Commercial Medical Escorts - Blog - Travel Stories Our CME blog will keep you aware of what is going on within the aero medical transport industry and the latest news for Commercial Medical Escorts. http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/ http://www.rssboard.org/rss-specification BlogEngine.NET 2.0.0.36 en-GB http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/opml.axd http://www.dotnetblogengine.net/syndication.axd My name Commercial Medical Escorts - Blog 0.000000 0.000000 Real ID Act to Pose Challenges for Many Travelers <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Since 911, America has seen an increase in airport security and the process by which passengers need to follow in order to travel within the United States and abroad. These changes came about to increase safety and security for US Citizens, and the US government is continuing to work on making sure our safety is a high priority.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">At Commercial Medical Escorts (CME), safety is also our number one priority. We pride ourselves on delivering the highest level of care, while keeping patient safety at the forefront of each and every decision that is made. We look into the safety of not only the patients, but also our escorts that serve on each mission around the world. As changes are made surrounding airline safety as well as travel requirements we ensure they have the most up to date information.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Since 2005, the US Government has slowly been implementing and enforcing a variety of new rules to traveling to comply with the 2005 Real ID Act. Beginning in 2016 there is a select group of states in which residents will be required to travel with a passport, even on domestic travel. Currently the following states that will follow under these guidelines are:</span></p> <ul> <li><span style="text-indent: -0.25in; font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-size: 7pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';">      </span></span><span style="text-indent: -0.25in; font-family: Arial;">Massachusetts</span></li> <li><span style="text-indent: -0.25in; font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-size: 7pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';">      </span></span><span style="text-indent: -0.25in; font-family: Arial;">Minnesota</span></li> <li><span style="text-indent: -0.25in; font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-size: 7pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';">      </span></span><span style="text-indent: -0.25in; font-family: Arial;">New Hampshire</span></li> <li><span style="text-indent: -0.25in; font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-size: 7pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';">      </span></span><span style="text-indent: -0.25in; font-family: Arial;">Louisiana</span></li> <li><span style="text-indent: -0.25in; font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-size: 7pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';">      </span></span><span style="text-indent: -0.25in; font-family: Arial;">Wisconsin</span></li> <li><span style="text-indent: -0.25in; font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-size: 7pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';">      </span></span><span style="text-indent: -0.25in; font-family: Arial;">New York</span></li> <li><span style="text-indent: -0.25in; font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-size: 7pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';">      </span></span><span style="text-indent: -0.25in; font-family: Arial;">American Samoa</span></li> </ul> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">The driver’s licenses and state IDs from the aforementioned states above are not compliant with the Real ID standards and this is why they are requiring those residents to travel with their passports. While all of our <a name="OLE_LINK2"></a><a name="OLE_LINK1"><span style="mso-bookmark: OLE_LINK2;">nurses, physicians, paramedics, and travel companions </span></a>carry passports, this is not the case for all Americans.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">  </span>It does not appear to be clear as to why the states above do not meet the requirements, but the US government believes this is a vital component of our national security framework that needs to be complied with at all levels.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">According to the Department of <a href="http://www.dhs.gov/real-id-enforcement-brief">Homeland Security’s guidelines</a> on enforcement of the Real ID Act,</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><em><span style="font-family: Arial;">“The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on December 20, 2013 a phased enforcement plan for the REAL ID Act (the Act), as passed by Congress, that will implement the Act in a measured, fair, and responsible way.</span></em></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><em><span style="font-family: Arial;">Secure driver’s licenses and identification documents are a vital component of our national security framework. The REAL ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the Federal Government ‘set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.’ The Act established minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards.  The purposes covered by the Act are: accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and, no sooner than 2016, boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.</span></em></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><em><span style="font-family: Arial;">States and other jurisdictions have made significant progress in enhancing the security of their licenses over the last number of years. As a result, approximately 70-80% of all U.S. drivers hold licenses from jurisdictions: (1) determined to meet the Act’s standards; or (2) that have received extensions. Individuals holding driver’s licenses or identification cards from these jurisdiction may continue to use them as before. </span></em></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><em><span style="font-family: Arial;">Individuals holding licenses from noncompliant jurisdictions will need to follow alternative access control procedures for purposes covered by the Act.  As described below, enforcement for boarding aircraft will occur no sooner than 2016.”</span></em></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Under the final phase, which will begin "no sooner than 2016," residents of "non-compliant" states will no longer be allowed to present state-issued driver's licenses as identification for air travel, but instead will be required to present "alternative forms of identification – such as a U.S. Passport." It is up to those states that are not in compliance, working with the federal government, to come up with a solution to this problem.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Implementation of REAL ID has been repeatedly delayed over the past 10 years to provide additional time for states to comply, and it is possible that further extensions could be granted. DHS has promised that before this final phase is implemented, it "will conduct an evaluation to inform a fair and achievable timeline. The date for implementing Phase 4 will be set after the evaluation has been complete; this phase will occur no sooner than 2016...DHS will ensure the public has ample advanced notice before identification requirements for boarding aircraft."</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Given that not being able to use a driver's license to board an airplane for domestic travel could prove extremely disruptive to residents and travel businesses in the non-compliant states.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">CME will continue to monitor this situation as it impacts our nurses, physicians, paramedics, and travel companions, but also the patients and their family members that we bring home. Prior to any transport, our team ensures that we check all travel documents to ensure you have all the necessary documents to ensure a smooth journey back to your home.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">http://www.dhs.gov/real-id-enforcement-brief</span></p> http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/09/18/Real-ID-Act-to-Pose-Challenges-for-Many-Travelers.aspx http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/09/18/Real-ID-Act-to-Pose-Challenges-for-Many-Travelers.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=05a575af-987e-4bd4-906b-43ff86e0bf1e Fri, 18 Sep 2015 16:09:00 -1200 CME News Senior Travel Travel Stories Travel Tips Lux Joseph http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/pingback.axd http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=05a575af-987e-4bd4-906b-43ff86e0bf1e 0 http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/trackback.axd?id=05a575af-987e-4bd4-906b-43ff86e0bf1e http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/09/18/Real-ID-Act-to-Pose-Challenges-for-Many-Travelers.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/syndication.axd?post=05a575af-987e-4bd4-906b-43ff86e0bf1e Winter Travel Season-- Top 10 Ski Resorts <p>Summer is coming to an end and winter will be just around the corner. Individuals choose to go on vacation and holiday year round. Whether it is a weekend getaway or a weeklong exploration, vacation is an opportunity for people to relax and do some of their favorite activities. The winter season brings opportunities for snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, snowboarding and skiing around the world.</p> <p>Vail, Colo., is the top ski resort in the U.S., according to members of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), while Whistler in Canada is the best for skiing outside of the U.S.</p> <p>Vail was chosen by 23 percent of those surveyed mainly because it is a large ski area with plenty of accommodations, has different skill levels and has the right ratio of social activities to skiing to keep clients happy. Several agents said their choice of Vail was based entirely on the feedback from their customers, with one saying “my opinion doesn’t matter; my clients ask for Vail and return to Vail more than any other ski resort.” </p> <p>Following Vail were:  Aspen, Colo. (15%); Park City, Utah (10%); Breckenridge, Colo. (9%); Steamboat Springs, Colo. (6%); Beaver Creek, Colo. (3%); Snowmass in Aspen (2%); Telluride, Colo. (2%); Keystone, Colo. (2%); and Jackson Hole, Wyo. (2%).</p> <p>Whistler, Canada, was chosen by 18% of respondents for its proximity to the U.S., beauty and good accommodations. Said one agent: “It is easy for Americans to reach and the village has lots of things for families to do.”</p> <p>Rounding out the top 10 international ski resorts are: Zermatt, Switzerland (15%); St. Moritz, Switzerland (11%);  Innsbrook, Austria (8%); Chamonix, France (4%); Banff, Canada (3%); Davos, Switzerland (3%); Val d’Isere, France (3%); Kitzbuhel, Austria (3%); and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy (2%).</p> <p>As you start to plan your winter vacation, consider some of the key winter locations that boast 300+ inches of snow a year. Many of our nurses will travel to these winter destinations to bring your loved ones home via commercial airline. Our escorts sometimes will pick up a patient in 80 degree weather and return them to a climate in which the weather is below 20 degrees.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">  </span>This is the nature of the business and their suitcase is always packed for dramatic climate changes.</p> <p>We encourage you to engage in those winter activities that you love the most, but please ensure you consider safety when going down those triple diamond trails. We suggest all travelers purchase travel insurance and be aware of your surroundings. Safe travels this upcoming winter season.</p> http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/09/03/Winter-Travel-Season-Top-10-Ski-Resorts-in-the-US-Abroad-.aspx http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/09/03/Winter-Travel-Season-Top-10-Ski-Resorts-in-the-US-Abroad-.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=390543da-3cb8-48ae-a883-45a69f204830 Thu, 03 Sep 2015 15:57:00 -1200 Senior Travel Travel Agent Travel Stories Travel Tips Lux Joseph http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/pingback.axd http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=390543da-3cb8-48ae-a883-45a69f204830 0 http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/trackback.axd?id=390543da-3cb8-48ae-a883-45a69f204830 http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/09/03/Winter-Travel-Season-Top-10-Ski-Resorts-in-the-US-Abroad-.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/syndication.axd?post=390543da-3cb8-48ae-a883-45a69f204830 CME Offers Advice to Help Keep Summer Travelers Cool <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">Recent headlines are full of reports predicting that this summer will be a record-breaker when it comes to airline passengers being bumped from their flights. For many, the prospect of being bumped is frustrating at best, and for those who are unaware of their rights, the results can be maddening, not to mention costly. Add to that ever-changing security rules and new passport requirements and summer travel can seem daunting. With this in mind, CME has prepared a list of tips to help summer travelers stay calm, cool and collected. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">Airline Bumping: What You Need to Know</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">To avoid being bumped:</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">    Get an advance seat assignment. Passengers with seat assignments are typically only bumped if they arrive late and their seat assignment is released.</span></p> <p><br /><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">    Check-in online. If you do not have an advance seat assignment, or you want to change your seat assignment, check-in online. Most airlines allow you to do so within 24 hours of departure. Seat assignments that were not available at the time of ticketing may be available when checking in online.</span></p> <p><br /><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">    Don't be late. If all else fails, get to the airport early. Some airlines reserve a portion of their seat assignment inventory for airport check-in. If you are denied a seat assignment at check-in, put your name on the "standby" seat assignment list.</span></p> <p><br /><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">If you are bumped or wish to take advantage of airline's request that you give up your seat:</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">    Know the lingo. Voluntary bumping occurs when a passenger with a confirmed seat assignment agrees to give up his seat for negotiated compensation. It is not regulated by the DOT. Involuntary bumping occurs when an airline forcibly bumps a paid passenger from a flight because it has been oversold. The DOT regulates compensation for involuntary bumping.</span></p> <p><br /><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">    Know what questions to ask. If you volunteer to give up your seat in response to an airline offer of a free ticket, it is important passengers ask about restrictions. Ask about expiration and blackout dates, such as holidays.</span></p> <p><br /><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">    Know your rights. If you are involuntarily denied boarding, and substitute transportation is scheduled to arrive at your destination between one and two hours after your original arrival time (between one and four hours on international flights), the airline must pay you an amount equal to your one-way fare to your final destination, with a $200 maximum. If the substitute transportation is scheduled to get you to your destination more than two hours later (four hours internationally), or if the airline does not make any substitute travel arrangements for you, the compensation doubles (twice the cost of your fare, $400 maximum).</span></p> <p><br /><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">Navigating Security</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">    Remember 3-1-1. New regulations limit the amount of liquids passengers can take through security in their carry-on luggage to travel-size toiletries of three (3) ounces or less that fit comfortably in one (1) quart-size, clear plastic zip-top bag and the one (1) bag per passenger must be placed in the screening bin. Items purchased after clearing security may be brought on-board. (Visit TravelSense.org to learn about restrictions in Canada, the U.K. and the European Union.)</span></p> <p><br /><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">Traveling Internationally?</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">    Better get a passport. Effective Jan. 1, 2007, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative requires a passport or other accepted document for all air travel from within the Western Hemisphere for citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda. U.S. citizens returning directly from a U.S. territory (Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Swains Island and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) do not need to present a passport.</span></p> <p><br /><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">    Plan (way) ahead. The U.S. State Department's Passport Services unit is experiencing a major backlog in processing applications. Rather than taking four to six weeks, routine applications or renewals are now taking 12 weeks. Even expedited service takes about three to four weeks. And, because the service uses a centralized system, travelers cannot get their documents faster by submitting applications directly to a regional processing facility. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">At CME, our nurses and physicians experience many of these travel challengers on a daily basis when traveling. CAMTS requires all of our medical staff to have travel insurance and we also encourage all travelers to have it. Depending on the type of policy you have, you may be entitled to a variety of benefits when situations such as those described above. Safe travels this summer!</span></p> http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/06/21/CME-Offers-Advice-to-Help-Keep-Summer-Travelers-Cool.aspx http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/06/21/CME-Offers-Advice-to-Help-Keep-Summer-Travelers-Cool.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=8f26f1c5-acfd-400f-9bde-2d11adcf7c78 Sun, 21 Jun 2015 12:59:00 -1200 CME News Senior Travel Travel Agent Travel Stories Travel Tips Lux Joseph http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/pingback.axd http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=8f26f1c5-acfd-400f-9bde-2d11adcf7c78 0 http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/trackback.axd?id=8f26f1c5-acfd-400f-9bde-2d11adcf7c78 http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/06/21/CME-Offers-Advice-to-Help-Keep-Summer-Travelers-Cool.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/syndication.axd?post=8f26f1c5-acfd-400f-9bde-2d11adcf7c78 Orlando Hits Record High in Tourism Again <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: "Arial","sans-serif";">Orlando is practically in the back yard of Commercial Medical Escorts, just under three hours away from our company headquarters. The U.S. has its own charms and hot spots to visit but there are two places that tourist seem to be very fond of. Both New York and Orlando happen to bring in the largest amount of tourist out of the many other places in the United States, but only one can reign supreme. So which city is it that tourist are picking as their “to go” place? As it turns out, Orland happens to be on top of the hierarchy when it comes to being the center of tourism here in the U.S.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%;">According to Visit Orlando, a whopping 62 million tourist visited the Florida city during 2014 in hopes of having a good time, which, according to Orlando Sentinel, is “That is more people than the populations of Florida, Texas, Massachusetts, and Delaware, combined”.</span><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%;">  </span><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%;">Although this isn’t too much of a surprise, as Orlando did open up a few more attractions, including Universal Orlando’s diagon alley, from the Harry Potter series, for those of you who are unfamiliar. </span><span style="color: #444444; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%;">George Aguel, the President and CEO of Visit Orlando, said “This historic milestone is the latest testament to Orlando’s leadership in tourism.” He continued to say “It’s a tribute to the steadfast commitment and continued investment by our tourism community, the special brand of service that greets our visitors and the global marketing and sales efforts of our Visit Orlando team and member companies.”</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%;">This wouldn’t be the first time that Orlando has broken this record. In 2013, the record was broken with an astonishing 59 million people, and again New York coming in second place. More so, Orlando was able to break another record in 2014. Apparently, they were able to sell 32 million room nights, which amounted to over 200 million, the largest that the Orange County has ever seen. Mayor Teresa Jacobs commented “The impact of tourism on our community is remarkable and, in fact, the travel and tourism industry is the largest generator of jobs and economic impact for our region...”</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%;">Although New York did have something to say in response to the victory. Chris Heywood, an official at NYC & Co., said “We congratulate them on those numbers,” It seemed like a friendly enough thing to say, but he continued to say “We're thrilled to be the number one destination for international visitation. That is a market that stays longer and spends more money.” This just happens to be the case. New York, while not the top when it comes to general tourism, leaps bounds over everywhere else when it comes to international tourist, leading with a 12.2 million people, and Orlando only having half that amount.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;">Even so, it is a great achievement to be the leading in the total amount of tourism coming into a place. If anything, it might be a good idea to start planning a trip, just to see what all the fuss is about.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"> </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;">Sources:</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"><a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/officials-orlando-top-us-tourist-destination-2014-30174715" target="_blank">http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/officials-orlando-top-us-tourist-destination-2014-30174715</a></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><a style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10pt;" href="http://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/blog/2015/04/orlando-becomes-first-destination-to-surpass-60m.html" target="_blank">http://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/blog/2015/04/orlando-becomes-first-destination-to-surpass-60m.html</a></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><a style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10pt;" href="http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/tourism/tourism-central-florida-blog/os-orlando-visitation-record-2014-20150409-post.html" target="_blank">http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/tourism/tourism-central-florida-blog/os-orlando-visitation-record-2014-20150409-post.html</a></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><a style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10pt;" href="http://www.travelweekly.com/North-America-Travel/Orlando-breaks-visitor-record" target="_blank">http://www.travelweekly.com/North-America-Travel/Orlando-breaks-visitor-record</a></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><a style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10pt;" href="http://www.ibtimes.com/orlando-surpasses-new-york-most-visited-us-city-1574621" target="_blank">http://www.ibtimes.com/orlando-surpasses-new-york-most-visited-us-city-1574621</a><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10pt;"> </span></p> http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/04/26/Orlando-Hits-Record-High-in-Tourism-Again.aspx http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/04/26/Orlando-Hits-Record-High-in-Tourism-Again.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=23a9cb9b-b2d5-474a-aadd-b25e705ac58b Sun, 26 Apr 2015 15:00:00 -1200 Budget Travel Travel Stories Travel Tips Lux Joseph http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/pingback.axd http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=23a9cb9b-b2d5-474a-aadd-b25e705ac58b 0 http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/trackback.axd?id=23a9cb9b-b2d5-474a-aadd-b25e705ac58b http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/04/26/Orlando-Hits-Record-High-in-Tourism-Again.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/syndication.axd?post=23a9cb9b-b2d5-474a-aadd-b25e705ac58b Luxury Living: The Most Expensive Cities in the World <p><span style="font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: small;"> </span><span style="font-family: "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 10pt;">For the most part, we all enjoy traveling; whether that involves venturing into an unknown part of our surroundings or setting course for a foreign and mysterious country altogether, people like to travel. Yet there is always that one place that is just so great we often take the time to sit back and wonder how wonderful it would be if we had actually lived there. What would it take to live there comfortably and could it actually happen? Well, if you were thinking of living in one of the cities about to be mentioned, you’d better talk those plans over with your wallet. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: small;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;"><span style="font-family: "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 10pt;">The Economist Intelligence Unit came out with a survey listing the top ten most expensive cities in the world, and for those of you wondering, New York was 26th on the list. In fact New York is set as the base standard that other cities are compared to. At the very top of that list is Singapore in Asia. Singapore is a stand-alone city-state and because of this, it has to gain its resources, including electricity and water, from other neighboring countries. This can get very expensive, leading to higher utility cost. The transportation costs are also close to triple what it takes to get around NY. Not to mention the higher grocery prices and clothing prices, which is 50% more than that of New York. With all that to keep in mind, it’s no wonder why Singapore made top of the list two years in a row. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: small;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;"><span style="font-family: "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 10pt;">Another city on the list is Seoul, South Korea. While Seoul ties with Singapore when it comes to clothing expenses, what make this city really difficult to live in are the high prices for everyday food items. Fashion you could go on without, but food happens to be a pretty important part of our everyday life. Using the dollar to show the difference, a single kg loaf of bread in Singapore would go for roughly $3.50, while the same loaf of bread would cost an average of $13.00 in Seoul. This alone sets Seoul up for being a really expensive place and maybe even difficult place to live in. If you can’t afford to eat then you might as well not worry too much about the other necessities either. When CME has done transports to Seoul, the escorts have experienced and can relate to this cost difference when it comes to getting a meal before their transport. <span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"> </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: small;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;"><span style="font-family: "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 10pt;">Standing on its own when representing Europe, Paris is the only European country to make it into the top ten list. With its generally high living expenses all around, the only thing you can look forward to are the relatively cheaper prices of alcohol and tobacco, and while that’s a lot of people’s dreams, it would be ideal if you at least had an apartment to enjoy such luxuries in. When it comes to arranging accommodations in Paris, hotels are priced relatively well compared to other areas of the world. Of course seasons depict different rates, but CME definitely sees a significant increase in costs when it comes to ground transportation. A sedan transfer in Germany that would be $125 could be more than double in Paris. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: small;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;"><span style="font-family: "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 10pt;">Others on the list included Osio, Zurich, Sydney, Melbourne, Geneva, Copenhagen, and Hong Kong (Which was tied with Seoul). If you’re really considering a move to one of these cities, it’s highly recommended that you consult your financial advisor to make sure that your bank can take the amount of pressure being placed on your funds. Otherwise, just enjoy your stay and let it be a happy memory that you can cherish in your comforts of your affordable abode. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: small;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;"><span style="font-family: "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 10pt;">At CME, our nurses and physicians travel to all points of the world. They use currencies from dollars to pounds to euros to yen depending on their destinations. Of course anywhere you travel do will encounter tourist traps with inflated prices, but as you venture out to local areas you soon find out why some of these cities are recognized as some of the most expensive cities in the world.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: small;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;"><span style="font-family: "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 10pt;">Sources: </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: small;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;"><span style="font-family: "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 10pt;"><a href="http://www.ctvnews.ca/business/singapore-most-expensive-city-for-living-seoul-most-expensive-for-food-1.2263545"><span style="color: #0000ff;">http://www.ctvnews.ca/business/singapore-most-expensive-city-for-living-seoul-most-expensive-for-food-1.2263545#</span></a></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: small;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;"><span style="font-family: "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 10pt;"><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/04/most-expensive-cities-world_n_6793688.html"><span style="color: #0000ff;">http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/04/most-expensive-cities-world_n_6793688.html</span></a></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: small;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;"><span style="font-family: "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 10pt;"><a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/news/article-2977215/World-s-expensive-cities-revealed-Singapore-tops-charts-again.html"><span style="color: #0000ff;">http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/news/article-2977215/World-s-expensive-cities-revealed-Singapore-tops-charts-again.html</span></a></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: small;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><span style="font-family: "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 10pt;"> </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: small;"> </span></p> http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/04/02/Luxury-Living-The-Most-Expensive-Cities-in-the-World.aspx http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/04/02/Luxury-Living-The-Most-Expensive-Cities-in-the-World.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=37a78fdc-e484-4550-af31-c46647976021 Thu, 02 Apr 2015 06:16:00 -1200 Budget Travel Travel Stories Travel Tips Lux Joseph http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/pingback.axd http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=37a78fdc-e484-4550-af31-c46647976021 0 http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/trackback.axd?id=37a78fdc-e484-4550-af31-c46647976021 http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/04/02/Luxury-Living-The-Most-Expensive-Cities-in-the-World.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/syndication.axd?post=37a78fdc-e484-4550-af31-c46647976021 Landslide Volcanic Eruptions in Costa Rica <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">Costa Rica is normally a hot spot for tourism, with it’s tropical weather and lovely tourist destinations, but if you were thinking of going there on vacation any time soon, you might want to travel with caution. Approximately 43 miles east of San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, is a slumbering giant, the volcano Turrialba. Or at least it was sleeping. Recently, on Thursday, March 12th, this massive volcano awoke with an eruption of smoke and ash that spewed up to a height of one kilometer (around 3,280 ft) into the air from the top of the volcano. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">This latest eruption has been Turrialba’s largest in two decades, with the last eruption having been in 2010. Four explosions were heard as the volcano spit out large plumes of ash. Those living close to the volcano were evacuated, as the main roads and four schools in close proximity where closed. The ash traveled out, reaching as far as San Jose itself, including the Tobias Bolanos airport. The ash made the runways slick and even interfered with visibility, leading to the temporary closing of the airport and over 100 delayed flights. Even the President of Costa Rica, Luis G. Solis was forced to cancel his diplomatic trip to Europe. Thankfully, the airport crew were able to clear out most of the ash next day, allowing the airport to reopen.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">Although things seemed to calm down in the following days, the last explosion happening roughly around 8:00pm on March 13th, experts from the the National Seismological Network and the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica continue to monitor the surrounding area, observing the seismic activity still occurring in the volcano. From their observations they’ve found that seismic activity is still occurring and while it seems that Turrialba may go back into a dormant state, they’re keeping on guard for any sudden changes. Costa Rica is currently in Yellow alert, ready to respond if needed, and tourist are restricted from entering the national park.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;"> CME recently moved two patients out of San Jose, Costa Rica shortly after the explosion on the 13th. In situations like these, our safety and operations team do everything possible to ensure the safety of not only our patients, but our escorts is number one priority. When traveling via commercial airline or any aircraft, there is no telling what mother nature will present to us, but we do our best to be proactice and anticipate situations to the best of our ability. </span></p> http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/03/23/Landslide-Volcanic-Eruptions-in-Costa-Rica.aspx http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/03/23/Landslide-Volcanic-Eruptions-in-Costa-Rica.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=adc511f0-fa9b-4d97-bdc6-31952db6a745 Mon, 23 Mar 2015 05:44:00 -1200 CME News Travel Stories Lux Joseph http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/pingback.axd http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=adc511f0-fa9b-4d97-bdc6-31952db6a745 0 http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/trackback.axd?id=adc511f0-fa9b-4d97-bdc6-31952db6a745 http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/03/23/Landslide-Volcanic-Eruptions-in-Costa-Rica.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/syndication.axd?post=adc511f0-fa9b-4d97-bdc6-31952db6a745 Senators Aim to Lift Cuba Travel Restrictions <p><span style="font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: small;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt;"><span style="line-height: 115%; font-family: "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 10pt;">Since the 1960’s the United State’s relations with Cuba has been tenuous at best. Starting with President Eisenhower as a partial trade embargo, John F. Kennedy would enforce the embargo on Cuba, restricting both trade and travel to the island only 90 miles off the coast of Florida. After about 50 years of waiting, President Obama would step in and decide to try and fix our relationship with our not so loved neighbors. Even though the trade embargo is still in place, there is a chance that we’ll see be able to visit the island for those summer vacations in the near future. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: small;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt;"><span style="line-height: 115%; font-family: "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 10pt;">On January 29th, a bill was introduced by a bipartisan group of Senators which would allow American citizens to travel to Cuba. Supported by four democrats and four republicans, including Jeff Flake, Patrick Leahy, Jerry Moran, Dick Durbin, Mike Enzi, Tom Udall, John Boozman, and Sheldon Whitehouse, the “Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015” would nullify any regulation to both travel and transactions during one’s stay in Cuba. If you’ve ever been curious to try a cuban cigar, or you’ve been craving them since the 50 year schism, there’s a chance you’ll be able to try one soon. “Americans simply ought to have the right to travel wherever they want to unless there's a compelling national security reason,” said Republican Senator Jeff Flake. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: small;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt;"><span style="line-height: 115%; font-family: "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 10pt;">While this is a big step in the right direction, it follows President Obama’s efforts to lessen the restrictions that were already in place. New rules, put into place by the Obama administration earlier that month had allowed for some exception to travel to Cuba, so long as you fit into one of 12 categories with authorization to travel, which include religious and humanitarian reasons. Yet they did not allow for casual travel to Cuba at this time. This bill would work to change that. More so, under the new bill, the president would not be able to make restrictions on traveling to Cuba or on any transactions that may occur while on travel, not including instances of war or if there may be dangers towards American travelers. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: small;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt;"><span style="line-height: 115%; font-family: "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 10pt;">Though it should be said the bill isn’t really being welcomed with open arms. There have been several statements made against any attempt towards building relations with Cuba, including those by Senators Marco Rubio and Robert Menendez. “We should not aspire to help the Castro regime fill the coffers of its military monopolies with the dollars of American tourists, while the Cuban people still struggle to make ends meet and are forced to labor under the oppressive conditions dictated by their government,” Menendez commented. Republican Senator Carlo Cubelo also said “Lifting the tourism ban would infuse the Castro dictatorship with billions of dollars, which it would use to more aggressively oppose U.S. interests in our hemisphere and to further repress the Cuban people.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: small;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt;"><span style="line-height: 115%; font-family: "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 10pt;">One thing these embargos set out to do in the first place was try to coax Cuba into adopting practices of human rights and democracy. Yet Sen. Flake states “We’ve tried this current policy that we have prohibiting travel for about 50 years, and it hasn’t worked, so it’s time for something new.” The argument goes that in allowing Americans to travel to Cuba, not only would they obviously bring currency into the country, but would hopefully bring over these ideals to the Cuban people.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: small;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt;"><span style="line-height: 115%; font-family: "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 10pt;">Overall, the decision lies with congress. Should this act pass, it would mean a huge leap towards ending the diplomatic wall that’s been standing for nearly half a century. It would also mark the beginning of a growing relationship between the two countries.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: small;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt;"><span style="line-height: 115%; font-family: "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 10pt;">Sources: </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: small;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt;"><span style="line-height: 115%; font-family: "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 10pt;">http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2015/01/29/cuba-bill-lift-travel-restrictions/22518811/</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: small;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt;"><span style="line-height: 115%; font-family: "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 10pt;"><a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/299/all-info">https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/299/all-info</a></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: small;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt;"><span style="line-height: 115%; font-family: "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 10pt;">https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/hr664/text</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: small;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt;"><span style="line-height: 115%; font-family: "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 10pt;">http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2015/01/29/254894/bill-would-end-all-restrictions.html</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: small;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt;"><span style="line-height: 115%; font-family: "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 10pt;">http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/in-the-loop/wp/2015/01/29/bipartisan-senators-want-you-to-be-able-to-vacation-in-cuba/</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: small;"> </span></p> http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/03/14/Senators-Aim-to-Lift-Cuba-Travel-Restrictions.aspx http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/03/14/Senators-Aim-to-Lift-Cuba-Travel-Restrictions.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=606fe85c-0d64-4b25-9f20-38b423879684 Sat, 14 Mar 2015 12:01:00 -1200 Senior Travel Travel Stories Lux Joseph http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/pingback.axd http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=606fe85c-0d64-4b25-9f20-38b423879684 0 http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/trackback.axd?id=606fe85c-0d64-4b25-9f20-38b423879684 http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/03/14/Senators-Aim-to-Lift-Cuba-Travel-Restrictions.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/syndication.axd?post=606fe85c-0d64-4b25-9f20-38b423879684 Delta Flight 1086 Skids Off Runway at LaGuardia Airport <p>On Thursday, March 5th, Delta Flight 1086, coming from Atlanta, attempted to land in LaGuardia Airport during heavy snow. After the plane touched ground, about halfway through the  7,000 foot long runway it began to slide off towards Flushing Bay, breaking through a fence and stopping on an embankment just short of the icy water.<br /><br />LaGuardia Airport is known for it’s short runways in comparison to other airports and for it’s close location to the waterfront of Flushing Bay.  More so, being close to three other airports, pilots are forced to navigate through tight turns while preparing to land. Since other airports have more runway space, planes landing in them normally glide over part of the runway before landing. John M. Cox, a former US Airways Pilot, now CEO of consultancy Safety Operating Systems, told ABC news “You put the airplane on the ground and land it.”.<br /><br />Should a plane accidentally overshoot the landing, the Federal Aviation Administration made it mandatory that at the end of each runway there should be an engineer materials arrestor system. This would act as a measure to be sure the plane stops, as it’s wheels would sink into the material, acting to slow the plane down. The issue was that the plane began to slide off the runway about halfway through, at 4,000 feet.<br /><br />Because the runway extends onto a steel pier over the water this makes it easy for the runway to freeze over, which would make landing more difficult in very cold conditions. Steve Blazejewski told the New York times that he remembered “skidding forward but veering off to the left.”<br /><br />To add on to what happened, Jared Faellaci stated, “The wheel felt like they didn’t take, we were going so fast.” He goes on to say “One or two seconds later we skidded off to the left side of the runway.  We skidded for about 20 seconds, and you could feel that we had gone off the pavement. It wasn’t a smooth surface anymore, it was very bumpy.”<br /><br />According to Patrick Foye, the executive director of the port authority, the runway had been plowed minutes before the incident. He stated that other pilots who had landed earlier “reported good braking action. ”<br /><br />As the plane approached the river, it was stopped by the bern, which was used to stop the bay from flooding onto the airport runways. Foye said, “The plane did not make contact with the water.” While there was a minor fuel leak, it was quickly dealt with. The passengers made it off the plane safely, using the right wing to get down because the chutes did not deploy.<br /><br />Jared Kaufman, one of the passengers, told ABC news “As we walked across the runway, it was covered with so much snow that I was wondering: who decided it was safe to land here?”<br /><br />The airport was closed for several hours after the incident. At around 2:30, LaGuardia airport reopened one of its runways. It was initially reported that the runway would be closed until 6:00pm however all appropriate parties handled the situation very efficiently.<br /><br />This isn’t the first incident LaGuardia Airport has had during the winter season. On March 2, 1994 Continental Airlines flight 705 began to skid during it’s take off, and found itself on the berm. Around 30 injuries were reported then.<br /><br />There was an earlier incident on March 23, 1992, where a plane, holding 51 passengers, was trying to take off during a snowstorm and ended up crashing into Flushing Bay, killing 27 passengers. <br /><br />At Commercial Medical Escorts, safety is a number one priority for our patients, nurses, physicians, and their families. Our dedicated safety committee in collaboration with our operations team, constantly are reviewing and analyzing our transports to ensure safety protocols are being met. It is important that we look at this from all angles to ensure we deliver our patients with a smiling face and peace of mind for every transport.</p> http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/03/06/Delta-Flight-1086-Skids-Off-Runway-at-LaGuardia-Airport-.aspx http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/03/06/Delta-Flight-1086-Skids-Off-Runway-at-LaGuardia-Airport-.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=53f17b85-0d0a-4160-93ea-359866c3a4cf Fri, 06 Mar 2015 17:19:00 -1200 Travel Agent Travel Stories Travel Tips Lux Joseph http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/pingback.axd http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=53f17b85-0d0a-4160-93ea-359866c3a4cf 0 http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/trackback.axd?id=53f17b85-0d0a-4160-93ea-359866c3a4cf http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/03/06/Delta-Flight-1086-Skids-Off-Runway-at-LaGuardia-Airport-.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/syndication.axd?post=53f17b85-0d0a-4160-93ea-359866c3a4cf Travel Outlook for 2015 from ASTA <p>Our in-house travel department has shared with CME some outlook on travel this upcoming year, 2015. CME works closely with our travel department to ensure we are providing on the best travel arrangements for our clients. Our travel department has extensive knowledge on the medical assistance industry as well as travel. As our travel department is partnered with the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), he has advised us that ASATA has set an aggressive agenda for 2015 in its mission to be the lead advocate for travel agents who, in turn, are the strongest allies of the traveling public. The agenda includes action at both the federal and state levels, continues work begun in 2014 and adds new initiatives that support free and unfettered world travel.</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph;"><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial;"> <br /> “ASTA is the only industry organization with the know-how, the staff, the resources and the alliances to effectively defend the interests of travel agencies across the country,” said Sky Cap Corp President and CEO Joseph McNamara. “This was reflected in our work in 2014, a banner year for ASTA advocacy that saw us leverage our unique strength as an association before the U.S. Congress, the White House, federal agencies and all 50 state legislatures in the fight to keep the retail distribution channel strong and thriving for years to come.”<br style="mso-special-character: line-break;" /> <br style="mso-special-character: line-break;" /> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph;"><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial;">The Association’s advocacy priorities for 2015 include:</span></p> <ul type="disc"> <li class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto; text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo1; tab-stops: list .5in;"><strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";">Ensuring Transparency in the Cost of Air Travel:</span></strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";"> ASTA will work to ensure that the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) landmark rulemaking on airline ancillary fees provides agents and consumers full access to airline ancillary fees and the ability to purchase the complete air transportation product; and will fight airline efforts to insert the so-called Transparent Airfares Act overturning DOT’s full-fare advertising rule into “must-pass” Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization legislation in Congress.</span></li> </ul> <ul type="disc"> <li class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto; text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph; mso-list: l4 level1 lfo2; tab-stops: list .5in;"><strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";">Reducing the Regulatory Burden on Travel Agents:</span></strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";"> ASTA will fight against proposals in Congress and at the DOT that will require agents to make new and unwarranted disclosures to consumers during airline ticketing, such as one in a 2012 law requiring notification that the aircraft their client is flying on may be sprayed with insecticides.</span></li> </ul> <ul type="disc"> <li class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto; text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph; mso-list: l6 level1 lfo3; tab-stops: list .5in;"><strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";">Fighting Oppressive Taxation:</span></strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";"> ASTA will continue to oppose any state proposals to apply new taxes to agency fees and other income, including proposals to subject service industries such as travel agencies to state sales taxes, and to apply state and local hotel taxes to hotel “intermediaries” such as agents. At the same time, ASTA will work with its car rental partners to enact federal legislation to preempt state and local governments from imposing discriminatory taxes on car rentals.</span></li> </ul> <ul type="disc"> <li class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto; text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo4; tab-stops: list .5in;"><strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";">Cuba Travel:</span></strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";"> Building on the recent agreement reached between the U.S. and Cuban governments to ease long-standing restrictions on trade and other interactions between the two countries – including those preventing American citizens from travelling to Cuba – ASTA will work with President Obama, Administration officials and the U.S. Congress to ensure that Americans are free to travel to Cuba without constraint from their own government. While working toward a full repeal of the travel ban, the Association will petition the Administration to expressly permit any travel agent to book travel for Americans lawfully entitled to travel to Cuba under the new regulations called for by the President in late 2014.</span></li> </ul> <ul type="disc"> <li class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto; text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph; mso-list: l5 level1 lfo5; tab-stops: list .5in;"><strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";">Travel Facilitation:</span></strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";"> ASTA will support the expansion of “Trusted Traveler” aviation security programs, such as TSA’s PreCheck and CBP’s Global Entry, and will ensure that agents have a voice and active role in their implementation. On the international side, the Association will support the Jobs Originated through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act, which will streamline visa processes for “inbound” travelers and help the U.S. recapture its historic share of worldwide overseas travel. </span></li> </ul> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto; text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph;"><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial;">The highlights of ASTA’s advocacy work during 2014 include:</span></p> <ul type="disc"> <li class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto; text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo6; tab-stops: list .5in;"><strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";">White House Meeting:</span></strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";"> In March, ASTA secured a first-ever meeting in the White House to brief President Obama’s advisors face to face on the value of the travel agency channel to both consumers and to the small business-driven national economy.</span></li> </ul> <ul type="disc"> <li class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto; text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo7; tab-stops: list .5in;"><strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";">IATA NDC:</span></strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";"> The association worked collaboratively with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Department of Transportation (DOT) and other aviation stakeholders to ensure that the DOT’s August approval of IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) initiative was subject to a number of consumer protection conditions designed to protect competition and consumer privacy. Going forward, ASTA will work to ensure that agents’ views and business needs are taken into account as NDC is further developed – as a member of several IATA advisory committees as well as a recently-announced initiative to develop understanding of the impact (e.g., from a business, technology and commercial perspective) of NDC for travel agents.</span></li> </ul> <ul type="disc"> <li class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto; text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph; mso-list: l8 level1 lfo8; tab-stops: list .5in;"><strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";">Hazmat Notification Regulations:</span></strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";"> ASTA was successful in its efforts to rework a burdensome DOT regulation that would have required agents to secure their client’s acknowledgement of complex federal hazardous materials restrictions before issuing an airline ticket. Instead, starting in 2016 the disclosure requirement can now be fulfilled any time prior to check-in, such as by automatically providing it on the passenger’s itinerary. This is a big win for agents, as the original requirements would have added to existing passenger notification requirements travel agents have to comply with regarding code-share flights, insecticide spraying and others issues. These requirements would have saddled the industry with more than $58 million in initial training and programming costs and $26 million per year in ongoing compliance costs. </span></li> </ul> <ul type="disc"> <li class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto; text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph; mso-list: l7 level1 lfo9; tab-stops: list .5in;"><strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";">Travel Insurance Reform:</span></strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";"> Working with a coalition led by the U.S. Travel Insurance Association, ASTA and its members have helped reform costly and complex travel insurance licensing in 31 states. Members’ grassroots efforts – including committee testimony in Colorado (Rich Sattizahn), Hawaii (Rachel Shimamoto, Wendy Goodenow) and Maryland (Larry Swerdlin, Jay Ellenby) – were instrumental in moving this initiative forward. Once in place nationwide, these standards will save agencies thousands of dollars in annual licensing costs while reducing the risk of state fines for non-compliance. Counting only the 31 states that have adopted the standards, ASTA estimates the collective savings for the travel agency industry to be $7.5 million per year thanks to this reform.</span></li> </ul> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph;"><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial;">As one can see, having a travel department that has a strong relationship established with the travel industry demonstrates progressive growth and outlook for CME’s operations. CME’s business relies heavily on the travel industry and people traveling around the world. If there is a declining trend in travelers that is something that CME wants to know because it can impact our business significantly. While we do not want people to become ill or injured, we are proactive in demonstrating the importance of travel insurance to travelers around the world.</span></p> http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/01/11/Travel-Outlook-for-2015.aspx http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/01/11/Travel-Outlook-for-2015.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=4b7be7c7-3ccc-44ec-88f9-59e292f4f6c1 Sun, 11 Jan 2015 13:27:00 -1200 Senior Travel Travel Agent Travel Stories Lux Joseph http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/pingback.axd http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=4b7be7c7-3ccc-44ec-88f9-59e292f4f6c1 0 http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/trackback.axd?id=4b7be7c7-3ccc-44ec-88f9-59e292f4f6c1 http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/01/11/Travel-Outlook-for-2015.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/syndication.axd?post=4b7be7c7-3ccc-44ec-88f9-59e292f4f6c1 Amazon vs. Expedia <p><img style="margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; display: block;" src="http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/image.axd?picture=2014%2f12%2famazon+logo.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>When it comes to booking a hotel for your upcoming trip there are many resources out there. Some people utilize their travel agent as they typically are the most knowledgeable and can find the best bargain. For those who choose to look for a hotel on their own they may consider Hotels.com, Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, or Hotwire to name a few of the many online travel agencies available to consumers. Out of all of these selections, Expedia is the United State’s online travel agency giant and within its portfolio are Hotels.com and Hotwire.com. Some individuals may say they have a small monopoly on the hotel industry, but will that still be the case in years to come?</p> <p>Amazon, a company that is known to almost every consumer around the world has over 240 million customers. They started off in the business of selling books online and is now the heart of the economy and has grown to be a retail mega store, a grocery store, a bookseller, an entertainment studio, and even a music provider. Amazon could soon become a distribution channel for hotels. Amazon currently works with a small selection of boutique independent hotels, but their track record shows that it would be no surprise to see them battle up against Expedia.</p> <p>Many hotel chains are becoming frustrated with Expedia’s power over the industry and a new competitor added to the mix would challenge Expedia’s process and potentially redefine the market. A company like Amazon has the experience and ability to change the direction of buying hotels online. Amazon has already approached several hoteliers about the possibility of Amazon launching a hotel booking service for their clients.</p> <p>For some of the hotels that are already being sold via Amazon have positive reviews and in an article by Travel Weekly one of the hotels, William’s Grant Inn, stated that after an offer was run on Amazon, they would see an increase of 50-100 calls for accommodations.</p> <p>Many consumers look for “one stop shop” places. With Amazon’s already diverse selection of business and now the idea of potentially adding a hotel booking engine Amazon is only continuing to “dream big”. Their CEO, Jeff Bezos, has always been a driven individual with an outlook to change the world.</p> <p>The Amazon Empire could be Expedia’s next big competitor and could also create a shift in how hotels currently do business. A hotelier’s main focus is to fill the rooms. When a hotel’s clock turns midnight any room unfilled is revenue lost. Hotels sell their rooms through a multitude of channels and adding another player to the program will only maximize their place in the marketplace.</p> <p>If and when Amazon launches a hotel will you book there over one of the other options available? I believe that Amazon’s strong focus on the customer experience may shift how consumer’s shop for their hotel. Furthermore, Amazon is continuously looking at ways to do things different and who knows what that means for the future of hotel shopping.</p> <p> </p> http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2014/12/07/Could-Amazon-create-a-hotel-booking-engine.aspx http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2014/12/07/Could-Amazon-create-a-hotel-booking-engine.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=c8e24bd6-768a-4fad-a0bb-49b3a55b51ff Sun, 07 Dec 2014 09:18:00 -1200 Travel Agent Travel Stories Lux Joseph http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/pingback.axd http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=c8e24bd6-768a-4fad-a0bb-49b3a55b51ff 0 http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/trackback.axd?id=c8e24bd6-768a-4fad-a0bb-49b3a55b51ff http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2014/12/07/Could-Amazon-create-a-hotel-booking-engine.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/syndication.axd?post=c8e24bd6-768a-4fad-a0bb-49b3a55b51ff