Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Delta Bans Emotional Support Animals from Longer Flights

Delta Bans Emotional Support Animals from Longer Flights

Delta Air Lines announced Monday it would be updating its policies to ban emotional support animals from flights scheduled to last longer than eight hours.
In addition, Delta also revealed it will no longer allow service and support animals that are less than four-months-old on any flight. 
The new rules and regulations apply to travelers purchasing tickets on or after December 18, with customers purchasing tickets before that date being permitted to still travel with their animal.
Starting February 1, the ban on emotional support animals on longer flights and animals less than four-months-old will be in effect for all customers, regardless of booking date. As a service to valued customers, Delta’s Reservations and Customer Care team will contact impacted travelers to adjust reservations.
“We will continue to review and enhance our policies and procedures as health and safety are core values at Delta,” senior vice president John Laughter said in a statement. “These updates support Delta's commitment to safety and also protect the rights of customers with documented needs – such as veterans with disabilities – to travel with trained service and support animals.”
Delta’s decision to update its policy again comes after an 84 percent increase in reported incidents involving service and support animals since 2016. The issues include urination, defecation, biting and even a widely reported attack by a 70-pound dog.
The changes were influenced by the animal vaccination policy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the principles outlined in the United States Department of Transportation’s Air Carrier Access Act.

Monday, December 17, 2018

PHOTO: United Boeing 787 Dreamliner. (photo courtesy of United Airlines)

United Airlines announced its largest ever international network expansion from its hub at San Francisco International Airport on Wednesday.
Starting next year, the Chicago-based carrier will offer nonstop year-round service to Toronto and Melbourne, Australia as well as seasonal service to New Delhi, India.
United will also launch a second daily flight between San Francisco and Seoul, South Korea. What's more, 2019 will see the carrier begin new year-round nonstop service between San Francisco and Auckland, New Zealand, Tahiti, French Polynesia and Amsterdam.
Subject to government approvals, United's new twice-daily nonstop year-round service between San Francisco and Toronto is scheduled to begin March 31, 2019, while the carrier's new nonstop year-round service between San Francisco and Melbourne three times per week is slated to start October 29, 2019. United's new seasonal service between San Francisco and New Delhi will begin December 5, 2019.
Beginning March 30, 2019, United will become the first U.S. carrier to fly between California and Amsterdam. Two days later on April 1, 2019, the airline will begin operating a second daily flight between San Francisco and Seoul.
Finally, the airline's year-round service between San Francisco and Papeete, Tahiti on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and year-round service between San Francisco and Auckland three-times-weekly begins March 30, 2019.
"This route expansion solidifies United's position at San Francisco as the gateway airline serving destinations across the Pacific, the continental United States, as well as to Europe and beyond," said the airline's CEO Oscar Munoz in a statement. "It serves as a fitting capstone to all our efforts that made 2018 a breakthrough year for United, from delivering strong financial performance to currently leading in on-time departures for the second year in a row."
In her own statement, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein said the "new routes will expand international travel to and from San Francisco International Airport, helping us forge stronger connections between our city and other major destinations around the globe."
United has added a dozen new international destinations from San Francisco since 2013, serving 29 international destinations total and operating more than 300 daily flights in all.
Wednesday's announcement comes just two days after Delta Air Lines announced significant expansion from Boston's Logan International Airport.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Guests can ride Toy Story Land’s Slinky Dog Dash with little-to-no wait during After Hours events at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Credit: 2018 Courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort

The success of Disney After Hours events at Walt Disney World in Florida has shown that being inside a Disney theme park after hours is a bucket-list-worthy experience for true fans. Luckily, there will be even more chances in 2019, as Disney announced it will add more dates in Magic Kingdom, as well as offer the option at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. 

The separately ticketed events not only give clients the opportunity to spend time in the parks after hours, but also there are little-to-no waits for classic attractions such as Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean and Space Mountain, as well as new favorites including Toy Story Land’s Slinky Dog Dash and those in Pandora – The World of Avatar. 

Saturday, December 15, 2018

PHOTO: Festival of Lights at the Washington DC Temple in Kensington, Maryland. (photo via PBallay/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

As people prepare for the holiday season, AAA is forecasting a record-breaking 112.5 million travelers will take to the nation’s runways, roads and rails during the year-end holidays.
The estimated 112.5 million travelers would represent a 4.4 percent increase over last year and the most since AAA has been tracking holiday travel. 
In total, more than 102 million people who will pack up their cars for the 11-day, year-end holiday travel period between December 22 and January 1, 2019, a 4.4 percent increase from last year.
Another 6.7 million people will fly to their destinations this year, a 4.2 percent increase and the highest number in 15 years. As for those traveling on a train, bus or cruise ship, a total of 3.7 million passengers will be utilizing these other means of transportation. 
“’Tis the season for holiday travel, and more Americans than ever will journey to spend time with friends and family or choose to take a vacation,” AAA Travel managing director Bryan Shilling said. “Strong economic growth fueled by robust consumer spending continues to drive strong demand for seasonal travel. With a record-breaking one-third of the country choosing to travel this holiday, roadways and airports are sure to be busy.”
Driving this year could be a headache, as the most congestion on the roads will come before the holiday week, starting on December 19. Drivers in Atlanta, New York City, Boston and Houston will see travel times more than three times a normal trip.
As for fuel prices, a recent drop resulted in the cheapest national gas price averages of the year at $2.46 for the first week of December, which is two cents per gallon less than one year ago.
For those looking to avoid the busiest travel times at the airport, December 22, December 23 and December 26 will be the most congested days in the skies, while Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are the lightest travel days around the holidays.
Daily rates for car rentals have increased three percent over the last year, averaging $76 per day, making it the most expensive rate of the last 10 years. On the other hand, the average price of a AAA Three Diamond hotel fell three percent.
AAA also provided a list of the top 10 most popular holiday destinations, including:
1. Orlando, Florida
2. Cancun, Mexico
3. Anaheim, California (Disneyland)
4. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
5. Montego Bay, Jamaica
6. Honolulu, Hawaii
7. New York, New York
8. Kahului, Hawaii (Maui)
9. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
10. Miami, Florida

Friday, December 14, 2018

Travelers Sing National Anthem at Nashville Airport to Honor Gold Star Children

Proud saluting soldier on American flag background. (photo via Anchiy / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Traveling during the holidays can be a major headache, but passengers waiting for their flights in Nashville proved there is still good in this world when the entire airport honored the children of soldiers who had died.
According to The Tennessean, a video was shared online Monday that showed people waiting for their flights at Nashville International Airport as a group of more than 100 children who lost a parent in combat prepared to board a plane to Disney World.
As word spread around the facility about why the group was together, the vast majority of people inside the facility began singing the national anthem as a way to show solidarity and honor the children.
Traveler Jen Tringale was at the airport and filmed the moment.
“When they announced them over the loud speaker and they lined up to board the plane, the whole airport literally stopped and sang the national anthem with military present in salute,” Tringale told The Tennessean.
“Most every person standing around, myself included was bawling at the sight of these kids and spouses who have paid so great a price for our country,” Tringale continued. “To see all of this at Christmas time was so humbling. Seeing the general public in an airport stand still to honor these kids was simply beautiful.”
The children were being flown to Disney World as part of the Snowball Express, which flies more than 1,000 Gold Star children to the theme park as part of a partnership with American Airlines.
The Snowball Express is part of the Gary Sinise Foundation, which says the goal of the program is for “our Gold Star families to feel remembered and for them to see that they are not alone. It's something I feel is incredibly important for our nation, letting the children know that we do not forget their sacrifices and we honor them. And it's such a great feeling to see them healing, smiling, and having fun.”

Carnival Cruise Line's Mardi Gras to Feature First-Ever Roller Coaster at Sea

PHOTO: Rendering of BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster aboard Carnival Cruise Line's Mardi Gras. (photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Royal Caribbean Oasis coming to NYC in 2020

PHOTO: Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas Cruise Ship. (Photo via RobertsGalleries / iStock Editorial / Getty Images Plus)

Royal Caribbean International is charting a new course with its 2020-21 deployment plans, touting a fleet of Royal Amplified ships sailing to exciting destinations. An amped up Oasis of the Seas will greet Lady Liberty and deliver new vacations from the Northeast with seven-night Caribbean itineraries that include an unforgettable day at the cruise line’s highly anticipated private island destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay, The Bahamas.
Oasis will be the first ship in her class and the world’s largest to sail from the Northeast. For the first time since 2015, Anthem of the Seas will return to the U.K. to sail alongside Independence of the Seas, marking the cruise line’s biggest presence in the region to-date.
Celebrating its one-year anniversary in summer 2020, Perfect Day at CocoCay will welcome 10 ships from more ports than any previous deployment, including newly added Galveston, Texas, as well as Barcelona, Spain on Allure and Rhapsody of the Seas’ transatlantic sailings in November 2020.
Adventure seekers from around the world will have more opportunity than ever to discover the thrill and chill experiences that await the whole family, including the tallest waterslide in North America, the Caribbean’s largest wave pool, and the highest vantage point in The Bahamas from a helium balloon that rises 450 feet in the air. Delivering on its promise of creating memorable vacations on land and on board, Royal Caribbean will tout seven ships in 2020-21 that have emerged from the global cruise line’s $1 billion Royal Amplified modernization program launched in 2018, introducing a wide range of bold, new adventures designed to appeal to all ages.
The Perfect Vacation for all Seasons: Caribbean & Northeast
Big news for the Big Apple – Oasis of the Seas, the ship that revolutionized cruise vacations in 2009 with game-changing industry firsts, from the unique seven-neighborhood concept to the iconic AquaTheater performance venue, will undergo a bow-to-stern transformation in 2019 and become the first Royal Amplified ship to sail from Cape Liberty in Bayonne, N.J., starting in May 2020. Oasis of the Seas will transport travelers to the clear blue waters of The Bahamas all summer with seven-night itineraries, as well as a select number of short cruises north to New England and Canada.

Adventure of the Seas will return to Cape Liberty, sailing a variety of five- and nine-night summer and fall itineraries to Bermuda, New England and Canada, The Bahamas and the Caribbean. Travelers can extend leaf peeping season on Vision of the Seas, which will offer three 10- to 11-night open-jaw itineraries between Bayonne and Quebec City with an overnight in Quebec’s capital–a UNESCO World Heritage treasure and North America’s only fortified city.
Symphony of the Seas and sister ship Harmony of the Seas, the ultimate family ships, will return to PortMiami and Port Canaveral, Fla., respectively, offering seven-night itineraries to the Eastern and Western Caribbean. Both ships will feature visits to Perfect Day at CocoCay, the ultimate destination for thrill and chill, on nearly all sailings.
Brilliance of the Seas will light up Boston in the fall, sailing seven- to 10-night cruises to Canada starting in September 2020, while Grandeur of the Seas continues to offer nine-night itineraries to Canada and New England for fall foliage from her year-round homeport in Baltimore, Md. Grandeur will embark on a combination of five- and nine-night itineraries to Bermuda and The Bahamas in the summer months, and transition to nine-night Southeast Coast & Bahamas and 12-night Southern Caribbean cruises for the winter. Northeast, Canada and Bermuda itineraries will be available to book as of December 13, 2018.
In 2020, San Juan, Puerto Rico will welcome what will be the newly modernized Freedom of the Seas. The largest ship to ever homeport in San Juan will return for the third consecutive year to sail seven-night itineraries year-round throughout the Southern Caribbean, traveling beyond the typical getaway to exotic destinations like Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis; St. Johns, Antigua; Castries, St. Lucia and Bridgetown, Barbados. Rounding out the seven-night Caribbean offerings is Liberty of the Seas, which will continue to sail from Galveston to the Western Caribbean ahead of her own highly anticipated amplification in early 2021. The seven-night Bahamas, Bermuda and Caribbean itineraries will be available to book as of December 13, 2018.
In 2020, San Juan, Puerto Rico will welcome what will be the newly modernized Freedom of the Seas. The largest ship to ever homeport in San Juan will return for the third consecutive year to sail seven-night itineraries year-round throughout the Southern Caribbean, traveling beyond the typical getaway to exotic destinations like Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis; St. Johns, Antigua; Castries, St. Lucia and Bridgetown, Barbados. Rounding out the seven-night Caribbean offerings is Liberty of the Seas, which will continue to sail from Galveston to the Western Caribbean ahead of her own highly anticipated amplification in early 2021. The seven-night Bahamas, Bermuda and Caribbean itineraries will be available to book as of December 13, 2018.
Memory-Making Moments: Short Caribbean
No stranger to Perfect Day at CocoCay, two of Royal Caribbean’s Amplified ships – Mariner of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas – will continue to elevate short Caribbean getaways all year with 3-night weekend and 4-night weekday itineraries to The Bahamas. Reimagined in 2018, Mariner will continue to sail from Port Canaveral in Orlando, Fla., while an amped up Navigator will remain a resident of Miami, sailing from the cruise line’s state-of-the-art Terminal A.
Navigator will be the third ship to be reimagined in February 2019, building on the successes of the brand’s Royal Amplified fleet modernization program to incorporate a lineup of firsts and Royal Caribbean favorites with new experiences, including an awe-inspiring Caribbean poolscape, two daring waterslides–introducing the longest aqua coaster at sea–the first blow dry bar the industry, elevated nightlife and dining, and thrilling activities. Short Caribbean itineraries are now open to book.
Sharing the Texas-sized spotlight, Enchantment of the Seas will, for the first time from Galveston, offer a lineup of sailings to Perfect Day at CocoCay for adventurous vacationers who want to wrangle first-time experiences that will top any bucket list. Enchantment will continue a mix of 4- and 5-night Western Caribbean sailings in the summer, perfect for short getaways and first-time cruise vacationers.
Fresh Adventures & Discoveries: Europe
The Old World will get a new spin with Royal Caribbean’s summer 2020 deployment. Longtime New York resident, Anthem of the Seas, will make the journey across the Atlantic to Southampton, England returning for the first time in five years. Anthem is set to embark on her biggest adventure yet as the Quantum Class ship visits coastal towns along the Mediterranean, Northern Europe and the Canary Islands, on eight- to 14-night itineraries.
Modernized in 2018, Independence of the Seas will return to Southampton for the season and sail seven- to 14-night cruises around the Norwegian Fjords, Canary Islands and North Africa, Scandinavia & Russia, and Italian Mediterranean, including new destinations Agadir, Morocco and Ponta Delgada in Portugal’s Azores archipelago in the mid-Atlantic. Vacationers can also revel in the beauty of the Baltic with a 14-night itinerary–a first for a Freedom Class ship–featuring an overnight in Copenhagen, Denmark and two nights in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Royal Amplified will reach the far corners of Europe as Allure of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas debut multimillion-dollar modernizations as they journey across Europe for the 2020 summer and fall seasons to rediscover legendary landmarks, charming coastlines and the diverse cultures. Allure of the Seas will be the first Royal Amplified Oasis Class ship in Europe, offering seven-night Western Mediterranean itineraries that depart from Barcelona. From Rome, the reimagined Explorer will offer a mix of seven- to 12-night sailings along the Greek Isles, uncovering storied temples, amphitheaters and villages.
Vision of the Seas will join Allure in Barcelona for the summer and fall seasons to offer travelers 12-night cruises across the Mediterranean, as Rhapsody of the Seas returns to Venice, Italy for the summer to offer shorter itineraries, alternating between Greece & Croatia and the Greek Isles. Copenhagen will welcome Jewel of the Seas for the season, as the ship sails a mix of seven-night itineraries through the Norwegian Fjords and Scandinavia & Russia. Brilliance of the Seas will return to Amsterdam for a third summer, sailing 12-night Baltic itineraries and a special 12-night sailing around the British Isles.
For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, adventurers can board Brilliance for a 15-night artic crossing as the ship repositions from Amsterdam to Boston, Mass. European itineraries will be available to book the week of December 17, 2018. All itineraries will be open to book by Crown & Anchor Society loyalty members one day prior to the general opening date.

SOURCE: Royal Caribbean International press release.

Matty K Travel 516.366.9008 

Delta Bans Emotional Support Animals from Longer Flights

Delta Bans Emotional Support Animals from Longer Flights Delta Air Lines announced Monday it would be updating its policies to ban emo...