JUNE 10, 2020

At Lawyers Travel, we remain committed to providing excellent service to our valued clients throughout the COVID-19 global pandemic. Click the links below to view our travel information and traveler health and safety resources regarding COVID-19.

Lawyers Travel invites travel managers, travel buyers, procurement and administrators to join our webinar on Wednesday, June 17, 2020 at 12:00pm EST. Hear from top travel buyers, risk and industry experts on this engaging panel as they discuss their best practices as they prepare for the return of business travel.

Topics include:
  • Travel policy changes
  • Risk & traveler safety
  • Travel budgets and predictions
  • Supplier trends
  • Traveler communication

Please click "READ MORE" below to register for the event.

US airlines are boosting their flight schedules in preparation for the summer after experiencing an increase in traveler demand, reports NPR. Of the three major US carriers, American and United have both announced they are increasing flights over the next month. American Airlines said it is planning to fly more than 55% of its July 2019 domestic schedule next month after average daily passenger numbers increased from about 32,000 in April to more than 110,000 in late May. United Airlines will reinstate flights at over 150 of its North American destinations next month, the company said in an email to NPR. The flights will boost the airline's domestic capacity to 30% year over year. And, while Delta announced last week that it will suspend operations to 11 US markets beginning July 8, the airline also announced earlier this month that it is adding more flights to its June schedule in comparison to May, primarily in Atlanta, New York and between hubs. In addition, Frontier Airlines is adding 18 new routes to its summer schedule.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened over one million travelers between Friday and Sunday, the busiest weekend since March, reports Travel Pulse. Between June 5th and June 7th, over 1.2 million people passed through airport checkpoints across the US, the highest total since more than 1.5 million travelers were screened between March 20th and March 22nd. TSA officials also announced that June 5th was the first day the agency screened more than 400,000 travelers since March 22nd, with a total of 419,675 travelers. As states gradually reopen as COVID-19 related travel restrictions are lifted, the agency has reported an uptick in travelers.

Delta Air Lines has announced that it will continue to block the selection of middle seats and is capping seating in every cabin through September 30, 2020. “Reducing the overall number of customers on every aircraft across the fleet is one of the most important steps we can take to ensure a safe experience for our customers and people,” said Chief Customer Experience Officer Bill Lentsch. “Delta is offering the highest standards in safety and cleanliness so we’re ready for customers when they’re ready to fly again.” Through September 30th, Delta will ensure more space for travelers on all aircraft by capping seating at 50% in First Class; 60% in Main Cabin, Delta Comfort+, and Delta Premium Select; and 75% in Delta One to reduce the total number of travelers on board. Additionally, all middle seats will continue to be shown as unavailable or not assignable when selecting seats. Delta will also continue to block the selection of some aisle seats in aircraft with 2x2 seating configurations.

The US is reversing a decision to prohibit Chinese passenger airlines outright but will limit their flights, reports CNBC. The new order limits Chinese carriers to two weekly flights to the US — half the number that Chinese officials allow that country’s airlines to fly to the US. The Department of Transportation (DOT) said the new measure was needed “to restore a competitive balance and fair and equal opportunity among US and Chinese air carriers in the scheduled passenger service marketplace.”

The US and Canada are set to extend a ban on non-essential travel to late July as both countries seek to control the spread of COVID-19, reports Skift. The two countries introduced month-long restrictions in March and renewed them in April and May. The ban, currently due to expire on June 21st, does not affect trade. Canadian and US sources said although the governments had not yet taken a final decision, a further extension is highly likely. “It’s going to be a clean rollover” on June 21st, said a US source who requested anonymity given the sensitivity of the situation. “We will want to look at it again in July.”

Delta Air Lines will suspend operations in 11 US markets beginning July 8, 2020, while traveler volume is significantly reduced to help lower costs amid COVID-19. As permitted by the US Department of Transportation (DOT), Delta will suspend operations to the below 11 airports, which make up approximately 5 percent of the domestic airports Delta serves. All of these airports will continue to receive service from at least one other carrier after Delta suspends its operations.

Suspended airports include:
  • Aspen, CO (ASE)
  • Bangor, ME (BGR)
  • Erie, PA (ERI)
  • Flint, MI (FNT)
  • Fort Smith, AR (FSM)
  • Lincoln, NE (LNK)
  • New Bern/Morehead/Beaufort, NC (EWN)
  • Peoria, IL (PIA)
  • Santa Barbara, CA (SBA)
  • Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, PA (AVP)
  • Williston, ND (XWA)

Delta will re-accommodate travelers whose travel is impacted as a result of service suspensions in those airports.

United Airlines will enable touchless baggage check at an additional 195 airports, reports Travel Weekly. The move means that the carrier will be offering its touchless solution at a total of approximately 220 airports, said managing director of insights and innovation Maria Walter. The broad deployment will come less than a month after United’s introduction of the technology, which it developed in response to COVID-19. The touchless experience has been enabled by a software update to the carrier’s traditional check-in kiosks. To use the feature, travelers must check-in prior to airport arrival and pre-pay baggage fees. They can then scan a mobile or printed boarding pass in a slot just below the kiosk screen. Bag tags will automatically print. United has been the first major US airline to deploy touchless bag-check capabilities.

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has unveiled a new round of safety measures aimed at airlines, airports, meeting and event organizers and tour operators in an effort to propel the post-COVID-19 recovery, reports Travel Pulse. WTTC previously released its Safe Travels protocols for the hospitality sector as well as outdoor retail businesses. Developed following close consultation with WTTC members such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Emirates Group and Etihad, among others, guidance for the aviation industry includes enhanced cleaning procedures, personal protective equipment (PPE) and retraining for staff, signage to limit interaction and queuing at touchpoints and the implementation of more contactless processes. WTTC is also recommending that airlines limit movement within the cabin as much as possible by boarding travelers from the back of the plane to the front and from the window seats out to the aisle seats. Convention centers and meetings and event organizers are encouraged to implement physical distancing, reduce venue capacity limits, consider pre-arrival risk assessment questionnaires for participants and create isolation units outside the venue where possible for anyone showing COVID-19 symptoms.