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THE BRIEFING FOR EARLY JUNE, 2013
By Joe Brancatelli
· New JFK Terminal Doesn't Solve Delta's Hub Split
· American Launching Flights From Miami to Milan
· Planning to Cash Miles for Hawaii? Better Hurry...
· Eden Roc in Miami Beach Wants to Toss Marriott
· Burst of Limited-Service Hotels Around the World
· Avianca-Taca Ends LAX, JFK Flights to Costa Rica
· United Adds New Club Lounge at Seattle-Tacoma
Delta's New JFK Terminal Is Shiny, But Its Hub Remains Split
The debut of Delta Air Lines' extension of Terminal 4 at Kennedy Airport in New York went off mostly without a hitch last Friday, May 24. It also means that the open sore that is Delta's JFK hub is partially healed. Delta's bank of nine new and seven renovated gates at T4 Concourse B replaces the iconic, but incredibly shabby, former Pan Am Worldport that had been designated Terminal 3. With Terminal 3 now closed, Delta splits its JFK operations between the new T4 gates and Terminal 2, an operation first opened in 1962 to service Braniff, Northeast and Northwest airlines, the latter two of which were merged into Delta. Here is what you need to know about Delta's still-bifurcated Delta hub:
Delta's T4 gates (designated B) are dedicated to Delta's international flights and its transcontinental flights to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.
Delta's remaining JFK flights, including Delta Connection commuter service, continue to operate from Terminal 2, where gates are now called C60 to C70. The two terminals are connected with a bus from Gate B23 that takes about 20 minutes. (The long run is because the bus must navigate around the moribund Terminal 3.) Luggage allowing, you're probably better off walking landside for a connection.
Delta has opened a 24,000-square-foot SkyClub in Terminal 4. It offers a 2,000-square-foot outdoor roof deck, several bars, food for sale and a variety of seating and work areas.
In addition to existing dining options in Terminal 4, new restaurants on Delta's B Concourse include Blue Smoke, a BBQ joint from New York superstar Danny Meyer; Shake Shack, Meyer's ridiculously popular burger-and-fries joint; and Uptown Brasserie from chef Marcus Samuelson, best known for the Red Rooster in Harlem.
Delta will immediately start on another extension of Terminal 4. That'll add 11 more gates, mostly for Delta Connection flights. It's due in 2015. A third phase will eventually add even more gates, allowing Delta to close Terminal 2. Meanwhile, 30 other international carriers also use Terminal 4.
American Airlines Will Fly Nonstop Between Miami and Milan
With the Italian economy reeling, airlines have been cutting back on flights to Rome and Milan. In fact, Alitalia is back in survival mode with managers scrambling to come up with another, multi-year rescue plan. But the bad news notwithstanding, American Airlines says that it will launch a daily flight between its Miami hub and Milan/Malpensa on November 21. The route will be operated with 218-seat Boeing 767s. ... United Airlines says that business- and first-class cabins on all of its long-haul international flights from its Newark hub now offer lie-flat bed seating. ... Avianca-Taca, the Latin American carriers that merged in 2010, abruptly dropped five routes into Costa Rica last week. That includes flights to the Costa Rican capital of San Jose from Los Angeles and New York.
Planning to Cash Miles for Hawaii? Better Hurry...
Hoarding frequent flyer miles for an Hawaiian holiday? That may not be a great idea because three big players in the Hawaii market are slashing capacity in the months ahead. In August, United Airlines will cut its daily Washington/Dulles-Honolulu nonstop run to just one flight a week. Hawaiian Airlines is reducing its New York/JFK-Honolulu route to five times weekly from its original daily schedule. Hawaiian is also reducing capacity on Hawaii routes from Sam Jose and Las Vegas. And Alaska Airlines, which runs about 20 percent of its seats from West Coast airports to Hawaii, is planning even more extensive cuts. Over the next few months, Alaska will slash Hawaii capacity by about 7.4 percent. The major reductions will be on flights from San Jose and Oakland to Lihue, Kauai, and Kona on the Big Island. ... Effective June 22, Gold and Platinum members of the Marriott Rewards program will get free breakfast seven days a week at the chain's full-service properties in the United States and Canada. Until now, the free-breakfast perk was limited to weekdays. But Marriott still can't quite get its corporate head around the concept: The chain's resorts will continue to charge elite guests for breakfast. ... Chase did a good job getting the news out last week while I was under the weather, but just in case you missed it: The United Explorer Card is now free from foreign-exchange fees. It's the first basic-level card tied to a frequent flyer program that exempts cardholders from the forex charge.
Another Burst of Limited-Service Hotels Opens Around the World
Big hotel chains like to tout their big, fancy, 4- and 5-star properties, but many of us now stay in limited-service properties as they open around the country and around the world. And guess what? Despite the 5-star hoopla, hotel chains open a lot more limited-service places these days than lodging palaces. This week's new openings: another Courtyard by Marriott in Manhattan, this one a 224-room outpost on West 37th Street. A 286-room Courtyard also opened in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. ... An 87-room Hyatt House extended-stay hotel opened in Minot, the first Hyatt of any kind in North Dakota. ... An 87-room Hampton Inn opened in Middletown, Ohio. ... InterContinental opened a 75-room Candlewood Suites extended-stay hotel in Lithia Springs, a suburb of Atlanta. ... Watch this one, folks: The owners of the Eden Roc Hotel in Miami Beach are trying to oust Marriott as manager of the recently restored luxury property. A judge in New York has ruled that, despite a contract that ties the hotel owners to Marriott's Renaissance brand, the Eden Roc can, indeed, toss Marriott. At the moment, though, Marriott still lists the Eden Roc on its Web site.
Business-Travel News You Need to Know
Star Alliance flyers take note: United Airlines has opened a new United Club at Seattle-Tacoma. The 6,100-square-foot club is in Concourse A, where United finally consolidated its former United and former Continental flights. ... American Airlines had the equivalent of about 59,000 full-time workers in March, down about 10 percent from March, 2012. The airline declared bankruptcy the previous November. ... Speaking of American, rank-and-file workers aren't the only ones hurting. AA chief executive Tom Horton, who'll essentially lose his gig when the merger with US Airways is concluded, is once again taking flak for his $20 million in severance. The Justice Department is now officially opposing the payment, claiming it exceeds bankruptcy rules. But fear not for Horton. Inevitably, he'll get his dough from the merged (and not in bankruptcy) carrier when he leaves about a year after the merger is done. ... American Express sent a note this week to Platinum Card holders reminding them that Amex will reimburse the $100 fee for joining Global Entry, the government's international customs-bypass program. But Amex said it will not reimburse membership in Nexus and Sentri, two other customs programs.
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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 © 2013 by Joe Brancatelli. JoeSentMe.com is Copyright © 2013 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved.