The Tactical Traveler for 2016
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 22 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Ms. Chao thanks you and hopes she passes DOT audition. Alaska Air and Delta kill their code-share deal. Hyatt awakens from slumber and opens some new hotels. Lufthansa and its striking pilots go to arbitration. Cathay Pacific rescinds an unpopular baggage rule. And more.

December 15 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: United's new coach squeeze on long-haul flights and its part-time Polaris performance. Alaska Air and Virgin America link frequency plans. Hertz boots its chief executive, but not because the service stinks. Drury Hotels heads east with a notable Pittsburgh hotel. Qantas plans the first nonstop Europe-Australia link. And more.

December 8 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: The DOT approves the Alaska Air-Virgin America merger, but it'll cost Alaska. New hotels in prime destinations where you can burn points. Air Canada adds flights to four U.S. cities. United scraps more Europe routes. Old hotels, new names. Delta upgrades coach snacks. And more.

December 1 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Trump drains the swamp into the Department of Transportation. United opens new airport lounges in Los Angeles and Chicago. El Al hit by surprise strikes. United dumps German routes on short notice. Phony Marriott brand chart wows the media. And more.

November 17 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: United's new plan is to give you even less and charge you even more. Delta will add lie-flat beds to more New York routes, at least temporarily. So much for that Alitalia revival. Turkish Airlines cuts, too. Big cities, new hotels. Buffet's back in the airline game. And more.

November 10 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Nobody knows nothing about birthing no Trump Administration. American and Alaska airlines change their upgrade rules. JetBlue continues to build out its transcontinental route system. Hampton Inn in the vineyards. France ramps up security. And more.

November 3 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Delta cuts back in Italy, but finds a partner in India. JetBlue brings back perks on the New York-Boston shuttle run. Hilton and Marriott bulk up around the world. Homeland Security balks at state driver licenses. Gogo usage picks up, prices fall. And more.

October 27 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Hyatt will revamp and rename its loyalty program. Iberia adds premium economy cabin. British Airways opens two new U.S. gateways. Is Nashville the nation's priciest hotel city? Heathrow will get its third runway. Delta will add private-jet awards. And more.

October 13 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Is Delta playing bait-and-switch games? Emirates will launch a Fort Lauderdale route. American bails on two New York State airports. Marriott is building mid-level hotels faster than any other chain. American swaps codes on domestic first class. And more.

October 6 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Don't feed--or talk to--the bearded man in the O'Hare United Club. Amex Platinum giveth--and taketh away. Another clutch of new international routes. Houston gets what it doesn't need: more hotels. The strangest of strange political bedfellows. And more.

September 29 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Flying American in the next few days? Cross your fingers and plan for delays. More places to use your hotel points for fun in the sun. Delta and Air Canada expand international route networks. Hilton grows frantically even without a merger. And more.

September 22 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Marriott completes the Starwood deal and immediately lets you link frequent stay accounts and transfer points. Despite weak business, airlines add international routes. Phoenix will close a runway for a month. In case you've forgotten: The TSA is a failure and lies about its failures. More dining options at major hub airports. And more.

September 8 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: JetBlue and Delta will duke it out at Boston/Logan. La Compagnie and British Airways cutting all-business class flights to London. Delta and Korean Air are making nice again. American juggles overseas routes. Airlines banning Samsung Galaxy Note 7. And more.

September 1 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Lots more flights will let you cruise over Trump's real or imagined Mexico wall. Delta devaluates SkyMiles again. Hyatt ups the award price of timeshare properties. Marriott grows fast even without Starwood merger. Delta moves all London/Heathrow flights to Terminal 3. United's new president is a familiar face with a wad of new cash. And more.

August 18 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Time to avoid New York/LaGuardia now that its ground woes are as bad as its flight problems. Delta will add suites with doors and walls to business class. A burst of hotels open in smaller markets. JetBlue bulks up in Long Beach and Delta adds flights at Boston/Logan. Air France juggles its West Africa schedule. And more.

August 11 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: No, you can't hide from politics in business travel. Delta pulls the plug on its Narita hub. JetBlue finds new markets for its Mint service. Air Berlin takes another run at the U.S. flyer. Denver Airport adds power ports. United bails on Newcastle route. And more.

July 28 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: The spoils of victory over ISIS? More terrorism. Virgin America adding more transcon flights to Newark. U.S. airlines start slashing flights to England. Hilton plans more than 900 new hotels in the United States. The Oneworld Alliance's two-ticket mess. How commuter carriers collapse in bad weather. And more.

July 21 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Southwest Airlines shows how to delay flights and still win frequent-flying friends. Alaska Airlines adds three transcontinental routes from Newark. American implements a series of big AAdvantage devaluations. Four U.S. airlines get daytime flights to Tokyo/Haneda. And more.

July 14 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: American's credit card deal indicates banks are slowing the gravy train. A very bad week, financially and legally, for United at Newark. Hilton and Marriott are running away with the hotel market. New ways to get PreCheck free or cheap. And more.

July 7 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Every airline gets a route to Havana. Hilton and Hyatt adjust award pricing. Alaska Airlines cuts earnings for American flights. A burst of hotels in New York State. U.S.-Tokyo routes shift to Haneda. Chase's Olympic perks for United cardholders. And more.

June 23 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Sitting in and running away in Congress on no-fly lists. American Express opens a Centurion Lounge at IAH. Nashville and Raleigh-Durham doing fine 20 years after American Airlines bailed. Ready for two million more hotel rooms around the world? Meet the new United, same as the old United. And more.

June 16 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Some progress on the fate of Egyptair Flight 804. Marriott Rewards adds a slew of hotels in vacation destinations. First Cuba routes go to JetBlue, American and Silver Airways. Singapore Airlines is now playing catch-up with ... United Airlines. And more.

June 9 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: American Airlines thanks you for your past business. Now pay up again. Even for France, it's an extraordinary season of strikes. Three mid-market brands represent 45 percent of new hotel construction. T-Mobile gives customers free in-flight WiFi and Delta gives passengers free in-flight entertainment. Thai Airways really hates LAX. And more.

June 2 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: What United Airlines isn't saying about its new business class. Sunny and exotic new places to burn hotel points. Is it cheating when the TSA is already incompetent? Delta and Virgin Atlantic swap London routes. Hilton opens a slew of hotels in the Midwest. And more.

May 26 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: United Airlines says let's get small and slashes routes. American AAdvantage flyers now have another sun route. Chase Ultimate Rewards points now transfer to the Air France/KLM Flying Blue program. It's Marriott's world, we just sleep in it. It's strike season in France and your flights will be affected. And more.

May 19 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: There's absolutely no proof EgyptAir 804 was the victim of terrorism. Delta has figured out how to make SkyMiles worse. Alaska Airlines is taking on Southwest in California. Hilton is bulking up rapidly without a merger. Hyatt Place opens near London and in Phuket, Thailand. And more.

May 12 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Airlines (literally) have you coming and going. ANA launches flights to Tokyo/Haneda from New York and Chicago. Alaska's Mileage Plan adds another international partner. Marriott opens a slew of limited-service hotels. BWI's only lounge switches brands. And more.

May 5 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: East Coast Air Shuttles unravel. Important new airport lounges in Boston and Vancouver. Delta adjusts its upgrade rules to favor elites, but don't expect to get any. A former Paris office building becomes a Marriott hotel. Check your passport before heading to Italy or France. Don't mention the seat. Emirates mentioned it once, but thinks it got away with it. And more.

April 28 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Airfares really are falling--a little. Marriott now guarantees late checkout for its top elites. Lufthansa dumps first class on many routes to Munich. JetBlue launches a pseudo-shuttle between LaGuardia and Logan. Delta's phony SkyMiles "facts." Air Canada will fly between Vancouver and Delhi. And more.

April 21 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Another dreary week at United Airlines. Marriott thinks SPG's elites will be impressed with phony, non-guaranteed guaranteed late check-outs. Cathay Pacific would like to sell you an at-the-gate upgrade. Southwest frowns on flying while Muslim. And more.

April 14 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: JetBlue adds Mint service to Virgin America and Alaska Airlines routes. Air France upgrades its night flights to Paris. Denver Airport gets a rail link to downtown. Air Berlin bulks up again. Watch your wallet: Delta is giving you something "free." And more.

April 7 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Hotel development worldwide is booming. Upgraded RJs become semi-private jets flying between close-in airports. United Airlines faces more competition at Newark hub. American bails on two Brazil routes. More Western hotel brands in India. The corrupt Congressman literally sleeping with the airline industry faces a rough primary. And more.

March 31 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Security lines get longer and, of course, it's the TSA's fault. Hyatt adds locations in Miami and Rio. American and Delta both want to fly LAX-Beijing. Alaska Airlines changes the rules of its frequent flyer plan because you were actually claiming awards on one of its partners. American drops 24-hour free holds on ticket purchases. The real Fawlty Towers is no more. And more.

March 17 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: It's now officially okay to lie about why you are going to Cuba. Marriott wants to buy your loyalty with a two percent discount. WestJet goes (Canadian) coast-to-coast. JetBlue adds more Fort Lauderdale flights. Delta adds LAX-Beijing route. Cincinnati will demolish abandoned Concourse C. American trims free-bag allowance for premium class flyers. And more.

March 10 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Delta leads American and United down the comfort and frequent flyer rabbit hole. More SPG award choices in Paris and new Hilton HHonors options in California. United and American add two more China routes. A lot more U.S.-branded hotels for Canada. Airlines that don't pay taxes. And more.

March 3 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Every airline wants to fly to Cuba, so long as it's Havana. Got hotel points to spend? Here are the newest warm-weather options. Southwest wants to link Sacramento to BWI. Three years late and plenty of hotels short, Hyatt launches a "soft brand." Massive malfeasance in the air marshal service. And more.

February 25 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: TAP Air Portugal tries to edge back into the transatlantic market. More Rome and Waikiki options for hotel awards. Air Serbia and Ethiopian Airlines return to New York. Hainan will launch Calgary-Beijing nonstops. Airbus admits the A380 is a boondoggle. LAX gets a long-awaited airside walkway between terminals. And much more.

February 18 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: American Airlines tries to get its ground game up to international first class standards. Marriott and Starwood up award prices at hundreds of hotels. United Airlines culls small cities from the map. U.S.-to-Tokyo/Haneda flights will see the light of day. And more.

February 4 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: It's Hilton's world. We just check in to it. JetBlue launching a nonstop from Los Angeles--to Buffalo! InterContinental jacks up award prices at its best-known hotels worldwide. Lufthansa is intent on making itself repugnant to business travelers. Virgin America adds more Hawaii flights. And much more.

January 28 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: United launching SFO-Singapore nonstops in June as U.S. carriers bail on Narita in Tokyo. JetBlue's reconfigured A320s won't be quite as packed as promised. Oh, Canada! You've got some new hotel options. A new route for Hartford. Easing the rules for Cuba travel. Air Berlin won't fly from Dallas after all. And much more.

January 21 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: This is why Delta is kicking ass against domestic competitors. Starwood, Hyatt change top elite benefits while United throws you a bone (or a snack pack). Air Canada builds a business class check-in "lounge" at Pearson. More familiar hotel names in China, India, London--and Middle America. And much more.

January 7 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Let's hope United's ailing chief executive gets better treatment than United provides. Be prepared for the de facto end of first class upgrades at Delta SkyMiles. WestJet now plans year-round London flights. Air France revives its long-abandoned New York-Paris/Orly run. A brief revival for Embassy Suites. The TSA now says some of us may be forced to use full-body scanners. And much more.

These columns originally appeared at JoeSentMe.com.

Copyright 1993-2016 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved.