Informed Traveler 2018.jpg

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.

1. AIRLINES AROUND THE WORLD ARE SUSPENDING FLIGHTS TO CHINA AS CORONAVIRUS SPREADS

Airlines based in North America, Europe and Asia are canceling flights to China as Chinese authorities work to contain the spread of the coronavirus, reports CNN. Air Asia, Air India, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Lufthansa and United Airlines have announced plans to reduce the number of flights they are operating to China or stop flying to the country entirely. Other airlines are offering customers refunds on flights to China.

2. DOT PROPOSES NEW RULES FOR EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMALS ON PLANES

A new proposal from the Department of Transportation (DOT) proposes to limit the definition of a service animal to a dog, reversing a policy that permits a variety of other animals to fly under that framework, reports ABC News. The DOT’s proposed new rule would also no longer require airlines to recognize emotional support animals. Department officials noted that airlines have complained of fraudulent incidents related to the declaration of certain pets as emotional support animals, both as safety risks and through the loss of millions in unpaid pet carriage fees.

3. WHITE HOUSE CONSIDERING SIGNIFICANT EXPANSION OF TRAVEL BAN

The White House is considering expanding its travel ban to additional countries, reports Travel Weekly. A document outlining the plans has been circulating the White House, but the countries that would be affected if it moves forward are blacked out, according to two of the people who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the measure has yet to be finalized. It’s unclear exactly how many countries would be included in the expansion if it proceeds, but the two sources said that seven countries, a majority of them Muslim, would be added to the list. The most recent iteration of the ban includes restrictions on five majority-Muslim nations: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, as well as North Korea and Venezuela.

4. FAA BANS US AIRLINES FROM FLYING OVER IRAN AND IRAQ

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAMS) establishing a no-fly zone over Iran and Iraq, plus nearby seas, after airstrikes were launched on US personnel in the region, reports Business Insider. According to the Associated Press, orders like this are meant to prevent civilian planes from being mistaken for military aircraft during an armed conflict. The ban does not affect non-US carriers, though it is likely that many airlines around the world will follow the guidance.

5. FACIAL RECOGNITION FOR GLOBAL ENTRY GAINING POPULARITY

Facial recognition technology has been added to the Global Entry program at a limited number of airports in the US and overseas, allowing international travelers to navigate re-entry at a much faster pace, reports Travel Pulse. At 15 airports including Detroit, Miami, New York-JFK, Houston-Intercontinental, Dallas-Fort Worth and Chicago-O’Hare, Global Entry members can now scan their passport at a kiosk, have their face scanned by facial recognition technology and give the printout to an agent to exit the airport or head to baggage claim. Fingerprint scans are no longer necessary for these travelers, as the new technology matches travelers' facial scans to pictures in government databases, such as passport or visa photos.