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 September's Top 5 (most clicked by Lawyers Travel's clients) e-newsletter stories.

1. Real ID Act Update: State Compliance Deadlines are Approaching

As the deadline for state Real ID compliance approaches, travelers should be aware of their state's status regarding compliance of the Real ID act. As of today, 33 states and Washington, D.C. are issuing licenses and identification cards that meet Real ID standards. The remaining 17 states and 5 U.S. territories have until October 10, 2018, to comply or be granted an extra extension. States and territories that need more time are not likely to have trouble getting additional extensions, said DHS director of identity and credentialing Steve Yonkers. However, the "real" deadline is Oct. 1, 2020, Yonkers said. After that, all U.S. airline passengers will be required to present compliant IDs at TSA checkpoints. To read more from Business Travel News, click here.

To view each state/U.S. territory's current compliance status and other topics involving the REAL ID Act, click here to access the Department of Homeland Security's website. For a list of FAQs regarding the Real ID Act, click here.

2. American, Delta and United Increase Checked Bag Fees

American Airlines has joined Delta Air Lines and United Airlines in raising fees for checked bags. The three carriers have raised their checked bag fees by 5 dollars, now charging $30 for the first checked bag and $40 for the second checked bag. To read more from Business Insider, click here.

3. United Implements New Boarding Process

United Airlines has implemented a new boarding process after testing several different boarding options in the last year. There will now be two lanes for boarding that are color coded. Group 1 will board through the blue lane (lane 1) and group 2 will board through the green lane (lane 2). Groups 3, 4 and 5 will follow after group 2 in the green lane, while groups 1 and 2 may continue to board through the blue lane. Additionally, United is giving new boarding perks to frequent flyers. United MileagePlus Premier 1K customers can now pre-board, rather than boarding in group 1, and Premier Gold customers have been moved from group 2 to group 1. For United's full boarding process and list of boarding groups, click here.

4. Airport Security Trays Are One of the Most Germ-Filled Items at Airport

A recent study from a team of experts at the UK's University of Nottingham and the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare has revealed that airport security trays are the biggest culprit for spreading germs in airports, reports CNN. The study found evidence of viruses on 10% of all the surfaces they tested. Other germ hotspots were shop payment terminals, staircase rails, passport checking counters, children's play areas and in the air itself. "This study supports the case for improved public awareness of how viral infections spread," said Professor of Health Protection, Jonathan Van Tram, from the School of Medicine at the University of Nottingham. "People can help to minimize contagion by hygienic hand washing and coughing into a handkerchief, tissue or sleeve at all times but especially in public places." To read more, click here.

5. Congress May Require More Legroom on Planes

Congress is considering mandating the FAA to establish minimum airline seat sizes, as well as to investigate the size and number of airplane lavatories and establish new standards for allowing service animals to fly with their human owners, reports USA Today. The proposals were included in an FAA funding plan released by House and Senate lawmakers last week. Congress has until September 30th to keep FAA programs running, and the Senate must either take up the bill this week or both chambers will need to pass a short-term extension. To read more, click here.