Menno Traveler – June 2019

Now Hiring – Vacation Travel Advisor

Join a thriving and interesting industry!  We’re looking for a motivated, customer-focused sales person to join our team as a Vacation Travel Advisor.   We offer competitive pay and great benefits.

As a Vacation Travel Advisor, you’ll give personal attention to clients to find their best vacation option based on their preferences, time requirements and budget. You’ll help clients plan the details of their trip from the time they leave home until they return. You’ll arrange cruises and land tours, and manage air, rail, hotel and rental car reservations and other individual travel-related arrangements and services.

Click here for full details.

Menno Traveler – May 2019

Deb Mangas Embarks on Retirement

On April 25, after 44 years of service in the travel industry, Deb Mangas retired from Menno Travel. From vacation department supervisor to business development manager, then back to custom vacation planning, Deb has provided exceptional, professional service to her clients before, during, and after their trips.

Deb says, “this is what I’m going to miss. The contact with all the people I have planned travel for over the year. But I’m a people person. Whatever I do, I’m going to be out and about.”

Deb and her clients have weathered major changes in the travel industry.  Booking trips looks a lot different than it
did when she started in 1974 at Gulliver’s Travels in Syracuse. Her first task was to handwrite 70 airline tickets for a musical group’s flight to Europe.

“We started BC — before computers!” she remembers. “I would take books home and read them over the weekend to learn about places. Now you have the technical age. But that’s made the job fun. You continue to learn. You have everything at your fingertips.”

Deb’s interest in learning extended beyond her nine-to-five work at Menno Travel. In the mid-’80s, she joined the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA). Her participation propelled her from the local chapter to her role as ASTA National ASTAPAC chair. Deb also chaired the ASTA World Congress in Montreal in 2005.

Though she’s leaving her office behind, Deb doesn’t plan to slow down. She and her husband will soon fly to Europe for a river cruise from Prague to Budapest. Her clients have always raved about the cruise, and she’s excited to experience it for herself.

“A lot of people retire to travel. Fortunately, I’ve gotten to do that for my career,” she says. “What other careers could you have joy and fun, exploring the world and meeting new people all the time? It’s exciting. Working for Menno Travel has been a delight. They think of their staff first. They look out for you, then you look out for their business and clients.”

Some of those clients and connections have turned into dear friends. For Deb, retirement will still include many of these relationships. In fact, she has decided to set up a Facebook account to stay in touch. Though she hopes to “take it easy” this summer, Deb plans to fill the coming years with family, friends, travel, and new opportunities to volunteer.

According to Geof Landis, CEO of Menno Travel, “Deb has been an integral part of our office for the last 27 years.  She has filled many roles for us and been successful at every one.  She has also made significant contributions at the national level with ASTA and locally too.  We always knew that when Deb represented Menno Travel, we were in good hands.”

Menno Traveler – Sep 2018

Menno Traveler
Combine your accounts
Marriott Rewards, SPG, and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards now offer you booking, earning and redeeming at all hotels across all participating brands. Starting now, you only need one account to access these elevated benefits.
Even better, when you combine accounts your SPG and Rewards balance may instantly elevate you to a new Elite status. You’re almost ready to combine accounts! But first, please review the important information below.

                                              See more information (here)
1. Will my accounts automatically merge?
No. Combining your Rewards and SPG accounts is an action that you must take. It won’t happen automatically, even if you’ve previously linked your accounts.

2. Why should I combine my accounts?
When you combine your accounts, you’ll have one single account login and profile. All of your eligible stays and points will be in one account. Your combined nights will maximize your benefits and could elevate you to a new Elite status.

3. How do I combine my accounts? 
It’s easy! Before you combine your accounts, make sure you have your login information for both your Rewards and SPG accounts handy. Select the program that you want to start from and follow the step-by-step instructions.

To combine starting with your SPG account, begin here: https://www.marriott.com/loyalty/merge-my-accounts.mi?program=spg

To combine starting with your Rewards account, begin here: https://www.marriott.com/loyalty/merge-my-accounts.mi?program=marriott

4. What login information will I use after I combine my accounts? 
Once you combine, you will have one single account login (email/member number and password) and profile across Marriott.com, SPG.com and our mobile apps. For example, if you started the account combine process from your SPG profile, you will keep that profile. This will be your account and login moving forward.

If applicable update in Deem/Concur or E-mail Menno Travel (here) with your new number.

Southwest Airlines to increase early boarding fee on some flights

Southwest Airlines increased its early boarding fee on some flights.

EarlyBird Check-In, which gives travelers a better boarding position in Southwest’s unique open seating system, will go from a flat $15 per person each way to $15, $20 or $25 depending on the length of the flight and the popularity of EarlyBird Check-In on the route. The switch to variable pricing, unveiled to employees Friday and was formally announced Monday, begins Aug. 29.

Southwest, which famously doesn’t assign seats, introduced Early-Bird Check-In in 2009, charging $10 each way. It went up to $12.50 and then to $15 in 2016.

Read Full Article (here)

In Case You Missed it:

REAL ID Act REMINDER – What you need to know!

Some of you won’t be able to use your state-issued driver’s license to board a domestic flight after October 10, 2018.

For travelers with a driver’s license issued in: Alaska, California, Guam, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington an extension has been granted through October 10, 2018, allowing travel with state-issued driver’s licenses. IF AN EXTENSION IS NOT GRANTED YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO USE YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE TO BOARD A DOMESTIC FLIGHT, ON OCTOBER 11, 2018!!!

The only way to board a plane will be with your passport. If you do not have a passport, you should begin the application process immediately. Summer is a very busy time for the passport office and it can take up to two months to get a passport.

The state of Indiana is compliant with the REAL ID act so no action is needed at this time.

Click on this link (here) to see the map above and see information on all 50 states.

You will now need to use an expedited service to get a passport by 
October 11, 2018.Please call Geof Landis with any questions (574) 534-1521
Keep moving. TSA Pre✓® saves you time and stress. Use the following link to set up an appointment and apply for Pre✓®.
Sign up (here)
JetBlue to charge $30 for first checked bag; will others follow?JetBlue Airways is raising baggage fees, becoming the first major airline to charge $30 for the first checked bag.

Beginning with tickets purchased Monday, Aug. 27, the airline will charge customers buying its cheapest “Blue” fares $30 for the first bag and $40 for the second. The current charges are $25 and $35, which is standard at other major carriers. A third bag will be $150, up from $100.

JetBlue’s more-expensive “Blue Plus” and “Blue Flex” fares include at least one checked bag at no charge, as do fares for the airline’s “Mint” business-class service.

The new fees are listed on the airline’s online baggage fees chart.

Also increasing: change fees. JetBlue’s change fees for its Blue and Blue Plus fares vary based on the total fare paid but will now top out at $200 per person per ticket – up from the previous maximum of $150.

Read full article (here)

*In the past few days, United, Air Canada, and WestJet have also announced they will be increasing their fees for checked bags

Fake Hotel Website Scams Target Travelers and Hotels

Cybercriminals will take advantage of any situation that separates people from their money. And what better way than to purport to be a reputable hotel and take reservations?
The recent example in Turkey covered below demonstrates how far cybercriminals are willing to go to setup their scam.
In this newest scam, fake hotel websites are setup (in some cases even copying a hotels entire website!) using as many as 50 domain names similar to the hotel’s brand name. These scammers are so good at what they do, in many cases, their fake websites ranked higher in natural search listings than the real hotel’s website.
Travelers book and pay for their travel, and find out only when they show up at the hotel, who has no idea about the traveler, let alone a reservation.

You can avoid this problem by booking your hotels with Menno Travel.

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Menno Spotlight:

How to Maximize Your Time Off for Your Career

When was the last time you gleaned insight from staring at your cubicle wall? What was the latest bright idea that came to you during your monotonous commute? Drawing a blank? It’s not you; it’s your work routine.

I have nothing against a good daily routine, but when routines turn into ruts, a change of pace can make all the difference. You don’t need to look far for a change: considering most Americans leave vacation time unused, I’m guessing you have a day or six to spare.

Stealing away from the workplace grind for a period of thought and reflection is a practice implemented by various business leaders, most notably Bill Gates. Gates’ well-publicized, semi-annual “think weeks” spent away from the distractions of work, friends, and even family have helped Microsoft stay ahead of industry trends like the “internet tidal wave” in 1995.

Admittedly, Gates’ think weeks weren’t exactly vacations in the way you and I think of them. They were occasions for him to digest feedback from company employees and sift through dozens of ideas about the future of the tech industry.

The key is that Gates spent his think weeks in a vacation cottage nestled amongst cedar trees, far from the distractions and stresses of the workplace. He understands that breaking up the monotony of the daily work routine helps him face challenges with a fresh perspective.

 

Article from Project Time Off (here)

Email Menno

Important Dates to Remember for this Fall:

Notre Dame Home Schedule:
September 15th: Notre Dame vs. Vanderbilt
September 29th: Notre Dame vs. Stanford
October 13th: Notre Dame vs. Pittsburgh
November 10th: Notre Dame vs. Florida State

Elkhart RV Show:
September 24-27th

A reminder that flights to and from the South Bend International Airport will be particularly busy in the days leading up to these events and spots will fill up fast. We suggest that you book tickets, hotels and cars surrounding these dates as far in advance as possible.

Menno Travel
Copyright © 2018 Menno Travel, All rights reserved.

Our contact information is:
(574) 534-1521
(800) 635-0963

Menno Travel

210 South Main Street

GoshenIn 46526

Real ID ACT? Will It Keep You Off An Airplane?

As a travel agency, our job is to keep you informed about changes in the travel industry. If you have traveled through any major airport in the past couple months, you may have noticed a TSA announcement about the REAL ID Act. Here is a brief description of the REAL ID act and how it affects you.

 

 

What is the Real ID Act?

The Real ID Act is a federal law that requires state driver’s licenses and ID cards to be accepted by the federal government for “official purposes“. The Secretary of Homeland Security has currently defined “official purposes” as boarding commercially operated domestic airline flights, entering federal buildings, and nuclear power plants. The REAL ID Act also helps secure domestic flights and federal facilities by increasing regulations on IDs to deter forgery. This new law goes into effect October 1, 2020.

How does it affect Indiana?

Indiana is fully compliant with the REAL ID Act (It is called the Secure ID in Indiana). When the new law goes into effect on October 1, 2020, you will need to make sure that your license meets the standard. A Secure Indiana ID has a star in the top right corner. When you renew your license, make sure you understand what additional forms of identification you will need to have a license that meets the new federal guidelines, http://www.in.gov/bmv/2953.htm.

How does it affect other states?

If your driver license is issued by a state that is non-compliant with the REAL ID Act you will have to use another form of identification accepted by TSA (Passport or Passport Card, Global Entry card, U.S. military ID, airline or airport-issued ID, federally recognized tribal-issued photo ID) after January 22, 2018. To check to see if your state is compliant with the REAL ID Act click the map below.

 

 

A Note for US Citizens Traveling to Europe

Dear Menno Travel Customers:

In the past several days there have been some confusing and misunderstood reports about purported visa requirements to Europe for US citizens, and I wanted to take a moment to clarify what, in fact, transpired and what that means for travel to Europe generally. I also want to assure you, from first-hand experience, that there is no better time than now to travel to Europe.

In a symbolic gesture taken by a simple show of hands, an administrative arm of the European Union (EU) urged another arm of the EU to institute a new regulation requiring US citizens to obtain a visa before visiting any EU-member nation.

To be very clear: no visa requirement has been added for US citizens traveling to Europe, nor is there likely to be anytime soon.

Just as the US enjoys great economic benefit and job growth from travelers visiting the US, so too do those very EU countries (some of which, such as France, Italy, and Spain, are the most visited countries in the world) reap the benefit of the US tourist. For any sort of EU visa requirement to take effect, the EU countries would have to officially approve the move, “a process that could take years,” according to a report by BBC News.

As background, the move is the latest development in a dispute between the EU and the US regarding travel requirements for its citizens, as there are five EU countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, Poland, Romania and Cyprus) for whose citizens the US requires a visa for travel. As US citizens can travel to any and all EU countries without a visa, the EU would like the same ability for all its citizens.

I’d like to add that the political posturing is simply that and has in no way affected travel to Europe for US citizens or the welcome we receive from Europe’s citizens. To note, I hold Tauck’s seat on the Advisory Council of the European Tour Operators Association, and I hear first-hand what is really going on with the various political actions that happen in Brussels and London.

Between myself and others on the Tauck team, we have been to Paris, London, Frankfurt and Berlin in the past six weeks alone, and everywhere we’ve been greeted by warmth and welcome. We’ve had the opportunity to meet with dozens of our trusted partner suppliers, and to a person, they are extremely excited about the season ahead and can’t wait to welcome Tauck guests. We had wonderful, stimulating and inspiring visits—and we know your clients will too.

Should you ever have a further question, our terrific Reservations Sales Counselors are here to help. But do know that Europe is open and will warmly welcome your clients on their travels this year and in the future.

On behalf of all of us at Tauck, I wish you all a bon voyage, indeed!

Best wishes,

Jennifer Tombaugh, President

When a Vacation Quickly Turns Into a Nightmare


 

I am lucky enough to work in an office with some amazing women. I want to share a quick story about what happened a couple weeks back. Here is what happened.

Imagine you are at the end of your Christmas break Key West vacation and tonight you will be home in Northern Indiana. You head to the airport for the last leg of the journey. Upon arriving at the airport, you receive a rude awaking as armed guards barricade the entrance of the airport and direct you out of the area.  This was a reality for a client of ours.

On Friday, January 6th, our clients arrived at Fort Lauderdale International airport to see armed guards motioning them to stay back. They had just arrived at the scene of a horrific shooting. One of the advantages of using a travel agency is the security of knowing that you have a personal assistant to get you out of any travel situation. Immediately our client texted their agent at Menno Travel, we had already received a travel warning regarding the shooting at Fort Lauderdale Airport. Before they texted us, we were in the midst of going through our data base to see who was flying in, out, or connecting in Fort Lauderdale. Whenever there is a major alert (weather, malfunctions, terrorist incidents) Menno contacts our clients letting them know of potential delays and provides them with other travel options.

Maggie, the vacation agent working with the stranded clients, called Delta and tried to find a way back to South Bend. That particular Friday, there were major winter ice storms passing through the East and West coasts, it was also the end of Christmas break. Usually, our agents can find another route home, the difficulty was getting five passengers back on the same flight. Maggie searched multiple airports in Florida to try and find a flight back to this area. There were no Delta flights back to our area that had five seats available. While on hold with Delta, Maggie found five seats on an American Airlines flight departing from Miami the next morning. She negotiated with Delta and got a refund for our clients and booked the American Airline flight to Chicago. She then booked a hotel room in Miami. The next morning when the family arrived in Chicago, Maggie had arranged for a limo to pick them up. It was the cheapest option back to South Bend. The limo drove our clients back to South Bend and dropped the family off at their front door, then drove the husband to South Bend airport to pick up his personal car. Menno is currently working on getting refunds for our client’s limo and hotel expense.

In an unpredictable world where stories like this occur, having someone to back you up and provide service at this level is critical. We hope that this situation, or any situation, never happens to our clients but we will be there if it ever does.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 – Travel Ban

 

The DOT and FAA have implemented a travel ban on the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.

This ban includes all new and replaced Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones.

 

Customers who own or possess a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 device may not transport the device on their person or in carry-on baggage, checked baggage or cargo on flights to, from or within the United States.
 
For more information, click the link below:

DOT Briefing on Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Travel Ban

 

The Zika Virus and what you need to know

What is the Zika virus? The Zika Virus is a disease spread to people through mosquito bites. The common symptoms of the Zika Virus are fever, joint pain, rashes and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The symptoms last several days to a week. The illness is usually mild. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon and deaths are rare.

 

Since the Zika virus is spread through mosquito bites everyone is susceptible. One in five people infected with the Zika virus will get sick. The symptoms are similar to the flu. Recently Brazil linked the Zika virus to babies born with Microcephaly. Microcephaly is a condition where the baby’s head size at birth is smaller than the average. Babies with smaller head sizes might have brains that do not develop properly causing problems later in life.  The sharp rise in babies born with Microcephaly in Brazil in the past couple months has caused the CDC to issue a travel alert (level 2 Practice Enhanced Precautions)

 

What countries are most affected? The travel alert is for these countries. (Countries are being added to this list daily. The list is accurate as of 5/18/16)

 

  • American Samoa
  • Aruba
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Bolivia
  • Bonaire
  • Brazil
  • Cape Verde
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Curacao
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Fiji
  • French Guiana
  • Grenada
  • Guadeloupe
  • Guatemala
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Jamaica
  • Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia
  • Marshall Islands
  • Martinique
  • Mexico
  • New Caledonia
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Saint Lucia
  • Puerto Rico
  • Saint Barthelemy
  • Saint Martin
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Sint Maarten
  • Samoa
  • Suriname
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tonga
  • US Virgin Islands
  • Venezuela

 

All travelers to the countries listed above should consult your physician. The CDC is recommending that pregnant women and women who are trying to become pregnant consult with your physician and consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. If you contract the virus please seek a professional health care provider.

Information about the Zika virus is being updated on a daily basis.   We will continue to monitor the situation.  Please refer to our website for additional details.

For more information you can visit the CDC website here

The airlines and tour operators are just coming out with policies for passengers to reschedule and or cancel trips to the affected countries. We are monitoring these policies daily and will be contacting you shortly to give you the options.

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