Lawyers Travel's weekly client e-newsletter, the Informed Traveler, keeps readers updated on travel industry news and trends.
Following is a recap of December's Top 5 (most clicked by Lawyers Travel's clients) e-newsletter stories.
Delta Air Lines is hiring 12,000 new employees in 2020, including 1,300 pilots and 2,500 flight attendants, reports The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "We are hiring pilots, we're hiring flight attendants, we're hiring ground staff," said Delta CEO Ed Bastian. "We're in the process of hiring 6,000 people this year and at least a like amount next year." Much of the hiring is aimed at replacing employees who are retiring, while the airline is also working to keep up with growing volumes of passengers flying on its planes.
Uber and Lyft have confirmed that they will stop curbside service at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), reports The Associated Press. The decision comes after the City Council voted to raise fees for pickups and drop-offs at PHX. PHX is one of the largest commercial US airports, serving the nation's fifth largest city and some 44 million passengers annually. PHX officials say ridesharing operators represented just 9.3% of the commercial business when they began at the airport in June 2016 but now represent 70 percent of the commercial traffic. Neither Uber or Lyft has provided an exact date for stopping airport operations, although both have said it will be before February 1st, the date the fees are set to increase.
American Airlines is now offering international passengers the ability to scan their passport within the carrier's mobile app, reports Travel Weekly. "Mobile passport-scanning removes a time-consuming step, providing our customers with a smoother check-in experience for international flights," said Maya Leibman, American's Chief Information Officer. Travelers using the feature can skip the visual passport check at the airport check-in counter. When using the app, users will be prompted to enter their passport information and then scan the passport with an iOS or Android device. The app will then securely transmit the information embedded in the passport's electronic chip. American says it is the first airline to offer such a service.
Amtrak is contemplating new fees for changing itineraries, and may also start selling non-refundable tickets, reports Business Traveller. According to an internal Amtrak memo that was leaked to the media, Amtrak is considering making “Saver” fares non-refundable after 24 hours of purchase and adding change and cancellation fees to “Value” class fares. Also under consideration, cancellation of "Value" tickets would incur a 25 percent fee; changes made within two weeks of travel would incur a 15 percent fee. The potential changes are similar to charges and products used in the airline industry and could come as soon as January 2020.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has announced the expansion of its TSA Precheck expedited screening program with the addition of two more airlines, Alitalia Airlines and Qantas Airways. The two airlines bring the total number of TSA Precheck participating domestic and international carriers to 73. According to the TSA, 93% of TSA Precheck travelers waited less than 5 minutes to pass through security in November 2019, despite a record number of travelers during the month.