With the economy slowly but surely returning back to normal, business travel is back on the rise. In the first quarter of this year, business travel accounted for 56.8% of all trips taken, making it the most popular reason for travel. For hotels, business travelers are their bread and butter, accounting for almost 20% of occupied room nights in the United States and 30% of lodging industry revenue.
While this recent increase in travel for both business and pleasure is undoubtedly good news for hotels, airlines and the like, it appears that as a result, U.S. hotels are less willing to cut corporate travel managers a deal on hotel rates.Unlike small companies (or the average traveler), corporations don’t simply book employee business travel on third party booking sites such as Priceline or Expedia. Instead, each fall, corporate travel managers negotiate the following years’ rates with the hotels they do business with – and for better or for worse, they are locked into these rates for the following year.
According to research conducted by Bjorn Hanson, divisional dean of the Tisch Center for Hospitality at NYU, corporate travel managers can expect to pay between 5 – 6% more when booking hotel rooms for business travelers in 2014. Unfortunately, corporations aren’t the only ones that will pay more for lodging in the upcoming year – overall, the average daily rate for hotel rooms has risen by 4.5%. According to Nashville-based STR, the average daily rate for US hotels through July is $109.95.
While a 5 – 6% rate increase may not be crippling to independent travelers, this type of rate increase can have a massive impact on the travel budgets of large corporations that spend hundreds of thousands per year on business travel.
As a result, many corporations are opting to work with more affordable hotels (such as Holiday Inn) as opposed to luxury, full service hotels. Others are simply allowing their employees to choose their own accommodations, as long as they stay within the allotted budget – a tactic which is appealing to millennials who prefer to make their own decisions.
- What should you expect from your business travel provider? (practicallyperfectpa.com)
- Short-Term Apartment Rentals: What You Need to Know (apartmentguide.com)
- Business travel spending expected to rise in 2014 (nbcnews.com)
- Business travel goes super sci fi, leaps forward 50 years (tnooz.com)
You’ve had a long, busy trip and are planning to keep sleeping until you land in your home airport. You’ve just boarded your flight, have stowed your bags, buckled your seatbelt and have just begun to nod off when you’re jolted awake by a blood-curdling scream from two rows back. Ah yes, the infamous in-flight screaming baby.
Whether you’re a parent trying to calm down your child or a fellow passenger trying to tune out the noise, dealing with a screaming child in-flight can be a stressful experience. With this in mind, some airlines in Asia have begun offering “no-kid zones.” This past summer, the budget airline Scoot (a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines) began offering a new seating zone on their airplanes – the appropriately named ScootinSilence.The ScootinSilence section, which is only open to passengers over the age of 12, is positioned directly behind business class and occupies four rows. The 41 seat section costs an additional $15 per ticket, but for those looking to spend their flight napping, the investment may be worth it. When asked about this decision in a recent interview with The Australian, Scoot’s CEO Campbell Wilson said, “No offence to our young guests or those travelling with them — you still have the rest of the aircraft.”
Scoot isn’t the first airline to put restrictions on their younger passengers. If you’re a parent looking to fly first class on Malaysia Airlines with your young ones, you’re out of luck. Recently, the airline opted to ban children under the age 12 from sitting in the first class upper deck of some of their flights. When asked about the decision, the Malaysia Airlines stated they made the move after receiving too many noise complaints from first class passengers. As an alternative, the airline offers a 350-seat “family friendly” economy zone on the lower deck with facilities to suit families. These include eight toilets and its own entrance, separate to the one used by first class passengers.
We’d love to hear your feedback. Do you think this is a good idea? Parents, would you prefer to be seated in a “kid friendly” section, or do you think this type of seating arrangement is unfair? Share with us in the comments section below or post your thoughts to our Facebook page.
- Kid-free flights? Airlines say no way (dailytelegraph.com.au)
When it comes to taking medicine with you on a flight, many people are unsure of the proper protocol. If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of traveling with a cold, what should you pack, tablets or cold syrup? And if you do bring cough syrup with you through airport security, is it subject to the Travel Security Administration’s 3 ounce or less 3-1-1 rule for liquids?
If given the option, your best bet is to skip the liquid medicine and pack tablets or gel caps in your carry on luggage instead. This way, you can simply avoid any issues at the TSA security check point.
That being said, the TSA does allows some wiggle room for what it refers to as medically necessary liquids, such as liquid medicine, baby formula and breast milk. However, they do not clarify if over the counter medicines are considered “medically necessary,” meaning it can be left up to the discretion of each airport’s security team.
If you strongly prefer liquid medicine over tablets or gel caps but don’t want to chance having a full bottle discarded at security, you may also be able to locate travel size bottles of certain brands of cold medicine at your local pharmacy. Alternatively, you may also simply transfer your liquid medicine into a travel size container and include it in your 3-1-1 liquids bag at the TSA checkpoint.
If you have no particular preference between tablets or liquid cold medicine, your best bet is to simply stick with cold tablets. Not only will they take up less space in your carry on luggage, but if you need to take a dose in flight, you won’t have to worry about any spillage.
In fact, if you find yourself traveling often, it may be a smart idea to simply set aside a separate bag of travel-friendly over the counter medicines to have available, should you need them.
- Airline Travel – The Steps For Boarding a Plane (itravel01.wordpress.com)
There’s no two ways about it, traveling during the holiday season is rough. Not only are airports and highways busier than ever, but so are you. If you’re planning on spending the holiday season out of town, you now have the added stress of not only packing and making travel arrangements, but also ensuring that all of your holiday gifts are purchased and make it to the appropriate destination.
With this in mind, we asked our in-house travel experts: when heading out of town for the holidays, what’s the best way to ensure that your holiday gifts arrive at the appropriate destination?
Shopping before you go
With so much going on during the holiday season, the last thing many people want to worry about is last minute holiday shopping. For this reason, many people tend to purchase their holiday gifts before they leave town.
While going this route may put your mind at ease, logistically, this may create a bit of a headache during travel. Depending on how many gifts you need to transport, you may pay extra baggage fees due to additional weight — you may even find yourself paying extra for a suitcase reserved solely for gifts! If you do plan on this option, remember, do not wrap your presents until you arrive at your destination, as TSA may need to unwrap them for security purposes. Also, make sure none of your gifts are on the TSA’s list of prohibited items.
Shopping upon arrival
If you have a day or two to squeeze in some shopping and you’re going to an area with plenty of stores (a large city or somewhere in close proximity to shopping), this may be a good option. However, if you’re planning on visiting a tropical island two days before you’re due to exchange gifts, you may find yourself gifting hotel gift shop trinkets to your loved ones. While we all know it’s the thought that counts, the little ones in your family may not be overjoyed to receive a conch shell with googly eyes.
Your best bet?
The TravelPro team agrees: if it’s possible, your best option is to shop for the bulk of your presents online, then have them delivered to your destination. This will allow you to get your shopping done ahead of time, without having to worry about the logistics of getting your gifts from point A to point B. You save yourself the hassle and cost of a heavy suitcase, or even a second suitcase. Everyone gets what they want, and you get to relax and shop on your own time.
Or you could just give gift cards.
- How to Buy Holiday Gifts That Won’t be Regifted (doorinface.com)
- Top Tips to get your Holiday Orders in time (shapeways.com)
- How to buy holiday gifts without losing your mind (katieleigh.wordpress.com)
- Buy This, Not That: Holiday Edition (money.usnews.com)
- 10 Tips for Holiday Shopping 2013 (suddenlyfrugal.com)
There’s nothing worse than having a delayed or cancelled flight, especially if you’re on a tight schedule or need to pick up a connecting flight. However, if you’re feeling as if you’ve been running into less complications and delays while traveling this year, you’re not mistaken: records show that when it comes to flight times, things are looking up.
According to the US Department of Transportation, flight times for the first half of 2013 (January to June) were the best they’ve been in 19 years. During this period, the top 16 airlines arrived at their destinations within 15 minutes of the scheduled time 78.1% of the time. In addition, flight cancellations are at the seventh-lowest rate in 19 years, with only 1.68% of flights being cancelled during the first half of this year.
Why the sudden change? While airlines have become much more focused on customer experience in the recent years, it’s safe to say that the effort to stay on schedule is also a cost-saving measure. Flight delays aren’t just frustrating for passengers, they can also be quite costly for the airlines themselves.
Researchers from Northern Illinois University recently discovered that every minute a flight is delayed at the gate resulted in a $30 increase in costs for the airline. Additionally, the US Department of Transportation has created stricter penalties for tarmac delays, fining airlines up to $27,500 per passenger for violations of this rule. Last month, United Airlines was hit with a $1.1 million fine for tarmac delays at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.
Of course, the improvement in flight times also has something to do with the economy. According to Alan Bender, professor of Aeronautics at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, “Airline mergers and the lackluster economy have meant fewer flights — and fewer flights means less congestion and therefore, better on-time performance.”
Wondering which airline and airport to select in order to improve your chances of being on time? According to the US Department of Transportation’s report, the most on-time airlines were Hawaiian Airlines, Alaska Airlines and Frontier Airlines. The least on-time were American Eagle Airlines, AirTran Airways and ExpressJet Airlines. When it comes to airport delays, much of it has to do with weather. Newark’s Liberty International had the lowest on-time arrivals at 67.1%, and Phoenix had the highest, with 85.46% of flights arriving on time.
We’d love to hear your feedback. Have you noticed an improvement in arrival times this year? Tell us in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.
- Airlines improved on-time performance in August (seattlepi.com)
- United Airlines Fined $1.1 Million for Long Tarmac Delays (on.aol.com)
- Airlines On Endless Quest for Better Boarding (travelproluggageblog.com)
Before embarking on an international trip, there are a lot of things to consider, the largest of which is money. When traveling abroad, is it better to bring cash or credit cards? And if you do opt to bring cash, should you bring US dollars to exchange upon arrival, or should you change your currency before you even leave the US?When traveling internationally, I use debit and credit cards as my main form of currency as in most cases, it’s more cost-effective to use a debit or credit card to withdraw local currency upon arrival. This method will allow you to exchange your US dollars into local currency at the wholesale exchange rate, which is typically better than what a local currency exchange would offer. Additionally, most local banks and currency exchanges will add on a transaction fee, which will usually be around 2% of your total transaction. By using an ATM, the only fee you may get hit with is an ATM fee, which will be similar to what you’d pay at an out-of-network ATM in the United States.
However, I also exchange a small amount of money — enough to last a day or so — prior to leaving the United States. I recommend this to all international travelers, as in the event that you run into issues withdrawing money, you won’t find yourself stranded and penniless in a foreign country.
There is a slim chance that your bank may flag your transaction as suspicious, especially if you forgot to call to inform them of your travels prior to leaving! Also, many countries around the world now rely on chip and pin (or EMV) credit cards. While most retailers will still accept magnetic strip cards, this isn’t always the case.
Of course, there are circumstances where cash is the only way to go. Many people are surprised to learn that US debit cards are virtually useless in many countries. In some countries (such as Myanmar), ATMs are not connected to international networks. In other countries (like Japan) debit cards are much smaller, and the standard US card is not sized correctly for ATMs.
Depending on your destination, your best bet is to use a credit card as your primary source of funds. However, no matter where you’re headed, it pays to do your research before you leave.
When it comes to air travel, competition doesn’t just exist between airlines, it also exists between the airports themselves. Unfortunately, many small, regional airports find themselves struggling to stay competitive with larger and more recognizable international airports. For this reason, many of these smaller airports are now turning to loyalty programs to attract frequent fliers.
In a competitive market, such a move makes sense, especially for airports that must compete against neighboring airports that offer more frequent flights and a wider variety of airlines and destinations.
According to Debby McElroy, executive vice president of policy and external affairs for Airports Council International-North America, “Airports recognize that there is competition not only among airlines but also between airports. Loyalty programs can help an airport stand out among its competitors.”
These new airport loyalty programs aren’t too dissimilar from those offered by rental car companies or hotel chains. The programs are typically free and offer frequent fliers perks such as airline miles, parking deals, or discounts at the airport’s shops and restaurants for simply flying to and from the airport. For example, Gainesville Regional Airport offers registered members of their Road Warrior Club access to a private lounge, and those that travel at least once per month are awarded special perks and freebies.
While some airports operate their own loyalty programs, many (such as Bob Hope Airport) participate in the popular Thanks Again’s loyalty program. The program currently works with over 40 airports in the United States and over 170 airport shops and restaurants. Travelers who register with the program can earn points, which can be used towards miles in the loyalty programs of many major airlines, including American Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways.
Smaller regional airports may not have the big name draw or offer as many travel options as their larger counterparts. However, regional airport loyalty programs appear to be working well to draw in new travelers.
We want to hear from you: when it comes to air travel, are you more apt to fly into a smaller regional airport or larger international airport? Would a loyalty program sway your preference? Share with us in the comments section.
- Wichita airport unveils customer loyalty program (kansas.com)
- Brand loyalty programs: Are they effective ? (newmediaandmarketing.com)
- What the airline industry needs to know about social loyalty (tnooz.com)
Any parent can attest to the fact that traveling with small children can be rough, especially when it comes to air travel, as forcing kids to sit in one place for hours on end doesn’t always go as ideally as it should.
In order to keep the peace (and avoid receiving the death glare from your fellow passengers) it’s important to keep your kids properly entertained during the duration of the flight. When it comes time to select in-flight entertainment for kids, which is the better option: an iPad, or good, old-fashioned toys?At face value, a tablet or iPad seems to be the most logical option for parents looking to keep their kids entertained on a flight, as it can be used to play games, watch movies, listen to music and even read books. The wide variety of apps and entertainment options on a tablet mean that kids of all ages, even toddlers, can find ways to be entertained on a tablet.
On the downside, a tablet requires battery life, an electrical outlet to charge up, and depending on what you’re attempting to do, a wifi connection. If your kids tend to get antsy during takeoff and landing, you’ll find yourself scrambling for ways to keep them entertained until you can power your device back on. Also, if you’re traveling with more than one kid, relying on a single tablet or iPad for entertainment will bring you to another issue: potentially manning a tug-of-war as your children fight over who gets to use the tablet.
The Final Verdict?
While it ultimately depends on the personal preference of your children, the TravelPro team suggests you bring along an iPad or tablet for in-flight entertainment, as it’s the most versatile option (and easiest to pack!) That being said, be sure to bring along some stories, travel games, or coloring books as a back-up option.
- Southwest, Dish offer free iPad entertainment to travelers (tuaw.com)
- Thin enough to carry around all day: iPad air review (standard.co.uk)
- Southwest & Dish to provide passengers in-flight entertainment via Apple’s iPad 2 (cyberparse.co.uk)
- State Of the Art: IPad Air Is Lighter, Thinner and Faster (nytimes.com)
If you’re an avid traveler, you may have noticed that this year’s biggest airline trend has been something everyone can appreciate: convenience. Airlines are looking for new ways to provide faster, more efficient service to their passengers, so many of them are turning towards mobile technology to accommodate their passengers’ needs and stay ahead of the competition.
If you’re an avid smartphone user, you know one thing is true: almost everyone has a mobile app these days. Some are useful; others, not so much. In keeping up with the times, most major airlines now offer mobile apps, which allow travelers to check on flight status or find other basic travel information. However, there’s only so much you can do via most mobile apps before you find yourself calling a 800 number — something which United Airlines kept in mind when re-designing their mobile app this summer.
United Airlines’ updated app (available on iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 8 and Blackberry 10) goes behind the basic features, allowing travelers to manage their journey in real time. For example, the updated app is designed to ease the stress of flight delays and cancellations. When a flight is cancelled or delayed, a passenger may find alternate flights and travel options directly via the mobile app, as opposed to dealing with a crowded airport help desk.
In addition, United Airlines’ mobile app currently supports a mobile boarding pass, which allows travelers to simply scan the barcode on a screen at airport security checkpoints. This feature is currently available in over 40 major international airports. United aims to have this option available at all airports they serve by this coming fall.
In a recent statement, United Airlines’ Vice President of Merchandising and e-commerce Scott Wilson stated, “The new features and updated look of these apps give travelers increased convenience, flexibility and control. United will continue to invest in building powerful mobile tools for our customers with many significant enhancements scheduled to roll out over the next year.”
What other convenience features would you like to see United and other airlines include in future iterations of their mobile apps?
- FWA now accepting mobile boarding passes (wane.com)
- This Is What Boarding Passes Should Look Like (wired.com)
- I Will Never Print My Boarding Pass Again (intercall.com)
- 5 Ways Location-based Apps Enhance Travel (wcgworld.com)
- Airports and Airlines Struggle to Meet Mobility Expectations of More Than 60% of Travelers Surveyed, Despite WiFi Wake-Up Call 12 Months Ago (sys-con.com)
- How The Explosion In Travel Apps Makes It Easier For Marketers To Reach Affluent Frequent Flyers (embargozone.com)
- Air travellers in the slow lane on technology (itpro.co.uk)
With the cost of travel continually rising, everyone is looking to save a few bucks when booking airline tickets. However, when it comes to finding the lowest airfare, everyone seems to have their own, often differing, advice to share when it comes to when and how you should purchase a flight.
When it comes to saving money on air travel, many people insist that when you book your ticket has the biggest impact on ticket price. In fact, a quick Internet search will leave you inundated with a wide variety of tips on how far in advance you should book your ticket, the best day of the week and time of day to purchase, and the cheapest day to travel on. But is there any truth to these recommendations, or are these “expert tactics” simply myths?When it comes to selecting which time to fly, many people suggest travelling mid-week and during off hours — particularly on one of those dreaded red eye flights. If you’re hoping to use this tactic to save a bit of money on airfare, you’re in luck – avoiding popular travel times (such as Friday afternoon) can help you save a few dollars on the cost of travel.
Unfortunately, if you’re hoping to score a great deal on airfare by purchasing your tickets on a specific day of the week or at a certain time, you may not be so lucky. Up until a few years ago, it was possible to save money on travel by using this tactic, however, times have changed. While it may work on occasion, purchasing airfare at a certain time isn’t a guaranteed way to score a lower fare.
If you’re looking to score the best deal possible on an upcoming trip, your best bet is to do some research on average airfare prices for the route you’re flying, begin monitoring prices a few months in advance, and snap up your tickets when you find a good deal. Remember, prices can jump very fast, so it pays to simply strike while the iron’s hot!
- Proliferation of Websites has led to Easy Booking of Airline Tickets (besttraveldeals4u.wordpress.com)
- Understanding the Hidden Taxes and Fees Associated with Airline Travel (turbotax.intuit.com)
- 5 Ways to Get Great Deals on Holiday Travel (epicatravel.com)
- Killer Tips For Finding Cheap Airline Tickets (buddyjacksonsepicinfo.wordpress.com)