The Tactical Traveler for 2015
WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT TACTICAL TRAVELER
Joe Brancatelli created The Tactical Traveler in 1998 for the now-defunct Biztravel.com. The 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 17 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Kuwait Airways drops its New York-London route because ... hatred. United MileagePlus matches AAdvantage bonus for premium class tickets. Life at the airport gets a little nicer ... and a little easier. Hilton has several new sun and ski redemption options. And more ...

December 10 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Accor will gobble up the Fairmont chain. American Airlines will launch an international premium economy cabin. SPG loses two key hotels and picks up two ski-area properties. United says, "Let them eat stroopwafel!" Gogo introduces cheap in-flight messaging. And much more ...

December 3 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Alaska Airlines will improve first class legroom and add premium economy seats. Air Canada says show us your loonies. The DOT publicly shames airlines on damaged checked bags. SAS and Finnair add Miami flights. InterContinental expands in New York. And much more ...

November 19 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: All else might suck, but there are more and better airport clubs. Air Canada wants you to admit that you hate flying U.S. airlines. Denver gets its airport hotel and a slew of new flights. How Southwest saves $7 million a day on fuel costs. Hilton grows fast without a merger and some lodging love for upstate New York. And much more ...

November 12 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: It will be less awkward to get to Auckland. Hyatt adds online options for award booking. The federal government sues to stop a slot transfer to United at Newark. New clubs at Sea-Tac and Orlando. Lufthansa's strikes throw lifeline to Air Berlin. And much more ...

November 5 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Follow the denials in the Egypt crash. American begins its AAdvantage cuts and more are on the way. United once again puts a price on its crappy service. And now for something completely different: more Lufthansa strikes. How low can Gogo go? Starwood grows. And much more ...

October 29 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Unable to keep friends or influence policy, Delta resorts to outright lies. Does a Starwood-Hyatt merger make sense? Alaska and Delta junk their reciprocal lounge deal. Southwest juggles its route map. Air Canada returns to Seoul. And much more ...

October 22 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: The anywhere-but-Heathrow strategy is taking shape at BA and Aer Lingus. Delta jacks up the price of lounge passes. Virgin America juggles its routes at Love Field. Hawaiian Airlines channels Vizzini in coach. Starwood Hotels is back in Amsterdam. United has another new CEO. And much more ...

October 15 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: They're ba-a-a-ck! Cheap oil fuels the return of ultra-long-haul flights. The middle of the chart is the sweet spot for Marriott Cash + Points rewards. Airlines suddenly know the way to San Jose (airport) again. Hyatt abandons in-room porn. And much more ...

October 8 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: American's Main Cabin Extra gets an extra seat. Marriott Rewards matches perks from other plans. JetBlue adds Quito flights. WestJet will fly to London/Gatwick. Alaska Airlines grows in Portland. United and Delta add new international flights. And more ...

October 1 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: A Texas Love (Field) tale pits Southwest Airlines against Delta Air Lines. No surprise: Hilton and Air Canada devalue their frequency plans again. A mess of new Marriotts worldwide. More nonstop flights between the United States and Mexico. More intrigue at United. And much more ...

September 25 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Weak economy or not, more China flights and hotels. Four Air France lounges at U.S. airports now accessible via Amex Platinum and Priority Pass. United ditches moving walkways at O'Hare. Delta adds more Tel Aviv flights and a Raleigh-Paris route. And much more ...

September 17 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: American shifting to point-to-point business-travel markets at New York/LaGuardia. SAS bails on all-business class flights from Houston. British Airways adds first class to San Diego flights. Delta and American dump their interline deal. Lots more Hilton hotels. And much more ...

September 10 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Meet United's new boss, same as the old boss(es). Canada gets new international flights to Europe, Asia and Africa. Some good news on (premium class) seating. Japan Airlines returns to DFW. Pittsburgh loses more nonstops. Hotels keep changing their names and brand affiliations. And much more ...

August 27 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: First-class cabins disappear from more transpacific routes. National Car's pop-up lounges will pop up at more airports nationwide. Amtrak goes to a revenue-based frequency plan and there are some wins and some losses. British Airways and Delta add more nonstops to Great Britain. Put a tiger in your hotel room in Houston. And much more ...

August 20 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: What does American have against flying to Tel Aviv? United causes a panic with a minor change to club-access rules. SAS will add nonstops to Miami and Los Angeles. Hilton opens another bundle of hotels. Two Tube strikes hit London next week. And much more ...

August 6 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Gogo going nowhere as flyers flee high prices and bad service. British Airways will stay at JFK's Terminal 7 for seven more years. Western chains keep opening in China. LAN and TAM will operate as LATAM. United's internal critic of elite MileagePlus members departs. And much more ...

July 30 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Delta keeps us guessing on elite private-jet upgrades. Kimpton loses seven of its nine hotels in San Francisco. A passenger tunnel to Toronto's City airport opens. India's hotel market collapses. The "sharing economy" does impact business travel. A deadline for adding passport pages. And much more ...

July 16 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: A new nonstop route into inland China. Delta screws SkyMiles flyers again. More European resorts for Starwood Preferred Guest players. Helsinki/Vantaa and Denver International get direct-rail connections to downtown. California hotels switch brands. BA's parent company closes in on Aer Lingus. And much more ...

July 9 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Stop me if you've heard this: United really, really sucks. American dumping first class on two of three New York-London flights. New options in the sun for hotel-points players. Air Canada will fly to Brisbane. Why you find fewer bank ATMs at airports. And much more ....

July 2 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: JetBlue adds its checked-bag fee and tries to sell you a rose garden. Delta adds more widebody aircraft to the Transcon Triangle. Virgin Australia's game of inches in premium economy. More Hiltons worldwide. Puerto Rico's big sales-tax hike. Air Canada adds more transatlantic flights. And much more ...

June 25 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Is United headed for another "summer of hell"? JetBlue will add to Mint transcontinental service from Boston/Logan. Hyatt picks up two resorts in Latin America. Delta bails on two routes to London/Heathrow. Temporary peace at Love Field. And more ...

June 18 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: United jilts JFK and sets up a shuffle on Transcon Triangle routes. Southwest plays defense at Dallas/Love Field. Delta dumps the Seattle-Tokyo/Haneda run it fought to keep but didn't want to fly. More hotels open--but the US State Department won't stay at the Waldorf anymore. Ramadan starts the month of fasting for Muslims. And more ...

June 11 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: American tries flying to Australia for the third time. New hotels worthy of your frequency points. Delta opens private check-in and lounge services at LAX. A shake-up at the top of Philadelphia's lodging scene. Marriott adding Netflix to in-room hotels. Chris Barnett finds a rarity (good service) at United. And more ...

June 7 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Lufthansa puts a pricing gun to our heads and threatens to shoot itself in the foot. More changes in the high stakes (credit) card game. Pittsburgh has a hotel boom. Amex opens a Centurion Lounge in Miami. Gogo jacks its monthly subscription prices by 25 percent. Southwest Airlines pulls back in Akron. Apu at the airport. And more ...

May 28 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: A bad week on the road presages an awful June. BA gets closer to buying Aer Lingus. Delta and Alaska slug it out for supremacy at Sea-Tac. Air Canada improves some up front cabins on Rouge flights. More new hotels of note. FIFA's soccer scandal has a travel angle. And much more ...

May 21 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: You really need to start cashing your Delta SkyMiles and United MileagePlus miles. Singapore Air launches its premium-economy service on August 9. A barrage of new hotels worldwide. Airlines add more flights south of the border. Europe's holiday rail strikes off. And much more ...

May 14 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Rebranding and rethinking domestic premium economy. Qatar Airways adding flights to three more U.S. cities. Turkish Airlines returns to Miami. United Airlines launches two Carolina routes to it Denver hub. Luxury hotels are swapping their brand flags. And much more ...

April 30 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: New York remains the center of the business-travel universe. Alaska Airlines takes the battle of Seattle to Delta's backyard. The Ritz-Carlton Chicago converts to ... a Ritz-Carlton. New airport clubs from Virgin Atlantic, Aer Lingus and LATAM. Your knees are crushed in-flight for a good cause: big raises for the airline CEOs. A burst of new hotels in Washington. And much more ...

April 23 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: United is remaking its fleet--and that is good news. Why chains keep opening limited-service hotels. Citi really wants you to take a credit card and earn ThankYou points. Delta will fly to Colombia from Atlanta. A luxury bus now links Dallas and Houston. And much more...

April 16 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: United ditches Priority Pass and that changes the calculation for airport-lounge access. Air New Zealand will fly to Houston. Delta racks up record profits, but is cutting international flights. Southwest's seat cheat on its new coach chairs. United restores free booze to international coach flights. Travel scandals of the week. And much more...

April 9 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Delta acts like a whiny bully. Wyndham says one award price fits all (and, of course, we lose). Orlando won't dump the TSA. JetBlue sets the date for Albany flights. Virgin America heads to Hawaii. New luxury hotels in Venice and Istanbul. And much more...

March 26 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: The weekend of reckoning for the AAdvantage and Dividend Miles merger. Emirates keeps growing despite pressure from the U.S. Big Three. More hotels gush from the Hilton pipeline. JetBlue tries Mint service on island flights. Surprise! Spirit and Frontier are awful. And more...

March 12 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Delta and Alaska Airlines keep battling at Sea-Tac. Now they open more warm-weather hotels. South America routes come and go. JetBlue keeps growing at Fort Lauderdale. Hilton opens two hotels in Palo Alto. United tests p.s. service at Logan this summer. And more...

February 26 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Where have the Gogo users gone? Marriott devalues Rewards again. Starwood raises Preferred Guest costs at many U.S. hotels, lowers them internationally. Air Canada overhauls premium class on transcon runs. Delta gets competition in Atlanta. Amex adds perks to its Gold card. And more...

February 19 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Terrorism smears and fare lies as the U.S. carriers attack Gulf airlines. Virgin America will add Dallas/Love-Austin flights. Starwood bounces chief executive. China Eastern wants to start Los Angeles-Nanjing flights. Delta "pays" for late bags. And more...

February 12 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Southwest expands from Love Field again. Hyatt adds two Diamond Elite GoldPassport perks. Long tarmac holds have almost disappeared. American will use its first Dreamliners on DFW routes to Beijing and Buenos Aires. And more...

February 5 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Singapore Airlines will debut premium economy in December on U.S. routes. American juggles fees on AAdvantage awards claimed by phone. Hilton loses several key Europe locations. United bails on three more airports. Delta switches to Starbucks--from Starbucks. And more...

January 29 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Another round of frequent flyer plan cuts. American and United "rebank" hubs. Marriott buys Delta Hotels. Hyatt creates another hotel brand. An extended-stay option in London. Hilton returns to central Paris. More airport lounge options in Singapore. And more...

January 22 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Amex tests using Membership Rewards points for American and United awards. More flights to China and Canada. A San Francisco hotel changes brands--again and again and again. The dollar keeps gaining. How you can be a TSA bureaucrat, too. And more...

January 15 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: United is suddenly nervous about losing "over-entitled" MileagePlus elites. Delta swaps one problem for another with a JFK terminal addition. The DOT socks Southwest with a $1.6 million fine for tarmac holds at Midway. Marriott yields in the WiFi wars--for now. Delta adds LAX-Shanghai route. JetBlue will launch the first nonstop to Reno from the East Coast. Captain Picard is an annoying flyer. And more...

January 8 Briefing for Business Travelers
Hertz is becoming United--and United is getting worse. Delta's award-booking is still broken in Delta's favor. American, US Airways link frequency plans. A burst of new Chinese hotels. Global Entry members can use Nexus lanes at Canadian airports. And more...

January 1 Briefing for Business Travelers
British Airways adds first class to four American routes. Marriott Rewards grabs a classic Big Island resort. The battle over Delta's Seattle-Tokyo/Haneda route. After digesting AirTran, Southwest starts growing again. New names for old hotels for the new year. New rail links around the world. And more...

These columns originally appeared at JoeSentMe.com.

Copyright 1993-2015 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved.