Skift Take

In Skift's top stories this week, several U.S. airline CEOs argue that federal mask mandates are no longer necessary, Amazon is enabling travelers to make payments using their palms, and numerous pandemic travel myths are debunked.

Throughout the week we are posting original stories night and day covering news and travel trends, including on the impact of coronavirus. Every weekend we will offer you a chance to read the most essential stories again in case you missed them earlier.

U.S. Airline CEOs Support Dropping Mask Mandates on Planes: That got ugly quick. A lovefest between U.S. senators and airline executives on the success of the federal Payroll Support Program quickly devolved into a shouting match over vaccine and mask mandates.

Amazon Wants Travelers to Pay With a Hand Wave: Retailers like Amazon keep making everyday experiences more seamless, and that means that consumers will see an ever more glaring contrast with the travel sector’s often outdated processes.

Travel’s Pandemic Myths: 7 Facts That Prove Them Wrong: Perhaps the only thing worse than no information is bad information. Let’s bust some modern travel myths stemming from the pandemic that are dangerously common.

106 Million Americans Expected to Road Trip This Holiday Season: The holidays continue to point to friends and family reunions and as a result, soaring backyard tourism — in the U.S., but also beyond.

Property Manager AvantStay Adds $160 Million in Funding for Expansion: AvantStay’s move into brokerage services sets it apart from most of its peers. But as Zillow’s experience of flipping houses and getting burned highlights, real estate can be a very risky sector.

Amtrak Warns Infrastructure Upgrades Won’t Come Until 2023 at the Earliest: Amtrak is moving full-speed ahead on its expansion plans following the passage of President Biden’s infrastructure bill. But those eager to ride new trains face a reality check: Most work is unlikely to begin for another year or so, with Amtrak focused on winning back riders in the meantime.

Sabre Taps Former CWT Exec for Newly Separated President Role: Sabre’s stock price is down 64 percent since the pandemic hit. To rebound, the travel tech company needs a better understanding of what its travel management customers need. Kurt Ekert can deliver that intel.

Startups El Camino and Regenerative Travel Tap Subscription Model: A couple more U.S.-based startups — El Camino Travel and Regenerative Travel — have recently announced subscription-based products. What’s noteworthy is how they’re using subscriptions to build communities.

Trip.com Sees China Potentially Easing Travel Curbs in 2022: Six months or a year seem like way longer than that in the Covid era, and anything can happen in the interim. But it is significant that the executive chairman of China’s largest online travel agency is postulating that inbound and outbound travel curbs could be softened next year.

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Tags: airlines, amazon, amtrak, avantstay, Mask Mandates, masks, pandemic, road trips, top stories

Photo credit: Several airline CEOs have come out in favor of lifting mask mandates on planes. International Monetary Fund / Flickr

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