Finally, a beach that is friendly to people with disabilities!

Congratulations to the government of Mexico and municipal president Remberto Estrada Barba for making it so much easier for people with disabilities to enjoy the beach in Cancun.  This fully equipped beach, Playa Las Perlas, has ramps and beach chairs so everyone can now be included in a trip to the beach.

If you travel, there is a very good chance you rent a car while on a trip. As we speak with various clients, we’ve come to realize that many people think that booking a full size car is the best way to ensure a larger car. Yes, you spend an extra few dollars, but many travelers feel renting that larger car provides a wee bit more room.

However, there is a little secret we at TravelPlex would like to let you in on. If you register for an Emerald Club membership with National Car Rental, you can book a mid-size car and receive a full-size car - or larger.

Periodically, we have a corporate client who asks for our assistance on either updating, or revamping, their travel policy. The most important thing for a good travel program is to have at least some type of strategy in place. The benefit of a good, tight travel policy can be witnessed in the savings a company can claim at the end of a year. (Should you or your company need assistance in updating your travel policy, TravelPlex would be happy to assist you).

Earlier this week, Amanda Metcalf of the Business Travel News wrote an article on the importance of a company having a travel policy. What stood out in the article was the belief that a policy too limiting creates unhappy, and sometimes confused travelers.

As all of you know, the winter season is near and with it many “challenges” for travelers. Flight cancellations and delays are as common and expected as cold weather, snow and family get togethers. We at TravelPlex thought you’d like some tips on how to play Nostradamus, and avoid sitting around airports waiting on the next flight to your destination. REMEMBER, TravelPlex is here for you 24 hours a day to help when delays occur.

Every fall, we at TravelPlex don our Nostradamus hat and, with the assistance of numerous sources, attempt to forecast various industry growth – and potential declining – statistics.

The 2018 predictions for the U.S. hotel industry have just been released and all projections indicate continued growth, however, at a slower pace than in recent years.

Well, you knew something would happen from the horrible press United Airlines received in the wake of the passenger being pulled off a plane. And it did. The number of passengers being bumped from airlines has declined since that April occurrence and the ensuing outrage.

According to the latest Air Travel Consumer Report from the Department of Transportation, involuntary denied boarding’s were down 29 percent, falling from .62 DB’s per 10,000 passengers from April to June 2016 to 0.44 DB’s per 10,000 passengers for the same period this year.

I guess it was only time. While Southwest Airlines continues to beef up its presence with more non-stop and connection flights servicing St. Louis, the airline just announced two more non-stops flights starting this spring.

Many of TravelPlex’s clients ask us on a regular basis for the latest General Services Administration (GSA) per diems. The 2018 GSA guidelines were just released, and will go into effect October 1st. The 2018 new per diems are showing a slight bump in the daily price allowed.

We at TravelPlex have been predicting stricter hotel cancelation penalties for almost a year. Hotels have been warning travelers if they continue to book last minute rooms on web sites, they will impose penalties that will end up costing the traveler more than any savings possibly earned.

Hilton Hotels will begin charging a penalty for reservations canceled within 48 hours of hotel stays at properties in the U.S. and Canada beginning August 1, 2017. Marriott International released the same policy and began enforcing it in June. The fact that Marriott introduced this policy to its more than 5,700 hotels companywide, and that Hilton has mimicked the policy, has created industrywide concern that the hotel industry will adopt these penalties the same way the airlines do now.

The past few months, we here at TravelPlex have been asked quite often as to the status of Missouri driver’s licenses and whether the REAL ID Act will be an issue for Missouri residents. We have been monitoring the progress in Jefferson City every day.

Well, it finally paid off. Last night (June 12th), Gov. Eric Greitens signed into law legislation bringing Missouri driver’s licenses and identification cards in line with Department of Homeland standards. This paves the way for Missouri’s IDs to be accepted at United States airports, military bases and other federal facilities.

The past few months, we here at TravelPlex have been asked quite often as to the status of Missouri driver’s licenses and whether the REAL ID Act will be an issue for Missouri residents. While we are monitoring what is going on in Jefferson City, we have yet to hear anything definitive on the final signing of the bill. We do know that the bill designed to ensure Missourians will not be denied access to airport TSA security checkpoints and federal buildings is currently sitting on the Governor’s desk.

TravelPlex's President, John Heimburger (who is also the St Louis Area Chapter President for ASTA) along with many of the ASTA members from around the State of Missouri, have been working with lawmakers to ensure this gets signed into law.

In this blog, we will provide some information on items you may – or may not - be aware of. While these facts may be interesting, they may also cause one to pause the next time they want to use that fold down tray it front of them. In no order, here are some rare facts that the airlines don’t want you to know.

Our last blog - “What? I CAN Be Bumped From My Flight?” – must have hit a chord with our readers. Granted, it was on the heels of the United Airlines incident, but that blog received five times more hits than the previous blogs.

As a follow-up to that article, we wanted to provide you with more information on how you can prevent yourself from being bumped from an airline flight.

If you have been in Europe, Asia, or living under a rock in the past week, you may not have heard the latest travel buzz. Here you go. It seems a United Airlines passenger flying from Chicago to Louisville was literally dragged off a plane. Using the words from the airlines CEO, Oscar Munoz, the man – and three other travelers - were “re-accommodated” in order that four United Airlines employees could fly to Louisville.

As you can imagine, we at TravelPlex have been asked in the last few days by many clients if such a scenario can actually occur to them. Does the fact that they have purchased a ticket guarantee that they will have a seat on that flight?

Many times TravelPlex is asked about travel per diems (car, hotel and food/beverage) for their travelers and how they can incorporate these values into their travel policy. While each company maintains an inimitable culture and objectives, there are ways to arrange per diems into a travel policy. Remember, the better the travel policy, the greater the travel savings.

We wanted to alert you to some news that has just been announced. Effective immediately, the U.S. government has issued an order banning large electronic devices from cabin baggage on passenger flights from 10 departure cities in eight countries. The departure cities impacted are:

  1. CMN - Mohammed V International, Casablanca, Morocco
  2. IST - Ataturk Airport, Istanbul, Turkey
  3. CAI - Cairo International Airport, Egypt
  4. AMM - Queen Alia International, Amman, Jordan
  5. JED - King Abdul-Aziz International, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  6. RUH - King Khalid International, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  7. KWI - Kuwait International Airport
  8. DOH - Hamad International, Doha, Qatar
  9. AUH - Abu Dhabi International, United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  10. DXB - Dubai International, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Click the Read More link to learn which airlines have been affected by the new travel rules and what you need to know about them.