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THE BRIEFING FOR OCT. 28 TO NOV. 5, 2010
By Joe Brancatelli
· The TSA Gets Scary on the Day After Halloween
· Go South to a Warmer Place on Miles and Points
· KL International Closes Its Airport Shuttle Train
· Intermodal Transit Debuts at Providence Airport · Southwest Sets Its Internet Price: $5 a Flight
· Tracking the (Christmas) Markets in Europe
· Just Desserts: Free Tickets From Cathay Pacific
'Twill Be the Day After Halloween and the TSA Gets Scary
We've already talked about those scary, badly worded warning E-mails you got from the airlines about the Secure Flight program. And next week we'll all get to watch the big, bad, scary Transportation Security Administration get all spooky with us. Monday (November 1) is when the TSA says that it will begin enforcing the strictures of Secure Flight. (Its explanation is here.) Make sure you've updated your profile with your carriers to include your name as it appears on your chosen form of checkpoint ID; your date of birth; and your gender. The TSA claims that "small differences in the name on the boarding pass and ID, like middle initials, should not impact your travel." Of course, we all know what that means. Each individual TSA checkpoint agent gets to decide what is or isn't a "small difference." Scary, indeed.
South to a Warmer Place … a Lot of Them
I'd like to give you double miles or points if you recognize the headline as an obscure Alex Wilder song, but I can't give you anything but love (Dorothy Fields). On the other hand, the folks who do give out miles and points are actually adding places where you can use them. And they are mostly, well, south to a warmer place. So sit right down and write yourself a memo about these (Joe Young). … Continental One Pass members will be happy to know that Continental adds flights between its Newark hub and Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, on February 18. … Starwood Preferred Guest players need to know that a 139-room St. Regis hotel opens next week in the Bahia Beach resort in Puerto Rico. Next May, Starwood will add a Westin in Costa Rica when it reflags the 406-room Paradisus Playa Conchal Resort in Guanacaste. … Two big-deal Las Vegas casino resorts--The Venetian and The Palazzo--have joined the InterContinental Priority Club Rewards program. Priority Club players can earn and burn points at both mega-resorts. … Hyatt Gold Passport players take note: Hyatt is turning the shuttered Wailea Beach Resort on Maui into a 290-room Andaz. It's due to open late in 2012. Over the years, the property on Mokapu Beach has been called a Stouffer and a Renaissance. The hotel closed in 2007. … Speaking of Hawaii, Marriott Rewards players get a new property, too. The 311-room Courtyard Kauai is a reflagging of a property formerly known as the Aston Kauai Beach and, once upon a time, the Sheraton.
More Trains in Providence, Fewer in Kuala Lumpur
A new intermodal transportation facility has opened at T.F. Green Airport in Providence, Rhode Island. The $267 million InterLink encompasses a parking garage, airport car-rental companies and a commuter-rail station. A skywalk connects the InterLink to the airline terminals. Rail service, which will extend as far as Boston, begins next year. … The aerotrain at Kuala Lumpur International will close on Monday (November 1) for six months of construction. The most affected area: the satellite building housing Gates C1 to C37, home to most of KL's international flights. The train will be replaced by shuttle buses, which require at least 15 additional minutes of transit time. … Bet you didn't predict this: The newest airline at Anchorage is JetBlue Airways. It'll fly seasonal nonstops to Long Beach, California, starting on May 26. … Joplin Regional Airport in Missouri gets desperately needed new service beginning on February 10. American Eagle, the American Airlines commuter carrier, launches daily fights from its Dallas/Fort Worth hub using 64-seat turboprops.
It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (Markets)
Business travelers rarely have the time or inclination to shop, but frequent travelers to Europe know it's getting to be the time of the year to make an exception. All throughout Europe, charming and quirky "Christmas markets" pop up outdoors in town squares and parks. The offerings vary from market to market, of course, but savvy frequent flyers will find bargains everywhere: tree ornaments, local jewelry and crafts, stocking stuffers, small pieces of furniture, and even specialty foods and fashions. One example: Several years ago, at a Christmas market in Cracow, Poland, I purchased four exquisite glass ornaments in a rustic wooden box for about $10. The same item was offered by a major U.S. retailer for $85. Need to know the location of the Christmas market in the European city you're visiting? Try About.com. And I'd like to draw your attention to the Germany at Christmas blog just launched by JoeSentMe.com member Joy Anderson. The Germans do Christmas right and Joy brings the…well…joy. Meanwhile, Travel Insider David Rowell tells me he's still got a few berths available for his annual Christmas Market cruise of the Rhine. The information is here.
Business Travel News You Need to Know
Southwest Airlines has priced its new in-flight Internet service: $5 per flight, regardless of length of the trip or the device used. Southwest uses an Internet service called Row 44 and the airline says it'll have 60 aircraft wired by the end of the year. … Speaking of Southwest, it has cut a deal with Mexico's Volaris. Starting on December 1, Southwest flyers can book flights from 20 U.S. cities to five Mexican destinations: Cancun, Guadalajara, Morelia, Toluca/Mexico City, and Zacatecas. … Interesting promotion from Cathay Pacific: It'll award a pair of business-class tickets to Hong Kong to the person who creates the most interesting Asian-inspired dessert and posts it on Facebook. The details are here. … Transatlantic flyers take note: Daylight Saving Time ends in Europe on Sunday, October 31. The United States doesn't switch until Sunday, November 7. Plan accordingly.
Hey, Thanks for That Carry-On Ban, Marty…
British Airways chairman Martin Broughton this week unleashed a tirade against U.S. government security procedures. Speaking to a group of British airport operators, Broughton called many American security procedures "completely redundant." He also said other countries shouldn't "kowtow to the Americans every time they wanted something done." Broughton noted that America "does not do internally a lot of the things they demand that we do. We shouldn't stand for that." It's hard to argue with Broughton, of course, but, really Marty, have you forgotten the British government's 2006 ban on all carry-ons? That Kafkaesque bit of overreaction clogged London/Heathrow and other U.K. airports for months and forced travelers to check items like laptops, jewelry and other expensive goods and gear. Nothing before or after 9/11 matched that bit of governmental insanity. Broughton never uttered a peep in those goofy days.
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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.