Categories
Business Travel Company News and Announcements Featured in the news Travel Industry Travel News

COVID-19: Travel Partner Update

Christopherson delivers a bi-weekly email to clients with the latest developments and important information about how COVID-19 is impacting travel. This post was last updated on August 25, 2020. 

Christopherson Expands COVID-19 Resources

We are pleased to offer even more support as you work to get your travelers back on  the road. Visit our new COVID-19-dedicated webpage to access reliable resources and updates on the pandemic and how to travel safely for business.

Included on this new page are our regularly updated Travel Vendor Health & Safety Guide, our travel partner updates, a state/country entry restriction database, and current COVID-19 numbers and statistics. 

Delta Extends Middle Seat Blocks Into January 2021

Delta Air Lines is extending their protocol to block middle seats and limit the number of customers per flight through at least Jan. 6, 2021. They are also extending their change fee waiver for new flights purchased through Sept. 30.

American Extends Travel Waiver Through Dec. 31

American Airlines has extended its offer to waive change fees for customers who purchase tickets by Sept. 30, 2020 for travel through Dec. 31, 2020. The offer is available for any of American’s fares.

Q&A: How Border Control Technology Could Ease COVID Spread

The return to an open and robust air travel industry is dependent on many factors including containment of the virus, development of vaccines, a resumption of corporate travel, strong consumer confidence and the lifting of travel restrictions.

Technology can help to facilitate this process by enabling contract tracing that correlates passenger data with confirmed cases of COVID-19. Read more in this Q&A.

Scientists Say Odds are Slim of Catching COVID on Plane

CNN reported that according to some experts, who point to the very few documented cases of in-flight transmission, the chances of catching COVID-19 while on board a flight are actually relatively slim. According to findings, the odds of a passenger catching COVID-19 on a flight and dying from the virus are less than one in half a million. Read about the study here.

TSA Promotes “Stay Healthy. Stay Secure.” Campaign

TSA launched their “Stay Healthy. Stay Secure.” campaign, which details proactive and protective measures they have implemented at security checkpoints to make the screening process safer for passengers and our workforce by reducing the potential of exposure to the coronavirus. Here’s a helpful infographic about the program.

TSA also announced they will be installing acrylic barriers and associated equipment at checkpoints in 37 priority airports nationwide, with wider rollout this fall.

Christopherson Named No. 1 Woman-Owned Company

We are honored to have been ranked No. 1 on Colorado Biz Magazine’s list of Top 100 Woman-Owned Companies in 2020.

Need a Good News Break?

A few fun stories our team enjoyed this week:

The information here is up-to-date as of August 25, 2020 and is provided for general information purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice. Christopherson does not provide recommendations on the prudence of travel to an affected location. We do seek to provide pertinent information, allowing organizations and travelers to make informed decisions regarding travel.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Management Travel News

How to Support Your Business Travelers During The Coronavirus Outbreak

Originally published Feb 27, 2020 at 4:02 PM, updated March 09, 2020

As the coronavirus continues to affect business travel, we want to provide corporate travel managers with helpful tools, resources, and information to best support their travelers. For the most up-to-date information on the coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. 

CDC Travel Guidelines

The following warning and alert classifications have been outlined by the CDC. We encourage travel managers to review the warnings and make informed decisions to protect their travelers.

Warning Level 3 

Nonessential travel to these highest-risk locations should be avoided. This currently includes China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran.

Alert Level 2 

Due to sustained community transmission of the virus in Japan, the CDC recommends that older adults and those suffering from chronic medical conditions postpone travel to these areas. Corporate travel managers could also consider adding an additional level of approval for these business trips by having senior leaders review them on a case-by-case basis. 

Watch Level 1 

The CDC recommends practiving usual precaustions when traveling to Hong Kong at this time. The CDC will continue to update its recommendations on their website. Companies with employees traveling to level 1 watch areas may want to consider implementing additional health and security protocols to ensure traveler safety.  

Personal Travel 

While personal travel does fall outside the realms of a corporate travel manager’s purview, companies may want to encourage employees to travel with caution and remain aware of this ongoing situation. If an employee has personal plans to visit or has visited one of the warning level areas, you could consider having them self-quarantine for 14 days. If an employee participates in any travel, regardless of the area, and shows signs of being sick, you could also ask them to follow the same 14-day self-quarantine. 

Reminder to Only Book Within Approved Corporate Tools 

Travel managers should reiterate the importance of booking business travel within the organization’s approved corporate booking tools and enforce these policies. Booking within policy ensures you always know where your travelers are so that you can best support them and communicate critical information in a timely manner. 

Review Your Risk Management Policy and Update if Needed

Be sure you have included a protocol for an infectious disease outbreak like this in your risk management plan. Events that could trigger action include travelers becoming infected or being stranded in an infected area. Do you have a plan in place to quickly and appropriately support your travelers? 

Remind Travelers to Follow These Best Practices While Traveling 

Ask business travelers to follow these actions recommended by the World Health Organization when traveling. 

  1. Wash hands frequently
  2. Maintain social distancing 
  3. Avoid touching eyes nose and mouth 
  4. Practice respiratory hygiene
  5. If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
  6. Stay informed and follow the advice given by your healthcare provider

Additional Resources

For more resources to help you plan and respond to this situation, visit the CDC’s Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019

BCD Travel also has a current list of airline updates and advisories by country. 

The information presented here is up-to-date as of March 9 and is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Christopherson does not give recommendations on the prudence of travel to affected areas. Our aim is to provide helpful information that allows companies and travelers to make informed decisions. As the situation continues to unfold, companies can access real-time information through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization website.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry Travel News Travel Tips

5 Facts Every Business Traveler Needs To Know About The Coronavirus

If you have seen the news or skimmed social media this week, chances are you have heard about the coronavirus outbreak in China, now with confirmed cases in Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and the United States. As a business traveler, you might not have the luxury of canceling or postponing your upcoming travel plans, so we put together the five most important facts to keep you informed and safe from this concerning outbreak.

1. What is the coronavirus and how is it spread?

The novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a respiratory infection in the same family as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). During early cases of the novel coronavirus, it was thought to have spread from animal-to-person, however new cases of the virus have been identified in patients that confirmed they had no exposure to animal markets. Person-to-person transmission of 2019-nCoV has been confirmed but the exact way in which the transmission occurs remains unknown.

2. What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

Symptoms of the coronavirus look and feel much like the flu, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you believe you might have come into contact with an infected person, seek medical attention immediately.

3. How can I protect myself from the Coronavirus while traveling?

The Center for Disease Control states the first way to protect yourself is to wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Do not touch your face with unwashed hands. Avoid coming into contact with people who are sick. Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing. Use alcohol-based sanitizers throughout the day.

4. What should I do if I have travel planned to an affected area?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has not yet recommended any travel restrictions. Business travelers should closely monitor the news, the CDC, and the US State Department for breaking\/changing information. Utilize your company’s travel risk management tools to ensure you have the most up-to-date information on the outbreak and possible travel restrictions. Give yourself extra time at the airport for potential health screenings, delays, and long lines. Employ the highest level of health and sanitation protocols.

5. How can my Travel Management Company (TMC) help?

Contact your dedicated business travel agent if you want to delay or cancel any of your upcoming business travel plans. Some airlines and hotels are offering free cancelations for people with travel plans to or through the affected areas and your TMC will be most knowledgeable on eligibility. Your TMC may also be able to assist you in avoiding high-risk areas without canceling your trip plans.

Categories
Business Travel Travel News

Countdown to the REAL ID ACT

One year from today, the REAL ID ACT will go into effect, changing the required identification needed to board an airplane. A year goes by fast. To avoid future problems, here’s what you should anticipate for the October 1, 2020 deadline.

What do I need to know about the REAL ID ACT? 

Once the REAL ID ACT goes into effect, only the correct identification will allow entry into federal buildings, including federally regulated commercial aircrafts. Though passports will be accepted, driver’s licenses and identification cards need to be updated to include scannable microchip technology. It is the responsibility of the individual state to implement these changes. If the traveler does not have a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, they will need an additional form of approved identification, or they will not be allowed to board the aircraft. 

For years the REAL ID ACT has been surrounded by confusion and chaos. In January 2018, the government as a whole delayed the enactment of the REAL ID ACT until October 1, 2020. The purpose was to give all 50 states adequate time to prepare. Now that the 2020 deadline is approaching, it’s time to make sure your state is compliant and you have the appropriate identification. 

How do I know if my driver’s license is REAL ID compliant? 

Because every state is responsible for issuing REAL ID compliant identification, it’s best to check your state’s DMV website for up-to-date and correct information. With only a few straggling states, almost all are currently in compliance. 

There is also an easy way to tell if your license has the scannable technology. A star in the upper right corner indicates it is REAL ID compliant, though there are various versions of the star logo. 

real-id-act-starIf you do not have a star in the upper corner, you will need to get a new driver’s license. 

Another point to remember, if your state is compliant, and your license is due to expire before the October 1, 2020 deadline, the new id sent to you will have the RFID indicated star. 

Have additional questions? Read this information packet from the TSA.  You can also tweet them with specific questions regarding #check4thestar

Categories
Business Travel Travel News

Expect Delays At San Francisco International Airport This Month

If you’re flying in or out of the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) this month, there’s something you should know. From September 7 – September 27, two of its runways are under construction. The runway closure is causing major delays and cancellations, both on domestic and international flights, and shorter flights more affected. Here’s what you need to know and the best tips to avoid a travel issue at SFO. 

Why is construction causing delays? 

The construction project for SFO’s runway 28L was planned, but is causing flight delays and cancellations nonetheless. The runway typically serves 68% of the airport’s flights. With only two other runways operational, it’s no surprise issues are occurring. For comparison, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport has five runways, and Chicago’s O’Hare Airport has eight. This past Sunday, 266 flights were delayed and 52 were cancelled by 4pm. Though seemingly high, it is significantly lower than the previous Sunday, with 358 flights delayed and 137 cancelled.

The time frame of the project was slated for September, specifically to avoid inclement weather. As you can imagine, escaping temperamental fog and rain can be difficult in the Bay Area. Precipitation is usually low at this time of year. Airport traffic is also lower, dipping between summer travel and holiday travel. Construction started September 7, and is scheduled to be out of use until September 27. A bit of good news though, airport officials said last week that crews reached the halfway point of the project two days ahead of schedule.

What can I do to avoid flight delays or cancellations?  

Unfortunately, not much. If you must fly through SFO this month, plan for a two to three hour delay. The airlines are also doing their best to reduce travel issues. Legacy airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and American Airlines, are waiving change fees during the dates of construction. Alaska Airlines and Southwest have adjusted timing of their flights and warned travelers to expect delays. Here are some other tips for flying through SFO this month:

  • If your plans are flexible, change your travel to a different day or time. SFO suggests flying out before 9am, when flight delays typically begin. 
  • If possible, fly out or into a different airport. Oakland International Airport and San Jose International Airport are both close by. 
  • If your plans are set in stone and cannot be changed, expect delays. Download the airline’s app to stay up to date on your flight’s status. Your flight may be delayed, but you could at least you’ll avoid spending it in the airport.

 

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company with more than 60 years of experience. Contact us to learn more about our consultative approach to account management or schedule a demo of our AirPortal technology. 

Categories
Business Travel Travel News

FAA Bans Recalled MacBook Pro on Flights

Most business travelers keep their laptops within reach at all times. Which is why this recently announced ban from the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) may throw some frequent fliers into a tailspin. With concerns of battery issues, the FAA, along with other government organizations and airlines, will no longer allow some 15-inch MacBook Pro laptops onboard flights.

Apple’s MacBook Pro Recall

In June, Apple announced a recall of their 15-inch MacBook Pro laptops sold between September 2015 and February 2017. The reason for the recall? The lithium battery of affected laptops can overheat, potentially leading to swelling or even igniting. 

FAA and other airlines ban

This is not the first time the FAA has banned specific consumer electronics on airlines. You probably remember in 2016, when Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7s had a similar issues. According to FAA’s safety guidelines, electronics with recalled batteries should not be allowed as cargo or in carry-on luggage. These affected laptops should not be anywhere on the aircraft, including below in cargo. This ban also includes flights traveling to or from the United States.

Other countries and specific airlines have issued statements, with varying stances. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency will allow the laptops to be on the flight, but they must be turned off. Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways have banned the laptop from both checked luggage and carry-on bags. Quantas, on the other hand, states all 15-inch MacBookPros, including those without a defective battery,  should be carried in the cabin and turned off during the flight. Virgin Australia also stated that all MacBooks must be placed in carry-on baggage only.

What should you do if you have a 15-inch MacBook Pro?

Fortunately, Apple has made their recall process easy. To see if your laptop is affected, go to their recall page  and enter your laptop’s serial number. 

If your laptop battery has been recalled, their website provides information on their easy battery replacement process. If it is a computer provided by your company, you may also want to notify your IT department.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry Travel News

Southwest Airlines Will Require CVV Code in Booking Process

UPDATE – Southwest Airlines recently announced they are postponing the CVV requirement for booking from June 17, 2019 to a later date. Though not required now, a credit card CVV code will likely be needed to book travel in the near future. It is still recommended that you contact your Christopherson Account Manager and update your credit card information.

Does your company book travel with Southwest Airlines? If so, it’s important you know this information. Starting June 17, 2019, Southwest Airlines will require the credit card CVV code to complete their booking process. Fortunately, this update is a tiny one that requires minimal action. Unfortunately, if not completed by June 17, it will cause disruptions and declined transactions on Southwest Airlines tickets.

Reducing fraud through CVV codes

The credit verification value, or CVV code, is the three or four digit number on debit and credit cards. It can be found on the back of VISA, Mastercard, and Discover cards, or on the front of American Express cards. Providing the CVV code at the time of purchase confirms to online merchants that you have the physical credit card or debit card in your hands during the transaction. It is one technique that helps reduce fraudulent purchases. Southwest is the first airline to require CVV information on booking reservations, but others are predicted to follow soon. Visa is also requiring the CVV code in order to purchase online air tickets.

What does this mean for your corporate travel?

Finding the CVV code is pretty easy when you can just pull it out of your wallet. The process becomes more complicated when multiple departments or travel partners are involved. Some companies use one card managed by a Travel Manager. Others allow individual employees to book travel themselves with their own corporate credit cards. Understanding how your company books travel is the first place to start.

If Southwest Airlines is one of your carriers of choice

We’ve outlined the easiest way to update your CVV code to avoid any future delays or disruptions. How does your company book travel with Christopherson?

  • One company card is used to book travel: Contact your Christopherson Account Manager to update the credit card information with the CVV code. They will also verify additional card information, names, and billing addresses to ensure your account is current.
  • Travelers book their own travel with individual credit cards: Advise your travelers that they will need to provide their credit card’s CVV number whenever they book a reservation with a Christopherson travel advisor. Your travelers can also easily book Southwest through your online booking tool where the CVV code is not required.
  • A company card is used to book travel AND travelers book with credit cards:If the majority of your employees book their own travel, but a company card is used for contractors’, interviewees’, or lower-level employees’ travel booking be sure to contact your Christopherson Account Manager, as well as notify your travelers of these updates.

As we work to ensure no disruption to your travelers and protect your company against fraud, we appreciate your partnership and proactivity to this update. If you have any additional questions about updating the CVV code, please contact your Account Manager.

 

Categories
Business Travel Travel News

What You Need To Know About Marriott’s Starwood Breach

Marriott announced Friday that their reservation database for Starwood hotels has been breached by hackers, leaving almost 500 million user’s personal information exposed. Learn what happened in Marriott’s Starwood breach, how to determine if your information has been compromised and other important next steps.

The Marriott’s Starwood data breach

  • Hackers illegally accessed Marriott’s Starwood Hotels reservation database. Marriott purchased the Starwood hotel brand in 2016, though it appears this breach has been taking place since 2014. Only Starwood brand information has been compromised.
  • An internal security tool detected the breach on September 8. Upon further investigation, they discovered the length of time the attack has taken place.
  • Starwood hotels include : Westin, Sheraton, The Luxury Collection, Four Points by Sheraton, W, St. Regis, Le Meridien, Tribute Portfolio, Design Hotels, Four Points, Aloft, Element.
  • It is the second biggest corporate data breach in history. The first involving Yahoo last year, with over 3 billion accounts being compromised.

What information has been exposed

  • For 327 million people, the information breached includes names, phone numbers, email addresses, passport numbers and date of birth. It also includes trip arrival and departure information.
  • For some, credit card information and card expiration dates were compromised. There was encryption on this information, though Marriott is unsure if that encryption could have been breached as well.
  • This leaves an estimated 500 million people vulnerable to having their identities stolen. It can then later be used to open bank accounts, credit cards and even loans in their name.

What to do if you think you might be a victim

  • Visit Marriott’s website about the breach. Contact them directly through the call center listed on the site or read additional information about the breach.
  • Keep an eye on your email. Marriott has begun sending out notification emails to those that have been compromised. These roll-out emails begin Friday, November 30.
  • Marriott will provide guests with free WebWatcher enrollment. Free of charge for one year, it will monitor if your personal information is being used online without your permission.

Additional ways to protect yourself

If you’re concerned that you may be a victim, or just freaked out in general, here are a few actionable items you can start doing today:

  • Start changing your password on your Marriott Starwood accounts regularly. This is the first line of defense to keeping hackers out. Make sure your new password has at least 12 characters, tricky to guess, and doesn’t include any information that can be gleaned from your online profiles, like your birthday or home address.
  • Monitor your accounts for suspicious activity. Keep an eye on your Starwood Preferred Guest account for any suspicious activity. Also check your bank, retirement, brokerage accounts, and credit card statements for anything unusual.
  • Freeze your credit. Keep anyone from taking out credit cards or loans in your name by freezing all credit.
  • Open a separate credit card for online transactions only. Make it easier to track transactions and spot fraudulent activity by using one dedicated credit card for online transactions. If compromised, you won’t have to change additional bills or utilities billing information, reducing additional stress and headache.
  • Be aware of anything fishy in the future. It’s not new that we should be vigilant with our actions online or on the phone. ‘Phishing’ schemes usually include people trying to access additional information from you or your computer with bogus emails, fake links, and fraudulent websites. Marriott has said they will not call or email you asking for your profile or password information. Do not provide this information if requested online or on the phone, as they are likely trying to steal additional personal information.
Categories
Business Travel Travel News Travel Tips

How Business Travelers Can Spot Human Trafficking In Airports

Human trafficking has over the years become a global and multi-million dollar enterprise. As one of the world’s fastest growing criminal industries, the trade and its signs are largely unspoken. For instance, did you know that according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), nearly 25 million people are currently living in modern day slavery? That’s roughly the population of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Phoenix combined. And while most people assume it’s an issue affecting only other countries, a surprisingly large portion exists within the United States. For example, 83% of people forced into prostitution in the U.S. are from the U.S. 

So why is a business travel management blog discussing human trafficking? As with any global business, international and domestic travel is necessary and usually frequent. In fact, the United Nations’ Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates that 60% of victims – that’s roughly 15 million people – are transported across international borders.  This makes transportation hubs; like airports, bus stations, and train stations, actual hotbeds for human trafficking. It unfortunately also often the last time a victim is seen before being forced into the dark underbelly of human enslavement. Once the victim gets off the plane or bus, they tend to become almost impossible to trace and rescue.

This depressing and scary fact actually provides business travelers a unique advantage. As frequent travelers, they cross paths with virtually all walks of life on a business trip, and could become a huge proponent for stopping human trafficking. By being aware of the signs, and the correct outlets to report, this demographic may very well save lives. Signs of human trafficking are actually pretty easy to recognize. So easy in fact, that without being aware of the signs, they often go unnoticed. Paying attention to anything out of the ordinary, and knowing the actions to take if you suspect something could very easily save a life.

How to spot human trafficking in airports:

    1. Person is not dressed appropriately for their travel destination. Trafficking victims are often wearing clothes that seem out of place. They may not be the correct sizes, appear disheveled, or unprepared for the destination. In fact, they may be carrying very little luggage or no luggage at all. Also, it is likely the people he/she is traveling with is more well dressed and appropriately for the destination.
    2. May look malnourished, has bruises or other wounds, or ravenous appetite. In addition to their clothes, their overall appearance may be distressing.
    3. Traveling with someone else or people who seem to hold all the control. A telltale sign is two or more people traveling together, but don’t seem to be related or even friends. The trafficker is likely more confident, even controlling. The suspected victim may be followed if they move about the cabin or the airport.
    4. Can’t provide information on their location, destination, or flight information. Victims are often not told where they are, where they’re going, or even what might happen next. They may not even know the name of the person they are traveling with.
    5. Communication seems scripted. If you talk to the person in question, their answers sound scripted or lacks consistency. Traffickers sometimes coach their victims to say certain things to avoid suspicion. Fear and intimidation are two ways traffickers hold their power. They may try to avoid any interaction and defer communication to the possible trafficker.
    6. May have a tattoo with a bar code or male’s name.Many people have tattoos, so this tip is not always a sure sign. Traffickers or pimps often tattoo or brand their own names or the word ‘Daddy’ on their victims. Usually this is a sign to show dominance. Other indicating tattoos maybe dollar signs or cuss words.

What frequent business travelers should do if they suspect human trafficking:

  1. First and foremost – do not be a hero. Do not interact with them directly or try to rescue the suspected victim. The safest way to help human trafficking victims is to report it to the correct channels and as much information as possible.
  2. As a growing epidemic, most airline employees and flight attendants have gone through human trafficking detection training. Tell a flight attendant or security guard your suspicions and they will alert the authorities.
  3. Only if you can do so safely, take a picture of the possible victim and trafficker.
  4. Write down descriptions of the possible victim and trafficker. Note any significant tattoos, scars or body marks.
  5. Report your concerns to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Keep the number in your phone so it can be easily accessed if needed – 1-888-373-7888.

 

If interested in learning more, read this great resource on how to help victims of human trafficking.

 

Categories
Business Travel Travel News

The Paradox Of Unruly Passengers And Air Rage

Oh, unruly passengers. There always seems to be a story in the news about a passenger on a plane who is arrested or removed. Like this one.  Or this one. But once you get into the numbers of unruly passengers, a larger story emerges. I was surprised to find that overall incidences are decreasing, but more severe events, commonly called ‘air rage’ are occurring more frequently. Behind it are different policies, legal gaps, and training at work, with responsibility mainly falling on flight attendants.

The stats of unruly passengers

From 2007 to 2016, over 58,000 unruly passenger incidents were reported on an aircraft in-flight, including all levels of severity. In 2016 alone, 9,837 unruly passenger incidents were reported. That’s 1 in every 1,424 flights. Remarkably, that is a decrease in reported incidents. In 2015 it was 1 in every 1,205 flights.

While the overall number appears to be going down, the more serious events, like ‘air rage’ are increasing. Statistics from December 2017 show a 50% rise in incidents who were forcibly confined for behavior ranging from verbal abuse and physical abuse to life-threatening actions.  And even more interesting in that arrests overall have decreased. This is largely attributed to gaps in international law. Often, the law enforcement arriving at the airport fail to take legal action, due to the aircraft being registered in a different country. So even culprits who have committed serious offenses can be let go without receiving punishment.

So what’s the plan?

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has a three-pronged approach for continually handling these situations. Putting it simply:

Strong legal deterrent + enhanced prevention and management = a safer and better flight for all

By strengthening international legal framework so all governments have the necessary legal tools to be able to take action when necessary, and increased training at multiple levels, we can hope to see a decrease in unruly passengers overall. Some of these trainings are how to de-escalate situations or restraining techniques. It also includes guidance for airports, restaurants, and duty-free shops, to ensure responsible sales of alcohol.

It falls on our flight attendants

This sounds like a good plan, right? The one downside is the additional stress, time, and work put on our flight attendants. As airlines are packing more people on planes, more incidents are bound to arise. Sara Nelson, spokesperson for International President of the Association of Flight Attendants, says “The issue of unruly passengers can escalate very quickly. . .airlines should increase the number of flight attendants on flights and at gates. If they did, Nelson continued, airline employees could identify drunk passengers more often and prevent them from getting on planes”.

Most flight attendant’s are taught to observe behavior before the passengers even enter the cabin. They look for loud passengers and signs of drugs and alcohol. They often make direct eye contact with passengers to assess if they are under the influence. The cabin crew is usually alerted of particular passengers if these signs are marginal. If it’s severe enough, the passengers can be picked up at the gates before boarding the plane.

What to do if you encounter an unruly passenger

  • Discreetly notify a flight attendant. The best way to keep the situation from escalating is to not engage the passenger or create a scene.
  • Don’t intervene, yell or stare, though this is often the natural instinct.
  • Stay seated if the situation escalates. Passengers who intervene are more likely to be seriously injured in the process.

There is a lot of information to unpack here. Though overall unruly incidents are decreasing, air rage is higher than ever. Often, arrests and other legal ramifications are not viable, due to legal restrictions. And overall, our flight attendants are superheroes in disguise. In addition to making us comfortable, relaxed and hydrated, they are trained in de-escalating and restraining air rage. Next time you fly, be extra nice to your flight attendant!

Read next:

Categories
Business Travel Travel News

Business Travel Technology – Cryptocurrency, Chatbots, and Apps, Oh My!

We’re living during a time when technological innovation is easing practically every area of our lives. You can pre-order your Starbucks latte before even leaving the house. You can buy and ship groceries to your house, just by talking to your smart home device.  And it’s easy to see how business travel is being simplified too. Ride sharing apps are now acceptable forms of transportation for most businesses. Checking in to flights has never been easier. And managing expenses is a breeze. Even with these changes that seem so simple now, it’s eye-opening to think of what is likely on the horizon of business travel technology.

I recently attended a presentation by Johnny Thorsen from Mezi, an artificial intelligence-powered tech startup. As the Vice President of Travel Strategy & Partnerships, his perspective on the future of the business travel industry was surprising, exciting, and even a little mind-boggling.

Innovative travel apps currently available to business travelers

Many wonderful advancements are currently on the scene and in action for business travelers.  

  • Dufl– This luggage delivery app has been around for a few years now. This service provides busy travelers with a solution for luggage and clothing. Acting like a virtual closet that cleans, stores, and sends your garments to the traveler when they need it. Easily have the luggage sent to your hotel, and ship it back to Dufl when you leave. 
  • Seateroo– This app allows passengers to sell premium airline seats to another passenger once boarding has completed. Anyone looking to make a little extra cash can post their seat of the app for a desired price and see if anyone is willing to switch spots. 
  • Roomer– A solution for hotel guests who wish to cancel non-refundable hotel reservations. This app allows users to sell their reservation, rather than eat the cost of the room. Others looking for a room could use Roomer to find a good deal at typically discounted prices on hotel bookings.  
  • Turo– A peer to peer car sharing app and website which allows people to rent out their personal vehicle to others needing a car for a day or even weeks at a time. 

 

Innovative business travel technology on the rise:

I was surprised to find that many ideas that seem so futuristic are much closer to reality. Some, are even in action now without most of us realizing it.

  • Chatbots for travel- If you’ve used a chat feature on a website, you’ve likely communicated with a chatbot at some point. This artificial intelligence technology is a computer program that conducts messaging and conversation like a real human. Often an experienced agent stands by to intervene when the chatbot can no longer answer the questions. It is actually currently available, with about 60% automation. Chatbots and their capabilities are expected to increase and be used more seamlessly in the future.
  • Cryptocurrency will become more prominent- Without getting in too deep into defining cryptocurrencies and blockchain, this is a digital currency that is growing in popularity and acceptance. So much so that it is currently being used for business transactions in 29 countries. It is not controlled by banks, making transactions instant, with the flexibility to be used for public or private matters.
  • Smart Contract could replace hotel RFPs- Using the same block chain technology used in cryptocurrency, hotels may be able to benefit from its advanced security features. The idea is simple, Smart Contracts take out the middleman, the GDS, and replace it with transactions using cryptocurrency.  Implications could be interesting for Group, Meeting and Event contracts, as well as annual business travel contracts.
  • Self- driving cars- aside from changing traditional car rental, self- driving cars can potentially take the place of small meeting rooms. Why travel to one location, when you can meet, communicate and negotiate while already on the way to your errand? It could also serve as a more convenient mode of transportation for regional travel. It could be possible to travel by self-driving car, work and sleep in-route,  and wake up in your destination city. The need for a short flight and overnight in a hotel may be unnecessary.
  • TSA screening – TSA will change and become more profile-based; making the presence of the TSA screening that we know today almost invisible. Signs of this are already here, like advanced technology being tested in TSA Pre-Check lines in select airports. 

Only time will tell if these advancements will come to fruition. We will be watching the horizon closely for new and innovative ways business travel technology is evolving. Check back on our blog for industry updates or to learn how our preparatory technology, AirPortal, is advancing business travel management.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry Travel News

Restrictions Coming To ‘Smart Bags’ Starting Jan. 15, 2018

Lithium-ion batteries have a pretty awful reputation when it comes to plane travel. They’re the reason why hoverboards began spontaneously exploding and are now no longer allowed on flights. They’re also the culprit for the briefly released Samsung Galaxy Note7, which had similar instability issues and also banned from flights. Part of the technology that makes lithium-ion batteries so powerful also leads to them overheating and as a posing a serious fire hazard. In result, new policies regarding the proper procedure for lithium-ion batteries on flights are being created. Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, and Alaska Airlines have recently announced an updated protocol for passengers traveling with lithium-ion batteries, including items like smart bags.  

What are ‘smart bags’?

Smart bags are typical pieces of luggage, but also feature integrated technology. There are a few different models on the market, but most allow travelers to weigh their luggage and even lock it through an app on their phone. Some can track your luggage using GPS. And others can even be used as a mobile charging station for phones and laptops. This autonomous smart bag is hands-free and will automatically follow the owner as they walk! As amazing and innovative as these new smart bags are, they unfortunately use lithium-ion batteries to operate. Due to the unpredictability of lithium-ion batteries, a debate has taken hold. Where is the safest place for smart bags on an aircraft? Should these batteries be stored in the cargo hold, where the Department of Homeland Security recently announced large electronics should be placed? Or, should they be in the cabin, where if an error occurs, it could be addressed immediately? Now some airlines are taking the lead and implementing policies that regulate lithium-ion batteries on air crafts. 

 

Airlines restrictions on lithium-ion batteries and smart bags

Delta, American, and Alaska are the three airlines leading the charge on these restrictions. Both recently announced their decision to ban smart bags with non-removable lithium-ion batteries from flights. The removed batteries should then be brought in the passenger’s carry-on, similar to how passengers should bring extra batteries. If the battery is removable, the smart bag will be allowed on the flight.  American added that in their policy, non-removable batteries will be allowed, but only if the battery can be turned off. If the traveler cannot turn off or remove the battery, the bag will be refused. These restrictions will go into place starting January 15, 2018. 

It should also be noted that many smart bag companies claim their products comply with TSA and FAA procedures. This may be true, but they are not endorsed by the airlines. 

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

New Security Screenings For All U.S.-Bound Flights

New airport security screening procedures were implemented late last week due to a new announcement from the TSA. Flights entering the United States will now require stricter passenger screening, for both U.S. citizens and foreign travelers. Only airports which serve as the last point of departure to the United States need to make these updates.  This will affect approximately 2,100 flights entering the U.S. every day.

This measure replaces earlier security rules, banning travelers from certain countries from bringing laptops or large electronics into the plane cabin with them. Each airline is adjusting to the new procedures in slightly different ways.  As details and procedures are likely to change, here’s what we know so far.

The bottom line

Most importantly, allow enough time in your schedule for interviews, questionnaires, or unexpected hang ups. Though the hope is that more extensive screenings will not increase wait times, most airlines are recommending to arrive at least three hours early to the gate. And of course, have your documentation and electronics readily available.

What new procedures travelers can expect

  • Stricter passenger screenings and interviews, even for American citizens
  • Inspection of personal electronic devices
  • Not all measures will be visible to the public, though passengers may see more bomb-sniffing dogs

How each airline is dealing with the new security screenings

  • Delta Air Lines– Travelers should arrive to the airport three hours before their flight. They should head straight to their gate where they may go through additional screening.
  • Air France– They’ve developed a questionnaire given to “100 percent” of the travelers. Have begun conducting these interviews at Paris Orly Airport. On Nov 2, the same procedures will be implemented at Charles de Gaulle Airport.
  • Emirates– Will be conducting ‘pre-screening interviews’ at their check-in counters for travelers flying out of Dubai. The interviews will be conducted at the boarding gates for transit and transfer fliers. Those flying through their headquarters, Dubai International Airport, should allow extra time to check in and board.
  • Cathy Pacific– Have suspended their self-drop baggage services. Those heading to the U.S. will instead be subject to a short security interview when checking in their luggage. Travelers without checked baggage will undergo a similar interview at the gate.
  • EgyptAir- Their new measures include more detailed searches of passengers, luggage and interviews.
  • Lufthansa Group (including Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Swiss, Eurowings and others)- Travelers may face short interviews at check-in, or documentation check at their gate.
  • Royal Jordanian– They will begin these new security procedures in mid-January, after being granted a request for delay in implementation.

We will continue to update this blog as more information and procedures are implemented. If you are a Christopherson client with additional questions, feel free to reach out to your account manager.

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company with more than 60 years of experience. Known for our proprietary travel technology and dedicated account management, we’re always working to make business travel easier. Please contact us to learn more about our approach and corporate travel packages

Categories
Travel News

Delta Releases Automatic Check-in and In-Flight Messaging

With the use of cutting-edge technology, Delta Air Lines always seems to be at the forefront of traveler innovation. Their tracking technology has eased the stress of checked baggage. And their on-time landing rates are outstanding due to internal adjustments. Delta’s continual commitment to travelers often involves facilitating convenience. That’s why it’s no surprise that Delta’s recent updates yet again ease the burden of travel for their customers.

Automatic Check-in

Most recently, Delta has announced that travelers who have downloaded and logged into the Delta Fly app, will be automatically checked-in to their flight and sent a boarding pass. That’s right, potentially gone are the days of setting a 24 hour reminder before your flight. Or hurriedly using a ticketing kiosk at the airport before heading to the security line. Now, you’ll just to open your app to retrieve your boarding pass.
Currently, the automatic check-in is only available for flights traveling in the United States, Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands. Delta has not yet announced how it will handle additional details, like checked bags and seat changes. They’ve also listed circumstances in which the feature is not compatible. This includes reservations with a delay or cancellation present. Reservations without a seat assignment at the time of check-in. And reservations that include special service requests, like wheelchair service, unaccompanied minor travel, or pet traveling in the cabin.

In-flight messaging

Another venture in which Delta is innovating with technology to ease the stress of their flyers, is providing in-flight free messaging. Now, travelers can stay connected with friends, family and co-workers while onboard. Through their wifi, travelers can use iMessage, Facebook Messenger and What’s App, as long as they have downloaded the app prior to boarding. It also will only be available on wifi enabled flights. Just remember to select the “Free Messaging” pass once you logged on to the Delta wifi through your browser.

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company with more than 60 years of experience. Contact us to learn how our proprietary technology helps relieve burdens for both the travel manager and the traveler.

Categories
Choice Humanitarian Travel News

Choice Humanitarian Volunteer Trip – Gabby’s Story

Every year, Christopherson Business Travel sponsors an volunteer trip for a selected group of their employees. A non-profit working in seven countries, Choice Humanitarian strives to end extreme poverty by focusing on raising up small communities. This year’s employees ventured to a small village in the mountains of Guatemala. There, they helped dig foundations for future buildings and painted.

Volunteering in Guatemala

I was not sure what to expect with on my team’s recent expedition to Guatemala. You hear stories and read articles, but nothing compares to actually being a part of such a trip. I cried, laughed, and tried to take in as much as I could of the scenery and people. It was a trip designed to give, but in actuality, it gave me more than I gave. It was a trip to help eradicate “extreme poverty,” and while the area is certainly not like what you typically see in our cities, it gave me insight into “extreme wealth,” but not in ways that one may see visibly.

On the first day we arrived, a woman was making corn tortillas at dinnertime. This being one of my favorite foods, I was eager to help. She was happy I wanted to help, and was happy for her to show me her skill. Even though I couldn’t speak the language, we made do by enjoying the camaraderie together. Another day, we had an opportunity to visit a local village which consisted of three generations of one family living together. The family was very welcoming, showed us their homes with pride, introduced us to the family members, and even let us partake in the daily chore of shucking corn, a dominant staple in their diet. I was reminded that no matter where we are in this world, pride in family is universal. The extreme reliance on family is primary to survival, particularly in these remote villages. This is a wealth that many in industrial societies may not have the advantage of.
Learning the average mortality rate is 57% and the average pregnancy age is age 10-14, was shocking. Seeing what CHOICE Humanitarian does by helping communities learn new skills and gain education, and knowing I was there to help in any way I could, was the proudest moment of my life. No matter how little we felt we did in just one week, I know it was far greater than not doing anything, and I am proud to support CHOICE Humanitarian.
Categories
Business Travel Guides Travel News

How to Select the Right Corporate Travel Partners

I recently had the pleasure of attending the GBTA- North Carolina’s Education Day.  Themed ‘Bridging the Travel Gap’, it focused on helping both buyers and suppliers bridge the gaps that may exist during the purchasing process. The keynote speaker was Neil Hammond of Goldspring Consulting and he focused on Better Engaging the Buyer and Supplier Relationship. While he delivered a breadth of beneficial material, I really enjoyed his process on selecting the right corporate travel partners. By breaking it out into steps, it makes the process less daunting. It also allows for increased communication and guidelines, ensuring everyone’s needs are met for future travel management practices.

Selecting the right corporate travel partners for your business:

  1. Involve any key stakeholders to get internal support. Gaining this support is especially helpful when a introducing a new policy or changing vendors.
  2. Align your message internally in order to deliver the same message to your travelers.
  3. Educate key decision makers as necessary. Take the time to explain why vendor options are being evaluated.
  4. Define your strategy in advance of collecting a proposal. Will you be awarding a single contract or multiple?
  5. Survey your travelers. This will give you a clear picture of what travelers like and also in keeping their opinions in mind, will ensure buy-in as you proceed in the decision making process.
  6. Agree on your decision making process. What parameters are you looking for? Do these align with your company policy? Do you have a clear timeline for the implementation of this change?
  7. Clearly express your requirements to potential suppliers.
  8. Evaluate suppliers, engaging throughout the process to gain clarification and provide updates on your timeline, if necessary.
  9. Execute a decision according to the defined timeline.

While making a change to your travel program is never easy, following these steps will help you stay organized while selecting your corporate travel partners. And remember, Christopherson is always here to help. With more that 60 years experience in corporate travel, we understand the challenges that businesses face with travel management. If you would like to discuss the process of choosing corporate travel partners in more depth, feel free to contact us, or read our additional blogs below.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry Travel News

Where are the Sleep Pods in Airports, Already?

We’ve all been there — it’s a snow storm, rain delay or mechanical issue and you’re stranded in an airport. Your flight is delayed or cancelled with no solution in sight. Your only hope to get some sleep is sitting up in an uncomfortable plastic chair, surrounded by others attempting the same thing. Then, the thought hits you in a moment of hangery and exhausted frustration, ‘I would give my first born to comfortably lay horizontally for even just a few minutes! When will someone invent sleeping pods for airports already?’ Well, the time is finally here. A number of companies are cornering the market in accessible sleep units. Unfortunately getting them into airports is another matter.

Sleep pod options for business travelers

A well-rested employee is a happy employee. Along with taking vacation, people who sleep well are more productive. This may be why we’re seeing a trend of sleep pods in offices. Business travelers need this rest as well. Below are a handful of sleep pod companies entering airports.

  • izZzleep- Opened sleep capsules in the Mexico City airport earlier this year. It includes hourly rates, nightly rates and even showers.
  • Yotel Ltd.- A mini-hotel operator which can be found in four European airports. You can find Yotel at the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, London Gatwick Airport, and London Heathrow Airport.  They also offer mini-hotel options in New York, Boston, and soon San Francisco and Singapore, with hopes to be opening in American airports soon.
  • NapCity- Found in the Munich airport, they offer a tiny escape with a small bed, internet access and tv. Charges are calculated on the actual time of use. And the cleaning staff is notified to sanitize and clean the cabin after each session.
  • MinuteSuites offer comfortable cabins to nap, relax or work. They can be found at the Hartsfeild-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Philadelphia International Airport, and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Sleep pods in airports

With so many companies entering the field, why are sleeping pods in airports not a common and frequent occurrence. As Skift describes in a recent article, there is often resistance from the airports themselves. Revenue is the driving factor against commonplace sleep pods. Why sleep when you could spend time in a bookstore, duty-free shop or restaurant? This is especially conflicting since most sleep pod companies would prefer to be located inside security checkpoints, directly competing with these other options.
Another obstacle, is disrupting the relationships between airports and the nearby hotels. When cancellations and delays hit airports, these hotels are bombarded by the wary traveler. What happens to them if efficient sleep pods care readily available without leaving their gate? How does this affect local ground transportation companies too?
Most sleep companies are asking for a longer-term lease commitment, in order for airports to realize the proper return of the business model, says Jo Berrington, a vice president at Yotel. She also said in the Skift article that the company’s ideal airport business size is about 60 – 150 cabins. Can you imagine a sleep pod colony of this size?

Have you tried out a sleep pod in an airport? Find us on Facebook and tell us about your experience.

Categories
Choice Humanitarian Travel News Vacation Travel

CHOICE Expedition – Tammy’s Story

Christopherson Business Travel is a proud corporate sponsor of CHOICE Humanitarian. In addition to voluntary employee contributions and matching program, Christopherson annually sends a group of employees on a week-long humanitarian expedition. Based out of Salt Lake City, CHOICE Humanitarian works in seven countries to help those in extreme poverty.  Using a village-centered approach, they work to improve quality of life through self-sufficiency.  This year, our group employees visited a small village in the Buena Vista region of Guatemala. Tammy Irvin, a corporate travel advisor from our Alabama office was selected to volunteer on this trip.

Tammy’s story with Choice Humanitarian

The CHOICE Humanitarian expedition to Guatemala is a trip I will never forget. This trip brought out so many emotions in me—laughter, sadness, heartbreak, and amazement. I cannot thank Christopherson Andavo enough for the opportunity to participate.

I arrived to the hustle and bustle of Guatemala City. It was a little overwhelming at first, but our trip leaders made me feel at ease. We were treated to a great meal at a local restaurant and a trip to the Market. Once the rest of the team members arrived, we went to our first stop, a resort called Rio Dulce. There, I met Amy, my roomie for the week and the other Christopherson Andavo team members, along with the other expedition participants. We enjoyed dinner together and had a great time relaxing at the pool.

The next day, we went on a boat ride and then boarded two small buses. I am extremely afraid of heights, so I was not looking forward to this part of the trip. We wound around the mountainous roads and finally, we arrived—to the “drop-over- the-edge-and-you-will-die point.” I got a few heckles, but my fear faded and I was fine.

Finally, we arrived at Sikaab’e. Sikaab’e is a vocational training school in the Polochic Valley. Sikaabe is Q’eqchi for “seek your path.” We were lucky enough to stay in their dorm for the week! The next day we began our work of digging trenches, building chicken coops, and painting the dorm. We took a day to visit with the women in a neighboring village and teach hygiene, while the men bonded with the local soccer team. Every day was an adventure. As the week went by, we slowly realized that you can disconnect, be unplugged, and you will survive.

In short, we ate, laughed, cried, made new friends we will never forget, and helped someone make it through one more day. The trip is actually helping me make it through one more day. I know it’s not what you have, it’s what you give—in whatever way you give it. I have never seen so many happy people—so many people that didn’t have much, but what they had, they were grateful for.

I have a million memories and for that, I am thankful.

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

Additional Security Measures for International Flights to the U.S.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today that flights arriving to the United States will undergo additional security measures. This is response to increased threats on commercial aviation as a whole. Starting later this week, passengers flying to the United States should expect additional security measures.

These security measures include:

  • Enhanced screening of travelers
  • Increased security screening of aircraft and passenger areas>
  • Heightened screening of electronic devices that are larger than a standard smartphone
  • Being prepared to remove these devices from protective cases or packaging if asked.
  • Using additional technology
  • Expanding canine security
  • Establishing additional pre-clearance locations

This heightened change effects 105 countries and approximately 280 airports that serve as the last points of departure to the United States. This affects 180 airlines, an average of 2,100 flights per day and 325,000 daily passengers on average. The DHS and TSA will be working with airline stakeholders over the next weeks and months to ensure these security protocols are fully implemented. Stakeholders that fail to adopt these requirements within certain time frames will run the risk of additional security restrictions being imposed.

Categories
Business Travel Travel News Travel Technology

Google and STR- Giving Hotels More Data

Here’s good news for hotels – preferred hotel properties are getting even smarter. STR, the leading travel industry data provider, recently partnered with Google to study the association between Google searches and hotel demand. This study found there is a strong correlation between Google search trends and hotel bookings.

The STAR report, STR’s leading product for hotels, allows hotels to study their individual property performance and benchmark against their competition. Specifically, the product allows individual hotel properties to follow trends in ADR (average daily rate) and RevPar (revenue per available room) to ensure they are performing well in contrast to their competition.

The study

Using London and New York City as their case study locations, they tried their theory. Both cities are global hubs with existing high traffic. They both also have achieved occupancy levels above 80% for at least the past seven years.

They were able to conclude that higher Google search volumes can be associated with higher STR demand levels. With the positive conclusion of this study, hotel executives can look to Google in combination with STR benchmarking data to make a more accurate prediction on hotel occupancy levels.

Whether you are a hotel executive, travel agent, or vender, this is a sign that if you aren’t promoting on Google, you may be missing out. With this high correlation of hotel rates and Google searches, other travel searches may have similar correlations. Staying relevant and easy to find online is becoming more and more important for businesses.

How to use Google to get more searches and bookings

  • Promote your website on Google or through a booking site.
  • Use all of Google’s available tools to help differentiate. Add your phone number, official website and any positive reviews to Google.
  • Try out Google’s new ‘Plan a Trip’ tab. It easily allows users to plan each step of their trip within Google.

For more information and access the entire study, click here.

 

Categories
Travel News Vacation Travel

Add Wellness Travel to your Business Travel

I recently came across this article from our luxury travel consortium, Virtuoso, about new wellness travel trends.  I hadn’t heard of many of them (although plenty of our Andavo Travel advisors specialize in wellness travel), and found them fascinating.  Perhaps for a stressed-out business traveler, one of these wellness trends may be just the ticket for your next vacation.

Wellness Travel ideas for business travelers

Hygge

Pronounced “hoo-gah”, this Danish concept is catching popularity. Roughly meaning “the pursuit of coziness” – it’s an established time to curl up with a good book and hot mulled wine. In wellness travel, this could be stepping away from the chaos. Enroll in forest walks, classes in reading or writing haiku, watercolor classes, and alpine treks.

Conscious Eating

Sometimes the food is the highlight of a vacation. In our society of diets and fads, it’s easy to feel guilty about indulging, even when away. Conscious eating is less about sticking to a regime, and more about being mindful. The focus is instead on where food comes from, how it’s produced, how your body will respond to it, and if it’s the best choice for you.

 

Digital Detox

Staying connected is becoming more and more important these days. With emails, social media, news feeds etc, it can be impossible to get away. Hence, the latest in wellness trends, digital detox. Resorts offering a digital detox often ban technology in public areas, and some don’t offer Wi-Fi at all. Other places require guests to surrender their devices upon arrival, returning them only after the program or stay is complete.  They’ve found that guests sleep better and are more present  overall.

Mindful Meditation

Meditation is practiced around the world, but it has recently reached critical mass stateside, with apps zooming to the top of the Apple App Store best-seller list and pop-up, pop-in studios sprouting across the country to help busy people calm their minds.

Whatever the individual practice, the benefits of meditation are grounded in scientific fact: A recent study reported that mindfulness meditation provided a cure for pain relief, while devotees report reduced stress, clearer thinking, and diminished anxiety.

High-Tech Wellness

These spas blow the traditional spa out of the water.  Focused on identifying and addressing chronic health concerns,they use advanced technology to do it. Some use stem-cell biotechnology to help treat autoimmune diseases. Or full-day medical intakes that incorporate a body composition analysis, blood draw, and metabolic rate test. Vitamin deficiencies, allergies, and food intolerances can be spotted and treated, while more pervasive conditions have a chance to be identified and addressed through a combination of traditional and holistic treatments.

For guests suffering from persistent but vague ailments that have eluded diagnosis or treatment, high-tech wellness facilities are the perfect place to drill down and get to the root of what ails you.

Equine Therapy

Horses have long been recognized as therapeutic for those working through trauma or emotional issues. Many luxury resorts have started incorporating equine therapy programs as a source of creativity and connection. Some programs focus more on communication rather than riding. Popular as team-building exercises, they facilitate better listening and communication, while also reflecting human behavior. Other popular options include painting classes on the live canvas of the horse, to express emotions and center energy.

No matter how you de-stress, there is a wellness option out there for you. If interested if finding your own relaxing vacation away, please contact our Andavo Travel advisers.

Categories
Business Travel Travel News

JetBlue Returns to Hartsfield-Jackson Airport

After more than 13 years, JetBlue has returned service to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport. The carrier is offering just one destination, but already has plans to expand. The industry will be watching closely, as this is the second time JetBlue has tried to break into this competitive airport. 

The saga of JetBlue and the Hartsfiel-Jackson Airport

In a drama similar to soap operas, JetBlue was pushed out of the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in 2003 by rival airlines. Offering flights from Atlanta to Long Beach, CA, AirTran Airways and Delta Air Lines immediately released cheaper deals to the same region. JetBlue was unable to establish themselves and soon discontinued service from Atlanta. Now, as a household brand with a bigger footprint, they are entering the playing field by starting again with one destination. The flight to Boston will run five times a day. Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and New York Kennedy will soon be added.

JetBlue has distinguished itself with by providing extra perks, such as free unlimited snacks like Cheez-Its, Craisins and Terra gourmet potato chips, and free Wi-Fi. It will also sell seats with additional leg room.

I think this is a great time for jet blue to re-enter the Atlanta market. It’s always great to have a few choices when looking to fly out of Atlanta. Seems as though the prices originating out of Hartsfield have increased significantly over the last few years and with the added competition maybe we can expect to see a decrease in fares in the near future. Jet blue plans to use the airbus A-320 for the Atlanta – Boston routes.

Read next:

 

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company with offices across the nation. We are passionate about finding solutions for companies, reducing wasted time and additional costs. To learn our multi-faceted approach, contact us to schedule a personalized demo.

Categories
Travel News

Peloton Bikes Available In Room At Westin Hotels

I’ve always been one to exercise while traveling for business.  My stress level is higher than normal and needs to be under control when business is the mindset.  So when I read the USAToday article about Peloton exercise bikes being made available in some Westin Hotels, I was so EXCITED!!

Peloton Bikes come to individual hotel rooms

Guests are now able to choose a hotel room with a Peloton bike as a “room category” for their stay. Currently, this is only available in select cities including; Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles and Boston. They will have access to 5,000 on-demand classes taught by instructors through the bike. But these Peloton options are growing fast. In other locations like Austin, Detroit, Denver, New York City, Palo Alto, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Diego and Seattle, the Peloton bikes will be available in hotel’s fitness studios.

Business travelers looking for more exercise options

As it turns out, I’m not the only one exercising while on the road. A recent study found that 65% of travelers say they exercise less while on the road. Though they do try — 83% said they factor in wellness programs into their travel planning. As Millennials begin to travel more, they are also pushing for more exercise options. Nearly 40% of Millennials traveling planned to cycle while on the road. Easy access to Peloton bikes appears to be a no-brainer for the future of hotel amenities.

High-scale exercise options to hotel guests are the new rage. Hotels around the world are teaming up with the hottest and trendiest studios.  Boot camps, spin classes, hula swimming, and personal training sessions are popping up across the globe. Could this be the latest in hotel networking and mingle hours provided by hotels?

Perhaps gone are the days of getting up before dawn to claim a treadmill or elliptical machine alongside other stressed-out travelers. With an in-room bike or scheduled class, exercise can take place at a more reasonable hour with more fun.

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

Airlines Updating Overbooking Policies

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you have probably noticed recent scrutiny over airline’s overbooking policies. In the wake of an event on a United Airlines flight, these processes and its protocol have heavily been in the media. In response, most major airlines are updating overbooking policies.

What is overbooking?

Overbooking is the process of airlines overselling seats on most flights. Using advanced algorithms airlines estimate the number of no-shows or canceled tickets. This allows them to fill flights to capacity, while saving on fuel costs and keeping ticket prices low. Read our recent blog for everything you need to know about overbooking.

Updates made to overbooking policies

United:  Their new policy says passengers will not be removed from the plane once they have boarded. Also, local police will no longer be used to forcibly remove passengers. And crew members will not be allowed to bump passengers from planes. They will require one-hour advanced notice of the plane boarding, or wait for a later flight.

Delta: Though still allowing displacement of passengers once they have boarded the plane, they raised their compensation rate.  Originally capping at $1,350, it is now $10,000. Compensation has also been increased at the gate, from $800 to $2,000.

Southwest: This airline has said they will end overbooking policies completely. Gary Kelley, CEO of Southwest said to USAToday, “We’ve been taking steps over the last several years to prepare ourselves for this anyway… As we have dramatically improved our forecasting tools and techniques, and as we approach the upcoming implementation of our new reservations system on May 9, we no longer have a need to overbook as part of the revenue management inventory process.”

American: They have updated their Conditions of Carriage policy to no longer allow passengers to be removed from the plane once it has boarded. They also stated their compensation has never been capped, and it will remain that way.

Categories
Travel News Vacation Travel

London Vacation Recommendations

My family recently returned from an amazing spring break vacation visiting London and Paris.  Having visited these cities before, we planned the trip through the eyes of our teenage son- mixing culture, history, and Harry Potter.

Our Hotel In London

A great hotel in a convenient location was key to our itinerary. That’s why we chose  Anthenaeum Hotel and Residences. Recently renovated, it’s located in Mayfair overlooking Green Park. The hotel is also close to Buckingham Palace and St. James Palace. It was truly an excellent choice for us in London. The hotel rooms were quiet and provided five star amenities with beautiful views.  The onsite restaurant, Galivan, is the latest restaurant from Michelin star rated brothers, Chris and Jeff Galvin. It has an inviting atmosphere and delicious meals, including afternoon tea and all day dining.  We also enjoyed restaurants in charming Shepherds Market, which is just blocks from the hotel.

Events In London

Another great resource for this trip was our Virtuoso partner, Sincerely Paul.  Paul was my hero in locating sold out tickets in London. This included the critically important WB Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter. He helped me avoid a near parental fail for not securing tickets months in advance.  We look forward to working with Paul on our next visit to enjoy additional experiences beyond the city.

Working in the travel industry has a few perks and in the case of this trip, that was working with exceptional travel professionals in our organization that directed my travel plans and put my family on course for a memorable experience together.

Categories
Business Travel Travel News

These Airplane Seats Could Change Travel

As a frequent business traveler, a recent report on the Today Show by Jeff Rosen caught my eye. They were discussing a product by a company called Slide-Slip Seat. These airplane seats will ultimately revolutionize the airplane travel experience.

The seats

What can be so revolutionary about airplane seats you may be asking? I was thinking the same thing while watching the segment. But I must admit, Slide-Slip Seats address and overcome a lot of the ingrained traveler annoyances.

The seat’s main objective is to create more aisle room during the on-boarding process. To accomplish this the aisle seat is adjustable, sliding over the middle seat at the touch of a button. This changes the narrow airplane aisle to an open working space, allowing people to pass and move freely. Once all the passengers are on board, the aisle seat will slide back out, locking into position.

As if that’s not enough, this company addresses another major sore spot for travelers. They enlarged the width of the middle seat and set it slightly back from the window and aisle seats. The additional three inch width relieves the cramped passenger. And by setting the seat slightly back alleviates the elbow space debacle. Not only are they revolutionizing the on boarding and off boarding protocols, but even changing the desired seat on planes.

Industry advantages of the Slide-Slip Seats

The company claims that these subtle changes in airplane seats will not only positively effect the travelers, but also the airlines pockets.

The on boarding process would need to change. Window seat passengers would board first, followed by the middle seat passengers. And finally the aisle seat would be pulled back into place to allow the rest of the passengers to board. The expanded aisles would allow travelers to move to their seats, while other access to the overhead compartments at the same time.

They claim the Slide-Slip Seats will speed up boarding times by 25%. This change would also reduce the amount of time on the ground as well as the fuel costs for idling. Overall, airlines can save up to $700,000 per day by switching to these seats. This would hopefully also bring down the cost of tickets for the passenger as well.

The biggest advantage to the passenger is:
* Less time at the gate and boarding
* Wider Seats Middle 21′ Aisle & Window 18′
* Wider Aisles
* Lower fares

This new seating technology available on limited flights in late 2017 would make the Middle Seat the best seat on the plane.

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

Laptop Ban Affects Business Travels

Business travelers, who utilize flight time to catch up on work and email, will be disrupted by the recent announcement made by the Department of Homeland Security. Dubbed the ‘laptop ban’, large electronic devices will not be allowed as carry-on when flying non-stop to the U.S. from 10 international airports.

What are these 10 international airports?

  • Jordan – Queen Alia International Airport (AMM)
  • Egypt – Cairo International Airport (CAI)
  • Turkey – Ataturk International Airport (IST)
  • Saudi Arabia – King Abdul-Aziz International Airport (JED) & King Khalid International Airport (RUH)
  • Kuwait – Kuwait International Airport (KWI)
  • Morocco – Mohammed V Airport (CMN)
  • Qatar – Hamad International Airport (DOH)
  • United Arab Emirates – Dubai International Airport (DXB) & Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH)

What airlines fly non-stop to the U.S.?

  • Royal Jordanian
  • EgyptAir
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Saudi Arabian Airlines
  • Kuwait Airways
  • Royal Air Moroc
  • Qatar Airways
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways

Regulations of the new ‘Laptop Ban’

The aviation security enhancements are for all U.S. bound flights from these 10 airports. It  requires that all personal electronic devices larger than a cell phone or smart phone be placed in checked baggage.  Large electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, e-readers, cameras, portable DVD players, and electronic games can no longer be used in-flight. The ban does not effect the flight returning from the U.S. back to these countries.

Increased security was needed, based on intelligence about airlines that fly non-stop from these 10 airports. Top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff,  said “These steps are both necessary and proportional to the threat. The global aviation system remains a top target and proper security requires that we continually adapt our defenses.”

The nine airlines affected have until early Friday morning to implement necessary changes. If an airline ignores enforcement, security officials will ask the Federal Aviation Administration to revoke the airline’s certificate to fly in the U.S.

Great Britain has followed the U.S. with a similar announcement.  Their ban specifies dimensions of electronics not allowed as carry-on. The U.K. ban focuses on Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. Canada may be following with their own electronic ban as well.

No time frame has been given on this change. The DHS has said in “will remain in place until the threat changes”. Additional airports could also be added at any time.

Business travel industry reaction to the ban

While safety is at the forefront of everyone’s mind, this ban comes as a jolt and inconvenience to business travelers. A complete halt in business productivity is one criticism, but additional safety concerns are another.

One possible matter is the increased risk of lithium-ion batteries catching fire in the cargo hold. These fires would be hard to contain early or even reach.

Another criticism is theft or damage to checked items. There is a reason we keep the most expensive and important items close to us while traveling. Most of us have experienced lost or damaged baggage, and even theft. Without your protection, your items are open to anyone. Speaking of which, this regulation will potentially leave confidential company business exposed while valuable information housed on laptops are checked.

Having flown on Emirate’s Airlines and experienced their exceptional in-flight entertainment, I appreciated their prompt and creative response to the ban, with their “Let Us Entertain You” video on Twitter.

Business traveler tips for the laptop ban

Regardless of in-flight entertainment options, the need to mitigate risk will be an inconvenience that travelers need to be prepared for in advance of their departure from the impacted airports.

  • Back up everything and save it to the cloud, just in case of theft or damage.
  • Add everything you need to your phone – movies, games, podcast, email, etc.
  • Bring those ‘back burner’ tasks you never seem to get to normally – whitepapers, recommended books, research, etc.
  • Buy an external keyboard that can be connected to your phone, making typing less of pain and increase productivity.
  • Consider changing flights from a non-stop to one-stop flights.
Categories
Travel News

Delta Increases Same-Day Travel Fees

Delta has increased the same-day travel fees for tickets issued on March 15, 2017 and moving forward. This is an increase from $50 to $75 USD, affecting non-SkyMiles members, general SkyMiles members, and Silver Medallion members.

Diamond, Platinum and Gold Medallion members will continue to have the same-day travel fees waived, but only if they are not on a restricted fare and their requested flight is eligible. All other rules and restrictions related to Same Day Travel  remain unchanged.

What are same day travel fees?

As a business traveler, you’ve probably been in this situation before. Your day of meetings ends early and you change your flight rather than wait. Or impending weather is coming in and you quickly rearrange travel to avoid it. Fortunately, most airlines understand this is a routine part of the frequent traveler lifestyle.

  • Most same-day changes are valid with travel within the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • These same-day flight changes can be requested within 24 hours prior to the departure time of the original flight, however it can be limited by the available flights leaving.
  • If you have a flexible fare (usually a refundable ticket), you are eligible for same-day travel.
  • If traveling in a premium cabin fare of comfort class, same-day tickets are available, but only if a seat is available on the alternative flight.
  • Basic Economy fares are not eligible for same-day confirmed travel changes.

Christopherson Business Travel is a travel management company for businesses. Tired of staying on top of industry policies, employee itineraries or hotel attachment? We’ve relieved hundreds of companies from travel management overload. With our proprietary technology and dedicated account managers, your travel program is in good hands. Learn how we do it.

Read next:

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry Travel News

Americans May Need Visa To Enter These European Countries

Earlier this month, members of the European Union’s Parliament approved a measure calling for the EU Commission to urge full visa reciprocity. The United States and a few other countries still require citizens of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania to obtain visas before visiting. If the U.S does not change their policy, visas will soon be required by Americans to enter these countries as well.

Facts about the potential visa reinstatement:

  • This push stems from a two-year warning period to these countries to change their visa policies. The initial warnings went our in April 2014, which expired last year.
  • The other countries warned were Canada, Australia, Brunei and Japan.
  • Australia, Brunei and Japan have since lifted their visa requirements.
  • Canada will lift their requirements by December 2017.
  • These countries asking to change the visa policy were all formerly communist.

Next steps:

  • A two-month deadline has already been established for the EU Commission to act if the U.S. does not change its policies. Though the commissions has said they may not respond until this summer.

What does this mean for business travelers?

  • At this time nothing has changed. We will know more within the next few months.
  • If the U.S. does not change their policy and visa requirements are reintroduced, it would likely be temporary, the EU says.
  • If you travel frequently to Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland or Romania, we will keep you posted via the blog.

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company, focused on providing superior service for our clients. Whether it be our integrated software, consultative account management, or just helpful tips, your travel success is literally our business. Learn more about how we do it.

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

Delta Partially Returning Complimentary Meals

Delta does it again.  While most airlines are cutting out snacks and even beverages from their service, Delta announced they are reinstating complimentary meals.  Starting with economy class, Delta began offering free meals late last year for a trial period. Testing out ways to improve customer satisfaction, most fliers were surprised to see the once commonplace amenity again.

Beginning in March, they will offer meals on long-haul domestic flights between JFK and Los Angeles and San Francisco. Later this Spring, complimentary meal service will be added to 10 other major domestic markets including: Boston to San Francisco; Los Angeles and Seattle; Washington National to Los Angeles; JFK to San Diego, Seattle, and Portland, Oregon; and Seattle to Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, and Raleigh-Durham.

Are in-flight amenities, like complimentary meals returning?

After merges and cutbacks, complimentary meals and even drinks from airlines seemed to be a thing of the past. Now, in an effort to improve customer satisfaction, airlines are returning to these staples. Some have even surpassed the traditional in-flight meal to offer higher value products.

  • United, Delta and American have dramatically improved their airport lounge catering services, offering healthier and fresher options
  • United’s Polaris Class offers locally sourced and seasonal fare
  • Delta’s Intercontinental One Suite also provides a five course meal based on seasonality.
  • JetBlue and American are vying for best in-flight products and service among the legacy carriers.

Delta was the first airline to bring Wi-Fi to domestic flights.  Then in-seat power outlets.  Now meals.  What will be next?  Massage chairs in first class?  Spa services? Massage therapists available after the meal?  One can only dream…

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company. With more than 60 years of experience, we provide travel solutions with our custom technology and dedicated account management. Contact us to learn how we do it.

Categories
Business Travel Travel News

4 Parking Tips For The Hartsfield-Jackson Airport

As a frequent business traveler living near Atlanta, Georgia, I typically fly out of the  Hartsfield-Jackson airport. Traveling is always difficult, but the worst part of flying out of Atlanta is the parking. Many times the only option is economy parking at the very back of the lot, resulting in a walk that seems like a mile to the terminal. I even find myself leaving an hour earlier, just to factor in time to drive around the parking decks looking for a parking spot.

The airport is constantly remodeling and planning for future growth. Construction on new parking decks are in the works, starting in fall of 2017. New parking decks will be built from four levels to eight levels. Though the end result will be a significant improvement, this too will cause major congestion until it’s finished. To help out fellow business travelers, I’ve compiled my favorite tips to easily park at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport.

Parking tips for the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport

  • Whenever I park in daily parking, I immediately enter and go to the top floor of the deck. Most of the time your chances of finding a space are much greater as people tend to try and stay on the lower covered floors.
  • I mostly fly Delta, as the majority of people flying out of the ATL do. When getting to the airport, follow the signs to the blue terminal parking. My chances of finding spaces in that terminal are much greater than in the Delta parking decks. Once you enter the airport it’s only a short walk over to the red terminal.
  • Consider offsite parking. It does take a little longer to wait for the shuttle to pick you up, but will eliminate some of the stress. Many of the offsite parking areas allow for call ahead and prepaid spaces that are guaranteed. You pull in, park and get right on the shuttle.

Know any other tips for parking at the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport? Leave them in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Christopherson Business Travel is an award-winning travel management company. Our proprietary technology solves travel headaches, so your company can get back to the more important things. Contact us to schedule a demo today.

Categories
Choice Humanitarian Travel News

Choice Humanitarian: Brandon’s Story

Every year, Christopherson Business Travel sponsors an volunteer trip for a selected group of employees. An NGO working in seven countries, Choice Humanitarian is driven to end extreme poverty. The employees volunteering this year ventured to a small village in Guatemala. There, they helped build in-home stoves and paint community buildings. As a corporate sponsor and long-time supporter, these annual trips are just one of the many avenues in which Christopherson cooperates with Choice Humanitarian.

Brandon’s volunteer experience

Going on the CHOICE Humanitarian expedition to Guatemala was an experience that ingrained itself in my life from the moment I got off the plane. We landed, made it through customs.  While waiting for our bus, we were greeted by a panhandler asking for $2 (although it was never clear if he was hoping for $2 or just 2 quetzales, the currency in Guatemala). The ability to convert currency on the fly became an immediate trait that one had to adapt to quickly. Then a young man and his elementary school aged brother helped load our luggage, and asked for 3 quetzales—roughly $0.40. It was then that it really became apparent to me that we were in a third world country.
Aside from the poverty, run down city, and areas that you would never dare venture into at night, Guatemala had some of the most beautiful countryside I’ve ever seen. Of course, having the chance to travel with and help CHOICE made the trip most appealing.

Meeting the villagers and getting to experience their customs and way of life has forever changed my views on extreme poverty. It also helped me to conclude that, if you are thinking about, or have ever wondered if you should participate in one of these expeditions, the answer should be a big YES. The people I met and the friendships I developed are ones I will cherish for a lifetime.
See more of Brandon’s team’s photos here and pictures from previous expeditions.

Read next:

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

Free TSA Pre-Check Status Is Ending

If you have traveled frequently in the last month, you may have noticed a major change. Most airlines are no longer providing free TSA Pre-check status like they have in the past. Those receiving TSA Pre-Check for free will now be offered it less and less. The Transportation Security Administration has begun limiting access to its expedited physical screening lanes. Only those who have paid for and enrolled in a Department of Homeland Security trusted traveler programs—TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, NEXUS, or SENTRI will be offered on a consistent basis. My thinking is that every once in a while they want to make sure you are still going by the rules and have you go through regular security lines for a full review.

Applying for TSA Pre-Check

Though an application and approval process is required to receive TSA Pre-Check status, it is very easy.  Interested fliers apply online, submit to a background check, and then visit one of more than 380 enrollment sites across the country. This in-person appointment with a TSA agents can be scheduled online as well.  I enrolled in Global Entry early in 2016 and loved how it expedited my re-entry to US. If you travel 3-4 trips a year, it is well worth the $85 for five years ($17 a year) or Global Entry is $100 ($20 a year).  Learn more about the application process in our ultimate TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry guide.

TSA Pre Check alternative payment methods

Some airlines are offering payment by using your miles. United Airlines and Alaska Airlines require using 10,000 miles, while Southwest  needs 9,000 rapid rewards points.  Delta Air Lines is using miles, but instead offering Diamond and Platinum Medallion Members the ability to select Global Entry application vouchers through Choice Benefits. This loyalty program feature is only available to Delta elite Members. JetBlue is also offering TSA Pre Check for free to elites, similar to Delta’s system.

If you love not having to remove shoes, leaving laptop in your bag, along with your Ziploc bag of liquids don’t delay because the necessary face-to-face appointments are filling up fast.  In other words—don’t wait until right before your next trip to apply as you will be sadly disappointed.

Any questions about TSA PreCheck eligibility contact TSA at (866) 289-9673 or submit questions to @AskTSA on Twitter or Facebook.com/AskTSA.

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

Airline Efficiency Rates At All-Time High

One of the challenges or frustrations felt by frequent business and leisure travelers is having their flight leave on time, or worse yet, cancelled. However, things may be looking up. It seems years of hard work for the airlines are finally coming to fruition. Reviewing the month of November 2016, typically the brunt holiday traffic, we saw the highest rate airline efficiency in decades.

According to the Department of Transportation, 86.6 percent of flights in the U.S. arrived on time during the month of November 2016. That’s a significant improvement from the previous year. In regards to cancellations, less than one-third of 1 percent from the busiest airlines had domestic flight cancellations. Making it the lowest rate since the DOT started keeping records in 1995! Also, the number of bags lost, damaged or delayed by the airlines was the lowest since the beginning of this record keeping in 1978.

Which airlines had the best scores

  • One-time arrival
    • Delta Airlines posted the best rates for on-time arrivals.
    • Hawaiian Airlines compared favorably at over 90 percent.
    • Southwest Airlines ranked seventh, with 86.1 percent of its flights arriving on time.
    • American Airlines had the eighth-best performance with 85.4 percent.
    • The lowest on the list was Virgin America at 81.4 percent.
  • Regarding cancellation of flights,
    • Delta had no cancelled flights during the month of November, but instead diverted flights to other airports.
    • Alaska, Frontier, Hawaiian and Virgin America canceled fewer than 20 flights each with far fewer diversions than Delta last November.
  • Lost/Damaged bags
    • Overall the airlines reported approximately two mishandled bags for every 1,000 passengers.
    • Virgin America and Alaska had the best rates of bag handling.
    • ExpressJet and Frontier had the worst rates.
Categories
Business Travel Travel News

How To Help Ban Phone Calls On Planes

Have you ever noticed how sounds seem amplified when you are on an airplane?   Everything is louder than normal due to the confined space – like babies crying or stranger’s conversations. This is one of the reasons why I am a passionate supporter for not allowing phone calls on planes.  If you thought the middle seat was bad before, just imagine being seated between two different phone calls!

In a recent blog post by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), they cover additional insights, like the potential security risks and impact on personal productivity.  Interestingly, 64% of business travelers oppose allowing phone calls on commercial airplanes. Even if specifically designated rows are assigned, still 51% of business travelers disagree.

What to write to the Department of Transportation, to help ban phone calls on planes

As an active member of GBTA, I support their efforts to ban the use of cell phone on planes. I also encourage anyone who feels strongly should go to the DOT website and share their comments on that page. The docket will close February 13, at 11:59pm ET.

Feel free to copy and paste the text below, which was provided by GBTA, or write your own.  Then enter your name, select “Public Comment(s)” from the drop down menu under “Category” and click continue.

Sample Comment:
I believe the use of mobile wireless devices for voice calls is detrimental to the traveler and should be banned between the time the aircraft door is closed and the aircraft’s landing. In February of 2014, when the DOT previously issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Use of Mobile Wireless Devices for Voice Calls on Aircraft, 97 percent of the commenters expressed opposition.

Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 41712, DOT should find the use of mobile devices for voice during flight to be so disruptive that it would be inconsistent with adequate air transportation. Travel is difficult enough and the DOT should not add to traveler’s misery.  When it comes to flying on commercial airplanes in the United States, silence is golden.

#NoCallsOnPlanes

Read next:

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

Executive Order On Immigration May Affect Business Travel Industry

An Executive Order on immigration was signed by President Donald Trump on January 27th, placing immediate travel restrictions from seven countries. While this may not pertain to most of our client’s travelers, the ban is already affecting the business travel industry and its trends.

The Executive Order on immigration

Citizens from these seven countries – Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, will not be allowed to enter the United States. Restrictions will continue for the next 90 days. Currently, these nationals may travel to and from the U.S. only if they are in possession of a Green Card. They will undergo additional secondary screening upon arrival. This is a recent change to the order, following some confusion when the order was first released. Those already living in the U.S with visas will not be removed. The U.S. State Department website also advises these citizens to not schedule visa appointments at this time, or attend their pre-scheduled visa appointment. They will not be permitted entry into the embassy or consulate.

How companies are responding to the 90-day ban

A survey conducted by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives found that 39% of the 260 respondents said the ban had the potential to reduce corporate travel. When asked if the ban posed travel difficulties for their company, 20% responded “yes”, while 34% were still unsure of the repercussions.  Their largest travel difficulty concerns were; fear of traveler harassment, fear of harassment of US travelers in the Middle East, uncertainty regarding Green Card and approval via credibility, and limited access to the employee pool.

Leading multinational corporations and tech companies have already expressed their concern by the Trump Administration’s actions on immigration. CEOs from companies such as; Ford, Amazon, Coca-Cola, Bank of America, Chobani, Uber, Netflix, Starbucks, Apple, Twitter, SalesForce, Tesla, General Electric, Expedia, and TripAdvisor have released statements concerning the ban.  Additionally, Google and their parent company, Alphabet, sent an internal memo to their employees, urging any employee in the U.S. on a Green Card or visa to use caution. The memo stated, “Please do not travel outside of the U.S. until the ban is lifted. While the entry restriction is currently only in place for 90 days, it could be extended with little or no warning.” The definitions of this Executive Order are still being defined.

If you are a client and require assistance or need to make amendments to your itinerary,  please contact Christopherson Business Travel .  Our agents will check the most up-to-date airline policies.  You can contact your dedicated reservations team per the phone numbers noted on your itineraries.

Categories
Business Travel Travel News Travel Tips

Avoid Syncing Your Phone To A Rental Car

Beginning another year in the business travel industry, I often find myself reflecting on the changes and advances I’ve seen in the previous year. The biggest change I’ve notice is the growing access to technology conveniences while traveling. Aircrafts are equipped with USB charging ports and entertainment apps. It’s easy syncing your phone to a rental car or connecting to free wireless networks in hotels.  With so many ways to stay connected during business trips, I now even find myself feeling annoyed when an airport does not offer free Wi-Fi access.

The compulsion to stay connected while traveling

Being “connected” to the office, email, current news, etc, is becoming an ever-growing necessity of business travel. Not only do we always feel the need to stay connected, but we demand it in a convenient manner too. In this growing frenzy to stay locked in with those in the office, many travelers unknowingly put their employer’s information and personal data at risk while achieving this growing need. With this growing accessibility, I find myself easily forgetting the consequences as well.

Why you should avoid syncing your phone to a rental car and other no-no’s

While reading a recent USA Today article, I was reminded of the hacking risks related to connecting to unknown or unsecured networks. When free or instant wifi is offered, security is often a second thought. This is how hackers and identity thieves are so successful. Our “careless connection” behavior is found in many circumstances when traveling, including hotel wifi issues or basic phishing schemes. Below are a few surprising situations in which you might encounter unsafe network activity.

  • Syncing your phone with a rental car. Most newer rental cars immediately offer pairing with their onboard infotainment system. Unbeknownst to most travelers, your information can stay within the car’s system after you return the car. This leaves you susceptible to the future drivers of the car. Or, hackers can install malicious software to the car before you rent it, accessing your information once you connect your phone.
  • Using the free USB charging stations in the airport. Plugging your phone into an infected USB hub is so common it even has a name – “juice jacking”. While connected to this port, hackers can easily access your private information.
  • Connecting to free wifi in your hotel or airport. Are you seeing a trend here? Free access leaves many open to malicious software and hacking schemes.

Tips for avoiding hacking scams

As we’ve covered, immediate and instant communication is a necessity for business travel. And unfortunately, the easiest routes often put you in arms length of security issues. Below are a few easy tips to avoid hacks. Some of these tips are from the Federal Trade Commission.

  • Avoid connecting your phone to a rental car’s infotainment system. Instead, manually enter the addresses needed.
  • Charge your phone in a rental car with a cigarette lighter adapter. This is the only way it will charge your device without accessing your personal information.
  • ‘Do you trust this computer?’ Say ‘no’. Don’t quickly skip through this step. If you are traveling and accessing unknown devices, always select ‘no’ for this option.
  • Delete your data before returning the rental car. If you do sync your phone with a rental car’s infotainment system, be sure to delete your information before returning the car to the rental office. Deleting information is usually done by going into the settings menu of the infotainment system. Find your device and go through the prompts to delete the data. The owner’s manual or car rental company may have more information.
  • Bring a fully-charged portable phone charger with you. These portable devices act as a second charge for your phone. When you are almost out of battery, just connect your phone to this device, and it charges your phone without needing to access an electrical outlet. Just remember to charge it before you leave home.
  • Use a company VPN to access sensitive data while in hotels. Ask your IT department to set up an VPN connection to use while you’re traveling for business. This connection is a secure access straight to company files, so your information can not be hacked.

Our world is continually changing with increased accessibility and connectivity. With this instant gratification, it is very easy to overlook the potential security issues involved. I hope these tips will help as a reminder next time you are about to sync your phone with a rental car or in other ‘convenient’ situations.

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

Delta and Aeroméxico Partnership Announced

More exciting news comes from Delta Airlines in 2017. Delta and Aeroméxico recently announced a transborder alliance, establishing a historic partnership between the United States and Mexico. These two airlines have been partners for 22 years, offering more than 400 flights between the two countries. This Delta and Aeroméxico partnership is expected to increase these benefits and choices for fliers.

The Department of Transportation recently authorized an antitrust immunity, allowing the airlines to establish a joint cooperation agreement.
Delta CEO, Ed Bastain said in a recent press release, “Together, Delta and Aeroméxico are stronger in the U.S.-Mexico market than either airline can be on its own. The partnership will make it possible for us to offer customers more flights to more destinations, with more choices every time someone travels across the border. We will offer industry-leading reliability, great service and an unmatched array of options.” “Our partnership means growth of services and jobs for both Delta and Aeroméxico,”

Once finalized by the DOT and the Mexican Federal Economic Competition Commission conditions are met, it will allow Aeroméxico and Delta to coordinate and enhance the experience for their travelers.

What does this Delta and Aeroméxico partnership mean for travelers?

Collectively, they already operate more than 400 flights between them, offering greater benefits to their flyers. In the near future travelers can expect to see:

  • Expanded destinations
  • Improved connecting schedules
  • Seamless operations
  • Improved experience on the ground, including updated gate and lounges

Sales and marketing for this venture will soon be created, increasing the presence in Delta’s United States hubs in Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York, Salt Lake City and Seattle. Aeroméxico will begin marketing efforts in their hubs in Mexico City, Monterrey and Guadalajara.

Christopherson Business Travel is a premier business travel management company in the United States. We offer travel solutions with our top-of-the-line custom technology, account management services and 24/7 agents. Contact us to learn how we can save you time and money on future business travel.

Read next:

Categories
Choice Humanitarian Travel News

Choice Humanitarian Expedition – Carmen’s Story

Christopherson Business Travel sponsors a group of employees to participate in a humanitarian expedition with Choice Humanitarian annually. Being a corporate partner with this international non-profit organization, we engage and volunteer whenever possible. This amazing organization assists villages across the globe in extreme poverty by providing self-sustaining techniques to improve their community from within. This year, the group, including myself, assisted in the Polochic region of Guatemala.  Read my story below, and be sure to leave comments on our blog or Facebook page.

Carmen’s Story

I knew that going on a CHOICE humanitarian trip would be a life-changing experience—traveling to a remote village in extreme poverty is bound to be eye-opening. But to be honest, I wasn’t ready for what I found.
The objective for our trip was to install new stoves in the villagers’ homes. Their current stoves were simply open flames constantly burning. The smoke was a true hazard, harming their lungs and eyesight. But the stoves we installed have a metal stovetop which contained the flame. More importantly, they have an exhaust pipe to push the smoke outside the house.

The conditions of the villagers’ homes were one of the first things I noticed and something that will stay with me forever. Most had one or two rooms total, but some families had additional buildings. Their ‘living room area’ was often their kitchen. Beds—typically just wooden boards with a blanket—were separate. It made the camping pad I brought with me look like luxury. Floors were made of dirt, hardened from years of wear, yet they still kept their homes clean and swept. Animals roamed everywhere, particularly chickens, running inside and outside of all buildings and structures. Though they had dogs and cats in the village, they were not kept as pets and were malnourished and starving, only bones and skin. One family had a pig. We were told they were one of the wealthiest families, as this was a luxury.

The village children were a highlight. They were always happy, generous and intrigued. I never saw them argue over a toy or gang up on one another. One girl named Carmen was particularly bright, ambitious, and creative. She was one of the only girls not wearing the traditional skirts the other girls wore. Someone told me her family could not afford the traditional clothes for her, so she continued wearing the ‘modern’ clothes that most girls transition out of.

It could be that Carmen and I share the same name, but I know she will stay with me forever. Though she’s bright and clever, she was born in a small village with very strict gender rules. She will likely never go to college or travel abroad or even experience life outside of this rural mountain. Though I obviously can’t foresee political or social changes for Guatemala, it’s unlikely things will change for her. Thinking back to how stressed out I was about little things before going on the expedition now makes me feel so selfish—things like how annoyed I was that Target didn’t have my favorite mosquito repellent to bring with me, or how mad I get when a show won’t load on Netflix. I haven’t been simply handed much in my life, but I have opportunities that many, many, many others don’t.

I am so grateful for the CHOICE expedition experience. The main purpose of the trip was to help others in our world, but I can confidently say I will continue to do so for the rest of my life. See more photos from the expedition group on Facebook.

Read next:

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

Delta Air Lines Continues To Innovate

Here at Christopherson Business Travel, we’re pretty big fans of Delta Air Lines. Their continual innovation and commitment to fliers is inspiring. Earlier this year, our management team had an opportunity to hear some of Delta’s top leaders speak. One of those industry leaders was Tim Mapes, Senior Vice President – Chief Marketing Officer of Delta.  With a company that is consistently pioneering, we valued the opportunity to understand the message behind the brand.

How Delta continually innovates

During the meeting, Mapes said, “If the world is changing faster on the outside than you’re changing on the inside, then your company is dying”.  Sound business advice, it dawned on me how hard Delta strives to be on the cutting edge.  For example, their revolutionary new baggage ticketing system released this year. Or how their Gift Back Project cultivated altruism by recognizing selfless individuals. Mapes also explained the three pillars of their brand:

  • Thoughtful ? Always be warm and caring.
  • Reliable ? Get our passengers home on-time, safely, and with their bags.
  • Innovative ? Strive to be the first in the industry to make a change, and then continually innovate.

Delta Air Lines continues to deliver on their reliability brand promise. Their hard work and dedication lead to great accolades. For example, this November Delta was named the most punctual airline in North America. Hearing Mapes speak about the foundation of the Delta brand and recognize it in their recent updates was inspiring.

Christopherson Business Travel is an award-winning corporate travel management company. We help busy companies book, manage, and expense their business travel, so they can get back to what’s important to them. Contact us if you are interested in learning how we can simplify your company’s travel.

 

 

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News Travel Technology

Delta’s New Baggage Tracking System

Almost two months ago, Delta introduced their much-anticipated new baggage tracking process. Originally announced last spring, their new checked luggage process is now active in 84 airports. If you are a frequent business traveler, make sure you take advantage of this new technology.

Delta’s New Baggage Tracking System

What makes Delta’s new tracking system so innovative? Bags checked through Delta Air Lines receive a tag. These Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags transmit an individual frequency, making them easier to locate. This is the same technology as used in E-Z Lane toll passes, id badges, electronic locks and even library books.

Once the RFID tags are attached to the luggage, they continue down the conveyor belt to the designated plane. A red light/green light system identifies the bags and their correct flow. The system shuts down when a bag is scanned and found to be headed the wrong way. If this happens, an agent easily locates the bag and moves it to the correct flow.  Delta claims it has 99.9 percent accuracy of luggage making it to their correct destination.

Mobile app provides instant information for the flyer

Delta’s conjoining app notifies the flyer when their luggage reaches baggage claim. More incredibly, it allows the flyer to see their bag’s journey throughout the day.  I already know I’ll be obsessively monitoring my bags the next time I fly with Delta!

Christopherson Business Travel is a leading travel management company in the United States. We specialize in exceptional customer service and forward thinking travel technology, making the lives of our clients and their travelers easier.

Categories
Choice Humanitarian Travel News

Choice Humanitarian Expedition – Marta’s Story

Christopherson Business Travel is a proud corporate sponsor of CHOICE Humanitarian. In addition to voluntary employee contributions and matching program, Christopherson annually sends a group of employees on a week-long humanitarian expedition.  CHOICE Humanitarian provides support to these small villages in extreme poverty with a village-centered approach. By teaching self-sustaining skills and implementing needed updates, CHOICE is driven by eliminating extreme poverty. This year, the group of nine employees visited a small village in the Buena Vista region of Guatemala. Marta Musich, a corporate travel agent from our Denver office volunteered this year. Below is her experience.

Traveling with our team on the CHOICE Expedition was a fantastic experience, even though it was somewhat bittersweet. It was a long ride to get to the village in Buena Vista, high in the mountains. It was a beautiful and bumpy ride into the jungle. We arrived at the village in the late afternoon. There was a wonderful and joyous welcoming from the villagers. We went down a steep mountain trail to end up by their small but clean school where we would be spending the next few days. I was sure happy to hear that the village men would be bringing down our luggage for us.

They put on a dance for us by the children, The Dance of the Dear. This is a dance that has been used over the years to welcome the visitors to the village. I really enjoyed watching all the children and villagers welcoming us. They were quite happy to see us and I was getting excited to start helping them with our assigned project.

We split up in groups. I was in the painting group. We were going to paint their community center. We were handed our supplies to complete this task and worked with several men from the village.

This was quite a highlight for me. I was able to spend time with the men and the children too. The villagers I painted with tried to teach me Q’eqchi. I had to pronounce the words over and over until I had them just right. We made a game out of it, they had to pronounce them in English. This helped break the ice. My favorite word was “us” which mean good. I used it a lot. The child were great. They wanted to help us too, until we brought out the coloring books. Then they decided they liked that a lot more.

After finishing the painting. I went over to help with the stove building. Everyone was helping to make their homes a much healthier place for them to live. The old way of cooking caused the walls and ceiling to be blackened with soot.

Some of my favorite moments were trying to grind the corn and make tortillas. I never realized how hard it was to do from scratch. I never was able to form one correctly. I need a lot more practice. It was quite fun laughing with the women in their homes. I so enjoyed being with the people of the village.

They really enjoyed the soccer balls that were brought and the children had so much fun with bubbles, coloring books, and jump roping. It made me smile from inside out.

The week was filled with many emotions. It saddened me to hear that their government would not pay for a teacher to come to the school and that the children had been without one for six months.

One day, I really wanted to take a shower after hours of long hot, sweaty work. But after I learned that the villagers were not using water so we could have a shower, I felt that I could stay a little dirty. It was so selfless of them to do this for us. They already a have so little; how could I take more from them?

There was hardly anything in their homes, yet they all seemed happy with so little. You hardly ever heard a child crying or not sharing with the others. These are lessons that so many of us need to learn. Maybe a few less possessions and more time spent together doing things would be good.

The saying “It takes a village to raise a child” still seems to apply here. I’m not sure if this is one of the reasons our children have become so isolated, where we don’t even know the family that lives next door, but it was such a wonderful time watching everyone together. A movie was shown one night and for some of the children this was the fist time they had seen one.

Personally, I have been downsizing for many years. I have realized that you don’t have to have a lot to be happy. But I am saddened that these villagers don’t even have the basics. There aren’t many ways to make money that far in the jungle. My outlook on poverty has changed a lot after this trip. I see how stuck people can become when it comes to getting out of poverty.

I was so lucky to meet such wonderful and caring people from the CHOICE group. We are so fortunate to live where we all can get an education and have an opportunity to make our lives better. I am very thankful for all that I have. This has opened my eyes and I hope I can find opportunities to help out the less fortunate here, near my own community.

See more photos from Marta’s expedition group on Facebook.

Read next:

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry Travel News

Brexit Yet To Impact Business Travel Market

Following the Brexit decision in June, the business travel industry has been holding its breath in anticipation. At the time, no one knew what to expect from the British or EU economy. Now, five months later, a new report shows that Brexit has yet to make an impact on business travel, foretelling positive signs for the future.

Business travel forecasting

In a recent report from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), the European business travel economy, like most of the industry, has been slower than overall expected for 2016.  But, it is slightly higher than other markets and predicted to pick up. Western Europe is anticipated to increase 6 percent in 2016, and another 4.7 percent increase in 2017. This is higher than the United States, which is predicted to fall this year, and grow a mere 3.8 percent in 2017. With this realistic, but positive outlook, it’s easy to disregard the potential impact from Brexit adjustments. A few areas highlighted that may be affected are listed below.

Areas of concern for Brexit developments

  • Travel pricing within Europe. As the UK breaks away from the EU, the open skies between the two may also close. This could result in fewer flights and higher fares. Additionally, mobile roaming charges could be implemented, increasing the cost for roadwarriors and travel expenses overall.
  • Visa protocol. Rising immigration issues, coupled with security concerns, could lead to extreme new UK visa requirements. If this happens, extreme protocols will likely be reciprocated be the EU. This may cause a lengthy or difficult process to travel between the two areas.
  • Access. The free movement of people throughout the EU prospered business, connections, and money as well. It’s fair to anticipate a time for adjustments as this free movement closes. For example, airlines may negotiate for new routes and pricing. Or credit card fees and charges will need to be decided upon.

Overall, there is still a lot we don’t know about how the Brexit decision will affect the business travel industry. Fortunately, the impact has not yet been seen by the overall market, which is itself a blessing.

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

United Announces New Basic Economy Class

Though not completely unexpected, United Air Lines announced their new basic economy class last week. With Delta’s economy class running since 2012, and American Airlines revving up for their new class, this was not a huge surprise. With many of the same low-budget priorities, there is one restriction of United’s basic economy class that made the travel community do a second glance.

United’s no-frills basic economy class

An exciting change for the budget-conscious flier, United can now offer lower priced seats on some of their existing flights. This puts United in competition with no-frills airlines, such as Spirit or Frontier. With this limited structure comes a few restrictions. First, basic economy fliers won’t be able to pick their seat. With this come no guarantee that they will be able to sit with their companions. Voluntary flight changes won’t be allowed, and basic economy fliers will be the last to board the plane. In regards to travel points, fliers will accrue Milage Plus award points, but they will not go toward elite loyalty status.

But, the limitation that’s creating commotion is in regards to baggage. Basic economy fliers are allowed only one carry-on and will not have access to the overhead bins. Their carry-on will have to fit under the seat in front of them. United believes this will save time with onboarding procedures and decrease delays.

This is all part of United’s attempt to diversify and customize the experience for their differing fliers. But has this gone too far? With United also recently announcing their Polaris business class, I can’t help but feel the disparity as if aboard the Titanic. The Polaris class offers roomy, adjustable seats with down pillows and noise-canceling headphones. While their basic economy offers a carry-what’s-on-your-back mentality and limited guarantees.

What do you think of the newly announced basic economy class? Will you be booking them? Do you frequently travel with limited luggage? Let us know in the comments below.

Categories
Travel News Travel Tips

Expect Delays With Passport Renewals

Almost ten years ago, the law requiring a passport to travel to and from Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean was passed. Not surprisingly, the State Department saw a huge surge in new passport applications and passport renewals for the following few years. Now, 10 years later, those same passports are about to expire. And the State Department anticipates a rise in renewals, leading again to processing delays.

What to expect with passport renewals and other updates:

  1.  The typical timeframe for passport renewals is six weeks. With this increase in demand, longer delays are expected.
  2. Whether for business or pleasure, begin the renewal process of your process of your passport as soon as you can. Avoid the additional stress of waiting for the new passport in a time crunch if you can.
  3. Newer passports now include microchip technology, which is compliant with REAL ID act security and fraud prevention. But, depending on what state you live in, you may need an updated passport to fly domestically. Read more about the details of the REAL ID Act and commercial flying in our latest blog.
  4. Be sure to check children’s passports too. Child passports expire after only five years.
  5. Most destinations require a three-six month passport validity to even enter the country. Read the reasons in our passport tips blog. This is an often overlooked fact, leaving many unable to fly abroad. And yet another reason to know your renewal date.

The main point — if your passport is due to expire in the next few years, expect a long processing delay. You never know when a trip opportunity may suddenly arise, especially for frequent business travelers. Be smart and get the renewal process started ASAP.

Christopherson Business Travel is a travel management company for businesses. We specialize in superior travel technology and passionate account management. With more than 60 years of experince, Christopherson is privately owned and based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Categories
Business Travel Travel News

How The REAL ID Act Will Soon Affect Travelers

On January 20, 2018, the REAL ID act will go into the final stages of its enactment for commercial air travelers, completely revolutionizing our standards of identification and fraud while traveling.  What is the change? Only compliant driver’s licenses or other identification will be allowed on domestic flights. Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming changes:

What is the REAL ID Act?

Passed by Congress in 2005, this act recommended that the Federal Government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.”  It is in the process of regulating state driver’s licenses and identification documentation for security standards. Along with defining the identification process for boarding commercial airlines, it also outlines the protocol for entering federal buildings, nuclear power plants, and even some visas. Regulating travel with this advanced security is the fourth and final stage of enactment.

What is the process and when can we expect to see changes?

We are already in the final stages of these REAL ID act updates. Starting at the beginning of 2016, the Department of Homeland Security announced the final changes. In July they began web-based advisories, with the help of airlines and airport stakeholders.
Starting in December 2016, expect to see signage and handouts while traveling through airport checkpoints.

What updates are needed?

Driver’s licenses need to be REAL ID compliant to be used as identification while flying commercially. This includes scannable microchip technology in every driver’s license or identification card. It is the responsibility of the individual states or territories to implement these changes. Most states have already updated the REAL ID standards, but there are a few states/territories that have lagged behind.

How do I know if my state driver’s license is compliant?

The Department of Homeland Security has an up-to-date list of the states that are compliant, under review, have an extension, or are not compliant.  Some states have been granted an extension in the process until June or October 2017 to update their licenses.

What if my state driver’s license or identification card is not accepted?

Starting January 22, 2018, if your state is still not compliant with the new standards, you will have to provide additional documentation. If they do not have this supporting documentation, they will not be allowed to fly.

By 2020, all states should be compliant with the new standards.

Are there any other options?

Passports are now also updated with the same microchip technology as the new driver’s license. If you are concerned about potential delays or ineligibility, renewing or applying for a passport is a great alternative. Be advised, the State Department is anticipating a surge of applications, so start the process sooner than later.

Categories
Choice Humanitarian Travel News

Choice Humanitarian Expedition – Merrilee’s Story

Christopherson annually sponsors a group of employees to travel with CHOICE Humanitarian. Based out of Salt Lake City, CHOICE Humanitarian is a strategic non-governmental agency (NGO).  Working in seven countries, their goal is to end extreme poverty.  Using a village-centered approach, they work to improve quality of life through self-sufficiency. Christopherson has been involved with CHOICE for more than 20 years and is also a corporate sponsor. This small group of volunteers provides one week of service on one of Choice’s international work sites. This past year, the group assisted in the Polochic region of Guatemala, helping the villagers build in-home stoves and painted the community center. Employees who are part of the employee contribution program are eligible to go on an expedition. These employees contribute donations to CHOICE monthly, with Christopherson graciously matching the donation.  Merrilee Rease, a corporate travel agent out of Salt Lake City shared her experience from this year’s trip to Guatemala:

“Participating on the CHOICE Humanitarian Expedition was a life changing event. In fact, I highly recommend it over a regular family vacation. The villagers’ daily struggle just to prepare meals and get water from the river both amazed and saddened me. They even conserved water leading up to our arrival so that we could take quick showers while we were there. We didn’t learn about this until about two days before we were to leave. I decided not to shower after finding this out. My most memorable times were playing with the kids. They are so happy, even with what little they have. It was like Christmas for a week for them. CHOICE brought a movie screen and projector for the village to watch movies. To hear their giggles and screams during the movie made me incredibly happy. It was the little things like this that we take for granted that meant the most to me.”

See more pictures of the 2016 expedition team’s photos here.
To view pictures from previous expeditions, visit our Facebook page.

Read next:

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry Travel News

China Tops Global Business Travel Market

According to GBTA’s latest business travel forecast, China accounts for 25 percent of business travel spending. This is a dramatic increase from 2000, when they held just 5 percent of the market.  China is now considered the fastest growing business travel market in the world.

China’s Growth To Top Of The Global Business Travel Market

For China, their total business travel spending is expected to reach 9.2 percent, or $317.9 billion by 2016. In 2017, the expected increase is slightly lower at 8.4 percent. Though it is slowing down, this is still a giant leap ahead of the United States. For comparison, in 2017, U.S. business travel spending is expected to reach $293.1 billion. That is a $51.5 billion dollar difference!

The GBTA Executive Director and COO, Michael W. McCormick,  stated this is “demonstrating the truly global nature of today’s economy.” He added, “We expect longer-term spending growth to continue to moderate until Chinese policymakers can achieve their goal of rebalancing the economy and diverting resources away from investment and towards consumption.”

China Continues To Ride The Wave

Of this 25 percent growth, much of it came from domestic ventures. They are now setting their sights on global carriers. On top of that, vying for top margin travelers.  From Traveller.com.au, flights from the South Pacific and Asia is the strategy to begin with. The industry is already saturated with big hitters like Cathy Pacific, Qantas, and Singapore Airlines. Also standing in their way is the perception left by past safety records.

This will not be an easy battle for China’s airlines, but it’s one that can’t be passed up. According to data from the International Air Transport Association, premium passengers account for only 8 percent of travelers. But, these premium travelers generate close to a third of revenue.  To increase their chances, Chinese airlines are stepping up their game in comfort and premium services. Hainan Airlines’ business class, for example, now offers  menus by Michelin star chefs, top amenity bags, and comfortable seating. Expect a big push from Chinese markets in the future, but they certainly have a battle ahead of them.

Chirstopherson Business Travel is a travel management company for businesses. With more than 60 years of experience, we focus on travel—so busy professionals don’t have to. Learn how we can save you company time and money on travel by contacting us today.

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

Feeling The Shift In Airline Commoditization

It’s kind of funny. As technology continually advances, our expectations also change. We are living in an interesting age of requiring immediate results and instant buyer satisfaction. If we don’t see what we want, we can find it somewhere else. It might not surprise you that this is prominent in the travel industry. As consumers, we have any hotel and their reservation system at our fingertips. There is complete control over when and where we stay, and usually with some persuading discount. Same can be true with flights. We can decide when, where, negotiate on price and even pick our exact seat. However, some people believe there is still room for improvement.

The everyday traveler mainly uses travel booking websites to research and book future itineraries. We decide when we want to travel and where; and these sites help us find the cheapest fare. The search functions are primarily price and date. You decide when you want to travel and they find the best deal. But what if we want more? Robert Albert from RouteHappy wonders if perhaps consumers want more options. Albert explained during the Skift Global Forum in New York City last September that this commoditization is a big problem with airlines.

For example, think of that last flight you had with a low-price, low-value airline. Yes, your original booking price was low, but factor in the carry-on luggage fee, food and drink fee, and the minuscule leg room and you were left feeling cheated. Yes, it’s the best price, but was it worth feeling used and spit out? Not likely. And more and more people are seeing this.

As our buyer behavior and expectations continue to evolve, our expectations become more defined. While other industries, like hotels, have design overhauls to capture emerging buyers, shifting airline brand messaging or selling points is harder to do. It’s easier for a boutique hotel to pinpoint a demographic niche and jump on it, than the mammoth airline industry. In essence, there this room for opportunity to capture the growing needs of demanding airline passengers, but the industry may be too far behind to catch up.

As Albert said in his Skift Forum presentation, the biggest trend in the airline industry right now is the focus on ‘commoditize to differentiated.’ It most likely started with offering checked baggage options. Cabin upgrades came next. But is it enough?  Albert found an interesting niche in the travel booking world. Why have online travel booking be based solely on price? He has found that consumers are willing to pay extra for these upgrades. Flyers no longer want the cheapest price, but would rather see the value in the money they spend. Try booking based on amenities, travelers scores, plane type, legroom, and duration of flight. It’s an innovative look at travel booking in a seemly stagnant industry.

Blogs to read next:

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

TSA Precheck Lines Getting Longer?

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced an initiative to enroll twenty-five million new travelers in their Trusted Traveler programs by 2019. Such programs include TSA Precheck and Global Entry.
—To accomplish this goal, TSA is getting creative. Last year, they opened Precheck enrollment centers at locations like H&R Block and select Department of Motor Vehicles. During their Summer Tour, they set up pop-up enrollment centers at hotels across the country. They’re also now marketing Precheck at concerts, offering those who enroll access to concert Fast Passes via Precheck. Rumor is, TSA may soon be partnering with a major bank. They may also begin offering special pricing programs for the service. Select hotel and airline reward programs offer the option to use points to pay for the enrollment, while some credit card companies offer waivers to cover the cost.

According to Charlie Carroll, the vice president of Identity Services at TSA’s enrollment services partner MorphoTrust, 250,000 people enroll each month. While momentum is picking up with increased marketing, reaching twenty-five million in the next two and a half years may be an uphill climb.

How Does Increased Precheck Enrollment Affect Travelers

The real question is—how does this affect travelers? On a recent business trip, I got TSA Precheck status via random selection. It was a dream. I kept my shoes on and my laptop and bag of liquids stayed in the suitcase. I breezed through security, arriving at my gate much earlier than I anticipated. Needless to say, I enjoyed the elite status and ease of the service so much I considered enrolling and paying the $85 to become Precheck approved.

But let’s remember–the need for TSA Precheck rose from travelers’ frustration over long, slow security lines. Long, slow security lines are the result of travelers having to empty bags and practically de-robe to pass security. These requirements came in response to terrorism. TSA Precheck was then created as an elite service for frequent travelers. Eventually, preferred members of airlines, identified as “low risk” travelers, received access. Now, they’re actively marketing the service with no signs of limiting the number of people who want it.

From where I stand, it appears that they reduced the quality and speed of airport security services after 9/11. Now they’re charging us, the travelers, to get back the convenience of the faster, easier security lines we originally enjoyed. And with enrollment for the service growing rapidly, it seems unlikely that TSA Precheck will continue to be as fast, convenient, and elite as it has been.

Read these blogs next:

Categories
Travel News

Delta Premiers New Fashionable Employee Uniform

This week, Delta Airlines, along with famed fashion designer, Zac Posen, unveiled their new exclusive employee uniform collection. Premiering through social media on a Facebook Live event, it showed the new fashion-forward look of Delta. The new collection will eventually be worn by 60,000 Delta employees. 

Delta Air Lines Modern Uniforms

You may remember the renowned fashion designer Zac Posen from Project Runway, or his other in-store collaborations, such as with David’s Bridal or Target. He is known for creating high-fashion looks beloved by celebrities and the masses. In preparation of the new line, Posen paired with employees in each department. This ensured the new design was comfortable and suited to their needs.

Ultimately, looks were created for client-facing positions, like flight attendants and customer service agents; and as well as below the wing and mechanical positions, like technical operation employees and ramp agents.

Though the iconic Delta red color is prominent, surprisingly other unlikely colors make their debut in these new uniforms. Dubbed Passport Plum, Cruising Cardinal, and Groundspeed Graphite, these darker hues compliment the red, ushering in a new, contemporary age for Delta. The runway fashion show featured real employees modeling the collection, all from different airport hubs throughout the nation. More pictures can be found in Delta’s ‘look book’ gallery on their website.

Creating uniforms their employees deserve

After the show, Posen and Delta CEO, Ed Bastian, spoke about their excitement in creating a new global design that permeates throughout the Delta brand. In the same vein that Delta strives to provide individual and exemplary service to their clients, this uniform collection gives the same opportunity to their own employees. Bastain previously said, “The world’s best employees deserve the best uniforms and this new collection is classically influenced, yet modern…Zac and the Delta team worked closely with our people to create timeless and fashionable pieces that reflect the thoughtful and innovative spirit of Delta.”

The next phase will be real-world testing of the clothes.  Beginning in December, 1,000 employees will be testing the uniforms. Based on feedback, the uniforms will be rolled out to Delta employees during the first quarter of 2018. Land’s End has recently been announced to produce the non-client facing wear. The last time uniforms have been updated for client-facing staff was in 2006. Delta last updated their uniforms for below wing employees in 2000. This is just another example of Delta taking opportunity to rise above and further develop themselves as an exemplary airline. Sure, it’s just uniforms, but it symbolizes the changes that Delta is making in all departments. Now with an updated, fashionable ensemble, we can see what really makes Delta different.

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company. We specialize in exceptional customer service and forward thinking travel technology, making the lives of our clients and their travelers easier.

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

Update on the New Salt Lake City International Airport Terminal

The long awaited building of the new Salt Lake City international airport terminal is finally making some noticeable progress.  Residents and travelers can see the change in the roadway used to enter and exit the airport. This project is a very complex undertaking, with a price tag of $1.8 billion, but the end result will be worth the effort.

New Salt Lake City International Airport Terminal

Salt Lake City International Airport serves nearly 23 million passengers a year. The current facilities were built 30-50 years ago, and designed to serve only half as many travelers. SLC International Airport has grown into a major hub airport in the western U.S. With flights often leaving and arriving at the same time, security protocols need to updated to accommodate these changes as well. Buildings also need to meet current earthquake-safety standards.

Some key features of the new design:

  • Single, three-level terminal
  • One linear concourse
  • Gateway center
  • New parking garage
  • New support facilities

We applaud Delta Air Lines for their commitment to Salt Lake City and their willingness to be the anchor tenant in the new facility. Delta’s CEO, Ed Bastian, was recently in Salt Lake City and shared a positive outlook about their commitment to the SLC hub. From a Salt Lake City Tribune article, Bastian said, “It’s a great destination market. And as we rebuild the airport here, there’s going to be even more opportunity down the road”.

Fro those eager to see the new terminal built, their SLC Airport provides consistently updated information and pictures. See their conceptual renderings, photos (including demolition), and other highlights. 

Christopherson Business Travel is a national corporate travel management company with headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah. Privately owned for more than 60 years, we are passionate about providing travel solutions for busy professionals. Please contact our sales team if you have questions about our unique services.

Categories
Travel News

United Offers VIP Luggage Delivery

Checking luggage at the airport is relatively easy and straightforward. You hand your bags over to an attendant and then pick them up at your destination city. Can’t get much simpler, right? Well, United Airlines has taken it lightyears past simple with their recently announced their United VIP Luggage Delivery service! This innovative service just may change how frequent business travelers fly. Rather than waiting for your luggage at baggage claim, you can head off to your important meeting or conference. United will deliver your luggage to your hotel or specified address, so you can focus on your own agenda.

United VIP luggage delivery

Available in over 250 cities throughout the U.S., this United service is provided by BagVIP. Additionally, it includes plane changes or transfers. Read the specifics below:

  • Deliveries need to be scheduled at least one hour prior to the scheduled flight departure. Reservations can be made as soon as your flight is booked. More information can be found here.
  • United guarantees the traveler will receive their baggage within four hours after their flight’s arrival.
  • For this 4 hour time window, the final destination must be within 40 miles from the airport.
  • If the destination is located between 41 and 100 miles from the airport, the baggage will arrive within six hours after the arrival of the flight.
  • Additional fees apply for this delivery service. The first bag is $29.95. Adding a second bag increases the price to $39.95. Interestingly, the rate for 3-8 bags delivered in $49.95.
  • United’s checked baggage fee also still applies

This a perfect solution if your travel day is already overbooked with meetings and dinners. Or, you could use VIP luggage delivery service for golf clubs, skis or strollers. At the reduced price to deliver 3-8 bags, I’ll consider it for my next ski trip.

Read next:

Christopherson Business Travel is an award-winning corporate travel management company. We love providing travel management solutions to busy organizations, and have the client retention rate to prove we know what we’re doing. Contact us to learn more about our innovative travel technology and consultative account management solutions.

Categories
Travel News

Staying Powered While Traveling

We all know the importance of staying connected to the office and home while we’re on the road.  Emails, phone calls and texts don’t stop just because we’re on a business trip.  I had the good fortune to be traveling a couple of weeks ago when Delta experienced their power outage.  Surrounded by chaos, it was almost funny seeing clusters of people tethered to the power stations at the airport.  Eventually though, I became one of the people with a low battery. With cord was plugged into each and every power receptacle, I couldn’t find one open plug.  I traveled down the terminal in hopes of finding a vacant plug, but to no avail.

Finally boarded my Delta flight and there, eight inches from my armrest, was my very own power outlet!  This small feature offered by airlines can make a complete difference in a business travelers’ productivity.  I personally resolved that I had no excuse for lack of productivity while flying ever again.

Charging devices on Delta flights

As Delta planes are being developed or remodeled, electrical charging stations are being added.

  • Standard power outlets are available in all rows of Economy, which includes Economy Comfort, on all Boeing 717 and 737-900ER aircraft.
  • Standard power outlets are also available at rows 10-12 on most 737-700 and MD90 aircrafts.
  • USB power is also available at all seats on 737-700, 737-800, 737-900ER, 757-200 (with personal entertainment) 767-300 aircraft and at all First Class seats on most MD90 aircraft.

I learned that the power strength from these power units isn’t as strong as a traditional power outlet – usually only around 75 watts.  In some cases, the high speed processors in new super-fast laptops cannot operate with the lower level of power.  And there may not be enough strength to operate and charge the battery at the same time.  In fact, some airlines specifically state that battery charging is not allowed and ask you to remove your rechargeable battery from your device.

Flying with Delta during their power outage, surprising made me appreciate the continual upgrades they provide on their flights. From now on, I will never take my personal power outlet for granted. And maybe add a portable battery charger to my packing list too.

Categories
Travel News

What Travelers Should Know About The Marriott Starwood Merger

The news we’ve all been waiting for is here—Marriott International and Starwood have finally completed their $13 billion merger.  With the sale originally announced almost a year and a half ago, the twists and turns surrounding the Marriott Starwood merger occasionally felt like a daytime soap opera. Through it all, the travel industry has been anxiously waiting to hear the details, especially how travelers and travel managers will make out in the end.

What happened with Starwood?

  • In April 2015, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide first put itself up for sale.
  • They initially had 30 serious parties interested in merging, both U.S. and international.
  • In November 2015, Starwood announced a deal with Marriott for $12.2 billion. (Read Skift’s article about how Marriott played hard to get here.)
  • They slated the deal would be finalized by mid-2016, with a $400 million termination fee if it didn’t go through.
  • From there, the merger needed approval by regulatory authorities in over 40 countries. The U.N. also approved the deal in June.
  • The Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) requested more time in August to review the merger. They finally approved the deal September 20, 2016.
  • This merger created the world’s largest hotel company.

Marriott, the largest hotel company, ever:

  • The new company now has over 30 hotel brands. This includes operating or franchising more than 7,500 properties and 1.1 million rooms in more than 110 countries.
  • The hotels that are now under the Marriott- Starwood merger include:
    • Marriott, Courtyard, Ritz Carlton, Sheraton, Westin, W, St. Regis,  The Luxury Collection, Le Meridien, Tribute Portfolio, Four Points by Sheraton, Element, and many more.

What does the Marriott Starwood merger mean for travelers?

One of the biggest concerns about the merger have been regarding the loyalty programs. Both companies have their own loyalty programs. And as any frequent travelers knows, their perks often keep the customer loyal. Well, good news for any worried road warrior out there. Marriott has acknowledged the necessity of loyalty programs since the beginning of the merger. Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott, said integrating Starwood’s guest loyalty program was ‘central, strategic, rationale for the transaction.’

This week, Marriott announced the loyalty points will be linked and transferable. One Starwood Preferred Guest point will be worth three Marriott Reward points. This is yet another strategic tactic that many travelers wont be able to pass up. The process to connect your loyalty rewards is already set up and ready to go. Simply start at Marriott’s New Member page and follow the steps.

Categories
Travel News

FAA Bans Use Of Samsung Galaxy Note 7s Phones On Flights

As a frequent business traveler, I’m accustomed to the on-boarding and pre-flight protocol of the flight attendants. But this last week, I quickly noticed a new addition to the announcements about a specific smartphone. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently banned the new Samsung Galaxy Note 7s phone from being on during flights. The reason? The phones may explode if overheated.

FAA Bans Samsung Galaxy Note 7s On Flights

Released August 19, 2016, the latest Samsung smartphone has already been recalled. In the last month since the release, these phones have been exploding, including in a man’s pocket. The issue stems from the lithium ion battery. Samsung admitted that during the manufacturing process, the layer of plastic separating the positive and negative sides of the battery may have punctured, causing an explosion when overheated. It appears this happens more frequently when it’s charging, but not always, hence the pocket incident.

Initially, the FAA was “strongly encouraging” people from using the phone during the flight. They have now elevated their statement to “ban” airline passengers from using or charging the device during flight. These phones are not allowed to be packed in checked luggage either. The FAA stated, ‘In light of recent incidents and concerns raised by Samsung about its Galaxy Note 7 devices, the Federal Aviation Administration strongly advises passengers not to turn on or charge these devices on board aircraft and not to stow them in any checked baggage.’

I saw last week that the airlines placed notices near check-in and boarding areas about the new FAA ruling. The cabin crew also added the message to their safety script. On this flight, each seat had an individual power station.  While usually convenient, myself and the people around me were suddenly nervous of the possible repercussions. What if someone disobeyed? What can the airlines do to enforce the ban?  Similar to asking that devices are placed in ‘airplane mode’, everyone trusts that the passengers abide by the rules. It’s currently a little nerve-wrecking to think about. Fortunately, Samsung will be providing replacement units later this month.  I will certainly be relieved when these exchanges are complete, and the power stations can return to be the inculpable amenity I frequently enjoy.

Categories
Choice Humanitarian Travel News

Choice Humanitarian Expedition – Laura’s Story

Every year, Christopherson Business Travel sponsors a group of employees to participate in a humanitarian excursion with Choice Humanitarian. As a corporate partner with this international non-profit organization, we engage and volunteer whenever possible. This amazing organization assists villages across the globe in extreme poverty by providing self-sustaining techniques to improve their community from within. This year, the group assisted in the Polochic region of Guatemala.  Secluded in the hills of Northern Guatemala near Cobán, they helped build stoves and paint the community center.

Laura’s humanitarian expedition story

As I boarded my flight to Guatemala City, I knew I would be seeing firsthand what extreme poverty would look like. Once I arrived, and began our four-hour bus ride (which really took seven hours until our first stop), I was amazed at the beauty of the country, the colorful but poorly constructed buildings, heavily congested roadways and traffic. Trash also seemed to be a huge problem, as it was strewn everywhere!

Once out of the big city, I saw another side of Guatemala. The landscape was still beautiful and colorful, and the people seemed pleasant and genuinely happy. I think overall, they accepted their way of life and appreciated the things they had.

My next five nights spent in a Q’eqchi’ village was the best experience. The landscape was like the movie Jurassic Park! I thought I’d really see a dinosaur come tromping through the trees! Of course I never did … but I did see a couple of lizards!

Our living arrangements were similar to primitive camping. We all brought our sleeping bags and air mattresses. CHOICE provided and prepared all the food. All of our meals were delicious! Even the daily homemade tortillas were a treat!

I was overwhelmed with the children’s eagerness to learn and help. I never once saw a child in tears or angry. Even the adults were curious of our presence. I was always reminded of this at our meal time! There was always an audience of villagers watching our every move.

Our project in the village was to assist with building cinder block stoves and painting the inside and outside of their community center. Our purpose was NOT to change their way of life, but to enhance and/or minimize their daily tasks. These people were proud of their way of life and their traditional heritage.

I’m still processing everything that I experienced and would go back in a heartbeat! “Laain Sa Lin Ch’ool!” (Q’eqchi’ for: I am fine, happy in my heart.)

Stay tuned for stories from our other adventurers. Check out our Facebook photos from this trip and past expeditions. Chirstopherson Business Travel is an award-winning corporate travel management company with 60 years of experience. 

Read next from our blog:

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

Christopherson Honored As A Utah Business Fast 50 Company

Utah Business magazine hosted its annual Fast 50 event on Thursday, August 24, to recognize the 50 fastest-growing businesses in the state of Utah.  Christopherson Business Travel was honored at the event, and the only company to date to achieve the Fast 50 recognition for 8 consecutive years. Companies were selected based on five years of compound revenue growth and total revenue, submitted to an independent accountant for analysis.

Christopherson is an innovative organization focused on long-term growth objectives in a rapidly changing industry.  We were awarded for our entrepreneurial spirit and innovative tactics. It is a notable accomplishment to have maintained sky-rocketing revenue growth for such a substantial period. Our CEO, Mike Cameron accepted the award, “When my wife and I first bought the company 26 years ago, we were doing under a million dollars a year and we set some very ambitious goals at the time. . . we wanted to become one of the top ten travel agencies in Utah. Turns out we met all those goals, actually exceeded them, and today we are doing 600 million dollars a year and we are the largest travel agency in Utah”.

Recognition as one of the Utah Business Fast 50 is shared with many of our Utah-based clients including Nu Skin Enterprises, Jane.com, Pluralsight, Extra Space Storage and Crest Financial Services. We applaud everyone for their success and wish them luck for an outstanding year ahead.

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management agency with more than 60 years of experience. We are passionate about providing efficient travel solutions for busy professionals, so they can focus on what’s important to them. Contact us to learn more about our travel technology and consultative services.

Categories
Travel News

Delta One Suite

I am constantly amazed by how Delta Air Lines continues to wow travelers. Even after widespread power outages causing cancelled and delayed flights last week, Delta announced their new international business class service, Delta One suite.

Delta One Suite – International Business Class

Delta claims they are the first carrier to offer an all-suite business cabin. This sophisticated business class will consist of ultra wide seats, increased storage, an 18-inch entertainment system and much more. I am most amazed by the increased privacy with individual sliding doors. Not only can you fly comfortably in a fully-reclining seat, but your full-height sliding door will make you feel like you’re falling asleep in the privacy of your own home.

When To Expect Updates

Delta has said the pricing for the new suites will not change from the current Delta One pricing. These suites are expected to be available in Fall 2017, starting with the Airbus A350 fleet. They will then add suites to their Boeing 777 fleet. Already established features of luxury will continue, such as chef-curated meals, wine pairings, Westin Heavenly in-flight bedding, amenity kits, and in-flight lounge wear.

Tim Mapes, Delta’s Senior Vice President said. “Delta continually listens to customers and responds with products that deliver what they want. . . Added comfort and privacy are important to business travelers, and that drove the design of the all-new Delta One suite.” This philosophy is one reason why they are one of my favorite airlines to fly with. (Their cookies might be another reason.) They have a knack for defining traveler pain points and then delivering the best solution available. For example, their new checked baggage system replaces the traditional baggage sorting system with RFID scanner technology. Soon you will be able to determine the exact location of your luggage through their Delta App! Free in-flight entertainment is another feature they have customized over their competitors.

Overall, Delta’s new Delta One suite follows suit with their brand, providing luxury and comfort from the moment you walk on board. Whether you are a business traveler or traveling for leisure, don’t miss out on an opportunity to try out Delta’s latest comforts.

 

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

United’s New Business Class Polaris Solves Business Traveler Discomforts

United Airlines is reinventing international business class with their latest creation, Polaris. We were fortunate enough to preview it last Thursday in downtown Denver. The event was held in the beautiful and historic Brown Palace Hotel and Spa and featured informative and interactive stations. It included their business class seats, as well as a virtual reality demonstration of the lounge and carrier.

United Polaris Business Class

This international business class overhaul encompasses lounges in their hub locations as well as on-board international flights. It is very apparent that significant time, thought and attention went into this development. The ideals of relaxation, comfort, exclusivity and excellence are very top of mind in every detail. I especially see the benefits for busy business travelers. Though there are many examples, I think my favorite is the ‘do not disturb’ button at every seat. Let’s say you eat a pre-boarding meal in their exclusive lounge (yes, that’s also a new addition), so when you board the plane you can simple go to sleep after take off. No issue of waiting until after dinner service to make it apparent that you don’t want to be disturbed. Continuing our example, let’s say that you wake up in the middle of the flight, completely parched. Well no need to flag down a flight attendant while everyone else is sleeping. You can simply use their walk-up bar station to grab water, drinks, or assorted snacks at your convenience. Every detail has been considered.

A few other amazing takeaways of the new Polaris Business Class:

  • All seats are designed to have aisle access and ample legroom. No walking over neighbors if you fly in the middle seat. There is no more middle seat on Polaris.
  • Ample outlet and technology placement. Each tray has a phone or tablet perch, to actively use your devices on the plane. Work can comfortably be done in these seats. 
  • Fold down seats with the length of 6’6’’.
  • Amenity bag including spa-quality Soho House & Co. Cowshed products, black out eye masks and headphones.
  • Elegant cuisine created by The Trotter Project, which will specialize in locally sourced and seasonal flavors. For example, if you are flying out of the Denver hub, you may be able to anticipate flank steak, mashed potatoes with a palisade peach cobbler for dessert. These are products local to Colorado and in season.
  • On-board linens provided by Saks Fifth Avenue. Enjoy two pillows, a sheet, and a duvet. If that is not enough, pajamas, a mattress pillow top and a cooling gel memory foam pillow is available upon request.

When to expect changes

The first United Polaris Class lounge will open on December 31, 2016 at the O’Hare Airport. Eight additional lounges will open at Houston Intercontinental, Los Angeles International, New York/Newark, San Francisco, Washington Dulles, Hong Kong, London Heathrow and Tokyo Narita. Specific dates are not yet known. Access to these lounges will only be to those with a business class ticket. General access or day passes are not allowed to this lounge.

Airplanes will be quickly renovated with this business class update. United will start with the Boeing 777-300 carriers in December 2016. They will be available in early 2017. Booking and reservations for Polaris has not yet been established.

Our hands-on guided look at United’s innovations got us pretty excited for the new advances. We could truly imagine ourselves in the new lounge and comfortably snoozing aboard. Overall, United’s Polaris Business Class is something we can’t wait to enjoy for ourselves. United’s website can keep you updated on latest news or explore it’s additional features.   

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

Christopherson Sponsors Rocky Mountain Business Travel Association Luncheon

This past week, Christopherson Business Travel sponsored a luncheon hosted the Rocky Mountain Business Travel Association. An affiliate of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA),  they are committed to connecting business travel professionals and enhancing education and partnerships in the West. It was hosted in the conference room of the beautiful new Hyatt Regency Aurora Hotel.

The hotel itself was updated and modern, with many elegant touches.  Before entering conference room, the we socialized with 80 other travel industry professionals. The conference room was set up beautifully and ready with our deconstructed cobb salad, bread, drinks, and chocolates.

Following member news and update was the presentation by Tim Hines, an entrepreneur, keynote speaker, and consultant. His highly entertaining presentation defined the millennial generation and how they are affecting business travel.

Here are a few defining characteristics about millennials:

  • Members of the millennial generation were born between 1980 – 2000. They are the largest generation we have ever had, even out numbering baby boomers!
  • Growing up amid new technology such as computers, internet, and mp3s, they can easily adjust to change and are quick learners.
  • Most were affected by ‘the great recession’, often resulting in them being thrifty but also willing to spend additional money for something of value.
  • They desire a greater work/life balance than past generations. Technology has made work achievable from any time or place, and they typically enjoy this flexibility.
  • Experiences are more important to them than past generations. For example, 71% of millennials would live in another country if the opportunity presented itself.

Tim Hines offered valuable and insightful information on the generation as a whole and their impact on the business travel industry. Keep your eye out for a blog post further detailing this trend, including how travel managers can engage with millennials to improve compliance.

Categories
Business Travel Travel News Travel Tips

Finally, Refunds For Delayed Checked Bags!

Thanks to a recent FAA ruling, travelers will be refunded if their checked baggages are delayed more than 12 hours or 15 hours internationally. It is a $25 rebate for the first bag and $50 for two delayed bags.  Prior to this ruling, Delta Air Lines was the only airline offering refunds for delayed bags.  Now all airlines are required to follow this ruling and set up procedures.

Sounds like good news, right?  Good news is the refund itself.  The bad news is that the refund is administered in the form of an electronic travel voucher—not cash!  Though not convenient for the traveler, it also creates a headache for the companies who booked the travel.  The refund will not be credited back to the credit card, but to be used for future travel in the form of this travel voucher. This further complicates billing and travel budgets.  The deadline for the airlines to set up these refund procedures ends in September 2017, so there is wiggle room for this system to change.

Tips to smoothly receive your refund for delayed checked bags:

According to Yahoo! Finance, while your bags are delayed, consider the following to get reimbursed for expenses:

  • Before you leave the airport, file a complaint for your missing bags. Why? Some airlines will not provide assistance of any kind until or without a formal complaint.  Some airlines allow a complaint by phone within 24 hours.  My experience has always been, “Don’t leave home without it,” …meaning hang at the airport and file the complaint so you can get your bag returned ASAP!
  • Keep all documentation. (in a safe and convenient place). Starting with your boarding pass, baggage claim ticket, plus all receipts for any expenses.  At some point, you will likely need them.
  • No shopping spree! Resist the urge to buy replacement clothes or items. Don’t expect the airlines to reimburse you completely for items that may be lost or delayed. Consider carrying on items you can’t be without, such as a tux if you are traveling to a wedding or special handouts for an important meeting (e.g. Christopherson’s signature chocolates). Though they are essential for you, the airlines probably wont pay to replace these items.
  • Check your credit card’s baggage coverage. In the case of business, know what your company credit card provides. This should be in your travel policy guidelines. There are different rules for each credit card.  As an example, Chase Sapphire Card will reimburse for essential purchases up to $100 a day for five days. Delta is the only airline with details as to what they offer as compensation:  $50 a day for the first five days a bag is delayed as long as you provide receipts.
  • Try to relax. Delayed or lost baggage is definitely a major hassle but most bags are found within 48 hours.  Personally, I dislike carry-on bags (weight, bad rotator cuff, etc.) so I usually have essentials in a small case besides a checked bag.

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company with more than 60 years of experience assisting customers. Learn more about our philosophy or talk to us about how to start a corporate travel policy.

Read next:

 

Categories
Choice Humanitarian Travel News

Choice Humanitarian Expedition – Donna’s Story

Nine of our employees had an experience of a lifetime this summer. Every year, Christopherson sponsors a group of employees to travel with CHOICE Humanitarian to volunteer on one of their international work sites. Based out of Salt Lake City, CHOICE Humanitarian is a strategic non-governmental agency (NGO) working in seven countries: Kenya, Nepal, Bolivia, Guatemala, Mexico, Ecuador, and Peru. Their overriding goal is to end extreme poverty and improve quality of life through a bottom-up, self-developing, village-centered approach. Christopherson has been involved with CHOICE for more than 20 years and is also a corporate sponsor. Employees who are part of the employee contribution program are eligible to go on an expedition. These employees contribute donations to CHOICE monthly, with Christopherson graciously matching the donation. Below is Donna Alford’s story from this year’s trip to Guatemala:

There really isn’t any way to adequately describe my recent CHOICE Humanitarian trip to the Polochic Region of Guatemala.

Was it hot? Yes! If anyone hears me complaining about the heat and humidity in Alabama, you have my permission to whack me on the head.

Was it exhausting? I typically sit at a desk all day. So, yes! It was exhausting.

Was it amazing? Absolutely. I would go back in a heartbeat!

It was such an incredible experience and I’m so honored to have met and worked with the villagers of Chimaxyat. To say that these people don’t have much is an understatement. At the beginning of the trip, my first inclination was to feel sorry for them. By the end of the week, I realized that what they lacked in material things, they more than made up for in their wonderful spirits. They were so gentle, happy, and full of grace, and I am so thankful that they welcomed us into their lives.

The CHOICE model states that “rather than participating in short term service delivery, we focus on building long term, sustainable solutions to issues related to extreme poverty” and boy, did we see that in action. Instead of CHOICE deciding what is best for a community, CHOICE involves the people of the village themselves. They determined what was needed for their village and we all came together to make that happen. In this case, it was a stove project.
Before this project began, the women and small children spend all day in close proximity to an old, unvented stove or, in some cases, just a re pit, which causes many health problems. Our project was to build new, more efficient stoves that were vented to the outside. They were so welcoming and kind to us as we went into their homes for this project.

We were also fortunate to visit the Sikaabe (meaning “Seek your Path”) Training Center. This is an educational and vocational school that can accommodate up to 32 students. It is a real life changer. The school teaches classes such as masonry, animal production, farming, hospitality, and culinary arts. The students gave a presentation and it was incredible to see the pride in their eyes. No translation needed for that! As a bonus, one of the students was getting married the day we were there and we were all invited. After the wedding, the groom changed back into his work clothes and proceeded to give us a tour of the animal production facility. All in a day’s work!

From the moment we arrived to a ceremonial dance performed by the children, to the end of our stay with the men of the village carrying our luggage on their heads, up the muddy, slippery trail to the bus, we were wrapped in love and caring from “our” village. The CHOICE staff did a wonderful job taking care of all of the logistics and the in-country team of cooks and servers were incredible. They served us three delicious meals each day and I am craving more of their hot chocolate. I am forever ruined for Swiss Miss in a packet.

See more pictures of the 2016 expedition team’s photos here.
To view pictures from previous expeditions, visit our Facebook page.

Read next:

Categories
Travel News

TSA Readily Available on Social Media

Need a quick answer about airport security or carry-on luggage, but don’t have the time to read through government websites? Your wishes have been granted! The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is now available via Facebook Messenger and Twitter! These two social media profiles use the name ‘Ask TSA’, which is separate from their main TSA profiles. While Ask TSA has been available on Twitter since September 2015, they joined Facebook Messenger on July 7. Though not a 24-hour service, their Facebook Messenger contact hours are extensive. They are available from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET on weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends and holidays.

Ask TSA is eager to assist you with any questions identification through security lines, lost items, or acceptable carry-on items. You can even take a picture of the item in question, and tweet or Facebook message them for the answer.

Ask TSA Contact Information-

Their Twitter handle for customer questions is @AskTSA

Their Facebook Messanger can be accessed through their Ask TSA Facebook page. Once on the page, click the ‘send message’ button to begin correspondence.

At Christopherson Business Travel, we understand the value of having a support team on call when things go wrong. That’s why we provide our clients 24-hour customer service.  When something goes wrong, as it often does with travel itineraries, we are always here to help find the best solution. Contact us to learn more about our customer service and additional benefits.

 

Categories
Travel News Travel Technology Travel Tips

How To Get Through U.S. Customs Faster

My last experience going through customs was pretty typical. I deplaned, walked endlessly through the airport, collected my bags and then madly ran to get a spot in line at customs. Sure, you can shorten your wait time if you bring only carry-on luggage or you are an extra fast runner, but overall the process definitely has room for improvement.

Global Entry

One option to speed through customs is signing up for the Global Entry program. Similar to TSA PreCheck, Global Entry expedites you through U.S. custom lines based on your pre-approved status. Offered through U.S. Customs and Border Protection, there is a multi-step approval process needed before your trip. It is available to U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents and accepted by a few other countries. It does have some restrictions for eligibility, including criminal convictions, outstanding warrants, or previous violations of immigration or custom regulations. If you are eligible, you can create an account on their Global Online Enrollment System (GOES), and complete the application. There is a  $100 non-refundable fee required for each applications. From there, your application will be reviewed. If it is conditionally approved, you will then be instructed to schedule an interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center. Once fully approved, you can skip all processing lines, paperwork and significantly reduce your wait time!

Mobile Passport

The app Mobile Passport offers an alternative to the Global Entry program and is available at growing number of airports in the country. All you need to do is fill out the Customs and Border Protection form in the app on your mobile phone and enter your flight information and submit. Once this is complete, you will receive a electronic confirmation with a QR code and you can proceed to the line at customs indicated for “Mobile Passport Control”. Like the paper version of the form, the form in the app can be filled out for family members making traveling with kids just a tiny bit easier. As another benefit, it is free to use with no additional charges!

Whichever process you choose, you will make the customs process easier and less stressful. Use the comments below to tell us about your experiences using either Global Entry or Mobile Passport!

Categories
Travel News

What Else Is Causing The Long TSA Lines?

One of the biggest frustrations in life is waiting in a long security line at the airport, especially when the boarding time of your flight is starting soon! Travelers have been given ample warning from airports and TSA (Transportation Security Administration) to allow for more time to get through the growing airport security lines.
According to a recent article in The Washington Post, TSA is hiring 768 new airport screeners by the end of June.  They will also be moving 2,784 part-time employees to full time to accommodate for the anticipated high volume summer ahead. It is clear that TSA is doing all they can to elevate the situation, and it’s still not enough. Even with these upcoming changes, they still recommend arriving at the airport three hours before your flight time.

But is TSA the only culprit in the increasingly long lines? Two senators, Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) cite another point of contention; the additional carry-on baggage we bring through security with us. They are urging all airlines to eliminate the fees for checking baggage for this summer. They cite the TSA in saying checked baggage fees may add an addition 27 percent toward passenger checkpoints, increasing the time needed to get through security.  It’s an interesting thought, isn’t it?I don’t know about you, but I would rather pack lighter and carry a bag with me, than pay additionally out-of-pocket to have my bags checked.  And a big time suck of the security line process is the multi-bin organization, waiting of new bins to be wheeled out, and claiming enough conveyer belt room for all your stuff. The entire security line environment may be different if we weren’t lugging around additional bags in an effort to save a few well deserved bucks.

Read Next: The Ultimate Airport Time-Saver

Categories
Travel News Travel Technology

How Delta is Changing Checked Baggage

Delta is making history by updating their luggage handling process, benefiting business travelers and leisure travelers alike. This new technology uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), as opposed to the existing hand-scanned barcodes. The technology uses scanners to read embedded chips in luggage tags via radio waves to track the bags.

Delta we love to flyThis system will automatically catch improperly loaded luggage and assist the luggage handlers as well. Currently, when a traveler misses their connection, ground agents must manually scan each bag to find the specific piece of luggage. With RFID scanners, inventory will be taken quickly and at defined checkpoints to efficiently find the lost bag and route it appropriately. Delta is investing $50 million in the technology and have plans to install this at 84 locations, covering all hubs and about 85 to 90 percent of its total bag volume. Delta handles 120 million bags of luggage annually, this improvement will affect the majority of the luggage.

Interestingly, Delta is the first of all airlines to make such a vast improvement on luggage technology. Additionally, they have plans for real-time tracking and monitoring for the passenger. Push notifications through the Delta app will be available for the traveler, so they know when their bags hit different checkpoints. This is believed to have a 99 percent accuracy rate, ensuring proper routing and loading.

Travelers will begin seeing this technology in the fourth quarter of 2016. Read more about Delta’s other promotions, or watch their video explaining the technology further.

Categories
Travel News Vacation Travel

Create Memories and Celebrate Life’s Milestones with Travel

Cancun-Dec-2013-090
Cancun, Mexico

What do you get the guy who turns sixty and has more ball caps and tee shirts than he knows what to do with? How about a special trip to a sandy beach destination?

Of all the destinations around the world that we have visited, my husband’s favorite place to go is Cancun, Mexico. So, this past December, I made the arrangements for us to stay at an all-inclusive, adults-only resort on the fabled white sand beaches of Cancun. While the temperature in our home location of Salt Lake City was in the 20s and 30s, we were enjoying the sun and sand with temperatures in the mid 80s.

This isn’t the first time that we’ve traveled to Mexico in the first part of December, which also happens to be low season. One year we took the whole extended family: husbands, wives, and grandkids. It was a gift that replaced of a few years worth of Christmas presents, but we had a vacation of memories to share with our loved ones.

That trip to Tahiti for your 40th birthday, or an Alaskan cruise for Mom and Dad’s 50th wedding anniversary: those memories will last forever.

Contact an Andavo Travel advisor today and take all the stress out of planning that memorable trip for your special celebration.

Andavo Travel is the leisure travel division of Christopherson Business Travel, providing clients with world-class service through excellence, trust, integrity, loyalty, family, community, and caring.

Categories
Travel News

New Rail Line Opens Between Downtown Denver and Denver International Airport

This past week, business travel became less of a headache for Denver residents and its visitors. Denver’s Regional Transportation District opened their much awaited rail line, The University of Colorado A Line. The rail runs between downtown’s Union Station and Denver International Airport (DIA), with six stations in between. Denver is now joining only 20 other U.S. cities to offer train transportation from the airport to the city center.

This is the first commuter rail for the Denver metro area. Differing from the city’s existing light rail trains, these trains are heavier and faster. Part of the FasTracks initiative, this is the first of the promised 122 miles of new rail to hit the metro area. With connections to three other light rail lines, two additional lines will be adjoining later this year. The train runs regularly from 3:00 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. the following day, making it almost 24-hour assessable. Passengers are dropped off at the airport near the south entrance security lines, avoiding additional shuttles and long tarmac runs like other airport shuttle systems.

A major criticism of DIA has always been its location. Located 25 miles outside of the city center, travel to and from the airport is an additional burden for the traveler. With RTD’s new and affordable commuter train, hope is in the air for convenient commuter travel. The cost of a ticket is $9, valid for 24 hours from the purchase of the ticket and standard regardless of purchase location. Considering the added costs of airport parking, car services or car rental fees, this is a deal for frequent business travelers.

With one of Christohperson’s five offices located in Denver, our team is excited for the opportunity to use public transportation to the airport for our future trips. Christopherson Business Travel is a top corporate travel management company. We provide our clients reliable customer service and helpful travel technology. To learn more about our travel management solutions, contact us or call our Denver office at 303-694-3322.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry Travel News

Southwest is raising early bird check-in fee

Southwest is currently not raising fares or charging bag fees but they are raising the fee of their EarlyBird Check-in service. Originally starting at $12.50, it now could cost $15 to $25 each way. The cost to the traveler will depend on the length of the flight and popularity of EarlyBird on that route.

What is EarlyBird Check-in?

EarlyBird Check-in is a Southwest service that automatically checks travelers in before the standard 24-hour time frame. By paying for this additional service, the traveler has the opportunity of being one of the first on the plane. If you are unfamiliar with Southwest’s boarding system, the seats are claimed on a first come, first serve basis. The boarding passes are arranged with different boarding groups (A, B, or C) and a boarding position (1-60). Passengers line up and board the plane based on the group and position. By paying an additional EarlyBird check-in fee, there is additional opportunity of being assigned in the boarding groups A or B, with a higher position number. This gives ample opportunity of grabbing the best seat and first access to the overhead bins.

This is not the first EarlyBird fee increase from Southwest

Originally, EarlyBird was introduced in 2009, charging only $10 each way. It later increased to $12.50, and then to $15 in 2016 (at the time of the original posting of this post).  Another criticism of the service is there is no guarantee of  being in boarding group A, or with a top boarding position number. It will be interesting to see if the service is as successful with this fee increase with no upgrades to the service itself.

Christopherson Business Travel is a travel management company, specializing in business travel. We have been in the travel business for over 60 years, and provide custom mobile technology tools and superior customer service. Contact us for more information on our services or traveler assistance dashboards.

 

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry Travel News

What is the new “basic economy” class?

Previously offered only by discount carriers, the “basic economy” class is also offered by Delta. This fare competes with ultra-low cost carriers (LCCs) like Spirit and Frontier. What you get is simply transportation from point A to B with restrictions on seat selection and checked bags, no refunds or changes, and no upgrading to elite perks.

At JP Morgan’s Aviation conference in March, both American and United announced they are following suit with Delta. American will stick with the name, “basic economy,” and will introduce the option in the second half of 2016. United will call their new fare class, “entry level,” with no announcement of when. Routes were not announced by either airline. Delta started with routes to and from locations where they compete with Spirit and Frontier, but is slowly moving into other cities.

Of these new options, Skift’s Grant Martin wrote, “And while it’s a lucrative change for the airlines and premium travelers, unrest among budget travelers may start to grow. With no alternative airline to find refuge in, however, the budget travel community may finally be out of luck.”

 

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

Delta’s Giving Back

intro-txtHave you heard about Delta’s Gift Back Project? Through this project, anyone can nominate the most selfless person they know and give them their dream gift.

To nominate someone, nominators must register on the Gift Back Project website, and submit a short essay explaining how their nominee is truly selfless and in what way they’d like to see them gifted back. If the nomination is chosen, Delta will make that dream gift a reality.

Delta spokesperson Paul Skrbec explained the project to The Huffington Post, stating, “Giving back to the community is one of our core values. Any time we can do things for the people we serve … it highlights those values.”

Visit TheGiftBackProject.com to nominate someone today.

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

Delta Launches Delta Comfort+ Fare

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 6.15.49 PMAccording to an article from Airways News, Delta is the first U.S. legacy carrier to offer extra legroom seats as a fare class.

A few of the benefits of this fare class are:

  1. Customers can take advantage of Sky Priority boarding instead of boarding in Zone 1
  2. There is dedicated overhead bin space for Comfort+ customers
  3. Extra leg room
  4. Free wine, spirits, and regional craft beers for customers 21 and over
  5. Snacks on all flights with a premium snack basket being offered on flights over 900 miles
  6. Complimentary access to everything on Delta Studio

Delta still will charge for checked bags and meals in Delta Comfort+. Additionally, some medallion changes were made to make this fare available.

For more information please visit Delta.com.

Categories
Travel News

TSA Changes Opt Out Policy for Body Scans

Getting checked by the TSA’s advanced-imaging technology used to be entirely optional. Those who refused a scan could instead receive a pat-down search. In fact, many observers thought the agency installed the 740 body scanners with an understanding that no one would be forced to use them, ever. body scanner

But in December, TSA revised its rules, saying an “opt out” is no longer an option for certain passengers, resulting in travelers at more than 160 airports not being given the option to say ‘no’ to the full-body scan.

The decision (see the full document on DHS.gov) drew mixed reactions, however, according to a former safety director of the Federal Aviation Administration, this decision was based on security threat assessments and the need to use scanners when security conditions dictate, to protect the public.

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

Salt Lake City Airport Now Offers Premium Reserved Parking

Premium Reserved Parking, which provides travelers with a guaranteed, covered parking space adjacent to airport terminals, has been added to the parking garage at Salt Lake City International Airport.

There are 71 reserved parking spaces available, including three that are ADA-accessible. The new Premium Reserved Parking is accessed via a dedicated entry lane and includes a concierge service with personalized staff assistance. Travelers can make a reservation in advance by going to SLCAirport.com/parking. Once a reservation is made, travelers will receive a Quick Response (QR) code that allows entry into the reserved parking area. Before using Premium Reserved Parking however, business travelers should check their company’s travel reimbursement policy as this service costs $50 a day.

The Premium Reserved Parking lot was created when space became available due to the closing of the parking garage’s drive-through passenger pick-up/drop-off lane as part of Salt Lake City Airport’s ongoing Terminal Redevelopment Program.

Categories
Travel News

Christopherson in the News: Seven Corporate Travel Trends for 2016

Travel Market Report recently interviewed Christopherson Business Travel’s CEO, Mike Cameron, about his outlook for next year. Click here to read the full article and his thoughts on Christopherson’s overall increases in travel, investments in technology, and the growing meeting sector.

Corporate travel trends

 

 

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry Travel News Travel Tips

Data Security When Traveling Abroad

data security while travelingI don’t know about you, but I am becoming increasingly paranoid about security when accessing my personal data while business traveling, especially financial websites like my retirement accounts, bank, and credit cards. If at all possible, I access these sites only when I’m at home.

While security should always be on one’s mind, business travelers should be especially careful when traveling to China, as it is recognized as having the most dangerous internet environment. A recent New York Times (NYT) blog article discussed this issue with former National Security Agency official, Thomas Parenty, wherein he discussed topics such as the biggest threat for foreign firms, mistakes made while trying to be secure in China, and precautions business travelers should take.

Comments on NYT post also suggest that if you do have to connect in China, only do so through VPN. Another comment suggests, “instead of trying to secure what one typically uses, and something that may well contain sensitive information, start from the premise that whatever you bring is inherently insecure and work from there.  Even if nothing happens, you’re safer from the start.”

Another article from the Washington Post mentions Russia and France as additional countries that pose internet security challenges for business travelers, and carrying disposable cellphones and loaner laptops might be considered. Ultimately, security begins with awareness and it would be smart to always know what risks certain countries pose.

Categories
Travel News Vacation Travel

Give the Gift of Travel

What gift could be more unique and memorable than the opportunity to discover a fascinating part of the world? Give the special person in your life something they will treasure for a lifetime – the gift of travel.

Gift of travelHonestly, do you remember every gift you received for Christmas last year or for your birthday? I dare say most of us would not. But do you remember that last vacation you took with your family or friends? I am sure you do. Memories last forever.

Just imagine receiving a gift for a cruise, a fishing trip to Alaska, a perfect island escape, or an adventurous trek on the Swiss Alps. There are limitless vacation possibilities. A trip of a lifetime will be cherished and remembered forever.

Travel gift certificates make an ideal gift for any occasion such as an anniversary, a birthday, Christmas, retirement gift, graduation, or a wedding gift. They are great incentive gifts for a corporation to give to their well-deserving employees.

It is easy to purchase a gift certificate from Andavo Travel, the vacation division of Christopherson Business Travel. Call 866-327-7600 or email vacations@andavotravel.com to make your purchase. Then, our well-traveled, experienced travel consultants will make it easy and seamless for the recipient to plan their choice of vacation.

Give the gift of making memories.

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News Travel Tips

Higher Bag Fees over the Holidays for Frontier and Spirit Airlines

bag feesTraveling during the holidays is not always a smooth or easy venture. One can usually expect crowds, delays, and now surcharges from some of your favorite discount airlines. Frontier has joined their competitor Spirit Airlines in charging an even higher bag fee during the peak holiday months.

These types of airlines have the initial allure of lower ticket prices, but then tack on extra fees for things like luggage, carry-ons, seat selection, and food/beverage. Now the fees are even higher during popular travel times. In an article from Time.com it was reported that, “Frontier Airlines…recently hiked checked and carry-on baggage fees by an extra $5 to $10 for flights scheduled anytime between Thanksgiving week and just after New Year’s, as well as peak travel periods in 2016.” While an increase of $5-$10 does not seem that bad at first glance, don’t forget to factor that cost per bag and for each leg of your trip, and  you’ll perhaps find that the low-cost carriers may not be as cost-effective as they seem.

Bloomberg Business reported that Senator Bill Nelson from Florida has asked that these surcharges be dropped due to the fact that, “These increased surcharges fly in the face of declining fuel costs and appear focused on increasing profitability on the backs of American families.” But while frustrating, this is simply supply and demand pricing. If people don’t like these surcharges, former airline executive, Jay Sorensen, who now runs a consulting firm, recommends “you should go with Southwest.” Another option would be to sign up for an airline credit card such as Delta’s Gold Sky Miles card from American Express which allows a free checked bag and priority boarding in addition to earning miles. If you’re uncertain what the baggage fees might be for your holiday flight, check out Kayak’s list.

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

Marriott International to Acquire Starwood Hotel and Resorts

merger business travelMarriott International is already a large, well-known franchise that will now be even bigger, having announced its merger with Starwood Hotels and Resorts.

Through this acquisition, Marriott will have 5,500 hotels and around 1.1 million hotel rooms worldwide. CNBC reported that before the purchase, “Marriott currently has three-quarters of its rooms in the United States. Starwood, which also owns St. Regis and Aloft hotel brands, gets nearly two-thirds of its revenue from outside the country.” This allows Marriott to expand globally, providing travelers and reward members the opportunity to stay at many more locations.

This purchase boosts Marriott’s worth to “$12.2 billion to create the world’s largest hotel chain with top brands including Sheraton, Ritz Carlton and the Autograph Collection.” The deal won’t be completed until the middle of 2016, but it will be a game changer for the hotel industry and will definitely give this franchise a leg up when customers go to book their next stay.