By Eric Hanson
The United States government announced land borders with Canada and Mexico would remain closed to non-essential travel until at least March 21.
According to Reuters.com, the 30-day extension was the first under President Joe Biden, who is working with his administration on potentially tightening requirements for crossing at U.S. land borders in North America.
Canadian Public Safety Minister Bill Blair also confirmed the extension of restrictions.
In January, officials in the U.S. started requiring that all international air travelers landing in America would need to provide a negative COVID-19 test results within three days of arrival.
President Biden is also working with government officials in Canada and Mexico “regarding public health protocols for land ports of entry.” The Biden administration is also conducted a similar review of sea travel and ports.
“The plan should implement Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, consistent with applicable law, and take into account the operational considerations relevant to the different populations who enter the United States by land,” the White House told Reuters.
Last week, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines revealed they would collect contact tracing data and share it with the CDC as an additional layer of protection for the traveling public.
By Michael Higgins
East Coast Bureau
Delta Air Lines is looking to help travelers meet new negative COVID-19 test requirements through a suite of innovative technological advancements.
One option available from the carrier is having the coronavirus tests shipped directly to the customer’s door or available for pickup locally. Through third-party testing providers, travelers can gain the negative test needed to travel before heading to the airport.
Delta passengers can also use the airline’s interactive travel requirements tool to safely plan travel by listing COVID-19 test requirements, quarantine restrictions, additional paperwork needed and other local government information.
If a negative test is required, the tool will detail the types of tests accepted and give travelers a platform to upload the information, which will be approved via a “Test Verified” screen on mobile devices.
“We are building an experience that offers flexibility and control for customers, even as their needs change,” Delta Chief Customer Experience Officer Bill Lentsch said. “These new testing options will ensure that every customer has the information they need to choose the test that is right for them.”
Travelers with questions can use the Delta Virtual Assistant to connect with a live representative for in-the-moment assistance and make changes to travel plans. The airline plans to add even more in-home coronavirus testing options in the coming weeks, as well as incorporating additional in-person testing options.
Earlier this month, Delta announced it would continue blocking middle seats and limit capacity on all flights departing through April 30.
By Walter Sanchez
West Coast Bureau
I just checked the couch cushions and my daughter’s piggy-bank. Sadly, no, I don’t have $550,000 to spare.
But if I did, I would seriously consider buying a used Boeing 737-300 that’s sitting out in the California desert.
What AvGeek wouldn’t?
I mean, I’ve already purchased part of a retired Delta Air Lines DC-9.
Acquired by Southwest Airlines in 1996, this jet still has the famous beige-and-blue coach seats and Southwest “canyon blue” livery. What it doesn’t have: two engines.
A pair of engines can set you back a few million dollars, but this plane could still be considered “a deal.” Consider this: The list price for Boeing’s smallest 737 (the 737-700) is $89.1 million, though airlines typically negotiate steep discounts.
TPG couldn’t verify the legitimacy of the Facebook ad for this plane, but the jet with tail number N630WN has been at an aircraft storage facility in Victorville, California, since Aug. 15, 2017. So it seems like a real possibility that this bird is in need of a new home.
Sure, it’s seen better days, but close your eyes for a minute and imagine all the possibilities — all the ways you could give this iconic plane a new dry lease on life:
Of course, if you can afford this plane — plus a pair of new engines, the cost of jet fuel, maintenance, and airport parking and landing fees — you could find yourself with a cool new ride.
Unfortunately, my wife probably wouldn’t be too pleased with this impulse buy.
So instead, I’m going to continue racking up frequent flyer miles for my next trip, skip this purchase and keep my marriage intact.
By Paul Marcotte
West Coast Bureau
As travelers are slowly returning to the skies, airlines are beginning to resume some services that were temporarily cut due to the pandemic.
In an effort to lower the risk of contamination and save some cash, airlines made drastic changes to their services, both on the ground and in the air. This included closing lounges and cutting all or most in-flight service. However, as the situation is evolving and airlines are introducing new safety measures, they’re also reopening some lounges and expanding their onboard food and beverage offerings.
Most airlines are beginning to offer complimentary snacks and drinks again on many flights. Some airlines that went dry have also resumed alcohol service in premium cabins.
Here’s what food and drink options you can expect onboard the major U.S. airlines for the foreseeable future.
Alaska has resumed limited food and drink service on flights longer than 350 miles. For flights less than 350 miles, all service is still suspended.
For flights over 350 miles:
For flights over 670 miles (typically over two hours):
For flights over 1,100 miles:
This airline is continuing to sell food and beverages, all of which are served in prepackaged and factory-sealed containers.
American is offering some level of service on nearly all flights.
For flights under 900 miles:
For flights between 900 and 2,199 miles (typically up to 4.5 hours):
For flights longer than 2,200 miles (typically more than 4.5 hours), including transcontinental and flights to Hawaii:
In October 2020, American reduced flight attendant staffing on many flights. This primarily affects those flying business and first class on premium transcontinental and long-haul international flights since that’s where the cuts were made. Two flight attendants were removed from Boeing 777-300ERs and one from 777-200s, 787-9s and Airbus A321T aircraft. Many flight attendants will get additional duties and will need to serve multiple cabins.
Delta made some of the most significant cuts to its in-flight service but has since begun to slowly reintroduce some service elements on flights more than 350 miles. Complimentary beer and wine are available to First Class and Comfort+ customers on all flights greater than 500 miles. Interestingly though, Delta isn’t ready yet to restore complimentary soft drinks, tea or coffee service on most flights. No service is available on flights less than 350 flights.
For flights more than 350 miles:
For flights between 900 and 1,500 miles:
For flights longer than 1,500 miles:
For long-haul international flights and flights from Atlanta (ATL) and Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP) to Honolulu (HNL):
Frontier is currently offering limited beverage items available for purchase in-flight. These items are only available upon request.
Complimentary bottled water is provided to each guest. Other beverages are limited to those that are canned or bottled on all flights other than the long-haul departures, such as to/from Boston and New York-JFK. First class pre-departure beverage service has been moved to shortly after takeoff to minimize mask removal during boarding.
Hawaiian has temporarily suspended Pau Hana snack cart sales. However, travelers are offered a complimentary pre-packed sandwich. Full meals are still available in first-class, but they are delivered on one tray instead of multiple courses. Pillows and blankets are currently only available in first class.
JetBlue continues to offer a selection of complimentary food and beverage service, as well as some for-purchase items, but at a limited capacity.
In economy, a limited selection of snacks, drinks and items for purchase (pre-sealed EatUp snack boxes, pillows, blankets and earbuds) are served from carts in the aisle. Three of JetBlue’s five complimentary snack offerings, including Cheez-It crackers, PopCorners Popcorn Chips, 88Acres Cinnamon & Oats Seed Bar Thins, Goodie Girl Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Terra Sweets & Blues potato chips, are being provided on a rotational basis. For drinks, there’s a limited selection from Pepsi, Canada Dry and Adam & Eve. Although some for-purchase items are available again, alcoholic beverages and EatUp Café fresh food sales remain suspended. Additionally, the self-serve pantry is not available on flights that usually have it.
Full meals are available in Mint, but are served on one tray and sealed. Pre-departure beverage service, espresso-based drinks, bread, breakfast sides and fruit options have been suspended. Drinks are served in single-use cups instead of glassware. Bottled water is still available at each seat.
By Eric Hanson
After months of doom and gloom, canceled flights, postponed trips and dashed hopes, the U.K. government has finally outlined the nation’s roadmap out of lockdown.
Though the path forward is cautious and restrictions are being loosened slowly, the country now has dates to work with. But given the uncertainty of the path forward, the government has maintained the right to push any of the dates back.
And for travel-starved Brits, the two most significant dates are as follows. From April 12 at the earliest, hospitality venues can serve people outdoors and self-contained accommodation, such as vacation rentals, can also reopen. Then, on May 17 at the earliest, indoor dining and pubs will be allowed to reopen, hotels and hostels will be allowed to reopen and international travel may be allowed to resume, but will be subject to conditions.
Inevitably, following Monday’s news, Brits went into a booking frenzy to release their pent-up travel demand.
Meanwhile, staycation and holiday home figures were also striking following Monday’s announcement. According to home rental site Host Unusual, it saw a rise of 127% in bookings since the announcement — an increase of 86% since this time last year.
Founder Alex Wilson said that the searches are for late April and May and trending destinations include Norfolk, Cornwall, Devon, Suffolk and Dorset.
“Pent up demand and lockdown frustration is translating into searches for as soon as the restrictions are eased — people seem to be looking for a coastal break and treehouses, beach huts and glamping escapes are in high demand,” Wilson told TPG.
Similarly, HomeToGo said it saw an 83% increase in searches week-on-week for trips starting as early as May. And overall, searches for stays in the U.K. this summer are up by 188% compared to last year, with searches for stays in Cornwall seeing the biggest lift.
The site also revealed that cottages and detached holiday homes are the most-popular option, accounting for 78% of its accommodation bookings. It said longer bookings for 14 days or more are up by 56%.
“Based on our latest data, we saw a huge spike of travelers in the U.K. searching for holiday rentals the day of the announcement compared to the week prior and we expect searches and bookings to continue to rise in the days to come,” Caroline Burns, head of PR at HomeToGo, told TPG.
Whatever your preference, TPG advises you to book flights and lettings with a flexible cancellation or rebooking policy, as despite the positive news on Monday, rules are still subject to change at the last minute.
By Mary Johnson
JetBlue Airways today announced a new initiative to bolster career development within the company, reaffirming what it says is a commitment to current crew members to support its diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategy.
JetBlue said it will launch two new programs focused on three career trajectories: 1) a new pathway from frontline operational jobs to corporate services roles, and 2) opportunities for crewmembers to pursue careers as pilots or aircraft maintenance technicians.
In other words, the airline is trying to make it easier for employees to grow in the company instead of making just lateral moves.
“We created these initiatives because at JetBlue our crewmembers and culture are key to our success,” Mike Elliott, chief people officer for JetBlue, said in a statement. “Our new initiatives will help remove some of the barriers candidates may face so we can better help talent continue to grow. Realizing we don’t all start from the same place, equity and accessibility are at the center of our new crewmember development efforts. These new programs will help us build a more diverse internal pipeline.”
The airline said the pathway from the operation to corporate services is designed to help nurture, develop and grow future leaders. This path will include a mix of classroom learning and support, and two rotational job placements based on business need, with job placement assistance upon completion of the program.
The pilot and aircraft maintenance technician gateway programs will alleviate some of the known barriers to entry for these careers such as financing and fears of leaving a permanent job, while adding some certainty and a defined pathway to the process.
JetBlue’s DEI strategy includes an investment in crewmembers’ development, retention and growth like the two pathways programs, as well as long-term efforts to engage and work with minority and women-owned businesses (MWBE) and more.
“Diversity affects our ability to attract and retain top talent, while a more inclusive workplace drives better decision-making and innovation. Our greatest area of improvement is within our officer and director positions where the racial and ethnic composition has remained limited in growth. We can do better,” Elliott added.
By Roger Barta
West Coast Bureau
Another long-haul, national airline has fallen as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. On Thursday, Air Namibia announced that all flight operations have been canceled, and all aircraft have been ordered to return to its base in Windhoek.
As reported by The Namibian, leaked documents on Wednesday showed the government’s approval of Air Namibia’s voluntary liquidation. The government will meet with executive members of the airline on Thursday afternoon to decide on the path forward and liquidation.
At this point, all flights have been canceled and the reservations system for new bookings has been suspended.
According to data from Planespotters.net, as of February 2021, the airline had a fleet of nine aircraft, including:
Given the pandemic, Air Namibia had nearly grounded its entire fleet, opting only to operate some domestic routes. As of earlier this month, just two of its ERJ-145 aircraft remained in service, while the other seven aircraft remained parked.
Prior to the pandemic, Air Namibia had operated some long-haul routes — most notably to Frankfurt (FRA), using one of its A330 aircraft. Between 1993 and 2004, the airline also operated a fleet of up to six Boeing 747 aircraft.
The airline had long struggled to secure profitability, which was only compounded by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the uncertainty about when demand would return. Mostly owing to unprofitable routes, an undesirable fleet, high employee numbers and other ongoing issues within the company rendered it almost doomed to fail.
The airline’s board resigned on 3 February after the Namibian government didn’t oppose a move to have the airline liquidated over outstanding payments on a leased Boeing 767 aircraft from Challengair. The parties settled, with Air Namibia acknowledging it owed over 330 million Namibian dollars (about $22 million), but the government denied support to Air Namibia, saying it couldn’t afford to bail the carrier out. The airline also failed to find a strategic equity partner, according to ch-aviation.
Namibian Finance Minister Ipumbu Shiimi said a bailout of the nation’s flag carrier would cost more than 7 billion Namibian dollars (about $470 million) on top of the approximately 8.4 billion Namibian dollars (about $564 million) it had already spent on the airline in the past 10 years.
With the liquidation of the airline, more than 600 employees are set to lose their jobs. According to an airline spokesperson, employees will receive an ex gratia payment equal to 12 months of their salary, but they will not receive benefits.
Air Namibia isn’t the first airline to collapse as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Flybe collapsed in March 2020. Additionally, Virgin Australia applied for voluntary administration but was later sold to private equity firm Bain Capital. Avianca and LATAM both filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S., and Norwegian Air filed for bankruptcy protection in Ireland.
By Alice Richards
East Coast Bureau
Throughout the pandemic, we’ve largely been responsible for ensuring our own safety. Sure, initial lockdowns made it all but impossible to eat out or go to a gym, but there’s always been the risk of COVID-19 exposure, whether we’re passing through an airport halfway around the world or just shopping for groceries in our hometown.
Great ventilation and enforced mask mandates help keep airplanes relatively safe — though I won’t book a flight just for fun, as I may have done in the past — but plenty of other steps during a passenger’s journey can add significant risk.
As outlined by The Washington Post this week, Harvard University researchers evaluated the risk facing travelers throughout their journey and had some important tips to pass along.
While the report acknowledges that some steps airports have taken can help mitigate spread, the authors note that airports still need to “analyze and optimize ventilation systems where feasible; reduce congestion where possible; and regularly remind travelers of critical behaviors – mask-wearing, physical distancing, and hand hygiene.”
Researchers released a list of 10 “reminders,” to help minimize risk during your journey:
As we continue to hear, wearing a robust, properly fitting mask is absolutely essential, especially with the risk of more contagious variants making the rounds, but I’ve added extra precautions, especially when it comes to my travel routine.
With so many unknowns when it comes to ventilation — namely, there’s no way to be certain that an infected, maskless traveler hasn’t recently spoken, coughed or sneezed in that same space — I’m being especially cautious when it comes to airports, limiting time spent in three key areas.
We all love a good lounge, and soon I’m sure we’ll be eating, drinking and enjoying the various other amenities once again. For now, however, lounges present an increased risk.
Occupants are more likely to be eating and drinking, given the snack spread and open bar, and it can be difficult to avoid crowding, especially during peak times.
Airport lounges also tend to be filled with high-fare customers, who airline employees may be more hesitant to upset — a lounge attendant might be inclined to look the other way if they spot a maskless guest, and assume they’re “eating and drinking,” or intend to soon.
Perhaps most important, though, many lounges are located in smaller sub-sections of the airport, often behind closed doors and with limited airflow, which means COVID-19 particles can linger in the air lounge after an infected traveler has left.
If airport lounges present a high risk of encountering travelers without masks, at restaurants and food courts, it’s absolutely guaranteed.
Lively environments also mean customers will be talking more loudly, while alcohol can lead to more laughter and less distance — all contributing factors when it comes to exhaling (and inhaling) aerosol particles, and spreading COVID-19.
Food courts could be a slightly safer alternative, with more spacing and the potential for smaller crowds, but if you need to eat or drink, the best option is to find a quiet corner of the airport and remove your mask for very short periods of time.
This one may be unavoidable, especially after a long flight, but for one reason or another, I almost always encounter maskless travelers in the bathroom.
Some may have a legitimate need to remove their mask, to shave or brush their teeth, but there otherwise seems to be an unwritten rule that you can pull your mask down to your chin as you go about your business.
Let me assure you, it’s entirely possible to keep your face covered up in the loo, but since so many people choose not to, I consider public bathrooms to be especially high risk. A flushing toilet can also contribute to the spread of COVID-19.
I’ll only enter a public restroom when wearing a properly fitting N95 mask, and I always count backward from 60, making sure I’m in and out as quickly as I can be.
While the best way to limit your exposure is to avoid travel altogether, if you are going to fly, it’s essential to wear a proper mask whenever possible and be especially thoughtful about every step of the process, from the time you leave your home to the moment you arrive at your hotel room.
Once the pandemic is behind us, we’ll all be traveling the world yet again. There are plenty of good times ahead — we just need to get through the next few weeks and months.
By Steven Danvers
West Coast Bureau
An engine failure on takeoff is one of the most challenging situations a pilot can face. The sudden asymmetry of thrust can cause the nose to lurch to one side, requiring immediate and instinctive reactions. If the engine has caught fire, alarm bells will be ringing (physically and metaphorically) and lights will be flashing. It’s the pilot’s job to block all these out and focus on the task at hand.
This weekend, United Airlines Flight 328 from Denver to Honolulu suffered an engine failure on takeoff. The starboard side engine appeared to have caught on fire, where it remained as such for at least several seconds before the cowling completely blew off. The aircraft landed safely, with no injuries reported. In the aftermath, more than 120 Boeing 777s around the world with the same Pratt & Whitney engines remain grounded while the plane manufacturer and U.S. FAA and NTSB undergo their investigations.
However alarming this may seem, this situation will not be alien to the pilot.
The likelihood is that they have never experienced this for real before, but they will have seen it scores of times in the simulator. Every six months, pilots are put through their paces to ensure that they are up to speed with emergency procedures. The time in the simulator also to gives them the chance to practice these scenarios should they ever happen for real.
Contrary to popular belief, aircraft very rarely use full power during takeoff. Runways at most international airports such as London Heathrow and Los Angeles are nearly 2.5 miles long, which is more than enough for even the heaviest of aircraft to get airborne.
So why increase the strain on the engines when you can utilize the runway length by accelerating more slowly and still getting safely airborne by the end?
Manufacturers design the aircraft and engines to be able to get airborne using as little engine power as possible. This is known as a de-rated takeoff. Not only does save on engine wear, but it also reduces the noise experienced by those who live and work near the airport.
However, this creates a trade-off. Take off too far down the runway and you run the risk of going off the end should something unexpected happen. Take off too soon and you’re using more engine power than you need to, increasing engine wear and fuel burn.
A happy medium needs to be found between the two — a takeoff point which optimizes engine power whilst leaving enough runway to stop if the need arises.
On a twin-engine aircraft such as the 787 Dreamliner, the loss of power from one engine during the takeoff run is one of the more serious events that could happen. Although this is highly unlikely, we always plan for the worst possible scenario.
Should an engine fail just as the aircraft lifts off, the performance must still ensure that it reaches a height of 35 feet by the end of the runway on the power of the remaining engine. This is the key part of the takeoff performance.
Even though an aircraft can safely climb away from the runway on just one engine, should the failure happen whilst still on the ground, it would be preferable for the pilots to reject the takeoff and stop on the runway. However, there comes a point where there will not be enough runway remaining in which to stop safely. So how do we know where this point is?
Before every takeoff, the pilots must calculate the speeds, flap setting and engine power required to take off safely. This includes the engine failure scenario.
One of the speeds that are calculated is called V1 — “the maximum speed in the takeoff at which the pilot must take the first action to stop the airplane within the accelerate-stop distance.”
If an event occurs before the aircraft reaches the V1 speed, the pilots know that they are able to stop safely. Any events occurring after V1, the pilots must continue to get airborne. The decision to stop or go isn’t made in the heat of the moment — it’s a binary decision calculated at a time of low workload.
In order to understand how we control an engine failure on takeoff, it’s important to understand some key speeds. The values of V1, Vr and V2 are all calculated before each departure and determine how we fly the takeoff, either with both engines running normally or with an engine failure.
V1 is the speed at which the aircraft can both reject the takeoff, stoping safely on the runway and also at which it can continue to take off safely. To put this into more practical terms, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) defines V1 as “the maximum speed during takeoff at which the pilot must take the first action to stop the aircraft.”
It is often referred to as the “takeoff decision speed” but this isn’t totally accurate. The actual decision to reject the takeoff must be made before V1 has been reached. This gives the pilot enough time to react and make the first action to reject the takeoff before the aircraft reaches the V1 speed.
If the decision to stop is made at V1, by the time the first action is taken to stop, the aircraft will be traveling in excess of the V1 speed, putting it at risk of going off the end of the runway. Seeing as some runways finish in the sea or with steep embankments, this is undesirable, to say the least.
The V1 for any departure will depend on a range of variables such as aircraft weight, runway length, air pressure, air temperature and wind speed and direction. It also varies with the runway condition. If a runway is dry, the stopping efficiency is much better than if the runway is wet or slippery. As a result, the V1 will be slower on a wet runway. This means there will be more runway remaining on which to stop when the V1 speed is reached.
If a problem occurs after V1, we must continue to get airborne. Even in the event of an engine failure, we can still climb away safely. The performance which we calculate before departure is based on this very event.
Vr is the speed at which we gently ease back on the control column and rotate the nose into the air. However, it is still not quite fast enough to fly. In the few seconds it takes to rotate the nose up toward the initial climb angle, the continued acceleration will take the speed to V2.
V2 is known as the takeoff safety speed, the speed at which the aircraft will climb safely in the event of an engine failure. As we’ll see later, flying at, or above, V2 is critical when flying the engine failure maneuver.
Following the definitions above, it is clear that V1 and Vr must always be less than V2. However, V1 can be less than or the same as Vr.
The most challenging time for an engine to fail is between V1 and V2. In this window, we are going too fast to abort the takeoff but too slow to fly safely. In some situations, like with a wet or slippery runway, the gap between V1 and Vr may be quite considerable. At high weights on a 787 Dreamliner, it could be around 30 mph.
This means that even if we know that an engine has failed or caught fire, we must ignore all the alarms going off and continue to Vr before taking the aircraft into the air.
There are a variety of reasons why an engine might fail so instead of immediately trying to identify the cause, we simply identify the fact that is has happened. Depending on the severity of the failure, this could be blindingly obvious or so subtle we barely notice.
The video below is a textbook example of how pilots deal with engine failure. After hitting a bird as they rotated, the engine began to surge. This would have been quite alarming for all those on board, with each bang no doubt accompanied by severe airframe vibration.
In the case of a severe and sudden failure, there could be a loud bang with the aircraft’s nose swinging in one direction or another. When there is a near-instantaneous loss of power on one side of the aircraft, the power from the remaining side causes the aircraft to swing in the opposite direction.
Our first action in this situation is to keep the nose straight by applying the correct rudder input with our feet. We are aiming to keep the aircraft straight and fly it through imaginary goal posts at the end of the runway.
If the nose swings left, we instinctively push our right foot forward, applying right-rudder, to regain the runway centerline. Conversely, if the nose swings right, we apply left rudder. Depending on the severity of the failure, we may have to apply full rudder or only a small amount — whatever it takes to keep the nose tracking straight. We then keep this rudder input until we are airborne.
The video below shows how the asymmetric thrust will cause the nose to swing to one side and how the rudder input by the pilot flying keeps the aircraft straight.
This is a basic flying skill, taught to cadet pilots during flight school on twin-engine propeller aircraft. Not only does it control the aircraft, but it also gives us a clue as to which engine has failed.
For those of you who have flown twin-engine prop aircraft, the phrase “right leg dead, right engine dead” will be well known. This means that the leg which is not doing anything (dead) is the same as the engine that has failed.
With the nose tracking down the runway, we must wait until the aircraft speed reaches Vr. This could be immediate or it could be several seconds later.
When the aircraft reaches Vr, the pilot flying the aircraft (PF) pulls back on the control column. The aim is to attain V2 by the time we are 35 feet above the ground.
However, with an engine failure, there is a difference to a normal takeoff.
The rotation of an airliner is normally around 2 to 3 degrees a second, reaching the 15 degrees nose-up altitudes in around five seconds. In the engine failure case, because of the reduced power, the aircraft will accelerate at a slower rate. If we rotate at the normal rate, there’s a good chance that we will get airborne before reaching V2 — a dangerous situation to be in.
If this were to happen, the only way to gain those extra few knots of airspeed is by pushing the nose down and reducing the rate of climb. Not something you want to be doing when you’re practically skimming treetops. As a result, it’s imperative that we rotate at a slower rate, around 1.5 to 2.5 degrees a second, giving the aircraft time to accelerate to V2. This results in a nose-up angle of around 12 to 13 degrees.
On the 787, the HUD (head-up display) plays a major part in enabling us to fly this critical maneuver accurately. As part of the display, a line called the TOGA reference line helps us fly the correct pitch (nose-up angle) on takeoff.
With TO/GA (takeoff/go-around) mode selected, the TO/GA reference line gives us a target to aim for which will achieve the optimum climb away from the runway.
In the case of an engine failure, flying this line accurately is key. As we rotate the aircraft at a slower rate, we aim to pitch the nose toward, but not above, the TO/GA reference line. If we pitch too high and point the nose above the line, the speed will reduce, possibly below V2.
If the speed starts to decay, the TO/GA reference line will drop, telling us to reduce the pitch of the nose.
With the rudder keeping us straight and the pitch angle flown accurately keeping the speed above V2, the aircraft will fly away from the ground, albeit at a very slow rate. With this climb established, the landing gear is raised, reducing drag and improving climb performance. It may take around 30 seconds or so to reach 200 feet, at which point the autopilot can be engaged.
By making maximum use of the automatics, it enables us to sit back and assess what has happened. Both pilots are then able to take a good look at the engine indications to start diagnosing which engine has failed. It may not be immediately obvious so careful analysis of the available data is critical in ensuring that we don’t shut down the wrong engine.
As the aircraft reaches 400 feet, if there has been severe damage or there is an engine fire, we can start to carry out the first of the checklists. As the PF continues to monitor the flight path of the aircraft like a hawk, the pilot monitoring (PM) shuts the engine down.
On the 787 this involves moving four switches or levers, all of which must be confirmed by the PF to ensure that we shut down the correct engine.
With the engine secured, we can then focus on continuing the climb and retracting the flaps before deciding our next course of action.
Whilst one of the more serious failures that could happen to an aircraft, an engine failure on takeoff is the one event which is practiced most by pilots. As a result, should this once in a lifetime event occur, the pilots will be well versed in what to do.
The key to a successful takeoff with engine failure is a slow rotation. After this, with the speed above V2, the aircraft will climb away from the ground. With the flight path of the aircraft secure, only then will the crew start to look at the engine problem and begin the process of shutting it down.
By Michael Barta
West Coast Bureau
Boris Johnson has revealed the U.K.’s so-called roadmap out of lockdown, the details of which have been put together in a 60-page document.
In a speech at the House of Commons on Monday, Johnson said that “It is so crucial that this road map will be cautious but also irreversible,” and will be a “one-way road to freedom.” The PM also added that the easing of restrictions will be lead by “data, and not dates.”
Restrictions will ease in all regions of the country at the same time, rather than the previous tier system approach. Monday’s announcement of the easing of restrictions currently only applies to England. Johnson will be working with the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish governments to work out how each of the nations can align.
As has been widely speculated, schools will be the first thing to reopen. As of March 8, all students will be allowed back to all schools. You will be allowed to meet one person outdoors.
As of March 29 at the earliest, people will be allowed to eat in limited numbers outdoors, the rule of six will return including in private gardens, outdoor sports facilities will reopen and there will no longer be a stay-at-home requirement.
As of April 12 at the earliest, all non-essential retail will reopen, including hairdressers and nail salons. Holiday lets may reopen, but only for single families. Pubs and restaurants will be allowed to reopen outdoors. Outdoor attractions such as zoos, drive-thru cinemas and theme parks can reopen.
As of May 17 indoor dining and pubs will be allowed to reopen with no requirement for substantial meals or curfew. Hotels and hostels will be allowed to reopen, largely bringing back domestic staycations. International travel may be allowed to resume as of this date, but will be subject to conditions.
Finally, as of June 21 at the earliest, the government will remove all legal limits on social contact.
Travel, both domestic and international, remains off the cards at this time. A successor to the Global Travel Taskforce will meet to determine if travel can return and will deliver an update on April 12 — with a possibility for domestic staycations as of that date.
It was also suggested that some level of restrictions may remain in place even into 2022.
On Tuesday, Jan. 5, the whole of the U.K. was placed into its third national lockdown since coronavirus shut down the country for the first time in March 2020. The latest lockdown rules meant the closure of all non-essential businesses and a strict stay-at-home mandate that rendered any form of non-essential travel illegal, be it domestic or international.
Brits have been confined to their homes unless for food shopping, exercise or carrying out work which cannot be done from home. Schools have also been closed except for children of front-line workers. Cafés and restaurants that can provide take away food for delivery or pick up have remained open.
During the lockdown, the government has also ramped up its efforts to stop new the spread of new strains of the virus entering the U.K. As of January, all passengers must have a negative COVID-19 test result, taken no more than 72 hours prior to departure. As of Feb. 15, arrivals from 33 red-list countries are forced to quarantine in government hotels for a 10-day period.
By Eric Hanson
Virgin Hotels' Las Vegas casino-resort will officially open its doors on March 25.
The off-Strip property was originally slated to debut in January but postponed its opening due to the pandemic.
The Virgin Hotels Las Vegas complex will comprise three hotel towers with over 1,500 guestrooms, a 60,000-square-foot Mohegan Sun Casino operated by Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, a five-acre pool area and event lawn, a theater with capacity for 4,500 and a dozen different food and beverage venues.
The Las Vegas opening comes amid a growth spurt for the Virgin Hotels brand, which is also planning to launch both the Virgin Hotels New Orleans and the Virgin Hotels New York City later this year as well as properties in Edinburgh, Scotland and Miami in 2022 and 2023, respectively.
The Virgin Hotels portfolio currently includes outposts in Chicago, Dallas and Nashville.
By James Schlessinger
West Coast Bureau
Air Canada's fourth-quarter operating revenue declined more than 80 percent year over year to C$827 million, and the company has lowered capacity plans given "severe restrictions" introduced in Canada in recent weeks.
For the first quarter of 2021, Air Canada projects its capacity will be down 85 percent compared with the first quarter of 2020. That projection is five percentage points higher than what it was planning in mid-January, given new restrictions in recent weeks that require a hotel quarantine upon arrival from international destinations. The restrictions also led Air Canada and rival WestJet to temporarily suspend flights to Mexico and the Caribbean. Air Canada expects its net cash burn will be between C$15 million and C$17 million daily in the first quarter, higher than its rate of C$12 million daily in the fourth quarter, due in part to lower advance ticket sales.
The carrier's net loss for the fourth quarter was C$1.2 billion, and for the full year, its loss was $4.7 billion, results that president and CEO Calin Rovinescu called "undeniably grim." However, he said he was optimistic due to new Covid-19 testing capabilities and vaccines, the carrier's success in raising liquidity—Air Canada ended the year with $8 billion in unrestricted liquidity—and "the constructive nature" of discussions the carrier has had with the Canadian government regarding aid for the aviation industry.
"While there is no assurance at this stage that we will arrive at a definitive agreement on sector support, I am more optimistic on this front for the first time," according to Rovinescu.
Transat Acquisition Approved
The Canadian government on Thursday also approved Air Canada's acquisition of Montreal-based airline Transat for C$190 million. The approval came with stipulations, including maintaining Transat's headquarters and brand in Quebec, the launch of new destinations in the next five years and continuing to provide services in both French and English.
Transat had indicated it might not be able to continue operations on its own amid the pandemic, and Canada Transport Minister Omar Alghabra in a statement said the deal "will bring greater stability to Canada's air transport market."
Rovinescu declined to comment further on the acquisition in Friday's earnings call. WestJet CEO president and CEO Ed Sims on Thursday decried the decision in a statement, saying it would lead to "increased prices, less choice [and] decreases in service."
"It is hard to imagine a deal as anti-competitive in any industry where then No. 1 player buys No. 3 without meaningful remedies," Sims said in the statement. "This is a serious setback to Canada's economy."
By Stuart Danvers
West Coast Bureau
U.S. National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt said a preliminary assessment of the Pratt & Whitney engine that failed Saturday in a United Airlines Boeing 777-200 plane showed damage to the fan blades consistent with metal fatigue.
United Flight 328 from Denver to Honolulu turned around and safely landed at Denver International Airport with no injuries. But not before dramatic social media pictures and video chronicled the harrowing sequence of an engine on fire and debris falling from the sky onto a suburb in Denver.
United Airlines on Sunday announced it is grounding all 52 of the Boeing 777 airplanes powered by Pratt & Whitney Series 4000 engines in its fleet – 24 active and 28 in storage.
Sumwalt made his remarks in a briefing on Monday night.
The Boeing 777-200 that United used on the flight was 26 years old. Sumwalt said he was unsure whether this incident is related to a similar engine failure on a United flight in February of 2018 in which a fracture in a fan blade caused by metal fatigue was found to be at fault.
A similar investigation is currently underway in Japan, where a Japan Airlines 777 with the same Pratt & Whitney engine failed in December. Investigators so far say they found two damaged fan blades, one with metal fatigue.
"What is important that we really truly understand the facts, circumstances and conditions around this particular event before we can compare it to any other event," Sumwalt said.
Boeing recommended that airlines suspend the use of the planes temporarily until a cause is identified.
By Eric Hanson
The global travel industry seems to be in agreement that a secure, electronic documentation system for verifying travelers’ ID information (like a traditional passport) and linked to their COVID-19 test results and vaccination records, will be key to restarting international travel on any meaningful level.
But, the road to realizing such a universally-recognized verification system is fraught with logistical challenges, and the integration of technologies that will be required to support it are still in the experimental stages. The U.K.’s Royal Society released a paper earlier this month detailing 12 criteria that would need to be met in order for such so-called COVID-19 vaccine passports to work effectively.
Melinda Mills, director of the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science at the University of Oxford and the paper’s lead author, told Forbes, “International standardization is one of the criteria we believe essential." In part, the report itself reads, “Current evidence and precedents suggest that a COVID-19 vaccine passport system is feasible, but that not all criteria have yet been satisfied.”
But, multiple countries, as well as various industry organizations and tech companies, are already working to realize the concept. In Europe, the race is on to create a standardized COVID-19 vaccination passport that would enable its holders to cross national borders without the hassles of quarantine and testing before the summer vacation season starts. The push is being led by Greece, which relies on tourism for one-fifth of its GDP and which suffered drastic economic losses due to the scarcity of visitors last summer.
Alex Patelis, the chief economic advisor to Greece’s prime minister, explained, "We call them certificates, not passports." He said, "Ultimately, certificates need some sort of unique QR code," and that, “Greece is working on a number of bilateral agreements with third countries to allow mutual recognition of vaccination certificates." Greece is currently running a trial of its vaccine certificate program through agreements with Cyprus and Israel.
In January, some U.S. airlines began using a third-party app called VeriFLY in order to make the process of verifying that passengers have met their COVID-19 testing requirements for entering the United States more seamless.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said back in November that it was in the final stages of creating its ‘IATA Travel Pass’ mobile app, which had already been in development for some months. Like the ‘CommonPass’—another digital health passport being developed by The Commons Project, a non-profit foundation backed by the World Economic Forum—it seeks to supply an interoperable software platform that can integrate with advanced identification and cloud-based technologies, linking directly to users’ lab results and vaccination records securely and in real-time.
As more and more people get vaccinated, the demand for this type of digital product—with enough built-in flexibility to support the varying health requirements of the world’s nations, plus evolving immunization and testing standards of the future—will doubtlessly increase. And, the urgency of the situation, in terms of the travel industry’s need to recover as quickly as possible, is sure to inspire new heights of technological innovation.
By Bruce Rigsby
West Coast Bureau
Since the world turned upside down, planning a vacation to Hawaii has proven to be a challenge.
For months, the only way to enter Hawaii was with a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Then, a reopening date with an option to test before travel to avoid the quarantine became a moving target as the islands battled a COVID-19 surge and the U.S. as a whole dealt with a lack of reliable, rapid testing.
The different islands began to introduce their own policies about reopening. But Hawaii finally introduced a pre-travel testing option in mid-October. By December, the quarantine period in Hawaii for travelers who did not use the pre-arrival testing option was reduced from 14 to 10 days, following the adjusted CDC guidance on the acceptable length of quarantine.
It’s a lot of information to keep track of — and it changes often. So, here’s the latest information about traveling to the Aloha State right now and what you need to prepare for a successful trip.
The rules for entering Hawaii without a quarantine period have been a moving target.
While tens of thousands of travelers have successfully arrived in Hawaii without quarantine, some came with the wrong test, especially early in the pre-travel testing process. An additional layer of complexity was added in late November when travelers were told they needed to have the correct test results in hand before departure.
Then, also in late November, Kauai opted out of the state’s pre-travel testing program altogether. Kauai then ended its 10-day quarantine requirement for all international and inter-island travelers in early January. Some healthcare providers, like Quest Diagnostics, opted out of Hawaii’s testing program. And CVS said travelers to Hawaii “should make other testing plans.”
But it’s not all bad news for people who are traveling to Hawaii.
Hawaii reopened to U.S. travelers on Oct. 15. International travelers from CDC-prohibited countries are still banned from entering Hawaii. However, travelers from Japan have a pre-travel testing option via approved testing providers that went into effect on Nov. 6, 2020. Travelers from Canada are also eligible for this program.
The state’s pre-travel testing program requires all visitors to take a nucleic acid amplification test, such as a PCR test, from an approved testing partner within 72 hours and obtain results before departure to Hawaii. That’s the only way to bypass the state’s mandatory 10-day quarantine.
Additionally, some transpacific travelers participating in the Safe Travels program will be randomly selected to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival. The tests, which are administered by the state, will be given to approximately 25% of the passengers at all three airports at no cost to travelers.
Travelers to the Big Island who participate in the state’s pre-arrival testing program to avoid a mandatory 10-day quarantine will still have to take a second, free rapid antigen test at the airport upon arrival. A second negative result will allow the traveler to bypass mandatory self-isolation.
Currently, only the Big Island requires a second test upon arrival to avoid quarantine.
Kauai is no longer opting out of the pre-travel testing initiative.
As of Jan. 5, the island ended its 10-day quarantine requirement for all international and inter-island travelers, allowing those who have been in Hawaii for more than 72 hours (three days) to take another test from an approved testing partner and skip the remainder of the quarantine. This is in addition to the test required before departure to Hawaii.
Maui has a voluntary test that is offered for free three days after arrival on the island. If you’re headed to Maui, you will also be required to participate in mandatory contact tracing by downloading an app on your phone.
Also, travelers who fly to Maui from another county can bypass quarantine by submitting a negative PCR test result. Those who do take this voluntary second test are eligible for a discount card.
A second test is not required for travelers to Oahu.
If you decide to travel to Hawaii, you’ll need to register with Hawaii’s Safe Travels system. It would help if you did this at least 72 hours before arrival, as it will speed up your exit from the airport since you’ll be asked to show your registration confirmation page.
Additionally, travelers arriving in Hawaii will have their temperatures checked upon arrival and must fill out a travel and health form. Travelers who don’t have proof of an approved negative test must quarantine for 10 days.
U.S. travelers must complete the following steps before entering Hawaii’s participating islands:
Hawaii’s current mandatory 10-day self-quarantine remains in effect for anyone who does not follow the pre-travel testing requirements. And this isn’t a destination where you can roam freely at your property of choice.
“Hawaii is our home,” said Jeff Helfrick, vice president of airport operations at Hawaiian Airlines. “So it’s important not only that we take care of our island home, but also that we do it right.”
Beyond resort bubble programs that grant a tiny bit more freedom, travelers not cleared via the pre-travel program are not allowed to leave their personal quarantine space, such as a hotel room, unless they seek medical care.
All public spaces, including any on-site resort pool, fitness center or restaurant, are off-limits during this period, which means delivery and room service only. Visitors are also not allowed unless this person is a health care professional specifically checking on your health.
Anyone who intentionally or knowingly breaks quarantine can be convicted of a misdemeanor — and tourists have been arrested for breaking quarantine.
People island-hopping to Maui now have the ability to participate in pre-travel testing done at an approved partner up to 72 hours before travel and avoid the 10-day quarantine.
If you have a layover in Honolulu (HNL), then the negative test result you took to enter Hawaii before travel is valid through to your final destination. However, if your break in Honolulu is more than a layover, you are subject to new inter-island testing or quarantine requirements.
Multiple airlines, including United, Hawaiian, Alaska and American, have developed a testing system available to travelers flying to Hawaii from certain hub airports or via an at-home kit.
Alaska Airlines partners with a variety of providers, including Carbon Health and Costco (home saliva-based test). At Carbon, Alaska passengers can be tested from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST. Test results will be ready by the next business day (some results within two hours) at a discounted cost of $135 to $170.
More information, including how to schedule an appointment, is available at alaskaair.com/hawaii-bound.
Alaska Airlines passengers bound for Hawaii will no longer have to be checked upon arrival in Hawaii. Instead, those formalities will be done at departure. The gate agent will verify that your Safe Travel profile is updated and give you a wristband which will entitle you to skip airport arrival screening in Hawaii.
Note that your lodging and car rental company may still need to verify the QR code from your Safe Travels profile.
More information about the Hawaii Pre-Clear program can be found here.
If you’re flying on American Airlines from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) to Honolulu (HNL) or Maui (OGG), you’re eligible to take a $129 at-home nasal PCR test administered by LetsGetChecked, an in-person test at a CareNow urgent care location or a preflight rapid test at DFW administered by CareNow.
More information about testing with American can be found here.
Hawaiian Airlines partners with Worksite Labs to provide drive-through COVID-19 PCR testing in select cities, including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco.
Worksite Labs will offer the Droplet Digital PCR shallow nasal swab test for $90, with results within 36 hours. Passengers on Hawaiian can also order a mail-in PCR saliva test online through Vault Health for $119.
More information about testing with Hawaiian Airlines can be found here.
Travelers flying on United Airlines to Hawaii can arrange for a mail-in PCR COVID-19 test. Travelers will receive results 24 to 48 hours prior to travel, and the cost is $119.
United offers Hawaii-bound passengers rapid testing at San Francisco International with results in 15 to 30 minutes for $250. Another option for those in San Francisco is drive-up testing administered by Color at a testing facility located at the United technical operations facility parking lot. Results are provided within 48 hours for $105.
Those departing Denver (DEN) and Newark (EWR) to Hawaii on United can also do testing at those airports for $200 per person.
More information about testing with United can be found here.
As part of the governor’s latest announcement about travelers from Canada being eligible to avoid quarantine if test results are provided before departure, two Canadian airlines have agreed to help facilitate:
“Air Canada and WestJet will be identifying testing entities in Canada, with the Hawaii State Department of Health’s approval, for purposes of the pre-testing program. Canadian residents should look to these Canadian-based carriers for the testing options in their country.”
There’s no question that Hawaii is a beautiful destination perfect for outdoor exploration. But, as we have already seen, things can change quickly for an island in the middle of the ocean with finite hospital capacity.
Recently, TPG had a reporter visit Hawaii, and she documented what it was like to visit a reopened Hawaii.
“Hawaii has spent a lot of time and effort in preparing facilities, hotels, [and] restaurants … and while it probably won’t feel exactly the same, it’ll feel enough the same so that people will continue to love Hawaii and continue to make it a great vacation destination,” said Jeff Helfrick of Hawaiian Airlines.
The state has a limited number of pre-travel testing providers, and some of the providers will not test children under 12, so do your research if you are traveling with children 5 or older who are required to test to avoid quarantine.
Hundreds of thousands of would-be visitors have delayed or canceled trips to Hawaii during the pandemic.
Now, many travelers can enter Hawaii, except Kauai, without quarantine as long as they can follow the testing procedures and present eligible negative results before departure.
If your family plans to join the thousands of visitors again entering Hawaii each day without quarantine, be sure to triple-check all documents, deadlines, test requirements and timelines leading up to your trip. It also won’t hurt to familiarize yourself with airline, hotel and other travel cancellation policies if something doesn’t go as planned.
The map features a color-coded map and a drop-down menu of more detailed restrictions and state-specific rules.
Aiming to make deciding where to travel a bit easier, as COVID-19 continues to spark restrictions and rules for traveling around the United States, United Airlines created an interactive, color-coded map detailing everything travelers need to know ahead of planning a trip.
The map lists everything from whether or not entry into a state is allowed, potential quarantine measures, testing requirements, and even mask mandates for all 50 states and Washington D.C., the company shared with Travel + Leisure. Travelers can see if restaurants, tourist sites, or hotels are open and if there are any specific restrictions in place.
"We know it's a challenge to keep up with the ever-changing list of travel restrictions, policies and regulations so we are offering a simple, easy tool that helps customers decide where to travel next," Linda Jojo, the executive vice president for technology and chief digital officer, said in a statement.
"By providing the most up-to-date information on the destinations we serve, customers can compare and shop for travel with greater confidence and help them find the destinations that best fit their preferences."
The map's color-coded feature and drop-down menu offer more detailed restrictions and state-specific rules.
Several states have implemented quarantine or testing measures for out-of-state visitors. New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, for example, require travelers from dozens of states to self-isolate for two weeks when entering the tri-state area. Similarly, Hawaii requires visitors to quarantine and has pushed back its plan to welcome tourists again until at least October.
United’s new feature comes as the airline eliminated most change fees on domestic flights and committed to allowing all customers to fly same-day standby for free on both domestic and international flights. Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, and Alaska Airlines then followed suit.
United isn’t alone in trying to inform passengers before hopping on a flight. Google Travel introduced a similar feature, linking to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Travel Health Notices.
By Judith Albertson
West Coast Bureau
TSA says violators of the Biden administration’s new public transportation mask mandate could be issued penalties of between $250 and $1,500 for refusing to comply.
Rules and regulations are arguably ineffective without consequences. Now, there are some very real consequences for violating a federal order requiring masks in all transportation hubs and public modes of transportation—those who don’t comply with the order could face a fine of up to $1,500, according to TSA.
The CDC now requires that people wear masks while in or on airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, rideshares, airports, seaports, and train, bus, and subway stations. The order makes official a mask mandate that was signed by President Joe Biden on January 21.
But what may really make it hit home is that now TSA can issue financial penalties to those who refuse to wear a mask, ranging from $250 for a first offense up to $1,500 for repeat offenders. In some cases, TSA could even seek a fine beyond $1,500 “based on substantial aggravating or mitigating factors,” according to the agency (which didn’t elaborate on said aggravating or mitigating factors).
The executive order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel makes it obligatory to wear a mask while traveling through the country’s airports and on airplanes, trains, and public transportation. TSA said it will require individuals to wear a mask at TSA checkpoints and throughout commercial and public transportation systems until May 11, 2021. Passengers without a mask may also be denied entry, boarding, or continued transport, the agency stated.
Masks must be worn over the mouth and nose, according to the CDC order. For those wearing cloth masks, the masks “should be made with two or more layers of a breathable fabric that is tightly woven (i.e., fabrics that do not let light pass through when held up to a light source)”—that goes for gaiters, too, which should have two layers of fabric or be folded into two layers, according to the agency. Medical masks, such as surgical or N95 respirator masks, also pass muster.
Masks that don’t qualify as proper face coverings include face shields, scarves, ski masks, balaclavas, bandanas, turtleneck collars pulled up over the mouth and nose, and masks containing slits, valves, or punctures.
Children under the age of two, as well as those with a disability that prohibits them from wearing a mask, are exempt. Masks can be briefly removed while eating, drinking, or taking medication; to verify someone’s identity such as during TSA screenings; and when oxygen masks are required on an aircraft.
By John Sandoval
West Coast Bureau
Despite President Biden’s executive order stating that international arrivals must comply with the CDC’s quarantine guidelines, no federally mandated quarantine is currently being implemented or enforced.
The past month has been a bit of whirlwind. Between a new administration that implemented a record number of executive orders—including mask mandates and new and canceled travel bans—and an ongoing roller coaster of tightened and relaxed COVID-19 travel restrictions in response to the ebb and flow of the pandemic, it’s been tough to keep up.
Amid this onslaught of regulations emerged the question of whether international travelers must quarantine after arriving in the United States in addition to providing proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to boarding their flight to the U.S.
Why the confusion? Well, an Executive Order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel signed by President Joe Biden on January 21 stated that all travelers entering the U.S. from a foreign country will now be required to “comply with other applicable CDC guidelines concerning international travel, including recommended periods of self-quarantine or self-isolation after entry into the United States.”
But during a January 26 media call, when asked about enforcement of the quarantine, Dr. Marty Cetron, director for the CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, said, “We’re not at this time issuing federal quarantine orders.”
Cetron said that requirements for entry ultimately fall to state and local authorities—each state has its own set of rules and requirements (which can and do change), whether it is a testing requirement for arrivals (such as in Hawaii), a quarantine, both (such as in New York), or neither.
So, which are we to believe? The presidential proclamation or the CDC statement? A U.S. State Department spokesperson told AFAR to refer to the CDC.
And thus far the CDC recommends—doesn’t require—that international travelers get tested 3 to 5 days after arrival from abroad and stay home for 7 days after travel, pending a negative test result, or self-quarantine for 10 days with no postflight test.
The CDC’s guidelines for international travel are as follows:
Currently, travel into the United States remains highly restricted. Since mid-March, there’s been a ban on foreign nationals traveling to the U.S. from the United Kingdom, Ireland, the European Schengen area, China, Brazil, and Iran. An executive order signed by President Biden on January 25 extends that ban and adds South Africa to the list.
Exceptions to the ban include U.S. citizens and permanent residents, as well as the spouses, parents, legal guardians, siblings, and children under the age of 21 of citizens and permanent residents. Also exempted are those traveling to assist the U.S. government in the containment of the pandemic, air and sea crew members, diplomats, foreign officials, some members of international organizations and NATO, and U.S. Armed Forces members (and their spouses and children).
By Cedric Johnson
West Coast Bureau
American Airlines announced it would start aligning its baggage allowance policies to offer travelers a more consistent and transparent booking experience.
As part of the changes that went into effect Tuesday, Premium Economy tickets will now include two free checked bags on all routes where American provides the enhanced travel experience.
Main Cabin tickets on all long-haul international routes will now include one free checked bag.
American is also introducing a new Basic Economy Plus Bag ticket—which provides a low non-changeable fare with a free checked bag—for flights to Asia, Oceania, India and Israel.
“We want to make American the easiest airline to do business with,” American Chief Revenue Officer Vasu Raja said. “To accomplish this, we are creating transparent fare products and policies that are consistent across our global network so customers can clearly choose their experience when they travel with us.”
For travel agencies that use new distribution capability (NDC), the airline will offer new packaged fares and corporate experiences, including certain seats, bags and privileges together at the time of booking.
American also announced in partnership with Amadeus that they've renewed their content distribution agreement, continuing to make the airline's flights and services available to Amadeus-powered travel agencies and corporations around the world via the Amadeus Travel Platform.