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Travel News

Q1 Was a Mixed Bag for the Airlines

The major U.S. domestic airlines had widely varied results for the first quarter of 2012.
Delta Air Lines posted a first-quarter net profit of $124 million versus a $318 million loss for Q1 a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, the company’s pre-tax loss was $36 million, representing a $355 million improvement from the first quarter of 2011, despite $250 million in higher fuel expense. The airline posted a 10 percent increase in revenue, year-over-year, to $7.2 billion.
US Airways Group posted a first-quarter net profit of $48 million versus a $114 million loss for Q1 a year earlier. The net profit included a special $70 million credit associated with a slot transaction executed with Delta, at New York LaGuardia and Washington National airports. Passenger revenue increased 11.5 percent, year-over-year, to $2.9 billion.
United Continental Holdings posted a first-quarter net loss of $448 million versus a $213 million net loss for Q1 last year. The loss included $162 million in special costs, primarily related to United’s integration of Continental Airlines, according to the carrier. Corporate revenues increased 10 percent year-over-year.
American Airlines parent AMR posted a first-quarter net loss of $1.7 billion, versus a $436 million net loss for Q1 last year. Bankrupt AMR attributed the loss to $1.4 billion in reorganization items and an increase in fuel costs. Consolidated unit revenues increased 10.3 percent year-over-year.

Categories
Travel News Travel Technology

Flying the Connected Skies?

Continental Airlines’ announcement last week that it would begin offering wireless internet (Wi-Fi) access aboard its aircraft beginning the second quarter of 2010 brought to close an exciting year of innovative in-flight communication advances.
Virgin America, the upstart discount carrier based in San Francisco, CA was the first U.S. carrier to offer fleet wide Wi-Fi access in May of 2009. American, Delta, United and US Airways followed shortly thereafter with staggered deployments of Wi-Fi across their respective fleets meaning in-flight Wi-Fi access will be a reality with all the legacy carriers in 2010.
As for the discount carriers, Virgin America is definitely leading the charge with Air Tran recently announcing the availability of in-flight Wi-Fi across its fleet. Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines and Jet Blue have begun testing Wi-Fi on certain aircraft while Midwest Airlines and Frontier Airlines are still considering the option of offering this service to their customers.
As with almost any other service now offered on board, in-flight Wi-Fi will come at a cost. To find out which airlines offer Wi-Fi access and how much they charge based on your destination, call Christopherson/Andavo Travel and our trusted travel advisors will be glad to answer your questions.

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Travel Management

Airline Fees, Alliances and Saving Money

Airline alliances – what is the fuss all about? Besides the ability to earn a free ticket by flying virtually any airline in the world is there really any benefit to knowing which alliance you should belong to? Well, consider this: “How to make consumer-hated airline fees more digestible” was the subject of a three-day meeting earlier this month of the Ancillary Revenue Airline Conference in Huntington Beach (fancy speak for a gathering of airline executives and businesses that serve the industry interested in finding ways to offer coach passengers separate products and services typically offered as part of the ticket price for business and first class passengers). The New York Times estimates that airlines collected $USD 10.25 billion in such fees in 2008 – a staggering 346 per cent increase over 2006. CLEARLY – fees are here to stay and more likely than not will spread to more services offered by airlines.
Understanding airline alliances – who partners with whom and who offers reciprocity – is one way you can avoid paying the fees being levied against the normal traveler these days. OneWorld, SkyTeam and Star Alliance ALL waive ancillary fees for their preferred customers.
To learn more about how to leverage your airline memberships while keeping a little extra money in your pocketbook over the holidays, call Christopherson/Andavo Travel and our trusted travel advisors will be glad to answer your questions.

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.