October 2023 E-Publication Recap

Amex GBT Ovation’s (Ovation™) weekly consumer e-newsletter, the Knowledgeable Traveler, retains readers up to date on journey business information and traits.

Following is a recap of October’s high 5 (most clicked by Ovation shoppers) e-newsletter tales.

1. US STATE DEPARTMENT ISSUES WORLDWIDE TRAVEL ADVISORY

The US State Division has issued a worldwide warning for People touring abroad, encouraging vacationers to take warning, reviews Journey Pulse. “Because of elevated tensions in varied places world wide, the potential for terrorist assaults, demonstrations or violent actions towards US residents and pursuits, the Division of State advises US residents abroad to train elevated warning,” officers acknowledged. The division is advising US vacationers overseas to remain alert in places frequented by vacationers and comply with the division’s info and alerts on social media or via its Sensible Traveler Enrollment Program. The worldwide warning comes on the heels of latest journey advisories for Israel, Gaza, the West Financial institution, and Lebanon, the place battle and rigidity continues to rise. The worldwide warning is the primary issued by the State Division since August 2022.

2. US PASSPORT RENEWAL WAIT TIME DROPS; NOW 8 TO 11 WEEKS

The US State Division has introduced that the wait time for the standard passport renewal is now 8 to 11 weeks and expedited purposes is 5 to 7 weeks. The brand new timeline is down from 10 to 13 weeks earlier within the yr, but nonetheless longer than the 4 to six weeks the division was estimating in 2019. Moreover, the State Division stated it has issued greater than 24 million passport books and playing cards between October 2022 and September 2023, probably the most ever for a single fiscal yr. “Our devoted employees have labored numerous hours to cut back passport processing instances. We’re constantly reassessing our operations to maximise efficiencies and are introducing improvements to our customer support and processing fashions,” State Division officers stated. “We’re investing in supporting and modernizing our know-how, elevated staffing ranges by ten %, and have a whole bunch of extra employees within the hiring pipeline. We stay centered on reducing processing instances, and this discount is a vital first step.” To make sure on-time supply of passports, the State Division encourages vacationers examine their passport expiration date earlier than planning for worldwide journey and renew their passport nicely upfront of worldwide journey (a minimum of 6-9 months).

3. CBP LAUNCHES NEW GLOBAL ENTRY MOBILE APP

US Customs and Border Safety (CBP) has launched a brand new World Entry cell app designed to boost the journey expertise for World Entry members, reviews Journey Pulse. The brand new app is presently obtainable for World Entry members to finish their arrival processing as an alternative of ready in line to make use of a portal. With the brand new app, vacationers take a photograph of their face, which might be in comparison with a photograph gallery to confirm their identification via facial biometrics. After submitting their photograph, customers will obtain a receipt on the app. The cell receipt can then be used to bypass the World Entry Portals upon arrival on the main inspection space. For now, the app is offered to be used at seven airports together with Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), Los Angeles Worldwide Airport (LAX), Miami Worldwide Airport (MIA), Orlando Worldwide Airport (MCO), Pittsburgh Worldwide Airport (PIT), Seattle Tacoma Worldwide Airport (SEA), and Washington Dulles Worldwide Airport (IAD). CBP stated it plans to judge and broaden the usage of the app at airports the place World Entry processing happens sooner or later. The brand new app is free and obtainable for obtain from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

4. DELTA SHARES MODIFICATIONS, NEW BENEFITS TO SKYMILES LOYALTY PROGRAM

Delta Air Strains has introduced its modifications to the modifications to its SkyMiles Loyalty Program introduced in September, whereas including a number of new advantages as nicely. Delta will alter the variety of Medallion Qualification {Dollars} (MQDs) required to attain 2025 Medallion Standing, additional improve the Million Miler program, replace Delta Sky Membership entry insurance policies for eligible Card Members, and improve choices for Rollover Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs). The modifications come weeks after September’s announcement drew destructive reactions from SkyMiles members. “Over the previous few weeks, lots of you have got shared suggestions in regards to the modifications we introduced to Delta’s SkyMiles Program,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian stated. “It’s been a problem to steadiness the expansion of our membership with our have to ship premium service experiences. We made some tough program choices to handle this subject…. However your response made clear that the modifications didn’t totally mirror the loyalty you have got demonstrated to Delta. Primarily based in your suggestions, we’re making program changes and including new advantages to start incomes in 2024 towards your 2025 Standing.”

5. UNITED WILL CHANGE ITS BOARDING PROCESS THIS MONTH

United Airways is updating its boarding course of this month, permitting vacationers in window and center seats to board earlier in an effort to hurry up the method, reviews Journey + Leisure. The brand new process – referred to as “WILMA” for window, center, and aisle – will go into impact on October 26. The process saves as much as two minutes of boarding time, in response to the airline. The boarding process was used previous to 2017 when United launched its carry-on restricted primary financial system fare. Technical developments have now allowed United to deliver it again. Much like the present process, the boarding course of will begin with pre-boarding vacationers with disabilities, unaccompanied minors, active-duty navy, international service members, households touring with younger kids 2 and underneath, and United Premier 1K members. Vacationers in United Polaris enterprise class, United first-class, and different premium cabins in addition to standing holders will then be capable of board. The airline will then board vacationers sitting in window seats or exit rows. New this month, the airline will subsequent board vacationers in center seats, adopted by these sitting in aisle seats. Lastly, United will board vacationers sitting in primary financial system, in addition to vacationers who don’t have a boarding group listed on their boarding go.