The Tactical Traveler By Joe Brancatelli
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Business Travel Briefing for April 18-April 30, 2019
The briefing in brief: Where the flights are: LAX, SFO, Las Vegas and LaGuardia. United adding two Florida destinations from its Dulles hub. Marriott hits the 7,000-hotel mark. New Orleans' new terminal won't open next month after all. Virgin Atlantic has a new business class.
Where the Flights Are: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas and LaGuardia
There are dozens of ways to cut airline travel and one of them is declaring routes the "busiest" based on the number of flights between two destinations. That's the bailiwick of OAG, the airline schedule masters. According to the OAG statisticians, the busiest short-haul (shorter than 1,500 kilometers) route in North America is Los Angeles-San Francisco with 35,365 flights a year. New York/LaGuardia-Chicago is a distant second with 24,188 flights a year. Las Vegas-LAX and Boston/Logan-LGA each also racked up more than 20,000 flights annually. In the medium-haul (1,500 to 3,500 kilometers) category, the busiest route is New York/Kennedy-LAX with 26,286 annual flights. A surprising second: LAX-Seattle, with 19,778 flights each year. In the long-haul (more than 3,500 kilometers), the busiest run is JFK-San Francisco with 15,587 flights each year. The "NyLon" route between JFK and London/Heathrow was the second busiest with 14,195 flights a year. Globally, the busiest international route was Kuala Lumpur-Singapore (30,187 flights) followed by Hong Kong-Taipei (28,447) and Chongqing-Singapore (27,046). The busiest route in the world, according to OAG? A domestic run between Seoul's Gimpo Airport and Jeju, South Korea. Seven carriers run 79,460 flights a year between the two airports. The Number Two route globally is Melbourne-Sydney in Australia with 54,102 flights each year.
United Airlines Adds More Florida Flights From Washington/Dulles
United Airlines continues building out its Washington/Dulles hub, this time with new flights into Florida. Effective October 27, United commuter carrier Mesa Air will add twice-daily Embraer 175 flights to both Fort Myers and Sarasota. United already flies to five other cities--Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Orlando, Miami and Tampa--from Dulles.
Las Vegas has a swanky new common-use lounge. The 7,000-square-foot, 149-seat Club LAS, operated by the folks behind Priority Pass, is now open in Terminal 1. It replaces a smaller lounge in the same terminal. The Club in Terminal 3 remains open.
Denver International has a new beer-centric restaurant on Concourse C. The Great Divide Brewhouse, named for famous Denver microbrewery, offers a full range of the brewery's beers and ales. Separately, the first two airport branches of the Melt Shop chain will open this year in Pittsburgh and New York/Kennedy. The chain is known for grilled cheese and other sandwiches featuring melted cheese.
Singapore has another huge attraction at Changi Airport, already considered the best in the world. The Jewel is a dome-shaped, 1.46-million-square-foot structure offering gardens, an indoor waterfall and a 130-room Yotel transit hotel. There's also hundreds of retail shops and food-and-beverage operations.
Virgin Atlantic Adds New Business Class for Airbus A350
Virgin Atlantic, now the vassal of Delta Air Lines and other SkyTeam carriers, has a new business class intended for its Airbus A350 aircraft. The forward-facing pods have 82-inch beds and 18.5-inch video monitors and are configured 1-2-1. Virgin's iconic stand-up bars will be replaced with social space called The Loft. It features seating for eight and will offer cocktails, afternoon tea and snacks. It is outfitted with a 32-inch video monitor and Bluetooth headset jacks. The first A350 is scheduled for delivery this summer and should premiere in August on the New York/Kennedy-London/Heathrow route.
TAP Air Portugal has good news for Italy flyers. The Lisbon-based carrier will launch flights to Naples on June 15. There'll be two daily flights using Embraer E190/195 aircraft.
Jet Airways of India has folded, but the financially distraught carrier calls the shutdown a "temporary suspension." The 25-year-old carrier was once India's largest privately owned airline, but it has shrunk in recent years as financing went dry and low-fare domestic competition increased.
JetBlue Airlines says it'll add flights between its New York/Kennedy hub and Guayaquil, Ecuador. A daily roundtrip using A321neo aircraft begins on December 5 contingent on government approval.
Marriott Opens 7,000th Hotel As One of Its 'Enablers' Bails
Marriott opened its 7,000th hotel this month and the winner of that largely mythical designation is the St. Regis in Hong Kong. The 27-story tower in Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island has 129 rooms. Meanwhile, one of the men who helped fuel Marriott's recent growth is cashing out. Antonio Catalan, who founded the AC Hotel chain in Spain and sold 60 percent of it to Marriott in 2011, has now sold his remaining 40 percent stake to Marriott for 140 million euro.
Hyatt and Hilton have both opened new dual-brand operations. The Hyatt addition is a combined Hyatt Place and Hyatt House in the Wholesale District of Indianapolis. The Hilton combo is a Hilton Garden Inn and Home2Suites in Brampton, just a few miles from Toronto/Pearson Airport.
Business Travel News You Need to Know
New Orleans International Airport won't open its new terminal next month after all. The 35-gate, 970,000-square-foot building, under construction since 2016, now won't open until at least the fall. After blowing through the planned May 15 opening, no specific new day has been announced.
Mastercard is improving the perks on its World and World Elite products. The new benefits include statement credits for Lyft rides; cellphone insurance; and discounts with Fandango, Boxed and Postmates.
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