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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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Business Travel Travel Industry

Everything You Need To Know About Airlines Overbooking Tickets

We all nonchalantly agree to this when we book a flight, but the fact of the matter is that all major airlines overbook their flights, often leaving travelers in the lurch. Overbooking came into the spotlight this week when a United passenger was forcibly removed from a flight, leaving many of us wondering the extent of enforcing this policy.

It’s standard practice for airlines to sell more tickets than the plane has seats, anticipating a few cancellations and missed flights. Rather than having half empty planes take off, extensive calculations are been made determining the probability of no-shows. Additional tickets are then made available based on these solutions. The video below from Ted-ed perfectly summarizes the process and statistics behind overbooking.

Though overselling results in more profits for the airlines, not having enough seats on a flight is still a common occurrence. According to the video above, about 50,000 people get bumped off their flight each year.  Overbooking processes are outlined in each airline’s “contracts of carriage” policies, which passengers agree to when tickets are purchased.

What happens when a flight is oversold?

Federal rules require that airlines must first ask if any passengers will voluntarily give up their seat. Airlines can individually decide on compensation, but typically a travel voucher or gift card is given.

If passengers are unwilling to voluntarily to give up their seats, airlines are then allowed to bump fliers involuntarily. Every airline has a different policy on how they decide who is denied travel as well as their compensation.

  • United – Excludes individuals with disabilities and unaccompanied minors. Priority is then determined by passenger’s fare, class, itinerary, status of frequent flier membership, and order of check-in.
  • Delta – Decided with regards to priority boarding rules and elite status and check-in order and cabin.
  • JetBlue – JetBlue claims they never overbook flights, but have information in their contracts of carriage if a situation arises. Passengers denied boarding involuntarily will receive $1,350 dollars.
  • American – Usually deny boarding based upon check-in time, but may include additional variables such as severe hardships, fare paid, and status within AAdvantage program. Compensation and protocols differ for domestic and international transportation.
  • Spirit – Unaccompanied minors and people with disabilities are excluded. The last customer to check in will be the first to be involuntarily removed first from an over booked flight.
  • Southwest -The last Passenger who receives a boarding position will be the first Passenger denied boarding involuntarily in an oversale situation, with no preference given to any particular person or category of fares. Compensation differs based on their readiness to get the passenger on anther flight.

How business travelers can avoid being involuntarily removed for oversold flights

Getting to your meeting on time is tricky enough when you’re a frequent business traveler. It’s best to keep additional possibilities to a minimum.

  • Check-in early
  • Acquire elite or member status through the airline

 

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company. We’re focused on getting our travelers to their destination smoothly, and with limited headaches for the travel manager. Contact us to learn how we do it.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Business Travel Travel Industry

Delta Air Lines: We Love to Fly

As I was sitting on my fourth Delta flight in the last month, I was reminded of Delta Air Lines’ commercial in the 1980s: WE LOVE TO FLY AND IT SHOWS.

Delta we love to flyI have consistently seen Delta flight attendants, gate agents, and pilots do so many things over the years that truly reflect the truth of that advertisement, which not only makes air travel more enjoyable, but puts a smile on my face.

In the last month, I have seen Delta employees wearing pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and raising money for research and support. On one flight, they recognized a couple celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary, and on my flight last week, they recognized our veterans and active duty military in honor of their service and Veterans Day.

As the commercial says: WE LOVE TO FLY AND IT SHOWS. Thanks, Delta, for making it a pleasure to fly.

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Business Travel Travel Industry

Kudos to Delta Air Lines: It’s the Little Things

My husband is a Delta Platinum Medallion member due to his frequent business travel, and has come to live and breathe for the free upgrades to first class (or at the very least, Economy Comfort) that this status often provides him. On a recent crowded flight, his status was of no help to him and he ended up in a middle seat towards the back of the plane. Of course he complained to me about it, but we both understand that unless you actually pay for the upgrade, you can’t complain or expect too much!

A few days after this flight, he received the following email from Delta:

SOOTHING THE MIDDLE-SEAT-ON-MONDAY BLUES.

SORRY YOU GOT STUCK IN THE MIDDLE SEAT.
HERE’S A 500-MILE BONUS FOR THE INCONVENIENCE.

Mondays are tough enough as is, and yours didn’t get any better when you got stuck in the middle seat.

Loyal Platinum Medallion® members like you deserve our best seats. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible.

In appreciation of your understanding and flexibility, we added 500 miles to your account.

We hope to see you flying in a Preferred Seat or First Class on your next flight — but know that we’ve got your back regardless of your cabin or seat.

And we’ll always do what we can to make things right.

Pretty cool, right?  Of course 500 miles isn’t a huge amount, but the fact that they were even aware of him (one of their millions of customers), that he had been in a middle seat, apologized for it, and then tried to compensate him for the inconvenience really went a long way in making him an even more loyal customer.

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Business Travel Travel Industry

How is the new Delta SkyMiles Program different?

As a frequent Delta Air Lines traveler, I wanted to learn more about the new 2015 SkyMiles Program; I was pleased to find out that their already great program will soon become even better.

How is Delta’s new SkyMiles Program different?

Beginning January 1, 2015, miles will be earned based on ticket price to better reward customers who spend more with Delta. In the past, the airline issued points based on miles. Delta has also created more redemption options and increased the number of Award Seats at the lower price points. Just like before, your existing miles and any earned going forward will not expire. Delta SkyMiles credit card members will also continue to earn up to an additional two miles per dollar on Delta purchases with the card.

The best part about the new program? You can redeem award tickets for any Delta flight with NO blackout dates!

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Travel Industry Travel News

Delta Stays in Dallas, Until January

Delta Air Lines can keep flying from Dallas Love Field–at least through the end of the year. Recently, the City of Dallas informed Delta it had to two weeks to exit the airport. But for now, Delta will continue operating its five daily flights to and from Atlanta after Southwest Airlines agreed to let Delta use one of its gates until January 6.

United Airlines will also allow Delta to use ticket gates and other operational space until the end of the year. After these dates, Delta will have to negotiate a more permanent deal with Southwest, United, or Virgin America to lease a slot to continue flying to Atlanta.

Delta also issued a statement announcing the ongoing negotiations: “Delta Air Lines has secured the right to continue to operate service at Dallas Love Field through the end of the year, and continues to work with all parties involved toward a permanent solution to allow for long-term service.”

For more information, visit BusinessWeek.com.

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Business Travel

Airlines: when they do well in the midst of travel frustrations

Complaints about airlines, rental car companies, and hotels seem to be more the norm than the exception. Certainly, most of us have had an unsatisfactory experience with some travel service provider. However, I recently found myself pleasantly surprised with how well my airline reacted to what could have been a very frustrating situation.

On a Delta Air Lines flight from Washington D.C. to Seattle, I missed my connection in Minneapolis due to weather. I arrived at the Minneapolis airport at 11:00 p.m. and there were no other flights to Seattle until the next morning. Since the delay was due to weather, the Delta was not obligated to make arrangements for their passengers. However, all the hotels near the Minneapolis airport were sold out. I could have stayed at a hotel downtown, but by the time I’d have arrived, I would have only had a couple hours to sleep before needing to go back to the airport to catch my early morning flight. Another option would have been to take a later flight, but then I would have been traveling most of my work day. I decided to spend the night in the airport.

It was amazing to see how Delta did their best servicing us through an unavoidable event. A wonderful agent let those of us who’d decided to sleep over know that Delta had futons, blankets, and pillows for us. She guided us to a business center area, where cubicles became our overnight station. We only had a few hours to sleep but that little bit of extra comfort went a long way. The agent also brought us snacks and water from the aircraft. It certainly wasn’t the best of conditions, but it was better than trying to sleep in a seat in the airport waiting area or staying up all night.

Weather delays and airport sleepovers can make even the nicest person a bit cranky, but it helped that Delta’s staff was pleasant and helpful. So yes, we all will experience the negative aspects of travel at some point, but maybe if we try to see the positive sides of things, those frustrations would be smoothed over much more easily.

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Travel News Travel Technology

Delta Air Lines’ new Boeing 717s Come with In-Seat Power Outlets

Delta's in-seat power outlet just might be the best feature on their new 717s!
Delta’s in-seat power outlet just might be the best feature on their new 717s!

I travel frequently enough to appreciate airplane amenities such as large overhead bins and higher ceilings, but when I recently boarded one of Delta’s new Boeing 717s for a business trip to Atlanta, I was most surprised and delighted by the extra leg room and in-seat power outlet!

Doesn’t every commercial aircraft need power outlets with a USB port? How different the airport would look if travelers could charge their devices in-flight rather than scrambling to claim one of the limited outlets in the airport to power up before takeoff. We’re not quite there yet, but it was encouraging to see and experience this feature on board my Delta flight.

I was curious to know how often I might come across this aircraft in my travels and found that Delta acquired and refurbished AirTran’s fleet of approximately 80 Boeing 717s when AirTran was acquired by Southwest Airlines. Southwest did not want to integrate the 717s into its own fleet of 737s. Delta however, is well equipped to handle the complexity of operating many different aircraft types. And as Delta is leasing the 717s at a good price, they will be much cheaper to operate than the aircraft they are replacing.

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Business Travel Travel Industry

Delta Air Lines Continues to Invest in Los Angeles

delta_airlines_logo1Delta Air Lines continues to invest in their presence at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and in meeting their clients’ global travel needs. Some of their exciting 2013 milestones are:

  • Commenced a $229 Million renovation at LAX which, when complete, will feature four new check-in islands, a new baggage claim area, same-floor security check-in with 10 lanes and even more restaurants and shopping options
  • Closed on their 49% equity stake in Virgin Atlantic Airways, giving Delta non-stop, twice daily LA-London service on Virgin’s industry-leading product. This service will commence in January 2014.
  • Launched a new “Shuttle Service” on the busy L.A.-San Francisco route with 15 daily hourly trips with a top-of-the-hour memory schedule similar to the East Coast shuttles between New York and Boston/DC/Chicago
  • Standardized flat-bed seats with no-step over aisle access in business class on all Delta transoceanic daily international flights from LA to Sydney and both of Tokyo’s airports, Narita and Haneda
  • Launched new destinations from LAX including Seattle, Portland, San Jose (CA), Nashville, Spokane, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, and San Jose (Costa Rica)

Delta recently announced the best 3rd quarter financial results in their history. They are performing well on all fronts.

The airline also won in double categories in The Beat’s sixth annual Readers’ Choice Awards, for Most Admired Airline and the Supplier of the Year.

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6 Business Travel Benefits from the Delta/Virgin Atlantic Partnership

Delta and Virgin join forces, providing business travelers additional benefits.
Delta and Virgin join forces, providing business travelers additional benefits.

Delta has a new joint partnership with Virgin Atlantic that will benefit Christopherson’s corporate travelers! The reciprocal code-sharing will become effective July 3, 2013.  The initial phase of the partnership will bring to our valued clients the following added benefits:

  • 30 total peak-day flights from North America to the UK, including 23 flights to London–Heathrow
  • Six additional daily frequencies to Heathrow from the greater New York area
  • Priority check-in, boarding, baggage handling and additional baggage allowance on all Delta- and Virgin Atlantic-operated flights worldwide for Delta BusinessElite and SkyMiles Diamond, Platinum and Gold members, as well as Virgin Atlantic Upper Class and Flying Club Gold members
  • Reciprocal Delta Sky Club and Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse access at applicable airports for BusinessElite and Upper Class passengers, as well as SkyMiles Diamond and Platinum Medallion members and Flying Club Gold members
  • More opportunities to earn and redeem miles through the SkyMiles and Flying Club programs
  • Complementary products and services, including flat-bed seats with direct aisle access

 

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Business Travel Travel Tips

Redeeming Business Travel Frequent Flyer Miles: They’re Not Just for Tickets Anymore

Airlines now offer multiple options for the redemption of frequent flyer miles.
Airlines now offer multiple options for the redemption of frequent flyer miles.

Frequent flyer programs have now been around for 32 years. American Airlines started the first program and the premise was simple–fly on American, accumulate miles, then cash those miles in for a free ticket. The idea quickly caught on and created a fierce loyalty between the traveling public and the airlines.

As mileage accounts grew, it became obvious to the airlines that the programs needed to be tweaked. After all, road warriors were racking up some pretty serious miles. Over the years we’ve seen that mileage redemption for a “free” ticket has been increased. As technology improved, airlines were also able to increase the number of miles needed to travel at peak times or to popular destinations.

The watchword from the airlines was to be “flexible.” To most people that meant they would have to check other dates or times which may not be as desirable. But being flexible also meant you may not get to fly to the city of your choice.

For example, if you wanted to perhaps cash in your miles for a family vacation to Disneyworld, you would want to fly into Orlando, right? But trying to get a free ticket to Orlando could mean draining your frequent flyer account. It’s a popular destination and the airlines would rather have fare paying passengers in those seats. So the mileage redemption is going to be high. One recommendation would be to try a surrounding airport, such as Tampa. It’s about a 90 minute drive, but one family saved about half of their miles by choosing that airport over Orlando. And, since they were renting a car anyway, it really didn’t add much to the cost of their entire vacation.

In time, airlines also soon began to realize that a lot of road warriors didn’t want to see the inside of an airplane during their vacation. After all, many of them spend a week or two each month in planes and airports. And another flying trip, even for a vacation, would just mean more time doing what they already do for business. The airlines also realized that, collectively, their top 10-20% of travelers had millions of miles sitting on the books. So they’ve now created new ways to redeem those miles for merchandise or benefits.

You can now cash in miles for airline club memberships, GPS units, household goods, and even Broadway show tickets. Some airlines even run auctions for exotic vacations. You can also donate miles to charity. For example, Delta has partnered with organizations such as Children’s Miracle Network, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and Hero Miles.

Visit your favorite airline website to see the many different options for redeeming your miles.

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Business Travel Travel Industry

Delta’s Terminal 4–A New Star at JFK

Delta's Terminal 4 JFKI recently had the privilege of touring Delta’s new Terminal 4 at New York’s JFK Airport. From the minute we stepped inside, it was quite apparent that Delta was very proud of their new “baby,” and rightfully so!

Terminal 4 is part of Delta’s $1.4 billion renovation project at JFK. The first thing I noticed were the floor to ceiling windows which added an abundance of natural light to the terminal. There are also plenty of kiosks, check-in counters, and Delta employees ready to assist travelers at every step of the check-in process. There is also a separate check-in area for Sky Priority members. The TSA screening area was a bit unorganized, but that should improve soon as Sky Priority lanes are added.

After looking around the check-in area of the terminal, we were led downstairs to the gates, which included many shops and restaurants. After a quick walk through the area, we were taken to the new Sky Club. This is definitely the grandest of Delta’s Sky Clubs. It is 24,000 square feet of work (or relaxation) space for Sky Club members, including an outdoor rooftop terrace called the Sky Deck.

The Sky Deck is a great place to relax and get some fresh air before heading to your flight. For those with a Sky Club pass, it is well worth the visit. For those who don’t feel they travel enough to purchase a one-year pass, you can purchase a one day pass for $50.00 and visit any of Delta’s Sky Clubs.

As a sidenote, while we were out on the Sky Deck, we actually saw an Emirates Air A380 Airbus land. For those not familiar with the A380, it’s a twin deck jet that can hold more than 500 passengers. It was amazing to watch it land.

Delta’s new Terminal 4 reinforces the company’s commitment to the New York airport. If you have an opportunity to travel to, from, or through JFK, Terminal 4 is a must see (especially the Sky Club).

Terminal 4 JFK Sky DeckDelta's Terminal 4 JFKDelta's Terminal 4 JFK