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Here’s one thing that’s true: the travel world changes every single day. Staying on top of the ever changing travel world is a major step toward enjoying your travel and not ending up stranded or frustrated. Route changes, new passport rules and cool gift opportunities, here are the most important travel stories of the day…

US Now Requires Biometric E Passports…

It’s a scary world out there and the US has officially rolled out it’s newest requirements for entry, on top of the already existing ESTA program. You now must also have a biometric E Passport for entry. Most passports issued after 2006 contain the chip and biometric info required, but there’s only one way to know for sure. Fortunately that’s easy. Just look for the universal symbol found in the picture above this post. If your passport has the symbol you’re good to go. If your passport does not contain the symbol, apply for a new passport ASAP as you can very likely be denied entry to the US without it.

Qatar May Delay Direct Auckland Flight…Don’t Worry Though.

It’s quite annoying when an airline launches the sale of a lifetime, offering £1020 business class from Europe to New Zealand, only to potentially delay the launch of the world’s longest direct flight. Here’s what you need to know: even if the route is delayed the airline must either rebook you on a connecting flight (likely through Australia), offer a full refund, or rebook you on the new planned launch. Nothing is confirmed either way at this point, but you’re covered. For all booking after Feb.1 there should be no affect, for bookings between December 3 and January 31, you may be rebooked on alternate flights or offered a refund. 

EXPERT TIP: They screwed up here. You’re in the driver seat so there’s nothing wrong with  asking for comp’d changes to better dates, better departure cities or routings of your choice, you can even ask for a new stopover to be added elsewhere. They’re on the hook. Your results will vary, but you can likely turn lemons into very nice lemonade.

United Offering Passenger Gift Service. I LOVE This…

There are a million reasons to send someone a surprise gift and all of them are perfect. United agrees and will now become the first airline to offer friends, relatives, lovers and all the others I’ve forgotten the opportunity to send a duty free gift to anyone boarding an international United flight. Basically, the person boards their flight and then is surprised with a note and an (optional) smile from a United flight attendant delivering anything from a bottle of champagne to some chocolates, a neck pillow and whatever else they sell in duty free. Enjoy! You can order HERE.

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