The Tactical Traveler


Feeling Dizzy? It's the Pace of Lodging Change
With real-estate prices zooming and hotel rates skyrocketing, major hotel chains are growing like crazy. Besides newly built properties opening in key cities worldwide, the pace of reflagging has increased dramatically. Here's what happened just this week: Hyatt assumed management of and renamed the 505-room Westin Santa Clara. … Hilton has taken over the former Delta Whistler Resort in British Columbia and the 1,606-room Wyndham Anatole Hotel in Dallas. It also planted the Hilton flag on the 212-room Metropole Hotel in Florence, Italy. … Marriott has opened a 357-room Residence Inn in Manhattan and a 218-room Courtyard in Moscow. … InterContinental has opened a 74-room Crowne Plaza in Asuncion, Paraguay. One of the hotel's twin towers is new, the other once housed an independent property. InterConti has also opened the first Staybridge Suites in Monterrey, Mexico, and converted a former independent hotel in Birmingham, Michigan, to a Holiday Inn Express. … Sheraton opened a newly built 136-room property in the Midtown Exchange development in Minneapolis. … Radisson SAS opened a 225-room hotel in the city center of Kiev, capital of the Ukraine. … Finally, the Taj chain of India has purchased the 100-room W Sydney and is converting it to the first Taj hotel in Australia.

Meanwhile, Back in Dallas…
Dallas/Fort Worth-based American Airlines vowed to harass Dallas/Love-based Southwest Airlines if the 800-pound gorilla successfully overturned all or part of the Wright Amendment. So on Tuesday (December 13), when Southwest launched flights to St. Louis and Kansas City under the terms of the new Missouri exception to the Wright Amendment, American swung into action. Beginning in March, American said, it would also launch Love flights to St. Louis and Kansas City. Those cities will get MD-80 flights and two Texas destinations, San Antonio and Austin, will get 50-seat American Eagle flights. At the same time it announced the 16 daily Love flights, American said it would slash 31 flights from DFW. Gone will be service from DFW to Long Beach, California; Lima, Peru; Providence, Rhode Island; Toledo, Ohio; Green Bay, Wisconsin; and Rochester, Minnesota. Flight frequencies to several other cities will also be cut. And in case you're wondering how an American-Southwest dogfight might end, consider this: By dropping DFW-Long Beach flights, American has now completely abandoned its 2002 harassment action against JetBlue Airways. American has been driven off every new route it launched against the New York/Kennedy-based discounter. Another note: Southwest Airlines announced a little harassment effort of its own. It said today (December 15) that it would launch code-shared flights into Dallas/Fort Worth with ATA Airlines.

Wasting Away in Margaritaville…
Delta Air Lines and its pilots managed a temporary deal on wage reductions. That defers the possibility of a strike, which the pilots vowed if the airline convinced its bankruptcy court to void the existing contract. … Independence Air cuts four more cities from its route map next month: Chicago; Jacksonville, Florida; Buffalo; and Manchester, New Hampshire. … And this little piggy went to bankruptcy court: Creditors and several unions of three-years-bankrupt United Airlines say the company's reorganization plan would award several hundred top executives with a startling 15 percent of the refloated carrier. United's bankruptcy judge has scheduled a hearing for January 18 on the payout plan.

And If You Plan Twenty-One Years Ahead…
US Airways has sharply lowered fares on its version of the Northeast Shuttle that links New York, Washington and Boston. Prices are now as low as $69 each way--as long as you book 21 days in advance, buy a roundtrip ticket and stay over one night. In other words, this is a nearly useless fare given the walk-up nature of the hourly Shuttle flights. … Also playing the 21-day fare game: Midwest Airlines. Its new 21-day fares require a Friday- or Saturday-night stay and are capacity controlled. Alaska Airlines is imposing a $10 ticketing fee if you use the airline's call center or buy tickets at the airport. The new surcharge is effective on January 18.

Business-Travel News You Need to Know…
Delta Air Lines has slashed elite-level benefits again. Effective on January 1, immediate upgrades on coach fares for Medallion members will be limited to full-fare Y-class tickets. B- and M-class coach fares are now available for upgrades based on Medallion status and only one to five days before departure. … US Airways next week will open a new club lounge in Terminal One at Los Angeles Airport. … The second fatal crash in several months in Nigeria killed more than 100 passengers, most of them children, on Monday. That resulted in the Nigerian government grounding two domestic airlines. … Changi Airport in Singapore now offers 23 VoIP (voice over Internet) phone booths. The booths are located in the transit areas of Terminals One and Two. MediaRing, which operates the booths, says VoIP calls cost about 80 percent less than traditional phone calls from Singapore.

Copyright © 1993-2005 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved.