NOVEMBER 11, 2020

At Ovation, we remain committed to providing excellent service to our valued clients throughout the COVID-19 global pandemic. Click the link below to view our travel resources guide which includes traveler health & safety information, interactive risk maps, client communications, travel management best practices, webinar recordings and more regarding COVID-19.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has published some tips on Thanksgiving and holiday travel, helping travelers to be as prepared as possible for holiday travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tips include arriving early, social distancing and wearing a mask. Travelers should also know what foods are allowed in carry-on luggage and how to safely transport it through the security screening. TSA also recommends enrolling in TSA PreCheck to help reduce touchpoints and expedite screening, as well as downloading the myTSA app and following their Twitter account for tips and last-minute information. Click "Read More" below to read TSA's full list of tips.

As the travel industry continues to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, airports and airlines have started their own COVID-19 testing operations as a way to get travelers back in the skies, especially as holiday travel approaches. Major US carriers like American Airlines, United Airlines, and Hawaiian Airlines have embraced testing as a model, offering travelers a path to visit locations like Hawaii and even London. Internationally, Lufthansa and Emirates have also turned to on-the-ground testing. Beyond the airlines, airports are also doing their part by setting up COVID-19 testing sites in terminals. Travel + Leisure has put together a list of US airports offering on-site COVID-19 testing with specific information followed by a list of international airports that are also testing travelers. Click "Read More" to view the comprehensive list.

American Airlines has announced that it is offering AAdvantage members a new in-flight Wi-Fi subscription service, as well as giving all travelers access to free holiday movies on the American Airlines app, reports Travel Pulse. Beginning November 10th, AAdvantage members can purchase American's new Wi-Fi subscription plan for $10. The new plan works on all three in-flight Wi-Fi providers, Gogo, Panasonic and Viasat. Previously, the plan was only valid on Gogo- and Viasat-equipped aircraft. The new Wi-Fi plan is also available on most domestic flights and those between the US and Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America. Additionally, American has included its annual holiday movie channel with its in-flight entertainment, available for free on the American Airlines app. Travelers will have access to a wide variety of holiday classics including A Christmas Story, Home Alone and Elf.

United Airlines has announced that it will be returning service to New York City's John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) on February 1, 2021, with nonstop service to the west coast. Effective February of next year, United will serve both JFK to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and JFK to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) with two round-trips for each west coast city. The flights will utilize reconfigured Boeing 767-300ER aircraft with additional business class seats. The carrier will operate from JFK Terminal 7. The resumption of the services is part of United's plan to increase flights on routes where travel demand is higher.

On Sunday, November 8th, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened 973,020 travelers at US airports, an improvement over the previous Sunday and in line with what the TSA has been screening since about mid-October, reports Travel Market Report. The TSA has still not reached 1 million travelers since it broke through that threshold on October 18th, but a couple of news items that broke over the weekend have shown some positive signs of trends moving in the right direction for the industry. The first is that a number of airlines have begun boosting service, particularly over the Thanksgiving travel week in the US, typically the busiest travel period of the year, in anticipation of a rise in demand. Both United and JetBlue announced that they are adding additional flights during the holiday travel period to accommodate an increase in demand. The second significant piece of good news came on Monday morning when Pfizer and BioNTech, a Germany company, announced that their COVID-19 vaccine was found to be more than 90% effective. While almost every single travel stock publicly traded jumped in value on the news, there is still a ways to go for the vaccine to be fully approved by the FDA and then distributed worldwide. The news is significant because, according to consumer surveys, a vaccine could be a tipping point in getting the travel industry back on the road to normalcy.

Amtrak has announced that it is commemorating its 20 years of Acela service throughout the Northeast Corridor (NEC) by offering travelers the opportunity to travel on its premium product one way in Business class for only $20 from anywhere between Boston and Washington, DC. The sale is available for purchase until tomorrow, Thursday, November 12th, and is valid for travel between November 16th through December 17th with blackout dates during Thanksgiving week (November 24, 25, and 28 through 30) and on Fridays and Sundays. “Celebrating 20 years of Acela service is an incredible milestone that we are proud to celebrate. We would like to thank our customers and give them a chance to see the changes we’ve made to the experience by offering an exceptionally low fare of only $20,” said Amtrak Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing and Revenue Officer Roger Harris. “For anyone who has been curious about the premium travel experience on our flagship product, this is your chance to ride Acela for a special, low fare that is only available for two days.”

United Airlines is opening its United Club locations in its Houston, Denver and Washington, DC, hubs as well as in Honolulu this month, reports Business Travel News. The carrier already opened its Denver Club near Gate B32 on November 1st, as well as its Houston Club near gate C1. United's Washington Dulles Club near gate D8 is slated to open on November 18th, followed by the Honolulu lounge opening on November 21st. United also will be testing new food options that include pre-packaged breakfast parfaits, sandwiches, wraps, salads and desserts at its Denver, Chicago and Honolulu Club locations, according to the carrier. United Club locations have been adapted to minimize COVID-19 spread, including requiring all travelers inside the lounges to wear face coverings unless eating or drinking, limiting capacity, installing plexiglass dividers at service areas and bars and rearranging furniture to promote social distancing.

Ovation Travel Group’s travel consultants have compiled an exclusive list of the top leisure destinations for 2021 based on advance sales and client aspirations. The pandemic has made Ovation’s customers more ambitious than ever, with destinations such as Maldives, Tanzania and Antarctica included on the list. Of the top 21 destinations for 2021, only seven are in the US. “During the past eight months, the travel habits of our clients have certainly changed,” says Tina Rose, managing director of Ovation. “Intrepid travelers have been grounded. But the love of travel is still deeply rooted in their DNA.” Ovation presents these recommendations for travel in 2021 in the hopes that these destinations will be accessible once the global pandemic starts to subside. Click "Read More" below to view the full list.