How will a combined Continental-United fare in the customer service department?

The Department of Justice green-lighted the Continental Airlines-United Airlines merger late last week, and now the corporate celebrity wedding seems like a done deal. The combined airline will be the world’s largest, but how will it do in the customer-service department?

International airlines report $3.9 billion in profits

Let's treat airlines like profit-making entities instead of like wards of the state. If the last decade was a disaster for major airlines, the next decade is shaping up to be nirvana unless we are faced with an unexpected oil shock and a series of volcanoes.
By |August 31st, 2010|Today|1 Comment|

What we’re reading: AA doubles overhead bin space, ANA and 787 delay, Boeing keeps eye on service

AA doubles overhead bin space, ANA calls 787 delay regrettable, Boeing keeps eye on service

Travel complaints that fail: 5 kinds of emails you should never write

Maybe you’re the squeaky wheel — the guest who keeps writing back over and over, even after you’ve been told “no” in a dozen different ways. Or maybe your grievances fall into the “special circumstances” category — you’re sick, you’re broke, you’re having a bad year.

Who owns airport slots? The American people or the airlines?

Airlines look upon landing and take-off slots as personal property. However, the airlines have not paid for these slots. They were distributed by the FAA back when the airspace was wide-open and air-traffic problems were not even envisioned. They belong to the public, not the airlines.
By |August 30th, 2010|Today|1 Comment|

Bigger lap babies, smaller planes — Is it time to rethink the rules?

Janice Hough just returned from a flight where a lap child was whining for the entire flight. Simply speaking, he was WAY too big to be a lap baby, no matter how old he was. He didn't have enough room.
By |August 30th, 2010|Today|14 Comments|

U.S. traveler credit card woes in Europe are increasing

Ned Levi explores the problems US travelers are having using their magnetic stripe technology based US credit cards in Europe, which uses "chip and pin" technology, and what plans, if any, Visa, Mastercard, and American Express have to mitigate their US cardholders' problems who travel internationally.
By |August 30th, 2010|Columns|43 Comments|

What we’re reading: Taxi app, NYC’s restaurant grading system, Dreamliner delayed again

New taxi smart app, new NYC restaurant grading system, Boeing delays delivery of Dreamliner

Continental / United merger approved by DOJ

The best chance of stopping the merger of giants Continental and United Airlines is gone. The same department that two years ago recommended against allowing these two airlines to for an airline alliance with antitrust immunity, just approved a full merger. Go figure.
By |August 29th, 2010|Columns|0 Comments|

LIFE IS A TRIP: The Transformative Magic of Travel

What is travel and what is tourism? For me, tourism is seeing the world from behind glass—in a hotel, a bus, a restaurant. You go to another country, and watch the people from a safe distance, while you check off sites in a guidebook. Travel means, above all, that you interact with people and experience their culture. This can happen in another country, on another continent, in the next town or even in your hometown. It is an attitude of openness, willingness to experience other ways of being and even learning from them.

By |August 28th, 2010|Today|6 Comments|