American Travel Industry says Let’s Go!

Yup — The US travel industry is launching a massive new multi-media effort to get folks back traveling — more than 50% of travel industry business’s and staff are out of work —with the new campaign “LETS GO THERE” aimed at motivating business, group and leisure travelers to pick themselves, family, and friends up and go on a trip —“head em out” and have some fun too!!!

US Passport Office Back in Business! But No Place to Go?

The State Department says “now is a good time to apply or renew” passports — apparently the passport folks have gotten through a huge back log that occurred when the office went into mandatory lock down in mid-March. Expect about 10 weeks to wait for your application to be processed — and, as of now, you can try — for free — for an “expedited” passport that should take only 2-3 weeks — maybe?

American Airlines Tells Crew: No Pink Accessories For Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Yup — October is historically been Breast Cancer Awareness month with merchants, airlines and sports teams adding to fund raising efforts by encouraging staff and works to wear PINK — ribbons, pins, clothing, etc.  There’s even lots of pink appearing in authorized and businesses of all types — including restaurants, police, fire and other first responders. AMERICAN, normally a TC favorite, says they will distribute one “authorized” pink ribbon item that employees are to wear if they like — nothing else pink please! (they say as it interferes with the new uniform look). Maybe “Yellow” would be a better color for American to adopt instead of their traditional red-white-blue???  

Vegas Braces for No Visitors?

Well, maybe not “no” visitors, but certainly a lot less than expected — business is down down down and no signs of much coming back — mega resort operator, MGM Resorts, with over 70,000 employees, initially furloughed 62,000 — and is starting to bring some workers back. Vegas resorts and clubs must limit their operation capacity as well as greatly reduced live entertainment, conventions, and dining options. One positive note: most resorts and casinos once again offering FREE parking!!!

Global Entry Program Open and Moving!!!

The US Customs and Border Protection Bureau has filed a new regulation for comment that proposes to raise the cost of Global Entry from $100 to $120. It would also change the cost of SENTRI (US-Mexico crossings) to $120, and indicates they’ll be separately filing to raise the NEXUS fee to $120 as well.

Along with this price increase comes two positive changes:

Expanding Global Entry to immigration pre-clearance facilities and certain U.S. territories (or at least make the rules consistent with practice)

Making applications free for children under 18 if they either file with their parents, or their parents are already approved.

Global Entry provides for expedited immigration and customs processing for people who have gone through screening, fingerprinting and an interview, and includes TSA PreCheck airport security. I’ve been in the program since early 2013. Here’s all the ways you risk losing access.

There are 16 locations across 6 countries where you clear immigration and customers before flying to the U.S. and those should eventually be added as Global Entry locations: Dublin and Shannon (Ireland); Aruba; Freeport and Nassau (Bahamas); Bermuda; Abu Dhabi; Calgary, Toronto, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, Victoria, and Winnipeg (Canada). Many have Global Entry now and CBP wants to make that legal.

(Thanks Gary for keeping us all up on ever-changing travel do’s and don’ts)

United Plans Airport COVID Screening for Hawaii Flights

SFO may be the first US airport for United to roll out pre-flight COVID testing — with results as quick as 30 minutes — for all flights to Hawaii — starting in mid October. Hawaii has been really “closed” to tourists for the past few months — especially Honolulu — even with mandatory 14 day quarantine.  Cost of the almost instant airport testing will be around $250 with a less expensive mail in COVID version available for around $100 — but depending on the mail, quick lab turnaround and response — probably 2-3 days prior to flight — if the new airport “on site” service works, look for United and others to roll out the service at other big US airports — and maybe, just maybe, international travel to take off???