Today, as never before, your clients’ price for travel purchases largely depends on when you buy them. It used to be that clients could be roughly placed in one of two groups: One that accepts the first offer before other buyers see it; and one that defers purchase decisions as long as possible.
- Those who follow the “buy it now” strategy know that when products are heavily promoted and advertised, the first offer is usually the best, and buyers who trail the pack won’t receive the same benefits or prices.
- Those that avoid making financial decisions feel that better opportunities are always available, if someone is willing to ferret them out.
If you’re looking to fly to Paris on a brand-new airplane at a fair price, French bee might just have a seat for you. The little sister of Air Caraïbes has been flying a fleet of Airbus A350s since 2018; last month it added LA and this week it begin selling tickets to Miami, for flights beginning in December. Read the rest of this entry »
The unprecedented lack of staffing in the hospital industry is creating ongoing service issues for travelers.
The impact of COVID-19 isolation, workers moving to other professions and the mass lay-offs that occurred early in the pandemic have wreaked havoc, creating an ongoing chaotic matrix of cancellations, delays, and service interruptions. Industry leaders are expecting the situation to continue for at least a year and advised travelers who are flying both abroad and domestically to prepare.
Flight tracker FlightAware indicates that in early April, more than 10,000 U.S. flights were canceled or delayed and the situation has continued throughout the month over Easter weekend. Almost all airlines were affected by staff shortages, technology glitches, and resulting logistical issues. Southwest, JetBlue, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Frontier, and Spirit all suffered service interruptions, exacerbated by severe weather disturbances across the country at major airports.
It is unclear whether the airlines have adequately anticipated the sudden surge in demand precipitated by the public’s perception, real or not, that the pandemic is at an end. Consulting firm Oliver Wyman indicates a pilot shortage exceeding 12,000 by 2023 as the pilot population ages into retirement. Because of the necessity for security and background checks, the recruitment period for airline and airport staffing has a much longer cycle than in many other hospitality industry segments.
Like the airlines, hotels and restaurants struggle to meet the surge. Hotels have cut back on housekeeping services and restaurants are struggling to employ enough staff, even as pay for new hires has dramatically increased. There are currently 1.7 million fewer positions filled in the restaurant industry than before the pandemic as many workers moved on to other professions. Combined with labor issues, consumers are facing higher prices for their vacations and business travel as industry segments try to improve their balance sheets and adjust pricing to meet the sudden increase in demand.
The situation extends beyond US borders. British Airways canceled more than 200 flights over the Easter weekend affecting an estimated 20,000 passengers and flights with routes to the Far East and the U.S. until September. EasyJet also postponed hundreds of flights over Easter.
Experts recommend travelers anticipate delays and service interruptions and have alternative plans in the event of cancellations, leaving additional time for arriving at any destination for a scheduled event or other travel.
Funny how things change. “Check in” used to mean you had arrived at the airport and were ready to fly. It told the airline you had gotten to the airport on time and hadn’t got stuck in a traffic jam and missed the flight. But now you can check in online the day before your flight. The airline doesn’t know if you have made it to the airport until you have boarded. Or if you check a bag. This time I checked a bag. Later I wished I had gate-checked it.
My flight from Newark to Kansas City was my first in nearly two years. I used to fly about once a month. Since the onset of Covid layoff it’s been a long time of not setting foot in an airport. It was wild to plunge back into the madness. I forgot how mad it is.
I had planned to use Uber to get to the airport, but the app on my phone wasn’t working. It needed an update to even function. And time was fleeting. I updated the app, but then it wouldn’t take my credit card. My account showed an old expiration date, and it wouldn’t let me update the information. “You already have this card on file,” it commanded. “Try another one.” I didn’t want to use another one. But I did. You can’t argue with an app Read the rest of this entry »
Last week, the CEO of American Airlines, Doug Parker said that checking passengers for proof of vaccination wouldn’t be physically possible on domestic flights without causing enormous delays to the airline system.
It’s tempting to compare Mr. Parker’s statements to similar ones made by tobacco and asbestos CEOs, who insisted that health authorities should not regulate their products. What he probably should have said was,“Without some form of proof that a person is vaxxed, and streamlined airport procedures, it isn’t physically possible for domestic flights to check passengers for proof of vaccination.”
Many of the problems airlines and airports encounter involving COVID-19 could be prevented if passengers couldn’t enter either without verified vaccination credentials and a one-minute COVID antigen swab test, or a breath analyzer test at a TSA security portal. Read the rest of this entry »
Last week, I flew roundtrip from Los Angeles to Oakland to see my grandson and his parents. It was my first time in the air in more than a year. Here’s a report card on how everyone did.
Southwest Airlines: Grade B-
Southwest was nearly the same as it was pre-pandemic. Fast on-time flights, courteous service by flight attendants with a sense of humor, and reasonable prices. Except for wearing masks on the flights, it was like the Delta variant of COVID-19 didn’t exist.
Because my wife and I are both fully vaxxed, but are “Infected Flier Hesitant,” we took an aisle and window seat in the front of the plane and put this sign on the middle seat between us. Read the rest of this entry »
Egypt has always been a draw for travelers. The monuments of ancient civilizations stand as rugged reminders of empires and cultures passed. These grand palaces, temples, and tombs are tremendous feats of engineering – milestones in the history of the world. Which brings us to Luxor. The Luxor Temple and Karnak are sites to behold, to wander about in awe of its hieroglyph-covered walls and columns… a magnificent museum open to the elements.
Known around the world for its wine, Mendoza is a jewel of Argentina. Technically considered a desert region, the extensive irrigation system around the city keeps the grapes growing and the wine flowing. Located just east of the Andes, and the highest mountain outside the Himalayas, there are also chances for adventure. From wandering around magnificent fountains in plazas to tastes that will excite the senses—this is Mendoza. Read the rest of this entry »