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Lawyers Travel's weekly client e-newsletter, the Informed Traveler, keeps readers updated on travel industry news and trends.

Following is a recap of February's Top 5 (most clicked by Lawyers Travel's clients) e-newsletter stories.

1. THE AIRLINES HALTING CHINA FLIGHTS AS VIRUS OUTBREAK SPREADS

The coronavirus outbreak has disrupted flights to and from China as airlines around the globe halt service, reports Bloomberg. Commercial flights to and from Wuhan, where the virus is centered, have mostly stopped. Additionally, many carriers from around the world have suspended flights either to China’s biggest cities or to mainland China, altogether.

2. CDC ISSUES NEW TRAVEL ADVISORIES FOR IRAN, ITALY, JAPAN AND SOUTH KOREA

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued new travel advisories for Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea amid the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) outbreak. The CDC issued a "level 3" advisory for South Korea, which warns to "avoid nonessential travel" to the country. While the US government has not issued a "do not travel" advisory as it did for China, the CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to South Korea. Similarly, the US State Department issued a level 2 travel advisory ("exercise increased caution") for South Korea. Additionally, the CDC has announced a "level 2" travel alert for Iran, Italy and Japan, recommending high-risk travelers such as older adults and those with chronic medical conditions consider postponing nonessential travel to those countries.

3. NEW AMTRAK TRAINS ENTER TESTING PHASE

Amtrak’s new Acela prototype trains are entering a high-speed testing phase at the Transportation Technology Center in La Junta, Colorado, reports Transportation Today. The prototype set will undergo nine months of testing that will include the brakes, train control management systems and railway dynamics. Acela trains are the fastest, all-electric intercity trains available in the United States. The prototypes are the first of 28 new Acela trains scheduled to enter service throughout the Northeast Corridor in 2021. They will accommodate approximately 25 percent more customers than the current Acela service. The trains will also help Amtrak further reduce its carbon footprint.

4. HOUSE INTRODUCES BILL THAT WOULD BUY TIME FOR REAL ID ADOPTION

In an attempt to mitigate potential travel disruption that may be caused by the upcoming October 1st REAL ID deadline, a proposed bipartisan bill would allow PreCheck membership to be a temporary alternative to having a REAL ID at domestic airports, reports Travel Weekly. The proposed measure would require the TSA to accept PreCheck enrollment as an alternative to REAL ID-compliant identification for domestic air travel until April 1, 2022, to give people more time to get REAL IDs. For those arriving at airports on October 1st without REAL IDs, the bill would require the TSA to develop and implement alternative screening procedures. The bill would also allow state motor vehicle agencies to establish procedures for people to submit electronic documents and facial images when applying for a REAL ID-compliant identification. 

5. BAGS STARTS REMOTE BAGGAGE CHECK-IN OPERATIONS AT BOSTON LOGAN AIRPORT

Remote baggage checking and handling service provider Bags has started operating a remote baggage check-in system at Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), reports Airport Technology. The company is responsible for operating the Check & Go remote baggage check-in service for Terminals A, B and C of the airport. This move adheres to Boston Airport’s new rules, which mandate that most rideshare drop-offs must take place in the central parking garage rather than the terminal. With this service, travelers can check-in baggage at the centralized Bags drop-off location with a Bags agent, who will provide them with their boarding passes and luggage tags. Travelers can then take the elevator and walkway to the terminal for flight boarding.