The Tactical Traveler

FOR October 17, 1999


This week: Cast your Freddie Award votes online; Condé-Nast launches; airlines quietly raise leisure-travel fares; Delta Air Lines bids goodbye to long-time code-sharing partners Austrian Airlines, Swissair and Sabena; protests cause flight delays and work stoppages at Paris airports; airlines add new flights for 2000; the reason international airfares are so high; and more.

BEST OF THE WEB: Voting Stock and Stock Stuff
Winning a Freddie Award is now an obsession for many of the airlines, hotels and other entities in the frequent-travel program game. They beg for your vote on their web sites, on their direct-mail pieces, in personal conversations, and during messages delivered while you're on hold. If you want to cast a ballot for your favorite programs, the Freddies now even have their own site []. … Condé Nast, the big publishing house whose products include The New Yorker and Condé Nast Traveler has launched []. But the self-proclaimed "travel supersite" is surprisingly flat. There seems to be plenty of information--stock reports on hotels, restaurants, events, etc.--but there is very little flash. Of course, excitement is in the eye of the web surfer, so give it a look for yourself.

ON THE FLY: News You Should Know
The nation's major airlines last week quietly raised leisure-travel fares by $20 roundtrip. This was the fourth across-the-board price increase on advance-purchase seats this year. According to Best Fares magazine [] the four increases average out to 17.5 percent. … Airports in Paris are being plagued by flight delays and work stoppages as unionized ground workers protest working hours and other rules changes proposed by the French government. … Five Clarine and 15 Agip hotels in Italy are being re-branded Holiday Inn [], adding more than 2,500 rooms to the chain's Italian inventory. … Thirteen passengers on an American Airlines flight hit by turbulence in 1995 were awarded a total of $2.22 million by a New York court. … Delta Air Linesis officially parting company with three of its long-time code-sharing partners: Austrian Airlines, Swissair and Sabena. Code-shared flights will end by August.

ROUTE WATCH: New Flights for Next Year
If you're planning ahead, make note of the following airline additions: United Airlines [] (800-241-6522) says it will begin daily nonstop service between Los Angeles Internationaland Paris Charles de Gaulle on April 4. United will use Boeing 777s on the flights. … Emirates [] (800-777-3999) begins four-time-weekly service between Dubai and Sydney on March 26. The flights will operate via Singapore with Airbus A-330 jets. …JetBlue Airways [], the new carrier based at New York Kennedy International, will begin operation in January with flights to Buffalo and Fort Lauderdale. The start-up, which has raised $130 million in capital, is acquiring a fleet of Airbus A-320s. … Aloha Airlines (800-367-5250) [] will launch daily service between Oakland and Honolulu and Maui in February. Each daily nonstop will be flown with B-737s and represent the first time the inter-Island carrier will fly to the mainland.

BY THE NUMBERS: Empires in the Air
Ever wonder why international airfares are so high? Perhaps it's the extreme concentration of service among so few carriers in a market. Who's building the empires in the air? In Latin America, it's American Airlines. Seven U.S. carriers operated 47,091 flights to Latin destinations in the second quarter of the year, but American accounted for 50 percent of them. Across the Pacific, it's a duopoly. Five U.S. airlines operated 12,709 Pacific flights in the second quarter, but Northwest and United flew 82.8 percent of them. Three U.S. carriers have a hammer lock on Atlantic service. Seven U.S. airlines operated across the pond, but Delta, United and American together accounted for 65 percent of the 28,283 flights. The figures were published last week by Aviation Daily, an airline-industry newsletter.

This column originally appeared at

Copyright © 1999-2010 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved.