Aeromexico recently announced new and improved flight schedules from both Washington and New York. From DC, nonstop flights to Mexico City, via B737, will leave earlier in the day and return home sooner, beginning this week. New seasonal service from New York to Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta will begin in January 2014. Also added to its current New York-Cancun schedule will be three more weekly flights. The additional flights increase Aeromexico’s connectivity options from New York, with 42 flights now scheduled weekly. In addition, Aeromexico recently began non-stop service between Las Vegas and Guadalajara under its new product, Aeromexico Contigo. Flights will be four times weekly. Aeromexico 12/3/12
A section of a commuter train line between the Bronx and part of Westchester County could be closed for a week or more and Governor Cuomo warned commuters to expect long delays. The Metro-North train derailed as it went into a bend in the railway line near Spuyten Duyvil station on Sunday, killing four people. The train was traveling at 82 mph in a 30 mph zone. Metro-North is a rail service that serves commuters from New York City’s northern suburbs, but is not part of the NYC subway system. TravelMole 12/2/13
Led by US Air CEO Doug Parker, the new American’s employees will act on plans crafted in the past eight months. They face structural tasks that include melding frequent-flier plans and deciding on a regional-jet fleet, as well as details such as picking an aircraft paint scheme. Pay raises and other contract changes agreed to earlier for all employees will take effect soon, as part of the merger agreement the airlines unveiled in February. American will need to avoid technological pitfalls like the computer failures that snarled flights at United/Continental after its 2010 tie-up, while also making good on a pledge to achieve $1 billion in cost savings and new revenue. Bloomberg BusinessWeek 11/27/13
Hilton Worldwide has streamlined its process of booking small meetings, as it looks to spur lagging group reservations. Its “Meetings Simplified” service is geared toward groups with 25 people or less. The service, which is being offered at more than 1,800 U.S. hotels, offers meeting bookers choices in food-and-beverage, WiFi, projector use and other amenities. Pricing is offered on a per-person basis. The hotel chain is responding to a survey of meeting planners who reported that booking meetings took too long. TravelWeekly 11/27/13.
To help replace sequestration’s automatic budget cuts, lawmakers might raise the airline passenger security fee. Congress isn’t expected to raise taxes as part of any 2014 budget deal, but it might hike some “user fees” the federal government charges businesses and individuals. A likely possibility: An increase in a passenger security fee that industry lobbyists warn could add to the price of plane tickets. Right now the passenger security fee per ticket is $2.50 for each leg of a trip, with the total fee to get to a destination capped at $5. Analysts predict that the fee could be doubled to $5 per trip each way. CNNMoney, 12/2/13
In the U.S. travel industry, where 2% to 3% growth is considered solid and 5% is exceptional, mobile booking continues to surge at exponential rates, according to a recent study by PhoCusWright. In 2015, Americans will book $39.5 billion worth of reservations on their mobile devices, accounting for 12% of all travel sales, according to the survey. Those numbers represent more than a fivefold jump from the $6.15 billion in sales and 2% market share that mobile represented in 2012, and they illustrate the growing ubiquity of the smartphone and tablet. Travel Weekly 12/1/13
Corporate travel managers rated Delta Air Lines #1 this year in the Business Travel News Annual Airline Survey for the 3rd consecutive year. Delta was tops among all carriers in nine of 10 categories, posting stellar scores in, Value of Relationships with Account Managers and Sales Representatives. Not only are Delta’s survey results industry-leading, but many respondents spouted glowing praises, singling out Delta account reps for exceptional service. Buyers also cited Delta’s flexibility in structuring corporate agreements, the reporting it provides to corporate accounts and its handling of service disruptions. All this demonstrates the heights to which Delta soars to assist its passengers. Keep climbing, Delta.
A federal bankruptcy judge has cleared the way for American Airlines and US Airways to complete their merger and create the world’s largest airline. The judge ruled that this month’s settlement of an antitrust lawsuit filed by the federal government did not upset American’s bankruptcy-reorganization plan, which is built around the merger. He rejected a request by a group of consumers to block the deal temporarily. American plans to complete the deal on Dec. 9.
Airline ticket prices have risen in some cities where carriers have trimmed domestic air service, while other airports that gained flights experienced price decreases. Prices have risen 6.5% on average, after inflation at the top 100 airports in the 48 contiguous states, between the 1st quarter of 2005 and the 1st quarter of 2013. Fares varied widely from airport to airport, and several airports experienced far greater increases.
The FAA will soon direct airlines to avoid flying Boeing 747-8 and 787 Dreamliners with General Electric engines near thunderstorms after some aircraft experienced ice buildup in their engines. Carriers affected by the warning include Japan Airlines, Lufthansa, United Airlines and Cathay Pacific Airways. The warning led Japan Airlines to pull 787s from two international routes
United opened its new Network Operations Center (NOC) on the 27th floor of the iconic 108 story Willis Tower in Chicago, Illinois last June and is settling in well. At over 52,000 square feet it is the largest, most technologically advanced airline nerve center in the world. From here, United coordinates and oversees over 5300 flights per day throughout its international network.
The Transportation Security Administration program launched nationwide in October 2011, rewards trusted travelers with relaxed procedures reminiscent of the pre-9/11 days. Passengers can keep jackets and shoes on, leave laptops and compliant liquids in their carry-on bags and walk through old-fashioned metal detectors, not the new body-image scanners. Since its introduction, more than 20 million passengers have benefited from this rapidly expanding program which has set a goal of funneling 25% of all travelers through speedier security, including PreCheck by year’s end and 50% by the end of 2014.