Monday, April 30, 2012

Delta Airlines Buys a Refinery

Delta Airlines has just completed a deal to acquire an oil refinery from Conoco Phillips for about $150 million. While this is certainly an unusual move for an airline, many carriers are trying innovative ways to control the cost of jet fuel, and what better way than to just buy the refinery that converts the oil into jet fuel.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Myth of the 2-For-1 Business Class Deals

Travelers thinking they will save 50% by cashing in 2-for-1 deal will sadly come to realize that the offer is not what it says it is.

Here's the wording from that major "platinum" credit card company that heavily promotes the offer:

Enjoy an international companion ticket offer1 when you purchase a qualifying Business- or First-class ticket with one of our 23 program partners with the International Airline Program.
Pay attention to the term "qualifying" above,  meaning you have to pay the "Suggested retail" business class or first class fares.  However, many savvy travelers can find deeply discounted business class fares that are less than the 2 for 1 deals.
You will also find out that taxes, fuel surcharges and fees on the second ticket are not free, not all airlines participate, and restrictions on seasonality and routes.

To find the best deal, call Premiere Travel.  You will get the best deal.

Monday, April 23, 2012

USAirways-American Airlines Merger Makes No Sense

The last thing travelers want to hear about at the moment is the possibility of another mega merger in the airline industry.  The rocky start of Continental's acquisition of United Airlines will continue to reverberate as problems persist.  Now USAirways is serenading the three major unions of American Airlines who seem to be cozying up to the idea of linking with the Phoenix based carrier.

America West Airlines (remember them?) acquired USAirways in 2005.  Many  believe that the two cultures and systems of these carriers never meshed and issues pertaining to seniority, fleet types and culture continue after seven years.

USAirways-American would be a disaster.  The cultures, fleets and workforces of both carriers could not be an more disparate.  Competition will be further reduced and this merger will serve no purpose, other than an extended period of highly disruptive integration where these airlines have to probably surmount obstacles that may make the Continental/United merger look like a cakewalk.

The DOT should stop rubber stamping every proposed merger and should start looking into the curtailed competition and public interest.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Important Changes For United Airlines PerksPlus Program

Corporate customers who have been enrolled a United's Perks Plus program were recently informed of significant changes in the programs that they have requiring action by the authorized administrators of those corporate accounts. Per instructions sent to Perks Plus administrator, customers are advised to send all redeemed certificate information for certificates that have NOT yet been used to Include the email address you wish the replacement certificates to be returned to. Administrators must do the following: 1) Go on the Perks Plus site emailed to your Perks Plus administrator in the last two weeks and click the ENROLL NOW link and proceed. 2) You must re-enroll using your corporate tax ID. A new Perks Plus Program will be assigned and will be effective June 1, 2012. 3) You MUST enroll every traveler under your new ID number with traveler name on their ID and their NEW United frequent flyer number by 01 June or you will NOT get credit for travel after 31 May 2012. You MUST enroll every traveler under your new ID number with traveler name on their ID and their NEW United frequent flyer number by 01 June or you will NOT get credit for travel after 31 May 2012. Confused? Many corporate clients are. United will continue fine-tuning, so please check the website regularly for more information.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Credit Card Surcharges You Can Avoid

Most credit card companies have provisions in their fine print that they know people do not read that stipulate a "Foreign Transaction Fee" on every charge you make while abroad. International travel has become a very profitable resource to credit card companies. Even when you receive quotes in U.S. dollars for hotel, cars, tours or cruises, the vendor may charge the amounts quoted in the local currency. The traveler will incur a double whammy when this happens. As savvy travelers know, the foreign transaction fee is about 3%. Then there is the unfavorable currency conversion rate. The result may add about 5% to your cost. For frequent international travelers this easily could add up. Solution: Some credit card companies waive the foreign transaction fees or simply do not apply them. Inquire with your credit card company if these charges apply to you before you use your card. If you do travel regularly, look for a "no fee" cards.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The "Rough It" Rule

As travel services become more scalable and online travel options continue to proliferate, one aspect of these online offerings is obviously ignored: personalized service.  While online travel services offer most people a simple way of purchasing an airline ticket or a standard package, your professional travel agent will cut through the chase and provide great options for comparable pricing, customized offering that you may or may not find on the internet, without the hassles of countless hours of navigation and uncertainty.

Travelers can rough it or can choose to have a pro on their side who can save them time, money and avoid the hassles of travel planning.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Massive Integration Issues Continue to Affect United

Six weeks into "Becoming United", passengers, travel agents and even employees of United continue to deal with integration problems.  A single source of frustration centers on the fateful decision of adopting the "Shares" platform which was used by Continental Airlines.  While employees of United (prior to merger) were trained to use Shares, the training was obviously insufficient to deal with the multitude of complexities that Travelport, (United's discarded system) dealt with intuitively.  Shares on the other hand is counter-intuitive, limited and quite complex.

It is now quite evident that United's management has severely underestimated the problems that would surface by adopting a system that is simply incapable of handling the massive transfer of incompatible data.  Adding  to the merger woes, United simultaneously adopted far-reaching changes in their frequent flyer programs, mileage status, upgrades, check-in process, and they simply eliminated the international rate desk.  Mileage Plus higher status travelers are quite unhappy.  With most of their own employees remaining unfamiliar with their own system, it will be a long time before this integration is on the right track.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Save Money on Travel: Restricted Ticket Reminder

If you purchase a restricted ticket and your plans do change, you do need to call Premiere Travel or the airline and change or cancel PRIOR to your departure. Failure to do so will result in forfeiture of the value of the ticket and cancelations of any subsequent segments of your tickets that you may be planning to use. From United Airlines: Cancelations and No-Shows On unrestricted and restricted fare tickets, when a passenger does not board a flight on their itinerary and has not previously canceled the segment, any remaining down-line segments will cancel. Passengers with restricted fare tickets wanting to cancel their reservation must do so in accordance with the fare rules and before the time of the flight's departure. Not doing so may result in the e-ticket coupon status changing from "open" to "zero" and, subsequently, the value of the ticket may be lost.