Friday, March 24, 2017

FRIDAY FRUMP: Alaska decision deeply disappointing

Alaska Air Group’s decision to kill the Virgin America brand, announced March 22, is deeply disappointing, and the stated rationale for the decision seems at least somewhat disingenuous.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Delta plans new daily nonstops between JFK, Rio

Pending government approval, Delta Air Lines will begin offering a new daily nonstop flight between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

‘Alaska’ to stay, ‘Virgin America’ to fade away

Many planned changes on target while others miss the mark


Seattle-headquartered Alaska Air Group, which completed its acquisition of Virgin America in December 2016, announced March 22 that it will retire the name Virgin America but create a combined airline that will adopt many of the brand elements identified as important by Virgin devotees.

American Cruise Lines announces Grand New England itinerary

American Cruise Lines, the largest U.S. cruise company, has unveiled its new Grand New England itinerary, an 11-day round-trip from Boston that combines the highlights of two existing itineraries and introduces some new ports of call as well.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

In-flight electronics banned on flights from Middle East, N. Africa

Passengers flying to the U.S. on non-stop flights from 10 major airports in the Middle East and North Africa will be required to place their laptops, tablets and other traveling electronics into their checked luggage and will no longer be allowed to have them in the aircraft cabins.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Royal Jordanian apparently backs away from ban on in-flight electronics

Royal Jordanian Airlines, the flag carrier airline of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, announced that it would prohibit virtually all in-flight electronics for flights to and from North America starting March 21 then, without explanation, deleted all references to the ban.

Delta announces new Seattle to Chicago non-stops

Atlanta-headquartered Delta Air Lines continues its aggressive expansion from its Pacific Northwest hub with the addition of three daily non-stop flights to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD).

Customer experience survey ranks Courtyard by Marriott best lodging provider

A survey of 10,000 consumers conducted by customer experience research, consulting, and training firm The Temkin Group showed that Courtyard by Marriott delivered the best customer experience in the hotel and rooms industry.

Accessing airport clubs economically

With many travelers making plans for their summer trips, it would also be a good time to look into those havens from the cacophony of the concourse known as airport lounges. Most commonly associated with a specific airline, these oases come at a cost but there are several ways to make the price of admission downright affordable. As well, there are more and more options to the so-called "legacy" lounges operated by the airlines.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Upmarket Vail hotel offers last-minute ski deal

The European-themed Sonnenalp Hotel in Vail, Colo., is offering guests the opportunity to experience its hospitality and luxury this spring at a bargain rate.

AAA Four Diamond status reconfirmed for upmarket Puerto Vallarta hotel

The Villa Premiere Boutique Hotel & Romantic Getaway in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico has been recognized as an AAA Four Diamond property for 2017, reconfirming the rating that has been granted to the hotel for the past 11 years.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Alaska Airlines adds six new destinations from San Diego

Seattle-headquartered Alaska Airlines announced March 15 that it is adding non-stop service to six new destinations from San Diego International Airport (SAN).

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Airline fares continue to rise in February CPI

Airline fares continued to rise in February, increasing 2.4 percent following a 2.0 percent rise in January and a 1.9 percent increase in December, according to the latest Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor.

Five-star Portuguese resort offers family Easter specials

Couples or families planning an Easter getaway that truly gets you away will want to consider the Easter special packages being offered by the five-star Martinhal Sagres Beach Resort in Portugal.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Winter Storm Stella snarling the skies

Winter Storm Stella is hammering the Northeast with heavy snow, high winds and accumulating ice, which will lead to major travel disruption.

Star Clippers waives solo supplement for select sailings

Tall-ship line Star Clippers has launched a promotion aimed at solo travelers and is waiving the single supplement charge for cruises on the Eastern and Western Mediterranean or Indonesia from April through October 2017.

Monday, March 13, 2017

New ratings company aims to shake up luxury hotel review space

A new ratings service, now just a year old, intends to usher in “a new generation of luxury hotel ratings” with reviews that are more objective than subjective and not subject to being influenced by advertising or other types of compensation.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Qatar Airways unveils upgraded Business Class

Doha-headquartered Qatar Airways unveiled upgrades to its Business Class that include private business class suites and seats that convert into a double bed in the sky.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Alaska Airlines announces 13 new nonstop routes from S.F. Bay Area

Three months after its acquisition of Virgin America, Alaska Airlines is growing its footprint in the San Francisco Bay area by adding daily nonstop flights to 13 new markets from two of the area’s major airports.

ANALYSIS: Two years on, US airlines' opposition to Gulf carriers rings hollow

The following article is an analysis of the opposition to three Persian Gulf airlines launched by the Big Three legacy U.S. airlines in 2015.

What has happened in the past 24 months?

By Kevin Mitchell
Chairman and founder, Business Travel Coalition

This week marks an unfortunate chapter in U.S. aviation history. It is the two-year anniversary of a dangerous and disappointing challenge to United States leadership in international aviation policy.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises names two new expedition ships

Five-star cruise line Hapag-Lloyd has decided upon names for two new, state-of-the-art expedition cruise ships that are under construction by a subsidiary of the Italian Fincantieri Marine Group.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

ANA selects design for its first A380

Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) has selected a special design for the livery of its first Airbus A380, which will be introduced on the Tokyo-Honolulu route starting in the spring of 2019.

Monday, March 6, 2017

NCL’s newest ship floats out from building dock in Germany

Norwegian Joy, soon to be Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship and first cruise ship custom-designed for China, was floated out of its building dock at Meyer Werft shipbuilders in Papenburg, Germany on March 4, bringing the ship closer to joining its sister ships on the high seas.

Friday, March 3, 2017

OPINION: US legacy carriers trying to block competition, preserve monopolies

U.S. legacy airlines are seeking to block competition, preserve monopoly market positions and keep fares and fees high. That is the position the Business Travel Coalition, an organization formed to interpret industry and government policies and practices.

Alaska Airlines to resume service to Mexico City

Alaska Airlines has received the U.S. Department of Transportation’s tentative approval to serve Mexico City’s Benito Juarez International Airport (MEX) from California’s three largest cities, which are all major hubs for the Seattle-headquartered carrier.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Luxury Turks and Caicos resort offers suite bargain

Blue Haven Resort, one of the newest and most luxurious properties in Turks and Caicos Islands, is offering a bargain for travelers who want to escape the winter cold with a tropical beach getaway.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Upmarket Belize hotel offers anniversary bargains

The San Ignacio Resort Hotel in San Ignacio, Belize, is celebrating its 40th anniversary as a family owned property by offering guests the opportunity to experience its newest luxury accommodations at a 30 percent discount through the end of June.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Norwegian Pearl unveils refreshed look in staterooms, public spaces

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Pearl has emerged from a two-week dry dock, revitalized with a fresh, modern look thanks to the cruise line’s Norwegian Edge™ program.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Many US airlines overestimated demand for Cuba travel

This article has been updated to include information received from Alaska Airlines

Five months after flights resumed from the U.S. to Cuba after a hiatus of more than a half century, several airlines have scaled back flights to the island nation because demand, particularly from the U.S. East Coast, has turned out to be dramatically lower than anticipated.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Voting open for the 2017 Freddie awards

Voting is now open for the 2017 Freddie Awards, where travelers decide which airlines and hotels have the best loyalty programs in the world.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Be the first to stay in this unique beachfront hotel suite

Tourism officials in Israel have come up with a novel way to raise the profile of the country and its high-tech capital as tourist destinations: convert a life guard tower into a luxury hotel suite, then hold a contest for the privilege of spending the night at the pop-up hotel.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Online travel agencies evolve for the future

Online travel agencies like Reservations.com, Travelocity and others, got their start as a supplemental marketing channel for hotels to sell unused inventory. They quickly evolved into much more than that, and their evolution continues. Recently, I had a conversation with Mahesh Chaddah, co-founder of Reservations.com, about the past, present and future in the world of OTAs.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Visit Vermont this spring to sample its sweet treats

The state of Vermont, the country’s top producer of maple syrup, is inviting visitors to explore both its sugar industry and its artistic offerings between mid-March and mid-April during a month-long period kicked off and concluded by maple festivals.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Holiday Hiatus

TheTravelPro will not publish on Monday, Feb. 20, in observance of the Presidents' Day holiday observance in the U.S. Publication will resume Tuesday, Feb. 21.

Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.



Friday, February 17, 2017

Marriott and Disney timeshares dominate list of top 25 rental resorts

Marriott and Disney resorts captured 16 of the top 25 rankings in RedWeek.com's annual report on the most popular timeshare rental resorts.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Delta brings back free meals in coach

Restoring an amenity eliminated by virtually all U.S. airlines nearly two decades ago, Atlanta-headquartered Delta Air Lines will once again be offering complimentary meals to many of its main cabin passengers.

New figures show how safe it is to fly with your pet

New figures compiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) show that pets had a better than one-in-ten thousand chance of emerging unscathed from a flight aboard a U.S.-based airline last year.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Hawaiian Airlines 2016's most on-time carrier

For the 13th year in a row, Hawaiian Airlines had the highest percentage of on-time arrivals of all U.S. airlines in 2016, according to a report just released by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Airline fares continue to rise in January CPI

Airline fares increased 2.0 percent in January following a 1.9 percent increase in December according to the latest Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor.

ANA launches 15th phase of 'Tastes of Japan'

Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) will launch the fifteenth phase of its “Tastes of Japan” campaign in March to highlight the cuisine of three more of the country’s prefectures.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

World’s most valuable airline brands belong to Big 3 U.S. carriers

According to the annual evaluation performed by valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance, the world’s most valuable airline brands in 2017 all belong to U.S. airlines.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Hotel offers guests who book Dubai chance to win Bangkok

The upmarket AVANI Deira Dubai Hotel has unveiled a promotion that gives guests booking a stay in Dubai the opportunity to win a four-night stay at its sister property in Bangkok.

TheTravelPro offers travel guides to worldwide destinations

Most travel guide books are encyclopedic in their approach: they tell a traveler everything they might ever want to know about their chosen destination. But their thoroughness can also make them as exciting and intimidating to read as an encyclopedia.

TheTravelPro’s guides take a different approach.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Caribbean Airlines unveils new, more user-friendly website

Caribbean Airlines, which directly serves 18 destinations in the Caribbean and North and South America, has unveiled a new website designed to make it easier for customers to book flights and access additional information about travel-related topics.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Author and adventure travel leader begins offering tours of Ireland

Peter Sommer Travel, which specializes in small-group expedition travel and archaeological tours, has begun offering tours of Ireland.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Report ranks transit links that connect to world airports

A new report ranks the transit links that connect many of the world’s largest metropolitan areas to their nearest airports. It may not come as a surprise that U.S. airports’ transit links rank fairly low on that list.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Norwegian extends Cuba sailings through December

Norwegian Cruise Line will extend its offering of weekly round-trip cruises from Miami to Cuba through December 2017, bringing to 30 the number of cruises between May and December.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Qatar claims longest passenger flight by duration

Qatar Airways has claimed the distinction of operating the world’s longest passenger flight by duration with the launch of daily service from its headquarters in Doha to Auckland, New Zealand.

Home of PGA Honda Classic offers golfers a ‘sneak peek’

South Florida’s PGA National Resort & Spa is offering a package that will allow a limited number of golfers to get an early preview of the course that will be the home of this year’s PGA Tour Honda Classic.

Friday, February 3, 2017

FRIDAY FRUMP: Icelandair ad strains credulity

Don’t you just hate it – or maybe you love it – when you catch an advertiser stretching the truth? I love it! And I particularly love calling them out for it.