In travel news for November 14, 2023 we have updates from Las Vegas about the potential worker Strike, we have an update from the U.S. State Department on passport processing times, we talk about American Airlines ambitious summer schedule.
Las Vegas Strike Averted, Boosts Travel & Tourism
Las Vegas successfully averted a significant Strike in its entertainment and hospitality sectors, as major resorts reached agreements with the Culinary and Bartenders Unions. The negotiations, concluded just hours before a strike deadline, ensured uninterrupted services ahead of the upcoming Formula 1 race. The new five-year contract benefits approximately 30,000 union workers, raising the average salary to about $35 per hour and addresses concerns about the impact of artificial intelligence and robotics in the industry. Additionally, the agreement includes a severance rate of $2,000 per year of service. The successful negotiation not only avoided major disruptions but also set the stage for increased tourism, with the upcoming Formula 1 event expected to attract a large number of visitors. This development underscores the importance of labor relations in maintaining the vibrancy of major tourist destinations and ensures a positive experience for travelers to Las Vegas.
US Passport Wait Times Drop, Ease Travel in 2023
The U.S. State Department has announced a reduction in passport processing times for 2023, marking a significant improvement in service for travelers. The standard processing time is now 7-10 weeks, while expedited service takes 3-5 weeks, not including mailing times. This change follows an earlier reduction in processing times earlier in the year and comes after a record-breaking fiscal year, where over 24 million passports were issued—the highest in U.S. history. The increase in passport issuance reflects a surge in international travel interest among Americans. The State Department advises travelers to apply for passports well ahead of their travel dates, recommending a 6-9 month lead time before the passport's expiration date. This positive development follows past challenges where passport renewals faced significant delays, peaking at thirteen weeks, due to staffing shortages and increased demand following the pandemic.
American Airlines Expands Summer International Flights
American Airlines is set to expand its international flight schedule for the upcoming summer, including a significant increase in flights to Tulum, Mexico, from various U.S. cities. The airline has also applied to operate the only nonstop flight from JFK Airport in New York to Tokyo Haneda Airport, aiming to enhance its global connectivity. If approved, this service will complement existing flights to Tokyo from Dallas-Fort Worth and Los Angeles. Starting in June, American Airlines will also extend services to other destinations in Mexico, the Caribbean, and Latin America. The expansion includes flights from Charlotte, Dallas, and Miami to cities such as Bridgetown, Barbados; Liberia, Costa Rica; and St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. This strategic expansion is set to cater to the increasing demand for international travel, offering more options for both business and leisure travelers, and strengthening American Airlines' position in the global travel market.