Monday, November 23, 2015

A Vague Worldwide Travel Warning-The Message: Please Be Careful!

Here's the warning that was issued this afternoon to U.S. Citizens WORLDWIDE.  Quite ominous, but  of course lacking substance and specifics.  Such warnings do nothing but sow fear and confusion:

The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to possible risks of travel due to increased terrorist threats. Current information suggests that ISIL (aka Da’esh), al-Qa’ida, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions.  These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, using conventional and non-conventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests.  This Travel Alert expires on February 24, 2016.

Authorities believe the likelihood of terror attacks will continue as members of ISIL/Da’esh return from Syria and Iraq.  Additionally, there is a continuing threat from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations but conducted on an individual basis.  Extremists have targeted large sporting events, theatres, open markets, and aviation services.  In the past year, there have been multiple attacks in France, Nigeria, Denmark, Turkey, and Mali.  ISIL/Da’esh has claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt.

U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using transportation.  Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds or crowed places.  Exercise particular caution during the holiday season and at holiday festivals or events.  U.S. citizens should monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.  Persons with specific safety concerns should contact local law enforcement authorities who are responsible for the safety and security of all visitors to their host country.  U.S. citizens should:

Follow the instructions of local authorities.  Monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.
Be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions.
Stay in touch with your family members and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency.
Register in our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
Foreign governments have taken action to guard against terrorist attacks, and some have made official declarations regarding heightened threat conditions.  Authorities continue to conduct raids and disrupt terror plots.  We continue to work closely with our allies on the threat from international terrorism.  Information is routinely shared between the United States and our key partners in order to disrupt terrorist plotting, identify and take action against potential operatives, and strengthen our defenses against potential threats.

For further information:

See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information.
Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Friday, November 6, 2015

Repetitive Lufthansa Strikes Taking a Toll on Travelers and Carrier

It seems that labor strikes at Lufthansa has become a new normal.  Yet again, this time cabin crew union announced a strike that will affect mostly short-haul flights.  Another strike is also scheduled for next week.  There has been several labor issues that resulted in major travel disruptions in 2014 and 2015.  The airline and its unions cannot seem to agree on anything and travelers pay the price.

It has been a tough year for Lufthansa which suffered a tragedy earlier this year with the German Wings crash, multiple strikes and the dreaded surcharge that penalizes the distribution system (travel agencies) if they do not book directly on the group's website.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Delta Quits Airline Lobbying Group

Delta Air Lines announced yesterday that it is quitting the lobbying outfit calling itself "Airlines for America".  This move comes after a disagreement over strategy about FAA air traffic control privatization.  By doing so, Delta would save itself the annual fee of $5 million.
Billing itself as an industry group "fighting higher taxes" and "unnecessary regulation", Airlines for America (a.k.a, A4A) has mainly focused recently on an aggressive protectionist campaign against three gulf carriers claiming that they are being "unfairly" subsidized by their governments and attempting to lobby U.S. Congress and Government to intervene to stop their expansion in the U.S.
This effort has suffered setbacks as other carriers and the vast majority of travelers disagree with A4A position despite a huge dollar budget on lobbying and advertising.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

More Airline and DHS Computer Glitches on Horizon

The Department of Homeland Security's computer systems joined Southwest, American and United by adding misery to travelers' experience dogged by technical glitches to their computer systems. United had experienced multiple failures in the past few years, and Southwest was the latest to have issues last Sunday and Monday.  Fasten your seat belts as American will complete its merger of  with USAirways this weekend, consolidating two computer systems into one.  The puzzling failure of DHS Customs and Border Protection computers are the most troubling yet as the cause remains unknown.  The frequency and randomness of these outages have now become the new normal.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Spirit Airlines Consistent Track Record Continues...

The latest rankings of airlines on-time performance for August have been released, and there is no surprise who was at the bottom of the pile.  Once again Spirit Airlines took the honors for the worst performer (#13) and they are most probably proud of it and and of the most complaints per 1000 passengers.  Spirit thinks that no publicity is bad publicity, so we just provided them with a free service here at

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Apology Tour Continues for United's New CEO

On the fifth anniversary of United Airlines merger with Continental, new CEO Oscar Munoz issued an apology stating that the merger was poorly managed and the integration was "rocky".
The CEO is on a tour to speak to United's rank and file and to lift the sagging morale of 85,000 employees, who were "allowed to be disengaged, disenchanted, disenfranchised-the three nasty D's".
Add another D or D- for the performance of the airline in the past year and CEO Munoz is dealing with quite many D's.  Passengers can think of another letters, like "F" for performance,especially in how the most loyal customers were disenfranchised, and the grade that most have given to United's service. It is notable that CEO Munoz has been a board director at United since its inception and has suddenly realized that United has issues that must be dealt with.  The sooner he can act, not an easy task, the better.

October 20, 2015
Brett Hart becomes interim CEO of United after Oscar Munoz was hospitalized with a heart attack.
We wish Mr. Munoz a speedy recovery