the long-term sustainability of the group,” said Roberto Alvo, CEO, LATAM Airlines Group. “Our bilateral strategic alliance with Delta remains a priority and we firmly believe that it still promises to offer customers the leading travel experience and connectivity in the Americas.”

The British government has told airlines it will introduce a 14-day quarantine period for most people arriving from abroad to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, reports Skift. Airlines UK, which represents British Airways, Easyjet and other British airlines, said the move required “a credible exit plan” and should be reviewed weekly. The quarantine plan was first reported by The Times newspaper, which said Prime Minister Boris Johnson would announce that travelers arriving at airports and ports, including Britons returning from abroad, will have to self-isolate for a fortnight. Under measures that are likely to come into effect in early June, travelers will have to provide the address at which they will self-isolate on arrival, The Times said. “These measures will help protect the British public and reduce the transmission of the virus as we move into the next phase of our response,” The Times quoted a government source as saying.