ALTERNATE ARRANGEMENTS: AirTran Forces Delta to Respond
AirTran Airways has launched a streamlined fare structure to dozens of destinations from its Atlanta hub. There are just five fares--14-day, 7-day and 3-day advance purchase, a walk-up coach price and a business-class fare--and none require a Saturday stay or roundtrip purchase. Business class is priced at $25 above walk-up coach. Sample fares: $209 walk-up coach to Chicago or Newark, and $219 walk-up coach to Dallas/Fort Worth or Houston. The aggressive pricing has forced a response from Delta, which also has its primary hub in Atlanta. Wherever they compete, Delta has matched AirTran's coach prices on a capacity-controlled basis. In some markets, Delta has even slashed the price of its first-class tickets.
CYBERTRAVELER: The Glasers Get Online
Like a lot of other business travelers who obsess over their luggage, I am an unabashed fan of bags and briefcases that emerge from Glaser Designs, the small San Francisco firm headed by the husband-and-wife team of Myron and Kari Glaser. They use top-notch leathers, the best nylon and the highest-quality fittings to produce attractive, ingeniously designed bags for business travelers. More importantly, perhaps, the Glasers think creatively about luggage, consult one-on-one with their buyers and give valuable advice about buying and using the bags. My first two Glaser pieces--a garment bag and a carry-on bag--are now 10 years old, but look nearly brand new. After a long delay, Glaser has built a Website, which gives newcomers a chance to look at the luggage and understand the extensive Glaser line of accessories that fit into the bags.
AIRPORT REPORT: Argenbright's Not Dead Yet
The Transportation Department keeps saying that it won't work with Argenbright Security, the disgraced private-screening firm tied to many of the worst airport security lapses. But even after another public series of dismissals in recent days, Argenbright continues on the job at six airports: Chicago/O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Grand Rapids, Orlando, New York/Kennedy and San Francisco. ... Here's bad news for Washington-area travelers hoping for some relief from the cramped conditions of the Midfield Terminal at Washington/Dulles Airport. Citing slumping traffic since September 11 and an uncertain future, airport authorities have scrapped plans to replace the 15-year-old facility. Also abandoned is an underground people mover for international arrivals. ... Adelaide Airport has delayed its expansion plans now that Ansett, once Australia's second-largest airport has folded. ... Continental Airlines has opened an international arrivals facility at its Newark hub.
ON THE FLY: Business Travel News You Need to Know
United Airlines is dropping its nonstop service between New York/Kennedy and Buenos Aires. The decision is being described as a temporary move between June 7 and October 31. ... American Airlines is installing new seats in the first-class cabins of its Fokker 100s. Seat pitch will be increased to 40 inches. ... Northwest Airlines and American now offer interline electronic tickets. ... Singapore-based Raffles Hotels has added its brand name to four of its hotels, including Brown's in London and the Vier Jahreszeiten in Hamburg. ... Hertz has opened car-rental locations in three Chinese cities: Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou. The operation is a licensing agreement with a local Chinese tour firm. Unless you have a Chinese drivers license, however, you'll be required to rent a chauffeur-driven vehicle. ... Finally, a sad note: Paul Grimes, the gifted journalist who created the "Practical Traveler" column in The New York Times and then wrote a column for Conde Nast Traveler, died on Tuesday. He retired last year and stopped writing his column at SmarterLiving.com because he said ill health had made reporting on travel impossible.