U.S. airlines lift COVID-19 pandemic mask mandates for domestic travel: Complete list of current rules

April 19, 2022

by Frances Peterson

An airport traveler during the COVID-19 mask mandates (Photo by Anna Shvets)

This article will be updated with any breaking news.

As of April 18, 2022, all major U.S. airlines are no longer requiring face masks for passengers and employees on domestic flights (within the United States). This mask mandate had been set to expire on April 18, 2022. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wanted to keep the airline mask mandate in place until May 3, 2022, to further study the BA.2 omicron subvariant of COVID-19. The move come after U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in Tampa, Florida, ruled that the federal mask mandate exceeded the authority of the CDC, and the Joe Biden administration agreed with the ruling. Late in the day on April 18, 2022, U.S. airlines began announcing that their mask requirements were now lifted.

Because of the COVD-19 pandemic, U.S. airlines began requiring face masks for all passengers and employees in May 2020. (People were allowed not to wear masks while eating and drinking.) The mask requirement became a federal mandate in January 2021, and it affected U.S. airlines that are under the jurisdiction of the Federal Aviation Administration. The airlines had been pushing for a lift of mask requirements due to a reported massive increase in physical altercations, harassment and verbal abuse that airline employees experienced from passengers who do not want to wear face masks. Even though the mask mandate has been lifted, airline passengers and employees have the option to war face masks if they choose to do so.

It’s important to remember that the liftings of mask restrictions listed above apply to U.S.-based airlines for flights traveling within the United States. Airlines based outside the U.S. and airplane flights outside the U.S. might have different policies. In addition, policies for wearing masks might vary for international airports outside of the United States. If you are traveling outside the U.S., find out the mask policies for the airline and airport before you go to the airport.

Here statements from each of the major U.S.-based airlines, as of April 19, 2022:

ALASKA AIRLINES

Face masks have been like boarding passes for nearly two years — you couldn’t fly without one. But, as of today, masks are optional in airports and onboard aircraft, effective immediately. 

Due to a judicial decision in our federal court system, the mask mandate has been overturned, which means our guests and employees have the option to wear a mask while traveling in the U.S. and at work.

Note: Guests must continue to wear masks on flights both to and from Canada. Masks must still be worn in airports within Canada and Mexico.

Safety is always our highest priority, so while we love to see your smiling faces in the airport and on board, we respect your decision to keep using this added layer of protection. Above all, we hope you’ll treat each other with kindness and respect throughout the travel journey and beyond. 

It has been a long 24 months with nearly constant change. I could not be prouder of our frontline employees who have handled every pivot focusing on safety and the care we’re known for,” said Max Tidwell, VP of safety & security at Alaska Airlines. “We’re also thankful for our guests who remained considerate, patient and stood by us throughout every twist and turn.” 

Even as more pandemic protocols and policies ease, our team will remain vigilant and prepared for whatever may come next. Safety remains our top priority. And while we sincerely hope most of these challenges are in our rear-view mirror, we are confident we will be ready to respond if faced with another COVID wave or even a new virus. 

What happens to guests who were banned because of not following our previous mask policy? Throughout the last two years, we have relied on reporting from agents and flight attendants to ban noncompliant guests from traveling while the federal mask policy remained in effect. Based on our reports, we will have some guests whose behavior was particularly egregious who will remain banned, even after the mask policy is rescinded.  

As always, we will continue to hold safety as our highest value. Thank you again to our loyal guests and team of 22,000 people who came together over the last two years to do the right thing and take care of one another. We’ve proven we can do anything together.  

AMERICAN AIRLINES

American Airlines has prioritized the health and safety of its team members and customers throughout the pandemic and has supported the federal government’s measures to slow the spread of COVID-19. In accordance with the Transportation Security Administration no longer enforcing the federal face mask mandate, face masks will no longer be required for our customers and team members at U.S. airports and on domestic flights. Please note face masks may still be required based on local ordinances, or when traveling to/from certain international locations based on country requirements. In keeping with our commitment to creating a welcoming environment for everyone who travels with us, customers and team members may choose to continue to wear masks at their own discretion. We are deeply grateful to our team members for their enforcement of the mandate, and will share more information about this transition in the coming days.

BREEZE AIRWAYS

Facemasks are no longer required on Breeze flights for both Guests and Team Members.
Please be kind and respectful of individual choices, and remember that wearing a mask while flying on Breeze is still an option.

DELTA AIRLINES

Following the ruling of a U.S. district court judge on Monday, the Biden administration announced that the Transportation Security Administration will no longer enforce the federal mandate requiring masks in all U.S. airports and on board aircraft. Effective immediately, masks are optional for all airport employees, crew members and customers inside U.S. airports and on board all aircraft domestically, as well as on most international flights.

Delta employees and customers may continue wearing masks if they so choose. Wearing a well-fitting mask –  such as a KN95 – protects the wearer, even if others around them are not wearing masks, according to our Chief Health Officer Dr. Henry Ting.

Given the unexpected nature of this announcement, please be aware that customers, airline employees and federal agency employees, such as TSA, may be receiving this information at different times. You may experience inconsistent enforcement during the next 24 hours as this news is more broadly communicated – remember to show understanding and patience with others who may not be aware enforcement is no longer required. Communications to customers and in-airport signage and announcements will be updated to share that masking is now optional – this may take a short period of time.

Local mask mandates in other countries may still be in effect. Additional updates will be provided as new information becomes available.

We are relieved to see the U.S. mask mandate lift to facilitate global travel as COVID-19 transitions to a more manageable respiratory virus – with better treatments, vaccines and other scientific measures to prevent serious illness. Thank you for your support in complying with the federal mask mandate and keeping each other safe during the pandemic.

FRONTIER AIRLINES

To mask or not to mask, the choice is yours. Masks are now optional on domestic flights, however, certain airports or countries may still require masks, so check the policy at your destination prior to departure and we’ll see you in the sky.

HAWAIIAN AIRLINES

In alignment with TSA’s Security Directive, face masks are optional for our guests and employees onboard Hawaiian Airlines flights. We advise travelers to stay informed and follow mask requirements that may remain in effect at their origin or arrival airports. Guests who wish to continue wearing face masks are welcome to do so. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we update our communications and announcements to reflect this change.

JETBLUE AIRWAYS

In line with Monday’s federal court ruling and the Transportation Security Administration’s guidance, mask wearing will now be optional on JetBlue. While no longer required, customers and crewmembers are welcome to continue wearing masks in our terminals and on board our aircraft.

Regardless of the U.S. rule change, customers and crew members who are traveling internationally should always have a mask with them in case they continue to be required at their destination. 

We are working to proactively share this update with our customers and crewmembers, so please be patient as we update our communications.   

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES

On Monday, a federal judge issued a decision stating the federal mask mandate for public transportation, including on airlines and at airports, is no longer in effect. Thereafter, the White House announced the masking order is not in effect, and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will not enforce the federal mask mandate at this time.

As a result of this development, effective immediately, Southwest Employees and Customers will be able to choose whether they would like to wear a mask on flights, at domestic ​airports, and at some international locations. We encourage individuals to make the best decision to support their personal wellbeing. Additionally, Southwest will continue supporting the comfort of those who travel with us by offering additional layers of protection, including sophisticated cabin air ventilation systems onboard our aircraft which incorporate HEPA air filtration that removes at least 99.97% of airborne particles.

We appreciate the cooperation and compliance efforts of our Customers and Employees as policies have evolved. We’ll continue to monitor public health guidance, and federal requirements, while always keeping safety as our uncompromising priority. 

For additional information, we also invite you to contact Airlines for America, our trade association, for an industry perspective on this development.

SPIRIT AIRLINES

 Face masks are now optional for Spirit Team Members and Guests onboard our flights following the federal court ruling and TSA guidance.

We understand some Guests may want to continue wearing face coverings on flights, and that’s perfectly fine under our optional policy. For our Guests traveling internationally, please remember to check country-specific airport requirements before traveling.

SUN COUNTRY AIRLINES

Thank you Sun Country guests for your patience and for masking up. Effective immediately, wearing a mask on Sun Country flights is optional for our passengers and employees. We look forward to seeing your smiles on board and encourage kindness and respect for those who continue to mask.

UNITED AIRLINES

Masks are no longer required on domestic flights, select international flights (dependent upon the arrival country’s requirements) or at U.S. airports. More comfortable keeping yours on? Go right ahead… the choice is yours.

While this means that our employees are no longer required to wear a mask—and no longer have to enforce a mask requirement for most of the flying public—they will be able to wear masks if they choose to do so, as the CDC continues to strongly recommend wearing a mask on public transit. We will continue to closely monitor the situation in the event of changes.

Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines announce merger

February 7, 2022

(Image courtesy of Spirit Airlines)

The following are excerpts from a Spirit Airlines press release:

Today we announced that Spirit and Frontier have signed a definitive merger agreement under which we plan to combine to bring more ultra-low fares to more travelers in more destinations across the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean. We are excited about this combination and believe it will have tremendous benefits for consumers, Team Members, and shareholders.

COVID-19
Since its initial onset in early 2020, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has evolved and continues to be fluid. Therefore, the Company’s financial and operational outlook remains subject to change. The Company continues to monitor the impact of the pandemic on its operations and financial condition, and to adjust its mitigation and operational strategies accordingly. Spirit has implemented measures for the safety of its Guests and Team Members as well as to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on its financial position and operations. Please see the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the period ending December 31, 2021 for additional disclosures regarding these measures.

The Company believes that providing analysis of financial and operational performance compared to fourth quarter 2019 is a more relevant measure of performance due to the severe impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic on our financial results and operational performance for 2020.

Fourth Quarter 2021 Results
Adjusted EBITDA for the fourth quarter 2021 was $14.9 million. The Company had an unusual number of operational disruptions and flight cancellations during the peak December 2021 holiday period, due to staffing shortages as a result of the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. The irregular operations during the peak December 2021 holiday period negatively impacted fourth quarter 2021 Adjusted EBITDA by approximately $30 million, primarily due to additional passenger re-accommodation expenses and higher labor expenses, partially offset by lower fuel expense and landing fees. Despite this impact, Adjusted EBITDA margin for the fourth quarter 2021 was 1.5 percent, better than the Company’s initial expectations of flat to negative 5 percent. 

Forward Looking Guidance
Given the merger transaction announced today, the Company is not providing guidance at this time.

Full Year 2021 Highlights

Our People

  • In 2021, Spirit maintained its focus on building an engaged workforce, while navigating COVID-19’s impact on its Team Members and a tightening labor market. The Company grew its workforce to 10,287 Team Members to support its growing organization, had the honor to be named as one of FORTUNE’s Most Admired Companies, and received Glassdoor’s OpenCompany designation, which recognizes employers that proactively promote and embrace workplace transparency
  • Spirit launched a comprehensive Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Belonging strategy in 2021, to drive meaningful change within the organization and the communities it serves. This includes employee resource groups (ERGs) organized by Team Members in order to ensure they all have a voice in paving our path; providing education to increase awareness of systemic inequities and to reduce bias; and a new Supplier Diversity program around a network of minority-owned business partners and diverse suppliers

Recognitions and Accomplishments

  • Spirit was one of only three U.S. airlines listed on FORTUNE’s 2021 list of World’s Most Admired® Companies
  • Spirit was awarded Platinum status by the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) Health Safety initiative powered by SimpliFlying for the airline’s efforts in ensuring the highest standards of cleanliness and sanitization. The rating was the highest of any low-fare carrier in the world, and the certification recognizes Spirit for going above and beyond the required and truly investing in health and safety for Guests and Team Members
  • Spirit was recognized by Forbes as one of America’s best companies for diversity, equity and inclusion. Forbes’ fourth annual list of America’s Best Employers For Diversity ranks the 500 employers that boast the most diverse boards and executive ranks, as well as the most proactive diversity and inclusion initiatives
  • Spirit received two prestigious awards for its Self-Bag Drop and Biometric technology: The Company was a Gold Stevie winner from the Transportation category of the American Business Awards® program, and was named Best Airport Innovation in the APEX/IFSA Awards
  • For the fourth year in a row, Spirit has achieved the FAA’s highest award for Technical Training, the Diamond Award of Excellence. This award is only achieved if 100% of technicians receive the FAA’s Aircraft Maintenance Technician (“AMT”) Certificate of Training.

Supporting our Communities

  • Spirit is committed to inspiring positive change in the communities it serves, supporting local nonprofit organizations throughout its network via in-kind donations and Team Member volunteerism
  • Alongside the Company’s efforts, the Spirit Airlines Charitable Foundation invested over $500,000 in non-profit organizations that have meaningful social impact on the lives of children and families, service members and the environment

Environmental, Social, Governance

  • Spirit issued its inaugural 2020 Sustainability Report, showcasing results of the airline’s longstanding commitment to meaningful advancements in environmental sustainability, Guest and community service, Team Member support, and governance. Despite the global impact of COVID-19, Spirit remained dedicated to integrating environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) practices into its business. The report highlights Spirit’s plans for continued progress in broadening ESG initiatives and improving communities and society at large. The Company’s 2020 Sustainability report is available at ir.spirit.com

Guest Experience and Loyalty

  • Spirit launched a new Free Spirit® loyalty program in 2021—which offers the fastest way to earn rewards and status—alongside the new Spirit Saver$ Club®. Spirit also unveiled a pair of new credit cards with benefits that make every aspect of the new Free Spirit fly faster and further. The new Free Spirit is built around points because rewards will be based on dollars spent instead of miles flown. Members can earn points on every booking, every bag and every Big Front Seat®—plus all kinds of purchases on the new Free Spirit credit cards
  • Spirit continued its progress on Wi-Fi antennae installations with more than 100 aircraft completed in 2021. As of year-end, the Company was conducting initial Wi-Fi testing on a limited number of planes. Guests onboard these flights were able to access the Wi-Fi service at a reduced rate during this temporary trial period.

Legoland New York Resort officially opens, includes first Legoland Hotel in Northeast

August 10, 2021

Legoland New York Resort Hotel’s grand opening (Photo courtesy of Legoland New York Resort)

The following is a press release from Legoland New York Resort:

After more than a year of anticipation, awesome is finally here! LEGOLAND® New York Resort (in Goshen, New York) officially opened on Friday, August 6, 2021, with the debut of LEGOLAND® Hotel as the ultimate family getaway destination.

Families can now spend multiple days exploring the Park’s seven themed lands and then conveniently retreat to the 250-room hotel, located just steps away from the theme park’s iconic entrance arch. The only LEGO® themed hotel in the Northeast, LEGOLAND Hotel at LEGOLAND New York Resort is built for kids, with guest rooms and suites that are designed for 5-9 people depending on room type, with four room themes: Pirates, Kingdom, LEGO® Friends and LEGO® NINJAGO®. Built to inspire all-day play and curiosity, the Hotel also features imaginative LEGO models and immersive play areas throughout the property.

“Welcoming overnight guests at LEGOLAND Hotel is a long-awaited milestone that marks the final step in our phased opening,” said LEGOLAND New York Resort Divisional Director Stephanie Johnson. “We’ve created an overnight experience that can’t be found anywhere else in the Northeast through thoughtful, creative, and educational hotel offerings that complement a day at our Park. At LEGOLAND Hotel, families can experience a fully-immersive multi-day getaway: they can fuel up for their day in the Park, take a break if they need it, and drift off to sleep with a bedtime story from their in-room Google Nest.”

Upon arrival, LEGOLAND Hotel guests receive a “warm” welcome from a smoke-breathing LEGO dragon – and that’s just the beginning of the overnight adventure! Additional highlights include a Castle play area for children, more than 2,000 interactive LEGO models created out of thousands of LEGO bricks, a heated resort-style pool, an arcade, and a “Little Big Shop” to stock up on everything you need for a bricktastic vacation. Every overnight stay comes with a complimentary buffet breakfast at Bricks Family Restaurant, which also serves a family-size dinner each night.

LEGOLAND Hotel also offers an endless array of creative experiences, including the chance for young builders to put their skills to the test alongside Master Model Builders at the on-site Creative Workshop. Daily children’s entertainment takes place throughout the property, complete with LEGO character meet-and-greets. Meanwhile, parents can enjoy light bites and drinks at the Skyline Bar as they watch their children explore aboard a pirate ship and castle play area in the Hotel lobby.

Back at the room, inventive in-room amenities take contactless programming to the next level. Children and parents will love the Hotel’s Next Generation Sleepover: a Google Nest that can do anything from place a room service order to tell children an immersive bedtime story or send them on an in-room scavenger hunt. Each themed guest room offers a separate sleeping area for children, equipped with a bunk bed, pull-out trundle bed, and an entertainment unit, with a separate space for adults with a king bed. Guest rooms also include a welcome treasure hunt activity with LEGO prizes, access to a LEGO play bin, two high-definition flat panel TVs with complimentary on-demand content, and more.

“Children will find themselves engaged from the moment they set foot in LEGOLAND Hotel, while parents can tap into their inner child in the heart of this family-friendly playground,” said LEGOLAND Hotel Director Scott Case. “The Hotel is so much more than a place for families to rest after a fun-filled day. From the wall of 5,000 LEGO Minifigures to the interactive disco elevator with pulsating lights, mirror ball and music, LEGOLAND Hotel is an extension of the theme park experience that can’t be missed.”

Just beyond the Hotel doors, LEGOLAND New York Resort features seven LEGO themed lands: Brick Street, Bricktopia, LEGO® NINJAGO® World, LEGO® Castle, LEGO® City, MINILAND and LEGO® Pirates. The Park features the global debut of the LEGO® Factory Adventure ride, which transforms riders into LEGO Minifigures, and signature rides such as the Dragon coaster and LEGO® NINJAGO® The Ride. Children can also earn their very own LEGOLAND Driver’s License at Driving School, team up to save the day at Fire Rescue Academy and catch LEGO movies in 4D at Palace Cinema.

LEGOLAND Hotel will be open year-round and is now accepting reservations online on its website: www.LEGOLAND.com/new-york. Room rates begin at $279/night. Packages are also available through LEGOLAND Vacations which include a stay at a LEGOLAND Vacations Hotel (nearby partner hotels) and two-day LEGOLAND Park tickets. Guests can also purchase single-day tickets ($79.99 for adults) or annual passes ($229 per person) with or without a hotel stay.

For more information about LEGOLAND New York Resort, visit our website or follow us on Facebook.

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About Merlin Entertainments
Merlin Entertainments is a global leader in location-based, family entertainment. As Europe’s number one and the world’s second-largest visitor attraction operator, Merlin operates more than 135 attractions, 21 hotels and six holiday villages in 24 countries across four continents. Merlin’s purpose is to deliver memorable experiences to its millions of guests around the world, through its iconic brands and multiple attraction formats, and the commitment and passion of its employees. 

See www.merlinentertainments.biz for more information and follow on Twitter @MerlinEntsNews.

Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas officially opens

March 26, 2021

Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas grand opening on March 25, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment)

The following is a press release from Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment:

Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas officially opened the 60,000-square foot premium gaming venue to the public, welcoming invited guests, celebrities, locals and visitors to the newly reimagined casino-resort on March 25, 2021 at 6 p.m.

The evening kicked off with a ceremonial door unlocking with property executives, local officials, and Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment Interim CEO Ray Pineault and Mohegan Tribal Councilors Joe Soper and Ken Davison.  In traditional fashion, Tribal Councilors Joe Soper and Ken Davison presented a gift to Richard “Boz” Bosworth, President & CEO of JC Hospitality and owner of Virgin Hotels Las Vegas and Lou Serafini, President and Chief Executive Office of Fengate, including a hand-crafted Mohegan gourd, sweetgrass and a Mohegan blanket.

Following the opening ceremony, guests were welcomed into the casino-resort featuring more than 650 slot machines and over 50 table games including favorites like Blackjack, Roulette, Baccarat, Craps and Three-Card-Poker.  Every gamer will want to become a member of the Momentum Loyalty Program that delivers maximum excitement with incredible rewards and benefits.  Members earn Momentum Dollars to spend on world class dining, premium brand shopping, hotel stays, spa treatments, partner benefits and more.

Throughout the night, celebrities, were spotted enjoying the casino and toasting the celebratory evening. Actor and TV host Mario Lopez tossed the ceremonial first dice roll at the craps table and “The Bachelor” Matt James and Chrisell Stause of “Selling Sunset” and “Dancing with the Stars” were spotted trying their luck at blackjack and craps.  Stars of “Vanderpump Rules” Tom Sandoval and Tom Schwartz hit the Desert Star Bar and sipped on cocktails. “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Melissa Gorga was joined alongside husband Joe Gorga and friends celebrating her birthday at One Steakhouse. Both Matt James and Chrisell Stause hit Nobu for the world-renowned sushi and cocktails. 

Mohegan Sun Casino Las Vegas promises to deliver memorable guest experiences, best in-class operations and unmatched personalized service. Welcoming guests to the casino were over 300 team members returning to the reconceptualized property, seasoned veterans of the gaming and hospitality industry.

Keep up with the latest Mohegan Sun Casino Las Vegas news via Facebook , TwitterInstagram and Linkedin.

About Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas
Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas is a state-of-the-art casino operated by Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE), master developer of awe-inspiring integrated entertainment resorts (IER) worldwide. Mohegan Sun Casino Las Vegas signifies the first tribal casino presence in the prestigious Las Vegas market, featuring a 60,000-square foot gaming venue located within Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, a Curio Collection by Hilton. For more information on Mohegan Sun Casino Las Vegas or MGE properties visit www.MoheganSunLasVegas.com.  Keep up with the latest Mohegan Sun news via Facebook , TwitterInstagram and Linkedin.

About Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment
Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE) is a master developer and operator of premier global integrated entertainment resorts, including Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut, Inspire in Incheon, South Korea and Niagara Casinos in Niagara, Canada. MGE is owner, developer, and/or manager of integrated entertainment resorts throughout the United States, including Connecticut, New Jersey, Washington, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, as well as Northern Asia and Niagara Falls, Canada, and Las Vegas, Nevada. MGE is owner and operator of Connecticut Sun, a professional basketball team in the WNBA. For more information on MGE and our properties, visit www.mohegangaming.com.

About Virgin Hotels Las Vegas
Virgin Hotels Las Vegas is a reimagined and re-conceptualized casino resort. The property is part of the Curio Collection by Hilton™. The integrated resort intermixes a passion for food and beverage with music and culture and features three hotel towers totaling over 1,500 Chambers and suites; the 60,000 sq. ft. Mohegan Sun Casino, operated by Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment; a five-acre desert pool oasis including a multi-functional event lawn; live music and entertainment theater with 4,500 capacity; 24 Oxford showroom accommodating 650 guests; an exclusive portfolio of twelve food and beverage venues including Todd English’s Olives, Kris Yenbamroong’s Night + Market, the legendary Nobu, Michael and David Morton’s One Steakhouse, Kassi Beach House from restauranteur Nick Mathers, Casa Calavera by global hospitality company Hakkasan Group, the sports entertainment, daylife and nightlife venue Money, Baby! from Justin Massei and Mikis Troyan of Clive Collective, famous Afters Ice Cream, Pizza Forte by the Ferraro Family and signature Virgin Hotels restaurants and bars including The Kitchen at Commons Club, The Bar at Commons Club, The Shag Room and Funny Library Coffee Shop. The property is owned by JC Hospitality, LLC, in partnership with Juniper Capital Partners, Virgin Group, LiUNA, Fengate Asset Management, Dream and Orlando Development. The off-Strip playground is located at 4455 Paradise Road. For more information, visit www.virginhotelslv.com

Upgraded Points survey shows 1 in 5 Americans won’t travel again until 2021, citing coronavirus concerns

April 1, 2020

The following is a press release from Upgrade Points:

Upgraded Points recently released its newest targeted study featuring a survey based on questions given to airline travelers concerning the recent global pandemic. The study seeks to understand American travelers’ plans and concerns, helping to better illuminate the travel crisis as it unfolds; while also delivering important data about the American airline industry itself—which recently asked for and will receive a reported $50 billion bailout from the U.S. government. Upgraded points is a trusted source for a wide variety of similar in-depth airline studies, as well as advice and pointers for travelers.

1 in 5 Americans said they aren’t going to travel again until 2021. Conversely, from the time of the study, about 20% said they would travel again in the next 6 weeks.

“The airline industry is in a great deal of trouble again,” said Alex Miller, Founder of Upgraded Points. “They’ve certainly seen their share of difficulty over the years: after 9/11, during the 2008 economic downturn, etc. But this is probably the worst crisis the industry has ever faced. Without millions of travelers on planes and in airports, the industry just can’t make the revenue it needs to survive. Whole countries are asking citizens to stay indoors, and that includes enforcing travel restrictions and closing borders. No one knows exactly when this global pandemic will peak and then begin to recede. So all we can do now is wait, and gather valuable data to help understand the situation as it happens. That is the goal of this particular study.”

Analysis Methodology

The study surveyed 1,250 people in the U.S., asking a variety of questions related to their travel plans, concerns around those plans, and asking them to identify what would make them feel most comfortable about traveling again. The results were compiled into a series of detailed tables and lists that give exact percentages based on the answers received. The makeup of those surveyed include 55% male and 45% female, further broken down into six different age range groups, representing adults aged 18 through 65 and up. By far, the largest group of those surveyed fell into the 26–34 range, representing 39% of the whole.

Biggest Travel Concerns: Questions About Fears

Overall, the majority of Americans questioned clearly stated that their biggest traveling concern was the COVID-19 virus. But the study broke that question down into a variety of other specific concerns to help reveal the nuanced complexities around the topic. When asked what worried them most—contracting the virus personally or passing it on to others—the majority of Americans responded they were most concerned about contracting the virus themselves. Though 32% of those asked did express concerns about passing the disease on to others, while still others expressed concern about becoming part of overall community spread. These results are further categorized into specific age ranges as well. Please see the study for full details.

Unsurprisingly, the biggest fear travelers have is contracting COVID-19 from traveling and then spreading it to family and friends.

How and When Will Americans Feel Comfortable About Traveling Again?

Americans were also asked when they plan to begin traveling again, under what circumstances, and at which airline ticket price. The answers were arranged based on the choices given: an immediate time frame (the next two weeks), then monthly, all the way into 2021. The overwhelming majority stated they had no plans to travel again until 2021, representing 20% of those surveyed.

Americans were also given a series of factors to choose from, representing what would make them feel more comfortable traveling, and at which ticket prices. Factor choices given include: Enough Time Has Passed, No New COVID-19 Cases, and Government or Health Officials Give the “All-Clear” to Travel. The results were compiled into percentages, price ranges and further classified into specific age groups.

To see the exact numbers and percentage breakdowns by age, as well as bar graphs and helpful pie charts used for visual comparison, please visit the full study HERE.

About Upgraded Points LLC

Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Upgraded Points is a travel company that provides insider strategies on maximizing travel points and rewards. Launched in 2016 by Alex Miller, Upgraded Points uses targeted research efforts and in-depth studies to give travelers, as well as those looking to travel a real understanding of how to maximize their points and miles. Learn more at: www.UpgradedPoints.com.

Coronavirus travel bans, quarantines and evacuations: What you need to know

February 16, 2020

by John Larson

Updated April 20, 2020

Due to varying policies in different countries, coronavirus pandemic-related travel regulations and restrictions could change over time. Please check with travel providers or travel agents for the latest information, especially if traveling to another country.

Diamond Princess cruise ship (Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises)

The coronavirus that medical officials say originated in Wuhan, China (in Hubei Province), is still a threat to thousands of people, as of this writing. As the death toll and infections continue to increase, here are some things people need to know about the coronavirus (also known also known as COVID-19) before traveling.

Travel Bans

As of this writing, most countries have banned or severely limited travel to and from China. Check with official travel agencies to find out what the restrictions are for your country.

March 14, 2020 UPDATE: Following the U.S. ban of flights from Europe to the United States, several airlines have been cancelling or reducing flights to and from Europe and the United States. Some airlines have also been decreasing the number of flights to and from the U.S. and South America. Check with individual airlines to find out what their latest policies are.

April 20, 2020 UPDATE: The U.S. is temporarily suspending immigration to the United States. Details will be posted here as soon as they are confirmed.

Quarantines

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, people have been quarantined if they have traveled from China or areas where there have been a number of infected people. In the United States, people returning from high-risk areas are expected to undergo quarantines for about 14 days after their arrival back home.

Cruise ships have experienced quarantines, and most have cancelled future trips in 2020 until further notice. People who have travel plans on a cruise ship need to check directly with the ship’s parent company for the latest updates.

On February 16, 2020, about 400 American passengers on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan were expected to disembark and travel back to the United States, according to NBC News. The U.S. Department of State released a statement saying that there were 428 U.S. citizens on the ship.

NBC reported that as of February 14, 2020, of the 771 passengers and crew that have been tested, 218 have tested are positive for the virus, and at least 32 of them are Americans. The infected Americans will be further quarantined at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California, according to the report. They will be kept away from the quarantined Americans who were evacuated from Wuhan, China, in the second week of February 2020.

March 8, 2020 UPDATE: There have been more Princess Cruise ships that have been quarantined, including the Grand Princess, which carried 3,500 people and was docked in Oakland, California. The U.S. State Department has now advised against travel on cruise ships. Seniors and people with underlying health issues are especially at risk. In addition, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a statement saying that there is “increased risk of infection of COVID-19 in a cruise ship environment.”

March 20, 2020 UPDATE: Most states in the U.S. now have some type of voluntary quarantine policy, where people are encouraged to stay home, unless it’s related to a job, medical reasons, or essential errands, such as getting food, drinks, supplies or exercise. When outside of your home, social distancing is encouraged, by staying at least six feet apart from people who do not live with you. Because people are being discouraged from traveling unless it’s absolutely necessary, all forms of transportation have been significant reduced. Many travel bookings have a high likelihood of being cancelled or postponed during this coronavirus pandemic, so check with the individual transportation company where a trip is booked to get the latest updates on that trip and the company’s current policies on refunds.

Evacuations

Here are the countries that have done official evacuations for their citizens who were in or near Wuhan, China, during the coronavirus outbreak:

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Brunei
  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Malaysia
  • Mongolia
  • Myanmar
  • Nepal
  • New Zealand
  • The Philippines
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Sri Lanka
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Vietnam

This article will be updated with any important breaking news.

Disney Cruise Line announces Star Wars Day at Sea details for 2021

January 23, 2020

Disney Cruise Line's Star Wars Day at Sea
Disney Cruise Line’s Star Wars Day at Sea (Photo by Matt Stroshane)

The following is a press release from Disney Cruise Line:

With more than a dozen of the galaxy’s most formidable and heroic characters onboard, guests can meet with the best of the Resistance including Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2; come face-to-face with Darth Vader; and be on watch as Stormtroopers, Bounty Hunters and Jawas roam the ship.

Force-sensitive children learn the ways of the Jedi and use their new-found skills in a face-off against Darth Vader and Kylo Ren in Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple. The whole family can celebrate the greatest moments from the Star Wars galaxy with the “Summon the Force” deck party, complete with a fireworks show of galactic proportions.

Costume celebrations, movie screenings, trivia sessions, the Star Wars Drawing Academy and a ship-wide Porg-themed adventure are more of the ways families can feel the Force on Star Wars Day at Sea. Unique food and beverage and special merchandise are also available on these sailings in early 2021.

Star Wars Day at Sea Itineraries

With cruises to the Eastern and Western Caribbean, guests can celebrate their love of the Star Wars saga and enjoy tropical destinations, coupled with classic Disney magic and entertainment all week long onboard the Disney Fantasy. All Star Wars Day at Sea sailings make a stop in Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests, home to pristine beaches, crystal blue waters and fun-filled leisure and recreational activities for all ages.

Star Wars Day at Sea will be offered on nine Disney Fantasy seven-night Caribbean cruises sailing from Port Canaveral, Florida.

Departing Jan. 2, Jan. 16, Jan. 30, Feb. 13 and Feb. 27, the Western Caribbean itinerary includes Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Falmouth, Jamaica; and Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay.

Departing Jan. 9, Jan. 23 and Feb. 20, the Eastern Caribbean itinerary includes Tortola, St. Thomas and Castaway Cay.

Departing Feb. 6, the Eastern Caribbean itinerary includes St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Castaway Cay.

To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, guests can visit http://www.disneycruise.com, call Disney Cruise Line at 888-325-2500 or contact their travel agent.

 

Notary Hotel opens in downtown Philadelphia

July 17, 2019

The Notary Hotel
The Notary Hotel in Philadelphia (Photo courtesy of Braemar Hotels & Resorts)

The following is a press release from Braemar Hotels & Resorts:

Braemar Hotels & Resorts Inc. (NYSE: BHR) (“Braemar” or the “Company”) today announced the opening of The Notary Hotel in the heart of Downtown Philadelphia. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the former Courtyard by Marriott Philadelphia Downtown underwent a rebranding and renovation in excess of $20 million to create The Notary Hotel. Located at 21 North Juniper Street, the property now features 499 guest rooms and over 10,000 square feet of conference space throughout 12 event rooms. It joins Marriott International’s Autograph Collection® Hotels, a diverse portfolio of approximately 180 independent hotels around the world that reflect unique vision, design and environments.

“After approximately two years of design and construction on The Notary Hotel, we are delighted to finally announce its formal grand opening as a member of the Autograph Collection by Marriott,” said Richard J. Stockton, Braemar’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “As of today, the hotel is available for booking as an Autograph property on Marriott’s central reservation system and elsewhere and will be referred to as The Notary Hotel in all future public communications.”

For more information, or to make reservations, please visit The Notary Hotel website at https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/phlak-the-notary-hotel-autograph-collection or contact 215-496-3200 to speak with one of the hotel’s team members.

Braemar Hotels & Resorts is a real estate investment trust (REIT) focused on investing in luxury hotels and resorts.

Ashford has created an Ashford App for the hospitality REIT investor community. The Ashford App is available for free download at Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store by searching “Ashford.”

Princess Cruises’ Sky Princess and Enchanted Princess announces escape-room experience Phantom Bridge

July 16, 2019

Phantom Bridge
Phantom Bridge (Rendering courtesy of Princess Cruises)

The following is a press release from Princess Cruises:

Cruise guests ready to travel through time and space need to look no further than Princess Cruises newest ships – Sky Princess and Enchanted Princess – to experience Phantom Bridge, a world’s first game combining digital and physical elements for the ultimate immersive escape room.

“Phantom Bridge, our newest Discovery at SEA interactive attraction, will offer our guests the exclusive opportunity to live a real-world, gamified experience with more than 700 different outcomes for the ultimate adventure,” said Denise Saviss, Princess Cruises vice president of entertainment experience. “Partnering with Farbound to deliver this unprecedented technology and world’s first interactive Mediascape Room further solidifies our commitment to share innovative and distinctive offerings to our guests.”

On the Phantom Bridge, Princess Cruises guests will face immersive environments and show moments as they race to solve puzzles and travel to endangered time periods. The entire ship will transform and respond to guest actions, enveloping them in the story. Developed exclusively for Princess Cruises by Farbound, the leader in gamified real-life experiences, the debut of Phantom Bridge will feature the first Mediascape Room, the proprietary gaming and show-control system that runs the entire game play.

“As Princess Cruises is committed to delivering a completely different and memorable experience for its guests, we are so honored to be working with them as Farbound’s partner. This new class of entertainment offerings will strengthen and hold Princess Cruises position as the leader in the travel industry.” said Tim Rheault & Steve Trowbridge, Co-Founders of Farbound.

Phantom Bridge offers a range of activities including:

Uncover the clues to solve the mystery – projection mapping, touch screen surfaces and hidden physical elements bring the environment to life as players race to uncover new clues and solve puzzles that will transport them to the next endangered time period.

Blends the physical with the digital with immersive effects – players captain the ship and turn the physical wheel to navigate the vessel and watch as the simulation view changes. Lighting, sound and digital features disguised as physical ones are combined to create an immersive, realistic experience, every step of the way. But, players beware as they’ll never know when a new item could mysteriously appear and be the key to the next puzzle.

Families can play together! – Phantom Bridge tailors the experience to players of all ages, heights and physical abilities so parents, kids and grandparents can all play together. Plus, with so many levels, time periods and puzzles more than 700 different outcomes are possible, which means players can come back and engage in Phantom Bridge time and time again since it’s never the same adventure.

Phantom Bridge will also debut onboard the cruise line’s next ship, Enchanted Princess, summer 2020. Guests can try Phantom Bridge in the new Experience Center located on deck 18. The event lasts 23 minutes and can accommodate up to six people.

For families looking for immersive, enriching and fun experiences while traveling, Princess Cruises has partnered with Discovery Inc. to create Discovery at SEA onboard programming that brings to life destinations and fan-favorite Discovery and Animal Planet shows. Guests can choose from exclusive, family friendly shore excursions and onboard activities like Stargazing at Sea. Younger cruisers, 17 and under, will also enjoy the recently renovated Camp Discovery Youth & Teen Centers.

More details about the robust onboard features and itineraries of Sky Princess and Enchanted Princess can be found at www.princess.com.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel advisor, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS (1-800-774-6237), or by visiting the company’s website at princess.com.

Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas unveils massive new features

July 11, 2019

(Rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

The following is a press release from Royal Caribbean International:

Travelers can soon take in Europe’s historic destinations from a bold, new perspective on board the amplified Allure of the Seas. Royal Caribbean International has revealed the signature feats and innovative experiences coming to the renowned Oasis Class ship as part of a 58-day, $165 million transformation. Guests will be able to conquer a continent’s worth of adventures and come back for more with Allure’s upcoming lineup of new features, including the Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea; The Perfect Storm trio of waterslides, completely redesigned Adventure Ocean kids and teens spaces, the first Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar, and Quantum Class original Music Hall. Reimagined as the ultimate summer vacation in Europe, Allure will open its season of 7-night Western Mediterranean cruises from homeport Barcelona, Spain on May 10, 2020.

Bold Family Favorites

Adventure Ocean (Rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

Whether the moment calls for thrills or relaxation, vacationers sailing on the amplified Allure of the Seas can test their courage or sit back at the Pool and Sports Zone neighborhood that will now tout the perfect family day out. Feature highlights include:

  • The 10-story Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea
  • The Perfect Storm trio of waterslides, Typhoon, Cyclone and Supercell
  • Splashaway Bay kids aquapark, featuring twin drench buckets, three waterslides, fountains, pools, water cannons and a Splash Pad for tots
  • Reimagined pool deck, complete with The Lime & Coconut signature bar across two locations, a wider variety of seating and shade with cabana-like “casitas,” daybeds, hammocks and swing seats; new whirlpools on the top deck, and a reinvigorated, adults-only Solarium

Adventure Ocean’s Workshop (Rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

The thrill will go from the outside-in on board the amped-up Allure. Expanding on the ways that families can spend time together and on their own are the additions of completely reimagined, dedicated spaces for babies, kids and teens, and popular Royal Caribbean activities.

  • All-new Adventure Ocean, where younger kids can choose their own immersive adventures across an entirely new layout. The major makeover will bring to life interactive, personalized and unexpected activities and features in areas redesigned from top to bottom, including whimsical rooms with climbable creations at Play Place, hands-on art, science and tech fun at Workshop; friendly competition in physical, interactive games at Arena; the Hangout, to chill and make new friends over gaming consoles or sit back for some quality “me” time, AO Babies for babies and tots, and experiential activities at the multipurpose AO Junior space specially designed for 3- to 5-year-olds

    Dedicated teens spaces (Rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

    Dedicated teens spaces (Rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)
  • Maxed-out teen spaces, debuting a 360-degree transformation, with a secret speakeasy-like entrance leading into an exclusive lounge with gaming consoles, music, movies, places to hang out and a new outdoor deck
  • Glow-in-the-dark laser tag in Clash for the Crystal City and Royal Escape Room – Apollo 18: Lunar Landing, an out-of-this-world expedition that challenges guests to solve puzzle after puzzle before time runs out

A World of Flavors

Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar (Rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar (Rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

Portside BBQ (Rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

Allure will deliver an array of culinary possibilities with more restaurants, casual spots and bars joining the already-diverse offering of specialty and complimentary options.

  • Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar, a new take on a guest-favorite, will offer the beloved family-style, rustic dining experience with an enhanced menu of Italian staples, complete with hand-tossed pizza from the new in-house pizza oven, an expansive charcuterie station and a wide selection of wines and limoncellos
  • Portside BBQ will serve up a menu inspired by popular barbecue styles across the United States, including brisket, pulled pork, chicken, burnt ends, mac and cheese, homestyle cornbread and more
  • Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade for gameday watch parties on big-screen TVs, tournaments, bar bites with a twist and ice-cold brews
  • El Loco Fresh, featuring casual Mexican “street fare”
  • Sugar Beach, the sweetest spot on board with more than 220 types of candy and ice cream
  • Bionic Bar by Makr Shakr, manned by two robot bartenders shaking up classic cocktails and custom orders

Portside BBQ (Rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

Amped-Up Hotspots

Music Hall (Rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

After a day of exploring iconic destinations and channeling their inner adventurer, guests can go out for a “night on the town” and find new venues added to the nightlife offered on board.

  • Music Hall, a Quantum Class favorite, will take live music to the next level with revolving setlists and cover bands, ample lounge seating on two levels and room to rock out on the dance floor
  • Spotlight Karaoke, the dedicated karaoke bar with both main stage and private room experiences will feature thousands of songs to choose from, music trivia and themed nights

Spotlight Karaoke  (Rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

Beginning May 2020, Allure of the Seas’ 7-night Western Mediterranean cruises sailing roundtrip from Barcelona will visit must-see cities such as Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Provence (Marseille), France; Florence/Pisa (La Spezia), Rome (Civitavecchia) and Naples/Capri, Italy.

Allure joins the original gamechanger, Oasis of the Seas, as the second Oasis Class ship to be reimagined in the $1 billion Royal Amplified fleet modernization program. These two revolutionary ships will steal the spotlight next year in Europe and the New York area, respectively, as the boldest summer vacations on both sides of the Atlantic.

In November 2020, Allure will make its way coast to coast to Miami for the winter season. Sailing from Royal Caribbean’s state-of-the-art Terminal A, the reimagined ship will offer 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises. Many of the ship’s Caribbean itineraries will include visits to the cruise line’s new private island destination in The Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay.

About Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean International has been delivering innovation at sea for more than 50 years. Each successive class of ships is an architectural marvel featuring the latest technology and guest experiences for today’s adventurous traveler. The cruise line continues to revolutionize vacations with itineraries to more than 270 destinations in 72 countries on six continents, including Royal Caribbean’s highly anticipated private island in The Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay, the first in the Perfect Day Island Collection. Royal Caribbean has also been voted “Best Cruise Line Overall” for 16 consecutive years in the Travel Weekly Readers’ Choice Awards.

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