Thursday, April 23, 2009

Marriott is excited to announce but I am not excited to hear

Marriott is about to announce something new .--- Elite Rollover Nights! an idea that was suggested via Marriott Rewards Insiders.
Ooo ! frustration, at not being able to achieve the ever elusive goal! Dilemma. - Should I abandon the present goal and go for the next one that offers a better deal - double nights?
A release from Marriott claims that this program will help you achieve – and increase – your Elite status. With Elite Rollover Nights, after you’ve stayed enough nights to earn Elite status in 2009, They will roll over all additional nights to 2010. That means you can start earning next year’s status this year! This has never before been an option. Many people would have liked this last year but I don’t think that many will qualify for this program this year due to the economy. Last year, I made the 75 nights needed to re-qualify for Platinum status and then I started using my points for free stays. I assume that they want to discourage this practice.
Plus, to help members get a head start Marriott is offering Double Nights. Between May 11 and June 26, every night you stay counts twice!
Apparently I can never win with the infamous MegaBonus from Marriott Rewards!. I received a good offer this year to earn 50,000 miles if I stay25 nights at Marriott from February 1 through April 30, 2009. Unfortunately, the bar is always too high for me to earn Megabonus points. I am 4 nights short of the 25 nights needed and was considering staying in a hotel for the weekend to make it up but I won’t be eligible for the double points yet and feel that I should stop letting Marriott dictate when I stay because it never works out for me. (The bar goal is fewer nights for silver Elites to achieve) I am not keen to embark on another offer that manipulates me where I may be made to feel disappointed if I fall short by a few nights. They hold the Platinum carrot out but they don’t really want Platinum members. They have given thousands of people silver membership even if they have not made any 2008 stays, but if I were to make 70 nights and not the 75 nights, ( as I did one year) I am sure that they would not waive the 5 missing nights required per year.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Airlines new revenue sources alienate their customers

American Airlines and United Airlines have found a new revenue source called the “fat tax” They are going to charge larger people double if the flight is full. The real problem here is that it gives the flight attendants more of a “Police” job and respects passenger’s right to dignity even less. The carrier is not shipping products or containers that are categorized by weight. They are transporting people. Will travelers have to endure the humiliating scale prior to flights, or squeeze into a version of the dreaded carry-on example cage?”
This is an update on my April posting about Ryanair’s CEO saying that they are considering “installing a coin slot on the toilet door”? ”- and my March posting on the Cash PRIZE for the “BEST””suggestion for revenue ideas resulted in Ryanair claiming that most of the people entering the competition, are for charging the obese.
Ryanair may discontinue flying to Weeze, in Germany to cut costs and I think that they should stick to practical solutions like this, rather than alienating their customers. Easyjet is worse to alienate their Pilots by getting them to pay for their own coffee.
According to De Telegraaf, Ryanairs options to implement a fat tax, include a charge per kilogram over 130 kg for men and 100 kg for women; a charge for every waist inch over 45 inches for men and 40 inches for women; and a charge for a second seat if a passenger's waist touches both armrests simultaneously.

Most airlines don’t charge their Elite members for checked bags. For example;-CO, DL and AAdvantage Executive Platinum members are exempt from the charges for checked baggage. Will these policies extend to exempting overweight passengers for the extra pounds?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Continental closer to joining United and Star Alliance

At a cocktail party I was interested to hear from Shannon Holden, that Continental Airlines has long term plans to develop Houston (IAH) airport on the same design plan as Atlanta airport.Holden is a Senior Vice President of Global Real Estate and Security at Continental Airlines.

On April 7, 2009 the U.S. Department of Transportation tentatively approved the application for Continental Airlines to join the existing alliance between United and eight other Star Alliance member carriers on international routes. Regarding SkyTeam, as previously announced, Continental intends to end its participation in the SkyTeam Alliance after the last scheduled flight on Oct. 24, 2009.

OnePass Members:
• Will continue to earn OnePass miles on Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines for all qualifying flights through Oct. 24, 2009.
• May book and ticket reward travel using OnePass miles for travel on Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines through Oct. 24, 2009.
• Must complete all reward travel on or before Oct. 24, 2010.
• Will continue to receive Elite upgrade privileges on Northwest through Oct. 24, 2009, or the date of the Delta SkyMiles and Northwest WorldPerks loyalty program integration, whichever comes earlier.
Presidents Club Members:
• May continue to access Delta Crown Room and Northwest WorldClub airport lounges through Oct. 24, 2009.
Continental will continue to work through the details of their exit from SkyTeam and planned entry into Star Alliance, but anticipate that participation in Star Alliance will begin promptly after leaving SkyTeam.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

BA Club World gets Fast track que, but travel has lost Glamor

I heard from an EasyJet pilot after my previous post on the airline wanting pilots to bring their own Coffee or pay for refreshments. The pilot took a photo of his 5 am,“full English breakfast” provided to get him through an 8 hour day. He made a plucky quip about his elite lifestyle and a pertinent remark about how EasyJet would rather save a few pennies than fend off fatigue.

Remember the 2 Hawaiian Airlines pilots who fell asleep and flew past their destination in Feb 2008? It may end up costing EasyJet more than the cost of a cup of coffee. Then again, they are not so badly off when you consider that Ryanair’s may “install a coin slot on the toilet door” and Russia has also started charging the Astronauts to pee. Astronaut Michael Finck told AP that “there was no fighting over the toilet in Orbit" after Russia started charging other space agencies for food and equipment on the international space station “.
The USA managed to get the original Astronauts to enlist for the job because it was sold to them as being an elite sort of airline pilot career. On April 9 1959 (50 years ago) NASA's first seven astronauts started to enthrall us. Airmen were considered glamorous and even recently, it was an honor to sit next to one in first class but now they have to ride in the back if they are not driving the flying bus.
Some pilots are requesting passengers of EasyJet to bring extra food with them so they can feed the crew. You might want to bring along some coffee to keep your Capt awake. The crew are not a happy and motivated work force. Children will suffice with cereal, but I know enough about men to know that if you don’t give them a hearty breakfast of eggs and bacon, they don’t consider it breakfast. The photo was taken with disdain for the meager ration.
Interesting that easyJet stated that removing coffee saves £400k. The same amount as the CEO and FD got in bonuses this year!! Hmm. ;)
Add on charges are rampant, most of the major U.S. airlines charge $15 to $35 to book your flight over the phone and typically charge $15 to check that first bag and another $25 for that second bag -- each way so that “low-cost”, fare can end up as expensive as the other prices.
Southwest Airlines, who advertize that they don’t charge any extras,- commented that selling snacks and sandwiches on board "was intriguing " Southwest do not charge to check luggage and JetBlue don’t either but JetBlue does charge $7 for pillows.

The British Airways B747-400 business class (new Club World) flights to Asia, are still considerably luxurious, and the fast track queue for business and first class passengers helps make travel easier, but travel is still a far cry from the days of The British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) that was very glamorous until dissolving in 1946.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

BA will cut Pay and EasyJet wants Pilots to pay for tea

Easy Jet wants Pilots to bring their own Coffee or pay for refreshments, according to De Telegraaf. Only one problem – They don’t even let Cabin crew take liquids on board and some pilots earn less than $20K a year….Low cost airline, Easy Jet has been feeling left out of all the publicity that has made Ryan Air notorious. Remember my February posting about Ryanair’s CEO saying that they are considering “installing a coin slot on the toilet door”? ”-
My March posting explained the Cash PRIZE for the “BEST””suggestion for revenue ideas like, a seat belt fee or charging for toilet paper – with CEO O’Leary’s face on it, and now Easyjet want to get onto the publicity bandwagon. Their March load factor was down 2.8 pct points and the new Chairman Michael Rake, will reportedly ask Pilots to pay for their own tea. EasyJet is a low cost airline, trading on Britain's FTSE 100 stockmarket, and are invested in every segment of the consumer market from cell phones to EasyPizza franchisees.
The Times reported that BA will CUT PAY. British Airways' 13,500 cabin crew could see marked reductions in pay and holiday allowances. Next they will be asking elite passengers to take a hit but if the global economic downturn is reaching its bottom, how will they get us back? Customers are discovering that it may not be in their interests to remain loyal to the airline hubbed in their city.
Unless you fly un-discounted fares with BA several times a year there is little point in being a member of BA’s Executive Club . BA don’t allow cancelations of mileage reservations within 24 hrs even with doctor's note. A friend booked a return business class trip from the USA to the UK using miles but had to postpone her trip and BA said that they don’t refund miles. This differed from what the Youfirst desk told her. It’s tough to lose all the miles after suffering so many flights to earn them.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

United Airlines and Marriott join forces

Fly on United and you can save 20% at Marriott Hotels - for a limited time offer.
Marriott Rewards Members, get a special fare at United Airlines if you book by April 5th and you will get 20% off your Marriott stay at participating hotels worldwide. A 14 day advance purchase is required and travel must be complete by June 17, 2009

Great if you live near its hubs in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Chicago and Washington, D.C.
As a JAL Mileage Bank member, you can now earn triple miles with Japan Airlines via Marriott Rewards from May 1 through August 31, 2009.if you Stay at a Marriott hotels worldwide.
AP reported that a United Airlines jet carrying 178 passengers and 11 crew members from London to Washington, D.C., has made an emergency landing in Maine today because of mechanical problems. Scary! but if that does not put you off,- United’s great flyaway sale has offers as low as Las Vegas to SFO for $39 and LAX - Maui for $194. They are a Star Alliance member and you can fly from the USA to Melbourne or Sydney from 299 dlls on the “G'day Australia “sale. They also have an offer to Moscow from Dulles (IAD) airport beginning March 29, 2009. To celebrate, the launch of a new, daily service to Moscow, Russia (DME) out of Washington Dulles (IAD) airport beginning March 29, 2009. So they have special introductory fares.

United is becoming creative with their ideas. Westin hotels previously teamed up with United Red Carpet Clubs. Keep the promotions rolling.