Travel News: Passports

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US Passport Rules Are Changing – Here is What You Need to Know reports passport changes are coming. While it is normally easy to acquire or renew a passport if and when you plan a trip, the State Department says there’s about to be a massive backlog of passport applications.

  • Its best to renew your passport now. You can expect a longer wait for passport applications and renewals starting this year. You can find detailed instructions on how to renew or apply for your passport online through the State Department. Many people are also unaware of the 6-month validity rule that many countries have adopted, including almost all countries in Europe. If you arrive in one of these countries and your passport is set to expire in the next 6 months, you may be denied entry. All the more reason to work on getting your passport renewed as soon as possible.
  • You will have to comply with the Real I.D. Act. The REAL ID Act, passed in 2005 and coming into effect January of 2018, established a set of federal security standards for state driver’s licenses that require specific information and machine-readable technology. Travelers using IDs issued by certain states could be turned away at the gate beginning in 2017, if their state does not adjust to the new standards or have an extension. According to the Department of Homeland Security, after 2020, absolutely all travelers on US domestic flights must comply with the REAL ID Act.
  • A new passport makeover was introduced in July of 2016, and perhaps the biggest change is a new chip being installed inside passports. The chip is featured on the information page, will be machine-readable, and contains key biometric data on each traveler. There are other changes as well, such as fewer passport pages. The new passport will also be sealed with a special coating which will protect the book from getting wet and keep it from bending. Passports will now include added technology to ensure security and decrease fraud.

Air New Zealand To Recycle Food Across Flights

Air New Zealand has launched a new initiative to reduce in-flight waste by reusing unopened food across flights. Called Project Green, the initiative is part of an agreement between Air New Zealand, Ministry for Primary Industries and LSG Sky Chefs to work around strict biosecurity standards. Biosecurity regulations mean that before the programme was implemented, any unopened food left over from international flights was sent to landfill. Now food is able to be taken off one aircraft and then put onto another flight. “We’ve spent considerable time auditing our inflight waste to gain a better understanding of how we can improve our handling processes. We’re incredibly encouraged by the early data we’re seeing,” Head of Operational Delivery for Air New Zealand Alan Gaskin says. Project Green is an outstanding example how airlines can work with border regulators to develop solutions to reduce cabin waste without comprising quarantine controls.” Early data provided by Air New Zealand suggests that the project has diverted 13 tonnes of waste including 3.5 tonnes of bottled water, 266,000 plastic cups and 480 kg of sugar.

Virgin Australia To Begin Biofuel Flights From Brisbane

Virgin Australia is embarking on a two-year biofuel trial for flights out of Brisbane Airport. Virgin planes will be refuelled with sustainable fuel and CEO John Borghetti hopes it will be a viable alternative to traditional fossil fuels. “The project announced is critical to testing the fuel supply chain infrastructure in Australia to ensure that Virgin and Brisbane Airport are ready for the commercial supply of these exciting fuels,” he said. Vitgin has partnered with US renewable fuel supplier Gevo Inc for two years which will ship the fuel into Australia. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said shipping biofuel in from overseas cannot be sustained for the long term but hopes over the course of the testing period, local suppliers can develop the required infrastructure.

Catalonia general strike – & British Airways

Workers in Catalonia have staged a general strike while protests blocked key roads following the Spanish government’s brutal crackdown on Sunday’s independence referendum. The strike is planned from Tuesday 3 October to Friday 13 October 2017. British Airways published guidelines for customers in response. Read them here. 

Adventure Of The Seas To Homeport In San Juan Starting October 7

The Puerto Rico Tourism Company announced that the Adventure of the Seas will re-start its homeporting operators in Puerto Rico’s San Juan starting on Saturday Oct. 7. The ship will continue to be based in San Juan year-round, leaving on Saturdays. This follows Royal Caribbean cancelling its last two cruises due to hurricane damage, and utilizing the ship for humanitarian aid. “Restoration of Adventure operations will be possible thanks to a collaboration between Royal Caribbean and the Port Authority of Puerto Rico to put the Pan American Wharf in acceptable conditions to process passengers,” a statement said. The ship is expected to sail full on Saturday and will cruise to St. Kitts, St. Johns (Antigua), Martinique, St. Lucia and Barbados. “We are three weeks removed from the devastating impact of Hurricane Maria and the fact we can restore homeport cruise operations on our island demonstrates what is possible when we work in collaboration with our private industry partners to rebuild Puerto Rico. We thank Royal Caribbean greatly for not losing their trust in our Island in these difficult times. As mandated by Governor Ricardo Rosselló Nevares, we hope to be able to re-establish cruise operations in full soon”.  The Adventure will dock in San Juan a day early, calling on Friday with supplies and staff to help in the reconstruction of Puerto Rico.

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