Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Holiday hiatus

TheTravelPro is on hiatus in observance of U.S. Thanksgiving and for the long holiday weekend. Publication will resume Monday, Nov. 30.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Giving the gift of travel

With the holidays upon us, people have begun asking and answering that time-honored question, “What do you want for Christmas?” (or the winter holiday of your choice). If the answer is, “Travel” or “A vacation,” there are ways to go about fulfilling that request … and ways to avoid.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Frequent traveler alert: State Dept. changes passport rules

Effective Jan. 1, 2016, the U.S. Department of State will no longer add additional visa pages to U.S. passports that have become too full to accommodate additional entries.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Expanded hours for TSA Pre-Check applications

If you are among the millions of air travelers who have not yet applied for a Trusted Traveler nuber to help speed your way through security, some changes are coming that will make doing so more convenient.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Delta to add non-stop flights between DEN and LAX

Delta Air Lines will launch five daily flights from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Denver International Airport (DEN) beginning June 1, 2016.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Tips for holiday travel, part 2

With the U.S. Thanksgiving travel season officially beginning on Friday, Nov. 20, here are a few more tips intended to make your holiday travels go more smoothly.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Airline fares rise in Oct. CPI

Airline fares, which fell 0.1 percent in September, reversed course and rose in October according to the latest figures on the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Delta to offer Comfort+ as separate product for US, Canadian flights

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines will make Delta Comfort+ available for direct purchase, alongside main cabin and first class, for flights departing on or after May 16, 2016, within the U.S. and Canada.

Marriott to buy Starwood Hotels & Resorts

Resulting entity will be world's biggest hospitality enterprise 

The boards of directors for Marriott International, Inc. and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. have unanimously approved a $12bn merger agreement under which the companies will create the world’s largest hotel company.

Alaska Airlines launches new round trips from Seattle to Charleston, SC

Starting Nov. 16, Seattle-based Alaska Airlines will operate four weekly round trip flights from its hub at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) to Charleston International Airport (CHS) in South Carolina.

Friday, November 13, 2015

FRIDAY FRUMP: Hack may save on airfare, but beware.

When I read the news release announcing that a company had “found an airfare hack that can save passengers 20% or more on flights (in our case 29%)”, I was dubious. As it turns out, my Spidey Sense was spot on and I had good reason to be wary.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Tips for smooth(er) holiday air travel

With one of the busiest times of the year for air travel upon us, I thought it would be helpful to share some tips to make your upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas travels, if not exactly “smooth,” at least smoother.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day 2015

Please take some time today to honor our veterans and reflect on the sacrifices they have made.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Delta to begin service to Iceland in ‘16

Atlanta-headquartered Delta Air Lines will become the only U.S. airline to serve Iceland when it launches service to Reykjavik’s Keflavik International Airport (KEF) in early 2016.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Expedia to acquire HomeAway for $3.9bn

Travel booking giant Expedia has announced an agreement to acquire HomeAway, adding vacation rentals to its portfolio of accommodation options.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Going for Global Entry

Once again, I have been pleasantly surprised by how efficiently a government program is being run. This time, it was my experience applying for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Global Entry program, which gives people identified as “Trusted Travelers” expedited clearance through Customs when returning to the United States.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Coming soon: convertible travel shoes?

You’ve probably experienced the phenomenon yourself: You’re packing for a trip and everything is coming together well. All your garments are fitting nicely into a single suitcase … until it comes time to add your shoes. Then, everything changes as you scramble to repack.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Airline VIP lounges: Comparing the clubs

Airline VIP lounges can be a welcome respite from the cacophony of the airport concourse but they come in all shapes and sizes, and the amenities they offer vary fairly widely.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Aniston and Emirates: A match made in the heavens

In case you’ve missed it, award-winning actor Jennifer Aniston has signed a $5 million contract to be the new face of the Dubai-based airline Emirates.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Delta reduces service to Middle East; blames carrier subsidies

Atlanta-headquartered Delta Air Lines has announced it will terminate its flights between Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) and Dubai (DXB) effective Feb. 11, 2016.

Flying? Driver’s license may soon be insufficient ID

Travelers accustomed to presenting their driver’s licenses as identification at U.S. airports may be surprised to learn that plain, old driver’s licenses may not be sufficient for that purpose much longer.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Florida combats abuses of automatic gratuities

Following reports of potential abuses of automatic gratuities, South Florida restaurateurs are being told to educate both their employees and their customers about tipping policies.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

American declares merger complete

Dallas-Ft. Worth-based American Airlines has declared that its merger with US Airways has been completed and the two are now operating as a single entity.

OPINION: United Airlines, fix your MileagePlus program

Once again, United Airlines has shown how little regard it has for its passengers, this time through the arcane rules of its MileagePlus frequent flier program.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Luggage manufacturer seeks to crowd-fund smart travel case

Luggage manufacturer Andiamo is seeking crowd-funding to bring the latest smart suitcase to market.

SkyTeam alliance opens newest 'Exclusive Lounge' in Hong Kong

Global airline alliance SkyTeam has opened the fourth in a growing offering of SkyTeam-branded lounges around the world with the unveiling of its Exclusive Lounge at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG).

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Tips for renewing your US passport

Once a decade or so, it becomes necessary for those of us who travel outside the borders of the United States to renew our passports. Having just gone through the passport process for the fourth time, I’d like to share some tips about how to make the process go more smoothly.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Emirates extends reach in US

Dubai-based Emirates airlines is extending its reach in the United States through a newly announced code-share agreement with Seattle-based Alaska Airlines.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Expedia enhances pricing transparency

Online travel purveyor Expedia, Inc. has upgraded its web sites to make it easier for users to determine the all-in price of the airline tickets before they click the “purchase” button.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Upstart rental car company scores top award

Upstart rental car company Silvercar recently became the first rental car company outside the “Big 3” of Hertz, Avis and Enterprise to be named North America’s “Leading Car Rental Company.”

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Marriott Rewards program provides best value - report

Among four key hotels brands’ loyalty programs, Marriott Hotels’ Marriott Rewards program provides more bang for the buck than the Hilton HHonors program, the IHG Rewards Club or the Starwood Preferred Guest program.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

New list names 50 best Caribbean beaches

The website Caribbean Journal has unveiled its 2015 list of the 50 best Caribbean beaches.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Delta announces new service between Seattle and Orange County

Atlanta-headquartered Delta Air Lines will launch four daily flights between Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and Orange County's John Wayne Airport (SNA) in Santa Ana, Calif.

ANA schedules increased service between Tokyo and Shanghai

Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) has announced the schedule for increased non-stop flights between Tokyo’s Haneda Airport (HND) and Shanghai, China.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Princess Cruise Lines increases on-board gratuities

Princess Cruise Lines has become the latest cruise line to announce it will increase the amount of automatic daily gratuities for sailings. The line will increase the tip amounts by approximately 15 percent for sailings departing on or after Jan. 1, 2016.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

New 5-star resort opens on Seychelles to broad acclaim

The H Resort Beau Vallon Beach opened its shores to guests in September, making it the newest 5-star hotel on Seychelles largest island. In that brief time, the property has already earned the honor of being named the Number 1 hotel in the Beau Vallon area of the island of Mahe.

Already past taxis, ridesharing is gaining on rental cars - report

A report by travel and expense management software provider Certify shows that ridesharing, which tied taxis for business transportation in 1Q15 and passed them in the second quarter is now gaining on rental cars as the most popular form of business transportation.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

New upmarket resort opens in Normandy, France

A new upmarket property opened its doors Sept. 15 in Normandy, France, just a few kilometers from Honfleur and Deauville and 1.5 hours from Paris.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

'Plan a Cruise Month' specials abound

With October designated National Plan a Cruise month by the CLIA, the Cruise Line Industry Association, many cruise lines are offering specials to encourage would-be cruisers to take the plunge.

Some Miami Beach restaurants misrepresenting automatic gratuity policy

Either out of ignorance or malice, workers at some restaurants in the area of Miami Beach, Fla., are misrepresenting a common area policy of automatically adding a gratuity, to the frustration of many restaurant customers and the consternation of industry and state officials.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Delta first U.S. airline to accept Apple Pay for tickets

Atlanta-headquartered Delta Air Lines has become the first U.S.-based airline to enable its customers to pay for flights using Apple Pay.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Worthwhile and worth(less) books on travel

Whether working for a major national publication or broadcast network or writing for one’s own blog, journalists receive an almost amazing number of book “pitches.” Some of the publications pitched are worth reading, a few are worth keeping, but many aren’t fit for fireplace fodder.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

American Cruise Lines names new ship for Pacific Northwest

American Cruise Lines has announced the new name for the ship that will move from its current route on the Mississippi River and join The Queen of the West on the Columbia and Snake Rivers in 2016.

OPINION: American Cruise Lines chooses wrong name for ship to cruise Pacific Northwest

Upon learning of American Cruise Lines’ decision to rename the Queen of the Mississippi the American Pride before moving it to the Pacific Northwest, I drafted the following email to Charles A. Robinson, Chairman of the Board and CEO of ACL. Because several emails were returned as undeliverable, I am publishing it here as an open letter.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

MIAMI BEACH: No tipping necessary (it's included!)

If you're traveling to Miami Beach, Florida, you may find it helpful to know that most of the bars and restaurants in the area add an automatic gratuity (tip) to their checks. The establishment's tip policy is usually noted somewhere on the menu and, if an automatic gratuity is included, it will be indicated on the bill by the word "gratuity," "service," "service charge" or something similar.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Delta expands overseas service for summer '16

As part of its ongoing aggressive expansion, Atlanta-headquartered Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) will add several new nonstop flights to Europe for the summer of 2016.

United's new CEO still doesn't get it

Since taking over Chicago-headquartered United Airlines (NYSE:UAL) on Sept. 8, the airline’s new CEO has been saying some of the right things but, as my late mother was fond of saying, “Actions speak louder than words.” So far, his actions haven’t measured up.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Do your travel homework, Part 2

Shortly after writing a post about doing one's homework before traveling, I stumbled upon yet another example of how a little bit of homework can pay huge dividends.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Getting around HND in style

Starting today, first class international passengers arriving on All Nippon Airways (ANA) flights from three major world gateways will be able to get around Tokyo’s Haneda Airport (HND) in style.