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Business Travel Travel News

Countdown to the REAL ID ACT

One year from today, the REAL ID ACT will go into effect, changing the required identification needed to board an airplane. A year goes by fast. To avoid future problems, here’s what you should anticipate for the October 1, 2020 deadline.

What do I need to know about the REAL ID ACT? 

Once the REAL ID ACT goes into effect, only the correct identification will allow entry into federal buildings, including federally regulated commercial aircrafts. Though passports will be accepted, driver’s licenses and identification cards need to be updated to include scannable microchip technology. It is the responsibility of the individual state to implement these changes. If the traveler does not have a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, they will need an additional form of approved identification, or they will not be allowed to board the aircraft. 

For years the REAL ID ACT has been surrounded by confusion and chaos. In January 2018, the government as a whole delayed the enactment of the REAL ID ACT until October 1, 2020. The purpose was to give all 50 states adequate time to prepare. Now that the 2020 deadline is approaching, it’s time to make sure your state is compliant and you have the appropriate identification. 

How do I know if my driver’s license is REAL ID compliant? 

Because every state is responsible for issuing REAL ID compliant identification, it’s best to check your state’s DMV website for up-to-date and correct information. With only a few straggling states, almost all are currently in compliance. 

There is also an easy way to tell if your license has the scannable technology. A star in the upper right corner indicates it is REAL ID compliant, though there are various versions of the star logo. 

real-id-act-starIf you do not have a star in the upper corner, you will need to get a new driver’s license. 

Another point to remember, if your state is compliant, and your license is due to expire before the October 1, 2020 deadline, the new id sent to you will have the RFID indicated star. 

Have additional questions? Read this information packet from the TSA.  You can also tweet them with specific questions regarding #check4thestar

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Business Travel Guides

The Definitive Guide To Choosing Between TSA Precheck, Global Entry or CLEAR

Do you know what’s worse than the long security lines at the airport? Standing in that long line, watching travelers with TSA Precheck or CLEAR breeze past and continue onto their gate. It’s like being stuck in gridlock rush hour traffic, as a commuter train speeds around the congestion and quickly disappears into the horizon. And whenever I encounter either, I quietly vow to be one of those lucky passengers or travelers next time.

Of course, what follows is diving into the different options available, and ultimately hitting a wall of choice paralysis. Which one do I choose? Which is the best option for my lifestyle and amount that I travel? Shouldn’t I be focusing on more important things, rather than researching expedited security screening services? Well, we’re putting an end to this indecision. We’ve completed a thorough investigation and laid it all out. Now, all you have to do is read these quick summaries and decide which service would benefit you the most.

 

TSA PreCheck

How it’s different

This short cut through the security line is run by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which regulates the overall security line. Because it’s regulated from within TSA, you may have previously received free TSA PreCheck status in the past. It works by bypassing the long security lines, into the designated TSA PreCheck lines. The lines are usually smaller and faster because you don’t remove shoes, belts, laptops, or liquids.

What’s the application process?

Users subscribing to TSA PreCheck fill out a short online form. Then, one must schedule an interview with a TSA agent to finish the evaluation process. The interview is typically conducted at a TSA office, meaning you will likely need to drive to your closest airport to conduct the interview. Fortunately, TSA frequently promotes events outside of the airport to complete the process.

Cost

A $85 non-refundable fee that covers a 5 year membership. (That comes out to just $17 a year.)

Upside

  • Because it runs through the existing TSA, it has been implemented thoroughly throughout the U.S. It is currently in more than 200 airports and 53 airlines.
  • They are already rolling out new advanced technology in select TSA PreCheck security lines, like facial recognition technology, and only using your driver’s license.

Downside

  • There have been recent criticisms that TSA PreCheck is potentially the slowest of these advanced security screenings. Largely due to TSA PreCheck being run by the government, it is more likely to be understaffed with long lines during high use times.
  • The $85 application fee is non-refundable, even if you are not accepted into the program.
  • Having TSA PreCheck eligibility status is included in Global Entry, so paying for it individually may not be the most effective use of a membership.

Who should sign up

Any frequent business traveler who travels within the US. It is the best deal out of all of the services, but does have some potential drawbacks.

 

Global Entry – Trusted Traveler Programs

How it’s different

This is the only service that focuses on international travel by reducing the time spent in customs lines. Run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, its biggest advantage is it can be used in customs lines coming back into the U.S. Once flying back to the States and reaching customs, Global Entry members will pass to a designated kiosk, where they will scan their fingerprints and continue through the on-screen prompts.

Other Trusted Traveler Programs include Nexus and Sentri, expediting service between only the U.S. & Canada, and the U.S. and Mexico, respectively.

 Cost

$100 one-time fee for application. Includes a 5 year membership. (That comes out to $20 a year)

What’s the application process?

An online application, plus the fee. If your application is approved, an interview with a Customs & Border Protection agent will be scheduled at a Global Entry Enrollment Center. Your fingerprints will be taken, which will later be used as identification when you use a Global Entry kiosk at customs.

Upside

  • The best option for international travel.
  • Includes TSA PreCheck membership

Downside

  • The wait time for your interview can be lengthy, sometimes six months out.
  • If you are denied entry into the program, your $100 application fee will not be returned.

Who should sign up

International travelers. Even one or two trips to another country could justify the price.

 

CLEAR

How it’s different

CLEAR is the only private service, not developed through the government. As a standalone service, it addresses the long security lines from a different angle. Rather than reducing the wait time in existing security lines, they instead created their own line. It scans your identity with a fingerprint scan and an eye scan.

Cost

$179 per year (that’s $15 per month)

What’s the application process?

A simple registration form, followed by a 5 minute set-up at an enrollment center. You will need your driver’s license to continue. CLEAR can be used through airport security that same day.

Upside

  • Easiest application process
  • Does not require any additional identification through the line process, just your boarding pass.
  • Can be used concurrently with TSA Pre-check Eligibility. Use CLEAR to verify your identity, then skip ahead to the Precheck line.
  • CLEAR is branching out into other avenues, like sports stadiums, arenas, and more. Potentially, you could use it in your everyday life.

Downside

  • The most expensive option, by far.
  • Limited availability in airports, though it is growing. Currently it’s in only 30 airports in the US.

Who should sign up

A very frequent business traveler, who knows that CLEAR is available in the airports he/she frequents.

 

 

 

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Business Travel Travel Industry

What You Need To Know About TSA’s New Ban on Powders from International Flights

This past weekend, a specific ban started its enforcement on flights entering the United States. This time, the focus in on the amount of powders allowed in carry-on luggage. Impacting only international flights entering the United States, it will not affect domestic flight travel. Read more about the specifics of the new procedures below.

What’s happening?

Foreign airports with direct flights to the United States are requested to provide additional scrutiny to fliers carrying 12 ounces or more of powder in their carry-on luggage. Many international airlines have already placed heavier scrutiny on powders since an incident last July in Australia.

This is in addition to the increased security scanning procedures implemented in April; which included removing food, powders, liquids from carry-on bags while going through security checkpoints.

 

What might be included in this ban on powder?

American Airlines helped define exactly what is a powder in a recent press release – “Powder-like substances are described as fine dry particles produced by the grinding, crushing, or disintegration of a solid substance.”

If you’re like me, you’re probably racking your brain to think of what common powders might even find their way into luggage. Turns out, there’s quite a few items, like: cosmetics, coffee, spices, baby powder, and protein mixes. Fortunately, baby formula, medicine, and cremated human remains are exempt from these secondary screenings. Gunpowder remains prohibited from all checked and carry-on luggage.

 

If you need to travel with 12 ounces or more of a powdery substance

It won’t necessarily be confiscated. Likely, it will be requested that you remove the powder, and it will go through an additional screening. If the powder is still unidentifiable, it may then need to be discarded. You can also check you baggage with the large amount of powder to avoid this situation completely.

 

Read more:

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Travel Industry Travel News

New Security Screenings For All U.S.-Bound Flights

New airport security screening procedures were implemented late last week due to a new announcement from the TSA. Flights entering the United States will now require stricter passenger screening, for both U.S. citizens and foreign travelers. Only airports which serve as the last point of departure to the United States need to make these updates.  This will affect approximately 2,100 flights entering the U.S. every day.

This measure replaces earlier security rules, banning travelers from certain countries from bringing laptops or large electronics into the plane cabin with them. Each airline is adjusting to the new procedures in slightly different ways.  As details and procedures are likely to change, here’s what we know so far.

The bottom line

Most importantly, allow enough time in your schedule for interviews, questionnaires, or unexpected hang ups. Though the hope is that more extensive screenings will not increase wait times, most airlines are recommending to arrive at least three hours early to the gate. And of course, have your documentation and electronics readily available.

What new procedures travelers can expect

  • Stricter passenger screenings and interviews, even for American citizens
  • Inspection of personal electronic devices
  • Not all measures will be visible to the public, though passengers may see more bomb-sniffing dogs

How each airline is dealing with the new security screenings

  • Delta Air Lines– Travelers should arrive to the airport three hours before their flight. They should head straight to their gate where they may go through additional screening.
  • Air France– They’ve developed a questionnaire given to “100 percent” of the travelers. Have begun conducting these interviews at Paris Orly Airport. On Nov 2, the same procedures will be implemented at Charles de Gaulle Airport.
  • Emirates– Will be conducting ‘pre-screening interviews’ at their check-in counters for travelers flying out of Dubai. The interviews will be conducted at the boarding gates for transit and transfer fliers. Those flying through their headquarters, Dubai International Airport, should allow extra time to check in and board.
  • Cathy Pacific– Have suspended their self-drop baggage services. Those heading to the U.S. will instead be subject to a short security interview when checking in their luggage. Travelers without checked baggage will undergo a similar interview at the gate.
  • EgyptAir- Their new measures include more detailed searches of passengers, luggage and interviews.
  • Lufthansa Group (including Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Swiss, Eurowings and others)- Travelers may face short interviews at check-in, or documentation check at their gate.
  • Royal Jordanian– They will begin these new security procedures in mid-January, after being granted a request for delay in implementation.

We will continue to update this blog as more information and procedures are implemented. If you are a Christopherson client with additional questions, feel free to reach out to your account manager.

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company with more than 60 years of experience. Known for our proprietary travel technology and dedicated account management, we’re always working to make business travel easier. Please contact us to learn more about our approach and corporate travel packages

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Travel Industry Travel News

Additional Security Measures for International Flights to the U.S.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today that flights arriving to the United States will undergo additional security measures. This is response to increased threats on commercial aviation as a whole. Starting later this week, passengers flying to the United States should expect additional security measures.

These security measures include:

  • Enhanced screening of travelers
  • Increased security screening of aircraft and passenger areas>
  • Heightened screening of electronic devices that are larger than a standard smartphone
  • Being prepared to remove these devices from protective cases or packaging if asked.
  • Using additional technology
  • Expanding canine security
  • Establishing additional pre-clearance locations

This heightened change effects 105 countries and approximately 280 airports that serve as the last points of departure to the United States. This affects 180 airlines, an average of 2,100 flights per day and 325,000 daily passengers on average. The DHS and TSA will be working with airline stakeholders over the next weeks and months to ensure these security protocols are fully implemented. Stakeholders that fail to adopt these requirements within certain time frames will run the risk of additional security restrictions being imposed.

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Guides Travel Industry

Is Your Driver’s License Valid For Air Travel?

The REAL ID Act, originally passed by Congress in 2005, has steadily been updating the identification processes in our nation. Already standardizing protocol in federal buildings, nuclear power plants and other facilities, the act is entering its final stages. The final focus in on passenger identification on commercial airlines, which is secured by the Department of Homeland Security. Depending on which state you live in, your driver’s license may soon not be valid for domestic air travel.

TSA protocols for valid identification will be updating

Surprisingly, many frequent travelers are unaware of the impending identification changes coming to commercial air travel. It has been the responsibility of the individual states to update their driver’s license to be REAL ID compliant. Even with detailed timelines and deadlines given, many states are still in flux.

Read our inforgaphic below to see if your state is compliant to the impending REAL ID Act changes.

real-id-act

Have more questions? Read our blog on the Real ID Act.

Christopherson Business Travel takes the frustration out of travel management for busy companies. Learn how our travel technology and consultative account management does just that by scheduling a demo today.

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Travel News

TSA Readily Available on Social Media

Need a quick answer about airport security or carry-on luggage, but don’t have the time to read through government websites? Your wishes have been granted! The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is now available via Facebook Messenger and Twitter! These two social media profiles use the name ‘Ask TSA’, which is separate from their main TSA profiles. While Ask TSA has been available on Twitter since September 2015, they joined Facebook Messenger on July 7. Though not a 24-hour service, their Facebook Messenger contact hours are extensive. They are available from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET on weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends and holidays.

Ask TSA is eager to assist you with any questions identification through security lines, lost items, or acceptable carry-on items. You can even take a picture of the item in question, and tweet or Facebook message them for the answer.

Ask TSA Contact Information-

Their Twitter handle for customer questions is @AskTSA

Their Facebook Messanger can be accessed through their Ask TSA Facebook page. Once on the page, click the ‘send message’ button to begin correspondence.

At Christopherson Business Travel, we understand the value of having a support team on call when things go wrong. That’s why we provide our clients 24-hour customer service.  When something goes wrong, as it often does with travel itineraries, we are always here to help find the best solution. Contact us to learn more about our customer service and additional benefits.

 

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Travel News

What Else Is Causing The Long TSA Lines?

One of the biggest frustrations in life is waiting in a long security line at the airport, especially when the boarding time of your flight is starting soon! Travelers have been given ample warning from airports and TSA (Transportation Security Administration) to allow for more time to get through the growing airport security lines.
According to a recent article in The Washington Post, TSA is hiring 768 new airport screeners by the end of June.  They will also be moving 2,784 part-time employees to full time to accommodate for the anticipated high volume summer ahead. It is clear that TSA is doing all they can to elevate the situation, and it’s still not enough. Even with these upcoming changes, they still recommend arriving at the airport three hours before your flight time.

But is TSA the only culprit in the increasingly long lines? Two senators, Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) cite another point of contention; the additional carry-on baggage we bring through security with us. They are urging all airlines to eliminate the fees for checking baggage for this summer. They cite the TSA in saying checked baggage fees may add an addition 27 percent toward passenger checkpoints, increasing the time needed to get through security.  It’s an interesting thought, isn’t it?I don’t know about you, but I would rather pack lighter and carry a bag with me, than pay additionally out-of-pocket to have my bags checked.  And a big time suck of the security line process is the multi-bin organization, waiting of new bins to be wheeled out, and claiming enough conveyer belt room for all your stuff. The entire security line environment may be different if we weren’t lugging around additional bags in an effort to save a few well deserved bucks.

Read Next: The Ultimate Airport Time-Saver

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Business Travel Travel Tips

When Are The Peak Hours For Airport Security Lines?

Airports across the country are seeing longer wait times in the TSA security lines recently, due to a deficit of TSA screening employees and an increase in travelers. The number of travelers are only expected to increase as well, as we move into the busier summer months. In the last few years, there has been a 10 percent decrease in employees, recently culminating in longer security wait times. Though Congress recently approved hiring more screening agents, it may take until the end of June for these 500 new employees to be hired and trained. Until then, airports and the TSA are recommending travelers to arrive two to three hours before their flights and avoid peak hours for flying.

So, when are these peak times for airports?

  • Weekends are the busiest travel days. This includes Fridays during the summer months.
  • Think of airports as similar to highways. They tend to be busiest on weekdays in the early morning and early afternoon, then again in early evening.
  • Tuesday and Wednesday are usually slower.
  • Mid-day is the slowest time all week.
  • Peak hours may differ based on city. For example, port cities like Miami see a burst midday on Saturdays as vacationers on cruise ships return and head to the airport.

On the day of your trip, investigate the current traffic at your local airport. The TSA website  lets you know of the current wait time at any airport in the U.S. Or try out the MiFlight app to stay updated on wait times.

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Business Travel Travel Industry Travel News

TSA Pre? Update

TSA Pre?™ has recently undergone some positive changes. Due to complaints regarding slow lines, not enough personnel coverage, and too many non-Pre? members using the Pre? lanes, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has reduced the number of non-Pre? passengers using those lanes by 25%.

However, this doesn’t mean it is smooth sailing for TSA Pre? members. In 2014, Congress reduced funding for TSA by $530 million and the agency had to cut 3,500 screening positions. TSA’s reduction in personnel leaves TSA employees covering both the Pre? and the regular lines. This also allows for low risk travelers to go through the TSA Pre? lanes for faster screening.

Travelers may not like this, but TSA hopes the experience will encourage non-members to apply for the expedited service. In fact, TSA is hiring a private contractor to recruit people into the trusted-traveler status. In 2015, a marketing campaign will begin to recruit members and TSA will offer onsite sign-ups at business locations.

Currently 598,184 people are enrolled in PreCheck and more than 1.3 million through Global Entry. With the new campaign, TSA could sign up some 10 million people. In theory, more people, more money, more personnel, means faster screening. I least I hope so.

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Business Travel Travel Industry

Congratulations to GBTA’s Mike McCormick

GBTA Executive Director Mike McCormick has been reappointed to the TSA's Aviation Security Advisory Committee.
GBTA Executive Director Mike McCormick has been reappointed to the TSA’s Aviation Security Advisory Committee.

Christopherson Business Travel is a long time member and sponsor of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and we congratulate the GBTA Executive Director and COO, Mike McCormick on his reappointment to the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Aviation Security Advisory Committee (ASAC).

It is vital for the TSA to hear from the business travel industry and McCormick has done an outstanding job of representing our sector during his first term and we look forward to his continued involvement on behalf of our industry.

ASAC is TSA’s sole Federal advisory committee that gives the agency recommendations for improving aviation security methods, equipment and procedures. ASAC was established in 1989 in the wake of the crash of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

 

 

 

 

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Business Travel Travel Industry Travel Technology Travel Tips

New TSA App Great for Business Travelers: Check Security Wait Times Before You Go

Approximately 1.7 million travelers pass through the United States’ airports every day. That is a lot of people to keep up-to-date on the various TSA changes that take place on a regular basis.

In an effort to better-communicate these changes, the TSA has prepared the TSA Traveler’s Guide to ensure airline passengers have the answers they need to common security screening questions.

For busy business travelers on-the-go, TSA also created the “My TSA” mobile application for iPhone, Android, and other mobile web users. Features include airport status information, security wait times, search options for permitted and/or prohibiting packing items, weather, videos, and TSA regulation guides. I recently installed the app and although I will most likely not use all the features, I will certainly use it to check security wait times on my next business trip.

To download the native iOS and Android versions of the My TSA App visit iTunes or Google Play.

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Travel Industry Travel News

TSA Exploring New Airport Security Line Designs For Quicker PreCheck Screening

TSA Pre-Check security linesAfter TSA’s PreCheck pilot program debuted last year, the Transportation Security Administration has continued to work towards finding even more effective and efficient PreCheck screening processes for air travelers.

The initial program promised enhanced security by placing more focus on pre-screening travelers who volunteered information about themselves prior to flying in order to potentially expedite the travel experience.

However, the challenge for TSA has been the ability to quickly identify PreCheck customers early in the screening process and then direct them to either a special queue or to the actual PreCheck checkpoint location. In an effort to remedy this, the TSA is now testing new queue designs to further speed members of the PreCheck trusted traveler program through the airport screening process.

To read more about the TSA’s efforts, click here.

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Business Travel Travel Industry Travel Tips

TSA Carry-On Rules: A Helpful Reminder

TSA carry-on rules - reminders for business travelersMy husband, an inexperienced traveler, recently encountered a situation on his flight to Anchorage that got me thinking about what exactly is allowed in carry-on luggage. Granted, his was an innocent oversight, but the situation nearly caused him to miss his flight.

Did you know that having nine unsecured, improperly packed, and unclaimed bullets/ammunition in your possession is not allowed, and that having ten (a full magazine) will cause a “TSA delay” plus violations that can result in state and local prosecution as well as civil penalties of up to $2,000. Well, luckily my husband only had nine tucked away in the corner of his bag. They were quickly confiscated and he was still able to make it to his gate.

Ten years ago we all probably had the list of what is and isn’t allowed in carry-on luggage memorized, but with time we have a tendency to forget or become careless. The TSA provides a list of prohibited items that I found informative. For example, did you know that you can pack scissors in your carry-on luggage? As long as the blade is shorter than four inches they are allowed. Screwdrivers and other tools are also allowed if they are seven inches or less in length. Even ice-skates are allowed in your carryon luggage.

On the TSA website you can also refresh your memory of the 3-1-1 carry-on rules, which state that each passenger is allowed one 1 quart sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag with liquid containers not to exceed 3.4 ounce bottles.

Reviewing the TSA website to refresh your memory will not only make traveling a much better experience for you, but also for those behind you in the airport security lines.

And don’t forget to check the corners and pockets of all your luggage to eliminate any items that may cause delays at security check points.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry Travel Tips

TSA Carry-On Rules: A Helpful Reminder

TSA carry-on rules - reminders for business travelersMy husband, an inexperienced traveler, recently encountered a situation on his flight to Anchorage that got me thinking about what exactly is allowed in carry-on luggage. Granted, his was an innocent oversight, but the situation nearly caused him to miss his flight.

Did you know that having nine unsecured, improperly packed, and unclaimed bullets/ammunition in your possession is not allowed, and that having ten (a full magazine) will cause a “TSA delay” plus violations that can result in state and local prosecution as well as civil penalties of up to $2,000. Well, luckily my husband only had nine tucked away in the corner of his bag. They were quickly confiscated and he was still able to make it to his gate.

Ten years ago we all probably had the list of what is and isn’t allowed in carry-on luggage memorized, but with time we have a tendency to forget or become careless. The TSA provides a list of prohibited items that I found informative. For example, did you know that you can pack scissors in your carry-on luggage? As long as the blade is shorter than four inches they are allowed. Screwdrivers and other tools are also allowed if they are seven inches or less in length. Even ice-skates are allowed in your carryon luggage.

On the TSA website you can also refresh your memory of the 3-1-1 carry-on rules, which state that each passenger is allowed one 1 quart sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag with liquid containers not to exceed 3.4 ounce bottles.

Reviewing the TSA website to refresh your memory will not only make traveling a much better experience for you, but also for those behind you in the airport security lines.

And don’t forget to check the corners and pockets of all your luggage to eliminate any items that may cause delays at security check points.

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Business Travel Travel News Travel Tips Vacation Travel

World Travel Warnings

Remember the television series Lost in Space?  The one where a robot was always warning the Robinson family when danger was about to happen. Well, if that Robot were our warning source today for travel, repairs would probably be frequent due to the robot’s arms constantly waving!

But these days (in lieu of the robot) you can go the TSA website and immediately find countries where strong travel warnings have been issued.

Travel warnings are issued when long-term, protracted conditions make a country dangerous or unstable. This leads the State Department to recommend that Americans avoid or, at the very least, consider the risk of traveling to that country. A travel warning is also issued when the U.S. Government’s ability to assist American citizens is constrained due to the closure of an embassy or consulate or because of a drawdown of its staff.

The countries listed after the jump meet those criteria. Simply click on any country to find out why it’s not a good idea to travel there. Travel warnings will continue to be noted until the US Government feels it is safe to delete them from this list.

Mauritania 05/24/2012

Saudi Arabia 05/18/2012

Lebanon 05/08/2012

Algeria 05/04/2012

Iran 04/27/2012

Cote d’Ivoire 04/23/2012

Burundi 04/18/2012

Eritrea 04/18/2012

Mali 04/09/2012

Niger 04/06/2012

Kenya 04/04/2012

Chad 03/29/2012

Yemen 03/27/2012

Israel, the West Bank and Gaza 03/19/2012

Syria 03/06/2012

Nigeria 02/29/2012

Colombia 02/21/2012

Mexico 02/08/2012

Pakistan 02/02/2012

Iraq 01/19/2012

Congo, Democratic Republic of the 01/12/2012

Sudan 01/11/2012

Philippines 01/05/2012

Central African Republic 01/04/2012

Republic of South Sudan 12/22/2011

Afghanistan 12/01/2011

Guinea 11/04/2011

Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of 11/03/2011

Libya 09/22/2011

Somalia 08/19/2011

Haiti 08/08/2011

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Business Travel Travel Tips

Safe Travels! 30 Ways to Make it Happen

Did you know that you should sit behind the taxi driver so that you can see him but he can’t see you? Or that you should be aware of staged car accidents as they are meant to catch you off guard?  Or that you should never wear name tags in public?
In today’s world it’s more important than ever to think about what’s going on around you, near you, and to you. Here are 30 tips from the TSA to help ensure safe travels on your next trip:

30 safety tips for traveling

1. Never list your home address on the luggage tag. If on business, put the company’s address on the tag; if visiting friends you can list their address. Use covered luggage tags as well.
2. Stay with your luggage until the luggage is checked. If you must put your bag down, keep one foot on the handle.
3. Carry important papers with you; NEVER check anything that you simply cannot afford to lose. Photocopy your passport, driver’s license and credit cards.
4. Bring a small flashlight. You never know when you’ll suddenly be “in the dark” and find yourself in unfamiliar surroundings. At night, keep your flashlight by your bed.
5. Make sure that your prescription medicines are filled properly and labeled accurately. In some countries certain prescription medicines are forbidden.
6. Never wear anything that projects affluence. No gold chains, expensive watches and rings, luggage, or other paraphernalia should be in easy view. Better yet: leave your jewelry at home.
7. If possible travel with only one or two credit cards.
8. Women particularly should never accept a drink from a stranger. Keep an eye on your drink at all times.
9. Vary your schedule; try not to come and go at the same time every day.
10. Only stay in a hotel that uses cards to open room doors and make sure your room has a peephole and a deadbolt lock. Secure the chain and secure the door by pushing a rubber stop under it.
11. Stay in a room near a stairwell. Never take the elevator if a fire or smoke is detected. Always stay in a hotel where the doors enter the hallway and not directly from the outside.
12. Do not wear name tags in public.
13. Do not use unmarked taxi cabs.
14. Sit behind the driver so you can see him, but he cannot see you.
15. Pay the driver upon arriving at your destination and while you are still sitting in the vehicle.
16. If you must rent a car, rent only from a reputable company. Any operating problems that occur could signal sabotage.
17. Be aware of ‘staged’ car accidents meant to catch you off card.
18. Back into your parking spaces to facilitate a quick exit.
19. Park only in well lit and well traveled areas.
20. If your cell phone does not work outside of the country, consider renting one that does for the duration of your trip.
21. If detained for whatever reason by an official, ask for identification. If in doubt, tell them that you want to see his superior. Keep your emotions in check.
22. If traveling with children, bring along an updated photograph of each child in the event that you become separated from them.
23. Write your child’s name and your hotel number on each card; include a close friends or relatives contact information on the card. Give a card to each child which they will carry with them as long as you are away. Destroy once home.
24. Discuss with your family what they would do in event of an emergency while away from home, e.g. whom to call, how to contact emergency personnel, etc.
25. Do not discuss travel plans, your room number or any other personal information in public within earshot of strangers.
26. Bring along a basic first aid kit with bandages, iodine, mosquito repellant, sunscreen, alcohol packets, Dramamine, Pepto Bismol, diarrhea medicine, etc.
27. Familiarize yourself with train and bus schedules before traveling. Have an alternate plan in place in the event your transportation plans change.
28. Do not flash your passport in public. Discreetly show important documents to officials only.
29. Consider purchasing portable alarms that emit a loud sound.
30. Watch for scams on the street. Children working with adults are notorious as pickpockets.
 

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Business Travel Travel Tips

10 Tips to Speed Through Airport Security

While you can’t completely avoid the possibility of extra screening at airport security, you can take a few measures to improve your odds of zipping through the lines. Here are 10 helpful tips to guide you through airport security and get to your gate on time.
1. Determine your ideal choice of checkpoints. Most airports have multiple security screening areas. Check to see if there are any “off the beaten path” with shorter lines.
2. Pack your coat in your checked luggage. This will cut down on the number of items you have to screen and/or take off before going through the detectors.
3. Watch those liquids and gels! Remember: all passengers are limited to one quart-sized zip-top bag of liquid toiletries containing no more than 3.4 ounces each. Also, make sure that toiletry bag is easily accessible so you can get it out of your purse, briefcase, or carry-on and into a screening bin quickly.
4. Consider your shoes. Wear slip-ons or other shoes that require little lacing. (You might also consider wearing socks to save your feet from the bacteria that’s surely on the floors.)
5. Dress for success. Leave belts, jewelery, hair clips, etc. at home or in your bag until you make it through the metal detectors. And don’t forget to empty your pockets!
6. Keep electronics accessible. While small electronics like cell phones, computer mouses, iPods, and cords/chargers don’t have to be screened separately, pack them in an easy-to-get-to location so that security can screen them with an unobstructed view. Laptops must be removed from their bags, unless you have a “checkpoint friendly” laptop case. Large electronics submitted for screening separately.
7. Leave gifts unwrapped. Wrapped packages may need additional screening and agents will remove the wrapping.
8. Have your identification and boarding pass out and ready to go. No one wants to wait behind you while you dig through your purse or pocket.
9. Be on time and allow a bit of wiggle room. You never know what you might encounter as you make your way to your flight–whether it’s traffic, understaffed check-in desks, or long lines at security–but if you give yourself a few extra minutes  you can breathe easy knowing you’ll make  your flight on-time and without issue.
10. Be patient. The more pleasant you are to the agents and those around you, the better your experience will be.
For more information on how to get through the security lines faster, visit TSA.gov.

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Travel News

TSA Pre?™ Program Comes to Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, LA, & JFK

Having participated in past lobbying efforts for a TSA trusted traveler program, I am thrilled to see one such program coming to my local airport.

The TSA Pre?™ pilot is aimed at enhancing the security experience by pre-screening individuals who volunteer information about themselves prior to flying in order to potentially expedite the travel experience.
In early 2012, participants in Delta Air Line’s frequent flyer program will be eligible for this expedited screening at the Salt Lake International airport. Once TSA determines a passenger’s eligibility, information will then be embedded in the bar-code of the boarding pass and security personnel will direct the traveler to the correct security line. Other airlines, including United, Continental, and US Airways, are expected to join within months.
So far, the pilot program has been successful in Dallas, Miami, Detroit, Atlanta, and Las Vegas. With the program now coming to Salt Lake City, I can already imagine a flash back to the 90s when could I keep my shoes and belt on and didn’t have to wrestle my luggage to remove my lap-top and zip-lock bag of liquids.
Janet Napolitano, secretary of Homeland Secretary, said the TSA’s Pre?™ program will expand by the end of 2012 to encompass 35 airports. “It’s part of a fundamental shift in how we approach aviation security,” Napolitano said. “Not all travelers are alike and they don’t all present the same risk.”
In addition to Salt Lake City, travelers in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Chicago, and New York City will also be included in this phase of the Pre?™ program.
Visit TSA.gov for full details.

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Travel News

TSA Pre?™ Program Comes to Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, LA, & JFK

Having participated in past lobbying efforts for a TSA trusted traveler program, I am thrilled to see one such program coming to my local airport.

The TSA Pre?™ pilot is aimed at enhancing the security experience by pre-screening individuals who volunteer information about themselves prior to flying in order to potentially expedite the travel experience.
In early 2012, participants in Delta Air Line’s frequent flyer program will be eligible for this expedited screening at the Salt Lake International airport. Once TSA determines a passenger’s eligibility, information will then be embedded in the bar-code of the boarding pass and security personnel will direct the traveler to the correct security line. Other airlines, including United, Continental, and US Airways, are expected to join within months.
So far, the pilot program has been successful in Dallas, Miami, Detroit, Atlanta, and Las Vegas. With the program now coming to Salt Lake City, I can already imagine a flash back to the 90s when could I keep my shoes and belt on and didn’t have to wrestle my luggage to remove my lap-top and zip-lock bag of liquids.
Janet Napolitano, secretary of Homeland Secretary, said the TSA’s Pre?™ program will expand by the end of 2012 to encompass 35 airports. “It’s part of a fundamental shift in how we approach aviation security,” Napolitano said. “Not all travelers are alike and they don’t all present the same risk.”
In addition to Salt Lake City, travelers in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Chicago, and New York City will also be included in this phase of the Pre?™ program.
Visit TSA.gov for full details.

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Travel Management Vacation Travel

Lost or Stolen Photo ID?

Have you ever had your photo ID stolen while traveling by air? Or have you misplaced your photo ID and then had that ‘sinking stomach’ feeling when you realize it is required to board your flight? The TSA has provided us an answer to this problem on their website along with many other ‘what-if and can I’ scenarios.
For example:
Q.  If I lose my ID during travel, what secondary forms of ID will be accepted?
A.  Passengers who do not have a valid photo ID, such as State-issued driver’s license, should bring any ID or documents they have available to assist in verification of identity.  Passengers need at least two alternate forms of identification, such as a social security card, birth certificate, marriage license, or credit card. The documents must bear the name of the passenger. Also, one of these documents must bear identification information containing one of the following:  date of birth, gender, address, or photo. If TSA can confirm the passenger’s identity, they may enter the secured area, but they could be subject to additional screening.
I found the TSA web-page of FAQs very helpful, and most certainly hope that my photo ID is always with me.

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Travel News Vacation Travel

Summer is coming!

As we make our way through this wild spring, with snow in the Rockies and storms in the Midwest and East, it may be hard to remember that summer and summer travel is only a few weeks away. Most of the year, road-warriors make up the majority of travelers in the country. However, starting with the Memorial Day Weekend and generally not ending until Labor Day Weekend, there is another group of travelers that make up a significant percentage of those traveling: families on vacation. Every year these two distinct groups seem to collide at the airport. The challenges start with the TSA screenings and continue all the way through the journey.
Here are some suggestions that may help reduce these conflicts:

  1. Everyone should know what can and cannot be carried on and what has to be checked. For specifics, you should call your travel agent. Especially if you are traveling with odd sized or over sized items, such as bicycles, surfboards, golf clubs or pets.
  2. Everyone should know what the TSA will permit through the security screening. For details visit www.tsa.gov and look for the section on the right side of the page entitled “What to Know Before You Go”. It has a number of links to topics that address what you can and cannot take through security. It also has suggestions on how to get through security as fast as possible.
  3. Plan on things taking a little longer. Give yourself an extra 15 to 30 minutes when you are heading for the airport. While we all hate to give up more of our time to waiting at the airport, the extra time will make the process less stressful and may be the difference between making or missing your flight.
  4. Try to dress in a manner that allows you to quickly prepare for the screening process and then quickly move on afterwards. Slip on shoes, no change in your pockets, a watch that is easy to remove and similar actions will speed you through security.
  5. Make sure that you follow the rules concerning liquids and gels. Find out how much you can carry on and how it has to be packaged. The TSA is very strict about contents, containers and amounts.
  6. If you are taking electronics through, be sure that you are familiar with the rules and guidelines on how to pack them. If you are taking a laptop, be sure to remove it from the laptop bag.
  7. Plan on things not going perfectly and always have a backup plan. This means if for some reason you get delayed, you know what options you have to pursue. Or if you booked your trip through Christopherson Business Travel, know the number to call your agent. Your agent will help you find alternatives and can work with the airlines to get you re-accommodated on another flight.
  8. Always remember to pack your sense of humor and your patience. You will need both of them more times than not.

Now those who travel all the time may feel like that this is all old news. But based on my last couple of trips, I would venture that a number of people could stand to brush up on a few of these points. We were all new to traveling at some point, and experienced travelers need to remember that when encountering less experienced travelers. And inexperienced travelers need to take responsibility by planning ahead and learning what is necessary to make life easier on all concerned.
Happy Travels!

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Travel News Travel Technology

Clear is Back. Is it Secure?

Remember Clear?  The little biometric card that helped you speed through airport security?  
In June 2009 the original Clear closed its doors and left 200,000 traveling members stranded.  Recently Clear was purchased and relaunched by Caryn Seidman-Becker, Chairman & CEO and Ken Cornick, President & CFO.  They have recruited team members with resumes of success in many different areas, including the travel and airline industry. 
Currently Clear is available in the Orlando International Airport and the Denver International Airport, with more to come.  This team of experts is honoring memberships purchased prior to their venture and are offering new memberships and corporate programs. This new ownership and team appear to be committed to making your travel experience pleasurable, safe and secure.  To learn more about Clear you can visit their website at www.clearme.com.

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Travel News

TSA Update ~ DELTA

May 24, 2010 – Delta Air Lines continues to work with the TSA to ensure ongoing compliance with TSA Secure Flight Passenger Data (SFPD) standards. Adherence with the required TSA Secure Flight Passenger Data standards is required for Delta and all airlines for travel to/from/through the U.S. effective November 1, 2010. Specifically, the regulation requires customers to supply the SFPD information at the time of ticketing. This includes full name, date of birth, gender and optional redress number.
Agencies are asked to provide SFPD information by July 1, 2010. While Delta will continue to accept agency reservations without complete SFPD data beyond July 1, passengers whose flights depart on November 1 or later will be required to see a ticket agent if SFPD was not included in their reservation.
All airlines with flights to/from and within the United States will be required to adhere to SFPD standards, including Delta’s joint venture partners – Air France and KLM. These partners are under separate TSA timelines. Specific Air France and KLM TSA Secure Flight information will be communicated separately.
It should only be a matter of time before the other airlines will be making official announcements regarding their timelines. We appreciate your cooperation in helping to be prepared to meet this important TSA requirement.
Additional Resources
• Complete information on Secure Flight can be found at • A complete list of acceptable forms of I.D. can be found at www.tsa.gov/what_we_do/layers/secureflight/index.shtm
• Information on the Redress process can be found at www.dhs.gov/trip
• For more on TSA privacy policies, or to review the system of records notice and the privacy impact assessment, please see the TSA Web site at www.tsa.gov

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Travel News Travel Technology

United Now Offers Mobile Check-In

United has installed mobile check-in at its four hub cities – Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington Dulles – plus Las Vegas, Dallas-Fort Worth and LaGuardia Airport in New York. Thirty more locations will be offering mobile check-in by summer
Denver joins 43 other U.S. airports, plus Frankfurt, Germany in offering this service. In 2007 TSA introduced the pilot program with Continental Airlines adding shortly thereafter Delta Airlines, American Airlines, and Alaska Airways. For the most up-to-date information as to what airports offer the program and an airline list of cities providing this service; go to the TSA website or each individual airline’s website.
Mobile check-in saves time at the airport by letting you check in and get your eBoarding Pass right from your PDA or web-enabled phone (iPhones, BlackBerrys, etc.) within 24 hours of your departure. It’s the fastest, most convenient way to check in. You must first go to the airlines website to start the process. At the airport, TSA security officers use hand-held scanners to validate the authenticity of the boarding pass at the checkpoint

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Travel Management Travel News Travel Technology

New Respect for TSA

In our recent Utah Business Travel Association’s January luncheon, Ronald Malin, Deputy Federal Security Director, Transportation Security Administration, DHS, spoke to us about TSA. To my amazement, he brought along a number of prohibited and actually confiscated items they had found during the past 7 days at the Salt Lake International Airport. Here’s the short list:
• A small portable propane tank (full) for a camp stove
• A taser, stun-gun type item
• Toy gun exact size and look of a very dangerous one
• Large, heavy crescent wrench
• An item shaped and similar in appearance to a hand grenade
• Belt buckle with shape and look of a grenade
• Fire crackers and other fire works
• Ammunition, sometimes just a few but often times numerous bullets
• Knives of different shapes and size
There was also a very long, large knife enclosed in a leather case that was actually attached to a person on his belt as he entered security. Ron also passed around the room a man’s shoe they use for training showing what it looks like when a bomb is placed in a shoe. It could have come from any male’s foot in the room!
During Ron’s presentation he also explained the different levels of security; as to how, why, where they are stationed, some even trained to closely watch the behavior of oncoming passengers making it very clear to me the importance of it all. There of course were some questions about the Christmas attempted bombing. We talked about the “human error” aspect. Ron further explained that at the Salt Lake International Airport, TSA employees are stationed to monitor at all times with no one being left alone at certain stages to more carefully avoid as much human error as possible. I seriously felt very lucky to have our Utah Airports under the direction of Ron. Yes, truly a new respect for TSA.

Categories
Travel News

TSA Secure Flight

What the TSA is going to require starting May 1st, 2009, is as follows:
1. The name on the ticket MUST match the name on the valid government issued photo ID presented at check in and at the TSA security checkpoints. This means that if the ID reads “John Q. Smith”, then the ticket must read “John Q. Smith”. If there is a name mismatch the traveler may be subjected to extensive secondary screening and may be forced to miss the flight or may even be denied boarding.
2. At the same time, the TSA is requiring the airlines and travel agencies, acting as an agent of the airlines, to gather the following information and submit it through the GDS to the TSA. We must submit the full name, including first, middle and last name, gender and date of birth. This must be done for every flight entering, departing or fly through the airspace of the United States. It is not required for flights that don’t enter that airspace. So fights between Sydney and Brisbane are exempt.
To be accurate, this is voluntary. A traveler may opt out however in doing so the traveler may be subject to additional screening or denied transportation or authorization. Also, the TSA may share information provided with law enforcement or intelligence agencies or others that it deems necessary.
See www.tsa.gov for more details about privacy.
So what does this mean to you, the traveler?  It means that whatever source you use for booking your travel will be asking you for more details about yourself.  You are likely to get the following questions.  First, how does your name appear on the identification that you use when you check in at the airport?  Second, what is your full, legal name, date of birth and gender?  If you are booking with an agent, you may not be asked about your gender however online booking sources will be asking that question.  You have the right to decline to answer any of these questions, however you will potentially be subjected to extra screening and the TSA reserves the right to deny you entry into secured areas, such as the boarding areas.  That would cause you to miss your flight.
That won’t be the only impact it has on travelers.  It may impact your frequent flyer accounts, hotel frequent guest programs and car rental programs.  Since most of these reward programs require that the name on the reservation match the name on the account this may cause some issues if your name on your identification doesn’t match the name on the program.  For example, if your frequent flyer account is in the name of John Public and your government issued photo id is in the name of John Q. Public, the name on your reservation isn’t going to match your frequent flyer account and therefore you won’t earn miles and you won’t get any of the benefits of your status.  So what do you need to do?  You need to contact the airline in question and change the name on your account to match the id that you use when you check in.  A word of caution here, if you travel internationally, the id that you will be using to check in with the airlines will be your passport and yet most people don’t carry their passport with them when traveling domestically and thus use their driver’s license as their photo id at check in.  You may want to make sure that both your passport and your driver’s license names match as well.
Okay, so you’ve started to change your name on all of your identification so that it matches and you’re changing your frequent flyer accounts to match your id.  All is wonderful and you are pretty much done, right? Wrong!  You will want to insure that all the hotel and car programs have the same name as your photo id.  Why?  Because when your reservation is made the name that goes on your ticket will be the one that your car and hotel are booked under and if those account numbers don’t match, you may not get your points and the perks that your status entitles you to.  So you will want to contact those companies as well and change your name to match everything else.
The bad news is most of the companies involved say that it will take four to six weeks to change your name on your account.  The good news is that you’ve got that at this point.
Given that this program doesn’t start until the 1st of May, unless it is pushed back again, it will take a while for it to ramp up since many people have already booked travel well into the summer months and their names don’t match exactly.  Our suggestion is to get started now and hopefully by the time that the TSA and airlines get this up and running, you will be ready to go.
Happy Travels!