Politics

Travel Tidbits: Travel Ban + Air Canada

In the news as the week ends…

A federal appeals court refused to reinstate President Donald Trump’s ban on travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations.

Trump’s response:

Meanwhile…

Air Canada is celebrating its 80th anniversary and on Thursday had a series of events in several Canadian cities  to introduce a new livery design and new employee uniforms.

The new design will eventually appear on Air Canada‘s fleet of 300 mainline and regional aircraft, but the first three aircraft sporting the new livery are already flying.

Stay tuned to StuckatTheAirport.com this weekend for a report on my 24 hour  – intended – stay at Charles de Gaulle Airport, with an overnight at the new in-terminal Yotel.  Plotting out my meals, my shopping and my sleeping in a tiny, windowless cabin.

 

Trump is making trouble for the travel industry

Formal and informal actions taken by the new U.S. President are already having a huge impact on many parts of the travel industry.

Here’s a shortened version of a piece I wrote for NBC News this week:

The travel industry was already fretting about Donald Trump even before he won the U.S. presidential election. Remember this tweet from Royal Jordanian Airlines?

This weekend, the airline posted a more somber message, following President Donald Trump’s executive order restricting travel into the U.S. for people from seven majority-Muslim countries:

United, Delta, Emirates, Etihad and other domestic and international airlines are scrambling to make rebooking options and refunds available in light of Friday’s executive order.

Trump’s “extreme vetting” measure is being challenged in courts and strongly denounced from many corners of the travel industry — and could have ripple effects for America’s tourism dollars.

“The ambiguity of these very latest developments introduced by President Trump is casting a shadow over the future travel demand to and from the U.S., especially as many trade representatives are concerned that such changes could bring similar types of retaliation from other countries,” said Nadejda Popova, Euromonitor Travel Project Manager.

“The new executive order could also impact how the U.S. is perceived as a tourism destination and how open to foreign travelers it will be in the future,” she added.

Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who came to the U.S. from Iran in 1978, sent an email to employees saying Trump’s executive order portrays the United States as “inward-looking versus forward thinking, reactionary versus visionary.”

On Monday, Expedia joined Amazon in filing a declaration as part of Washington State’s lawsuit against Trump and the Department of Homeland Security that seeks a temporary restraining order against the enforcement of the ban.

“We are generally not aggressive against issues that do not relate to our company,” Khosrowshahi told the New York Times, “But this is travel, our soul and spirit, and we felt we had to respond. Honestly, it was not a debate whether we should we be involved.”

Elsewhere, TripAdvisor CEO Steve Kaufer shared a LinkedIn post saying the company was against this executive order “not just because we are a global business with a diverse workforce, but because we are human beings and citizens who respect and love the fabric of our nation.”

And on Tuesday, the United Nations World Travel Organization issued a statement expressing “deep concern and strong condemnation” of the U.S. travel ban.

“Global challenges demand global solutions and the security challenges that we face today should not prompt us to build new walls,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai in the statement. “On the contrary, isolationism and blind discriminatory actions will not lead to increased security but rather to growing tensions and threats.”

Rifai added that, “Besides the direct impact, the image of a country which imposes travel bans in such a hostile way will surely be affected among visitors from all over the world and risk dumping travel demand to the U.S.A.”

You can still buy campaign memorabilia at DCA & Dulles Airports.

bobble-heads

Whether your candidate won or lost last night, you can still stock up on souvenir memorabilia from this year’s Presidential campaign in a variety of shops at both Dulles International and Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington, D.C.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton bobble head dolls were the big sellers this season, according to Market Place Development – the company that operates the concessions at both airports – as were Trump and Clinton candy bars, Donald Trump plush toys, and Hillary Clinton “We Can Do It!” coffee mugs.

trump-plush-doll

hillary-mug

PHL Airport readies for DNC

PHL Betsy Ross Flag

Benjamin Franklin, Betsy Ross and Alexander Hamilton (characters…) are getting ready to hand out 13-star Colonial flags and otherwise entertain passengers when Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) welcomes the delegates, party officials, journalists and spectators traveling to the city for the Democratic National Convention (DNC), taking place July 25-28.

“Many of these folks will be traveling by air to Philadelphia for the convention, and the airport will be their first impression of the City. We want to make sure it’s a positive one,” said Airport CEO Chellie Cameron.

Beginning Friday, July 22, airport staff will fan through the terminals to greet and assist delegates. And volunteers from the DNC Host Committee and the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) will be in the baggage claim areas to help convention attendees.

Inside the airport, visitors will be hear The Sound of Philadelphia – a playlist of popular songs by Philadelphia’s own legendary producers and songwriters Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.

In the baggage claim areas on Saturday and Sunday, July 23-24, visitors will be treated to complimentary Philadelphia-centric Tastykakes and soft pretzels while Benjamin Franklin, Betsy Ross, and Alexander Hamilton hand out Colonial flags.

There’s more:

There will be a pop-up movie theater in the B/C bag claim, courtesy of the Bryn Mawr Film Institute and History Making Productions, showing short documentaries about the city’s cultural and innovative history;

Shops and restaurants will have special sales and DNC merchandise for purchase;

The airport’s landscape is getting a tidying up and taxis are being offered a free wash in advance of the convention;

And, to get ready for the departure of attendees on Friday, July 29, the Transportation Security Administration will have extra screeners on duty.

And don’t forget the art:

PHL Political pins

An exhibition – Philadelphia’s History of Presidential Conventions, 1848-Present (in Terminal A-East) highlights the 12 Presidential conventions the city has hosted. The 11th took place in 2000 when Philadelphia was the site of the Republican National Convention

CLE Airport & Superman welcome RNC attendees

superman

Superman was created in Cleveland! This exhibit in CLE baggage claim tells the story.

Cleveland is hosting the Republican National Convention this week and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) – and Superman – welcomed many of the 50,000 or so attendees with art, entertainment and helpful information.

And now that everyone has arrived, the airport is getting ready for everyone to depart. This advice is posted on the CLE website:

  • The heaviest departure days for convention participants and media will be July 21st, 22nd and 23rd.  If you are also travelling at these times PLEASE leave early for your flight!
  • In anticipation of a very busy departure day following the convention on Friday July 22nd, we would highly recommend the following 5-4-3-2-1 action plan:
    • 5 Hours Check out of hotel; travel to the airport
    • 4 Hours Return rental car
    • 3 Hours Check-in at airline ticket counter
    • 2 Hours Be at the TSA Security Checkpoint
    • 1 Hour Arrive at the airline boarding gate