HOME    E-MAIL JOE    PRINT    SEND MOBILE LINK    2010 COLUMNS    JOE'S ARCHIVES   SEARCH
A BRIEFING FOR JULY 8 TO JULY 22, 2010
By Joe Brancatelli

· So Much for the Washington-New York Slot Swap
· Pacific Overtures: More Flights Are on the Way
· More New Hotels in the Same Old Familiar Places
· Miami's Consolidated Car-Rental Center Opens
· Passport Fees Rise. Adding Pages? $82, Please.
· Lufthansa Avoids Strike; BA Flight Attendants Vote
· On Third Try, Obama Administration Has TSA Boss

So Much for That Washington-New York Slot Swap
So the massive slot and facilities swap that Delta Air Lines and US Airways hoped to sneak by the regulators has come to naught. The airlines dropped their plans last week and claimed that they will embark on an even more foolhardy path: suing the Department of Transportation. As you recall, Delta last year proposed taking a near-stranglehold on New York's LaGuardia Airport by absorbing the US Airways terminal there and almost 150 of the smaller carrier's take-off and landing positions. In return, Delta would give US Airways a slew of slots at Washington's National Airport, thus giving US Airways control there. The government approved the deal, but only with a carve-out of assets to allow new carriers into the crowded LaGuardia and National markets. Then the airlines tried an end-around by handpicking competitors and selling them many fewer slots than the government demanded. The DOT rejected that transparent ploy, too. So now Delta and US Airways have given up the ghost and started a legal battle for redress. Of course, both carriers have literally chosen to slow-track the court proceedings, so this is likely to take years. Which essentially means the deal is dead.

Pacific Overtures: More Service Is on the Way
It's never easy for transpacific business travelers. The long distances and the high fares make the flights tougher than they should be. So more service is always good news since it offers nonstop options in an underserved arena. Among the new routes on tap: Hawaiian Airlines will launch Honolulu-Seoul flights beginning in January. The 11-hour flight will use Boeing 767-300ERs configured with first and coach cabins. And Delta Air Lines is adding two new Japan routes in December: Honolulu-Nagoya and Tokyo-Palau. Delta will use Boeing 767-300ERs on the service. Meanwhile, Continental Airlines says that it will launch a Newark-Cairo service beginning on May 18. The flights will use Boeing 777-200ERs and operate daily during the peak season and four times a week at other times. The Greek carrier Aegean Airlines has joined the Star Alliance. On the strike front in Europe: Lufthansa has struck a deal with its unhappy pilots and that should mean an end to any strike threat at the German carrier. And British Airways flight attendants are voting on a new offer from the airline. The union has not recommended the deal. The flight attendants have struck for more than 20 days so far this year.

New Hotels in the Same Old Places
There were only four of Hyatt's Andaz hotels in all the world, but wouldn't you know it: The fifth is the Andaz 5th Avenue in New York, just a few miles north of its property on Wall Street. The new hotel has 184 rooms and it is located in buildings that once housed a department store and a fashion designer's world headquarters. A former office building has been converted into the 44-room Hotel Indigo London Tower Hill. It is the second Indigo in the British capital. Hilton has opened a 195-room hotel in The Hague. The property, in the former headquarters of Royal Dutch Telecom, is the fifth Hilton in the Netherlands. Candlewood Suites has opened its fifth property in the Indianapolis area. The 81-room hotel is on the city's East Side. Doubletree has converted two hotels. It now runs a 91-room former Four Points in the Akron suburb of Fairlawn, Ohio. It has also taken over a year-old independent property on the island of Kos, Greece, and branded the 238-room resort as the Doubletree Kos-Helona.

Here Comes Miami's Consolidated Car-Rental Center
The mixed blessing of a consolidated car-rental facility comes to Miami next week. The facility is due to open on Monday, July 12. It covers 20 acres and 3.4 million square feet of space and can accommodate 6,500 cars. Shared buses will shuttle renters from Miami's terminals to the rental building. Airport authorities claim the four-level structure will offer a "shopping mall experience." Oh, yippee. Priority Pass, the global airport club network, has added five lounges, including facilities in Guatemala's La Aurora International; at a Sofitel hotel at London/Gatwick; and at Singapore's Changi Airport. Avis has opened a car-rental facility at Kelowna International in British Columbia.

Business Travel News You Need to Know
The government is raising the price of a passport. Effective July 13, first-time passport applicants will pay $135, up from $100. The price of a passport renewal will rise to $110, up from $75. And the big hit: Adding pages to your passport will now cost $82. That service had been free. The new fee structure is here. Third time's the charm for the Obama Administration. After two failed nominations, John Pistole has been confirmed for the top job at the Transportation Security Administration. He was promptly met with a lawsuit over no-fly lists filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU claims that thousands of citizens have been barred from flying without having a chance to appeal their inclusion on the no-fly list. Delta Air Lines is dumping two commuter airlines. It is selling Mesaba and Compass (both acquired last year in the merger with Northwest Airlines) to independent regional airlines. Almost simultaneously, the Federal Aviation Administration slapped a $2.5 million fine for faulty operations on Trans States and GoJet. Trans States is the independent that purchased Compass from Delta. The FAA has also slapped a $700,000 fine on Executive Airlines, a commuter carrier owned by American Airlines.

HOME    E-MAIL JOE    PRINT    SEND MOBILE LINK    2010 COLUMNS    JOE'S ARCHIVES   SEARCH
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 2010 by Joe Brancatelli. JoeSentMe.com is Copyright 2010 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved.