We did it. We officially kickstarted 2021. This month, travel has been at the intersection of politics and pandemic, and major names in aviation have stepped up to the plate in response. The industry has continued to evolve in this strange space and is setting a tone for the rest of the year; paving the way for a safe and slow return to travel.
Read on for the latest ‘Intel in the Air’ news roundup, where we keep our users informed and in-the-know on the industry’s latest happenings.
The Travel Industry Sounds Off on Civil Unrest
Following unrest at the U.S Capitol Building on January 6th, many travel companies took precautionary measures to combat the consequences of the turbulent election. American Airlines stepped into action to ban alcohol on flights to and from DC after displays of politically motivated aggressions during flights. The FAA has announced a new policy and harsher consequences for any passengers who interfere with airline crew members and those who refuse to wear a mask. Airbnb also canceled all reservations in Washington D.C. during the week of the inauguration to deter any unessential travel and further prevent any issues.
Inflight Snacks Take Flight
Missing your favorite American Airlines wine? Well due to a surplus, a new program called American Airlines Flagstaff Cellars, will be offering a curated monthly subscription of wine delivered to you at home. Hungry fliers will be glad to hear that Delta is expanding its catering partnership with Newrest to new international airports, totaling sixteen airports worldwide. Lufthansa is building their culinary portfolio with a new partnership with German restaurant chain dean&david and will offer ‘healthy good, high-quality ingredients, and sustainable nutrition’ starting in Summer 2021.
Aviation Changes Shape in the Air and on Land
JetBlue has announced a new plane that boasts a 2x3 configuration, making flight more enjoyable for economy travelers with fewer middle seats, more legroom, and larger windows. International airline Air India made history when an all-female pilot team completed the longest nonstop commercial flight ever operated by an Indian airline from San Francisco to Bengaluru- covering 8,600 miles. In an ode to its aeronautical past, Shanghai’s former Longhua Airport is now converted into Xuhui Runway Park offering an outdoor escape with hints of the airport’s history.
Travel Tech Continues to Tackle COVID-19
Vaccine distribution is underway but has yet to stop COVID-19 in its tracks. Airlines are continuing to do their part to make COVID-era traveling seamless and secure. On January 23, American Airlines unveiled their new health passport app allowing people traveling internationally to upload test results and required documents. Similarly, United is adding a “Travel-Ready Center” on their mobile app and website. Etihad Airlines and Emirates have partnered with IATA Travel Pass to give passengers an easy and accessible platform to verify travel information. As the vaccine rollout picks up, Delta and Alaska have stated that they will not require employees to be vaccinated while United’s CEO Scott Kirby encourages other airlines to make it a requirement.
Here at App in the Air, we continued enhancing our own COVID-19 features, ensuring that our users have the most up to date and accurate information before boarding a flight. We spent the month developing our first ever People’s Choice Awards to highlight the best of aviation and don’t forget to come back and vote for your favorites!