Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at a new airline customer service tool, the UAE’s short-term rental spike, and a woman making the Maldives more accessible.
Skift Daily Briefing Podcast
Listen to the day’s top travel stories in under four minutes every weekday.
Good morning from Skift. It’s Friday, September 2. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.
Air travelers in the U.S. have often been uncertain about what they’re entitled to when flight disruptions occur, but they have an answer now. The U.S. Department of Transportation has unveiled a new customer service portal explaining airlines’ commitments in such situations, reports Edward Russell, editor for Airline Weekly, a Skift brand.
The DOT launched on Thursday its Airline Customer Service Dashboard, a list of what airlines agree to provide travelers in the event of a flight disruption. The dashboard is largely a list of existing airline policies that only apply to events where the carrier is at fault. For example, if a flight is delayed more than three hours due to a mechanical problem with the aircraft, the dashboard shows travelers are guaranteed a meal voucher on all major airlines except Allegiant Air.
The dashboard comes after an increase in flight delays and cancellations this year that’s resulted in a blame game between airlines and authorities, Russell writes.
We head to the United Arab Emirates next. The country’s tourism boom has sparked an enormous demand for short-term rentals in the country, reports Asia Editor Peden Doma Bhutia.
As the United Arab Emirates saw visitor arrival numbers in the first quarter of 2022 surpass pre-Covid metrics, officials see beefing up its lucrative short-term rental market as a vehicle to attract more tourists. Sharjah, one of its emirates, launched in August its Holiday Homes Project, which allows residents to rent out their properties. Meanwhile, Dubai has introduced remote working and multi-entry tourist visas, which Bhutia writes could help the short-term rental sector grow in the United Arab Emirates. Dubai has roughly 10,000 active vacation rental listings.
Finally, despite being a popular tourist destination, the Maldives has long been challenging for visitors with disabilities. But Victoria Kruse, a veteran in hospitality, is working to make the country more welcoming for such travelers, reports Contributor Carley Thornell in this month’s At Your Service feature on the coolest jobs in travel.
Kruse, a native of New Zealand, serves as the wellness and sustainability director at the Amilla Maldives Resort and Residences. She said seeing her father live as a paraplegic inspired her to assist travelers with disabilities, adding that life in a wheelchair made destinations like Maldives inaccessible for him. Kruse believes one difficulty visitors with disabilities face is that beach destinations largely lack wheelchairs equipped for sand.
Amilla has launched a partnership with UK-based company Inclucare, which specializes in luxury hospitality training for guests with disabilities. The resort partnered with Inclucare specifically because the two entities believe they can effectively serve customers who have a wide range of disabilities. Kruse said it’s important to have structure when dealing with guests with disabilities.