Budget airline battle
Low-cost Allegiant Air has entered the Minneapolis-St. Paul market — and rival Sun Country Airlines is responding. Beginning Oct. 7, Allegiant will start year-round service between MSP and Asheville, N.C., and seasonal service to West Palm Beach, Fla. Allegiant's year-round service to Punta Gorda, Fla., will begin on Oct 8. Within hours of the announcement, Minnesota-based Sun Country unveiled its own new services to Asheville and West Palm Beach on the same date, and moved up its planned Punta Gorda flights to start on Oct. 7. Sun Country even matched Allegiant's twice-a-week schedule and offered sale fares from $39-$49, when booking by July 8. The discount turf war may have started in April when Sun Country joined Allegiant as the only other airline to serve Punta Gorda Airport, about 25 miles north of Fort Myers.
Second train to Chicago
A second daily Amtrak passenger train between St. Paul and Chicago is expected to begin in 2024, after receiving a $10 million boost at the Legislature. The idea is to supplement existing service on the Empire Builder route through the Union Depot in St. Paul. The trip would take about 7 ½ hours and feature the same stops, including Red Wing and Winona in Minnesota, Wisconsin Dells and Milwaukee. The second train is expected to ferry some 124,000 passengers between the two cities a year. Advocates claim delays between St. Paul and Chicago will be less likely than those encountered by the Empire Builder west of the Twin Cities.
Hawaii quarantine lifted
Hawaii will drop its testing and quarantine rules for fully vaccinated domestic travelers this week. Gov. David Ige said the state will drop the current travel restrictions for vaccinated U.S. mainland travelers on July 8. Those using the quarantine exemption must upload their vaccination cards to a state website and also bring a hard copy while traveling. Restaurants will also be able to seat up to 75% of their capacity on July 8.
Germany is open
Germany has reopened its borders to fully vaccinated leisure travelers from several non-European Union countries, including the United States. According to Germany's Foreign Office, the government has already eliminated quarantine restrictions for Americans who can provide either proof of vaccination, proof of recovery from COVID-19 or recent negative test results. Americans who had been to Germany in recent weeks told Stars and Stripes that they had only been required to present their passport and CDC vaccination card upon entry. On June 18, the E.U. instructed all member nations to begin lifting restrictions on American leisure travelers.
Intrepid Travel has introduced new sustainable travel experiences in Europe designed to benefit local communities. It's hoped the new experiences will help spread the benefits of tourism by taking visitors away from hot spots and introduce a more authentic and unspoiled side of popular destinations. During one tour, guides will lead travelers to lesser-known corners of Crete for an authentic taste of village life. Guests will visit charming coastal villages, learn about history and customs of the island, dine on local specialties and enjoy live traditional music (intrepidtravel.com).