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THE BRIEFING FOR OCTOBER 18-25, 2007
By Joe Brancatelli

· A Special Report: What's Coming Next in the Skies
· Singapore Airlines Has Double Beds on the A380
· Delta Connects Small Towns to Secondary Hubs
· Another Burst of New Flights Around the World
· AirTran, JetBlue Continue Breakneck Expansions
· Air France and Delta Will Add Four New Routes
· Jet Airways Makes Brussels Its Hub to India


Singapore Will Offer Double Beds in First Class on Its Airbus 380s
Singapore Airlines took delivery of its first Airbus A380 on Monday (October 15) and says that it will put the double-decked leviathan into service on October 28 between Singapore and Sydney. The plane will be configured with a total of 471 seats in three classes: coach, business and first. The biggest news about Singapore's big plane? The configuration up front in first class. There will be 12 so-called "Singapore Suites," each of which is a private cabin with sliding doors. The suites will be arranged 1-2-1 and there's a wonderful twist to those two suites in the middle. As you can see by the photo, the back walls of the suites can be lowered to allow the seats to be made up into a double bed. Each suite also includes a 23-inch video monitor; a chaise lounge for companion seating; a coat closet; an AC power receptacle and two USB ports; and a foldable, height-adjustable table.

Delta Connects Small Towns to Its Secondary Hubs
With its Atlanta hub overburdened and the on-time performance of its New York/Kennedy hub plummeting, Delta has had to look elsewhere to connect smaller cities to its network. And some of the solutions are interesting. In northern New York, for example, Delta is opting to link Saranac Lake and Plattsburgh to its small Boston/Logan operation. Beginning October 31, there will be three weekday flights and less-frequent weekend service on each route. Meanwhile, Delta has chosen its small Cincinnati hub for connecting service to Cape Girardeu, Missouri; Jackson, Tennessee; and Owensboro, Kentucky. There will be two daily weekday flights and less-frequent weekend service on each route beginning November 18.

Another Burst of New Flights Around the World
There seems to be no end of demand for new international flights, so airlines are launching service on as many new routes as they can find. American Airlines, for example, will launch six weekly flights from its Chicago/O'Hare hub to Moscow. Two-class Boeing 767 service begins on June 2. Air Canada begins daily Toronto-Madrid service on June 15 using Boeing 767s. Delta Air Lines begins six weekly Atlanta-Stockholm flights on June 3. Delta also won the right to launch service from Atlanta to Shanghai next year. And in case you missed it: Jet Airways of India adds another route to Brussels on October 28. There will be a daily three-class Boeing 777 flight from New York/Kennedy. That means Jet now flies to Brussels from JFK, Newark and Toronto and then flies from Brussels to three Indian cities: Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai.

AirTran and JetBlue Continue Their Breakneck Expansions
Get out your scorecard (or your schedule) because the two fastest-growing alternate carriers, JetBlue Airways and AirTran Airways have announced another tranche of rapid growth. Let's start with AirTran. From Tampa, it will add service to Boston (December 20); Minneapolis (January 8); Detroit (February 14); and Pittsburgh (February 16). From Milwaukee, it will add flights to Phoenix, Fort Myers and Tampa on December 20. From West Palm Beach, it will add service to Boston/Logan, Baltimore/Washington and Newburgh, New York, on November 7. From Fort Myers, it will launch service from Boston (November 7); Chicago/Midway (November 7); White Plains, New York (November 15); and Flint, Michigan (November 7). Other additions: Orlando-Raleigh (February 14); St. Louis-Sarasota (November 7); Fort Myers-Akron/Canton (November 7); Rochester, New York-Fort Lauderdale (November 15) and Baltimore/Washington-Miami (November 15). Over at JetBlue, there'll be new routes from Florida to the Northeast. That includes flights from Orlando to Buffalo and Rochester, New York (November 15); and Portland, Maine, and Burlington, Vermont (January 10). There will also be new flights from Fort Lauderdale to Richmond, Virginia (November 1); Charlotte (January 10) and Raleigh-Durham (January 10). Other new routes: New York/JFK-St. Maarten (January 10); JFK-Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic (January 17); and Salt Lake City-Burbank (December 15).

Business-Travel News You Need to Know
The so-called open skies agreement between the United States and the European Community goes into effect next spring and it means carriers will be free to fly virtually anywhere between the U.S. and Europe. Several major carriers are expected to launch new routes and new types of service, but Delta Air Lines and Air France are first out of box with specifics. The carriers announced yesterday (October 17) that they will collaborate on at least four new routes: Atlanta-London/Heathrow; New York/JFK-Heathrow; JFK-Lyon; and Kennedy-Paris/Orly. The routes start between late March and July 15. There were at least three fare increases in the last week. The net effect: fare hikes of $5 to $15 each way on most routes served by the Big Six and Southwest Airlines. Egyptair will join the Star Alliance next year and all of the Star Alliance carriers will move to Cairo's Terminal 3 in the third quarter of 2008.
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.