Archive: February, 2011
Measles is one of those childhood diseases that has largely been controlled in this country with vaccination. But it can be a serious, potentially life-threatening illness. I didn't pay adequate attention to this story a week ago, and now have found a good explainer about what happened on the examiner.com Web site. Here are the basics: A woman with measles flew from the UK to Washington Dulles, then transferred to BWI and took a Southwest flight to Denver and then Albuquerque. The plane went on to San Diego. The highly contagious natiure of measles means she may have exposed a large number of people to the disease on her journeys. Read more about it here ....
The Consumer Traveler Web site has a good roundup today by author Charlie Leocha on the status of DOT's passenger-rights rulemaking and rights legislation included in a bill reauthorizing the FAA. Read more about it here.
It iooks like Southwest will take less time than some other airlines, including US Airways when it merged with America West, to integrate its workforce with that of AirTran once its acquisition of the smaller carrier is complete. The FAA yesterday approved Southwest's plan for combining the two airlines' operations.
This is getting to be routine, unfortunately. The rising cost of jet fuel, caused by turmoil in the Mideast and in Libya in particular, has prompted major airlines to increase fares again, the second time this week. Look for hefty fuel surcharges this summer, especially on international flights. Read a little more detail here.
Last year was the safest on record for airlines flying Western-built aircraft, with no fatalitites reported in the United States. Worldwide, the accident rate was a little higher last year compared with the past. Read some more of the details in this story.
Came across a story from early this week that really made me laugh. It made me realize I'm one of those who needs to be very careful about booking the coolest, hippest new hotel in town. Will I be able to get up from the lobby lounge chairs, or be forced to roll off the edge? Am I wearing enough black? Do I know what new cocktail to order? Read all about the problem for us old-timers here.
Business travel has picked up this year, and more companies are realizing that increasing sales depends in part in getting folks out of the office and on the road. A good article in USA Today recognizes the realities of business travel and that companies have accepted airline ancillary fees as a part of the cost of trips. But companies, especially those that use sophisticated tools to manage their travel spending, still are frustrated by their inability to know how much fees really are costing them. Read more about that problem here.
Fee revenue recently has been the only way some airlines are making money, and that is going to only intensify as oil prices continue to rise. Over last weekend and this week, airlines tested the waters of raising fares on some of their most expensive tickets, those usually bought by business travelers. The most recent effort appears to have stuck.
Southwest Airlines remains quite different in many ways from most of its domestic competitors, but in some ways it's becoming more like them. On Friday, Southwest raised all of its fares by $5 one-way, something the other carriers have also been doing lately because of higher fuel costs. Even more telling is Southwest's total revamp of its frequent-flier program to give more reward to business travelers and others who opt to pay the highest fares. Points will now be awarded based on fares paid rather than simply by segments flown. Read a good detailed piece about the changes to the Rapid Rewards program here.