Tuesday, November 29, 2011

American Airlines Files For Bankruptcy

AMR, parent company of American Airlines, filed for bankruptcy protection Tuesday morning in New York. American was the only legacy carrier not to have filed bankruptcy in the last couple of decades.

The heavy load debt, pension obligations, unfavorable leases, and labor contracts have taken their toll on the thrid largest carrier in the U.S.

Travelers should not see any changes however. American will continue to operate, and all mileage benefits will continue to accrue and will be honored.

American's necessary move will mean a leaner and smaller carrier in 2012.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Avoid London Heathrow on November 30

Airlines have cancelled or reduced flights into and out of London Heathrow Airport due to a nationwide strike that airport employees will be participating in.

Immigration employees are expected to take part and delays of up to 12 hours to get in or out of Heathrow.

In the latest dispute, workers oppose government demands that they work longer before receiving a pension, contribute more money each month and accept a pension calculated using their average career salary, rather than their final salary.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Should Airlines Charge Fees For Carry-Ons?

Travelers by now know that airlines have found a cash cow, charging fees for checked-in luggage. While policies vary, airlines charge about $25 for the first checked-in bag, with exceptions such as Southwest.

Passengers not only find the fee unfair, but also inconvenient. The wait for checking in bags and receiving them at destination makes it a double whammy. Savvy travelers try to cram as much as they can into carry-ons, which are free (except at Spirit).

The unintended consequence of baggage fees has created many problems:
* Longer security lines due to larger carry-ons and more
bulkier items passing through the security gauntlets.

* Longer boarding process where passengers occupy aisles
longer hunting and jockeying for overhead bins.

* Mad scramble to board first just to get better chance to
stow luggage overhead.

The solution may be simple. While this may sound counter intuitive, airlines should go back to check bags free and charge for luggage carry-ons. Boarding process will be a snap, departures/arrivals are more timely, and security lines will move faster.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Link Your United Mileage Plus With Continental One Pass

United Airlines has released the details of the new 2012 MileagePlus Program.
Those who qualify for "Premier" status in the 2012 program will receive membership information, including new cards, late in the first quarter of 2012.

Complete information can be found at: mileageplusmergerupdates.com or onepassmergerupdates.com

To link your accounts, go to united.com/linkmyaccounts


Friday, November 11, 2011

Expedited Screenings: Keep Your Shoes and Hat On!

A pilot test program by the TSA has been successful, and many major airports will have that option for travelers that pass the "trusted traveler" criteria.

It is expected that this program will be introduced in key major airports in the first quarter of 2012.


Monday, November 7, 2011

When Comparing Fares, Look At The Fine Print

There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of fare search engines and airline websites that purportedly gives the searcher the "lowest fare". Savvy travelers know to look beyond the headline fare and tally up all obvious and not so obvious add-ons to come to the final price.

Many website of airlines and search engines advertise "teaser fare" such as Washington-London at $199*.....The asterisk is where things start getting interesting. In this case, the asterisk means, limited seating, mid-week departure, non-refundable, non-changeable, minimum and maximum stay, excluding taxes, fees, surcharges and ancillary fees. Do expect that once you add all these, the price will exceed $800. False advertising? May be...

Even business travelers now are raising eyebrows about certain surprise fees that they encounter. For example, after shelling almost $10,000 for a British Airways business class seat, passengers are surprised by a $120 fee for a seat assignment, each way, for an additional $240 on a round-trip fare.

At Premiere Travel, we streamline the process for our clients through an honest Fare Compare and inform them of the final pricing without all the gimmicks.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Travelers Are The Most Taxed People on Earth

Travelers don't vote in their destinations. Politicians and providers therefore can pick on travelers for ever burgeoning number of taxes and user fees that seem to see no end.

A case in point is a round-trip ticket to London from Washington...Here's the fare breakdown exactly as you will see it on the ticket:
1- USD240.00 564.10XT USD804.10ADT
XT 362.00YQ 32.60US 5.50YC 7.00XY
5.00XA 2.50AY 96.00GB 49.00UB
240.00 564.10 804.10TTL

You will see that the BASE FARE is $240.00 and the final price of the ticket (even without agency fees) to be $804.10.
In this case the taxes and user fees amount to a 235% of the value of the ticket.

For a Car rental example, we have selected a typical weekend rental:
Rental Time Charge $41.38
APT CONC RECOV FEE (11.11%)$4.72
Customer Facility Charge ($3.50 per day) $7.00
Energy Recovery Fee ($0.55 per day) $1.10
STATE TAX (9%) $5.44
VEHICLE LICENSE FEE ($1.00 per day)$2.00
Vehicle Rental Tax (10%) $4.25
Total Estimated Mandatory Charges (USD)$65.89

Relatively speaking, a car rental taxes and fees are considered bargain at a tax/fees percentage of 59.2% of the overall cost.

We will spare you the nauseating hotel bill which is infested with a creative array of all types of taxes and fees imaginable.

Chicago has recently adopted an increase in their already high hotel taxes, and the infuriating part of it is the explanation: "To keep pace with New York" (sic)