The Tactical Traveler
A BUSINESS-TRAVEL BRIEFING
FOR JULY 15 TO JULY 29, 2004
BY JOE BRANCATELLI
This week: Prepare for pain at Atlanta/Hartsfield as major roadwork begins; Southwest expands again in Philadelphia; JetBlue launches Phoenix flights; airlines add more service to Hawaii; hotels keep swapping chain affiliations; La Quinta buys Baymont; and much more.
COUNTER INTELLIGENCE: Prepare for Pain at Atlanta/Hartsfield
The much-delayed construction project that will build underground baggage-screening rooms at Atlanta/Hartsfield Airport is now scheduled to begin tomorrow (July 16). That means plenty of pain for Atlanta-based flyers. Starting tomorrow, construction crews will begin ripping up the roads in front of the North Terminal. Roadwork begins Wednesday, July 21, on the South Terminal. The project will completely re-route traffic and change check-in processes at the airport for more than a year. AirTran, the No. 2 carrier at Hartsfield, is opening temporary check-in counters and kiosks in the North Terminal to accommodate the construction but Delta Air Lines, the 800-pound gorilla in Atlanta, has been strangely silent about its plans. The airline apparently will operate temporary facilities in the west end of the South Terminal, however. Atlanta Airport has posted some useful information at its own Web site.
ALTERNATE AGENDA: More Southwest in Philadelphia, More JetBlue in the West
To the surprise of absolutely no one, Southwest Airlines is a raging success in Philadelphia. After invading US Airways' fortress hub in May, the airline has already expanded once. And a second tranche of expansion begins October 31. The airline will add service to three new cities: five daily flights to Hartford, Connecticut, and daily flights to Jacksonville, Florida, and Oakland. It will also add five more flights on existing routes. ... JetBlue Airways is growing, too. It launches daily night flights between its New York/Kennedy hub and Phoenix on October 1. ... Frontier Airlines launches flights between its Denver hub and Little Rock on October 10. All-coach, 70-seat regional jets will be used on the route. ... WestJet, the fast-growing Canadian discounter, is reaching across the border. Effective September 20, it launches six weekly flights between Toronto and New York/LaGuardia. It adds Toronto-Orlando nonstops on October 1. It begins Toronto-Fort Lauderdale and Toronto-Tampa service on October 31.
COCONUT WIRELESS: More Flights to Hawaii
No market is more dependent on air service than Hawaii and the commitment of airlines to serve the Aloha State waxes and wanes with the tradewinds. Right now, however, the winds are positive and airlines are adding flights. On July 1, for example, Northwest resumed its Los Angeles-Honolulu daily nonstops. Effective today, it launches nonstop daily flights from Kona to Seattle. The Seattle-Kona return flights are a one-stop, however, because Northwest is serving it as an add-on to its Seattle-Maui flights. On December 15, Northwest says it will resume its San Francisco-Honolulu flights and launch nonstop daily flights between Portland, Oregon, and Honolulu. All the flights are operated with Boeing 757s configured with 24 first-class seats. ... Meanwhile, Honolulu-based Aloha Airlines is juggling its mainland service. Effective September 7, Aloha launches nonstop Las Vegas-Honolulu and Sacramento-Maui flights. Both mainland cities are currently served with one-stop Aloha flights. On the same day, however, the carrier is dropping Phoenix-Honolulu and Burbank-Maui nonstops.
IN THE LOBBY: Get That Hotel Scorecard Out Again
I've said it before and I'll say it again: It's impossible to keep track of all the name changes in the hotel business without a scorecard. So try to keep track of these: The 272-room Crowne Plaza in Tampa is dumping its chain affiliation on September 1 and becoming the Quorum. ... The 179-room Sheraton Augusta has dropped its chain name and is now the Augusta Towers. It joins two other properties in the Georgia city dropping their chain identities. ... Three Wyndham hotels have become Prime Hotels. The properties are the former Wyndham at Seattle-Tacoma Airport and the Wyndams in Bothell, Washington, and Naperville, Illinois. And speaking of the withering Wyndham brand, watch for the Wyndham Tremont Boston and Wyndham Watch hotel in Hauppauge, New York, to leave the chain, too. ... Meanwhile, the 534-room Maho Bach Resort on Dutch St. Maarten has become the Sonesta Maho Beach. .... In Indonesia, the Regent Jakarta has been renamed the Four Seasons Jakarta. The 365-room property had been managed by Four Seasons almost since it opened in 1995. ... Finally, what would a hotel week be without an Adam's Mark update? For starters, Marriott now says it will not take over the Adam's Mark in Jacksonville, Florida, which is the site of the NFL headquarters during next year's Super Bowl. And in Daytona Beach, the existing Hilton will become The Shores Resort on December 31 while the current Adam's Mark Daytona Beach will be reflagged as a Hilton. That's enough, my head hurts...
ON THE FLY: Business Travel News You Need to Know
Burger King, the floundering fast-food chain, is going to the airline well again: It has hired former Continental Airlines president Greg Brenneman as chief executive. Former Northwest Airlines chief executive John Dasburg ran the company when it was sold off several years ago by the British drinks firm Diageo. Burger King's buyer, Texas Pacific, was once a major stakeholder in Continental. See how that works? ... AirTran has enhanced its A+ Rewards program by offering free coach tickets anywhere in the world. It will buy seats on other carriers for destinations it does not serve. ... The Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island are scheduled to reopen to visitors on August 3. They have been closed since 9/11. But even the reopening is conditional. Visitors will no longer be allowed inside the statue itself. ... La Quinta, the Western-based limited-service hotel chain that has been growing rapidly in recent years, is expanding again. It announced on Thursday that it would buy Baymont, the limited-service chain primarily centered in the Midwest. The company says it will continue to expand both brands rather than merge the chains. ... Say goodbye to Latrobe, Pennsylvania. It has dropped off the commercial-service airline map now that US Airways has dropped service there.
This column originally appeared at joesentme.com.
Copyright © 1993-2004 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved.