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THE BRIEFING FOR JUNE 28-JULY 11, 2007
By Joe Brancatelli

· Southwest: Cool on Transcons, Hot on Denver
· An Awful Place to Change Planes Gets Less Nasty
· United Express Is Booted From LAX Terminal 8
· Even Aeroflot Doesn't Want to Buy Alitalia
· BA Will Move Its Texas Flights to Heathrow
· Really Fast Ride to the Beach, Just $7 a Mile
· What to Expect on the Road in July


Southwest Cools on Transcons, Focuses on Denver
It is not often that Southwest Airlines slows down its growth plans, but a softening of the economy and slack demand is leading the 800-pound gorilla of discounters to juggle its network. Come the fall, some transcontinental nonstops will be dropped and partially replaced by a new focus on shorter-haul service from Denver. The transcons falling off Southwest's route map are nonstops from Baltimore/Washington and Philadelphia to both Oakland and Los Angeles. Those flights will be gone by October. In November, Southwest will bulk up in Denver with 14 new flights. There'll be new routes to Seattle, Albuquerque, Amarillo and Oklahoma City.

An Awful Place to Change Planes Gets a Little Less Offensive
No matter what you think about Paris, few travelers think well of Charles DeGaulle International. It's routinely rated as one of the worst places in Europe to change planes. But the first phases of a huge reconstruction plan opened this week and it may make CDG just a little less hateful. The new facility is for the dedicated use of Delta, Air France and other SkyTeam Alliance airlines. The satellite arrangement is linked to Terminal 2B by an automated train that French authorities claim requires just 45 seconds of travel time. The 26-gate operation, designated S3, is designed to accommodate the Airbus A380 super-jumbo, which is scheduled to debut later this year. Los Angeles travelers take note: The bankruptcy court of United Airlines has ordered the airline to pull its United Express commuter flights out of Terminal 8. The flights must return to smaller, remote gates so that the larger terminal can accommodate new jet carriers. It's just what we needed at London/Gatwick: A capsule hotel opens on Sunday (July 1) in the South Terminal. The Yotel offers the basics in really tiny quarters (about 70 square feet) for about $50 for a four-hour stay. Yotel also offers "room" service. Texas flyers, mark your calendars: British Airways says that its flights to London from Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston/Intercontinental will relocate to Terminal 5 in Heathrow when it opens next March. The flights currently land at Gatwick.

What to Expect on the Road in July
July brings a shuffle in the California Corridor. Frontier Airlines will stop flying between Los Angeles and San Francisco on July 10. But Delta Air Lines is moving right in. Effective July 1, Delta bulks up from Los Angeles with new flights to Oakland, Sacramento, San Francisco and San Jose. Aeromexico is adding new U.S. cities to its route network. Beginning July 1, it will fly from Minneapolis to Mexico City. Three days later, it begins flying to Mexico City from Seattle. JetBlue Airways expands its flights from Salt Lake City on July 27. It will fly to San Francisco and San Diego as well as several East Coast cities. Horizon Air will launch service to San Diego from Boise, Idaho, and Spokane, Washington. The flights begin on July 22. And here's a route not too many folks asked for: Northwest Airlines begins flying nonstop between Hartford, Connecticut, and Amsterdam, Netherlands, on July 1. Air Jamaica begins flying from Fort Lauderdale to Barbados three times a week on July 22. Qatar Airways, which launched a Newark-Geneva-Doha route this week, will add a nonstop flight from Washington/Dulles to Doha on July 19. Finally, a Ritz-Carlton hotel is due to open in Moscow this month.

Business-Travel News You Need to Know
United Airlines has stopped honoring Star Alliance Upgrade Awards. No information is available right now beyond the terse announcement on the Star Alliance page. United had been honoring the upgrades for 11 months. An Arizona federal court has thrown out a lawsuit filed by Mesa Airlines against an Aloha Airlines pilot. The pugnacious Mesa had been trying to use the court to silence critics of its go! division, which operates regional-jet flights on Hawaiian inter-island routes. Delta Air Lines didn't get out of bankruptcy cheaply: Its legal and consulting tab was about $169 million. How bad are things at Alitalia? Even Aeroflot doesn't want it. The Russian carrier this week dropped out of the increasingly chaotic auction for the financially moribund Italian airline.

Really Fast Ride. Just $7 a Mile.
If you've been wondering just what U.S. Helicopter, the airline that connects Manhattan's heliports with Kennedy and Newark Airports, was going to do to make money, here's the answer. Starting tomorrow (June 29) it launches summer weekend service between Midtown Manhattan and East Hampton, the swanky beach resort near the tip of Long Island. The flight, about 112 miles, requires just 35 minutes. The price: $799 one-way. That's about $7 a mile.
ABOUT JOE BRANCATELLI Joe Brancatelli is a publication consultant, which means that he helps media companies start, fix and reposition newspapers, magazines and Web sites. He's also the former executive editor of Frequent Flyer and has been a consultant to or columnist for more business-travel and leisure-travel publishing operations than he can remember. He started his career as a business journalist and created JoeSentMe in the dark days after 9/11 while he was stranded in a hotel room in San Francisco. He lives on the Hudson River in the tourist town of Cold Spring.

THE FINE PRINT All of the opinions and material in this column are the sole property and responsibility of Joe Brancatelli. This material may not be reproduced in any form without his express written permission.

This column is Copyright 2007 by Joe Brancatelli. JoeSentMe.com is Copyright 2007 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved.