Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Your Call Is Important To Us...

Out of the blue, travel agents are popular again! Thousands of travel websites, all claiming to be the lowest priced along with airlines that keep you on hold and keep you guessing, made the travel management companies (TMC's) the best discovery in travel for 2012. Your call is truly important to us! Most well-run travel management companies answer the phones in person and provide immediate assistance to service-starved customers who deservedly expect decent and courteous service, knowledgeable staff and straight answers. While the internet has become a huge element in providing information, sometimes the clutter creates more confusion. Our job as professionals is to deliver efficient solutions and provide accountability to limit costs, follow corporate travel policy and offer technology choices customized to individual needs. So while others claim that your call is important to them, your travel agent is there for you, by your side advocating for you. www.premieretravel.com

Thursday, May 24, 2012

American Idle: More job Cuts at American Airlines

American Airlines is planning more layoffs to become a leaner carrier. The jobs include managerial and support personnel across the board. Thousands of employees will be receiving their pink slips as the carrier continues to struggle in an effort to emerge from bankruptcy as a smaller and leaner airline. With a reduction in capacity looming, frequent flyer seats will become even more scarce across the board. If you are lucky to find space at all, it will probably be to destinations that are either undesirable or come with higher mileage requirements and assortments of fees. www.premieretravel.com

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

United Premier Access Saves Time

Eligible members of United Airlines elite statuses can enjoy the Premier Access, a premium premiere travel benefit that offers faster check-in through designated and dedicated check-in lines, exclusive shorter TSA security lines, boarding priority, and expedited baggage handling. The following members qualify: • MileagePlus® Premier® members • United First®, United Global FirstSM, United Business® and United BusinessFirst®, • Star Alliance Gold and Silver members • MileagePlus Club and Presidential Plus credit cardmembers For more information, please contact your agent at Premiere Travel. www.premieretravel.com

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hubs To Emerging Market Airports

Savvy airlines and international airports know that emerging markets will continue to experience double-digit growth in the next few years. This is a contrast from stagnant or capacity reductions that are happening in Europe and the U.S. Many European, Asian and Middle Eastern carriers have placed huge aircraft orders to meet the surge in demand for seats to and from emerging growth destinations such as Africa, the far east, middle east and central Asia. These airlines include now familiar names such as Emirates, Etihad, Qatar Airways, with their ultra-modern hubs in the middle east serving destinations in Asia and Africa. European airports and carriers are ramping up as well with the exception of London Heathrow which continues to experience logistical and capacity problems. Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris have taken the top three spots in European hubs that offer excellent connections worldwide. The Star Alliance anchored by Lufthansa and United are well-positioned to take advantage of the growth opportunities ahead. www.premieretravel.com

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Carrying Baggage Results in Fee Decline For Airlines

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) said that airlines made less money year over year in checked bag fees. Airlines began charging fees about four years ago and the practice resulted in a windfall for carriers. So it finally took four years for passengers to start figuring out ways to avoid paying such fees by carrying less and stuffing more into overhead bins. The jockeying for overhead space has become a sport. Boarding first gives you a good advantage. Then you have passengers that take big size suitcases to the gate knowing they would not fit and simply turning them over at the jetways and avoiding the fee. Ironically, two of the most profitable airlines, Southwest and Spirit do not charge fees for checked bags. Spirit actually charges for carry-on bags and that will go up to a $100 per bag in November. www.premieretravel.com

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Airlines! How About A "Fuel Undercharge"?

Airlines have always complained when oil prices jump and they waste absolutely no time in hiking fares domestically and adding "fuel surcharges" for international flights. However, when oil prices decline like they have in the past three weeks, we do not hear a beep. Why do airlines not roll back these surcharges? The Department of Transportation (DOT) supposedly was going to hold the airlines accountable in justifying the fuel surcharges, but we have yet to hear a beep from DOT either. The double standard has been there for a while, and airlines claim that fuel costs are unpredictable. In an election year, don't expect the U.S. Department of Transportation to make any significant moves to make the skies friendlier for travelers. www.premieretravel.com

Monday, May 14, 2012

Why You Should Avoid Connections at London Heathrow

We have written before advising our passengers not to connect at London Heathrow airport. This summer, because of the olympics being held in London, there will be congestion, delays and problems for those who are going to or connecting at Heathrow. Even with the expansion of the facility, it has become a sprawling airport with transfers between terminals taking longer. Security lines and immigration wait times for international and domestic flights are lengthy. In addition, connecting passengers are expected to cough up additional fees that are higher than any other European airport, adding a hefty surcharge for the privilege of going through Heathrow. Better alternatives with shorter connections, better amenities include Amsterdam Schiphol, Brussels and Frankfurt. www.premieretravel.com

Friday, May 11, 2012

Corporate Hotel Programs Becoming Meaningless

When airlines want to increase the fares, one of the things they do is cut capacity. Hotels cannot do that as their inventory is always the same. However, due to continuous yield management enhancements, hotels have become quite savvy in maximizing the revenue per room, especially during peak times. Those of us attending graduations, football games or events know that negotiated corporate rates disappear and the extension of exceptions and exclusions to cover longer periods kick in. So what's the point of the loyalty of the corporate hotel program if a traveler cannot take advantage of these "special" rates when they are needed. With the plethora of side deals with travel consortiums that anyone can tap into, companies do not have to meet minimum number of room commitments, and in addition can take advantage of lower rates in the off-peak periods that are well below some corporate rates. If you think airline pricing is wacky, rest assured that hotel pricing is wackier. Hotels have also taken a page from airlines in adding fees and charging for extra services wherever they can. Often, when they quote a rate, it is usually an amount plus tax and fees. Problem is some of those taxes and fees could easily be 20% or more, so a $300 rate could easily become a $400 charge for a one-night stay. So hotels really compete for your business only when they need you and they have lots of rooms to sell. The attitude shifts considerably when the occupancy rates get high. www.premieretravel.com
(Why would anyone pick the higher rate? Spell-check anyone?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Spirit Airlines Wild and Crazy Ways

So for those of you that may not have liked the Spirit Airlines $40 carry-on fee , the management of that airline heard you loud and clear, so they are raising it to a $100 effective November 6! In a cynical statement, the carrier through it's spokesperson said: "We don't want any of our customers to wait until they get to the boarding gate to pay for their carry-on bags as this delays the boarding process for everyone, We expect that our new $100 fee charged for those who wait until they get to the gate will ensure that customers purchase their bags before arriving at the gate," So there, Spirit cares for on-time departures. This move could be a ploy by Spirit to avoid paying taxes by shifting the revenue to a non-taxable ancillary fee stream. May be another idea for Spirit to consider is to charge a mandatory $500 baggage fee and charge one dollar for the airline ticket. www.premieretravel.com