January 15, 2021
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This week, the Federal Aviation Administration announced more stringent enforcement against passengers who "assault, threaten, intimidate, or interfere with a crew member in the performance of a crew member's duties." Many US airlines have implemented temporary measures to bar passengers from carrying weapons in checked baggage on flights bound for Washington, D.C., in addition to other enhanced security measures. American suspended alcohol service on D.C. flights, Southwest and American retooled preflight announcements, and Alaska Airlines is requiring D.C. passengers to stay seated for the hour before landing and after takeoff. "We are all on high alert based on the events over the last couple weeks up in Washington," Delta CEO Ed Bastian said.
Full Story: The Associated Press (1/14),  CNN (1/14),  The Wall Street Journal (1/14),  USA Today (1/14) 
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Airlines for America announced support for President-elect Joe Biden's plan to require masks for air passengers, encouraging him to apply the mandate to airports and other public transportation while building on the airline's current efforts. Among other layers of protection, US airlines have been requiring face coverings since April 2020. In a letter, the organization asked Biden to "allow air carriers to maintain their existing policies and practices which are aimed at de-escalating conflict in-flight and allowing the aircraft to continue while providing a consequential enforcement backstop on the ground."
Full Story: Reuters (1/14),  Fox Business (1/15) 
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Company Watch
JetBlue Airways has begun offering the COVID-19 vaccines to crew members and American is gearing up a voluntary vaccination program.
Full Story: Reuters (1/14) 
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Cargo carriers FedEx and UPS continue to deliver vaccines as requested by federal, state and local officials. Observers note that the execution of vaccine shipments has been done well. "It isn't up to us to decide who gets the vaccines," FedEx said. "Our job is to get them to the right place safely and reliably."
Full Story: The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tenn.) (tiered subscription model) (1/14) 
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With the US adding a requirement that international air passengers show a negative COVID-19 test, American Airlines will expand availability of its VeriFLY mobile app. As of Jan. 23, all passengers on incoming international flights will be able to store their testing credentials in the app.
Full Story: TravelPulse (1/14),  The Points Guy (1/14) 
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Delta's technology focus shifted in 2020 to enabling touchless travel and employee testing in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Molly Battin, vice president for global brand marketing, said at a virtual Consumer Electronics Show panel, but the airline has maintained its commitment to consumer upgrades like faster Wi-Fi. "We are listening closely to customers and looking at ways we can pull new technology and innovation into everything we are doing to create a more seamless experience," Battin said.
Full Story: Delta News Hub (1/14) 
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Alaska Airlines' membership in the Oneworld alliance opens new opportunities with Qatar Airways, said Nathaniel Pieper, Alaska's senior vice president of fleet, finance and alliances. "It's a great additional path for our guests to now get to the Middle East and beyond," he said.
Full Story: Simple Flying (1/13) 
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Two years ago, a Mandarin-speaking Delta Air Lines flight attendant stepped in to comfort a little girl traveling from China to the US with her new adoptive parents. Delta shared the joy on Twitter as "Grandma Jackie" joined Bella's 7th birthday party, bringing the ingredients for homemade Chinese dumplings.
Full Story: TravelPulse (1/13) 
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Inside Aviation
CNN will shut down its airport network March 31, citing "the steep decline in airport traffic because of COVID-19, coupled with all of the new ways that people are consuming content on their personal devices." The service, a ubiquitous presence at US airports for decades, airs news from CNN.
Full Story: One Mile at a Time (1/12),  Variety online (1/12),  Deadline Hollywood (1/12) 
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Airlines Give Back
Southwest Airlines is marking National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month by highlighting the airline's partnership with United Against Human Trafficking. The carrier is adding a component to its training for public-facing employees that covers identifying potential trafficking victims and responding effectively.
Full Story: Frequent Business Traveler (1/14),  The Southwest Airlines Community (1/13) 
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Editor’s Note
SmartBrief will not publish Monday
In observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US, SmartBrief will not publish Monday. Publication will resume Tuesday.
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