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 The Tactical Traveler for 2005

joe December 22 Briefing for Business Travelers
AirTran goes where Southwest fears to fly; beware of delays on United at O'Hare Airport; new hotels and new names and new places; the dollar finishes the year on an up note in Europe; Northwest Airlines backs off a fare increase; the hotel building boom in California's Inland Empire; and much more.

December 15 Briefing for Business Travelers
Major hotel chains expand in key cities worldwide; American will shadow Southwest at Love Field; Delta slashes elite-level upgrade benefits; US Airways opens an airport club at LAX; Alaska adds $10 ticket fee; Independence Air drops four more cities; and more.

December 8 Briefing for Business Travelers
Diners Club loses five frequent-flyer partners; Southwest dismembers ATA Airlines at Midway; the latest outrages from the airline bankruptcy courts; Rockford (Illinois, not Jim) changes it name, but keeps losing flights; London/City Airport gets an Underground link; Westin bans smoking at U.S. and Canadian hotels; the secrets of airline black boxes are on the History Channel; and more.

December 1 Briefing for Business Travelers
American and Southwest will fight it out at Love Field; the financial bloom is already off the US Airways merger rose; six luxury Parisian hotels are fined for price-fixing; after confusing us, the TSA wants to confuse terrorists, too; US Airways drops out of Membership Rewards; Frontier will serve LaMar's Donuts; and more.

November 17 Briefing for Business Travelers
Bureaucrats open the skies to Canada and Ireland; AirTran moves in on Dulles; need holiday stress? Check this Big Six holiday sale; a domestic hotel chain called 'London'; airlines slash some frequent-flyer benefits (again!); Thai Airways will fly Los Angeles-Bangkok nonstops; Delta shuffles planes on the Shuttle; and more.

November 10 Briefing for Business Travelers
Sound, fury and Missouri at Love Field; Northwest doubles some frequent-flyer award fees; Delta juggles Crown Room privileges; another spate of hotel flag changes; Song loses its 33-inch seat pitch; Amtrak axes its president; the dollar picks up steam in Europe and Japan; and more.

November 3 Briefing for Business Travelers
Delta dumps Song--or is Delta abandoning Delta?; AirTran and JetBlue expand while ATA contracts; flying is already a gamble, so why not gamble for fares?; LA's round hotel with closed doors and a new flag; AirTran pulls its fares off Expedia.com; a new St. Regis opens in San Francisco and a new Westin debuts across Lake Washington from Seattle; Southwest moves planes from New Orleans to new destinations; and much more.

October 27 Briefing for Business Travelers
Northwest Airlines dumps its heartland strategy; Air Canada adds time to many transborder connecting flights; airlines add more flights to Mexico and Argentina; AirTran scales back its Dallas/Fort Worth expansion; Dollar adds an express-rental program; more on Alaska's $452 million bridges to nowhere; and many more items.

October 20 Briefing for Business Travelers
Delta's international expansion is a case of desperate déjà vu; it's boom and gloom time at JetBlue; how to "understand" airfares (Sadly, this is a joke!); US Airways wants travel agents to overcharge you; the Canadian way to lower business-class fares; United charges $200 to double up on elite miles; why Alaska's plane painted to look like a salmon is really taxpayer pork; and much more.

October 6 Briefing for Business Travelers
Bankrupt Delta starts consolidating scheduled flights with light loads; an expansion at O'Hare Is approved, then blocked; hotels around the world continue to change flags; alternate carriers launch flights to sunny climes; strike-bound Northwest slides to the bottom of the government's monthly in on-time ratings; Eos Airlines will launch to London on October 18; quality airline service--for beer drinkers; and much more.

September 29 Briefing for Business Travelers
US Airways and America West align frequency plans; United changes boarding procedures; hotels worldwide continue to change flags; American moves flights to DFW Terminal D next month; the State Department stops offering passport fixes; Amtrak revives its nationwide fare increase; and more.

September 22 Briefing for Business Travelers
Here come the cuts at bankrupt Delta and Northwest; Bangkok's long-delayed airport 'opens' next week; Southwest, JetBlue and Midwest announce new routes; a Web site prods Southwest to improve its online check-in; two niche carriers will launch New York-London flights; United Airlines raises international checked-bag fees; a Four Seasons opens in Hong Kong's Central District; and much more.

September 15 Briefing for Business Travelers
What to expect from bankrupt Delta and Northwest; everyone is raising their fares now; New Orleans won't be back on business-travel maps soon; Starwood gets Le Meridien, Cendant gets Wyndham; America West and British Airways part company; how to follow the bankruptcies at home; the airlines don't want to pay their gas taxes; and much more.

September 8 Briefing for Business Travelers
United files a fuelish bankruptcy-exit plan; Delta slashes service 26 percent in Cincinnati; flights resume at Gulfport/Biloxi; Fort Myers tries again to open its new terminal; more flights are on tap to India and the Middle East; another round of hotel openings and reflaggings; Air Canada cuts its free-baggage limit to 50 pounds; and much more.

September 1 Briefing for Business Travelers
Assessing the effect of Hurricane Katrina; American continues to Avoid DFW's Terminal D; United gets another bankruptcy-court extension--and a judicial warning; the dollar slumps overseas; more airlines lower international baggage allowance; Delta and Northwest stumble toward bankruptcy; and more.

August 25 Briefing for Business Travelers
Money for nothing and your rooms for free at Priority Club Rewards next week; painting over the problems of the US Airways - America West merger; Hyatt revives the Faster Free Night promotion again; JetBlue hikes its business fares; a business traveler who won't pay United the $2; and much more.

August 18 Briefing for Business Travelers
Hyatt and Blackstone "create" new hotel chains from leftovers; rising oil prices lead to more fare increases; Delta and Independence Air mortgage their future; Air Canada and WestJet plan big expansions this fall; Southwest is now the top dog in Orlando; Manchester, England, loses its Washington link and flights to many European cities; and much more.

August 11 Briefing for Business Travelers
Northwest's big lie about its strike schedule; British Airways travelers in chaos at Heathrow; desperate Delta shuffles Song and Delta Shuttle service; Southwest slaps capacity control on Rapid Rewards; Boston/Logan and Continental Airlines wrangle on free Wi-Fi; Independence Air Cuts 15 percent of its schedule; and much more.

August 4 Briefing for Business Travelers
The summer-travel misery quotient skyrockets in July; Continental raises international checked-baggage fees; United will charge for skycap/curbside check-in service; AirTran will take on Northwest in Detroit; Delta and Hawaiian airlines add flights to Hawaii; and much more.

July 28 Briefing for Business Travelers
Delta and Northwest seem headed for bankruptcy; United rings up another huge quarterly loss; American will move its JFK domestic flights to a new terminal next month; there are more dramatic shifts in the hotel world; checked baggage costs may rise again; international carriers are plagued by strikes; and much more.

July 21 Briefing for Business Travelers
It's time to start planning for a Northwest Airlines strike or lockout next month; American Airlines won't be moving into Terminal D when it opens at DFW on Saturday; why all those US Airways executives are showing up in India; two drunk America West pilots draw stiff jail terms; fare fiddling on the transpacific; how to buy St. Regis furniture on the cheap; and more.

July 14 Briefing for Business Travelers
The Big Six break the fare cap and raise walk-up fares by 20%; Southwest will fly to five cities from Fort Myers; is the revived Pan Am the worst airline in America?; America West dumps its transcons and heads to Hawaii; the changing of the hotel flags in Britain; Northwest and Air New Zealand face strikes; Amtrak resumes some weekday Acela service; and much more.

June 30 Briefing for Business Travelers
Northwest tries to break the fare cap--again; Southwest adds Fort Myers to the route map; reality sets in on the US Airways-America West merger; United's flight attendants say they are free to strike; a spate of new luxury hotels open; desperate new frequent-travel promotions; and much, much more.

June 23 Briefing for Business Travelers
Another ugly week on the front lines of air-travel security; the Justice Department approves the US Airways-America West merger but there's lots of fuelish talk about the combination; the dollar is gaining on the euro; Visa suspends its cross-border fee, but you won't see the savings; US Airways resumes hot meal service in first class on transcontinental flights; Delta is off the hook for a drunken passenger who got into an accident after leaving the airport; the airlines say let them eat ice cream; and much more.

June 16 Briefing for Business Travelers
The weekend fare wars get nasty; Continental adds first-class seats; American sells day passes to Admirals Clubs online; how to earn a million hotel frequent-stay points; big changes at major luxury hotels; T-Mobile expands HotSpots at airports and hotels; and much more.

June 9 Briefing for Business Travelers
Northwest tries to provoke a strike; United expands Ted and Delta grows Song; the Big Six are morphing into commuter airlines; there's a big smear against Jet Airways, which hopes to launch US-India flights this month; Air Canada plans more Las Vegas flights; Citibank's loan-shark rates on AAdvantage credit cards; and much more.

June 2 Briefing for Business Travelers
AirTran and Delta go to war; Giorgio Armani plans a hotel chain; waiting on an "inevitable" strike at Northwest; United plans a big move at LAX next week; JetBlue and Spirit expand in the Caribbean; a merged America West-US Airways will be 10 percent smaller; and much more.

May 26 Briefing for Business Travelers
The dollar surges against the euro; Dallas-Fort Worth gets its people mover; don't check your bag in Cincinnati this summer; US Airways cuts its Pittsburgh schedule again; United Airlines faces a strike next week; Hilton's new clock has MP3 plugs and music presets; Airfone cuts prices for Verizon Wireless customers; and much more.

May 19 Briefing for Business Travelers
The "pink slime" that may be on in-flight menus; bagless in Seattle after Alaska Airways fires its ramp workers; Fort Lauderdale is now the nation's most-delayed airport; the golden parachute for US Airways' chief executive; the Big Six and the low-fare carriers raise fares again; will the memorabilia sale at The Plaza include R-O-T handkerchiefs? and much more.

May 12 Briefing for Business Travelers
BWI's "Southwest" Concourse opens next week; political name games at the airports; new hotels open from coast-to-coast; Continental offers 5 percent off your ticket if you use the right debit or credit card; what the President didn't know (and when he didn't know it) about Washington's security alert on Wednesday; and much, much more.

April 28 Briefing for Business Travelers
Another difficult week ahead for US Airways; more international flights are on the runway; big-name, big-deal hotels open around the world; the airlines lie about security costs; Priority Club adds an "any hotel in the world" award; the Airbus A380 and the RJs you fly; and much more.

April 21 Briefing for Business Travelers
New terminals and new gates in Tampa and Las Vegas; what to do with that solicitation to join United's Ameniti 'luxury' travel club; the hotel name game in Kansas City; Amtrak cancels the high-speed Acela until summer; the flap over the danger of 'fly-over' flights; another record low fare on a transcontinental flight; and much more.

April 14 Briefing for Business Travelers
More flights will finally be heading to India; an endless flow of bad news on the airline bankruptcy front; another flock of chain hotels opens around the world; Southwest dumps its online double-bonus offer; American is selling snacks on commuter flights; Continental drops plans to fly to Africa; and more.

April 1 Briefing for Business Travelers
Get ready for a raft of new international flights; US Airways closes four more airport clubs; Thai Air plans a 17-hour New York-Bangkok nonstop; Frontier Airlines is growing again at Denver; America West expands in Las Vegas; will the government booby-trap our passports?; Hertz slashes the grace period to 30 minutes in Europe; and more.

March 17 Briefing for Business Travelers
Watch for rising fares despite the noteworthy sales; Southwest grows its empire at Chicago/Midway; US Airways does a Max Bialystock; easier Web surfing at the airports; how do you say simple fares?; the dollar is tanking in Europe--again; American adds first-class seats on the MD-80s; and much more.

March 10 Briefing for Business Travelers
Continental pulls first-class seats from some of its B737s; Delta's big move at Logan is due next week; Southwest claims its new concourse in Phoenix; your tax dollars at work: US Airways is outsourcing jobs; the TSA bans cigarette lighters; Hartford gets its Hilton back; and much more.

March 3 Briefing for Business Travelers
Diners Club muffs its MasterCard conversion; airlines bulk up on Hawaii routes; US Airways has already hit the wall in Fort Lauderdale; a tale of two old Hilton hotels in Chicago; American Airlines raises international baggage fees; "beautiful" Mount Airy Lodge auctions its heart-shaped tubs; and much more.

February 24 Briefing for Business Travelers
Continental and American will fly to China; JetBlue adds more transcon routes; a regional airline buys into US Airways; more hotels change flags; a bad week for business travel worldwide; hotels are changing Flags--again; Delta adds Atlanta-Moscow flights; and much more.

February 17 Briefing for Business Travelers
Southwest and AirTran target US Airways; a rotten week to fly Northwest Airlines; Fawlty Towers has been sold; European airlines must pay passengers big bucks for delays; Hertz launches, then cancels, a $2.50-per-car booking fee; and much more.

February 10 Briefing for Business Travelers
Be prepared for hit-and-run fare sales; Independence Air goes transcon from Dulles; US Airways dumps hot meals on long-haul first class; Hawaiian overtakes Aloha on inter-island flights; time to book away from Alitalia and Air Jamaica; American Airlines launches another pillow purge; and much more.

February 3 Briefing for Business Travelers
JetBlue makes a big move at Boston/Logan; Delta dumps its guaranteed-seat promise on the Northeast Corridor shuttle; still more flights for Las Vegas; AirTran accelerates its Indianapolis expansion; Air Canada adds new Asian flights; interesting new hotel openings around the world; the government wants to double the security fee; Amex settles a lawsuit and will refund foreign-currency conversion fees; and more.

January 27 Briefing for Business Travelers
Delta revises half its network; a new international arrivals building opens in Houston; ATA dumps its Indianapolis hub; Philadelphia taxpayers are underwriting US Airways; big changes at iconic hotels in New York, London and Miami; Hyatt Gold Passport adds Amerisuites; Starwood Preferred loses four hotels down under; Priority Club offers double miles or points; and much, much more.

January 20 Briefing for Business Travelers
Will you give United cash in advance for Elite status now; Delta's hub shuffle means a huge increase in Kennedy flights; Air France returns to Cincinnati (again); a wildcat strike snarls Toronto; more than you ever wanted to know about the Airbus A380; British Airways cuts Saudi Arabian flights; Milwaukee Airport gets an Amtrak station; Kingfisher, the Indian brewer, is launching an airline; and more.

January 13 Briefing for Business Travelers
Southwest "expands" with an ATA code-share, but dilutes its product and consistency; US Airways hires in Philadelphia to fix the luggage mess; Swiss International goes all-business-class on its Newark-Zurich route; Delta cuts flight attendants on some widebody flights; Gordon Bethune wants the top job at United; American eliminates in-flight food on some flights; several famous hotels are closing; and much more.

January 6 Briefing for Business Travelers
Why you shouldn't book end-of-month flights this winter; Southwest Airlines is coming to Pittsburgh in May; more airports get Wi-Fi; a flood of news about bankrupt (or nearly bankrupt) airlines; United slashes domestic capacity by 14 percent; Delta and Alaska begin code-sharing; a scorpion-bites-passenger story; and much more.

These columns originally appeared at JoeSentMe.com.

Copyright © 1993-2005 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved.