Hello TICKET readers! We hope you are having a great summer. We’ve been busy working on new endeavors. The best way for you to keep up with what we are reading and seeing this summer is via Facebook and Twitter. If you are not already following us on these outlets, please sign on today!
Here’s a brief chronicle and links to some of the most important travel news for TICKET readers over the last couple months:
NO MORE DELTALINA? If you are a fan of Delta’s popular 2008 safety video and the lovely Deltalina finger wag, get ready for a surprise. Rumor has it that later this year Delta will be unveiling a new safety video featuring a different cast of crew members– with a possible cameo appearance by flight attendant Katherine Lee, a.k.a Deltalina. The new video is reportedly going to be light hearted and funny to attract the attention of those who don’t think it’s important to watch. Delta has neither confirmed nor denied the rumor of a a new safety video. Have you ever had Deltalina as your flight attendant? How do you feel about Delta possibly changing its pre-flight safety video?
NO MORE COMAIR. Delta has finally pulled the plug on long-ailing Comair– a move that continues the shrinkage of Delta’s once large hub operation at Cincinnati. Comair was founded in 1977. Delta purchased Comair for almost $2 billion in 2000.
ECONOMY COMFORT. Delta has made it easier for corporate travelers to book economy comfort seats via their travel agencies by making them available through the Amadeus GDS. Prior to this, travelers only had access to the roomier coach seats via Delta.com
TRIPLE MILES. You’ll earn triple Delta SkyMiles at Marriott brands beginning with your second stay from July 1-October 31. Details here.
DISADVANTAGED MULTI-MILLIONAIRES? Several of Atlanta’s politically connected elite with lucrative airport concessionaire contracts (including Maynard Jackson’s heirs) may not deserve “disadvantaged” designation…and some have never even visited the stores that they “own.” According to this investigative story by the AJC, there’s a standoff between the FAA and GDOT over the recent reshuffling of airport contracts.
DELTA DOES DALLAS. With Southwest Airlines in its crosshairs, starting Sept 5, Delta will launch 5x daily roundtrips between ATL and close-in Dallas Love Field using 50 seat CRJs. Delta is able to get around the Wright Amendment by using aircraft with fewer than 56 seats. Since Southwest only flies much larger 737’s, it can’t offer ATL-DAL flights until the Wright Amendment expires in 2014. Would you fly to Dallas Love? Or will you stick with the more familiar DFW? Leave your comments below!
ATL-SFO&LAX. Southwest Airlines begins offering a two daily nonstops between ATL and San Francisco on September 30. Outbound flights depart ATL at 11 am and 6 pm. Return flights depart SFO at 7:40 am and 3:00pm. AirTran will continue with its two daily, two-class roundtrips through at least early March 2013. Similarly, both Southwest and AirTran now fly nonstop between ATL and Los Angeles LAX. Eventually, as AirTran phases out, your only nonstop, non-Delta option on these 4-5 hour flights to the west coast will be on Southwest. AirTran has already turned over the long ATL-Seattle run to Southwest only. It’s on these transcons that the absence of AirTran’s business class is going to be felt most!
PRIORITY CLUB 24-HR SALE. From noon Aug 15 until noon Aug 16, you can book Holiday Inn Resorts using Priority Club points for half price. Only good for trips September 4 thru November 2– but not a bad deal at all if you have the points and the time off.
PRE-CHECK GROWTH. We are hearing that PreCheck lanes at ATL security are frequently longer than other, supposedly less exclusive lines. Agree or disagree? PreCheck expanding fast, and is now available for Delta flyers at Charlotte, Chicago ORD Terminal 2, Detroit Checkpoint 2, Indianapolis Checkpoint A, New York La Guardia Terminal D, Las Vegas D gates, Boston-Logan Terminal A, LAX Terminal 5, Minneapolis Checkpoint 4, Orlando East Checkpoint, Portland PDX, Washington-Reagan South Pier, Salt Lake City Terminal 2, Seattle Checkpoint 5 and Tampa Terminal E.
LOSS OF SERVICE. This month AirTran ends nonstop service between ATL and Sarasota. It’s also dumping its popular nonstops between ATL and New York’s Westchester County airport. On September 1, Delta will stop flying between ATL and New York’s Stewart Airport, located about an hour north of NYC. Delta has axed CRJ nonstops between ATL and Meridian, MS, to be replaced by Silver Airways, which uses Saab turboprops.
TATTY SKY CLUBS? From TICKET reader GN: “We just spent 2 hours in the renovated Philadelphia Sky Club. While it is a vast improvement over the old Crown Room location, I was very disappointed to discover that the ‘new’ furniture is already worn out and broken. The designer made some furniture selections that do not hold up to the wear and tear this space receives. It’s a shame because it detracts from an otherwise very nice space.”
BEAUTIFUL LOUNGES. Check out my latest Executive Travel Magazine slideshow on the World’s most Beautiful Airline Lounges! (NOTE: Look for the purple “Launch Slideshow” box to the left of the copy.) Do you agree with my choices?
DELTA WI-FI OVERWATER. Delta announced that starting in early 2013 it will begin installation of new satellite-based inflight Wi-Fi from Gogo on 150 long-haul internationally configured Boeing 777, 767, 747, Airbus 330 and transoceanic Boeing 757 aircraft. Currently, the Gogo system only works via a land-based network of antennae in North America.
SORRY, SILVERS! The Wall Street Journal ran an interesting story on the plight of silver elite level members of Delta and United. It points out that the pool of elite level flyers has swollen in recent years, primarily due to mergers and exaggerated credit card mileage bonuses. At The TICKET, we covered this sad state of affairs in 2010 and that post remains the #1, most read and commented-on post of all time.
DELTA PENTHOUSE. Take a look at Delta’s new business class configuration upstairs in its 747s.
BETTER FLYING ON BIG DELTA JETS. The recent announcement of Southwest/Air Tran’s 717 fleet moving to Delta is good news for those who hate the small 50-seat jets operated by Delta Connection. These new planes are part of a plan to phase out the smaller jets (which have poor efficiency in the current high fuel environment) while maintaining similar capacity in the marketplace. The new 717s, not expected to come online for at least a year, will be outfitted with 12 first class seats, 15 Economy Comfort seats, and 83 economy class seats, all of which will have access to Gogo wi-fi.
NEW NEW YORK FLIGHTS. Delta will launch a series of new nonstop flights from New York LaGuardia and JFK to feed into its growing New York hub. A new daily LaGuardia to Bermuda flight will operate aboard a Boeing 737-800 beginning in April 2013. Nonstop service to Nassau will switch from weekly to daily from LaGuardia beginning in December. From JFK, new daily service to Montego Bay, Aruba, and Punta Cana will please sun seekers who want to get away from the cold. These new daily flights begin in December just in time for the holidays. Floridian-bound travelers will also have expanded service from LaGuardia with double dailies to Sarasota/Bradenton and additional frequencies to Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and Ft. Myers. The latter also will gain a new daily nonstop to JFK.
DON’T CRY FOR ME. In anticipation of Aerolineas Argentinas’ entry into SkyTeam, the agreement has now been inked to allow earning and redeeming of SkyMiles on the Argentine national carrier’s flights. The airline should formally join SkyTeam later this year.
HOLA MEXICO. In addition to Delta nonstops, SkyTeam partner Aeromexico now has nonstops between Atlanta and Mexico City. Daily flights using an Embraer 190 depart Atlanta at 2:40 p.m. and arrive at Mexico City at 5:25 p.m.; flights depart Mexico City at 9:05 a.m. and arrive at Atlanta at 1:40 p.m. If you are headed to Mexico City soon, be sure to see my latest BBC Travel story Business Trip: Mexico City for the latest and greatest tips and info.
DESERT-BOUND? Saudia Airlines has officially joined SkyTeam opening dozens of new destinations throughout the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent that were previously unreachable with partners. These include cities in Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, and the Middle East. While they may not be at the top of your vacation plans, many are important business destinations and this strengthens SkyTeam’s global position since most airlines in the Middle East are not part of a larger alliance as of yet.
EMBARRASSING CAB QUEUES AT ATL. From TICKET reader BB: “Only in Atlanta. Did you know that to use a credit card in a taxi at ATL, you first have to stand in one line, and have a clerk run your credit card to get an authorization. She then hands you a paper slip with the authorization and only then can you stand in another line for cabs. Whaaaa?? No where else in the world…… Just ridiculous! This was actually mentioned in a feedback forum for the conference I was attending as another reason it won’t be held in Atlanta again.”
BUH-BYE PARTNERS. Indian carriers Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines will discontinue their partnership with SkyMiles Oct. 1. Until then, travelers can earn and redeem miles on both carriers on applicable fares. This is a great value as both airlines offer excellent networks within the region although Kingfisher has been undergoing severe financial problems as of late.
HOW TO USE TERMINAL F. (Thanks to TICKET reader Richard Higgins for the following advice)
>To get to new international terminal F, drive down I-75, NOT the old route via I-85. The MARTA does not go all the way to the new terminal. There is a shuttle bus between (old) domestic terminal and new terminal F, but allow an extra half-hour if you choose this option.
>International departures may go out either from F or E, but all departing international passengers are processed at the new terminal F.
>Arrivals: International flights may arrive at either F or E, but you and your baggage will be processed through F, so arrange ground transport at F.
>Baggage from all international flights to Atlanta will be picked up at F.
>If your departing international flight has a USA stop before going international, ignore these instructions and go to domestic terminal as before.
>If your arriving international flight has a USA stop before arriving in Atlanta, ignore these new instructions; you will arrive at domestic terminal as before.
Speaking of Terminal F, check out what the AJC has to report on that LOOOONG walk between Terminal E and Terminal F reported by TICKET readers earlier this summer.
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