The U.S. plans to continue expanding their international preclearance locations. Currently at 15 locations in Abu Dhabi, Aruba, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, and Ireland, this addresses about 18% of inbound travelers. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) wants to nearly double this within ten years.

Some may recall that Delta Air Lines as well as the Air Lines Pilots Association expressed strong disagreement with the U.S. opening up preclearance in Abu Dhabi. After all, they reasoned, there is no way this will help any U.S. carriers since they fly from Dubai, not Abu Dhabi. Indeed, the big winner here was Etihad Airlines who just happens to be based here.

While it didn’t help U.S.-based airlines, the other big winner from all these Read More…

Posted by Carol Margolis | 3 Comments

Nothing buy American about this deal. After saying no to Boeing for their 787 aircraft, Delta Air Lines then snubbed General Electric for the engines for their new planes.

Rolls Royce

Instead, Delta committed to purchase 50 new Airbus aircraft and then announced that Rolls Royce will be supplying the $5 billion engines. The all-EU aircraft will be coming online in a few years.

Delta has long had a history of commitment to Boeing so what happened? Read More…

Posted by Carol Margolis | 2 Comments

According to Skift, Amazon plans to initiate a travel booking service around January 1. It will begin with a selection of hotels surrounding three cities – Los Angeles, Seattle, and New York. The article quotes one potential hotelier who said Amazon was looking for independent hotels with at least a 4-star rating on TripAdvisor and would limit the number of hotel offerings in each location. Amazon will charge hotels 15% for this service but that is compatible with many online travel agencies (OTAs) now.

Amazon logo

Apparently Amazon Travel sees this as only Read More…

Posted by Carol Margolis | 2 Comments

In a break from tradition, tech company Uber announced they will be offering long-distance service between Orlando and Tampa. Having driven this myself many times, it takes anywhere from about 90 minutes to two hours depending on where you start and where you end.

HighwayThe new service, called UberHighway, costs Read More…

Posted by Carol Margolis | 3 Comments

I like Uber. In fact, most people I know like Uber. Sure, many people can report a bad experience or two but anyone used to taxi drivers can say the same thing.

On a recent trip to a major city, I opted to use a taxi from my hotel to go back to the airport. It was a flat rate charge so I knew the fare before I left. Yes, I could have called Uber and made the same arrangements but the taxi was already at the hotel and I figuUberred the difference in fare would be minimal.

As I do in all cities I visit, I had a Read More…

Posted by Carol Margolis | 4 Comments

Hotels expect guests to take certain amenities in the room. Other things they expect you won’t take. So what does the latest hotel survey show for what leaves a hotel room to go home with us?

Hilton offered a recent survey of what their guests are taking and got some surprising results. They asked a thousand guests to complete a 5-minute online questionnaire. Results say that only 73% were taking room amenities typically found in the bathroom but more than half of the guests use everything available. For me, it depends on the quality of the shampoo as to whether I’ll even use it, much less take it home.

Hotel room amenitiesFor some unexplained reason, only 20% of the men took the shower caps but over half of them admitted to taking the body lotion. Since there are so many uses for shower caps (also here), I would have expected the numbers to be the other way around. Also, almost 20% of all the respondents take the amenitiesHotel maid cart to offer them to their own overnight house guests. I am definitely guilty of this.

And who knew, 31% of Millennials admit to taking room amenities off the housekeeping carts while only 13% of those over 55 did the same thing. I’m staying mum here.

As I check out of my Hilton Garden Inn tomorrow, I leave with a clean conscience (no pun intended) – this time!

Posted by Carol Margolis | One Comment

With the holiday travel season coming up, this seems like a good time to talk about canceled flights. Truth is, there is a lotLong line at airport we don’t know about why flights are canceled because airlines are not always forthcoming with details. Nevertheless, there is a lot we do know.

Flights are sometimes canceled because of natural disasters. This could mean anything from weather to volcanos erupting to unexpected issues relating to war torn areas. All of these are considered beyond the control of the carriers.
It is not uncommon for someone to say their flight shouldn’t be canceled because the weather is great in both the city they are flying from as well as their destination. However, the picture is often more complex than this. Very often the plane from their originating city is coming in from somewhere else where there may be weather issues. This, of course, creates a cascading effect.

And then there are sometimes problems with Read More…

Posted by Carol Margolis | 2 Comments

A Marriott Vacation Club timeshare owner filed a Federal lawsuit seeking class action status and claiming that when Marriott introduced their points program a few years ago, it reduced the value of his investment. He alleged that the number of people using the timeshare as a swap was reduced because of the points.

Marriott argued that buying points was beneficial to their customers because it offers them more flexibility. Of course, the points for each property vary depending on things like size of the unit, location, and season. Marriott Clubs even offer an elite status program.

Moreover, Marriott stated that the timeshare owner was Read More…

Posted by Carol Margolis | No Comments

The headline in the JetBlue Airways press release today said it all: JetBlue Outlines Plan to Drive Shareholder Returns. Beginning next year, JetBlue passengers will have a choice of three “branded fare bundle options.” The first of these will incur checked bag fees while the other two include one or two free checked bags “along with other attractive benefits.” Translation: The latter two ‘bundles’ will include a built-in additional charge for checked bags.

According to JetBlue, the changes announced today will generate an additional $400 million in annual revenue as well as reducing capital expenditures by an additional $900 million due to a six-year delay in ordering new aircraft.

JetBlue Airways

Within a couple years, JetBlue also plans to Read More…

Posted by Carol Margolis | 2 Comments

Travel to China has been anything but easy. The visa process was time consuming, expensive, and generally limited to only one year. Why the restrictions? Not surprising, each country (US and China) blamed the other saying they were just being reciprocal. This was sloppy government work at its finest.

However, two recent developments have changed the rules dramatically for travel to China.The first help came Read More…

Posted by Carol Margolis | 2 Comments

It was only last week when I wrote about the PaperClip Butterfly seating that converts from premium economy into business class seating. I asked if this was the future of airline seating.

Maybe not, if UK-based Factorydesign has its way. What if instead of seating, passengers actually flew in pods? Not just any pods, stacked pods in 3-D seating. The seating, named Air Lair, is a cocoon design supposedly with space for 30% more seats.

Air Lair

In Factorydesign’s world, there would be no need for separate cabins because all the seating would be Read More…

Posted by Carol Margolis | No Comments

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