Strikes & Star Wars! Headlines from This Week’s Travel News

Headlines from This Week’s Travel News! Our Agents read and keep abreast of all the latest travel news.

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Here’s this week’s roundup of top news highlights:

LH Strike

German airline Lufthansa began to strike late today Friday GMT, affecting around 290 flights and 37,500 passengers.

Passport changes ahead?

Passport policies all around the world are going through major changes. Several countries, such as Nepal and Australia, have made small but significant adjustments that may change the way we think about passports and their necessity. The Australian government announced that it will test an electronic cloud-based passport on a sample group of citizens. This may make paper passports obsolete. (no more colorful stamps! 😦 )

Cruises return to Ukraine

After a 2-year absence, Viking River Cruises announced a scheduled return to Ukraine in 2016. The voyage will include Kiev, Odessa and the Black Sea, but will not fall into the Crimean region annexed by Russia in 2014.

Seaboard returns to Alaska/BC in 2017

After a 15-year absence, small ship cruise line Seaboard has announced its return to Alaska and British Colombia in 2017, in response to high demand.

World Air Quality Index

There is now a guide comparing air pollution levels of the world’s top vacation destinations. The research compares 28 cities in 19 countries, including Germany, India, Thailand and U.S. The higher the number, the more polluted the air: Beijing and Dubai score high, Mexico City and Amsterdam are moderate, and the city with the lowest score is Bangkok.

AA renews LAX-SYD-LAX route

For the first time since 1992, American Airlines will fly a Boeing 777 roundtrip Los Angeles to Sydney.

USA Pre-clearance at Dublin Airport

You will soon be able to pass US customs and immigration while still in Ireland. Automated Passport Control Kiosks are being delivered to Dublin Airport, which will cut down on lines and passenger processing time in the States. Dublin is the only airport in Europe that allows U.S. pre-clearance, but who knows how the program will expand.

Crystal River Cruises

Crystal will launch five luxury river yachts starting in 2016, and they will debut in June and August!

English-speaking hotlines introduced for tourists in Japan

Privately-owned multilingual hotlines are now available for the nearly two million foreigners who visit Japan annually. Hotlines are available in 13 different languages and staffed 24 hours.

Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Montreal will close for renovations

To execute the renovations, the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth will close in mid-June 2016 and will reopen in June 2017.

Finally, the Trevi Fountain will lose its scaffolding

You can know see the world-famous Trevi Fountain or Rome in all its glory! The basin was refilled with water on Thursday after 17 months of restoration work drew to an end. Tourists applauded at one of the final stages of the renovation, which began in June last year and cost more than 2 million euros, financed entirely by fashion house Fendi. Official reopening day was November 3!

Major maintenance concerns about Allegiant Air

Allegiant Air, which has been under fire over its maintenance issues – including from its own pilots – is again facing increased scrutiny from the Federal Aviation Administration over recent maintenance problems on multiple airplanes.

Disney Dream gets Star Wars upgrade

The Disney Dream is back in the water at Port Canaveral as of last Friday after getting some upgrades. The ship had been in dry dock for three weeks for the installation of Star Wars themed play areas. “You can fly the Millennium Falcon. You can play with R2D2. There is also lots of entertainment programming we offer,” said Tony Giordano of Walt Disney Entertainment.

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