Travel Security Update August 2005

Travel Security Update August 2005

New policy allows travelers to make last-minute changes. A new American Airlines policy will allow travelers to change their flight plans at the last minute and get a confirmed seat on a different flight. The airline will charge a small fee for the service. Previously, travelers who wanted to change their plans had to fly “standby,” which did not guarantee they would get a seat. Sep 29, 2005

American Airlines offers lifetime lounge memberships. American Airlines is offering lifetime memberships to its airport lounges for $5,500. American has not offered lifetime entry to the lounges, which feature work stations, copiers and fax machines, since 1997. Sep 14, 2005

Airlines send rescue flights to New Orleans: American Airlines landed a Boeing 757 on the single usable runway at New Orleans’ Louis Armstrong Airport Tuesday. The plane rescued more than 100 airline employees and stranded travelers. Southwest Airlines sent a similar rescue flight Wednesday, and a Delta Air Lines jetliner flew in Thursday. The airport still has no power for runway or navigation, so all flights must take place during the day. Sep 2, 2005

Portaga debuts new Travel Manager Web interface. Portaga and agency partner Atlas Travel International last week launched the new Portaga Travel Manager. The application uses a Sabre Web interface to let travelers create and change air, hotel and car bookings through Microsoft Outlook.

Sep 19, 2005

Boston airport to launch reserved parking program. Logan International Airport in Boston is readying a program that will let travelers reserve a parking space in advance. The reserved spaces will carry a premium price, be within short walking distance of the terminal and are expected to be available beginning in January. Sep 15, 2005

New Dallas terminal features art, hotel, Wi-Fi access. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport recently unveiled its new Terminal D, a 2 million-square-foot facility used by international passengers. The 28-gate terminal features Wi-Fi access, a Hyatt Hotel and large sculptures, paintings and multimedia displays. Sep 7, 2005

Few service problems expected on Delta, Northwest. Travelers should expect few problems traveling on Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines in the next few months, writes Tom Parsons, publisher of The two airlines filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this month. He noted travelers holding tickets should check with the airlines to make sure their flight has not been discontinued. The carriers are shrinking their schedules to reduce costs. Sep 26, 2005

Bankruptcies will affect fliers. Passengers will see changes in airline service now that Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines have filed for bankruptcy protection, The New York Times’ Joe Sharkey writes. Both airlines have said they will cut flights, which will make flying less convenient for travelers and reduce opportunities to use frequent-flier miles. Sep 19, 2005

Some fliers avoid Delta, Northwest amid bankruptcy talk. Some fliers are avoiding booking tickets on Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines. The two airlines could file for bankruptcy this week, according to media reports. However, industry observers say bankruptcy filings are unlikely to affect fliers soon. They expect the two carriers to continue normal operations. Sep 14, 2005

Startups will boost competition on transatlantic routes. Two startup carriers will soon add all-business-class flights between London and New York, The Wall Street Journal’s Scott McCartney writes. Eos Airlines and Maxjet Airways will compete against American Airlines, British Airways, United Airlines and Virgin Atlantic. The two new carriers are expected to lower prices on the routes and push competitors to improve service. Sep 21, 2005

North American carriers invest less in IT, but lead in Web sales. North American airlines will spend just 1.4% of their annual revenues on information technology, compared with 2% for airlines in the Asia/Pacific, according to a new SITA study. However, North American airlines lead in online migration: The carriers sell about 63% of their tickets through the Web while Asian carriers sell just 10% through online channels. Sep 2, 2005

European airlines to test in-flight mobile phone system. Tech company OnAir said TAP Air Portugal and British carrier bmi have agreed to try out OnAir’s system for safe in-flight mobile phone calling. The trials will take place in late 2006 with an eye on a general launch in 2007. Sep 20, 2005

Airbornes mobiles are about to hit the European scene but whether, like the smoking section of old, they will be banished to the back of the aircraft nobody knows. bmi and TAP Air Portugal are both to offer OnAir’s voice and text service for cell phones in separate three-month trial runs. This will be the first time that passengers will have been allowed to actually use their own mobile phone on an aircraft airborne. Users of mobile phones and other handheld wireless devices with roaming capability will be able to make and receive calls using a base station within the aircraft. They will be allowed to turn their phones on after the plane reaches 10,000 feet, when other electronic devices such as portable music players and laptops are permitted. Mobile phones are banned on existing aircraft for fear that they might interfere with a ‘plane’s navigation system as they attempt to log on to terrestrial networks. OnAir’s mobile communications system is based within the plane, which it says ensures that cell phones and other devices operate at lower transmission power and thus avoid affecting avionics. The company hopes to clear all regulatory hurdles for air traffic within Europe at some point next year. The planned surcharge will be at international roaming rates, around $2.30-$2.50 per minute. A text message should cost about 50 cents to send or receive. Sep 26, 2005

Airlines resume Houston service after storm. Airlines resumed some service Sunday at Houston’s two airports. Continental Airlines operates it largest hub at Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport and said it resumed mainline flights Sunday. Its regional affiliates will not start service until Monday, the airline said. Hobby Airport was open for service as well. The airlines had canceled flights ahead of Hurricane Rita, which hit the Gulf Coast Saturday. Sep 26, 2005

SITA’s seventh annual Airline IT Trends Survey, released last week, seems to indicate that the IATA goal of total airline electronic ticketing by 2008 might be wishful thinking, but even as these words are being put together the major players are getting more and more consumer IT minded. The SITA survey shows that over 70% of the world’s airlines currently sell tickets through the Internet, E-tickets now make up 30% of all tickets issued by airlines (up from 19% in 2004), and that 60% of carriers will be using bar coded boarding passes by the end of 2007, giving travellers the convenience of printing the passes out at home or in the office. Sep 2, 2005

United, Lufthansa partner in technology overhaul. United Airlines and Germany’s Lufthansa are teaming up to overhaul their computer systems. The carriers are both founding members of the Star Alliance and are expected to adopt the same technology in the next few years. They will use technology developed by Amadeus Global Travel Distribution. Sep 9, 2005

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