Insider Report 4/1/2021

This week, we bring you news about two new exciting studies revealing the safety of airline travel, our top airline updates and more! We have our office open 24/7 so if there are any questions or thoughts we can help with feel free to give us a call

Trending Travel News


How Much Did Air Travel Contribute to the Early Spread of COVID-19?


     A recent study examining travel from early COVID-19 hot spots in the U.S. found that air travel did not have a significant impact on the spread of the virus to other parts of the country.  The study also suggests that limiting or restricting air travel may even be more dangerous than allowing more travelers to fly.

    Prior research into the effects of the 9/11 attacks on air travel found that increased airport security and fear of another attack lead to many travelers substituting driving for flying, which in turn, lead to an increase in driving fatalities

     No evidence was found in this recent study to suggest that air travel from early COVID-19 hot spots helped to spread the virus across the U.S. during the first quarter of 2020.  As flying poses a low risk for becoming infected with the virus, the study argues that restricting travel will lead more travelers to drive, which is significantly more dangerous.  

Click here to read more from The Conversation

Airport Testing May Detect 90% of Infectious Travelers


Another recent study, using a simulated model, found that most imported infections could be prevented with a combination of pre-travel testing and a 5-day post travel quarantine that is only lifted with a negative test result.  

The simulation utilized a model of 100,000  hypothetical travelers, public health data on COVID-19 clinical cases, and published natural history parameters.  An estimation of 150 infections per day per 100,000 people was used as a baseline to evaluate 5 different testing strategies for travelers:

  • Anterior nasal PCR test within 3 days of departure

  • PCR test within 3 days of departure and 5 days after arrival with 5 day quarantine after arrival

  • Rapid antigen test on day of travel (assuming 90% sensitivity of PCR during active infection)

  • Rapid antigen test on day of travel and PCR test 5 days after arrival with 5 day quarantine after arrival

  • PCR test 5 days after arrival


A travel period of 3 days prior to and 2 weeks after travel was measured with the condition that anyone who tested positive prior was not permitted to travel.  

With no testing or screening implemented, the study assumed 8,357 infectious days with 649 actively infectious passengers on days of travel.

 Pre-travel PCR testing reduced the number of infectious days to 5,401 and identified 88% of the 649 infectious travelers.  Additionally, post-travel quarantine with PCR testing reduced the number of infectious days by 70%. 

Rapid antigen testing on the day of travel reduced the number of infectious days by 32% and identified 86% of infectious travelers, while post-travel PCR testing alone reduced the number of infectious days by 42%.

Even with such a low estimated risk of infection of about 10%, some tests may still be inaccurate, which suggests that wearing masks, practicing good hygiene, and social distancing practices are still necessary to ensure passenger safety.

Click here to read more from Skift

Airline Updates

Check out our weekly ‘Top 5 Airline Updates’ below!
Image Source: Tim Gouw via Unsplash

United Adds New Flights as Travel Rebounds


The airline will add 26 new nonstop routes from Midwest cities to vacation spots, restart more than 20 domestic routes, and initiate new service between Orange County, CA and Honolulu.


Southwest Shows Confidence in 737 MAX


Southwest Airlines has agreed to purchase 100 of the planes, with the first 30 being delivered in 2022.  This is the largest 737 MAX sale since the worldwide grounding of the aircraft last year.

Image Source: Miguel Angel Sanz via Unsplash
Image Source: Butterfly Seats

The Future of Airline Seating is Flexible

A Hong Kong-based design agency has proposed a new “checkerboard” concept for airplane cabins to better accommodate changing route and passenger demands.  The model would allow the cabin of the aircraft to be converted on the day of travel to provide more or less business class seating, depending on the needs of the particular flight.  The cushion of an unused seat would fold to create an armrest, while folding the unused armrest increases the seat width.

United Returns to JFK


After a 5-year hiatus, the airline will return to the New York airport with direct service to Los Angeles and San Francisco.  United Airlines will now serve all three New York airports.


Image Source: United Airlines
Image Source: Michal Parzuchow via Unsplash

Alaska Airlines Joins Oneworld Alliance


After previously announcing a code-share agreement with American Airlines, Alaska Airlines is now a full member of the Oneworld Airline Alliance as of March 31st.



Is Your Passport Valid?


If you plan to travel internationally in 2021, now is a great time to check your passport validity!  

As a general rule, passports should be valid for at least 6 months after the intended date of travel, but these rules may also vary depending on your destination.  

The current normal processing time for passports is 10-12 weeks, so there is no time like now to get started on your renewal.

Need assistance with renewing or applying for your passport?

Give us a call today!

Need to find a testing center before your next trip?

National Travel is closely monitoring the ever-changing testing requirements and restrictions for destinations all over the world.  We are pleased to assist our clients in finding their closest testing site and staying up to date on the latest travel requirements for their next trip.  Currently, testing is only required for international travel, but for our travelers’ safety and convenience, we are able to provide information on the closest testing facilities for a number of different tests, including Rapid Molecular, PCR, and Antigen testing.

Your safety and peace of mind while traveling is so important to us.  National Travel will continue to empower our clients with information and resources to help you feel as safe as possible when you travel with us.
Click here to find testing near you!

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook for more travel news and information as well as updates on life here at the National Travel Office!  

We also have an Instagram page where you can see some amazing travel photography from all around the world! 


Don’t forget to give us a call at least three days prior to your trip and request your complimentary Smart Travel Kit!

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