Next Network Broadcast: Train Travels

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sb-z-9cB_-E&feature=youtu.be

Train travel is a unique way to visit destinations, and AAA Travel would like to show you all about this fabulous travel experience. Join us as we review the what, when, and why of train exploration. Participating Cruise Partners include Amtrak, Railbookers, and Rocky Mountaineer.


Next Network Broadcast: Alaska Discovery

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Jb996nNSm4&feature=youtu.be

Alaska is one of America's most scenic and desirable destinations. Join AAA Travel as we discuss the opportunities for exploring this majestic state. This live discussion includes information and a Q & A session with one of AAA Travel's preferred cruise partners.

Participating Cruise Partners include:

Norwegian Cruise Line

Matthew Gouthro is your Business Development Manager for Norwegian Cruise Line.

Celebrity

Brendan Halcomb, Cruisetours Sales & Marketing Manager

Princess

Cindy G. Botelho, CTC, Manager, National Accounts

Joining is even easier, when you cut and paste this link into your desktop or laptop browser.

https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_ZmRkZWE3MjAtMTFhZi00NzEwLWE5M2ItZGUwMWVjMzdkN2M1%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%220ccc4f56-0dac-42a5-a6f6-467387e586c0%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%22e0c5a402-1486-4940-8b5a-f3843fe924e2%22%2c%22IsBroadcastMeeting%22%3atrue%7d

Mobile devices may require the FREE Microsoft Teams app, available in your mobile app store.


American Airlines updates LaGuardia Hall

Travelers returning to LaGuardia are noticing a new environment at Terminal B, thanks to updates American Airlines has put in place. Earlier this month the new Arrivals and Departures Hall at Terminal B began to serve as American Airlines main arrival & departure facility, including ticketing and check-in, security and baggage claim. The new space offers a clean, comfortable, efficient experience for travelers and provides an upgraded workplace for thousands of the airline’s New York-area team members.

“As more customers take to the skies, American is ready to welcome them to New York in this reimagined facility, launched by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and developed in partnership with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and LaGuardia Gateway Partners,” said Jim Moses, Vice President of Northeast Hubs and Gateways for American Airlines. “By centralizing our operation, we can better care for our customers — delivering an intuitive, seamless experience from curb to gate.”

The Arrivals and Departures Hall now provides a more modern, enjoyable travel experience for American Airlines customers. Through this new, state-of-the-art and modern facility, travelers are offered a light, bright and central location for all arrivals, departures, shopping, dining and services. Scheduled for a completed upgrade in 2022, the LGA Terminal B redevelopment project is part of a comprehensive $8.2 billion effort to transform the airport into a modern, unified facility, featuring improved ground transportation access, additional taxiways and best-in-class amenities.

The terminal connects directly to the new Eastern Concourse housing gates 40-59, which began operating select flights when it opened in December 2018.

In response to improving demand for air travel, American plans to fly 55% of its domestic schedule in July 2020 compared to the same period last year. This includes 95% more flights at LGA compared to May 2020.

The Arrivals and Departures Hall is the second phase of a larger program to redevelop LaGuardia, launched by New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. Gov. Cuomo’s vision involves transforming LaGuardia into a modern and unified airport with better transportation access, more taxiways and best-in-class amenities to create a better and more seamless travel experience.


Viking will cruise the Mississippi River

Any river cruiser will share that Viking offers a relaxing, immersive and thoroughly enjoyable cruise experience. Viking is a leader in river cruising, and designs itineraries where you can enjoy the ever-changing scenery along the banks of waterways such as the Danube, Rhine, Seine, Douro, Volga and Yangtze. With river cruising, voyagers unpack just once, and Viking allows you to settle into the cabin of one of their award-winning, state-of-the-art 190-guest Longships and journey into the very heart of iconic cities and charming towns.

Viking will launch new destination-focused travel experiences on the Mississippi River in 2022, with its first 386-guests custom vessel, Viking Mississippi, with sailings ranging from 8 to 15 days. Viking’s arrival will bring modern river cruising to the Mississippi and will represent a major commitment to tourism and economic development in many communities along the river. Currently scheduled ports of call on Viking’s new Mississippi River Cruises comprise seven U.S. states: Louisiana (Baton Rouge, Darrow, New Orleans and St. Francisville); Mississippi (Natchez and Vicksburg); Tennessee (Memphis); Missouri (Hannibal, St. Louis); Iowa (Burlington, Dubuque and Quad Cities); Wisconsin (La Crosse); and Minnesota (Red Wing, St. Paul).

The new state-of-the-art Viking Mississippi is inspired by Viking’s award-winning river and ocean ships and will feature clean Scandinavian design, as well as public spaces that are familiar to guests but that have been reimagined for Mississippi River voyages. Purpose-built for the Mississippi and currently under construction in Louisiana, the five-deck ship’s cutting-edge design, expansive windows and comfortable amenities will make it the largest and most modern cruise ship in the region.

Stretching for 2,350 miles, from Minnesota's Lake Itasca to the Gulf of Mexico, our new cruises on the "Mighty Mississippi" offer a different type of cross-country journey for the curious explorer–one that allows you to be immersed in American history and culture. A Mississippi River cruise offers the rare opportunity to sail through America's heartland. Explore picturesque towns and boom cities; take in views of pastoral farms and towering bluffs; and immerse yourself in region's rich history and culture.

Here are a few highlights Viking has revealed:

  • New Orleans's festive French Quarter and Creole cuisine
  • Cajun heritage in Baton Rouge
  • Vicksburg National Military Park
  • BBQ and Delta blues in Memphis
  • Mark Twain's boyhood home
  • Working family farm visit in Iowa
  • Birdwatching along the "Mississippi Flyway"
  • St. Louis's Gateway Arch and pioneering spririt
  • Norwegian cultural experience at Vesterheim
  • Intricate locks and dams of the Upper Mississippi

As with all vacations, more days mean more to discover, and the cruise line offers several extension packages you can add before or after your Viking cruise or cruisetour. Enjoy additional days to explore your embarkation or disembarkation city, or see a new destination altogether with a choice of exciting cities.

As a AAA Travel Member, you have AAA Member Benefits tied to your membership. Talk with a AAA Travel Agent for more information, and view our Viking packages, including this Mississippi tour.


national parks

Travel community praises passage of National Parks Bill

U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow issued the following statement on Senate passage of the Great American Outdoors Act, a bill that establishes the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund to support deferred maintenance projects on federal lands.

“Our national parks are more critical centers of travel and tourism than ever, and the Senate has done a very wise thing to prioritize this legislation to support their upkeep. In addition to the great positive impact on the infrastructure and maintenance needs at national parks, and this bill will also help protect the use of public lands for the travel- and tourism-dependent recreation industry." Dow commented.

The timing is important, as American's are shifting their travel focuses to domestic destinations.

“Data is showing conclusively that Americans are much more comfortable traveling by car and recreating outdoors as we continue to cope with the pandemic, which will make national parks very important leisure travel destinations for the foreseeable future." Dow continued with, “Given their vital role as drivers for the regional economies around them, national parks are cornerstones not only of America’s cultural and geographical heritage but also of American prosperity. In 2019 alone, national parks welcomed 327 million visitors who contributed $41.7 billion to the economy and supported 340,500 jobs."

The fund must be used for priority deferred maintenance projects in specified systems that are administered by:

  • the National Park Service,
  • the Forest Service,
  • the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
  • the Bureau of Land Management, and
  • the Bureau of Indian Education.

“We thank Sen. Gardner, Sen. Daines and Sen. Manchin for their leadership on this bill, and we look forward to continuing to work with Congress on measures to secure the future of our national parks for all Americans.”

AAA Travel has gathered several vacation options focused on Rediscovering America. As parks, roads and states open their gates, we invite you to find your NEXT great vacation. View our hand-selected packages and road trips at aaa.com/roadtrip.


Iceland to Reopen. What you need to know.

Travel restrictions in Iceland are beginning to ease. In fact, as of June 15, 2020, Iceland began to welcome passport-holders from the Schengen area and UK. However, AAA Travel wants our members to know that North American passport-holders must wait until July 1. However, this is highly subject to change. The flight schedule for US gateways is dependent on the easing of local restrictions, and flight availabilities. This seems to be evaluated daily. But, if everything goes as hoped, we are on our way. We’ve all waited this long, what is a few more days?

In an attempt to control the outbreak and minimize the strain on the healthcare system, Iceland implemented various testing and tracing measures, together with social gathering bans and social distancing measures. The Icelandic approach has been hailed as a success. Due to the low number of new COVID-19 infections in May, gathering restrictions were eased, and most businesses have reopened.

For international travelers, there is a catch.
Passengers arriving in Iceland from June 15 can choose one of the following options:

  1. Be tested for COVID-19
  2. Go into a 14-day quarantine

The test is free of charge until July 1 and will cost 15,000 ISK (110 USD) from then on. Children born in 2005 or later will be exempt from the test. There is not an option to bring a test result from your home to be exempt from testing upon arrival. Travelers to Iceland are required to fill out a pre-registration form before their arrival in the country.

Detailed, up-to-date questions and answers regarding the testing policy can be found online at the official COVID-19 site published by the Icelandic authorities: covid.is/faq

Airlines are preparing in response, including Icelandair.

Icelandair is temporarily allowing customers to bring one personal item onboard, which must fit under the seat. This policy, in place of the standard two personal item allowance, aims to reduce the number of touchpoints while on board. Accordingly, Icelandair will accommodate approved carry-on baggage in the hold free of charge until further notice.

But be prepared to have your facial mask with you. The wearing of face masks is required for customers and cabin crew on all Icelandair flights, covering both the nose and mouth. While face masks are mandatory from the time one boards our aircraft until they disembark, the airline also recommends using facial masks during your time at the airport.

As you plan for Iceland, or Ireland, or any land - you may have questions. To speak to a AAA Travel Counselor call 1-800-222-7448.


African Travel impacted by COVID-19

African Travel, the longest established luxury safari operator focused exclusively on the African continent, has released updates on the travel restrictions placed on African locations and their impacts on planned Safaris.

Impacts by region as of June 15, 2020:

Botswana: The Government of Botswana has banned entry of all individuals (except Botswana and Botswana residents) from entering Botswana.

Egypt: Egypt has implemented a 14-day quarantine period. Normal commercial air passenger service remains suspended.

Kenya: The Kenyan government has a ban on all international flights in and out of Kenya. All who arrive within the last 14 days must self-quarantine.

Madagascar: Commercial passenger flights are suspended until April 20. Self-quarantine for 14 days for travelers who have recently been in affected countries. Strict confinement measures are in place.

Mauritius: On March 24, the Prime Minister of Mauritius announced that the country will be on lock-down and access to Mauritius for all passengers will be denied until further notice.

Mozambique: All arrivals to Mozambique require a 14-day self-quarantine and all visas have been canceled.

Namibia:  The country has suspended the issuance of visas on arrival and implemented a ban on travel from affected countries.

Rwanda: On May 18, the government of Rwanda advised borders remain closed and movements are prohibited except with permission.

Seychelles: Seychelles has all restricted citizens from any country (except returning Seychellois) to enter and is closed to all international flights. On May 4, the gradual easing of confinement measures was implemented.

Tanzania: Effective 18 May 2020, the government, has lifted the suspension of international scheduled passenger flights into and out of the country. Upon arrival, travelers are subjected to enhanced screening and complete a Traveller Surveillance Form. There is no longer a fourteen-day quarantine upon arrival.

Uganda: On 18 May 2020, President Yoweri Museveni announced that the strict lockdown and nationwide curfew would start to ease on June 2, 2020.

Zambia: While the country has not closed its borders, there are strict quarantine measures of 14-days at one's own expense (see Botswana above for those crossing the border), additional testing, and a lockdown of Kafue on April 15. The country has suspended all international flights, except for those arriving and departing from the international airport in Lusaka. There are also restrictions for public gatherings, restaurants are only doing takeaway/deliver and most businesses are closed.

Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe’s borders are closed to all human traffic except for returning nationals and permit holders.

African Travel has announced that for the majority of bookings, members will now have the option to postpone travel for up to 1 year from your travel date, without penalties Provided that they are notified at least 7 days before your departure. Nearly all of the programs can be re-booked to a future date of the exact same safari (up to 1 year from your original travel date). If deciding to re-book your safari, you have up to 60 days from the date that you notify the provider to rebook and to confirm new plans. As always, there are terms and conditions that your AAA Travel Agent can help you navigate.

To speak to a AAA Travel Counselor call

For those who haven’t booked a trip yet to Africa but are considering travel in the next year, we advise you to remain flexible. African Travel has pledged to continue to evaluate possibilities and provide flexibility in changing plans with no change fees. Your AAA Travel Agent can help with your arrangements and once booked if restrictions are still in place or situations arise, AAA Travel will work with African Travel to adapt programs to provide options to other less-restricted African destinations.


Hurtigruten announces cancellations on the Norwegian Coast.

In March, Hurtigruten cruise made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend operations worldwide in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. As of June, and in light of the current Coronavirus situation, the cruise line has decided to cancel the following sailings:

• BGO-BGO – MS Kong Harald – July 6
• BGO-BGO – MS Lofoten – July 3
• BGO-BGO – MS Lofoten – July 14
• BGO-BGO – MS Nordkapp – July 10
• BGO-BGO – MS Nordlys – July 9
• BGO-BGO – MS Nordnorge – July 4
• BGO-BGO – MS Polarlys – July 1
• BGO-BGO – MS Polarlys – July 12
• BGO-BGO – MS Vesterålen – July 7
• BGO-BGO – MS Vesterålen – July 15

A changed reservation will be reimbursed as a Hurtigruten Future Cruise Voucher in the amount of 125% of amounts paid (including fees) and 10% discount on a future cruise. This Future Cruise Voucher is valid on any Hurtigruten cruise, Expedition or Norwegian Coastal - from 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2021. Your AAA Travel Agent can offer you more details and assist you with booking your future adventure.

Speak to a AAA Travel Counselor now, call 1-800-222-7448