The American Society of Travel Advisors is asking the government to lift the ban on cruise ships, arguing that airlines and hotels are operating and cruise ships in other countries are allowed to sail. Zane Kerby, ASTA president and CEO, said the industry is willing to establish safety protocols, and surveys indicate the public is willing to sail.
United will be the first US airline to offer pre-flight COVID-19 testing for passengers, including at-home tests and rapid testing at the airport. The airline will test the program on flights from San Francisco to Hawaii starting Oct. 15, when the islands are scheduled to reopen to tourists under rules that require them to submit negative tests.
"I take every call as though it's my first call," says Alaska Airlines reservation agent Kevin Tobey. "I still truly want to help the person on the other end asking me something I've been asked a thousand times." Tobey, who started as a ramp worker for Alaska's Horizon Air affiliate in 1994, is known for his positive attitude.
Ad tech firms like Koddi are expanding services to alternative accommodations like vacation rental homes and short-term rental apartments. Booking.com reports that 40% of its second quarter reservations were for alternative accommodations, indicating a new marketing and distribution tool.
In a message to customers, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian and Dr. Henry Ting of the Mayo Clinic highlighted the measures Delta has implemented to prioritize the health and safety of customers. Delta has delivered more than 100 enhanced cleanliness and safety innovations, including installing thousands of hand sanitizer station on board, replacing HEPA filters twice as often as recommended and partnering with the Mayo Clinic, Quest Diagnostics and CVS Health to create an employee COVID-19 testing program.
"The industry is in dire straits," says Nicholas Calio, president and CEO of Airlines for America. Tens of thousands of airline employees' jobs are being threatened as federal payroll aid is about to run out on Sept. 30. "Our airline jobs keep a lot of other people employed. We have six days left to get something done before we fall off this cliff where 100,000 employees are going to be out of their jobs," Calio told Tom Costello on NBC Nightly News.
The latest update to American Airlines' iOS app supports touchless check-in with QR code scanning and adds a widget that provides flight status and gate information. The airline is testing the check-in feature at its Dallas hub.
United Airlines has added an interactive feature to its website that allows passengers to search for destinations that fit their budget and offer features they want, from scuba diving to breweries. "Where in the past, more people would look for flights to specific destinations on specific dates, we're seeing that today, travelers are often more open about the destinations that they would like to visit," said United spokeswoman Christine Salamone.
Washington state is setting uniform requirements for safety and social distancing protocols at airports as well as recommendations for airlines, Gov. Jay Inslee announced at a news conference that included executives from Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines. "Most airlines are already doing these things during the passenger check-in process, and I appreciate their commitment to continuing these important practices," Inslee said.
As of October, Newark Liberty International Airport will have replaced all of its diesel shuttle buses with electric buses. The move is three months ahead of schedule.
- Page 1