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April 6, 2020

Business Travel News for the Week: April 6

Samantha Shankman
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While perhaps unexpected, the corporate travel industry is as busy as ever as professionals across finance, procurement, and HR asks themselves how to best use this opportunity to build stronger, more advanced and prepared business travel policies.

There is an undercurrent of optimism amongst our community, which engages daily across the TripAction Community Forum as well as Office Hours held on Zoom. We’re also stepping away from the screens and getting outside as part of the #PassthePlane Challenge. As a community that loves the power of human connection and how travel brings us together, we’ve found a way to connect even while we’re apart.(Build a paper plane and join our community in coming together again, in the safest way possible for today.)

Also this week, TripActions CEO Ariel Cohen addressed what’s ahead for the corporate travel industry as part of the Skift online summit Travel’s Path Forward. And TripActions VP of Product Marketing and Strategy Tom Romary explained why there’s never been a better time to join TripActions. Our team also shared The TripActions Guide to Ensuring Traveler Health and Safety as a guidepost for our community, which is tackling this topic daily.

In other news, the corporate travel industry and industries around the world have now shifted to their new reality and are thinking and acting on paving the way for a new future. They’re looking curiously to Asia to see how the industry rebounds. We continue to be inspired by the innovation that we’ve seen and how open-hearted and community-minded leaders have remained.

For the most accurate and up to date information on the evolving COVID-19 situation, please look to the WHO Situation Reports and CDC. You can also find the latest on the TripActions Community and within the coronavirus report in your TripActions Admin Dashboard.

You can check out all our past weekly news roundups here. Now, here’s the top news of the week:

State Department Halts Passport Services for Travelers Outside of Family Emergencies [USA Today]

Few, if any, business travellers are preparing for their first trip abroad, but the government put an official halt to any ideas this week when the U.S. Department of State temporarily halted its passport services with the exception of travellers who have a "qualified life-or-death emergency."

The reduced services went into effect March 20, but business travellers who filed for a passport prior to that date will still receive passports. Some passport facilities may still accept passport applications, and offices can confirm.

What’s Next for Group as Coronavirus Crisis Subsides in China? [Skift]

Chinese online booking site was one of the first in the global tourism industry to be hit when the coronavirus outbreak began in China in late January. Now, travel professionals in China are the first to explore how the industry may emerge as life slowly returns to normal. Skift spoke to Group CEO Jane Sun about how China’s improving conditions may offer encouragement to the rest of the world.

Real ID Act Start Date Pushed to October 2021 [TripActions]

Business travellers were preparing for the October 2020 deadline of the REAL ID Act, which mandated that business travellers had a REAL ID or passport to board domestic flights. Although the process of issuing and mandating that business travellers have the new REAL ID has been in motion for more than a decade, its start date was pushed from October 2020 to October 2021 as the global COVID-19 pandemic brought travel as well as government agencies to a halt. The REAL ID Act sets clearer standards for government-issued photo IDs and adds an extra layer of security for passengers flying commercial airlines.

Predicting the Evolution of Mobility Options in the Pandemic Recovery [Auto Rental News]

When corporate travel resumes in the near future, there will be changes in what’s considered essential travel, budgets, and how people move. This interesting trade article examines the role of the vehicle, either car or bus, and how its status might be elevated in a post-pandemic world.

British Airways Volunteers Furloughed Employees for Front Lines [Simple Flying]

British Airways joins other UK airlines in creating a company-wide task force of employees willing to volunteer their unique set of skills to hospitals and organisations. All cabin crew are trained in first aid and dealing with high-stress situations while employees from the logistical side could assist with transport, procurement, and management of medical supplies and consumables. British Aireways is a great role model for other airlines across the world to replicate, making use of their team’s skills and talents to help society in a different way during this time.

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