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In The Know - STM July 2023 News






State Department expands passport phone center hours, and U.S. senator calls for more hiring amid flood of applications

Amid an unprecedented surge in demand for U.S. passport processing, the State Department is expanding its application-processing call-center hours on weekends, as at least one U.S. senator says the agency should take additional measures to staff up.

In a statement to NBC News, a Department official said the agency is now offering weekend call-center service Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET.

The spokesperson said the agency has also tripled the number of phone lines available at the National Passport Information Center, and that it is "aggressively" hiring and training additional staff to handle the influx of calls it continues to receive.

 


U.S. Airlines Say Strong Travel Demand Continues to Propel Sales

Despite delays, cancellations and staffing shortfalls, three of the largest carriers in the U.S have generated record revenues and raised their profit outlook for the year. A rush among travelers to make up for lost time during the pandemic is producing bumper airline earnings. And executives at U.S. carriers don’t see a letup in demand even as rising living costs stretch household budgets and add to worries about the industry’s pricing power. American Airlines on Thursday raised its earnings forecast for 2023 after profit in the second quarter topped Wall Street estimates. The Texas-based carrier is the latest to offer an upbeat outlook. United Airlines and Delta Air Lines have also raised their earnings estimates as consumers cut spending on goods in favor of experiences....read more

 


Flyer beware: Don't fall for this airline customer service scam


Travelers recently uncovered an increasingly common and elaborate airline customer service scam. Here's what you need to know to keep your information safe.


There are some things we do every day without giving them a second thought, whether that's brushing our teeth, checking social media or looking up a phone number online when we need to get a hold of a customer service associate. Each of these tasks seems fairly innocent (and, in one case, good for your oral hygiene). However, an increasingly common scam is adding an element of danger to the everyday practice of reaching out to a company's customer service team when you need assistance.

This week, the scam came to light via a series of tweets from a Delta Air Lines passenger named Shmuli Evers. Evers found himself in the unfortunate yet all-too-common situation of having his flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) canceled. After calling a Delta customer service phone number he had found on Google to rebook his flight, Evers began to suspect something was not quite right....read more






This Travel Checklist Will Help You Prepare for Your Next Trip Like a Pro

You’ve picked your destination, you’ve booked a hotel, and your plane tickets are in hand. Now all that’s left to do is pack. But what exactly do you need to bring along on your adventure? Here’s an easy-to-follow travel checklist to help you prepare for your next vacation, starting with packing tips....read more








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