The Tactical Traveler for 2006

joe December 21 Briefing for Business Travelers
The winter travel survival primer; the dollar gets pounded in overseas markets; Bah! Humbug! American raises fares for Christmas; hotel news from here, there and everywhere; it's beginning to look a lot like laptop sale time; what to watch for on the road in January; and more.

December 14 Briefing for Business Travelers
With or without mergers, travelers already take a service hit; JetBlue adds legroom, but cuts some in-flight service; alternate carriers follow the sun this winter; another baffling decision from the TSA; American and United will upgrade some premium-class cabins; the backlash against our secret terror ratings; and much more.

December 7 Briefing for Business Travelers
Things go from bad to worse in airline service; LAX slows down its hotel shuttles; the chaos in international airlineland; hotel comings and goings around the world; we're all Terrorists, says the Homeland Security Department; and much more.

November 30 Briefing for Business Travelers
Be prepared to pay more for free hotel nights in the major frequent-guest plans; the dollar plummets; American and United offer 25,000-mile bonus promotions; Southwest raises fares $3-$10 each way; BA changes the rules for advanced-seat assignments; from Russia with hate…and in-flight radiation; introducing our new travel calendar; and much more.

November 16 Briefing for Business Travelers
Seen in BA's new business class: laptop drawers and beverage coolers; the new hotels--and reflaggings--just keep on coming; Frontier and AirTran align frequent flyer plans; do you know the way to Greenland…or Kurdish Iraq?; four airlines will install at-seat iPod connectors; random thoughts about that stupid merger; and much more.

November 9 Briefing for Business Travelers
Paying for the privilege of paying to park at Boston/Logan; a new check-in option at Chicago/O'Hare; are you ready to sleep with Bill Gates and Microsoft?; Continental (and travelers) win the wi-fi war at Logan; Northwest slashes in Milwaukee again; more gimmicks on the frequent flyer front; British Airways gets a lot less British; travel security and the detritus of Election Day; and much more.

October 26 Briefing for Business Travelers
JetBlue heads to Chicago; AirTran grows in Florida; brush up your metrics for European carry-on toiletries; US Airways and Air Canada tighten their frequent flyer program rules; Porter flies from Toronto/City Centre and controversy follows; Hotel rebrandings and reopenings around the world; the Super Shuttle vans come to Houston's airports; and much more.

October 12 Briefing for Business Travelers
Another round of new international flights; a Westin opens in suburban Chicago, but Westin won't admit it; Alaska Airlines dumps free meals on transcon flights; Comair imposes a contract on its flight attendants; American Admirals Club members get a useful new perk; Holiday Inn Select, we hardly knew ye; and more.

October 5 Briefing for Business Travelers
A raft of frequent flyer plan upgrades and promotions; two new carriers roll the dice at Stewart/Newburgh; big news at major hotels around the world; US Airways ups the minimum check-in time at its hub airports; does the First Amendment apply at security checkpoints?; and much more.

September 28 Briefing for Business Travelers
United Airlines hoists the 'For Sale' sign; the big ThinkPad battery recall; EU countries move to limit carry-ons, too; Amex fiddles with Membership Rewards; another lost link to sub-Saharan Africa; spiders (or at least one) on a plane; and much more.

September 21 Briefing for Business Travelers
As the Northwest flight attendants dispute turns; Thailand's coup won't stop the new Bangkok Airport; Britain makes another change to carry-on rules; Bye, Bye, Bee Wee; Delta won't put stranded flyers on AirTran; Air Canada bills a passenger for a flight delay; chew on this while waiting for some in-flight water; and much more.

September 14 Briefing for Business Travelers
The battle over Economy Plus at United; alternate carriers connect the dots on their route maps; Wrights, wrongs and less low-fare service at DFW; Northwest Airlines loses two on the labor front; the British will loosen carry-on rules next week; Philadelphia Airport adds some free WiFi service; Air Canada bans all pets in passenger cabins; and much more.

September 7 Briefing for Business Travelers
Delta bulks up in Trenton (yes, Trenton) and United abandons its foolhardy assault on San Antonio; CanJet calls it quits in Canada; comings and goings overseas; the first Hilton that Conrad Hilton ever built becomes a Hotel Indigo; no strikes at Northwest yet; Chicago hotels settle with their workers; Go! doesn't seem to be going well in Hawaii; and more.

August 31 Briefing for Business Travelers
Alternate airlines pour service into Florida; Delta's left coast-right coast airport strategy; more flights to Britain and Latin America this fall; the worldwide hotel land rush continues; a failed fare hike and a phony Shuttle fare war; SkyTeam flyers losing Middle East flights; Midwest charges $25 for 'confirmed' standby; and more.

August 17 Briefing for Business Travelers
International route shifts at United, American and Delta; Air Canada is slapped down at Toronto Island--again; important hotel developments in major business-travel cities; the facts about this week's airline-security stories; Boeing gives up on in-flight Internet; Southwest and JetBlue stumble a bit; the TSA says snakes on a plane are not it's fault; and much more.

August 10 Briefing for Business Travelers
Liquids out at checkpoints, but electronics are okay; the British bar all carry-on bags; the return of secondary screening; the best site for real-time flight-delay info; no ruling yet in the Northwest-flight attendant tussle; airlines raise fares again; and more.

July 27 Briefing for Business Travelers
Alaska Airlines grows fast in Mexico; the "Southwest Effect" shatters fares in Denver; high-tech 'nerd bird' flights aren't dead yet; another bunch of hotel reflaggings and rebrandings; they'll try (again) to open Bangkok's new airport; Avis and Budget have nasty new terms & conditions; the dollar wilts (again) in Europe and the Pacific Rim; and much more.

July 20 Briefing for Business Travelers
Small airports are suddenly a hot ticket: almost useless new United upgrades; cheaper short-haul American awards; caveat emptor in the international skies; Marriott hoists the no-smoking sign; American unveils a new business-class cabin; where no in-flight advertisement has gone before; and much more.

July 13 Briefing for Business Travelers
Why you should reschedule your late July flights; Northwest is back on the brink of a strike; LAX will close a runway, so prepare for delays; US Airways will remove some first-class seats; Southwest and JetBlue expand again; Eos adds a flight and BA and Virgin Atlantic go early morning; Air Canada says it'll return to Toronto/City Centre; and much more.

June 29 Briefing for Business Travelers
U.S. Carriers are finally rediscovering Africa; Northwest adds elite-flyer lanes at the gate; JetBlue adds flights in four new markets; another round of international flight expansion; the politics of transatlantic fuel surcharges; Iberia pilots planning a six-day strike; and much more.

June 22 Briefing for Business Travelers
Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss, at Fort Lauderdale; new hotels and new flags in key locations worldwide; British Airways juggles carry-on and checked-bag rules; Varig abruptly cancels most U.S. flights; Southwest will test assigned seating in San Diego; more of the same stuff from the Bankruptcy Boys; and much more.

June 8 Briefing for Business Travelers
Northwest Airlines heads back to the brink (again); JetBlue looks for gold in Nashville and on the JFK-Dulles routes; the black car power play at Detroit/Metro; Southwest expands (again) from Denver; get out your hotel scorecard (again); Alaska Airlines dumps cattle-car boarding in coach; Omni is offering big bonuses for hotel stays this summer; and much more.

June 1 Briefing for Business Travelers
Merging is getting hard to do at the 'New' US Airways; Vongerichten creates "restaurant concepts" for Starwood; the World Cup in Germany means lots of traffic for the next month; Denver juggles gates for United and Frontier; Aer Lingus will drop out of Oneworld; the new airport in Bangkok is delayed again; and more.

May 18 Briefing for Business Travelers
Double miles are back (briefly) at American and United; Northwest heads back to the brink; Mexicana is back at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport; the dollar is back in the tank overseas --and in Canada; Southwest Airlines mulls advance seat assignments; late-night flights are replaced by early-morning ones at Virgin Atlantic; Emirates will fly between New York and Hamburg; and much more.

May 11 Briefing for Business Travelers
The luxury-hotel boom in China; JetBlue and US Airways squabble again in Charlotte; the 31.49% interest rate on Citibank frequent-travel affinity cards; the cost of do-it-yourself first-class upgrades; TAM Brazil expands in the United States and Hawaiian Airlines expands its mainland flights; and much more.

May 4 Briefing for Business Travelers
Frontier Airlines will fly the LAX-SFO corridor; TAP Portugal launches nonstops from Newark to Oporto; premium parking solutions pop up at major airports; follow the changing hotel flags; Canada investigates the Air India bombings again; the FCC will auction Verizon's Airfone spectrum; and much more.

April 27 Briefing for Business Travelers
The TSA mucks up registered traveler (again); the dollar is in the tank (again); US Airways blinks on fares in Charlotte; JetBlue slows its growth plans; Africa gets a few new nonstops; Akron/Canton gets a new concourse; a weird airport incident in England makes you wonder if you're considered a security risk based on your choices of music; and much more.

April 20 Briefing for Business Travelers
Northwest begins to bail on Coach Choice; Hilton's and Hyatt's boarding-pass play; Eos Airlines will escort you through security; double credits for AirTran flyers; follow the bouncing airfare increases; the airport name game gets really silly; Greenberg goes live from a Lufthansa flight; and much more.

April 6 Briefing for Business Travelers
Will Delta's strike watch become a death watch; Hilton HHonors boosts the points needed for free rooms; guess who's coming to Dulles; follow this week's bouncing fares--if you can; Delta brings back first-class cabins on former Song routes; new hotels and reflaggings around the world; and much more.

March 30 Briefing for Business Travelers
A special briefing on Hawaii: A new carrier ignites an inter-island fare war; Aloha Airlines will "probably" restore inter-island first class; Hilo finally gets a mainland flight; a great hotel idea resurfaces in Waikiki; Southwest's stealth entry into the Hawaii market; and a segue to better transportation (and touring) in Honolulu.

March 23 Briefing for Business Travelers
Big changes at some big-name Florida hotels; JetBlue loses a battle in Newark, but keeps expanding; airlines don't lose as many bags as you've heard; strikes in Britain and France next week may snarl travel; Kuala Lumpur and Singapore get new terminals; US Airways plans a new transcon route from Philadelphia; Gordo's back; and much more.

March 16 Briefing for Business Travelers
The pricey circus in the chain-hotel business; Frontier restricts its unrestricted awards; Qantas returns to San Francisco; Southwest raises fares by $2-$10 each way; more tricks and outrages from bankrupt airlines; Le Meridien hotels joins Starwood Preferred Guest; the TSA screws up the Moussaoui trial; and much more.

March 9 Briefing for Business Travelers
Delta's latest gambit is more hub flying; it's back to the future for most commuter flights at Washington/Dulles; United adds merchandise awards for elite members; the value of a lost bag and lost dignity: $238,000; St. Regis hopes you want to check-in (permanently); the price of bankruptcy is $99 million for lawyer fees; and much more.

March 2 Briefing for Business Travelers
United Airlines revives what may be the world's worst business-travel deal; more shenanigans from the bankrupt airlines; will Angelenos take a bus to LAX?; new hotels From Westin, Forte and Shangri-La; guess who won't be flying to Iraq--or Venezuela?; US Airways brings some call centers back home; Delta Song surrenders to JetBlue on many New York-Florida routes; the life after planes at Mirabel Airport in Montreal; and more.

February 23 Briefing for Business Travelers
Delta SkyMiles rolls out a miles-for-merchandise program; Southwest, JetBlue and AirTran expand again; the war over Toronto's island airport; new hotels here, there and everywhere; Sioux Falls privatizes its security screening; US Airways extends your elite status; Topeka is back on the airline route map; and more.

February 16 Briefing for Business Travelers
Budget and Avis have nasty new rental fees; Northwest's 'Heartland Strategy' falters; Hyatt Gets London's Great Eastern Hotel and Omni gets two major San Antonio properties; Kobe builds an airport--and an Island; Who owns the most of the 'New' United? and much more.

February 9 Briefing for Business Travelers
"Rules," "recommendations" and airline arrogance; the alphabet is a bit different at Boston/Logan; fares rise at Dulles after Independence's demise; don't blame United for the falling share prices; what's blue and has guestrooms in Australia? Aloha gets a second chance to leave Chapter 11; more small planes for New York's crowded skies; and more.

February 2 Briefing for Business Travelers
United's out of bankruptcy and wasting your time; JetBlue, AirTran and Spirit are expanding again; ATA will focus on Hawaii when it exits chapter 11; US Airways is deleting frequent-flyer accounts; Southwest puts capacity controls on awards; more hotel name changes and new openings; fares go up (a bit) at Southwest and JetBlue; and more.

January 26 Briefing for Business Travelers
Another lose-lose proposition from the TSA; frequent-stay plans offer fewer airline miles; JetBlue will add 10 cities this year; AirTran will fly from White Plains; delays for airport projects around the world; still another luxury hotel chain is born; an interesting new transcon route from Delta; and much more.

January 19 Briefing for Business Travelers
Several nasty new rental rules from Hertz; Hilton launches a chain of Waldorf-Astoria hotels; Hawaiian Airlines' intriguing new take on frequent-flyer awards; a consolidated car-rental center opens at Phoenix/Sky Harbor; Boeing juggles the fees for its in-flight Internet service; Gary, Indiana, has no more commercial flights but gets a big tax windfall to expand its facilities; and much more.

January 12 Briefing for Business Travelers
The high cost of cost saving and outsourcing at Alaska Airlines; two more airports fall off the route map; Kansas City's "new" old hotels; an important week ahead in bankruptcy court for United and Northwest airlines; Yahoo! tests Internet cafes at Sheraton; Enterprise adds in-car navigation systems; and much more.

January 5 Briefing for Business Travelers
The Wi-Fi war in Boston goes national; picking the bones of Independence Air; hookers and swingers and soccer, oh my!; United's year of "executional excellence" gets off to a rocky start; Southwest is already expanding in Denver; the Berghoff Restaurant in Chicago is Closing; winners, losers and dignity at Northwest; and more.

These columns originally appeared at

Copyright © 1993-2006 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved.