Virgin Australia passenger says dog was left sitting in 93-degree weather while luggage loaded

This isn’t the type of hot dog that people like.

Aircraft from Australia's second largest airline, Virgin Australia, sit on the tarmac at the domestic terminal of Sydney Airport in Australia, August 19, 2018. Picture taken August 19, 2018.     REUTERS/David Gray

A passenger on Virgin Australia says she witnessed airport workers leaving a dog sitting on the tarmac in extreme heat. The airline, however, says the animal was left in the shade and was only waiting for a few minutes before being loaded on the plane.

Elise Willemsen posted photos to Facebook showing a dog sitting in a green crate, seemingly waiting while workers begin to load regular luggage onto the plane. This incident occurred on a very hot day in Sydney, The Sun reports.

“Thought airlines were supposed to change their policy on animals boarding flight after the luggage and not sitting on the tarmac,” asked Willemsen on Facebook. “It’s 93 degrees in Sydney, I could only imagine how hot this poor dog is! Not good enough, Virgin Australia.”

According to Virgin Australia, however, the animal was “protected from the elements.”

“We take the welfare of all animals traveling on board with us seriously,” a spokesperson for the company said in a statement obtained by “All standard procedures were followed by our team in the loading of this pet on flight VA436. In line with standard procedures, the pet was kept in a shaded area next to the baggage belt to protect it from the elements.”

The airline continued, “Our team conducted a final water and welfare check on the pet before it was loaded. It only takes a few minutes to load pets onto the aircraft and this pet was only brought out onto the tarmac when it was required for loading. We take pride in the safe transportation of pets around our network and we will continue to maintain the highest of standards when getting pets ready for their flight.”

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Sabre announces strategic priorities designed to accelerate growth ·

Sabre announces strategic priorities designed to accelerate growth

 Sabre Corporation (NASDAQ: SABR), the leading software and technology provider that powers the global travel industry, today announced a set of strategic priorities that are expected to position the Company to accelerate growth and create long term shareholder value.

As part of its vision to lead a new marketplace for personalized travel, Sabre detailed five strategic initiatives that are intended to increase the Company’s addressable market across its business, deliver revenue and market share growth, and improve the Company’s overall margin structure.  Specifically, each priority seeks to:

Create personalized offers: accelerating new IT capabilities, processes and intelligence that allow suppliers to retail personalized offers through all channels, unlocking more value per passenger boarded
Accelerate the future of distribution & NDC: increasing the value of supplier offers and the value of the GDS by integrating NDC content, enabling airlines to distribute personalized offers through the Company’s marketplace and through their direct channels
Unlock growth potential in the LCC market: harnessing the growth and innovation of the fast-growing low cost carrier (LCC) market by creating more ways for LCCs to retail and distribute content, and scaling the offerings of Radixx, the Company’s recently acquired LCC provider
Deliver a full-service property management system to better serve enterprise hotels:  collaborating with Accor, Sabre plans to build a full service property management system that will combine with its best-in-class central reservation system and state-of-the-art limited service property management system within a fully unified, cloud-native platform designed for hoteliers of all property classes, sizes and geographic regions – a milestone in the global travel industry
Transform Sabre’s technology in a preferred partnership with Google: this 10-year strategic partnership is designed to:
Improve Sabre’s technology capability by migrating the Company’s IT infrastructure to Google Cloud’s highly available and secure services with advanced support and greater flexibility
Utilize Google’s data analytics tools to enable Sabre to enhance the capabilities of current and future products by providing insights to help improve operational efficiency and create and optimize travel options, with the goal of improving both loyalty and revenues for its customers

Design a broader innovation framework with Google that seeks to leverage the talent and assets of both companies to imagine, develop and deploy future capabilities that will advance the travel ecosystem, benefiting all market participants.

Sean Menke, Sabre’s President and CEO said, “We are committed to helping our customers operate more efficiently, drive revenue and offer personalized traveler experiences that create greater loyalty. Over the last year, we continued to see shifts in the travel ecosystem resulting in the changing needs of our airline, hotel and agency customers. We are thinking critically about how the retailing, distribution and fulfillment of travel will continue to evolve over the next decade and how each of these elements will become even more interconnected and interdependent.”

Menke continued, “At Sabre, we have the vision, the expertise and the planned investments in our end-to-end capabilities to become the trusted technology partner that brings it all together on one advanced travel platform. Building on the momentum we generated in 2019, we have committed $150 million in 2020 to support the five strategic priorities and better position Sabre for revenue and share growth going forward. These priorities are designed to significantly enhance our technology and product offerings, increase our addressable market and create meaningful opportunities for profitable growth.”

For the last three years, Sabre’s new leadership team has been driving transformational change and building a foundation to position the Company for future growth. The team has been primarily focused on three areas:  the security, stability and health of its technology products and services; enhancing collaboration across the Company’s business segments to accelerate the creation of end-to-end solutions for its customers; and building a leadership team throughout the organization that will lead Sabre into the next phase of its journey to become the trusted technology partner of the travel industry.

Sabre unveiled the Company’s strategic initiatives to its top 900 leaders during its annual global leadership summit in Dallas at the end of January. Today, during the Company’s fourth quarter and full year 2019 earnings conference call, Menke and other members of Sabre’s executive leadership team will discuss the initiatives in further detail.  Details for that call may be found in the Company’s Q4 and FY 2019 earnings release.

About Sabre Corporation
Sabre Corporation is a leading software and technology company that powers the global travel industry, serving a wide range of travel companies including airlines, hoteliers, travel agencies and other suppliers. The company provides retailing, distribution and fulfilment solutions to help its customers operate more efficiently, drive revenue and offer personalized traveler experiences. Through its leading travel marketplace, Sabre connects travel suppliers with buyers from around the globe. Sabre’s technology platform manages more than $260B worth of global travel spend annually. Headquartered in Southlake, Texas, USA, Sabre serves customers in more than 160 countries around the world. For more information visit

Forward Looking Statements

Certain statements herein are forward-looking statements about trends, future events, uncertainties and our plans and expectations of what may happen in the future. Any statements that are not historical or current facts are forward-looking statements. In many cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terms such as “design,” “expect,” “vision,” “initiative,” “intend,” “seek,” “plan,” “commit,” “momentum,” “priority,” “goal,” “believe,” “opportunity,” “position,” “future,” “anticipate,” “will,” “estimate,” “project,” “may,” “should,” “would,” “potential” or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause Sabre’s actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performances or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. The potential risks and uncertainties include, among others, dependency on transaction volumes in the global travel industry, particularly air travel transaction volumes, including from airlines’ insolvency or suspension of service or aircraft groundings, the duration and effects of the Coronavirus, the timing, implementation and effects of the technology investment and other strategic imperatives, the completion and effects of travel platforms, travel suppliers’ usage of alternative distribution models, exposure to pricing pressure in the Travel Network business, changes affecting travel supplier customers, maintenance of the integrity of our systems and infrastructure and the effect of any security breaches, failure to adapt to technological advancements, competition in the travel distribution market and solutions markets, implementation of software solutions, reliance on third parties to provide information technology services and the effects of these services, the finalization of an agreement to implement a full-service property management system, the execution, implementation and effects of new or renewed agreements, dependence on establishing, maintaining and renewing contracts with customers and other counterparties and collecting amounts due to us under these agreements, dependence on relationships with travel buyers, our collection, processing, storage, use and transmission of personal data and risks associated with PCI compliance, our ability to recruit, train and retain employees, including our key executive officers and technical employees, the financial and business results and effects of acquisitions, including related costs, and, as applicable, the closing and integration of these acquisitions, the effects of any litigation and regulatory reviews and investigations, including with respect to proposed and completed acquisitions, adverse global and regional economic and political conditions, including, but not limited to, economic conditions in countries or regions with traditionally high levels of exports to China or that have commodities-based economies and the effect of “Brexit” and uncertainty due to related negotiations, risks arising from global operations, reliance on the value of our brands, failure to comply with regulations, use of third-party distributor partners, the effects of the implementation of new accounting standards, and tax-related matters, including the effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. More information about potential risks and uncertainties that could affect our business and results of operations is included in the “Risk Factors” and “Forward-Looking Statements” sections in our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the SEC on October 31, 2019 and our Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC on February 15, 2019 and in our other filings with the SEC. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, we cannot guarantee future events, outlook, guidance, results, actions, levels of activity, performance or achievements. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Unless required by law, Sabre undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect circumstances or events after the date they are made.

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Delta passenger's MacBook screen is destroyed after the person in front of him reclines their seat and crushes his laptop, as the controversy about proper in-flight etiquette continues

A Delta Airlines passenger found out the hard way what happens when trying to use a laptop in coach and the person in front of you decided to recline their seat.

a screenshot of a cell phone: Cassidy tweeted: ‘@Delta small note for the suggestion box, maybe have a little warning sign or someway to prevent my laptop from being destroyed when the person in front of me reclines their seat.’

© Provided by Daily Mail
Cassidy tweeted: ‘@Delta small note for the suggestion box, maybe have a little warning sign or someway to prevent my laptop from being destroyed when the person in front of me reclines their seat.’

Pat Cassidy posted a photograph on his Twitter account showing his smashed-up MacBook Pro laptop.

The screen is shattered and only partially working after Cassidy wrote that the passenger in front of him decided to lean back with the reclining seat aboard a Delta flight on Wednesday.

a screen shot of an open laptop computer sitting on top of a table: Pat Cassidy posted a photo on Twitter showing the cracked screen of his MacBook Pro

© Provided by Daily Mail
Pat Cassidy posted a photo on Twitter showing the cracked screen of his MacBook Pro

Cassidy tweeted: ‘@Delta small note for the suggestion box, maybe have a little warning sign or someway to prevent my laptop from being destroyed when the person in front of me reclines their seat.’

To add insult to injury, Cassidy wrote that the flight attendant didn’t show him much empathy.

‘I really appreciate that your flight attendant came over to tell me that the passenger in front of me “needs to be able to recline” and then asked him “if he was okay?” as if your seat hadn’t just ruined my livelihood,’ he wrote.

He then tweeted sarcastically: ‘@Delta Silver Medallion Member here, how many SkyMiles is a brand new MacBook Pro?’

Cassidy then tweeted: ‘@Delta let me know who I can email about this? You’ll know it’s me because the bottom of the email will read “sent from my iPhone”.’

The tweet went viral, generating more than 4,500 likes and nearly 400 retweets.

In the comments thread, Twitter users wondered if Cassidy brought the broken laptop on board and then photographed it later in order to coax the airline into paying for a new MacBook Pro.

a screenshot of a cell phone: Mackrill wrote that the person in front of him reclined and his laptop was caught in the angle

© Provided by Daily Mail
Mackrill wrote that the person in front of him reclined and his laptop was caught in the angle

In response, Jud MacKrill posted a photo from last October of his own busted MacBook Pro whose screen was also shattered thanks to a reclining chair in front of him.

a screenshot of a cell phone: MacKrill said that Apple Care made sure to replace his MacBook Pro free of charge

© Provided by Daily Mail
MacKrill said that Apple Care made sure to replace his MacBook Pro free of charge

MacKrill said that Apple Care made sure to replace his MacBook Pro free of charge. has reached out to Apple and Delta to see if the companies plan on doing the same for Cassidy.

Earlier this month, the nation was captivated by a controversy over in-flight etiquette surrounding reclining chairs.

A female passenger filmed a man punching the back of her reclining seat aboard an American Airlines flight.

Wendi Williams filmed the man, who has not yet been identified despite her public pleas for him to be named, pummeling the back of her seat during their flight from New Orleans to Charlotte.

a person looking at the camera: Williams has divided social media after shaming a fellow traveler who she claimed repeatedly punched her seat when she reclined it

She had reclined her chair but his did not have the option to recline. He was angry so, she said, decided to repeatedly hit her chair to prove his point.

She says she tried to get the flight attendant’s attention but couldn’t so took out her camera phone to film him.

a man and a woman taking a selfie in a car: The clip was filmed on a flight from New Orleans to Charlotte

© Provided by Daily Mail
The clip was filmed on a flight from New Orleans to Charlotte

The video sparked a huge debate on social media about whether it’s ever okay to recline your seat in the first place, but Wendi claims that when she first reclined her seat, the man asked her to put it back up while he ate – and she complied. 

Read more

WATCH: Airlines named new villain in seat reclining controversy (provided by Travel + Leisure)

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American Express Global Business Travel launches Rest Assured Solutions ·

American Express Global Business Travel launches Rest Assured Solutions

 American Express Global Business Travel (GBT), the world’s leading business partner for managed travel, today introduced Rest Assured Solutions, an enhanced suite of end-to-end accommodations products and services. Rest Assured Solutions gives travel managers confidence that they are getting the most out of their hotel programme while offering travellers access to the properties they want at the best rates, all in one place.

Introduced at this year’s Business Travel Show in London, Rest Assured Solutions helps travel managers and decision-makers reduce out-of-policy bookings that stem from well-intended traveller behaviour and booking decisions. The importance of choice, cost, location and amenities were just some of the concerns highlighted in GBT’s new Hotel Traveller 360°[1] research, which explores what drives business travellers’ hotel booking behaviours.

Jo Sully, GBT’s Vice President and Regional General Manger, APAC, said: “Business travellers in the Asia-Pacific region have shown that there is a need for an accommodation booking service which makes following company policy an easier, clearer process. Out-of-policy bookings are occurring when travellers are trying to save their company money, or when their policy guidelines aren’t offering them the kind of accommodation they need. We’ve developed Rest Assured Solutions as a means to ensure that our travellers are able to access accommodation for the best prices, in the best locations, with the best facilities, without booking out-of-policy. Compliant bookings help to create more effective and centralised travel programmes, so we’re looking forward to seeing Rest Assured Solutions become a part of that.”

Controlling Costs & Payments

According to Hotel Traveller 360°, 73% of global business travellers indicated that saving money was an acceptable reason to book outside of their company’s business travel policy, while 68% cited better hotel choices. With Rest Assured Solutions, GBT customers will have:

Access to exclusive hotel rates at thousands of global properties through the Preferred Extras™ hotel programme, in all channels including mobile, with discounts of up to 25% and the availability of specially negotiated amenities and extras such as favourable cancellation policies, last room availability, and free Wi-Fi and breakfast.
Assurance through a new Hotel Rate Guarantee that they are getting the lowest hotel rate at the time of booking and can rebook a lower rate if one is found and receive a refund of the difference. This guarantee is supported by GBT’s Hotel Assurance and Hotel Re-Shop Expert tools, which use automation and bots to monitor and rebook more affordable rates if they become available.
Wider geographical coverage and functionality enhancements for Virtual Payment Expert™ (VPE), GBT’s virtual hotel payment and reconciliation solution powered by Conferma Pay.
Access to Content

Access to the right hotel content is also a concern for business travellers: on average, 68% of global business travellers cited location as a good reason to book out of policy. Rest Assured Solutions offers:

Access to an extensive portfolio of properties and rates from multiple sources all in one place, including more than 2 million properties through GBT’s partnership with, with highly discounted rates.
Access to loyalty programme members’ rates from major hotel chains
Access to more than 6 million non-hotel listings, such as homes, apartments, and fully-furnished corporate apartment units, including partnerships with, Expedia and WWStay.
Strategic consulting with experts that analyse data and trends to get the right mix of content in front of travellers.
Driving Confidence

Business travellers lack confidence in their programs: more than half (57%) believe they can find better rates for overnight accommodations than their company’s travel programmes. Rest Assured Solutions offers several assurances to GBT customers:

The most comprehensive accommodations content at the best available rates, underpinned by GBT’s extensive expertise in rate negotiation and breakthrough technology.
Advanced algorithms and historical booking data, via GBT’s enhanced Trip Recommender solution, that generate and proactively offer hotel recommendations based on employee company travel to the same destination.
Mobile access to hotel reservations through the expanded Amex GBT Mobile app.
GBT began developing Rest Assured Solutions after the acquisition of Hogg Robinson Group (HRG) in 2018, to fully integrate the company’s accommodations solutions, align them with GBT’s traveller-centric service approach, and address the challenges facing travel managers and their business travellers. New innovations will be added to Rest Assured Solutions throughout 2020.

To learn more about Rest Assured Solutions suite, visit

About American Express Global Business Travel
American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) is the world’s leading business partner for managed travel. We help companies and employees prosper by making sure travellers are present where and when it matters. We keep global business moving with the powerful backing of 18,000 travel professionals in more than 140 countries. Companies of all sizes, and in all places, rely on GBT to provide travel management services, organize meetings and events, and deliver business travel consulting.

Learn more at

American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) is a joint venture that is not wholly owned by American Express Company or any of its subsidiaries (American Express). “American Express Global Business Travel,” “American Express,” and the American Express logo are trademarks of American Express and are used under limited license.

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US river cruising thriving among boomers

Diana and David Carlson have travelled around the world over the years: Egypt, South Africa, China, Prague, Berlin and more.

“My husband’s getting to the point where he says, ‘I just don’t like those long plane trips,'” says Diana Carlson, 73. That’s fine with her. “I say, ‘OK, we’ll go on the boat again.’ I’ll go on it as often as I can.”

By “the boat,” Carlson means the American Queen, a six-deck paddle-wheeler that plies the Mississippi River as the flagship of the American Queen Steamboat Company. For all the Southern California couple’s globe-trotting, they’ve sailed nearly 20 times with the cruise line that’s devoted to US rivers.

The Carlsons are exactly the kind of customers the operators of American river cruise lines want to reach: They have the time and ability to travel, an interest in exploring US sites and – importantly – they know that river cruising exists in the United States.

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Manchester airport: Will flights be cancelled this weekend as Storm Jorge hits?

Recent storms caused disruption to travel with winds reaching more than 90mph in some areas. When Storms Dennis and Ciara hit a week apart, severe winds and torrential rain caused misery for travellers across the country.

Now Storm Jorge is forecast to hit the UK this weekend, bringing another bout of heavy rain and severe winds.

With winds forecast to reach 70mph in some areas, those looking to travel may be facing delays and cancellations.

Terrifying videos taken as Storm Dennis hit showed pilots battling with the winds to land, and in some instances aborting landing altogether due to the weather conditions.

The weather conditions also broke records, with one flight from JFK airport in New York landing in London in record time due to tailwinds – just four hours and 56 minutes – when the usual flight time is six hours and 13 minutes.

Read More: European city & beach holidays surge as bad weather blasts UK


  • Met Office snow warnings: Is YOUR area be affected by snow this week?

Will flights be cancelled this weekend as Storm Jorge hits?

For this travelling this weekend, it is too early to say yet whether flights will face cancellations or delays.

All will be revealed when Storm Jorge hits and airlines and airports review weather conditions.

If you are due to travel on Saturday and Sunday, it will be worth keeping an eye on your airlines’ social media, and any email, text or app alerts in regards to the weather.

On Saturday and Sunday, there are Met Office yellow weather warnings in place for wind, as a large swathe of winds will cross the UK through Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.

Areas under the wind warning are East Midlands, East of England, London and South East England, North East England, North West England, Northern Ireland, SW Scotland, Lothian Borders, South West England, Strathclyde, Wales, West Midlands and Yorkshire and Humber.

The warning is in place from 12pm on Saturday until 12pm on Sunday, with wind gusts of up to 70mph possible.

This could cause issues for those travelling by rail, road and air.

Snow near me: Where will it snow this weekend? 4 days of snow warnings [MAP]
London weather this weekend: Will Storm Jorge reach London? [INSIGHT]
UK weather warning: Storm Jorge to leave Britain facing WEEKS of -8C [LONG-RANGE]


  • Met Office snow warning: Blizzard conditions and -8C freeze to hit UK

The Met Office warns to expect

  • Some delays to road, rail, air and ferry transport are likely.
  • Delays for high-sided vehicles on exposed routes and bridges likely.

It’s likely that some coastal routes, sea fronts and coastal communities affected by spray and/or large waves.

Coastal areas could see the strongest of the winds.

The warning states: “Strong winds will move into south-western parts of the UK by Saturday afternoon, and steadily move north-east through the course of Saturday evening and overnight into Sunday morning. 

“Gusts of 50-60 mph are likely quite widely, and especially in association with heavier showers across England and Wales during Saturday afternoon.

“More isolated gusts of 65-70 mph, particularly on coasts and other exposed areas, are probable.”

Chief Meteorologist at the Met Office, Frank Saunders, said: “From Saturday Storm Jorge will bring strong winds and heavy rain to parts of the UK, with potentially heavy snowfall being a hazard for parts of Scotland.

On Saturday and Sunday, the majority of the UK is covered by Yellow weather warnings with some areas being covered by more than one warning, indicating multiple weather hazards.

“The heavy rain warnings for parts of Wales, South West England and North West England are indicating that some isolated areas of Wales could see as much as 100 mm of rainfall.

“Storm Jorge is not expected to bring wind gusts as strong as Storms Ciara or Dennis, but it will still bring gusts of 60 to 70 mph in some exposed locations during the warning period, which ends at midday on Sunday.

“But it’s worth saying that parts of the south and east of the UK, once the rain clears early on Saturday, should often be bright, windy and cold over the weekend.”

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TownePlace Suites by Marriott to open in Austin, Texas ·

TownePlace Suites by Marriott to open in Austin, Texas

Marriott International’s TownePlace Suites by Marriott Austin South is set to open for business this Thursday, February 27. The new 103-suite hotel is built for travelers looking for a simple and friendly place where they can settle-in, keep their routine, and easily connect to the South Austin area. Located at 901 Little Texas Lane, it will operate as a Marriott franchise, owned by Scenic Property Group and managed by PM Hotel Group of Chevy Chase, Maryland. General Manager Adrianne Fobert and Director of Sales Emily Fabian lead the management team at the property for PM Hotel Group.

“We are excited to introduce the TownePlace Suites brand to the South Austin area,” said Diane Mayer, Vice President and Global Brand Manager, TownePlace Suites at Marriott International. “At TownePlace Suites, we get it. We want to go above and beyond to do everything we can to make our guests feel comfortable. We encourage our guests to be real, and help them to do so by providing a seamless residential atmosphere with a friendly staff who genuinely care about our guests. That is what our brand is all about, and this property is a great example of that.”

All service team members are thoroughly trained on local knowledge and look forward to connecting guests to the local area. The hotel brand’s signature floor-to-ceiling TowneMap® also helps guests instantly acclimate themselves to the area by featuring great places to eat, play and live. The TownePlace Suites Austin South is located just over seven miles from Austin Bergstrom International Airport and 10 minutes from downtown. The new hotel offers guests convenient access to Circuit of the Americas Race Track, the University of Texas and St. Edward’s University.

Ideal for travelers who need accommodations for longer stays, this new property offers studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites with fully equipped kitchens, as well as separate living/working and sleeping areas. Guests can work and relax on their own terms in modern suites that feature full kitchens with stainless steel appliances and granite countertops, adjustable work spaces with built-in shelves and lighting, a large flat screen television, as well as luxurious new bedding. Most rooms also feature the Home Office™ Suite, designed to provide guests with plenty of storage and flexible space to spread out and make it their own.

The TownePlace Suites Austin South allows guests to maintain a healthy lifestyle with an array of food options. While on property, guests can create their own complimentary hot breakfast every morning in the lobby area and can fire up their stay by grilling up dinner on the outdoor Weber grills. The 24-hour In a Pinch® market and On Us® coffee service offer guests the chance to get their snack and caffeine on whenever they feel the need.

TownePlace Suites helps its guests stay organized on the road with the help of its partner, The Container Store. While staying at the hotel, travelers can unpack their suitcase in a custom elfa® closet. From drawers to shelves to smart hanging space, you’ll find everything you need to make you feel right at home. Other hotel amenities include an outdoor swimming pool, a meeting room, a fitness center open 24 hours per day, laundry facilities, complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and on-site business services, including copying, faxing and printing. As a brand, TownePlace Suites recognizes that families may include more than just humans, which is why the TownePlace Suites Austin South is pet-friendly (fees may apply).

About TownePlace Suites by Marriott

TownePlace Suites by Marriott is an award-winning, extended-stay hotel brand that is ideal for travelers who need accommodations for longer stays. The brand’s simple yet innovative design, features personal touches and playful details allowing guests to live uninterrupted. Offering studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites with fully equipped kitchens the brand offers thoughtful spaces for living and working. TownePlace Suites currently has the highest market share growth of any Marriott brand. There are currently over 400 properties across the United States and Canada. For more information or reservations, visit , become a fan at or follow at TownePlace Suites is proud to participate in Marriott Bonvoy, the new name of Marriott’s travel program replacing Marriott Rewards®, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®, and Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG). The program offers members an extraordinary portfolio of global brands, experiences on Marriott Bonvoy Moments and unparalleled benefits including earning points toward free hotel stays and nights toward Elite status recognition. To enroll for free or for more information about the program, visit


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How to Take the First Step Toward Becoming a Travel Advisor

American Airlines and the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) are working together to help passionate travelers find out whether a career as a travel advisor is right for them.

The world’s largest airline will sponsor ASTA’s “Becoming a Travel Advisor” educational program for 2020.

The online course—presented by Amanda Cecil, Ph.D., CMP, Undergraduate Program Director & Associate Professor, Dept. of Tourism, Conventions and Event Management at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis—is available for only $34.95 and provides an array of helpful information about the travel agency industry.

Highlights include a detailed breakdown of the role of a travel advisor in terms of the “travel value chain” as well as the makeup and job requirements of a successful advisor in today’s world. Plus, you’ll learn about the multiple travel agency business models currently in place and how advisors make money.

If you already have your sights set on launching a career as a travel advisor, the beneficial course will help with finding training and first-time employment options in addition to guiding you toward various advisor certifications and credentials.

The course includes a “Becoming a Travel Advisor Handbook,” which can also be purchased separately for $29.95. The comprehensive 44-page booklet provides both invaluable and entertaining insight into the world of a professional travel advisor.

Visit for more information.

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WHO Says Coronavirus Risk ‘Very High’ Globally

The World Health Organization (WHO) has increased its risk assessment of the coronavirus to “very high” at a global level.

According to, WHO’s health emergencies program executive director Dr. Mike Ryan said the agency is not trying to scare people by issuing the highest level of risk assessment in terms of spread and impact.

“This is a reality check for every government on the planet: Wake up! Get ready!” Ryan said in a statement. “This virus may be on its way and you need to be ready. You have a duty to your citizens; you have a duty to the world to be ready.”

The WHO is calling on governments around the world to take the coronavirus outbreak seriously and work hard to contain it within their borders and avoid “the worst of it.”

In addition to the confirmed cases in China, where the viral outbreak originated, at least 4,351 cases have been reported and confirmed across at least 48 countries, including 67 deaths as of Friday.

The WHO said Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Netherlands and Nigeria all reported their first confirmed cases Thursday, which were all connected to the outbreak in Italy. Officials said most cases of the viral infection have been traced to known contacts or clusters of cases.

The organization also recently revealed the number of new coronavirus cases outside China now exceeds those inside the country for the first time. WHO officials said countries must act “swiftly” and “aggressively” to contain the virus.

Earlier this week, the longest-serving member of the International Olympic Committee said the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo in July could be canceled if the coronavirus outbreak shows no sign of dissipating.

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Windstar Cruises Eases Cancellation Policies Amid Coronavirus Fears

To ease worries about cruising amid a coronavirus outbreak, Windstar Cruises is changing its policy so travelers can cancel up to 15 days before departure and not lose their money.

They will receive a future cruise credit for 100 percent of the cruise fare paid. The credit is good for the cruise fare only on another Windstar departure within one year.

“We recognize some people are hesitant to plan ahead for vacations due to concerns about coronavirus,” said Windstar Cruises President John Delaney. “We want to help people feel comfortable. Our new Travel Assurance plan lets you book now knowing you can change plans up to 15 days before your cruise departs.”

The new policy automatically applies to new and existing cruises departing on or after June 1, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2021.

Under the current policy, passengers would lose 100 percent of their money if they cancel up to 29 days before departure.

“The new Travel Assurance Booking Policy acknowledges the challenge of booking vacations in advance and aims to allay travelers’ concerns about losing money due to unexpected illness or other world events,” a Windstar statement said. “Windstar believes vacations enrich people’s lives. The new Travel Assurance Booking Policy is an extra effort to ensure travelers feel comfortable booking a well-deserved cruise vacation now without fearing loss should they need to cancel.”

Windstar canceled all Asia sailings in 2020, “out of an abundance of caution,” and updated its screening policy due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Crew travel through mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and South Korea has been suspended. No one will be allowed to board a Windstar ship who has traveled from or through China, Hong Kong, Macau or South Korea, or has had close contact with anyone suspected or diagnosed as having coronavirus COVID-19, within 30 days before embarkation. Also, all passengers and crew will be administered a no-touch thermal scan to screen for fever, and anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher will not be allowed to board the ship.

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