NOT TOO LATE FOR MQM PROMO. Delta has extended the time in which SkyMiles members can buy their way into Medallion status with MQMs next year. When the news about the promo broke in The TICKET last month, Delta said it would end on Dec 14. But last week it extended the deadline to Dec 30. (Why would Delta put limits around a nice revenue stream like that?) Did you take Delta up on this offer? LET US KNOW! Leave your comments below.
FREE WIFI AT ATL! Skype is sponsoring one hour of free wi-fi at ATL (and many other big airports) during the holidays– Dec 21-27! Details here.
MORE FREE HOLIDAY WI-FI. eBay is sponsoring a half hour of free Gogo inflight wi-fi on Delta flights now through Jan. 2. The move should help spur online shopping purchases for the holidays and post-holiday sales—you can shop on eBay as long as you want, but access to the web ends after 30 minutes. Has anyone experienced difficulty logging on or staying online as a result of heavy usage by others? Please leave your comments below!
DELTA BUMPS UP BRAZIL. With business booming in Brazil (and demand soaring for flights there), Delta has placed its 767-400ER aircraft (with true lie-flat seats in biz class) on all nonstops between New York and Atlanta to Sao Paulo. Delta now offers daily service between Detroit and Sao Paulo and Atlanta and Brasilia. These latter two flights, however, are not part of Delta’s all-flat announcement just yet since they do not operate with the 767-400ER aircraft. In addition, Delta recently announced that it would make a $100 million investment in Brazil’s Gol Airlines, a SkyMiles partner.
VIRGIN AMERICA TO ATL? “We want to be flying to every major business travel destination, and Atlanta is in the top five cities we are targeting for expansion,” said Virgin CEO David Cush in a recent interview with TICKET editor Chris McGinnis. “But we’ve got Delta, the 800-lb gorilla, to deal with there, and we want to see how the AirTran-Southwest integration plays out before we make a move. We won’t fly there unless it is profitable for us, especially since it is a long haul route.” I asked, “Do you think there would be an opportunity for you to capitalize on Southwest’s decision to eliminate AirTran’s business class on the route, leaving Delta as the only carrier offering premium seats on those long hauls to San Francisco and Los Angeles?” After a long thoughtful pause, Cush grinned and said, “Yes, that is something we are taking into consideration. Our first class, and even our coach class is like something Atlanta’s never seen before.” What new carrier would YOU like to see at ATL? Please leave your comments below!
WE [HEART] PRE-CHECK. We continue to get plenty of love letters (and comments on our recent post) from users of the nifty new TSA Pre-Check lines at ATL. TSA recently has or will soon expand Pre-Check to three more airports: Las Vegas, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles. Will it last forever?
TICKET SURVEY! Thanks VERY much to our loyal TICKET readers. We were heartened at the HUGE response we got to our recent rader survey—620 of you took the time to tell us a bit more about you and your travel habits. Stay tuned for a full report on exactly who you are! So far, we’ve been super surprised and delighted. Thank you again.
SORRY SILVERS. Delta quietly instituted another sleight to Silver Medallions last week by cutting their allotment of free checked bags from two down to one (but with the more generous max weight of 70 lbs). Of course, if the Delta Gold, Platinum or Reserve AMEX is in your wallet, you still get that second free checked bag!
DELTA’S MARCH ON NYC CONTINUES. Delta’s long-sought “domination” of the New York market is getting closer… With its slot transfer deal with US Airways complete, Delta has announced more than 100 new flights from its rapidly expanding La Guardia hub, pushing it to near top of the heap in the NYC market. By next summer, Delta says it will be serving 60 cities from LGA, up from the current 35. The majority of flights will be operated by Delta Connection and fly to cities along the East Coast, replacing those that were operated by US Airways prior to the slot swap. While the addition of flights for Delta customers into the New York area is great news, passengers in many communities on the East Coast are actually losing flights because US Airways operated to LGA with heavier frequencies than Delta is planning. Delta will soon expand into US Airways Terminal C in addition to its Terminal D, and continue to operate its shuttle flights between LGA and Chicago, Boston and DC from the Marine Air Terminal.
CITIES getting additional or new Delta service to LGA include Burlington VT, Denver, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston, Norfolk, Richmond, and Roanoke, Charlotte, Greensboro/High, Point/Winston-Salem, Raleigh/Durham, Wilmington, NC, Jacksonville, Ft. Myers, Miami, Cleveland, and Dayton among others.
MORE JFK, TOO. Delta is also boosting its capacity at JFK by adding new flights to Greensboro/High Point/Winston-Salem, New Orleans, and Kansas City. Other existing JFK network cities like Buffalo, and Richmond will see additional frequencies.
SKTEAM BEIJING. All SkyTeam carriers now fly from under the same roof at Beijing Capital International Airport’s sprawling Terminal 2. Speaking of SkyTeam, check out my recent BBC.com biz travel column about the best airline alliances and see how it stacks up to the competition.
ATL TO LOSE “BUSIEST AIRPORT” CROWN. According to a variety of sources, Beijing Capital airport is set to overtake ATL as the world’s busiest next year. Too bad it will lose the title in the same year it opens the shiny new International Terminal F.
VOUCHER? SCHMOUCHER! Do you have any Delta electronic travel credits in your account that need to be used? Be careful. Delta has quietly implemented a policy that limits the number that can be used per ticket to just one. This means that if you have only one ticket to book before two vouchers expire, you will need to choose the one with higher value to use. If you received these vouchers (denied boarding, remaining credit from unused ticket, etc) before Dec. 15, you can still use more than one at a time, but only one post-12/15/11 voucher will be applied per ticket going forward.
WORLD’S LARGEST CARRIERS. A series of mergers over the last decade has created a group of mega-airlines that reach almost every corner of the globe. Here are the world’s largest airline companies based on the number of miles their passengers flew in 2010:
- United Continental: 181,939 million
- Delta Air Lines: 165,900 million
- American Airlines: 125,443 million
- Air France, KLM: 125,043 million
- Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian: 108,811 mm
- British Airways, Iberia: 97,384 million
- Southwest, AirTran: 97,360 million
- Emirates: 89,266 million
- China Southern Airlines: 68,689 million
- Qantas Airways: 62,082 million
Source: AP calculations on International Air Transport Association data
NEED A NEW BAG? I’ve dragged around the same black, two-wheeled Briggs and Riley carry-on bag for at least 10 years, and it’s still going strong. But when I’m at the airport and see travelers toting four-wheeled “spinners” or shiny polycarbonates in a rainbow of colors, I get luggage envy. To help me decide if it’s time to bag my old bag and try something new, I asked the experts for some advice on what to look for, and wrote the results up here in a recent BBC.com column.
DEFINING BUSINESS CASUAL. “Two of my least favorite words in the English language are ‘business casual’ as it means different things to different people,” said Joyce Newman, president of the Newman Group, which offers high-level speaker, media and image consulting to global executives. “The definition varies widely between cities, countries, cultures – even industries – and it’s a real dilemma for travelers because you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” Are you vexed by invitations to business casual event in the US or abroad? Then check out my recent BBC.com column “Defining Business Casual” which offers some great tips and advice.
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