THE TACTICAL TRAVELER FOR 2010

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TACTICAL TRAVELER
Joe Brancatelli created Tactical Traveler in 1998 for the now-defunct biztravel.com. The weekly column was conceived as a series of items that would make frequent business travelers more productive on the road. There was also a heaping helping of Joe's trademark skepticism about the travel industry and its practices. After the 9/11 terrorism attacks, however, Joe recreated Tactical Traveler as the news and analysis column for JoeSentMe. There's still plenty of skepticism, of course, because life on the road makes us a wary lot.

December 29 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: Airlines and online travel agencies go to war; Hilo, Hawaii, gets a mainland flight link again; legacy carriers raise roundtrip fares by $20; Harlem gets its first major hotel in a century; Alfred Kahn, the Father of Deregulation, dies at 93; WiFi is now free at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport; Moscow's airports hit by an ice storm and blackout; and much more.

December 16 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: Southwest Airlines fills out its 2011 Newark schedule; the Airport Transit Guide kills its print edition in favor of a phone app; Cathay Pacific adds flights to Chicago/O'Hare; Lufthansa will put the A380 on the JFK-Frankfurt run; new hotels in Pittsburgh, Austin ... and Texarkana; airlines push through fare hike; the long and winding road that leads to El Bulli; and more.

December 2 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: Free Platinum status from InterContinental's PriorityClub Rewards; Denver gets a new airport club and a revived Clear; United backs off upgrade cutbacks for elites; Amex's new Platinum benefit is less than it seems; a rash of reflaggings at full-service hotels; signs of life for in-flight Internet; another columnist says what I say about security; and more.

November 18 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: United and Continental start their frequent flyer program merger and there's controversy already; Delta ramps up the international flying again; American AAdvantage's new partner is JetBlue; Southwest and United-Continental battle in Denver; Taj Hotels renovates a lavish palace in India; St. Regis opens resort in Shangri La; and more.

November 11 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: United and Continental do independent business-class upgrades; JW Marriott branches open in Miami and Chicago; a bad week for the A380 or the Dreamliner; free holiday WiFi on Delta, AirTran, Virgin America; Boingo picks up 36,000 hotspots in South Korea; Star Alliance adds three Latin America carriers; Air Canada and WestJet impose domestic bag fees; and more.

November 4 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: The GOP wave wipes out a House aviation big shot; Delta is giving away SkyMiles Silver Elite status; KLM will resume Miami-Amsterdam flights; BA's credit card dumps the 3 percent forex fee; Qantas grounds a380s after an engine failure; Southwest hits bottom in on-time ratings; how much has TSA loosened the 3-1-1 rule?; and much more.

October 28 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: 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; trading tickets for desserts at Cathay Pacific; and more.

October 21 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: Southwest Airlines adds flights to South Carolina in March; big changes are coming to Los Angeles International; why you may be changing hotel chains next year; WestJet finds an American Partner: American Airlines; JetBlue adds more warm-weather destinations; Amtrak records record traffic and revenue; a delayed report says airline delays cost $16.7 billion; and more.

October 14 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: Why legacy airlines don't make long-term money; more international flights are on the way; new hotels in New York, Waikiki ... and Lagos; Pittsburgh is a hot airport town again; thoughts on the effectiveness of hotel frequent guest programs; the TSA adds its 200th whole-body airport scanner; long tarmac holds have almost disappeared; and more.

October 7 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: Air France on strike Tuesday, doesn't tell flyers; after Midwest, Frontier shuffles the flight deck; The Savoy reopens after costly, three-year fix; more WiFi arrives, on the ground and in the air; better economy means more international flights; Red Carpet Clubs offer free booze and free WiFi; the soap opera at the Pittsburgh hotel continues; and more.

September 23 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: More strikes and travel taxes coming to Europe; Omni juggles and rebrands its U.S. hotel lineup; the worst on-time airlines now? Delta and Comair; New York's Algonquin joins the Marriott non-brand; Admirals Club members get free booze in clubs; Wyndham franchises Planet Hollywood name; I spy with my little eye a meaning for Bmi's 'I'; and more.

September 16 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: Continental ... uh ... United-Continental dumps Amex Membership Rewards; Ritz-Carlton finally joins Marriott Rewards; AirTran and JetBlue lock horns on Tampa-San Juan; Hilton's Pittsburgh hotel goes to Wyndham; Virgin America takes on American at DFW; an InterContinental opens in Mendoza, Argentina; the world's third CitizenM opens in Glasgow; and more.

September 2 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: Delta makes a run at Heathrow Airport; a slew of new hotels opens worldwide; Raleigh-Durham is a new airline battleground; US Airways adds weird routes from New York; new routes to Mexico after Mexicana tanks; Bangkok opens its city-to-airport rail link; why we hate the airlines; and more.

August 19 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: American Airlines ramps up fees and the legacy carriers shrink again; LAN and TAM merge to create a Latin American giant; major changes in the downtown Atlanta hotel market; no strike at British airports this summer after all; more hotel rooms for New York and Shanghai; Delta improves its policies on SkyMiles upgrades; AirTran raises its first checked bag fee to $20; and more.

August 5 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: U.S. hotel chains are expanding fast overseas; Delta makes its big move at two New York airports; Hilton gives its elite members free Internet worldwide; Mexicana goes bust and stops ticket sales; Registered Traveler returns ... in Indianapolis; Marriott opens its second hotel at Atlanta airport; Singapore Airlines wants paperless in-flight cabin; and more.

July 29 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: Oneworld grows in Europe and Star shrinks in China; Alaska Airlines grows hot and cold, profitably; Delta grows in New York and Washington, but cuts Cincinnati; Continental shuffles check-in positions at Newark; AmeriTel Inns begin shift to the LaQuinta brand; FAA fines Comair $275,000 over denied boarding; the DOT will fine Continental for bad landing gear; and more.

July 22 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: Now you can get to Tokyo/Haneda from here; JetBlue cuts a feeder deal with El Al for Tel Aviv; Pink's, LA's famous hot dog, is now sold at LAX; the next BA strike watch; the construction is (mostly) done at San Jose; eight new gates open at Miami's North Terminal; the inventor of the airline 'black box' dies at 85; and more.

July 15 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: Business travel is not back to normal; another big-deal hotel for midtown Manhattan; BA, American and Iberia get antitrust immunity; the mash-up formerly known as Frontier and Midwest Airlines; no airport is an island, not even in Lake Ontario; Got Amex Platinum? Go to US Airways Clubs free; the Euro bounces back fast against the dollar; and more.

July 8 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: So much for the big 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 next week; Passport fees rise and adding pages gets very expensive; Lufthansa avoids a pilot's strike while BA flight attendants vote; the Obama Administration finally gets a TSA boss; and more.

June 24 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: Hotel chains head to secondary Europe markets; How's Virgin America doing? Not so great, frankly; American Airlines adds two new routes to Brazil; the next British Airways strike may hit on August 3; Spirit forgot to tell flight attendants to come back to work; American Airlines now sells early boarding perks; OpenSkies "expands" via a deal with French Rail; and more.

June 10 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: Delta's second-class first-class expansion; the spring strikes over, British Airways faces summer strikes; downtown Seattle gets two more chain hotels; It's a secret: Spirit faces a strike this weekend; more WiFi for Amtrak, no WiFi for Continental; Jo'Burg Airport gets a high-speed rail link; the Euro leaps back above the $1.20 level; and more.

June 3 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: the DOT tries to level the playing field for flyers with new airline regulations; Delta ends redemption fees for SkyMiles awards; the facts contradict blather about fares and demand; Frontier lowers or eliminates some annoying fees; Alitalia launches a premium economy class; Do you want free underwear from an airline?; Tim Hortons plans a big expansion; and more.

May 27 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: A blizzard of hotel openings and reflaggings; American is selling AAdvantage miles by the flight; JetBlue and Southwest go to war with USAirways; Frontier and AirTran battle in Milwaukee; third time the charm for Obama's TSA nominee?; the euro drops, but not as fast as the "experts" say; Alaska adds in-flight WiFi, Continental adds TVs; and more.

May 13 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: Back to the future (Haneda Airport) for travel to Tokyo; Hilton gets another Sicily hotel; Starwood adds a new Le Meridien in Philadelphia; Southwest says it's flying to South Carolina; Delta Air Lines bulks up (again) in New York City; Spirit and its pilots are 30 days from a strike; and much more.

May 6 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: Will Registered Traveler programs live again?; DOT slams the door again on a Delta-US Airways deal; Hotel profits plunge in 2009, so new hotels open; second-guessing Sully's "Miracle on the Hudson"; American AAdvantage and Marriott Rewards part ways; Avis says it may top Hertz' bid for Dollar Thrifty; Have an Amex SkyMiles card? Get a free checked bag from Delta; and more.

April 29 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: Carry-on liquids rule extended three more years; JetBlue makes its move into Washington's National Airport; Hyatt devaluates Gold Passport's award chart; Southwest bulks up again in Boston and Minneapolis; Europe's debt crisis drives down the euro's value; United rejiggers coach layout on its Boeing 777s; Frontier is adding WiFi service on some of its RJs; and more.

April 22 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: US Airways bails on United. Woe is Glenn Tilton; Hyatt replaces Four Seasons at fancy resort near San Diego; new international flights; the Savoy's reopening has been delayed--again; Alaska Airlines launches still more Hawaii service; JetBlue goes suburban with Hartford flights; Will fuel surcharges return?; and more.

April 15 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: Do you know the name of your New York City hotel?; Midwest Airlines disappears into Frontier; shifting service at North American airports; Ritz-Carlton is out, Renaissance is In in Detroit; GoGo adds a monthly rate for cross-airline WiFi service; AirTran Airways continues to grow its route network; Courtyard by Marriott adds two hotels in India; and much more.

April 1 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: American and JetBlue are suddenly strange bedfellows in the Big Apple; two hotels in one in downtown Los Angeles; Delta launches an O'Hare-LaGuardia "Shuttle"'; Obama's second choice for TSA boss bails; US Airways and Southwest roll out in-flight WiFi; British Airways flyers wait on news of the next strike; two classic Nashville buildings become one hotel; and more.

March 25 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: Delta-US Air try again on LGA-DCA slot swap; Parc 55 in San Francisco changes brands again; big airlines fly small planes to smaller airports; Southwest Airlines leaves Amex membership; the Euro is falling fast against the U.S. dollar; the FAA slaps Delta with a $1.5 million safety fine; Canadian government officials behave badly at airports; and more.

March 18 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: Free food in coach is dead. Does anyone care?; FAA slaps American with two more big safety fines; Virgin America bails on Orange County flights; Oxnard, 55 miles from LAX, is off the route map; Lufthansa opens a beer garden at Munich Airport; Do we need an MSP-Gander-London route?; Westin opens hotel in Austin's Domain complex; and more.

March 11 Briefing for Business Travelers
The airline war against passenger's rights begins; More free internet for Marriott Rewards Elites; Cincinnati to Delta: We're not a dead hub yet; Frontier and Midwest will soon cease to exist; private Branson Airport starts its own airline; US Airways fined for fare-display violations; passengers keep flying in context in Canada; and more.

March 4 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: American's "first class" solution to tiny RJs; Continental will sell exit rows seats; Starwood devalues SPG by standing still; United aligns Mileage Plus to OnePass; a sudden boost in service to Africa; Hilton opens a Garden Inn in New Delhi; the Euro tumbles against the greenback; and more.

February 25 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: A Kennedy runway shuts next week; what the world doesn't need now: more new hotels; Alaska Airlines goes to Gogo for in-flight WiFi service, but Southwest chooses Row 44; do you want to fly to Tokyo's Haneda Airport?; Marriott Rewards changes the price of 650 hotels; OpenSkies will fly from Washington/Dulles to Paris/Orly; smaller fleets mean rising car-rental rates; and more.

February 18 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: Southwest takes on US Airways in Philadelphia; Lufthansa's strike is also a Star Alliance strike; Best Western offers "status match" to any elite in any other hotel program; Alaska Air rolls out new elite level for 75K flyers; Delta and US Airways may scrub the LGA-DCA gate swap; American adds fees for blankets and standby travel; Boston/Logan offers free WiFi; and more.

February 4 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: Continental bulks up on Newark-London route; Washington/Dulles gets an inter-terminal train; fugly old Sheraton hotels by any other name; have subsidy, will fly at AirTran; Northwest Airlines is officially dead; United introduces one-way Mileage Plus awards; new hotels for Super Bowl and Olympics fans; and much more.

January 28 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: Can't raise fares? Hike sleazy surcharges; All Nippon will step into the JAL bankruptcy gap; when you're in a deep hotel hole, stop digging; Air Canada will fly to seven more U.S. airports; a carousel switch at San Jose airport; Continental Airlines restores two routes from Cleveland; a security screener plants "evidence" on a flyer; and more.

January 21 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: If at first you don't succeed, raise bag fees; Hyatt makes a move on New York, grows Andaz; a burst of new international flights this spring; Virgin America is an American airline (sort of); Starwood adds three new hotels in China; Amtrak puts WiFi on Acela Express trains; no praying on planes; BA faces another strike vote; and more.

January 7 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: American Airlines is now worst of the worst; Starwood loses most of its Israel hotels; it's been a busy few weeks at the airports; Continental tests two types of in-flight WiFi; Amex points are now valid on BA; India tightens its visa rules; duck the excess-bag fees, lose your job; and more.

These columns originally appeared at JoeSentMe.com.

Copyright 1993-2010 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved.