Travel News: US Passport Fees To Increase In April

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US Passport Fees To Increase In April

Travel Pulse reports Passports updated after April 2 will be subject to a heftier “execution fee” of $35. US travelers who will need a new passport in 2018 can potentially save themselves a few dollars if they avoid waiting until the last minute to apply. According to the US Department of State, passport “execution fees” will increase from $25 to $35 starting April 2, 2018. The fee change will bump the total cost of a US passport to $145 for adults and $115 for children 16 and younger. The execution fee, however, is only charged to people who apply in person at an official passport agency, such as the US post office or other consular offices. The $10 fee increase will not apply to individuals who renew their passports by mail. According to the Department of State, passport execution fees are set at a rate that will allow for the “recovery of the costs to the US government of providing the consular service.” But two recent studies, one conducted by the Department of State and another by the US Postal Service, determined that actual processing costs are now higher than the $25 fee, prompting the increase. The passport execution fee change, which was first published in the Federal Registry in 2016, was submitted to Congress for approval. The new rule will go into effect April 2, 2018. 

Ritz-Carlton To Develop Hotel On St Kitts

St Kitts Tourism Authority and the Ministry of Tourism have announced a Ritz-Carlton Resort will open on the island in 2021. The proposed 125-room Ritz-Carlton Resort will be located on the beach facing the Caribbean Sea in the picturesque southeast peninsula of the island and will also include 25 Ritz-Carlton branded villas and residences. Among the hotel’s amenities will be a spa, several swimming pools set within the lush tropical landscape and indoor and outdoor dining facilities and meeting spaces. The resort is part of a larger development project led by The Liamuiga Corporation.

MH370 Conspiracy Theory Involves Seabed Constructor And Chest From Shipwreck

Travelwire reports tracking marks of the Seabed Constructor show ship has circled and stopped a number of times. Wild conspiracy theories about Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 have now spread to the search ship tasked with finding it. Ocean Infinity signed a deal with the Malaysian Government to search 25,000 square kilometers over 90 days. Seabed Constructor went dark on tracking websites and some suggest search ship retrieved a chest from the sea floor. For nearly a week some aviation buffs and MH370 followers have been debating online whether the missing plane has in fact been secretly found and, if not, why was the ship’s Automatic Identification System (AIS) abruptly turned off for several days, preventing online observers from tracking its movements. The ship, Seabed Constructor, suddenly went “dark” on tracking websites not long after it had completed a curious circle, several kilometers wide, prompting many on Twitter to question what was inside the circle on the sea floor. The ship then headed south-west in a straight line, and a few kilometers later turned its AIS off. Seabed Constructor has spent two weeks scouring the ocean floor in the southern Indian Ocean for the fuselage or debris from MH370. Its operator Ocean Infinity, a Texas-based company, has signed a deal with the Malaysian Government to search a 25,000-square-kilometer area over 90 days, and will receive payment of between $US20 million and $US70 million only if it finds the missing plane. The decision to switch off the AIS prompted some to speculate that the ship had made a secret detour to a nearby shipwreck to retrieve a chest known to be on the sea floor. The shipwreck was discovered in 2015 during the previous Australian-led search for MH370, in waters south-west of the current search zone. “The whole ship has deteriorated. But there’s a big chest in about 4,000 meters of water.” The ship’s identity has not been confirmed, so it is impossible to know what, if anything, is in the chest. But the anchor had “ceased manufacture” about 1820, meaning the vessel could be almost 200 years old. Others have speculated that it could be a Peruvian-built transport ship, the S.V. Inca, which disappeared on its way to Australia in 1911.

Delta Alters Boarding Process To ‘Honor’ Active Duty Military

Delta announced Friday that the company is “enhancing its boarding process to honor all uniformed and non-uniformed active military personnel” by inviting them to board early. Delta said it received positive feedback from employees and customers after testing the concept for more than 20 days. Delta said in a news release that the idea that sparked this change came from an active military member who sent a note to Delta CEO Ed Bastian asking if the airline would consider recognizing those individuals traveling on orders. “The Armed Forces community is a remarkably important part of what we do at Delta,” said Jim Graham, Delta’s Vice President of Flight Operations and a U.S. Navy veteran, in the release. “This is one more way Delta can show gratitude to those who sacrifice so much for us.” Early boarding for military members is done on multiple other airlines, including the world’s largest carrier American, which along with United Airlines also provides military in uniform free access to the airline’s VIP lounges. Delta said the change comes as the airline continues to invest in tools and technology, such as its Nomad devices, to improve the customer experience and bring more organization to the boarding process.

TSA Pre Expands To Include Air France, Brussels Airlines and KLM

TSA’s Pre expedited screening program expanded on Thursday to include four new international airlines of Air France, Brussels Airlines, and KLM.  TSA Pre® is an expedited screening program that enables low-risk travelers to enjoy a smart and efficient screening experience at more than 200 U.S. airports. For TSA Pre® travelers, there is no need to remove shoes, laptops, 3-1-1 liquids, belts or light jackets. TSA Pre® is available when departing from a U.S. airport to a foreign country, and for domestic, connecting flights after returning to the U.S. Travelers who are U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals and lawful permanent residents of the U.S. can apply for TSA Pre® for a cost of $85 for five years, or $17 per year through the TSA Pre® application program. Once approved, travelers will receive a “Known Traveler Number” to input when making an airline reservation and will have the opportunity to utilize TSA Pre® lanes at select security checkpoints when traveling on any of the 47 participating airlines.

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