Ritz Carlton is looking at building a second Las Vegas property, this time on the strip and with a residential component.
As United’s service at Denver shifts towards 45% regional jets, the Rocky Mountain News rehearses the usual complaints. While RJs are better than turboprops flying the same route, and better than connections when offering new service, they are unpleasant when increasingly replacing mainline service. Most don’t offer first class or adequate onboard luggage space.Their smaller size and lower operating costs are an advantage over traditional jets for markets that lack substantial traffic. But their biggest advantage comes from being operated by Express carriers with lower labor costs — the real problem facing the major carriers. In the end, regional jets are just a bandaid.
Some good basic answers to basic questions.Should you hoard your miles or “burn as you earn” instead? Scrambling to survive, many have imposed onerous new fees and higher award levels — despite the fact that mileage programs are a rare financial bright spot for most carriers. The Internet is now rife with angry screeds from irked collectors, with Delta’s SkyMiles members going so far as to start a formal group to agitate for improvements. Such blemishes in the programs’ structures could also play a role in determining how large a stash of miles you want to keep. A deteriorating asset is often best disposed of — and that might argue in favor of using miles even when you might get a low fare elsewhere. “This is like owning a stock whose value is declining and…
Several websites can track your miles and points for you, although I use Miletracker, a standalone application.
The Selective Service System has proposed registering women for the draft and requiring that Americans regularly inform the government about whether they have training in specific areas such as computers and linguistics. The proposal, recommended in 2003 and just being made public, also seeks to extend the age of draft registration to 34 years old, up from 25. How is this travel related? If I didn’t think that drafting women was a political non-starter, I’d be advising folks to book their tickets… Extending the age of draft registration won’t happen under the current administration, because it would be a signal that the status of current interventions are far worse than they’d like to suggest. But this one could happen during peacetime. Requiring registration of specific skills frightens me even more, but I think it would…
United, United Express
Qantas is offering roundtrip fares of $498 + tax from Los Angeles to Auckland and $598 + tax from Los Angeles to Sydney. Ticket by May 7th and depart by the end of May. The stay must last 7 days minimum, one month maximum. The minimum stay requirement makes this a decent vacation but not a trip worth flying just for the miles. Hat tip to David Rowell.Update: I indicated earlier that Qantas flights earned American Airlines miles, but this fare (booked in “Q” class) does not according to American’s website.You can, however, earn full mileage with Alaska, Continental, or USAirways. Bear in mind, though, that those will not be elite qualifying miles.
A three-pack from Smarterliving.com: Ed Perkins outlines credit card chargebacks, Zak Patten offers tips on planning a Hawaiian vacation, and Josh Roberts explains what most of us already know — that a hotel website’s “best rate guarantee” doesn’t actually mean it offers the best rate.
Your favorite frequent flyer program may be recording customer service calls for more than just quality and training purposes. Folks have long been aware that tapes of conversations can be good protection for a company to have later, but it’s interesting the business strategy and analysis that can come out of such recordings. Would an automated frequent flyer line, providing mileage balances or even upgrade processing, save money? That probably depends on how often flyers call to request balances or upgrades without purchasign tickets. Tracking software can help answer those questions, and even warn managers if there’s an uptick in the frequency of the phrase “cancel my account.”
USAirways plans to deemphasize hubs in favor of more point to point service. I’m in general a big fan of the currently disfavored hub and spoke system, but USAirways is desperate. They lost $177 million last quarter with post-bankruptcy costs and their Philadelphia hub is being challenged by Southwest. Besides, USAirways has poorly placed hubs to begin with. With Charlotte, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh, USAirways passengers are constantly overflying USAirways hubs. They aren’t positioned for passenger convenience, but merely duplicate service. And with existing concentration cities in places like Washington, DC, Boston, and LaGuardia, their most lucrative routes bypass their hubs to begin with. USAirways desperation watch continues…