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Travel News

A New Player in Atlanta: Welcome Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines will begin service to the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on February 12, 2012. Service begins with 15 non-stop departures each day to five destinations: Baltimore/Washington (BWI), Chicago-Midway (MDW), Denver (DEN), Houston Hobby (HOU), and Austin (AUS), with fares starting as low as $79 one-way.
Your checked luggage continues to fly for free and Southwest Airlines does not charge you a $150 fee if your plans change. Go here read more about the new service and their legendary customer service.

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Travel News

Southwest, the “Luv” airline

Southwest Airline has decided to show us their “luv” by introducing a new and improved Rapid Rewards program.
I believe this gives our travelers so many benefits. With no expiring miles and no black out dates, it makes using your rewards much easier. As you all know, trying to find available flights while using miles becomes frustrating. I can only see good things with this change.
Southwest says:  “The All-New Rapid Rewards features no blackout dates and unlimited reward seats, which means if we’re selling a seat, you can redeem points for it. Also, your points don’t expire if you have any earning activity in 24 months, and our Rapid Rewards credit card Members can redeem their points for things like international flights to more than 800 worldwide destinations, stays at more than 70,000 hotels worldwide, gift cards at more than 45 major retailers, and more.”
I want to feel the “luv”, so I can bet that all of our clients do too!

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Travel News

Southwest Changes Unused Funds Policy Jan 28, 2011

Unused Funds Become Nontransferable in 2011
By Southwest Airlines
By now, you may have heard or read that, beginning January 28, 2011, Southwest Airlines unused travel funds may only be applied toward the purchase of future travel for the individual named on the original ticket. This will apply to all Southwest Airlines unused funds, including those booked through SWABIZ.
Why the new policy? Actually, this policy is not new at all. This has been our official written policy with regard to unused funds all along. However, we have by common practice made exceptions for our customers as a gesture of goodwill. By aligning Southwest’s business with general airline industry practice, we can be prepared for future opportunities such as codesharing with other airlines.
Why now? Remember, the application of this policy does not take effect until next year, but we wanted to provide ample notice so you may communicate and make whatever preparations are necessary in anticipation of this change. Even with this decision to adhere to our Contract of Carriage, our ticketing and fares rules remain among the most Customer-Friendly in the industry–including no change fees!

For additional information contact your Christopherson Travel counselor.
Categories
Travel News

Mike Cameron Interviewed in Denver Business Journal Story

recent story about Southwest Airlines trying to get more of the business travel pie.

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Travel Management Travel News

Fees, Fees and more Airline Fees

In the beginning we may have been caught off guard by ancillary fees charged by some of the major airlines, Delta, United, Continental, American Airlines and others, but what is happening now? Are we learning to accept them, ignore them or just plain hate them?
According to a study by ProMedia Travel, many corporations are reporting that anywhere from 5% – 15% of their corporate travel budgets have been consumed by airline ancillary fees. What appears to have happened is that many airlines have ‘unbundled’ their fees, but have not lowered airfare. Consumers are okay with paying fees for items or services that add value to their travel experience, however, they are not okay with paying fees for what use to be included in the cost of their airline ticket such as baggage fees. Checking baggage is an essential part of travel and most people feel should be included in the price of the ticket, the quoted price by the airline, which it isn’t.
Several carriers, such as JetBlue and Southwest, are charging additional fees, but these fees are for services that add value while fares remain reasonable and a checked bag is included. This has allowed these airlines to generate revenue while at the same time keeping their customers happy. JetBlue does this by charging additional for seats with extra leg room and their TruBlue program has no blackout dates, you can use points to book any seat on the plane, points don’t expire and change and cancellation fees are reasonable. Though the boarding process with Southwest can be challenging at times, their philosophy is similar, they don’t charge change or cancellation fees and neither airline charges for the first checked bag, and they use this as a very effective advertising tool.  These airlines are actually turning million dollar profits while the major carriers are reporting multi million dollar losses.  When will the major airlines realize that there is something to be learned from JetBlue and Southwest Airlines?
We don’t necessarily need to become a prisoner to ancillary fees. Travel managers can try using the increased cost of doing business with the airlines as a tool during contract negotiations. The Department of Transportation could make a ruling mandating that airlines display what every passenger considers to be part of a reasonable airline ticket, and then allowing us to ‘opt out’ of items like a first check bag.