March 2020

Breaking News

Airlines react to COVID-19 with relaxed rules on new bookings

Several airlines such as American, British Airways, Delta, United have announced relaxed rules on new nonrefundable ticket purchases to accommodate traveler needs at this time and to encourage new bookings. United is the first of the airlines to offer waivers on all flights – domestic and international.

Peninsula Hotels waive fees worldwide

Peninsula Hotels recently announced that it would extend its cancellation policy to all of its properties. Originally, it had only enacted its waiver for properties in China. Peninsula has possibly become the first hotel chain to offer global waivers due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Amtrak also waives change fees

Amtrak has decided to waive change fees for any bookings made before April 30th in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. Should changes need to be made, modifications can be made through the Amtrak site. Travelers may need to pay the difference should the new trip be more expensive.

Agency News

Welcome to March!

To say the coronavirus has impacted the travel industry would be a major understatement. With so much uncertainty, travelers have become anxious on their travel plans and how they can travel safely in the next several months. Understanding this, EWA has made the necessary moves to help ensure the health and safety of all our travelers.

Some of what we've done has included the following.

  • Assisting with any changes EWA Travel agents have been working with several clients on changing plans for travelers with fears of the virus. Several airlines have offered to waive fees for travelers who would like to cancel or change their trips.
  • Crafting safe itineraries The U.S. Department of State has categorized areas such as Italy and South Korea as Level 3 "Reconsider Travel." To accommodate our clients needing travel support, agents have worked closely with clients, finding alternative routes to avoid any layovers in any heavily affected areas.
  • Monitoring the news EWA Travel is regularly monitoring the latest news regarding the coronavirus to make necessary changes for our travelers. Additionally, we would like our clients to stay abreast of the latest information, so we are offering a list of resources on our Daily Alerts page.


CCRA Power Solutions 2020

This past month, President and CEO of EWA, Tom Ollinger, sat on a panel with other industry experts to discuss the roadmaps to success for travel agencies. We're happy to report that the breakout session was a success. Great job, Tom!

How EWA helps keeps you safe

Amid the current coronavirus outbreak, many travelers have expressed their anxieties with traveling for work. For that reason, we thought it was important to help you understand how EWA Travel helps to keep you safe. Using both reservations and back-office data, EWA can assist in monitoring where travelers are at any time, anywhere. In addition, for clients that work with medical and security organizations, EWA Travel works closely with these companies to transmit data to their databases. Visit our Security page to get more insight into how EWA keeps you safe.

Travel News

United raises checked bag fees

Valentine's Day saw an increase in baggage fees from United. The airline increased checked-baggage fees by $5 in a move, similar to JetBlue Airways. The first checked bag is now $35 and the second is $45. Note that the increased bag fee can be avoided by prepaying bag fees online.  

Expert advice on the Coronavirus

James Robb, MD UC San Diego, recently offered some advice on the precautionary measures one should take to avoid the Coronavirus. The biggest tip that we are making note of is washing your hands for at least 10-20 seconds. Follow his advice to protect yourself.

Benefits of a travel planner

Many organizations decide to manage their travel in-house. Business Matters recently took a look into the benefits of utilizing a travel agent. While providing effective itineraries, travel agents are also highly organized and have the ability to handle emergencies. See the full list of benefits on Business Matters. 

Prevention is key

International SOS recently released its annual Travel Risk Outlook for 2020. Security Magazine took a look at the top three business travel risks of 2020 which include geopolitical shifts and civil unrest, mental health issues and physical health issues. Looking into these areas, there is one underlying theme–prevention plays in protecting employees against these threats as it relates to Duty of Care.

Updates on the Coronavirus

The Coronavirus has caused some major disruptions to the travel industry. Amid the outbreak, the State Department issued multiple travel advisories for affected areas, including a Level 4 "Do Not Travel" to the South Korean city, Daegu. Newsweek offers some key insight into how the virus is impacting travel.

Travel Resources

Stay healthy by staying abreast

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a wealth of information on their site. One tool we'd like to highlight this month is the Travelers' Health by Destination list. There, travelers and travel arrangers will be able to find a comprehensive list of information on advisories and health information to use during their travels.

Know the per diem rates around the globe

Struggling with per diem rates? Visit the U.S. Department of State's tool to calculate per diem rates for countries around the globe. There, you'll find the maximum per diem rate as well as the max lodging rate. 

Be sure to follow our Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts for daily updates on the latest news in the office and in travel. We regularly share travel alerts and many helpful resources that would be beneficial to you.

EWA Travel

13873 Park Center Road, Suite 202, Herndon, VA 20171