The Tactical Traveler for 2018
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.


November 8 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: British travel retailer WHSmith buys its way into U.S. airports. Alitalia returns to Dulles. Hilton grabs Mandarin Oriental in Buckhead. Singapore will fly to Seattle. WestJet will link Calgary and Atlanta nonstop. Detroit/Metro tram is going offline. And much more.

October 25 Briefing for Business Travelers
Tales of Standard Time and its route-map changes. Hyatt Hotels may or may not be upgrading its suite-upgrade scheme. American raises the price, tightens admission rules of the Admirals Club. British Airways and Air Canada add flights in the Carolinas. And more.

October 11 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: American Airlines screws up in Charlotte again. Strike spreads to dozens of Marriott hotels in eight cities. Hyatt buys management contracts for as many as 100 hotels. WestJet expands at Calgary. JetBlue juggles its route map. One last TWA delay. And more.

October 4 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Amex changes everything (including the color) of the Gold Card. Things get worse on the ground at Washington/National. Palm Beach International gets an airport club. United cuts the perks and raises requirements for 1K status. Marriott hotels on strike in Boston. Air Canada adds Vienna and Bordeaux flights. And much more.

September 27 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Everything we know about late flights is (mostly) true. Alaska Airlines will fly to ... El Paso. American and JAL will fly to Tokyo from Seattle. Norwegian slashes its narrowbody, all-coach flying. Detroit gets it Honolulu route back. And much more.

September 20 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: A reminder that Hilton Honors is a ridiculous program. United changes boarding procedures again. Hawaiian Airlines adds a Boston/Logan to Honolulu nonstop. Lufthansa's Eurowings division will fly to Las Vegas from Dusseldorf. Politics and travel (again). The flight with no air pressure. And much more.

September 13 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Dozens of Chicago hotels are on strike and seven more U.S. cities are targeted. Aer Lingus adds Minneapolis and Montreal flights. Air France returns to Dallas/Fort Worth. After a decade of delays, California Pacific Airlines flies. More airport dining for Priority Pass. And much more.

September 6 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: United continues to juggle its route map so it looks more like American Airlines. Marriott Rewards changes the rules after just two weeks as a combined program. Want to fly somewhere exotic? You'll be surprised how easy it's getting. Delta is bulking up at Boston-area airports. Want a new full-service hotel? Go overseas. BA's Web site hacked.

September 3 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: August was a dreary month for flying. Fares aren't rising much, but fees are jumping fast. Some long-overdue good news on African aviation. Alaska Airlines will fly to Columbus. Can Amazon H2 be far behind? Do we really need a "hotel campus" in Texas?

August 23 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: American drops more Asia service and shuffles its European routes. Air Canada buys Aeroplan after all. American Express adds "luxury" Starwood card. Tel Aviv gets more U.S. flights. Marriott keeps growing. Schiphol guards plan day-long strike. And much more.

August 16 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: American's Doug Parker continues to shy away from competition. Heads up! Marriott and Starwood merge programs this weekend. Wyoming's capital gets back on the route map. Hilton adding hotels from coast-to-coast. New Priority Pass options. And more.

August 9 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: More hotel competition at Chicago's McCormick Place. Aeroplan courts and condemns Air Canada. Hyatt and Marriott play musical hotels in Athens. A diplomatic spat between Canada and Saudi Arabia cuts airline routes. Changes at California airports. And more.

August 2 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Everyone wants to save the TSA at small airports. Why? Delta upgrades Raleigh-Durham to "focus city" status. United will fly from Dulles to Tel Aviv. Where are hotel developers building? Texas and New York. Hyatt aligns with Small Luxury Hotels. And more.

July 26 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: American Airlines loosens restrictions on Basic Economy. Marriott won't automatically merge your SPG account. Air Canada wants to buy back Aeroplan. Pittsburgh pays British Airways to come back. Hyatt makes a pitch for a Spanish chain. MSP's new hotel has its own TSA checkpoint. And more.

July 19 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Cathay Pacific will launch nonstops to Sea-Tac, where three U.S. carriers have failed before. American adds flights in Miami and Charlotte. A small airline victory in Africa. Hilton adds one and loses one in Manhattan while Marriott loses three in Dubai. The "art of the deal," Air Force One division. And more.

July 13 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: After snubbing U.S. market, Singapore Airlines really hopes you'll fly its nonstops. Southwest adds more routes from Love Field. The TSA is coming after your food, but not officially. Chase loses a bundle on credit cards. Cities want out of the hotel business. And more.

June 28 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Marriott releases award chart for its to-be-named-later new program. United opens Polaris Lounge in Houston. Hyatt and Chase roll out a credit card with better benefits. British Airways dumps Oakland flight permanently. El Al cracks down on bigots. And more.

June 21 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Will JetBlue founder David Neeleman help us fly around the hubs with a new airline? The TSA tells passengers to take a powder. Delta juggles international routes, but don't ask too many questions. Marriott is taking over the lodging landscape. And much more.

June 14 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: The terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Boeing 737 MAX now flies long hauls, too. Southwest and Alaska airlines add to their route networks. Priority Pass brings (a little) relief to club-poor Dulles and Newark airports. Norwegian cuts another U.S. route. And much more.

June 8 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Airlines, hotels and credit cards shuffle the loyalty deck again. Virgin Atlantic dumps Vegas, but adds an LAX-Manchester run. Limited-service hotels are the coin of the lodging realm. American Airlines adds more RJ routes. El Al delays launch of San Francisco flights. And much more.

May 31 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Hidden trip wires that could mess with your travel this summer. Delta shuffles its autumn route map. Singapore Airlines will try again with Newark and LAX nonstops. Hilton slaps its brands on a slew of hotels in China and Britain. More hotels for Montreal. And much more.

May 17 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: It is Marriott's world. We just check in to it. United shifts some feeder routes to Dulles from Newark. Delta begins pre-select meal service for international flyers. Alaska Air adds new fees and ticket rules. Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas moving to Hilton. And much more.

May 10 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Gogo Inflight might soon be gonegone. United and JetBlue alter their routes to Mexico. Hyatt finally adds some hotels (but not many). Airlines take another run at Havana service. Marriott opens hotels in Africa. Chase trims a Priority Pass perk. And much more.

May 3 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: New sun runs and beach hotels to burn your miles and points. Useful new clubs at key hub airports. PreCheck for five new international airlines. American will dump Chicago-Beijing route. Video of a nearly catastrophic near miss in San Francisco. And much more.

April 26 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: JetBlue is heading West with new routes around the region. Better perks coming for United and American credit cardholders. United Airlines finally opens a second Polaris business class lounge. Alaska Airlines trims some Virgin America routes. The strikes will continue at Air France into May. Marriott begins testing homestay rentals. And much more.

April 19 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Alaska Air will switch Virgin America flights to new computers next week. Los Angeles finally gets its Amex Centurion Lounge. Delta will expand winter flying to Europe. Air Canada upgrades business class on some long-haul U.S. and Canada flights. And much more.

April 12 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: The TSA doesn't like your cluttered carry-on. Why does British Airways' parent company want to buy Norwegian? Alaska Airlines trims carry-on bag size. Marriott unveils a new frequent guest plan next week. Prepare to be livid. Delta offers free credit monitoring. And more.

April 5 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Airlines still want Havana routes for some reason. Alaska Airlines juggles its California route network. Memphis closes an airport concourse. France transportation is in chaos. The once-grand Bellevue-Stratford in Philadelphia changes names again. And more.

March 29 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Denver gets two new airport lounges--and we get a peek behind the financial curtain of clubs. Air New Zealand is flying to Chicago and Qantas won't be far behind. France's double trouble: Air France and railroad strikes. More awful American Airlines planes. And more.

March 22 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: The spending bill is mostly good news for business travelers. April in Paris (and May and June) will be nasty. Hotel chains bulk up in California. Airlines bounce back from this week's storm. Delta restores more hub flights. Southwest adds six routes. And more.

March 15 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: United Airlines is putting the brakes on Polaris. Chicago plans a 35-gate, $8.5-billion expansion at O'Hare. Air France/KLM Flying Blue eliminates award charts. Air Canada says wait 'til next year for new flights to warm-weather destinations. Hotels continue rapid global expansion. And more.

March 1 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Airlines make your day-to-day travel worse with new fees, crappy "cheap" fares and less comfortable seats. Hyatt adds home and apartment rentals to frequency plan. A burst of airport hotels and international flights. Delta loses to the NRA in Georgia. And more.

February 8 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Marriott jacks award prices at 20 percent of hotels. Air France and KLM join PreCheck. El Al flies to San Francisco. WestJet adds flights to Paris and London from Halifax. More hotels in Middle America. Delta cuts in Tokyo, adds in Cincinnati. And more.

January 25 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: International travel costs more--and the Trump Administration may (or may not) like that. Delta adds flights at Sea-Tac and Boston. America's lodging future will probably carry a Marriott brand name. Newark gets nonstops to Dubai and Abidjan. And more.

January 18 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: Why Alaska Airlines will fly from Paine Field just 35 miles north of its Sea-Tac hub. Embassy Suites takes another run at Manhattan. Emirates saves the Airbus A380--for now. Seoul/Incheon opens a new terminal for Korean Air and SkyTeam. Wyndham Hotels buys LaQuinta. And more.

January 11 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: American Airlines shrank in 2017 while Delta and United grew. Hilton overhauls Hilton Honors and eliminates the "double dip." Lufthansa switching to Airbus A350s on three routes to Munich. Future of hotels? Big chains. Virgin America finally disappears. And more.

January 4 Briefing for Business Travelers
The briefing in brief: "Private" air traffic control loses its Congressional sponsor. Hotel chains fiddle with frequency programs. Johnnie Walker opens a store in Miami Airport. Qantas adds an SFO-Melbourne route. Hyatt's small expansion. TSA backpedals on Real ID. Again. And much more.

These columns originally appeared at JoeSentMe.com.

Copyright 1993-2018 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved.