Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

Privacy Wins: TSA Removes Naked-Image Scanners from Airports

airport security TSA

Most of us are probably familiar with the Rapiscan full-body, naked-image scanners. They were very controversial when they were first introduced at airport security checkpoints, and continued to be in the forefront of conversations and meetings at the TSA and in Congress.

They came about in response to the “underwear bomber” who attempted to “blow up Northwest Flight 253 over Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009. He  was able to get through security and onto the plane, but the underwear bomb he was wearing failed to detonate. Instead, it caught fire, severely burning [the bomber],” reported ABC News.

Because of how this bombing attempt was carried out, the TSA deemed it necessary to find a safe and effective means of detecting explosives under people’s clothing. Rapiscan’s full-body scanner seemed to accomplish that task, but it required the traveling public to give up a measure of privacy as a result.

According to the Los Angeles Times, “The Rapiscan scanner uses low-level X-rays to create what looks like a naked image of screened passengers to target weapons hidden under the clothes.”

However, the TSA has recently cancelled their contract with Rapiscan. The naked-image scanners will be removed from about 30 airports and are being replaced by scanners that offer more privacy but can accomplish the same purpose.

“A second type of TSA scanner, built by L-3 Communications Holdings, uses radio waves and shows hidden objects on an avatar images on a screen — not on an image of a passenger,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

Personally, the Rapiscan scanners really didn’t bother me. I think most of us understand the need for security. Life just isn’t the same as it was before 9/11. We don’t have the same privacy expectations.

What do you think?

Categories
Travel News

Christopherson Growth Story Featured in Utah Business

It is a privilege for me to be a 5+ year employee of Christopherson Business Travel.  I have watched the company grow significantly in recent years and never tire of hearing stories of earlier years’ challenges, strategy, and decisions that paved the way in developing the company.   This month Utah Business magazine ran a feature article regarding Christopherson’s growth history that I enjoyed reading and hope you will, too.

Categories
Travel Management Travel News

Airline ancillary fees… Working out the frustration

I attended a webinar this week and was thrilled to discover what I think is a great step in the right direction when it comes to identifying and clarifying some of the extra costs of airline travel today.  If you have the right credit card, you can now receive reports through AirPlus International on award  fees, baggage  costs (first bag, second bag, etc.), services fees (upgrades, standby, bulkhead etc.), onboard charges and miscellaneous charges.  AirPlus is certainly taking this subject very seriously and even though it is not a perfect solution, it is the best one out there today.
“The AirPlus Ancillary Fee Reports are designed specifically for corporate travel managers to gain insight into airline ancillary fees! AirPlus is the first payment provider to offer such clarity.
A set of five detailed reports are available monthly for AirPlus Corporate Card customers and are based on a company’s card data. These reports are compiled using reporting data sent through by airlines and include hundreds of different fee types! Gain control over these fees with the transparency that AirPlus brings with these new reports.”
These reports include robust details for further data mining and reporting. They include the type of fee, the airline, the ticket/document number of the fee, the passenger name and amount. This data is useful for budgeting a company’s future travel program spend and may prove useful in supplier negotiations.

Categories
Travel News

Charge me a service fee, please…..

Are there service fees you would be glad to pay an airline? Here are the top five service fees people would be happy to spend their hard-earned money on.
1. Priority Takeoff. Yes, we know the airline has no control over how quickly its planes are allowed to take off. But what if – and this is strictly hypothetical – the airline could pay the tower to push its planes to the front of the line, and then pass the cost of that bribe on to the passengers? I think most passengers would be willing to scrounge up an extra $20 if the alternative were spending two hours waiting to get onto the runway.
2. Expanded Movie Selection. It’s awfully nice of the airlines to offer a selection of movies for in-flight entertainment, but you’re often stuck with a limited selection of family-friendly fare. (Even though the dancing-penguin movie makes us all want to cuddle and eat smores a flight spent with Marilyn Monroe or Marlon Brando might make the flight more…well… enjoyable). What if you could pay $5 to have your pick of any film in the Netflix collection? It would make a long flight a little more bearable if you could watch a movie you actually wanted to see.
3. Buffet-Style Meals. Now that all the airlines charge you extra for in-flight meals anyway, it’s only fair that we get a little choice in our food. So instead of paying a fixed fee for a tray with fixed portions of entrees and sides, why not set up a small buffet in the galley and let passengers pick and choose which items they want on their plate?
4. Cockpit Visit. Remember when you were a kid, and you got to go visit the pilot in the cockpit and see all the awesome buttons? That all went away after Sept. 11, but I’m sure there are some well-off folks who’d be willing to shell out to let their kid have the same experience. Our proposal: Make the parents pay to have a second air marshal on the flight who can escort the kid to the cockpit and make sure he doesn’t hijack the plane.
And my favorite….
5. Priority Disembark. It’s one of the worst parts of flying: You finally finish your flight and taxi to the gate, then have to wait 15 minutes while everyone in front of you stands in the aisle getting their carry-on luggage. What if you could pay a fee to cut to the front of the line? Imagine this: “Thank you for flying with us today. Please remain seated until our priority guests have had a chance to retrieve their belongings and exit the airplane.” Of course, any non-paying guest who tried to make a break for it would be tackled by the air marshal.
Source: Mainstreet.com

Categories
Business Travel Travel Management

Upgrade me please…

After scanning through various articles this week I came upon one titled How to Score an Upgrade: Air, Car and Hotel on CNN Money.com.  I was so enthralled that I thought I would share parts of it with you along with some extra’s from Christopherson Business Travel.

AIR:

Your odds: One in one hundred.
Pick your plane wisely. Passengers on certain Boeing 757s (with 26 first-class seats to 158 in coach) have a better shot than those on an Airbus 320 (12 first-class, 126 coach). Check out a plane’s layout at seatguru.com.
Scope out the cabin. The more empty seats in first class, the better your chances of landing one. To check out the load factor, go to the airline website just before check-in, start to book a business-class ticket, and click “view seat map”.
Ask at the right time. The best day for upgrades is Saturdays; fewer elite travelers fly then. Go to the agent and say something like: “If you need to bump people from coach to first, please consider me. I’m low maintenance — and my back is killing me.”

HOTEL:

Your odds: One in five.  Occupancy rates for the first half of 2010 were estimated at a dismal 56% (down from 63% in ’07), reports Smith Travel Research.
Ask your Christopherson agent for negotiated specials. Christopherson has negotiated rates in various cities where you might be traveling to. For example, most likely when booking the Christopherson rate at the Hilton in Salt Lake City your chances for an upgrade are good plus you receive a complimentary loaded buffet breakfast, free parking, free internet and double Hilton points.
Stay at business hotels on weekends. You can improve your upgrade chances by staying Thursday to Sunday vs. midweek.
Ask multiple times. Use the special-requests option when booking your hotel.  Once your reservation has been made by a Christopherson specialist, call the hotel directly. Talk to the desk clerk at check-in, “We’re here celebrating special event. Any chance of an upgrade?”
Check in late. Most guests show up around 3 p.m., so arrive after 7, when the front desk knows which rooms are left.

CARS:

Your odds: One in 20. Many car vendors cut fleets in 2008 and 2009, making upgrades less common.
Choose the right car. If a company runs out of the vehicle class you reserved, you will be upgraded. Book a midsize car — it’s the most in demand.
Reserve at the right time. Friday nights and Monday mornings are peak pickup times. That means there’s less chance the car class you specify will be available.
Ask for special offers. Ask your Christopherson agent for any free or discounted weekend days (Avis coupon code TUCAO53 and mention your corporate AWD number. Exp 4/2011. Coupons available at Christopherson Business Travel while they last). Check with your credit card company or coupon travel magazines.
For more information Christopherson’s corporate competitive advantages please contact one of our account managers at allam@cbtravel.com.

Categories
Business Travel

Shall I drive my own car… or rent one?

Owners, financial guru’s and sourcing managers, mileage reimbursement is a huge expense when employees drive their own cars for work purposes.  Did you know that based on a reimbursement rate of $0.50 cents anything over 120 miles driven by using a personal car is more expensive than renting one?   Companies both large and small that require their employees drive their own cars are reevaluating the reimbursement process and switching to renting cars instead.  Enterprise and Hertz (their off airport locations called Hertz Local Edition) both have programs that will bring your rental car to you.  The car will be delivered to your home in the morning and then you drop it off at the rental office and they will take you home.  It’s very slick and easy.  Here are a couple of other reasons why renting a car makes more sense then driving your own.  1- Less chance of breaking down on the road.  A rental car will usually have less miles and the necessary maintenance will have just been done.  Plus if it does break down you don’t have to foot the bill for the repairs.  Yes!!!  2- Less wear and tear on your own car.  Consistant long distance driving will wear your car out much faster than normal.  Save those miles on your own car and put them on a rental.  3- Renting a vehicle will give you the opportunity to try out a car you might want to own some day.  With National Car Rentals “choose your own car” program you get to decide from several makes and models which car to drive.  Perhaps a PT Cruiser… or a hot Dodge Charger has been on your list to try out.
Here is a mileage calculator link by Enterprise Car Rental that will help you determine if driving a personal car versus a rental car would be the greatest value.  Plug in the numbers and it will automatically calculate it for you.  Rental rates are based on current Enterprise daily rates and are also changeable.
To reserve your rental car contact any one of our professional travel consultants at 801-327-7700.  You’ll drive away happy!

Categories
Business Travel Travel News

Did you know….

That on September 9th the U.S. Senate passed S. 1023, the “Travel Promotion Act,”  79 to 19. The legislation creates a public-private partnership to promote the United States as a premier travel destination and better explain U.S. security policies. Once passed by the House of Representatives and enacted into law, the program is estimated to create 40,000 U.S. jobs, drive $4 billion in new consumer spending according to Oxford Economics and reduce the federal budget deficit by $425 million according to the Congressional Budget Office.
That Overseas visitors spend an average of $4,500 per person, per trip in the United States.   Velkommen!  Bienvenido! Irashaimase! Mabuhay! Kai Ora! Welcome!
That the Hilton Hotel downtown Salt Lake City and the Hotel Monaco Salt Lake City have strong Green Sustainable Programs.
That the top three cities with the highest daily per diem rate that include hotel, food and car are New York City $615.19 per day, Washington D.C. $513.99 per day, and Boston $466.74 per day.  Denver is number thirty four at $343.15 and Salt Lake City comes in at number eighty seven  $274.56 per day.
That we used to be able to go in to the arm of the Statue of Liberty.  Date arm closed to visitors:  1916.  On July 30, 1916 during World War I, German saboteurs blew up a cache of dynamite at nearby Black Tom Wharf in nearby New Jersey.  The explosion did extensive structural damage to the buildings on Ellis Island and popped some bolts out of the Statue of Liberty’s right arm.  Officials closed the monument for about a week.  When the monument re-opened and ever since the arm has been off limites to tourists.
That each U.S. household would pay $995 more in taxes without the tax revenue generated by the travel and tourism industry?  $995 will buy about five weeks of groceries for a family of four, will fill the average car with gas 17 times, or will even pay the average cost of a ticket to a Michigan vs. Ohio state football game.
That approximately 2.8 million hotel room nights are sold every day in the United States? That is enough hotel rooms to lodge every person living in Dallas, Detroit, Denver and Orlando combined.
That travel and tourism generates $110 billion in tax revenue for local, state and federal governments? If you place 110 billion one dollar bills end-to-end, they would circle the world 419 times.
That the three most useless things to a pilot are the altitude above you, a runway behind you, and a tenth of a second ago.
And last but not least..
That Christopherson Andavo Travel saves over 800 companies thousands of dollars every year due to their proprietary technology, consultative account management and experienced travel consultants.  If you have not had the opportunity to “try out” the  Christopherson Andavo experience, what are you waiting for?!  Visit www.christophersontravel.com and submit your information today.