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Travel News

TSA Update ~ DELTA

May 24, 2010 – Delta Air Lines continues to work with the TSA to ensure ongoing compliance with TSA Secure Flight Passenger Data (SFPD) standards. Adherence with the required TSA Secure Flight Passenger Data standards is required for Delta and all airlines for travel to/from/through the U.S. effective November 1, 2010. Specifically, the regulation requires customers to supply the SFPD information at the time of ticketing. This includes full name, date of birth, gender and optional redress number.
Agencies are asked to provide SFPD information by July 1, 2010. While Delta will continue to accept agency reservations without complete SFPD data beyond July 1, passengers whose flights depart on November 1 or later will be required to see a ticket agent if SFPD was not included in their reservation.
All airlines with flights to/from and within the United States will be required to adhere to SFPD standards, including Delta’s joint venture partners – Air France and KLM. These partners are under separate TSA timelines. Specific Air France and KLM TSA Secure Flight information will be communicated separately.
It should only be a matter of time before the other airlines will be making official announcements regarding their timelines. We appreciate your cooperation in helping to be prepared to meet this important TSA requirement.
Additional Resources
• Complete information on Secure Flight can be found at • A complete list of acceptable forms of I.D. can be found at www.tsa.gov/what_we_do/layers/secureflight/index.shtm
• Information on the Redress process can be found at www.dhs.gov/trip
• For more on TSA privacy policies, or to review the system of records notice and the privacy impact assessment, please see the TSA Web site at www.tsa.gov

Categories
Travel News

Reward Programs Are Becoming Less Rewarding

According to SmartMoney.com, changes to credit-card reward programs are creating new obstacles for card holders.  Example: Many card holders now have no margin for error in paying their bill on time; one day late is grounds for revoking your rewards.  Others now must use their cards more frequently to maintain reward balances.  Here are some tips to help manage your reward points:
Don’t wait to cash in rewards
Many rewards now come with expiration dates.  If a deadline is approaching, cash in quickly.  Keep in mind that issuers don’t always alert customers if their rewards are about to expire.
Sweep points to another account
Customers with rewards cards linked to a single airline may be able to sweep rewards that are about to expire over to the airline’s point program.  Members of American Express’s SkyPoints program can transfer their points to a Delta SkyMiles account to continue to earn miles toward travel.
If you can’t sweep, swap
Some issuers allow customers to transfer points to their friends and family members.  Various websites, including online points exchange Points.com, aim to streamline the process.  Most trades carry a small transfer fee.
…Or donate:  You also can donate rewards to charity.  Donated points and miles generally are not tax deductable, however…
-Diana Ransom

Categories
Travel News

Frequent Flier Buzz – News Under the Radar

In the midst of volcanoes and strikes and demonstrations, you might have missed some interesting developments in the world of frequent flier news this week.
 
United Airlines says “keep your money..” – well, at least some of it.  The airline announced this week that its elite members in its Mileage Plus program will no longer have to suffer the indignity of paying a co-pay fee when using miles to upgrade flights in the continental U.S., Alaska or Canada.
 
Frontier Airlines announced that it will end its mileage program partnership with AirTran.  Due in no small part to the union of Frontier Airlines and Midwest Airlines under the Frontier name last month, the Frontier-AirTran partnership is scheduled to end on July 16, 2010.
 
Delta Airlines announced that beginning fall 2010 elite members of Delta’s SkyMiles program will enjoy upgrade benefits on Alaska Airlines flights as part of the Delta/Alaska partnership extension.
For more information on each of these revelations, contact your Christopherson Travel Advisor.
 

Categories
Travel News

Christopherson Awarded 2010 Best of State

Christopherson Business Travel will be recognized on May 29 at the Utah Best of State Awards Gala in Salt Lake City, Utah. Christopherson has been named “Best of State” for the Travel Agency category within the Hospitality/Travel/Tourism section of the competition.
The Best of State Awards recognize outstanding individuals, organizations, and businesses in Utah. The impartial Best of State judges determine winners based upon excellence in their specific field of endeavors, use of innovative approaches or methods in their business practices, and contribution to a better quality of life in Utah.
Christopherson is pleased to be recognized for their commitment to business travel with the prestigious Best of State award.

Categories
Travel Management Travel Technology

I would like to file a Report please…..

The Account Management team at Christopherson Business Travel is constantly being asked for help in ways to enforce compliance to travel policy guidelines and rules.  We recommend travel data reports to accomplish this.
Ever wonder who is always booking last minute, continually making changes, utilizing a favorite vendor when another might be less expensive?  Want to make sure you are meeting your commitment goals with preferred vendors?  Perhaps it might be a good idea to get a daily report on tickets booked the day prior to moniter if a certain trip is necessary or five people are attending a tradeshow when three people would be sufficient.   How a about credit card reconciliation report?!
Our DATALOGIC tool powered by iBank is one of the most powerful reporting tools in the industry.  DATALOGIC reporting delivers over 120 standard reports and a virtually unlimited number of user defined reports upon demand or on a scheduled broadcast basis. With DATALOGIC reporting your can focus on Spend Analysis, Supplier Management, Policy/Risk Management, Activity Management, Spend Management and Reconciliation Analysis.
As a Christopherson Business Travel client you are given access to DATALOGIC to design, produce and deliver your own reports on the fly.  Not enough time to do this?  Not a problem.  You tell us what you need we find or create the report for you and send it out as frequent as desired.
Remember –  there is never a fee for DATALOGIC access or to receive reports.
Please let us know if you would be interested in a demonstration of how this tool can make your life simpler and less stressful.  Contact Christopherson Business Travel for a demonstration today.  allam@christophersontravel.com
Air Activity Report 101 created, broadcasted and filed.  Now go have a great day!

Categories
Travel News

What Happens When……..

For the second time in less than a decade, we have seen a continental wide shut down of an air traffic system. The first time was in 2001, starting on 9/11 and lasting a little over a week. The second time was last month’s shut down of the European airspace as a result of volcanic ash.
So what happens when a major event such as these occurs? Are the airlines obligated to do anything for you and if so, what? What about hotels and car rental agencies? And cruise lines and tour companies, what do they have to do in such an event? Do you know where to find out what their legal obligations are and what your legal rights are?
As has been discussed here previously the EU and the US have different regulations concerning flight cancellations. Both governing bodies require the airlines to do more when it is something that the airline should be able to control. Similarly, both are more forgiving when it is beyond the control of the airline. In the case of 9-11, it was the government shutting down the airspace and the airlines had no control over that. And in the case of the volcanic ash, well, Mother Nature gets the blame and no one has control over that. Legally the airlines are not obligated to do much for a traveler when it is something beyond the airline’s control. If they cancel your flight, the airline can offer you a refund or they can reschedule your travel at a later date. The first one isn’t so bad if you are just starting your trip and your trip was time sensitive. The second is generally used if travel has commenced or you need to go sooner or later. We saw a great many people opting for the second. At Christopherson Business Travel, we spent hours finding alternative schedules, getting waivers from the airlines and then reissuing tickets for our clients. If, by chance, you had booked your travel direct with the airlines, you would have been the one on the phone for long periods of time to get your new flight arrangements made.
How do you know what the airlines will do for you? Each and every airline flying into, out of or through the US, has what is known as a Contract of Carriage and they must have it available at the ticket counter and the gate should a customer need or want it. Most have them on their websites as well. These contracts will vary from airline to airline so don’t assume that because one airline says one thing, that all of them will say the same thing. While it sometimes seems that the airlines are a bunch of kids playing follow the leader, it is not safe to assume that everything is exactly the same. So when in doubt, get a copy of the contract of carriage and read those parts that are pertinent to your needs.
Now what happens to you if you no show a hotel due to a volcanic eruption? Well, most hotels will waive a no show billing provided you contact them as quickly as possible. If you wait a week or two, well, they aren’t as forgiving as if you either call them as soon as you know that you aren’t going to make it or within a day of your scheduled arrival. I must point out, not all hotels will waive it. There are some hotels that don’t worry about good customer service and/or about creating good will. Here again, if you booked your hotel direct with the hotel or through Hotwire, Priceline or via the hotel chain websites, you will be spending your time and money tracking down the number of who you need to speak with and then calling them. If you booked through Christopherson Business Travel, your agent would take care of this at the same time he or she was taking care of your airfare.
Hotels are generally regulated by local authorities, such as cities or counties and in a few places states or even national governments will regulate them. There is no equivalent to the airline contract of carriage. This makes it much harder to know what your specific rights are and in the cases of hotels overseas can make it very hard to get things resolved in a manner that one would expect.
Car rentals are generally easier since most car rentals are not prepaid or guaranteed with a credit card. If it isn’t prepaid or guaranteed, basically the car rental agency has a car sitting on their lot that they were hoping to have rented to you. You aren’t stuck with a bill for it. Now if you prepaid the car rental or you reserved a car that required a guarantee and you no show, you may find yourself in a similar situation as you would with your hotel. The sooner you are able to contact the car rental agency and explain what has happened, the easier it to get them to work with you. If you did it yourself, well, I’ve covered that already.
Cruises and tours operate more like the airlines than hotels and rental cars. They have contracts that specify what they will and won’t do. The contracts also specify their policies for cancellations. These contracts are very specific as to what they have to do. It is a good idea to go over those before you put your money down. One thing that all the cruise lines and most of the tour operators offer is some form of “insurance” or “cancellation waiver”, that allows customers to cancel for a variety of reasons. Again, these have their own contract and each one varies from company to company, so it is VERY important to read and understand the terms of coverage before purchasing it. One downside to purchasing it from a vendor is that it only covers what you purchased from the vendor. For example, if you are going on a cruise and you purchase their cancellation coverage, it will cover the cruise, but if you didn’t get your airfare through the cruise line or you booked your own hotels or maybe you booked a shore excursion on your own, none of those things would be covered by the cruise line’s cancellation policy. So what are you to do to insure that you get your money back from those items?
There are travel insurance policies offered by third party insurance companies. There are many different options available in the marketplace. They range from policies that cover the minimum amounts and things, to policies that allow you to cancel at anytime, for any reason, that include trip interruption coverage, medical evacuation, to your baggage being lost, stolen or damage. And the idea that you only need insurance if you are elderly or just taking a cruise, isn’t really valid. We had someone who was going to Cancun on a family vacation who ended up in the hospital and couldn’t make the trip. Without the insurance the money spent purchasing the airfare and prepaying the hotel would have been lost. However with the traveler had purchased insurance and was covered. Christopherson Business Travel has agents licensed and trained to sell travel insurance. So when you booking your next trip, take a moment to consider if you want to get travel insurance.
Hopefully we won’t have any more major disruptions of travel in the future however even small disruptions can be trying for the person traveling. Let Christopherson Business Travel help make it a little easier for you by allowing us to utilize our knowledge, contacts and expertise on your behalf.

Categories
Travel News

United, Continental Airlines Announce Merger

United, Continental announce $3 billion merger
United Airlines and Continental Airlines have agreed to a $3 billion merger. The combination — described as a merger of equals — would create the world’s largest airline, with a 21% share of seat miles available in the U.S. market and a 7% share globally. A post-merger United would be about 8% larger than Delta Air Lines. The combined airline will retain the United name and be headquartered in Chicago. The combined carrier will serve about 370 cities in 59 countries, blending United’s extensive Asian network with Continental’s strength in Europe and Latin America. The New York Times (free registration) (5/3) , Bloomberg (5/3) , The Wall Street Journal (5/3) , Bloomberg Businessweek/The Associated Press (5/3)
If you have questions on how this will affect your corporate contract agreements please contact your Christopherson/Account Manager or talk to your United rep Go to www.united.com for additional updates
United, Continental announce $3 billion merger
United Airlines and Continental Airlines have agreed to a $3 billion merger. The combination — described as a merger of equals — would create the world’s largest airline, with a 21% share of seat miles available in the U.S. market and a 7% share globally. A post-merger United would be about 8% larger than Delta Air Lines. The combined airline will retain the United name and be headquartered in Chicago. The combined carrier will serve about 370 cities in 59 countries, blending United’s extensive Asian network with Continental’s strength in Europe and Latin America. The New York Times (free registration) (5/3) , Bloomberg (5/3) , The Wall Street Journal (5/3) , Bloomberg Businessweek/The Associated Press (5/3)