Lawyers Travel's weekly client e-newsletter, the Informed Traveler, keeps readers updated on travel industry news and trends.
Following is a recap of January's top 5 (most clicked by Lawyers Travel's clients) e-newsletter stories.
The US government has extended its existing COVID-19 entry requirements for international travelers until mid-April, reports Business Travel News. The current rule, which requires international travelers to the US to be fully vaccinated, had been due to end on January 8. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has now extended that deadline to April 10. The entry requirements apply to any non-US citizen traveling to the US. In order to enter the country, international travelers must provide proof of at least two COVID-19 vaccine doses or an acceptable single-dose vaccine, such as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, prior to their flight. Foreign airlines are also mandated to deny boarding to any non-US travelers who do not fulfil these vaccination requirements. The US first put the requirements in place in October 2021, when the country reopened its borders to international travelers after being closed for nearly two years due to the pandemic. The decision to extend them comes after several European countries implemented new testing rules for travelers from China, which is experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak after lifting its zero-COVID policy and reopening its borders.
United Airlines has opened a new 17,000 square foot United Club in Terminal 1 at Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD), reports Business Traveler. The new club lounge is double the size of the previous club and includes seats for more than 400 guests, ranging from recliners, couches, and chairs. A dedicated wellness room is also available for travelers, as well as free high-speed Wi-Fi throughout the lounge. Visitors can self-scan at e-gates to enter the space, and United has also provided ‘Agent on Demand’ kiosks, where travelers can instantly and remotely communicate with customer service agents over text, phone call, or video. The new lounge is located in Terminal 1’s C concourse near gate C10, and is open daily between the hours of 5:00 am and 9:00 pm CT. The new United Club at O’Hare is open to Polaris business, international business, and premium transcontinental business class travelers, as well as those flying business class with other Star Alliance carriers. Business class travelers will not be able to bring a guest, although those holding first-class tickets with eligible airlines can do so.
The United States will require a negative COVID-19 test for travelers to the US from China, reports Business Travel News. Beginning January 5, 2023, all air travelers ages 2 and up will need to provide a negative test to their airline no more than two days prior to their departure from China, Hong Kong, or Macau. Should a traveler test positive more than 10 days before a flight, they can provide documentation of recovery in lieu of the negative test result, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Airlines must confirm the negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of the recovery for all travelers before they board or deny boarding to the traveler. The requirement applies to all travelers regardless of nationality and vaccination status. It also applies to individuals traveling from China via a third country transit, and to travelers connecting through the US onward to further destinations. The US is one of several countries requiring such testing after the Chinese government announced it was lifting its COVID-19 requirements in December.
Delta Air Lines has announced that it will offer free Wi-Fi to all travelers on board most domestic flights beginning February 1, making Delta the first major US carrier to offer free Wi-Fi across its fleet. The airline will offer the service on more than 700 aircraft by the end of 2023 and expects to bring free Wi-Fi on international and regional aircraft by the end of 2024. “It’s going to be free, it’s going to be fast, and it's going to be available for everyone,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said. He added that the airline invested more than $1 billion in Wi-Fi technology over the past few years. Travelers will need to be a member of Delta's free SkyMiles loyalty program to access the on-board internet; those who aren’t members will have to pay a flat fee of $10. Additionally, Delta announced its plans for Delta Sync Exclusives hub — a new SkyMiles-unlocked mobile platform coming this spring aimed at elevating the in-flight connectivity experience with exclusive offers, access, and entertainment.
Delta Air Lines will launch direct flights from Los Angeles to New Zealand and increase transatlantic service from its hubs in New York and Atlanta, reports Travel + Leisure. The flight between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Auckland will operate daily beginning October 28; with this route, Delta said it will be the only US carrier to directly link the two cities. Delta will also add a new daily flight from Atlanta to Nice, France, beginning May 12. The carrier will additionally increase service to several cities, including making its Atlanta to Tel Aviv, Israel, route daily beginning April 16 and adding a third daily route from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Paris, France, starting May 2. “With more than 1,750 weekly flights to 85 destinations around the globe this summer, Delta is well positioned to deliver on its plans to fully restore its network in 2023,” Joe Esposito, Delta’s SVP for Network Planning, said in a statement.