Navigate Summer: New Travel Restrictions and Air Fare News

This week Hong Kong issued a travel advisory, South Africa is wavering on recent travel documentation restrictions and Carnival Cruise Lines banned passengers from bringing bottled water aboard. We’ve rounded up these stories and more to help you navigate traveling this summer.

Air Travel Prices Down

Expedia and Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) have released a new report analyzing average air ticket prices to top travel destinations this summer.

The report, Travel Check-Up: Air Travel Trends 2015, analyzed ticket price fluctuations on key global routes. Here are the top 10 regions that have seen the most significant year-over-year declines:

Summer Air Travel

With prices adjusted for exchange rates, air ticket prices declined approximately 2 percent on average across North America and Europe, while prices decreased 7 percent for travelers originating in Asia-Pacific.


Hong Kong Issues South Korea Travel Advisory Due to MERS

Officials in Hong Kong have issued a "red alert" advisory cautioning against non-essential travel to South Korea due to an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Reuters is reporting. Thus far there have been 95 cases of MERS in South Korea, with seven fatalities. Eight new cases were reported Tuesday morning, down sharply from 23 new cases on Monday.

"At this stage, to issue a clear message is something the Hong Kong government thinks is necessary," Hong Kong official Carrie Lam told Reuters.

A "red alert" is the second-highest travel advisory on a three-point scale. It is defined as a "significant threat," and means that travelers should adjust plans and avoid non-essential travel.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has begun a joint mission with South Korea to analyze the virus and review the company's response. The WHO has not recommended any restrictions on travel.

South Africa's New Rules on Traveling With Children May be Relaxed

The Daily Telegraph, Jun 09, 2015

Controversial new rules on flying with children into South Africa could be relaxed only days after they were introduced.

The regulations designed to protect under-18s from traffickers appear to be too onerous and are in danger of putting off families from travelling to the country.

The rules, introduced on June 1, meant anyone arriving in South Africa in the company of a child had to prove parenthood or guardianship – by way of birth certificate – while lone adults flying in with their offspring had to show that they had the consent of their non-travelling partner.

"Negative effects are being reported by tour operators and airlines which have taken the form of cancellations," Derek Hanekom, South Africa’s tourism minister, told Reuters while at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town last week.

"Air China is reconsidering flights to South Africa (and) one of their reasons was the visa requirements," he added.

The travel industry reacted with dismay to the introduction of the new rules.

Airlines were expecting to have to turn away passengers who turn up at the airport without the required documents. But they were also hoping to prevent such a thing happening.

"We are doing everything possible to advise customers that they will require additional documentation if travelling with children under 18," said a British Airways (BA) spokeswoman.

Carnival Bans Bringing Bottled Water Onboard


Sometimes the smallest things are the most touchy for clients. The onboard beverage policy – involving carry-on beverages and corking fees – is one of those. Passengers often rant and rave on the Facebook pages of a multitude of lines. Any small changem or even the basic policies themselvesm cause a lot of noise from booked guests or potential cruisers.

Today, Carnival Cruise Lines is gingerly wading into those waters with a policy change. Booked guests are receiving a letter and agents are being notified.

Essentially, guests will no longer be able to bring any water, sodas, juices and other non-alcoholic beverages onboard in bottles. Carnival cites instances of alcoholic beverages being smuggled in those bottles – causing safety and security concerns. In turn, the line has reduced its price for bottled water to 12 bottles for $2.99, providing the water is reserved in advance. The price is comparable to what guests would pay in the grocery store.

To receive that price, the guest must reserve the bottled water online in advance; it will then be delivered to the room. If guests wait to buy it onboard, the price is $4.99 per 12 bottles. The line says it will basically break even with the new fee structure, if that. 

Carnival stresses that people can still bring up to 12 cans or cartons (per person) containing juice, sodas and other nonalcoholic beverages. But bottles are not permitted. The carry-on wine policy and onboard corkage fee remains the same.