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Business Travel Travel Tips

Corporate Travel Car Rental Safety

At a recent Association of Corporate Travel Executives’ (ACTE) Education Day, Detective Kevin Coffey outlined a number of best practices for business travel safety.

Click here for Part 1: Corporate Travel Safety On-Board an Aircraft

Click here for Part 2: Corporate Travel Hotel Safety

Using car rentals for business travel provides flexibility in getting around and can sometimes be less expensive than taxis. But while business travelers are generally aware of air and hotel safety precautions, not many of us think too much about car safety. Here are nine tips:

1. Don’t forget the basics.

Most savvy business travelers know to decline car rental insurance because it’s usually covered by their company or credit card. But it’s double check before you go. Also, always do the “walk around” the car. While it may seem unnecessary, the one time you forget may be the time you are blamed for someone else’s mistake. Before driving off the lot, make sure everything is working and that you know where signals and indicators are located. Trying to adjust your side mirror on the freeway does not make for a safe driver.

2. Keep your keys safe.

Keep your car keys with you and out of sight at all times. Years ago, car rental companies eliminated their logos from the cars, as they became targets for theft. While this precaution is helpful, you can still spot travelers by their car rental keys. Usually the ring has both sets of keys on it and a big tag with the make, model, color, and license number on it. Since you are traveling, a thief will know your car may have valuables in it.

3. Choose your parking space wisely.

Be careful when parking at events where thieves will know you will be gone for a set period of time (such as sporting or entertainment). Park “trunk out.” If storing items in your trunk, this makes your trunk visible in an aisle where more people are apt to see suspicious activity. When parking on the street, choose a busy area, i.e. in front of a store, hotel entrance, under a street lamp, or a busy corner. If the street seems too vulnerable, park in a parking garage where the likelihood of being broken into is less. However, still be aware of your surroundings. Being in a place where people can’t see you leaves you open to other acts of violence.

4. Load and hide your stuff before you reach your destination.

Everything you plan on leaving in the car should be stowed and hidden before you arrive at your destination. If, upon arrival, you take the action of stowing your valuables, you are exposing your possessions for all to see.

5. Don’t leave any possessions visible in the car.

It takes a thief five seconds to smash the glass, grab your valuables, and be out of sight, even with the alarm sounding. Keep in mind, it’s not only valuables in plain sight that are a target, but any bag or box may have something valuable to a thief. Even if replaceable, you are left with a broken window, which now you must deal with the car rental company to report the damage.

6. Unload your stuff away from your parking space.

If you have to remove luggage or valuables out of the trunk, do so away from your parking space, if possible. Should a thief see you taking it out, he/she will know that you’ll likely return with it, leaving you vulnerable as a target.

7. A neat car is less likely to get robbed.

On longer trips or road trips, we tend to leave more items in the car as we don’t want to haul everything back and forth to our hotel room at each stop. But leaving bags, or even covering items with jackets only attracts interest. If there isn’t much in the car, there is less curiosity.

8. Check for your valuables as soon as you return to your car.

If you have any suspicion, do a quick check of your items before leaving. A common tactic of thieves is to take a camera out of the camera bag, but leave the bag. You are then long gone before you notice the missing item, and can’t pinpoint when it might have been taken.

9. Take your time upon return.

Most major car rental companies have automatic check-in and readily available receipts from the rental return attendant. But take a moment and really check the car. But how many times have you stored your sunglasses or phone in the same area you do in your personal car, only to leave it behind at the return station?

As a final reminder when business traveling, don’t forget the four things to always keep with you: 1) your ID (passport if traveling internationally, copies when you are out), 2) a credit card, 3) a cell phone, and 4) essential prescription medications. If you lose everything else, at least you have the things that cannot be replaced quickly and easily.

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Business Travel Travel Tips

Corporate Travel Hotel Safety

At a recent Association of Corporate Travel Executives’ (ACTE) Education Day, Detective Kevin Coffey outlined a number of best practices for business travel safety.

Most business travelers know the basics of hotel safety, but situations may arise where this isn’t the case. For example, maybe you’re staying in an unfamiliar hotel or forgot to check whether or not there were in-room safes. Here are 10 things you can do to be safer.

Top 10 safety tips for staying in a hotel

  1. Arriving at the Hotel – If you arrive at the hotel by bus or cab, stay with your luggage until it is brought into the hotel lobby. Keep a close eye on your luggage, purse, etc. when checking in. Thieves often use the distractions of a busy lobby to lift others’ belongings.
  2. Checking In – Ask the front desk personnel not to announce your name or room number. In recent years, hotels have become accustomed to writing the room number on the room key sleeve (rather than saying it aloud), but they often continue to call patrons by name. While this is friendly customer service, it unfortunately allows those around you to learn your name, and a stranger could easily call the hotel later to reach you. Also, be mindful to not leave your credit card on the check-in counter and always make sure the clerk has given back your credit card.
  3. Hotel Address – Get the hotel address and keep it accessible, whether that’s with a business card, matchbook, or digital notation in your phone. Trying to get back to your hotel when you don’t know where it’s located can be frustrating, particularly if you are staying at a chain brand with multiple hotels, or in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language.
  4. Room Selection – Avoid the ground floor. If you have no choice, choose one facing a courtyard or interior of the hotel. When possible, avoid rooms above the sixth floor, as this is generally the maximum height that fire department ladders, especially overseas, can reach.
  5. Elevator Safety – Observe all passengers in elevators. Board last and select floor buttons last. If someone suspicious boards an elevator, exit as soon as possible.
  6. Entering the Hotel Room – Check all closets, bathrooms, showers, etc., to make sure there isn’t anyone there. Examine all locks to make sure they are working properly.
  7. Inside Your Room – Keep the deadbolt or latch locked at all times. You may even want to travel with a doorstop–they’re small and can be packed easily–to wedge the door shut from the inside. Become familiar with the nearest exits and stairwells in case of an emergency. Keep your key in the same place, preferably next to the bed.
  8. Visitors at Your Door – If someone comes to the door unexpectedly, do not open it, even if they say they’re hotel staff, housekeeping, or maintenance. Ask who they are, what they need, and then call the front desk to verify.
  9. Valuables – The safest place for valuables is usually in the front desk safe. Get a receipt of items left and remember to ask if the hotel will cover any losses. When using your in-room safe, know that some safes can be opened with a master key or code. If no safe is available, lock your items in your luggage using a Milockie lock, or purchase a portable locking travel safe.
  10. Leaving Your Room – Leave the television on and place the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the doorknob. If you would like maid service while you’re out, call housekeeping and ask them to keep the sign on the door. Take minimal cash and carry bait money for potential thieves. Wear minimum jewelry, especially women. Always keep these four things “on” you: 1. your ID (passport if traveling internationally, copies when you are out), 2. a credit card, 3. a cell phone, and 4. essential prescription medications. That way, if you lose everything else, at least you have the things that cannot be replaced quickly and easily.

Read our previous blog Part 1: Corporate Travel Safety On-Board an Aircraft

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Business Travel Travel Tips

A Business Traveler’s Airport Experience: Salt Lake International Restaurants

A few weeks ago, one of our bloggers, John Thomson, wrote about some of the ways airports have changed over the years and pointed out many of the new options available to business travelers during layovers.Restaurants in Salt Lake City International Airport

I took note of this, and realized as I’ve dashed through my own home base airport (Salt Lake International) that the retail and eatery scene really is changing and that I ought to give myself a little more time to enjoy it. The options are endless and delicious!

Salt Lake International Airport will soon have everything from Market Street Grill with fresh fish options to Cafe Rio Mexican Grill. There are French bakery items, great ale, Greek gyros, Chinese food, the hamburger of your choice, plus coffee, lattes, and espresso at Seattle’s Best Coffee, Starbucks, or Millcreek Coffee Roasters. And let’s not forget dessert! Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory will satisfy every sweet tooth. For a full list of restaurants visit SLCAirport.com.

A business traveler’s airport experience really has changed significantly over the last several years so … after waiting in those long security lines, removing all the items from your carry-on luggage and then re-stowing them, refastening your belt and putting your shoes back on, maybe take some time to sit down and indulge yourself with your favorite meal. It really is quite a treat.

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Business Travel Travel Industry

What to Do on Your Layover–Airports Aren’t Just For Changing Planes Anymore

I can still remember the day I took my first flight. I was about seventeen years old and flew United Airlines from Flint, Michigan to Colorado Springs, Colorado to visit my brother who was in the Army.

Our layover was in Chicago and I had three hours to kill before I had to make my connection. Back then (this was 1972, mind you) there really weren’t very many choices along the concourses. I remember waking past two or three bookstores, a few fast food restaurants, and a couple of ice cream shops. And of course there were a few of the typical souvenir shops trying to sell Chicago trinkets to any traveler that walked by. I quickly decided where to eat for lunch and then headed to my gate. To my amazement, I still had two hours to wait so I opened up a book to pass the time. It was also a good opportunity to people watch.

It’s been quite a few years since that first flight and airports sure have changed–or rather, evolved–over the years. Now, if time permits, you can enjoy a nice, sit down meal at some of the finer restaurants. There are electronics stores where you can purchase the lastest gizmos and gadgets. There are also stores where you can purchase some of the comforts of home, like that neck pillow or phone charger you left sitting on the kitchen counter. Most airports now offer Wi-Fi and some of the larger airports even have spa services, sleeping and shower facilities, or just a place to relax away from the crowds.

If you’re curious as to some of the best (and worst) airports around the world and what they offer, you can find a full airport guide HERE.

You can also find a list of the world’s best airport amenities (like wedding services, concerts, and shoe shines!) HERE.

If anything, it makes for some interesting reading while you’re waiting for your next connecting flight!

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Business Travel Travel News

Business Travelers Will Want to Fly United Airlines New 787 Dreamliner

I was recently on a United Airlines flight where we were shown a short film about the airline’s new 787 Dreamliner. The Dreamliner is the first of its kind to be delivered in North America and United hopes to have four more in their fleet by the end of 2012.

For both the business traveler and leisure traveler, not only is the Dreamliner 20 percent more fuel efficient, but it also produces 20 percent fewer emissions than similarly sized planes. Along with these improvements flyers will also find the following on the new Dreamliner for their traveling comfort:

  • Windows that are 30% bigger than those on wide-body planes with dimming switches
  • Larger storage bins where you will be able to store your carry-on luggage with less hassle
  • New flight pressurized technology
  • Higher humidity levels which will lessen the effects of fatigue, jet lag, and the possibility of headaches experienced by some travelers

 

Business travelers will also find 36 seats in ‘BusinessFirst’ class that convert to lie-flat beds, 72 seats in premium economy class and 111 standard coach-class seats configured in a three by three arrangement.

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Travel Industry Travel News

Denver Announces New International Carrier

Denver International Airport (DIA) recently announced that Volaris will begin year-round nonstop service from Denver International Airport to Benito Jua?rez International Airport in Mexico City beginning in December 2012.

The airport initiated conversations with Volaris in 2009 after the carrier announced its partnership with Southwest Airlines. Mexico City was ranked as Denver’s second-largest international market without year-round service behind San Jose, Costa Rica.

“Expanding air service continues to be a top priority for us, so we are pleased and grateful to welcome Volaris to Denver,” said Kim Day, Manager of Aviation for Denver International Airport. “Every new destination we add strengthens our overall network. That in turn helps us to land the next carrier or city; our robust network grows here again today. For our passengers, this should be a welcome new offering of a low-cost year-round option between Denver and Mexico City.”

The flight is now available for sale for travel beginning December 8, 2012. Volaris will operate the flight with the 144-seat Airbus A319 twice-weekly from December through April and once-weekly from May through November. The aircraft will arrive in Denver at 3:05 p.m. and depart to Mexico City at 4:25 p.m.

For more information, click here to read DIA’s press release.

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Travel News

United Airlines Offers New Non-Stop from Denver to Tokyo

United Airlines will begin daily nonstop service from Denver International Airport to Tokyo’s Narita International Airport in early spring 2013, after more than a decade of Denver’s efforts to land the route.

Click here for the full story.

 

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Business Travel

Which Airline Credit Card is Right for You?

Have you been considering an airline credit card? You really can’t get through an airport terminal anymore without seeing the advertisements or being asked by an airline employee if you’d like to sign up for their branded card. “Earn 25,000 miles just by signing up … that’s enough miles for a free ticket!!” Well, I don’t know about you, but I can’t recall the last time I redeemed 25,000 miles for a free ticket.

My advice? Don’t get drawn into the card just for the initial free miles you’ll receive when you sign up. Look into all the benefits and interest rates, and pick the one that is right for you.

For example, the Delta Gold SkyMiles® card by American Express® has a $95 yearly fee, which is waived the first year. This card offers one free checked bag for up to 9 people on your booking. The card will essentially pay for itself if you and a companion were to take just one trip a year and each check a bag. It also offers priority boarding, which means you should be able to find that coveted space in the overhead bin before the majority of passengers board the aircraft.

If United Airlines is your choice, they have similar benefits with their MileagePlus® Explorer Card by Visa®. United also includes two complimentary day passes to the United Club® every year. The airline clubs are a great place to wait for your flight. You can relax a bit, and avoid the crowds at the gate.

Hotels, and even Disney, also offer their own branded credit cards so you can earn points for room nights and travel packages. So be sure to check out all the benefits before signing up.

You can compare most cards by visiting CreditCards.com.

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Travel News

Denver International Airport Detour Routes

Denver International Airport will be undergoing a period of construction beginning mid-May. Below are a few key dates and information to consider if your travels take you to, or through, Denver:

  • Beginning mid-May 2012, RTD buses and the Mt. Elbert/Pikes Peak shuttle will drop-off and pick-up passengers on Level 6 East.
  • Beginning mid-May 2012, taxi and shuttle drop-off and pick-up will be in their designated median locations on Level 5. During construction, commercial vehicles will not drop passengers curbside on Level 5.
  • Beginning in June 2012, passenger pick-up for Terminal West will be detoured through the parking garage to pick-up curbside on Level 4. Vehicles will not be required to pull a parking ticket.
  • Beginning in June 2012, passenger drop-off for Terminal West will be detoured off Peña Boulevard to enter Level 6 from the north. Signs will be posted directing travelers to the appropriate location.
  • DIA’s South Terminal Redevelopment Program will build a Public Transit Center, 500-room Westin hotel and conference center and a public plaza connecting the new development to the existing Jeppesen Terminal. The Program is expected to create nearly 1,000 jobs, including 600 – 700 construction and design jobs and 250 permanent hotel jobs, and will generate approximately $2 million in annual tax revenues for the City and County of Denver’s General Fund. Excavation and enabling work for the $500 million project began in the fall of 2011.

For more information, the public can call the information line at 303-342-6400, e-mail southterminalupdate@flydenver.com or visit FlyDenver.com.

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Travel News

Delta Offers New Air Fare Class – Basic Economy

Delta Air Lines has launched a new air fare class called Basic Economy. It comprises the airlines “lowest-priced fares” and does not allow refunds, changes or advance seat assignments.
Basic Economy fares initially are available to customers traveling between Detroit and Orlando, Ft. Myers, Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa, but “may be expanded to other markets in the future as determined by Delta,” the carrier noted on its website.
The main difference between Basic Economy and other advance-purchase, nonrefundable economy fares is that ticket-holders cannot select their own seats. Instead, Delta indicated that seats “will be auto-assigned for Basic Economy fare holders during check in.” That goes for elite frequent flyers as well, according to Delta, which called the fare “ideal for travelers who seek the lowest fare option, do not intend to make changes and do not consider seat choice an important part of their travel experience.”
Delta would not disclose the average cost difference between Basic Economy and the next step up on the ladder.
While its price may be appealing to cost-sensitive travelers, the fare requires some new disclosures to would-be buyers. “If the Basic Economy fare is selected, the customer must be notified of all the fare rules. In addition, expectations of the travel experience must be clearly explained,” Delta noted.
Its new “Trip Extras,” for example, is a suite of services that includes priority boarding in certain markets, frequent flyer mile bundles and inflight Wi-Fi access. Additionally, Basic Economy ticketholders “may purchase any available Preferred Seat,” but only at check-in, Delta noted.
For additional information you can talk to your Christopherson Business Travel agent or go directly to Delta.com.
Source: Business Travel News

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Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

Top 10 Hotel Safety Tips

Making sure our clients travel safely is always a priority for us at Christopherson. Here are 10 hotel safety tips (from SuperMedia.com) to keep in mind on your next overnight trip.

1.  Be aware of your surroundings. This includes when you’re in parking lots, public areas, elevators, or the hallway to your room. Have your key ready in hand before you get to your door so you’re not distracted as you look and fumble for it.

2.  Keep your room number to yourself. Most hotels these days no longer print room numbers on the keys. But don’t share your room number with strangers, and don’t display your key in public or leave it where it can get stolen.
3.  Avoid staying on the ground floor. This will leave you much less vulnerable to break-ins and other incidents.
4.  Identify a fire escape route. Once you’ve settled in, map out the nearest fire escape route. Remember, in case of emergency, always use the stairs, never the elevator.
5.  Secure your valuables. If your room has a safe, store any extra cash, plane tickets, and other valuables in there. And never, ever leave valuables in a car in the hotel parking lot.
6.  Don’t open the door to anyone until you use the peephole to identify them. Don’t assume it’s housekeeping or maintenance just because the person says so.
7.  Keep the doors and windows locked while you’re in the room. This includes any windows or sliding glass doors. Avoid propping your door open, even for a short time. If your door has an extra bolt or chain, engage that as well.
8.  Make it seem like you’re home. When you leave your room for the day or evening, leave the TV or radio on. It may very well deter a thief if they think someone might be in the room. Hanging the Do Not Disturb sign.
9.  Enter and exit the building through a main entrance. This will help you avoid unoccupied or deserted areas. It’s also a good idea to park in a well-lit part of the parking lot, even if you have to walk a little farther to get to your room.
10.  Keep your children in sight. Children should not be allowed to play by themselves on hotel grounds. This, of course, includes the swimming pool, the playground and other kid-friendly areas, as well as the hallways, elevators, and lobby.

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Business Travel Travel Tips

Airport Fitness Craze

Have you ever wanted something to do besides read, eat, or people watch while waiting in the airport for your connecting fight?
Well, some airports are now offering wellness options like yoga, golf, and health clubs to help pass the time. Even hotels located within airports are, in some cases, offering passes for anyone seeking to maintain their fitness routine while on the road.
Hopefully the corporate traveler will find these options beneficial in recharging those road warrior batteries.

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Business Travel Travel Tips

10 Tips to Speed Through Airport Security

While you can’t completely avoid the possibility of extra screening at airport security, you can take a few measures to improve your odds of zipping through the lines. Here are 10 helpful tips to guide you through airport security and get to your gate on time.
1. Determine your ideal choice of checkpoints. Most airports have multiple security screening areas. Check to see if there are any “off the beaten path” with shorter lines.
2. Pack your coat in your checked luggage. This will cut down on the number of items you have to screen and/or take off before going through the detectors.
3. Watch those liquids and gels! Remember: all passengers are limited to one quart-sized zip-top bag of liquid toiletries containing no more than 3.4 ounces each. Also, make sure that toiletry bag is easily accessible so you can get it out of your purse, briefcase, or carry-on and into a screening bin quickly.
4. Consider your shoes. Wear slip-ons or other shoes that require little lacing. (You might also consider wearing socks to save your feet from the bacteria that’s surely on the floors.)
5. Dress for success. Leave belts, jewelery, hair clips, etc. at home or in your bag until you make it through the metal detectors. And don’t forget to empty your pockets!
6. Keep electronics accessible. While small electronics like cell phones, computer mouses, iPods, and cords/chargers don’t have to be screened separately, pack them in an easy-to-get-to location so that security can screen them with an unobstructed view. Laptops must be removed from their bags, unless you have a “checkpoint friendly” laptop case. Large electronics submitted for screening separately.
7. Leave gifts unwrapped. Wrapped packages may need additional screening and agents will remove the wrapping.
8. Have your identification and boarding pass out and ready to go. No one wants to wait behind you while you dig through your purse or pocket.
9. Be on time and allow a bit of wiggle room. You never know what you might encounter as you make your way to your flight–whether it’s traffic, understaffed check-in desks, or long lines at security–but if you give yourself a few extra minutes  you can breathe easy knowing you’ll make  your flight on-time and without issue.
10. Be patient. The more pleasant you are to the agents and those around you, the better your experience will be.
For more information on how to get through the security lines faster, visit TSA.gov.

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Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

A Travel Packing List for Dummies: What NOT to Forget

As a frequent traveler for both business and pleasure, I always seem to forget something in my suitcase.
On a recent trip to Denver I forgot more than usual, which really drove me crazy. Yes, I have a standard packing list, but when I’m in a hurry or when I think I certainly won’t forget anything because “I’ve packed a million times before,” it never fails—I still forget something.
When I returned home from Denver I immediately Googled ‘packing lists’ and was quite disappointed in the search results. So I decided to make my own and share it here in the hopes of helping anyone who, like me, tends to forget.
Of course, there are obvious items we would (hopefully) never leave at home, like say–clothing, so I won’t go through an entire packing list here. This list is simply designed to help you remember the frequently forgotten, or perhaps never-before-thought-of, items that will help make your trip a little nicer and a little easier.
Plus–many of the items on my list will keep you from spending extra money in those over priced airport stores!

Packing List Necessities

Item
Food/Water Almonds or other protein-packed snack. Did you know some flights don’t offer snacks?
Water Bottle, to refill & reuse. Just remember that you can’t go through security with a full water bottle.
Drink Mixes. The water in the drinking fountains at the airport isn’t always the best tasting. I like these “on-the-go” packets.
Fitness ALL of your work-out clothes. Treadmills and dress shoes don’t work well together, so don’t forget your top, shorts/pants, socks, underclothing, shoes, hair-ties, braces, etc.
Glasses Sunglasses. Cloudy weather at home doesn’t mean cloudy weather at your destination.
Reading glasses if you need them.
Eye drops and solution in case you wear contacts
In-flight items Ear plugs, if only to send the message that you’re not in the mood for small talk.
Reading material. Even if you don’t think you’ll need it, you never know when your flight will be delayed.
Small bottle of hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes.
Money Corporate credit card, if you don’t normally carry it with you.
One dollar bills, to make tipping easier.
Hotel items Toothbrush and toothpaste. Complimentary from the hotel does not mean quality.
Slippers, if you’re afraid of hotel room floors.
Small First-Aid Kit. Keep yourself comfortable with some band-aids for small cuts or blisters, a couple Advil for headaches, and Tums for possible heartburn.

Not what you’re looking for? Try other tips from our packing list series:

Christopherson Business Travel is an award-winning corporate travel management company. With over 60 years of industry knowledge, we assist our clients with their varying travel needs. Contact us to learn how we can help streamline your business travel experience.

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Travel News

GBTA and The Wall Street Journal Announce Business Traveler Innovation Award Winners

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) – the voice of the global business travel industry – and The Wall Street Journal have announced winners of the annual 2011 Business Traveler Innovation Awards.  Business travelers nominated services, products and ideas that help to make life on the road more productive. Submissions were categorized and the public voted for their favorites.
“The votes are in and the road warriors have chosen their favorite innovations. These winners showcase the tools that help travelers on the road and make their trips easier and more productive. We’re excited to honor these products and are inspired by the innovative new ways technology continues to enhance trips and travel management,” said GBTA president Craig Banikowski, CCTE, C.P.M., CMM.

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Travel News

Fliers during FAA shutdown will not get tax refunds

Airline passengers who flew during the two-week Federal Aviation Administration shutdown this month and last won’t be receiving refunds of passenger taxes, the Internal Revenue Service said today.
The FAA lost its authority to levy those taxes on July 23 when Congress couldn’t agree on a continuing authorization to keep the agency operating fully. Airlines quit collecting those fees after July 23, but most raised their own fares to compensate. The agency shut down many of its operations during that period but not air traffic control. The agency reportedly lost some $400 million in tax collections during the two-week stalemate which ended at 12:01am Monday.
Fliers who bought their tickets before the Congressional standoff for flights during the tax-free period won’t be getting refunds, the IRS said, because the FAA had the authority to collect those taxes when they bought them.

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Travel News

United Airlines and Continental Merge Frequent Flyer Loyalty Program

CHICAGO, June 29, 2011 – United Continental Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: UAL) today announced that Mileage
Plus will be the loyalty program for its wholly owned subsidiaries United Airlines and Continental Airlines beginning in 2012. Moving to a single loyalty program is a significant milestone in the integration of the two airlines and will provide a more consistent travel experience for customers.
United will announce complete details of the Mileage Plus program – including elite levels, qualifications and benefits, lifetime benefits, and other program developments that will take effect in 2012 – in the coming months.
Continental’s OnePass loyalty program will end on Dec. 31, 2011. United will automatically enroll OnePass
members in Mileage Plus and deposit into Mileage Plus award miles equal to their OnePass award miles balance.

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Travel News

Southwest Airlines Has Aquired AirTran

AirTran made this official announcement:

“May 2nd was an exciting day for AirTran Airways as we become part of the Southwest family. For now, it’s business as usual, but the integration of these two great airlines will soon result in an expansion of already low fares and continued outstanding service for our Customers. 
Announcement Highlights:
+ For now, nothing will change. It’s business as usual.
+ Continue to book travel on airtran.com
+ Your A+ Rewards credits and A+ Elite status are safe.”
If you’d like more info about Southwest’s acquistion of AirTran, click here.

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Travel News

Airlines to reimburse bag fees for delayed luggage

The Transportation Department is making a new ruling to help passengers recoup service fees charged on baggage when the airlines do not deliver the baggage on time. The new ruling also will help passengers get additional compensation for being bumped from a scheduled flight.
The airlines collected over 2 billion dollars last year for what they call “supplemental service fees”, like baggage fees. Most carriers now charge $25 to $35 per bag if a passenger wants to check a bag on a flight. This fee is in addition to the airfare . Likewise, the carriers collect a variety of other supplemental charges including fees for food, preferred seat assignments, priority boarding and additional fees for overweight baggage.
Over 2 million checked bags were lost last year. Regulations are already in place to require the airlines to reimburse a passenger for a lost bag. The new regulation would also require the airlines to return the extra service fee imposed for transporting that bag.

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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
Travel Management Travel News

Airline Fee Tracking Made Easy

You either hate them or accept them, but for the most part airline ancillary fees are here to stay. When I look at the larger picture, it’s definitely worth the additional $10 to $100 to fly instead of drive to a destination that would normally take more than 6 hours and up to several days to drive. To help make the translation of service fees a bit easier, the USA Today Travel section posted a very helpful list of airline fees on March 10th.  Check it out and let me know what you think.  Do fees make you want to drive instead of fly?

Categories
Travel News Vacation Travel

Good night, sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite

Here’s some news to make your skin crawl: Bedbug infestations will explode this year, particularly in the summer, experts say. The bloodsuckers are already entrenched in the city and, like cockroaches, tend to thrive in July, August and September, said Jeffrey White, a research entomologist for BedbugCentral.com.
“I firmly believe that this year is going to be worse than last year,” White said at a recent bedbug seminar. “If we combine the seasonal trend, with the bugs getting more and more embedded in our community, that allows the bugs to make that resurgence all the more stronger.”

Here are 8 tips when looking for bed bugs:

1- Inspect hotel room mattresses, bedding, furniture and closet hangers for signs of infestation.
2- Never put clothes in hotel drawers or on a hotel floor.
3- Travel with resealable bags large enough to hold clothes.
4- Use dissolvable laundry bags when traveling. The bags can go straight from your suitcase to the washing machine.
5- Check your laptop. The bedbugs are attracted to the heat and body oils on the computer.
6- Periodically inspect headboards and under the bed for signs of bedbugs. “After they’ve fed at night, they go and hide in the cracks and the crevices of the headboard and wait for you to come back to bed,” said Gemma Holmes, owner of the Nashville-based Holmes Pest Control.
7- Check the alarm clock on your nightstand, along with electrical outlets. “It’s a warm spot,” Holmes said.
8- If in doubt, after a trip don’t bring belongings in the house. Treat them for bed bugs first.
Though a bedbug’s bite is thought not to spread disease, the thought of having your blood sucked while asleep can be psychologically devastating, White said. “I’ve seen people completely emotionally crumble from dealing with it,” White said. “People just need to be educated. It’s not going away anytime soon.”
“The big problem is not getting bit, it’s bringing them home,” said Adam Greenberg, president of BugZip, a $10-$20 plastic covering that shields luggage in hotel rooms might give you more peace of mind than you think.
My advice would be to ask the hotel when the last time they treated for prevention of bed bugs. If they look at you with a blank stare you might want to turn and run the other way. Not all hotels that don’t treat for bed bugs have them but upon arriving home and finding you brought a few new friends with you, don’t be “bugged” about it. You have been warned!

Categories
Travel News

United to Retain Economy Plus & Expand to Continental

>United will retain its popular Economy Plus® seating and expand the option to Continental aircraft beginning in 2012, providing more opportunities for customers to enjoy additional legroom and comfort. The decision to maintain and expand Economy Plus across the combined fleet marks a significant milestone in the product integration of Continental and United. It also demonstrates the company’s commitment to provide innovative options to customers that enable them to customize their travel experience with superior products they value.
United offers Economy Plus on all 359 mainline aircraft and more than 150 larger regional jets operated by United Express® carriers. When the multi-year conversion process is complete, the company plans to offer Economy Plus on more than 700 mainline aircraft, including all Continental mainline aircraft, as well as larger regional aircraft. When fully deployed, the new United fleet will provide more than 122,000 Economy Plus seats each day, the largest amount of extra legroom economy seating available to customers of any airline in the world. OnePass and Mileage Plus elite members may confirm extra legroom seats at no charge, and other customers may purchase seat assignments in Economy Plus.
For more information, please contact your designated Christopherson Business Travel Account Manager.

Categories
Travel News

Travel Tips to Reduce Health Risks of Extended Air Travel

Holiday travel often means overbooked flights and passenger traffic – these elements are unavoidable. However, health risks from air travel can be minimized.
The following travel information and tips for reducing your air travel health risks are provided courtesy of Ames Walker, specialists in support hosiery.
What is Deep Vein Thrombosis?
DVT (also known as economy class syndrome) is a serious, potentially fatal condition. It is a blood clot (thrombosis) that forms in the vein system of the lower leg (usually between the ankle and the upper calf). DVT can form from sitting for long periods of time. Symptoms may or may not occur, and might include muscle tension in the leg, a dull ache or sudden pain, a cramp in the calf, and elevated body temperature.

Categories
Travel News Travel Technology

Denver Airport’s Newest Addition

A few weeks ago, CLEAR open for business at DIA. As I have mentioned in previous posts (here and here – can you tell I am a big fan?), CLEAR was coming back soon and each month would be adding more airport locations. You can check out their website for more details. There’s even a section to help you tell your local airport that you want this service again.
I renewed my membership and experienced, once again, the ultimate stress reliever at the Denver Airport. Last week the security lines at DIA were about 30 minutes long. In the CLEAR line, there was only me and one other person. Took all of 10 minutes to get checked into CLEAR and then through security. No stress! No hassle! I’m a happy traveler, again!!

Categories
Business Travel Travel News Vacation Travel

The Perfect Holiday Gift

Still looking for that perfect holiday gift? Running out of time and short of great ideas? Most likely, you would have to think a while to remember what gifts you received last year. This year, consider the gift of travel. That’s one gift that won’t be forgotten!
The vacation division of Christopherson Business Travel is called Andavo Travel, and our Andavo consultants can suggest a number of great destinations for a wonderful getaway. You might consider a weekend getaway to look forward to during the winter months ahead. Or maybe it is time to plan a cruise. If you can’t decide, you can give a gift certificate for travel and do the planning later.
Contact an Andavo Travel specialist by calling 866-327-7600 or emailing vacations@andavotravel.com.  Happy holidays!

Categories
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
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
Travel News Travel Technology

Mobile Phones as Room Keys

It’s been the buzz since at least May of this year, but the Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG) has a pilot program in process allowing guests to use their mobile phones as their room keys. If this pilot program is a success, IHG will offer this as an option to those who are interested, but the standard magnetic key will remain available to their guests. In fact, you will not only have the option of one or the other, but if you would like to use your mobile phone and still have the convenience of a magnetic key when you don’t want to carry your phone, this will be an option as well.
IHG realizes that some guests will have concerns regarding the security of the MobileKey program and these issues are addressed by Open Ways (a global solutions provider of mobile-based access-management and security solutions), the technology provider.
IHG’s innovation center provides a short video describing the process along with addressing the myths and truths of this new innovative technology.

Categories
Travel News Travel Technology Vacation Travel

In case you haven’t heard….

After a review of Avis Budget’s $1.33 billion bid by Dollar Thrifty’s board of directors, Dollar Thrifty turned down the offer.   Even though Avis’s offer is higher than the $1.13 billion dollar offer in place with Hertz, Dollar has decided to decline Avis’s offer.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has set Sept. 8 as the effective date for a new $10 fee on foreign visitors, which will help fund the new tourism promotion program created by the Travel Promotion Act.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car will start delivering electric cars to some non-airport locations in January.
The company will initially deliver 500 Nissan Leaf vehicles to neighborhood branches with the infrastructure to support the cars.
Tourism businesses in the Gulf Coast region could lose between $7.6 billion and $22.7 billion in visitor spending over the next three years, according to research commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association.  In addition to developing recommended actions for the government, U.S. Travel  endorsed an idea  earlier this month where BP would set set up a $500 million emergency marketing fund that would be disbursed as grants to local destinations for information and marketing campaigns.
Spirit Airlines… another fee?  When speaking with an airport employee becomes an option rather than a necessity, Spirit Airlines is thinking about charging for that service, CEO Ben Baldanza told ABC News on Tuesday. “When there’s a way for customers to do it themselves electronically, at that point, we could consider charging a few dollars to interact with a human,” he said. “But if the only way we can do the transaction for you is to talk to a human, we’re not going to charge you for that.”

TSA Week at a Glance: 7/26/10 thru 8/01/10 – www.tsa.gov

  • 8 artfully concealed prohibited items found at checkpoints
  • 18 firearms found at checkpoints
  • 6 passengers were arrested after investigations of suspicious behavior or fraudulent travel documents
Categories
Travel Management Travel News

Travel Insurance: to buy or not to buy?

In a year rife with labor disputes and extreme weather – in addition to all the other things that can go wrong with travel, the question increasingly being asked by travelers is: “Should I purchase trip insurance?”.
Well, you’re in luck because here is a quick 5 point guide that should help you answer that question!
5. What-if’s. Evaluate your “what-if” scenarios.  What if I get sick in another country -will my health insurance cover me.  What if I have to cancel a trip because I’m taken ill or am in an accident? Check your personal insurance policy to see what’s covered when traveling and determine what non-refundable expenses you can afford to lose before traveling.
4.  Pre-existing medical conditions. Examine your policies to see if pre-existing conditions are covered.  Unknown fact: most insurance companies will not cover trip cancellations due to a family member’s illness because that is classified as a pre-existing condition.
3.  Unforseen events. Trip insurance usually only covers disruptions that are unforseen.  For example most providers will not offer coverage for disrupted trips to Europe after April 30 caused by Iceland’s volcano since it is no longer an unforseen event.  On the other hand, they will provide coverage if the policyholder’s hotel is uninhabitable.  As for airline strikes, it is best to determine whether the policy you are purchasing covers the airline you are flying as some insurance companies have a “black-list” of airlines they will NOT cover due to workers who are likely to strike or the carrier is in financial turmoil.
2.  Duplicate coverage. Avoid purchasing policies that cover things like lost or delayed baggage that are typically covered by homeowners insurance.
1.  Above ALL else – DO YOUR RESEARCH. Read the fine print.  Most trip insurance policies don’t cover things like fine jewelry or expensive equipment as part of your checked luggage. You will waste your money if you don’t read the fine print!
For additional information on trip insurance or all things travel related, don’t hesitate to contact your Christopherson Travel Advisor.

Categories
Travel Management

Your airline ticket… five things to remember

  1. You aren’t guaranteed travel  – You should always prepare for the worst, and make sure you know how to contact the airline and any other providers, such as a hotel or cruise line, where reservations could be disrupted by flight troubles.
  2. You aren’t guaranteed a seat – That irritating industry practice of selling more tickets than there are available because passengers with confirmed reservations on a flight sometimes fail to check in continues on.  Can you imagine showing up to a baseball game with tickets in hand, only to be told the game was overbooked?
  3. You can be kicked off a plane – Barefoot passengers, drunk and/or abusive passengers, foul-smelling passengers, or passengers who refuse to buckle their seat belt can all be removed from the plane…Yae!
  4. You can get a refund, sort of -There are two kinds of refunds, voluntary and involuntary. Voluntary refunds apply only to refundable tickets.  However, even nonrefundable tickets can be refunded under certain circumstances. If an airline cancels your flight you’re eligible for a refund or some other form of compensation. Forced situations like cancellations due to mechanical issues, and schedule irregularities that result in canceled flights are all cases where airlines are required to provide a refund or credit toward travel at a later date.
  5. Your ticket is not transferable – You can’t resell your airline ticket. Why? The industry says it’s for security reasons: Who’s to say you’re not buying the ticket for someone on the no-fly list? It could also be argued that the rule is all about forcing you to buy new tickets when you simply want to give a ticket you’ve bought to someone else.
Categories
Travel News

TSA Update ~ DELTA

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

Categories
Travel News

United, Continental Airlines Announce Merger

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

Categories
Travel Management Travel News Vacation Travel

Car Rental Companies – Covering It All

With the recent announcement of Hertz purchasing Dollar & Thrifty, all three major car rental companies now cover everything from corporate business to leisure travel business. The purchase announced earlier this week is in the amount of $1.17 billion in cash and stock. The purchase of Dollar & Thrifty will significantly expand the vacation/leisure portion of their business.
Hertz is already the world’s largest car rental company by locations and with this latest transaction it boosts their total to 9,800. “Together we will be able to compete even more effectively and efficiently against other multi-brand car rental companies, offering customers a full range of rental options in the U.S.,” Hertz CEO Mark Frissora said in a statement.
The three major U.S. car rental companies, each with two or more large brands are Hertz, Enterprise Holdings Inc. (Enterprise & National) and the Avis Budget Group. Enterprise Holdings Inc. has 7,600 locations, the Avis Budget Group has 6,900 and Hertz now has 9,800.
Competition is always the name of the game and Monday’s announcement comes after the Avis Budget consolidation in 2002 and Enterprise’s acquisition of Alamo and National in 2007. Advertising, marketing and commercials seem to be on the increase as well, follow these links for a little entertainment (some old, some new). To rent your next car, contact Christopherson Andavo Travel at 801.327.7700 or 303.740.3000

Categories
Business Travel Travel Technology

A Peek “Behind the Curtain” at the Coolest Mobile Travel Apps

Mobile computing is increasingly becoming an inexorable part of our every day lives. And travel is no different. As business and leisure travelers are trading schlepping their laptops for their Blackberries, iPhones or Droids in droves, a new wave of mobile travel apps are flooding the marketplace.
Here’s a quick peep at 5 travel apps that are truly making lives easier and more fun for the modern day traveler:
#5. Seat Guide. Couldn’t let a “Top 5” list escape without at least one seat guide and this one tops the list. With over 100 airlines and over 1,200 aircraft cataloged, you now have access to information on the best or more importantly the worst seats before making your seat choice on your next flight.
#4. Gate Guru. Ever find yourself wondering where to get a decent meal at an airport? Not sure if it’s before or after security? Not sure where to find a souvenir on a long layover? Well, with Gate Guru fret no more! This user friendly airport guide is the most comprehensive up-to-date-in-airport guide available. Like Yelp but for airports!
#3. Flight Update. Flight Update allows you to enter any flight and track that flight’s status and location. With over 1,400 airlines in its data base, chances are the flight times, routing and gate information for the flight you need are there. Voted “..one of the best apps of 2009” by Apple. A favorite for travelers AND professionals alike.
#2. Flightcaster.“Not another flight-tracking app..” you cringe? Well ….this app PREDICTS flight delays! How you ask?? It’s pretty simple really … “by deploying advanced algorithms that scour data on every domestic flight over the last 10 years and match it to real-time conditions”. See?
And ……..
#1. TripIt Pro. The only paid app on this list, TripIt Pro is a MUST HAVE app for anyone who travels more than once a month. Equal parts social networking, travel tracker and travel admin, it is the perfect app that helps manage the unpredictable nature of travel on the road. And Christopherson Business Travel now offers TripIt Pro at almost half the price currently being offered online!
For more information on our preferred TripIt Pro pricing or how apps and Christopherson’s travel technology tools are helping revoltionize the mobile travel landscape, contact one of our account managers or travel advisors today.

Categories
Travel News

What will my flight really cost?

Links to airline baggage and meal fees
Since airlines began offering a la carte pricing for everything from checked baggage to in-flight meals, calculating the true cost of a trip has become decidedly more complicated. With no industry standard for the pricing of checked baggage and meals, the cost for these services varies widely – not only from one airline to the next, but from route to route and class to class.
Moreover, ancillary fees seem to be in a constant state of fluctuation. A traveler paying US$25 to check a first bag on one trip may find the fee has increased the next time he travels on that same route.
To assist travel managers and their travelers in sorting through the complicated pricing of meals and checked baggage, BCD Travel, which Christopherson Travel is their largest affiliate, has put together a comprehensive list of links to pages on individual carrier Web sites housing information on those services.
Please click here to view links to online information about in-flight meals and checked luggage for specific carriers or go to:
BCD Travel: Airline Baggage Fees PDF
Please feel free to contact your Christopherson Account Manager or ask your travel counselor for additional information.

Categories
Travel News

Passenger Safety or Airline Revenue?

Is it passenger safety or airline revenue that is prompting airlines to more closely scrutinize the size of carry-on luggage that is being used by travelers? On some of my more recent flights I had noticed that many travelers were toting larger carry-on luggage with some of it ending up on the plane, but some of it checked at the gate for no additional fee. I questioned how these travelers made it as far as they did, with obviously oversized carry-on bags, and wondered if it would be just a matter of time before the airlines started charging for bags checked at the gates.
Though I appreciate the efforts of the airlines charging other passengers for luggage that technically should have been checked, I also tend to question their reasons why. Spokespersons for the airlines are indicating that it is passenger safety that they are concerned about, but could it be just another source of revenue?
FAA regulations allow carry-on luggage as large as 22x14x9 inches and passengers will have to get use to using the bag bins airlines provide at the gates to check the size of the carry-ons. Airline employees and even TSA inspectors are keeping a closer eye on the size of bags that travelers are trying to take through security lines and are informing passengers that they need to be checked prior to gate arrival.
The airlines may struggle in the beginning to make this process fair to all passengers, but regardless of the motive, whether passenger safety or airline revenue, it’s going to be harder and harder to avoid the fees charged for bags.
For additional information regarding the ancillary fees being charged by airlines and the revenue generated from these fees, there was an interesting article in USA Today written by David Grossman The paradox of baggage fees: Higher charges, lower profits. or you can contact Christopherson Business Travel (866.327.7650).

Categories
Travel Management Travel News

New FEES – United US/Canada Checked Baggage

Below is the checked baggage policy for United Economy® travel wholly within the 50 United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada.
Frequently Asked Questions
This policy has been revised, effective for tickets purchased on or after January 14, 2010 for travel on or after January 21, 2010. Fees for first and second checked bags have changed. There is still a discount for checked bag fees paid through EasyCheck-in Online® at united.com.
If you are traveling on an Economy ticket or an Economy award ticket, please see the information below regarding checked baggage fees that may apply.
Please note that there are some fee exceptions. All fees shown below are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise specified.
For customers who are not exempt, first and second bag fees (each way) when paid at the airport are as follows:
If you purchased your ticket(s)… for travel… then the following fees will apply for bags checked at the airport
First bag Second bag
before
January 14, 2010
anytime $20* $30*
on or after
January 14, 2010 before
January 21, 2010 $20* $30*
on or after
January 14, 2010
on or after
January 21, 2010 $25* $35*
*Baggage fees are per person and for a single direction of travel. United offers a discount if you check your bags via EasyCheck-in Online® at united.com within 24 hours of your flight. The amount of the discount percentage is subject to change without notice.

Categories
Vacation Travel

Sweet Vacation “DEALS”

As winter is wrapping up it’s season with snow and rain scattered with a little sunshine here and there, put away your snow shovels, boots, coats and gloves. It is time to break out the swim suits and suntan lotion and pack your bags for some rest and relaxation. There is no better time then now to take advantage of these vacation “Deals”. Here are just a few of those sweet “Deals” available to you!

  • Save up to $200.00 to Maui and Lana’i
  • Save up to $225.00 at the Ka’anapali Beach hotel in Maui
  • Save up to $250.00 to Aruba
  • Save up to $200.00 to Aston Hotels Resorts in Hawaii
  • Free airfare to the Bahamas
  • Save up to $150.00 at RIU Hotels Resorts
  • Save up to $250.00 to London

Of course there are some restrictions to these “Deals”. If you are flexible with your travel dates and looking for a great vacation don’t wait to cash in on these great savings. Call your Christopherson Travel Vacation team today. 801-327-7600

Categories
Travel News

For all those business travelers caught in the recent snow storms–listen up!

If you were that business traveler, had booked your travel through Christopherson, and were stranded in any of the recent east coast snow storms; you were in good hands. Why—because the last time you were stranded we took exceptional care of you then. This situation happens every year and every year our agents amaze me in how they service our clients. Here are just a few ways they assisted stranded passengers over the past few weeks.

  • Made the calls to the airlines and were on hold for hours—one agent 5 hours changing an international flight.
  • Provided clients with waivers from the airlines to obtain refunds when they were either unable to make the trip (meeting cancelled) or half way through their trip their return flight was cancelled. If you booked through the airlines websites or online agencies, you had to make the call to the airline and stay on hold for hours. One agent tried for an entire day to change a clients booking through the airline while his client went about his usual work schedule.
  • When passengers leaving to catch a flight, checked the airline websites, and found flights were showing confirmed (not cancelled); contacted us just to make sure. In numerous instances our computer system indicated the flights were cancelled. We then rebooked, reissued, and the traveler showed up at the airport with no surprises. That trip to Florida was made after all to close the business deal.
  • If you were lucky enough to have the airline call and explain just how they had re-accommodated you on another flight to return home only to find out it was two days later than originally ticketed, our agents were able to get you back much sooner.
  • Our after-hour emergency number was available on the weekend allowing for the same type changes, processing of refunds, and rescheduling.

Our many resources provide a “peace of mind” to business travelers whether they are our special numbers to make changes quicker; or, the ability to process airline waivers when changes are necessary so you don’t have to stand in line at the airport. We can provide options, for instances, rebooking your desired flight on another airline and processing the refund for your unused ticket. Time is money. For the price of our low service fee—we’ve got you covered!

Categories
Travel News

United Leads the Way in Denver

In 2009, 50 million customers passed through Denver. With 41 percent of the total capacity at the Denver International Airport, United continues to be the largest carrier in Denver with almost three times more flights, seats and cities than any other carrier. Internationally, we resumed nonstop service between Denver and London Heathrow in 2009. That flight will return again this summer along with the non-stop service between Denver and Anchorage, Alaska.
Carrier United Frontier Southwest

  • Cities Served 118 55 43
  • Departures 407 166 128
  • Seats 37,444 13,340 17,536

New International Service

  • March 28 — Brussels, Belgium
  • April 18 — Bahrain (via Kuwait)
  • May 2 — Accra, Ghana and Lagos, Nigeria

United will inaugurate its first-ever service to Africa this spring with one daily, same-plane service from Washington to Accra, Ghana and Lagos, Nigeria. We also will extend our existing daily Washington – Kuwait flight to include Bahrain, and will offer a new nonstop flight between Chicago and Brussels, Belgium. Introduction of all of the new services is subject to government approval.

Categories
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.

Categories
Travel Management Travel News Travel Technology

New Respect for TSA

In our recent Utah Business Travel Association’s January luncheon, Ronald Malin, Deputy Federal Security Director, Transportation Security Administration, DHS, spoke to us about TSA. To my amazement, he brought along a number of prohibited and actually confiscated items they had found during the past 7 days at the Salt Lake International Airport. Here’s the short list:
• A small portable propane tank (full) for a camp stove
• A taser, stun-gun type item
• Toy gun exact size and look of a very dangerous one
• Large, heavy crescent wrench
• An item shaped and similar in appearance to a hand grenade
• Belt buckle with shape and look of a grenade
• Fire crackers and other fire works
• Ammunition, sometimes just a few but often times numerous bullets
• Knives of different shapes and size
There was also a very long, large knife enclosed in a leather case that was actually attached to a person on his belt as he entered security. Ron also passed around the room a man’s shoe they use for training showing what it looks like when a bomb is placed in a shoe. It could have come from any male’s foot in the room!
During Ron’s presentation he also explained the different levels of security; as to how, why, where they are stationed, some even trained to closely watch the behavior of oncoming passengers making it very clear to me the importance of it all. There of course were some questions about the Christmas attempted bombing. We talked about the “human error” aspect. Ron further explained that at the Salt Lake International Airport, TSA employees are stationed to monitor at all times with no one being left alone at certain stages to more carefully avoid as much human error as possible. I seriously felt very lucky to have our Utah Airports under the direction of Ron. Yes, truly a new respect for TSA.

Categories
Travel News

Utah Discontinues Online Driver License Renewal And Asks For Positive ID

Effective January 1, 2010, ALL applicants for a Utah driver license (original, renewal or duplicate) or Identification card will need to provide:

  • Original or copies certified by the issuing agency showing evidence of your identity
  • Legal/lawful presence
  • Social Security Number or ITIN
  • Two proofs of Utah residence address, if it is different than the address on your current Utah record; and
  • Evidence of name change, if applicable

For more information you may visit  the web page or call Customer Service at 801-965-4437 or toll free at 888-353-4224. Applications will not be processed without all the required documents. Online renewals are no longer an option so drivers need to make time to apply in person for renewals.
Travelers need to be sure to be aware of this change as a valid driver license is required for travel by air and a requirement for car rentals.
Source and additional information can be found at www.driverlicense.utah.gov

Categories
Travel News

TSA Heightened Security Measures

On Dec. 25, 2009, an individual on board Northwest Airlines Flight 253 set off a device and was subdued by passengers and crew. Andavo/Christopherson Travel and TSA wishes to acknowledge the heroic efforts of those individuals.
As a result of this incident, TSA has worked with airline and law enforcement authorities, as well as federal, state, local, and international partners to put additional security measures in place to ensure aviation security remains strong. Passengers traveling domestically and internationally to U.S. destinations may notice additional screening measures.
We encourage passengers to remain observant and aware of their surroundings and report any suspicious behavior or activity to law enforcement officials.
Your Andavo/Christopherson travel counselor has the latest updates on restrictions and changes. You can also go to the TSA site. http://www.tsa.gov/
If you have any additional questions please feel free to contact your Andavo/Christopherson Account Manager.

Categories
Travel News Travel Technology

Did you know???-Convergence

Where is technology going? Will it change how, when, and where you travel? How you communicate and connect with your clients? Is your company ready? Are you ready? Check out the below YouTube on convergence.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ILQrUrEWe8
Andavo/Christopherson Travel has the latest and greatest in travel technology tools that will take your travel to the next level.  Are you ready?  Contact your travel Account Manager to learn more.

Categories
Travel Management Travel News Vacation Travel

Uncovering Hidden Travel Fees

Nearly every day we are hearing about new fees imposed above and beyond the advertised cost of airfare, car rentals & hotel rates.  These fees increase revenue for the airlines, car rental companies & hotels, but are they legitimate fees and are the charges always accurate?  Do we always receive the services that these fees are charged for?  Are these charges necessary?  Regardless of the answers to these questions, once these fees are implemented, it is very unlikely that they will ever disappear.
For corporations who are reimbursing travelers for business travel expenses and for individuals who are paying for leisure travel, it is wise to know what you are being charged for and if you are obligated to pay these ‘hidden travel fees’.  You should always read the fine print when making travel arrangements and then be ready to dispute any charges that are billed incorrectly.
Listed below are some, but not all, of the fees that we have been seeing recently~

Airline Hidden Fees

  • Baggage fees (try packing all you need in carry-on luggage or if possible, ship your luggage to your destination, via FedEx 3-day service, UPS or FedEx Ground, it can be much cheaper than paying the airline)
  • Fees for NOT checking in on-line
  • Mandatory curbside service fees

Hotel Hidden Fees
(In 2007 the hotel industry took in 1.75 billion in fees alone)

  • Mandatory bellman fees or fees for holding luggage
  • Hospitality fees
  • Resort fees
  • Surcharges and gratuities can be added to your bill automatically
  • Early departure fees
  • Fees for in-room safes even if they are not used
  • Some mini-bars have sensors that record when an item is moved and you can see charges for items you did not partake of.

Car Rental Hidden Fees

  • No-show fees are now being charged by many rental companies
  • High priced fuel costs if you don’t fill-up before returning the car
  • 1 hour late may result in a full day rental fee
  • Energy recovery fees charged to cover the companies cost of doing business
  • Fees for early returns or arranging in advance to drop off on a later date

To save money and frustration with your billing process, be sure to check ahead of time for what you are being charged for.  Be assertive, and ask before making your reservation, for fees you will be charged that are not disclosed up front.  Review your bill closely and dispute charges that you feel you are not obligated to pay.  You can always check with your Christopherson Andavo Travel Agent or Account Manager to better understand these hidden fees.

Categories
Travel Management Travel News Travel Technology

TruValue

True value doesn’t come in just hardware.  True value often comes in everyday things that we use to make our lives less complicated and cumbersome. I’ve noticed that true value is often over looked and those things of most value are often ignored, neglected, or we have not been informed of the value.

This week I have found some often neglected true value to be of great value.  Christopherson Business Travel offers many items of value to those they serve.  The product that I most enjoyed this week is the ValueLogic® report.
The ValueLogic® report can be found within AirPortal® and offers valuable information regarding cost savings for a company’s bottom line.  These savings are generated by seasoned agents who are skilled in finding the best fares and negotiated rates that you most likely will not be offered by calling the airlines directly and definitely not found by using search engines and booking your travel on-line.
Travel Agents at Christopherson Business Travel document these cost savings using a program developed by our in-house talented IT team.  This not only allows you as a customer to see where and how we are able to save you money, but it allows are agents to track their performance as well.
Each time your travel agent saves you money, it is coded to a particular category and a dollar amount is recorded.  At any time you are able to log-in to AirPortal® and run the ValueLogic® report and see your savings. Some people think they are saving money by booking travel themselves or using an on-line booking tool instead of paying the full-service agent fee.  However, with the ValueLogic® report you are able to see that with the savings that a travel agent is able to capture, you are actually saving money by using a full-service travel agent rather than using other methods of booking travel.
Listed below are some of the categories where savings are generated~

  • Christopherson Business Travel negotiated rates for both air, car & hotel
  • The ability to void a ticket prior to the close of the next business day, if you trip is cancelled within that time frame.
  • Airline seating upgrades
  • Tracking unused airline tickets
  • Offering alternate itineraries (airlines, airports, times)
  • Use of our recheck tool that continually checks for lower car & hotel prices

If you are not a customer of Christopherson Business Travel, contact a member of our Business Development Team, if you are a current customer, then check with your dedicated Account Manager to learn more about the TruValue of the ValueLogic® report.

Categories
Travel News

Delta/NW Mileage Program Now Merged

The Northwest Airlines® WorldPerks program officially merged into the Delta Air Lines SkyMiles program. SkyMiles is now the sole loyalty program for both Delta and Northwest even though the two airlines will continue to operate separately until the merger is fully complete in early 2010. It’s business as usual for SkyMiles members, who will experience very little change with this program integration. All former WorldPerks members are now SkyMiles members and have a 10-digit SkyMiles account number, which they should use going forward. As of October 1, the Northwest Airlines® WorldPerks program has officially merged into the Delta SkyMiles program.

  • If you had previously linked your WorldPerks and SkyMiles accounts, your accounts are in the process of being consolidated. Your miles, Elite Qualifying Miles and Segments, and lifetime EQMs have already been combined.  Any changes to Medallion or Million Miler status are already reflected in your account.  We are still working to combine the rest of your account information including your tracking and history. We anticipate that all accounts will be fully consolidated over the next month. As soon as we complete the full consolidation, we will advise you via email.
  • If you did not have a SkyMiles account or had not previously linked your WorldPerks and SkyMiles accounts, you have been assigned a 10-digit SkyMiles number that will replace your WorldPerks number. This new number will be communicated to you in early October.

Here’s more information on the loyalty integration process and what you can expect from October 2009 through early 2010.

  • SkyMiles is now the sole loyalty program for both Delta and Northwest even though the two airlines will continue to operate separately until the merger is fully completed in early 2010.
  • All former WorldPerks members are now SkyMiles members and will begin receiving their new 10-digit SkyMiles account number during the first two weeks in October.
  • WorldPerks members who linked their WorldPerks account to their SkyMiles account will have their account information consolidated. and their SkyMiles number will be their primary account number moving forward.
  • All WorldPerks elite qualification miles, redeemable miles, Elite, and Million Air status are transferred into the member’s SkyMiles account.

Key Points for WorldPerks Members

  • Members who linked their accounts will receive an email advising them when their WorldPerks account information has been merged into their SkyMiles account.
  • WorldPerks members who did not link their accounts will receive either an email or SkyMiles credential package advising them of their new number.
  • For all new bookings, please provide your SkyMiles number to travel agents and airline, hotel, car rental, and all other SkyMiles partners.
  • For all existing bookings that include your previous WorldPerks account number, you do not have to do anything—you will receive mileage credit.
  • Your WorldPerks PIN can be used to access your SkyMiles account information.
  • If you did not link your former WorldPerks account to your existing SkyMiles account and now have multiple SkyMiles accounts, you can now request to merge your duplicate SkyMiles account online.
  • Going forward, all SkyMiles program rules and conditions apply. To review the rules, please visit the SkyMiles Membership Guide & Program Rules.
  • For further information visit SkyMiles/WorldPerks® Program Integration .
  • Source:http://www.delta.com/skymiles/about_skymiles/what_to_expect/index.jsp
Categories
Travel Management Travel News

“There Is No Place Like Home”

I often think about this phrase so eloquently spoken by Dorothy, you know, the star of The Wizard of Oz, and the truth behind it.  I love my home, and though vacations are nice, at some point, I’m ready to be home.

This being said, when walking into a restaurant, I like a warm and friendly feeling, like I’ve walked into the home of a friend.  When shopping at a department store I appreciate a friendly sales associate vs. a pushy salesman.  I am grateful for the bank teller that can answer my questions or quickly find someone who can.  What about checking into a hotel, isn’t it nice to be greeted by someone who makes you feel like you are the most important guest of the day.  Don’t you love the car rental agencies that let you pick out your own car?  For the accountant, a credit card company that makes it easy to reconcile your statement.  I think it’s all about feeling comfortable, much like the feeling you have when you walk in your own front door.  That’s the way I felt when I walked in the doors of Christopherson Business Travel as a new employee, like I’m part of the family.
It all boils down to the worn out phrase “Customer Service”.   As a new account manager with Christopherson Business Travel, I get to hear the glowing compliments from our customers.  It’s rare that I walk into a client’s office or speak with a client on the phone that they don’t make a point of telling me how much they appreciate the service they receive from the employees at Christopherson.  I know why this is…. You are at home with Christopherson Business Travel.  Oh, I realize there is always room for improvement, mostly because if we don’t keep our customers happy, someone else will.  That’s why I decided to share some thoughts regarding ‘pleasing and keeping the customer’.
There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.
ROGER STAUBACH
Well done is better than well said.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
Customers are an investment. Maximize your return.
PeopleSoft ad
You’ll never have a product or price advantage again.
They can be easily duplicated, but a strong customer service culture can’t be copied.

JERRY FRITZ
The way to gain a good reputation,
is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.

SOCRATES
In business you get what you want by giving other people what they want.
ALICE MACDOUGALL
In the world of Internet Customer Service, it’s important to remember your competitor is only one mouse click away.
Doug Warner
Every great business is built on friendship.
JC Penney
Do what you do so well that they will want
to see it again and bring their friends.

WALT DISNEY

Categories
Travel Management Vacation Travel

Travel Agents have Knowledge to Share

Funny how people react to events differently. A very long time ago , I worked was doing public relations work with a firm that brought health care services to remote rural communities. We typically flew to the different locations on small private planes either manned by the company’s own pilot and occasionally just a contracted pilot.
On one particular trip, we had a contracted pilot and we were flying to somewhere in North Dakota. The flight was bumpy. It was literally hailing on one side of the plane and raining on the other . The other passenger kept asking the pilot if he could just go lower or higher to get out of the storm –he just kept on flying through the storm.
Years later I ran into the other passenger. She went on about how awful the flight was. Scared her so much she rented a car to drive back home. She was amazed that I told her after I left that company I went into the travel agency business and have loved it for 29 years.
One characteristic you will find in each travel agent here at Christopherson Travel is a love of travel. Even with the many challenges in the travel industry, the agents enjoy visiting new places , experiencing new resorts, cruises, hotels and destinations. This experience offers our travelers a wealth of knowledge that goes into planning your next trip. If you are going to Los Angeles, Singapore or pretty much any destination, there is an travel agent at Christopherson Travel that is familiar with the area and can advise you on your trip.

Categories
Travel News Travel Technology

Could You Be A Christopherson Andavo Client?

If you answer, “Yes, I want this service,” to any of the statements listed below, you should contact us immediately!!

  1. Have professional travel consultants available 24/7.
  2. Be able to book travel whenever and wherever.
  3. Have the flexibility and convenience to book a trip with an agent or through an online booking tool of choice.
  4. Provided one place to view all my past, present and future travel, all my department’s past, present, and future travel, plus travel for the entire company in one location, online with one singe sign-on.
  5. Know when an unused ticket is available, if it is reused, and if not, why.
  6. International travel specialists with 20+ years experience managing complex itineraries and providing special services worldwide.
  7. Re-check hotel and car bookings a few days prior to arrival date for lower rates and then rebooking them.
  8. Receive detailed and/or summary report on savings found by my agent(s).
  9. Special hotel and car discounts available through an agent OR booked online.
  10. In the case of an emergency, know within minutes the detailed whereabouts of your company’s travelers worldwide to act quickly.
  11. Proactive and consultative account managers working hard to maximize your ROI.
  12. Thorough meeting, incentive and conference planning.

Christopherson Business Travel is ranked the 14th largest travel agency in the nation (by Business Travel News) and therefore have exceptional relationships with ALL vendors so when you need some extra support or challenges need extra assistance – we definitely can help!

Categories
Business Travel Travel Management

Preferred Hotel Contracts: Theirs, Ours, AND Yours!

Theirs –  Christopherson Business Travel is an affiliate of BCD Travel the third largest travel management company in the world.  By participating in their affiliate program we are provided with additional benefits and opportunities to enhance your travel program.  The BCD Hotel Program is one of those benefits.  Hotels participating in the BCD Hotel Program are obligated to offer the BCD rate code at parity (equal to or less than any other travel management group or channel).  Over 93 percent of the hotels participating in the BCD Hotel Program offer BAR (Best Available Rate) pricing, with a small percentage of the hotel chains offering an additional five to ten percent discount off BAR.  With over 29,500 BCD participating hotels in 155 countries, Christopherson Business Travel has you covered!
Ours – Christopherson Business Travel’s local negotiated hotel rates are among the best in the industry.  Since we are headquarted in Salt Lake City we have over sixteen negotiated hotel rates in the Salt Lake area that we offer clients that don’t have the room night requirements to acquire preferred rates on their own.  Hotels participating in the Christopherson hotel program offer lower rates, usually 20% to 40% off the lowest advertised corporate rate, guaranteed quality enhanced with amenities such as parking, breakfast, internet, a delicious in room amenity made up especially for Christopherson travelers, double hotel points and double airline mileage points all at no additional cost to you!  We are excited to announce that similar hotel rates and benefits are being negotiated by our offices in Denver and California.
Yours –  As part of travel management, it is our responsibility that your bottom line reflects the greatest savings possible.  If the number of room nights booked by your company presents the opportunity to negotiate an individual hotel contract for you, our account management team will go in with vim and vigor to obtain the best deal possible based on commitment level.  As savvy negotiators our approach is one of aggression without being over the top.  We will get you the best rate loaded with as many amenities that we possibly can.  Locking in these rates for two or more years is also an added feature that we negotiate.  When the economy turns around you will still be getting the benefits of your low negotiated rate.
KEEP IN MIND – All three of these options can be used at any time.  We present the value, you pick the option, and the “rest”  is up to you.   Sweet Dreams!

Categories
Travel Management Travel Technology

Claim Your Seat- Know Your Rights

The majority of airlines offer travelers the opportunity to reserve seat assignments on flights prior to departure. With today’s automation, they also offer an opportunity to “check in “ online with 24 hours of departure. Every traveler should be sure to that seats assignments are selected on all flights and check in online. Flights are so often very full and this helps insure your reservation will be honored. When flights are full, the traveler who doesn’t have a seat assignment is the one who could be singled out to be denied a reservation. If you have a confirmed electronic ticket receipt , and have reported to the boarding gate by the appropriate boarding time, then the airlines should provide you a reservation. The Christopherson confirmation of your itinerary will provide this proof of reservation. Be sure to have a copy of it with you, either in paper or electronic form. This confirmation holds valuable information that may be required by the airline, car or hotel staff that are looking for your confirmed reservation. There are easy links to help with the advance check in online. The itinerary also will show that your membership numbers like frequent flyer membership numbers have been sent to the vendors in advance. For a smooth travel experience, be sure to know your rights and have the appropriate confirmation information for your reservations.

Categories
Travel News

Experience The Difference: Christopherson Travel Expertise

The experience of our travel agents and our reputation with the airlines helps us save our clients money each and every day.

  • A traveler needed to make a change on a flight and called saying he thought he would just buy a new ticket. He was advised by his Christopherson travel agent that he actually had funds available on his reservation and instead of spending an additional $280.00 for a new ticket, his cost was only $50.00.
  • Another traveler was looking for flights to Washington D.C. and his agent recommended a schedule to a nearby airport that was half the cost.
  • Another customer was looking for discount seats for four people to San Francisco and could only see a price of 220.00 per person from Denver. With the help of an agent, they secured the flights for 149.00 per person.

There is a Christopherson Travel agent that has expertise for travel to any destination. Many of our agents have 10, 15 or 20 years experience in the industry and can help plan a trip whether the destination is domestic or international.

Categories
Travel Management

Four Things For Summer Travel

As the summer travel season heats up and travelers encounter crowded, often oversold flights, sold out hotels, and overbooked car rental agencies, delayed flights, etc, I just wanted to remind travelers of a few basic things that will help them cope with the problems.
First, bring your patience with you when you travel.  This means rather than blowing up when the first thing goes wrong, take a deep breath and let it out slowly.   We, as a society, are almost always in a hurry to get to our destination and as such, we tend not to be patient when something delays us.  However impatience is often our enemy when something does go wrong. 
The second thing you should bring is your sense of humor.  Let’s face it, if you sit back and watch your fellow travelers, you will see a lot of funny behavior.   Also, humor can defuse a lot of potentially bad situations and turn them into something positive.
The third thing you should bring is your compassion. Have a little compassion for the employee of the travel company that you are dealing with. I promise you that the gate agent doesn’t want your flight delayed any more than you. So remember that all the passengers and the gate agent are in this mess together.
The fourth thing you should remember to bring are your manners. If there is a problem and you need help, you will get far more help when you say “Please” and “Thank You”, then if you start off yelling at the person who is going to help you. After all, you are asking for help, which implies that you need something from this person. Most folks seem less inclined to help someone who yells, curses or is abusive to them. So start out nice and polite. Being polite doesn’t mean that you have to take whatever they offer you however it does mean that you are more likely to get a helpful solution to the problem rather than a stone wall. And remember if being polite doesn’t work, you can always resort to yelling, screaming, etc. after you were the nice person. It’s much harder to go the other way.
So have fun traveling this summer and remember your travel agent is there for you.

Categories
Travel News

Travel A Worthy Experience

 
Wherever I go people ask me about travel destinations. My advice is always the same. I tell others to just go and see new places and don’t put off taking a cruise or that trip to Florida , Europe or even just a destination close to home. There is a fascination with traveling to different places , seeing how other people live and just taking time out from our regular routine. The travel environment may be in some ways more complicated today with airline restrictions and security procedures but there are also some real great opportunities. Just Today there are some great airfares out there :
Salt Lake to Los Angeles 169.90 round trip with taxes
Salt Lake to New York 359.90 round trip with taxes
Denver to Chicago 189.20 round trip with taxes
LAX to Honolulu 429.20 round trip with taxes
Give us a call at Christopherson Travel 1-866-327-7650

Categories
Vacation Travel

Venice, Italy’s floating city


I just returned from Venice Italy, one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  Arriving in Venice by water taxi is amazing and scenic, the buildings are so delicately placed / suspended above water, it is a stunning city glistening on the water.  Venice’s major water way the Grand Canal runs through the entire city, lined with palaces, churches, medieval buildings and gondolas.  Venice is a walking city, with over 400 bridges, the Rialto Bridge is one of the most famous spanning the canal.  Visit Piazza San Marco, the Basilica, enjoy your favorite drink while listening to the orchestra.  Walk the bridge of sighs and the Rialto.  The best way to see and get a feel of the Grand Canal is by enjoying a Venetian Gondola ride.  Explore Burano, a charming picturesque fishing village, a great place to spend an afternoon, have lunch, shop, and take in this peaceful colorful island from Venice.  The average stay in Venice is three to four days, you will find the finest welcoming accomodations, a favorite is the Danieli, historical and luxurious.  Treat yourself to lunch or dinner at the Terrazza Danieli on the top floor offering exclusive views and delicious cuisine.  Venice is romantic and magic, sure to please and exceed your expectations, make it your city of a lifetime.

Categories
Business Travel Vacation Travel

Why Buy Travel Insurance?

When making your travel plans does purchasing travel insurance come to mind?  Most likely not.  However it may be the most important component of your travel plans.  All too often the unexpected happens from the inconvenient to a serious emergency.  Travel protection plans offer comprehensive benefits to meet the challenges of travel and help you enjoy a worry-free trip.
Top 10 reasons to buy travel insurance:

  • Too sick to travel
  • Travel supplier just declared bankruptcy
  • 24 hour worldwide assistance
  • Airline goes on strike
  • Lost luggage
  • The illness or injury of family members
  • Missed connection due to a flight delay
  • Medical emergency away from home
  • Terrorist act
  • Theft of wallet, cards, and passport

Protect your travel investment and include travel insurance when making your travel plans.  Always expect the unexpected and be prepared.

Categories
Vacation Travel

Discover Vancouver

Visit Vancouver
A great destination is Vancouver British Columbia and the surrounding areas. There is so much to see and do in the area that it can keep a traveler busy for days. The variety of things to do is endless and can give a visitor the perfect mix of the experience of visiting a big city to spending a relaxing afternoon in a park, garden or on a beach.
Victoria Island – A quaint little island that features small shops to elegant buildings like the Empress Hotel built in the early 1900’s. The small town has small shops along winding roads that seem to be from another era. Another stop not to miss would be to see the Craigdarroch Castle built in 1890. Another highlight is the Buchart Gardens. It can be an experience just getting to Victoria Island by taking one of the local ferries offered from Vancouver.
Vancouver features several great areas including Gastown district which features numerous outdoor cafes, restaurants and shops of every kind. In the evening, the street is a flurry of activity with crowds of people walking along the streets. Every kind of cuisine is available in the area.
A variety of gardens are found in Vancouver from the Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research to The Park and Tilford Gardens in North Vancouver and the VanDusen Botanical Gardens these gardens are spread out in different areas of the city. You aren’t far from one of these great gardens no matter where you are in the city.
Stanley Park is a 1,000 acre park in the middle of Vancouver. It has many trails, and picnic areas and some great little beach areas. It overlooks the harbor and has many viewpoints where you can look out over this great city. Another stop not to miss is the Vancouver Aquarium.
Too expensive to fly right to Vancouver? Try checking out a flight to Seattle instead. Seattle air fares are typically very competitive and usually are less expensive than flights to Vancouver and it is a great gateway to our Canadian neighbor.

Categories
Travel News

Corporate Social Responsibility

When was the last time you experienced a business trip that gave you exhilaration, laughs, tears, joy and a broader view of yourself and your ability to make a difference in our world? I would have said never, until a recent trip to Nicaragua with Continental Airlines and AirPlus with a combination of business meetings, training and a significant dose of humanitarian service. Under the direction of the host sponsors we were participating in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or the donation of funds, time, and resources by companies to charitable or non-profit initiatives with the intention of “giving back” for the greater common good. The result was highly effective business meetings, lifelong bonds between participates, and a renewed outlook and awareness of on life.
Prior to the trip we were given the book The Radical Edge, Stoke Your Business, AMP Your Life and Change the World by noted motivational speaker Steve Farber. It was and excellent book with the perfect message to prepare us for the experiences ahead. The key point of the book is to “do what you love in the service of people who love what you do” and we had the opportunity to apply this to our work and personal lives through our experiences in Nicaragua.
In addition to our business commitments we provided humanitarian aid at a senior center, to children in a special a needs orphanage, and with people living in desperate conditions near the city dump. Our group brought hundreds of pounds of excess baggage filled with much needed items as well as cash donations. The recipients were so appreciative of every act of service or donation received. They were such gentle people who with very little of their own seemed to be living a life of contentment. They were warm and friendly, always smiling.
We all wondered what our reactions would be to the sights and circumstances we would be experiencing. Could we handle it? Would we break down? Well, I have reviewed over 400 of our combined photos from the trip and we are continually happy, laughing and smiling while giving to the people of Nicaragua. We later shared tender thoughts, feelings, and ah-ha moments, but you couldn’t take away our joy during the moments of giving. It was an amazing experience beyond any of our expectations and made this a business trip we’ll never forget.
What kind of CSR could you include in your next business meeting to make it an event of a lifetime?!

Categories
Business Travel Vacation Travel

Why Now Is A Great Time To Travel

I know many people are planning on staying close to home during these tough economic times in order to save money or just because it seems like the right thing to do. Actually this is a very good time to travel for a variety of reasons, ranging from lower costs to smaller crowds to fewer competitors calling on clients. And I’m sure that there are other reasons that I haven’t thought of but apply to many people.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these reasons starting with the last one first.  As many companies opt to cut their travel expenses they are removing the sales call from their sales staff’s bag of tricks.  While it is true that much can be accomplished via the phone, webinars and the like, there is an equally important truth, which is when you actually visit the client face to face it gives you the opportunity to actually meet the client, see what the client needs and wants, as well as create a relationship based in part, on the perception that you consider this client important enough to show up, even when times are tough.  I have heard of a number of companies that have cut their travel by as much as 70%.  This means that a significant portion of their sales force isn’t traveling and as such isn’t competing at the personal level.  Airfares are down, hotel stays are down, even car rental rates are down, so this is a very good time to go.  As an example, the Marriott Marquis at Time Square in NYC, was $450.00 and up per night, this time last year, now the rates start at $254.00 a night.  This time last year, the lowest one way fare from Los Angeles to New York City was $161.00, today you can get it for $109.00.  Those are pretty typical savings that are available right now, which means that it is a much better deal to travel for business right now.

In terms of vacation travel, this year is shaping up to be a great year to go on vacation.  With so many people opting to do staycations, many of the places that are normally packed with tourists during the summer months, such as Disneyland and Disneyworld, Europe, Hawaii and cruises, are looking like they will be relatively uncrowded this summer.  So if you’ve always wanted to visit the Louvre in Paris but the thought of the massive crowds kept you away, this may be the best time to go and not have to be in line for hours.

This coupled with the discounts that are being offered the airlines, hotels, tour companies, cruise lines, etc., it makes this summer look like a terrific bargain.  When you compare prices between last year and this year, the difference is amazing.  Just before the end of March, there were roundtrip airfares between New York City and London, starting at $68.00, plus taxes and surcharges.  Now, they start at about $90.00 roundtrip plus taxes and surcharges and yes, there are very limited number of seats available at these prices and they do require a Saturday night stay and travel must commence no later than May 26th, 2009 and they have a number of other restrictions, such as the tickets must be issued within 72 hours of making the reservation and ticketed no later than 5 days prior to departure, whichever comes first.  However when compared to 2008, where the lowest roundtrip fare was $236.00 roundtrip plus taxes and surcharges, this year’s fare looks awfully enticing.   Then when you look at the difference of the relative strength of the US Dollar vs. the Euro and other European currencies, Europe looks much more affordable.

This clearly is the time to go because who knows when prices will be this low again.  So if you’ve been saying to yourself I want to go on a cruise but I want a really good deal or if you want to go to Disney or Europe or really anywhere, now is the time to go.

Categories
Travel News

Need Miles? Here some ideas

With summer vacations fast approaching and wallets seemingly thinner than they should be, more people are turning to their frequent flyer programs to help lower the expense of their vacation.  Some folks are discovering that their miles have been devalued over the last year or two and suddenly need a few more miles in order to secure the flights that they want.

Here are some options that may allow you get a few more miles.

US Airways is offering double qualifying miles.  The offer runs through April 30th, 2009.  You do need to register prior to traveling.  The url is https://www.usairways.com/awa/Content/dividendmiles/promotions.aspx.
United Airlines has a variety of offers which can be found at: www.United.com/mileageplus under the Airline Promotions section.  These range from bonuses of 10,000 miles for flying on specific routes to triple miles in some markets.  You do need to register in order to gain these benefits. Most of these offers require that travel is completed by late April or early May so you will want to get started as soon as possible.
American Airlines is offering members of the AAdavantage program the chance to earn double elite status miles from now until June 15th, 2009.  You do need to register at www.aa.com/dbeqm in order to get these miles.
Delta Air Lines is currently offering bonuses for flying between Cincinnati and select cities.  The have a weighted or scaled approach to their bonuses.  Travel must be completed no later than the 12th of May, 2009.  The first roundtrip is worth 3,000 bonus miles and by the time you complete your fifth trip you will get 10,000 for your trip.  You do need to register for this trip at: www.delta.com/cvgbonus.
Continental is offering a variety of promotions, including double elite qualifying miles.  Most of their current promotions require travel to be completed no later than May 31st, 2009.  You will need to register at www.continental.com/onepass and go to News and Offers for the specifics.
Other strategies for enhancing one’s miles can including using specific car rental agencies, staying at hotels and participating in their frequent guest programs, or one can get miles by taking advantage of various credit card offers or there are the shopping and service options. 
The car rental agencies typically offer some set number of miles per rental, regardless of the length and cost of the rental.  Generally these offers range between 250 and 1000 miles per rental.  You can use rentals to help build your miles incrementally over the course of a year.
The hotel programs generally allow you to convert their points into frequent flyer miles.  Depending on the program, it may not be worth converting the points to miles since the points can be used for free night stays.
The credit card programs frequently have hidden costs ranging from fees to utilize miles, to higher interest rates or fees to transfer points to miles.  My advice is to do your homework to make sure that the program works for you before signing up.
The shopping and services option that most airlines now are can be a gold mine of miles.  You can get miles for purchasing everything from music at iTunes, to buying dinner, to purchasing electronics at Best Buy.  Plus you can get miles for using Netflix, or Brinks Home Security or T-Mobile or for using partners when you do your mortgage or when you make investments through select brokerage firms, just to name a few options.  If you are going be spending the money for shopping or if you need to get a mortgage or you are buying an investment or any number of other services, why not get miles for it.
Last but by no means least, you can purchase a limited number of miles directly from the airlines.  So if you find that you are short by 1000 or 5000 miles, you can buy enough miles to get you to that next award level. 
Hopefully you will find that some or all of these ideas are helpful and allow you to maximize your miles and allow you to enjoy your summer vacation at little or no cost to you.

Categories
Travel News

Welcome

We would like to welcome you to the Christopherson Business Travel blog. When I say we, I do mean “We” as this blog will have a number of contributors who will be covering a wide range of topics and issues. We are really excited by the prospect of being able to discuss many topics that impact the business of travel and the life of travelers. We hope that you will find this blog interesting, useful or fun and that you will come back to visit it frequently.
Some of the topics that I will address over the coming months include things like frequent traveler programs, travel related news that I think you might find useful or interesting or what our friends at the TSA are planning on doing next.  As an example of what you might find is a short blog on how to gain more miles or how to keep them from expiring due to inactivity.  Or I may discuss the ever changing world of airline fare rules, baggage rules and assorted fees being charged.
I hope that you will find this blog worthwhile and enjoyable.