Archive: September, 2009
American Express Co.'s travel advisory unit today forecast that travel costs are likely to rise slightly next year, reflecting pent-up demand coupled with changes in supply. Business class air fares will see some of the greatest fare increases because of the need for businesses to keep traveling internationally. A few stats from the report are in a Travel Weekly trade-newspaper article found here.
At the same time, Amex officials said at a news conference that there is a "new normal" level of business travel, with companies scrutinizing every trip by every traveler, that will keep cost increases modest. More use of teleconferencing -- like the techology Amex was using to broadcast its news around the world -- is part of a serious effort to keep costs down and find ways to measure ROI, or return on investment, of every trip.
One of the most interesting tidbits from the forecast was a note that when measuring average air fares, what can't be precisely included is how "ancillary fees," such as for checked bags, add to the cost of air travel. Best estimate by the Amex experts: Add about 15 percent to the cost of the average air trip to get the true bottom line figure these days.
Tom BeldenThe most complete report I've seen on last week's Capitol Hill informal hearing on passenger-rights legislation, by veteran industry reporter Bill McGee, is on USA Today's air-travel blog. Find it here.
Tom BeldenUS Airways says pilots Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles, who successfully landed their plane in the Hudson River in January will be reunited in the cockpit. A little more detail is here.
Tom BeldenPhiladelphia ariport's medical clinic is offering flu shots to passengers and employees, starting today and running through Dec, 18. The AeroClinic will administer the shots in front of Brookstone in the B/C connector and at the clinic, located on the walkway between Terminals A and B. Hours are 7 a.m. 7 p.m. weekdays, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays. Cost is $25 for employees with an ID and $35 for passengers.
Tom BeldenBritish Airways, going against recent history, has launched a new all-business-class service with premium fares for premium service. Tne route is London's City Airport, near the financial district, to New York JFK. Read a little more here.
Tom BeldenThe decision of several major airlines to add a $10 surcharge to fares for travel on the three busiest days of the upcoming holidays (see post below from last Friday) has been a favorite topic ever since on airline and travel Web sites and blogs. I found one this morning from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch I really like: The Savvy Traveler writer nominated the big airlines (and not all are doing the surcharge) with his annual Ebenezer Award (as in Scrooge) for sticking it to consumers. Read what Matthew Hathaway has to say here.
As those who have read this blog and my print column in the past know, nothing raises the hackles of my readers like the idea of allowing cell-phone calls on U.S. airlines during the hours the plane is in the air. You, and lots of others, including flight attendants, are very much opposed to lifting the ban on talking (not necessarily texting or Web-browsing) during a flight.
But airlines in some other parts of the world seem to have found a way to do it that isn't driving passengers mad. Read more about what's happening overseas here, and then tell me -- as you usually do on this topic -- what you think.
Two news stories today provide some illumination on the airlines' financial woes and one of the ways the industry is dealing with it. The International Air Transport Association reports that customer demand is stabilizing but airlines remain largely without profits. Read more here.
The second article reminds us that airline fees to check bags, in particular second bags on international flights, have gone up. It's now $50 for that second bag going on flights to many countries. A link to that story is here.