Saturday, October 30, 2010

British Airways Chairman Says U.S. Airport Security "Completely Redundant"

In an interview with the Financial Times, British Airways chairman Martin Broughton has accused Britain of “kowtowing” to the United States in implementing “completely redundant” airport security checks.

Practices such as asking passengers to remove their shoes should be “abandoned” he suggested, while also questioning why laptop computers are scanned separately.

Mr Broughton also noted American airports did not implement some checks on their own internal flights.

“America does not do internally a lot of the things they demand that we do. We shouldn’t stand for that. We should say ‘we’ll only do things which we consider to be essential and that you Americans also consider essential,” Mr Broughton added in the Financial Times.

Lack of consistency is one of Mr. Broughton's main concerns,"Take the iPad, they still haven’t decided if it is a laptop or it isn’t a laptop. So some airports think you should take it out and some think you shouldn’t.”

Thursday, October 28, 2010

U.S. Regional Airline Survey Underscores Travelers’ Concerns

Substantially greater code-share disclosure required

October 26, 2010, WASHINGTON, DC - Business Travel Coalition (BTC) today released results and analysis of a comprehensive survey of travel industry professionals regarding the U.S. regional airline model. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is conducting a symposium over October 26 and 27 regarding airline code-sharing arrangements and their role in aviation safety. NTSB asked BTC to provide the perspectives and insights of the consumer and corporate travel departments.

The survey is of corporate travel managers and travel management company executives in the U.S. and abroad, where organizations look after passengers traveling to and within the U.S. aviation system. “Perceptions About U.S. Regional Airline Outsourcing” sheds considerable light on a variety of safety, government oversight and marketing issues associated with the U.S. regional airline model.

Full survey results and analysis can be downloaded at

A majority of business travelers are concerned over perceived safety differences between regional airlines and major network carriers, and this concern has been consistent over time. To address this concern, in part, a majority of corporations allow travelers to choose an alternative travel option, even if it’s a more expensive one. Indeed, a majority of corporations indicates that they would be willing to pay much higher airfares in return for higher safety standards at the regional airlines.

Most business travelers are confused about what carrier will be operating their flights while a majority of corporate travel managers indicated that they view the painting of regional airplanes, operated by one company but with the logo of its code share major airline partner, as amounting to deceptive marketing. A majority of travel managers say travel management companies and online travel agencies have insufficient information at the point of sale for notifying travelers of code sharing arrangements.

Premiere Travel supports the efforts of Business Travel Coalition as an advocate for the business traveler. Notable efforts have been made on multiple fronts including ancillary fees and airline code share disclosures.

Lufthansa Increases its Operating Result

Airlines continue to post impressive gains in profitability in 2010. Lufthansa just announced that it generated revenue of EUR 20.2bn (+24.9 per cent) in the first nine months of 2010 and improved its operating result by EUR 386m to EUR 612m compared with the same period last year. Net profit for the period was EUR 524m (previous year: EUR 31m).

Sunday, October 24, 2010

United Mileage Plus adds Continental Benefits

Mileage Plus® elite members now have access to Continental’s preferred seating, extra legroom seating and Elite upgrades. It’s just one of the new ways to travel seamlessly on both United® and Continental.

In addition to the added benefits on Continental, Mileage Plus has also added special reduced awards and shopping alternatives with merchant partners.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Riots and Protests Block Access to French Airports

French protests have taken a turn to the worse as violent protests and riots continue to break out throughout France.

Rioters are blocking access to Orly and Charles De Gaulle Airports in Paris as well as other major airports like Toulouse and Marseilles.

Fuel depots are also being targeted by protesters in a further effort to disrupt transportation services.

The government has signaled that it would confront the protesters with paramilitary troops if necessary.

The tense showdown continues to escalate and further tensions may stretch beyond France to neighboring countries.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Major Transportation Disruptions Expected in France

France could face significant disruptions of air, rail, transportation and fuel services due to a general strike being called this week by labor unions. The country faced a similar situation in 1995 which resulted in two weeks of total paralysis and chaos.

Travelers are well advised to avoid traveling to or connecting through French airports, ports and rail services for at least the next few days.

With neither side backing down over pension issues, this may take a while to sort out.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Southwest Airlines to Attack other Airlines Fee Structure

Known for its funny and clever campaign "Bags Fly Free", Southwest will soon escalate with another media campaign attacking other airlines' fees for changes.

Currently $150 for changing a restricted ticket, some airlines are considering increasing the fee. Southwest does not charge for changes, and the timing of the new campaign may be made to coincide with other airlines' plans to increase those fees.

The full disclosure of ancillary fees to passengers prior to purchase has caught the regularos' attention and Congress has recently conducted hearings to deal with the issue.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hotel Rates on the Rise

2010 is turning out to be a much better year for the hospitality industry.

Hotel rates for corporate and leisure travel are inching up, due to a stronger than expected demand.

According to several benchmarks and surveys, this trend will continue throughout 2011, coupled with increases in user fees and taxes by cash strapped cities and municipalities.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Dreamliner 787, Still a Dream...

Yet again, Boeing has recently delayed the launch of the much anticipated 787 Dreamliner due to supplier and technical issues.
This time, Boeing is blaming Rolls Royce, the Trent engine manufacturer for the delay.

Customers such as All Nippon Airways are taking the delay in stride. Boeing has approximately over 800 orders for the new aircraft on its books.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Vague Terror Alert confuses Travelers

The vague wording of the terror alert issued for U.S. travelers in Europe was taken in stride by most travelers, while others had more questions and concerns.

There were no specifics in the alert of what to avoid or what to be on the lookout for. Wording of "being vigilant" and "aware of surroundings" didn't do much to alter travelers' behavior.

There was beefed up security in most major European attractions, but no specifics have been provided.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Travel Advisory Pending for Americans in Europe

The U.S. State Department will likely be issuing a travel advisory for travel in Europe, advising U.S. Citizens to be "vigilant". The advisory will probably be vague but will advise travelers to stay away from popular tourist sites.

Many European governments are on heightened alert due to credible threats.

Friday, October 1, 2010

United-Continental Complete Merger

United Airlines and Continental Airlines have completed their merger effective today October 1, 2010. The new company will be called United Continental Holdings, Inc. and will be the largest carrier in the world.

By early 2012, travelers will see a combined airline called United Airlines, with Continental's blue and gold colors and globe logo on the tail.

Between now and then, the new company, United Continental Holdings Inc., will run the two as separate operations, with each airline's customers checking in at Continental or United websites and airport counters. Their frequent flier programs will stay separate for now too.

We expect to see the airlines gradually merging their operations and streamlining their processes.