The Tactical Traveler for 2007

joe December 20 Briefing for Business Travelers
A bizarre shake-up in the luggage-shipping market; Accor carves Pullman Hotels from the Sofitel chain; the DOT caps flights at Kennedy and Newark; the new champion of 'Velcro Hotels'; Delta adds more Los Angeles-Hawaii flights; Nairobi's famed Norfolk Hotel gets a new flag; Air France tests in-flight use of cell phones; and much more.

December 13 Briefing for Business Travelers
You can't get there from here anymore on the Big Six; alternate carriers launch a wave of new flights; lots of new international flight options; should you keep flying on Maxjet?; more Hawaii flights from Southern California; Air India will join the Star Alliance--eventually; and much more.

December 6 Briefing for Business Travelers
The Big Six Head the way of Pan Am; taking off the Ritz--and other brand changes; more free Wi-Fi options at the airport; the weak dollar keeps tourists From Europe; Martin Yan can cook at the airport now; Delta is closing its city ticket offices; American and El Al will code share next year; and much more.

November 29 Briefing for Business Travelers
It's winter-travel strategy time again; is that an armored vehicle in the hotel lobby? the dollar is down just about everywhere; the DOT calls US Airways' bluff on China; lots of big news at the world's airports; no miles with Continental's new card; Delta won't talk about on-time ratings; and much more.

November 15 Briefing for Business Travelers
Fare games, surcharge tricks and oil prices; notable new hotels in the worldwide roster; alternate carriers trim their route networks; airlines are on the move at major airports; international flights keep on coming; headed to Japan? smile and say 'Sushi'!; flying to Santa Fe? no, you're not; and much more.

November 1 Briefing for Business Travelers
Summer-like troubles for Turkey Day travel; good news and bad at Continental OnePass; fares are skyrocketing along with oil prices; NASA trashes pilots survey, but will release it; Carlson revamps Goldpoints Plus; Mesa ordered to pay Hawaiian Air $80 Million; the time of the season at; and much more.

October 25 Briefing for Business Travelers
Act now if you need a new passport in the next year; every 55 years, Holiday Inn changes its iconic logo; comings and goings at the nation's airports; Hilton loses its hotels in India; Frontier expands in Denver and elsewhere; JetBlue dumps two cities; Air France cancels 30 percent of its schedule during an ongoing strike; that was the week that was in travel news; and much more.

October 18 Briefing for Business Travelers
Singapore Airlines has double beds on the A380; Delta connects small towns to secondary hubs; another burst of international service is coming; AirTran and JetBlue continue breakneck expansions; Air France and Delta will add four new routes; Jet Airways makes Brussels its hub to India; and much more.

October 11 Briefing for Business Travelers
JFK is in crisis, so Delta makes it worse; when signature architectural features collapse; a roundup of major new international hotels; US Airways cuts flights in Pittsburgh again; TSA drops the other shoe on registered traveler; Alaska Airlines trims the lifespan of miles; don't blame the airlines or police for the Gotbaum tragedy.

September 27 Briefing for Business Travelers
An early warning on another US Airways meltdown; Regent Hotels says 'Never Mind!' in Miami; porno and predators at the Hawaiian airlines; the floor keeps falling for the U.S. dollar; Midwest Airlines goes two-class on its MD-80s; the airlines are hiking fuel surcharges again; what to expect on the road in October; and much more.

September 20 Briefing for Business Travelers
Southwest won't sell assigned seats after all; Courtyard by Marriott disappears in England; Continental will expand its Cleveland hub; the floor keeps falling for the U.S. dollar; American challenges Northwest in Memphis; more fare-hike attempts--and a few succeed; rip-off fares return in Philadelphia; and more.

September 6 Briefing for Business Travelers
A bad summer for flying, but a good summer for hotels; Miami Airport finally opens the South Terminal; Delta Air Lines dumps flights to Small-Town USA; Southwest Airlines raises fares again and the Big Six follow; Bmi upgrades its Business and Premium Economy cabins; notable new routes: HNL-Manila; DEN-Costa Rica; SLC-Paris; what to expect on the road in September; and much more.

August 23 Briefing for Business Travelers
The merger chips begin falling into place; Amex snags Admirals Clubs for elite members; What's in a name? Nothing in the hotel business; the attack of the airline junk fees continues; the horrors of September 11 never end; the China recall frenzy hits hotel toothpaste; why you should never carry $1 million to the airport; and much more.

August 9 Briefing for Business Travelers
If you're flying in Europe, maybe you should carry on; Doubletree hotels grows with conversions; Virgin America launches with a little help from air-traffic controllers; Lufthansa opens a first-class lounge in Munich; more US Airways baggage woes in Philadelphia; Air Canada slashes the value of its frequent flyer program; Northwest blinks in its route war with American; and more.

August 2 Briefing for Business Travelers
The TSA hates Registered Traveler programs; as if Minnesotans don't have enough troubles; getting ready for in-flight Internet 2.0; record fines for fixing fuel surcharges; a news show just for Canadian airports; how to oppose your least-favorite carrier's bid for a China route; and much more.

July 26 Briefing for Business Travelers
United announces a pig in a poke in business class; JetBlue and Spirit battle over Ponce; more flights to India launch in August; Qantas will create a Premium Economy class; the U.S. and Canadian dollars near parity; what to look for on the road in August; and much more.

July 19 Briefing for Business Travelers
Virgin America begins not with a bang, but with a web crash; more airport clubs for your waiting time; big carriers slash employee rolls by 17%; the dollar plummets to new lows in Europe; carriers jack up the fuel surcharges; Sun Country launches a frequent flyer program; St. Augustine gets its first commercial flights; and much more.

July 12 Briefing for Business Travelers
American and Delta bulk up at JFK; changes in the frequent-travel plans; Southwest leads the fare-increase parade; the dollar plummets to new lows in Europe; Denver flyers get new Midwestern routes; Virgin America gets the okay to sell seats; and much more.

June 28 Briefing for Business Travelers
Southwest will dump some transcon flights and focus on Denver; Paris/CDG gets a little less nasty as a place to change planes; United Express gets the boot from LAX Terminal 8; even Aeroflot doesn't want to buy atrocious Alitalia; what to expect on the road in July; and a fast, easy ride to a swanky beach for a fare of $7 a mile.

June 21 Briefing for Business Travelers
American and Northwest battle over routes; frequent flyer plan cutbacks large and small; more international carriers add U.S. routes; China Southern joins Continental OnePass; this week's security news, mostly stupid; this week's passengers-held-hostage report; and much more.

June 14 Briefing for Business Travelers
Start planning for that AirTran-Midwest merger; the seats are closing in on us at Frontier Airlines; flags change at major hotels; U.S. carriers shuffle the international deck; Omni Hotels begins online advance check-in; fares drop to $1 each way in Hawaii; London goes smoke-free on July 1; and more.

June 7 Briefing for Business Travelers
American Airlines is now America's least-reliable airline; AirTran adds fees for advance seats and exit rows; Marriott does a deal with SpongeBob SquarePants; small-town airports take another big service hit; famous hotels get new names and new looks; Arab carriers fly where U.S. airlines fear to tread; United makes a small concession to elite flyers; and more.

May 31 Briefing for Business Travelers
Let a thousand Big Six merger rumors bloom; Alaska Airlines will launch flights to Hawaii; Midwest Airlines goes two 'class' on all flights; the revenge of the loonie against the greenback; sixteen small cities losing commuter flights; doesn't anyone want to buy Alitalia?; what's new on the road in June; and more.

May 24 Briefing for Business Travelers
Unbundled fares are the least of our worries; you know the hotel building, but what name is it now?; Alaska Airlines devalues the value of upgrades; United Airlines takes a perk from elite flyers; the TSA gums up the registered traveler program--again; and much more.

May 17 Briefing for Business Travelers
AirTran gains in the Midwest take-over war; being Delta means never being committed; Southwest sets the date for its return to San Francisco; another baby step in JFK's revival; the business class that isn't at US Airways; lots more security on some transatlantic runs; United invents a nasty new way to strand passengers; and much more.

May 10 Briefing for Business Travelers
Marriott ups the price for unrestricted awards; what the JetBlue boardroom putsch means; car rental's up-to-date at Kansas City airport; Northwest's CEO picks the pockets of his flight attendants; MaxJet heads to LAX; Oops! American did it (strand flyers) again!; and much more.

May 3 Briefing for Business Travelers
This week: Watch for falling fares--and rising prices; desperation breeds stupidity at Gary airport; Starwood is coming--and going--in Florida; do you really want to shop at Pittsburgh airport?; do you know where your credit card is?; United tries to scam its best customers; and more.

April 26 Briefing for Business Travelers
A great bankruptcy, too bad about the customers; an unholy war over cabs at Minneapolis/St.Paul; Verizon and Sprint go global with a worldwide BlackBerry; car renters are falling from "grace" fast; what to expect on the road next month; and much more.

April 19 Briefing for Business Travelers
Oh, woe Is the dollar...and woe is us; domestic expansion for alternate carriers; boy, we sure need another hotel brand; boy, we sure need more NY-London airlines: Westjet steps into the gap in Vancouver; another annoying fee from Northwest Airlines; United does the right thing while killing Ameniti; and much more.

April 12 Briefing for Business Travelers
The big shake-up at the car-rental counter; AirTran ups the ante in the battle for Midwest Airlines; old Waikiki hotels get renewed and reflagged; Yes, Virginia, there are wine bars at the airport; the FCC Says no to cellphones on U.S. flights; Las Vegas opens a central car-rental center; Surprise! The DOT doesn't investigate airlines; and much more.

March 29 Briefing for Business Travelers
XJet launches next week with a big gamble on small jets; lots of changes at big-name, big-ticket hotels; registered traveler "fast lane" on the slow track; Thai Airway keeps its LAX and JFK nonstops to Bangkok; prepare for flight delays at Detroit/Metro; what to expect on the road this month; and much more.

March 22 Briefing for Business Travelers
Virgin America's price of entry: off with the boss' head; and now for something completely different across the pond; blink and you missed Priority Club's price increases; Amex Membership Rewards hikes its points-transfer fee; Surprise! another big meltdown at US Airways; Yes, this is how you get upgraded; and much more.

March 15 Briefing for Business Travelers
Don't double your pain by buying Big Six shares; Air Canada expands across the oceans and the border; a new burst of service from the alternate carriers; RegionsAir's grounding strands small-town flyers; US Airways' two-hour computer switch became a nine-day crisis; Delta and Continental change terminals in Tokyo; and much more.

March 8 Briefing for Business Travelers
Let them eat cereal at the airport; JetBlue gets small because it's big; a new passage to India from New York; Spirit will charge for all checked bags; Air France adds a morning flight to Paris; Alaska Airlines creates one-way awards; Airline going bad? Then sue your critics; and much more.

March 1 Briefing for Business Travelers
Danger, US Airways Flyers! Danger!; Midwest and AirTran battle across the route map; you might want to avoid the elevator in this hotel; does anybody really know what (Daylight Saving) time it is?; Frontier and Northwest duke it out in Memphis; Salem, Oregon, gets flights again; what to expect on the road in March; Surprise! lots more airline meltdowns; and more.

February 22 Briefing for Business Travelers
The high cost we pay for airline outsourcing; famous hotels ain't what they used to be; new international routes worth noting; Delta latest expansion spree; squirrels and spiders and mice on a plane; Southwest's fare hike; and much more.

February 15 A Special Report on Checked-Baggage Rules
Get used to it: Carriers are slowly and inevitably moving to a la carte pricing of checked luggage. But the airlines do not move in lockstep on their luggage rules. So for your own protection, check out our comprehensive chart covering the domestic baggage policies of the 18 largest U.S. and Canadian carriers.

February 8 Briefing for Business Travelers
The brave new world of offensive baggage fees; anybody need a Northeast passage to Europe?; however belatedly, JetBlue wants to own New York; how far can airlines push the international frontier?; Bangkok's old airport will reopen; another Big Six fare increase crumbles; all hail the new king of Velcro hotels; and much more.

February 1 Briefing for Business Travelers
Haven't we all been where ExpressJet is going?; a little bump in domestic lost-baggage liability; now the Big Six merger mania starts for real; Britain doubles its airline taxes; new perks for elite flyers from Northwest and United; another Big Six Fare increase; Sunday night flights--and the Super Bowl is free; and much more.

January 25 Briefing for Business Travelers
Public charter carriers fly into the Big Six gap; time to bypass BA, Heathrow and Gatwick; the big terminal shift is on in Toronto; are you ready for the $2 British pound?; what to expect on the road in February; a Big Six fare increase flounders; weird events on the road; and much more.

January 18 Briefing for Business Travelers
Bad ideas and bad execution doom some notable flights; alternate airlines fill the gaps in their route networks; big hotels are changing flags again; Air New Zealand is dropping its LAX-Tahiti service and Thai dumps its nonstops to New York and Los Angeles; Continental and US Airways add flights to Athens; oil prices are falling fast, so airlines raise fares; and much, much more.

January 11 Briefing for Business Travelers
The return of the $99 transcontinental fare; Delta Air Lines bites the bullet at Boston/Logan; the brave new world of 'excess' baggage fees; new links between Alabama and Chicago/O'Hare; Avis plans in-car Wi-Fi service in 10 U.S. cities; the Supreme Court backs secrecy at the TSA; scorpions on a plane; and much more.

January 4 Briefing for Business Travelers
Is this the end of free elite upgrade?; do you really know the way to Los Angeles airport?; changing hotel flags in suburban San Francisco; the continuing chaos in the Caribbean skies; what you missed on the road during the holidays; domestic airfares are rising again; another Mickey Mouse move From United; and much more.

These columns originally appeared at

Copyright 1993-2007 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved.