2019 Archive
Business Travel Briefings
Joe Brancatelli created The Tactical Traveler in 1998 for the now-defunct Biztravel.com. The column was conceived as a series of items that would make frequent business travelers more productive on the road. There was also a heaping helping of Joe's trademark skepticism about the travel industry and its practices. After the 9/11 terrorism attacks, however, Joe recreated Tactical Traveler as the news and analysis column for JoeSentMe. There's still plenty of skepticism, of course, because life on the road makes us a wary lot.

NOVEMBER 21 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Why the Thanksgiving travel "rush" is the worst holiday crush. TAP Air Portugal will revive its Lisbon-Montreal and Boston-Azores routes. Just what America needed: more Marriott hotels. LaGuardia Airport tests $15 flat-rate ride to Manhattan. United denies Elmira, New York, for the third time. And much more.

NOVEMBER 14 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Southwest Airlines flying dozens of second-hand planes that don't meet FAA rules. Transatlantic carriers shuffle their routes. Hyatt bails on single-use bathroom amenities, too. A federal judge reins in "suspicionless" searches of electronic gear at the airports. JetBlue adds Basic Economy fares. How to buy your own airport hotel. And much more.

NOVEMBER 7 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Much-needed new club lounges for Miami and New York/Kennedy. BA's parent company makes a play to dominate Madrid Airport. Air France will install business class on domestic flights. United juggles hub routes again. Norwegian Air creates co-branded credit card. Hyatt opens a hotel near Denver International. And more.

OCTOBER 31 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: New Orleans finally opens new terminal next week. Hotel rates slowing down. WestJet will launch nonstops between Calgary and Rome. American adds two new routes to New Zealand. Delta opens a new concourse at New York/LaGuardia Airport. Southwest launching Hawaii runs from San Diego. United and Marriott will deliver bags for business class flyers in London. And more.

OCTOBER 24 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: United unveils a unicorn regional jet with a classy first class. The O'Hare people mover will be down until next year. Atlanta and Boston airports add new restaurants. Air New Zealand kills its LAX-London flights, but will fly to Auckland nonstop from Newark. American Express drops roadside assistance and travel-accident coverage on most cards. And more.

OCTOBER 17 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: British retailer WH Smith makes another U.S. airport move. SFO renumbers its gates. More transatlantic routes are on the schedule. Alaska Airlines trims some West-to-East flights. A St. Regis opens on Venice's Grand Canal. United still growing its Dulles hub. And more.

OCTOBER 10 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: American Airlines is running three times worse than you believed. LAX banishes Uber and Lyft pickups to a parking lot. The oil boom is over, but Williston, North Dakota, opens a new airport. Notable new airport hotels have just opened at SFO, Heathrow and Beijing. World of Hyatt adds dozens more Small Luxury Hotels. And much more.

OCTOBER 3 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: More frequent flyer programs cuts are on the way. Airlines revive long-dead international routes. Phoenix will close a runway next month. Hyatt adds two rebranded hotels in Spain. Island routes, Atlantic and Pacific, are cut. Saudi Arabia loosens visa rules. Tales of a runaway beverage cart at O'Hare. And much more.

SEPTEMBER 26 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Airlines hope you want more international flights. United unveils a new way to calculate upgrades. Delta buys into LATAM, meaning the Latin carrier will leave Oneworld. Two more French airlines want to fly from Newark to Paris/Orly. Buffalo--yeah, Buffalo--gets an airport club. And much more.

SEPTEMBER 19 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Even when its pilots cancel a strike, British Airways treats passengers like trash. A reminder: Using miles to claim merchandise is never a solution to airline devaluations. La Compagnie may be wobbly. Your airfare is now an even smaller percentage of your total flight cost. Delta's law-enforcement minions channel McGruff, the Crime Dog. And more.

SEPTEMBER 5 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Global safety regulators go separate ways on recertification of the Boeing 737 MAX. British Airways will be grounded next week by pilots strike. American Airlines adds Montana flights. Alaska Airlines loves San Luis Obispo. Star Alliance carriers juggle Europe service. Cathay Pacific loses more executives to China pressure. And more.

SEPTEMBER 5 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Global safety regulators go separate ways on recertification of the Boeing 737 MAX. British Airways will be grounded next week by pilots strike. American Airlines adds Montana flights. Alaska Airlines loves San Luis Obispo. Star Alliance carriers juggle Europe service. Cathay Pacific loses more executives to China pressure. And more.

AUGUST 29 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: United MileagePlus miles now won't expire and that is probably bad news. San Francisco closes a runway next month, so expect even worse delays. Alaska Airlines continues to juggle along the West Coast. Marriott will (mostly) dump its single-use bathroom amenities. The Senator from Delta resigns. Montreal gets another Air Canada route to France. And more.

AUGUST 22 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: The airlines add waves and waves of new Europe flights. The hotel industry may have finally added too many new rooms for its own good. United adds Tokyo/Haneda routes without eliminating its Narita hub. More sun-run flights for the winter. American (eventually) will improve (a little) domestic first class cabins. And more.

AUGUST 15 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Marriott changes Bonvoy award-pricing system. Southwest launches more flights to Hawaii. Norwegian drops narrowbody U.S.-Ireland routes. American adds a seasonal Casablanca route and Tel Aviv flights--and scores a huge subsidy from Israel. More airport clubs to wait out delays. Austrian Airlines gets PreCheck. And more.

AUGUST 1 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Delta moving Tokyo operations to Haneda from Narita. American adds flights at Phoenix hub. Cape Air going where the big guys fear to fly. Washington/Dulles gets a route to Cape Verde Islands. British pound falls to lowest level since 2016 Brexit vote. And much more.

JULY 25 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Southwest ends its Newark Airport flights. Qantas will launch Brisbane nonstops to Chicago and San Francisco. Nebraska sues Hilton over mandatory resort fees. Air Canada resuming India flights. Amtrak plans a nonstop Acela route between New York and Washington. And more.

JULY 18 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Sheraton Atlanta closed after outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease. Can Munich Airport save Newark Airport? United Airlines says it'll resume flights to India in September. Hong Kong tourism plunges after demonstrations against Chinese interference. American Airlines trims routes in Vancouver and at JFK. And more.

JULY 11 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Norwegian cuts U.S. route network as founder and chief executive resigns. Alaska Air trims at Love Field while JetBlue retreats at DCA. Oakland flights take a hit due to Boeing 737MAX grounding. American Airlines gives up on China flights from O'Hare. Delta upgrades international coach in-flight service. And more.

JULY 4 THE FIRST-HALF REVIEW
Notable first-half news: Flights pile into LAX, SFO, LGA--and Vegas. One of the new Mobile airport's airlines is missing. United boss Oscar Munoz feels your flying pain. If only there was something he could do about it. British Airways will replace 20-year-old business class seats with 10-year-old seats--when it gets around to it. Tourism helps Greece throw off its austerity malaise. Avoid American Airlines this summer. Polaris updates crawl along.

JUNE 27 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: The last 30 days have been difficult for flying, but American Airlines was particularly bad. Hyatt adds Asian resorts to loyalty program. Airlines bulk up their sun-run flying. Buckhead's lodging scene will never be the same. American will retire the last MD-80s in September. And more.

JUNE 20 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: United seems to be bailing on India flights. Alaska Airlines adds Aer Lingus awards. TAP Air Portugal's fast growth leaves some business travelers behind. The Russians won't take responsibility for the MH17 disaster. Hilton adds an all-suite hotel near SFO. And more.

JUNE 13 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Pret A Manger is coming to U.S. airports. Aer Lingus adds a one-row business class for intra-Europe flights. SkyMiles and World of Hyatt find new partners. Marriott opens mid-scale hotels at two U.S. beach resorts. Qantas promises to launch nonstops to Brisbane from the United States. And more.

MAY 30 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Tourism and new hotels may save Greece's ailing economy. United moves to new digs at LaGuardia. Major changes on India routes. Hotel chains expanding into historic buildings. BA compounds its business class seat-selection rip-off with higher fees. American, Alaska Air drop some California flights. Anbang's luxury hotels for sale.

MAY 16 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Mobile, Alabama, gets a second airport, but it's short one airline. El Al hooks up with the Alaska Airlines frequent flyer plan. Hilton now has a Lyft tie-in. The TWA Hotel opens and JFK finally has on-airport property. Boston has more flights to sun destinations. Dublin's Shelbourne Hotel gets a new affiliation and a renovation. And more.

MAY 2 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: United's business class seat-installation program drags along. American Airlines adds two heartland routes from its hubs. Marriott enters home-rental business. Hyatt converts two Italy hotels. The SAS strike is over. Capital One points now transfer to JetBlue. And more.

APRIL 25 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: United's boss says airlines stink, so he'll repaint his planes. Marriott's future for Sheraton looks long on buzz and BS, short on substance. Austin/Bergstrom gets even more local. Air Italy and Asiana cut U.S. routes. SAS Scandinavian faces a strike. And more.

APRIL 18 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Where the flights are: LAX, SFO, Las Vegas and LaGuardia. United adding two Florida destinations from its Dulles hub. Marriott hits the 7,000-hotel mark. New Orleans' new terminal won't open next month after all. Virgin Atlantic has a new business class. Las Vegas has a swanky new airport club. The Melt Shop chain will come to the airports. And more.

MARCH 28 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Cathay Pacific hopes fourth time will be the charm for its Sea-Tac nonstops. You can buy Chick-fil-A at dozens of airports, but it's not welcome at San Antonio. Hyatt adds Thompson Hotels now, Joie de Vivre later. American will expand Admirals Clubs in Miami. And more.

MARCH 21 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: British Airways replacing its 20-year-old business class seats with a decade-old design. Marriott says it'll open 1,700 more hotels in the next three years. El Al returns to Chicago. Jet Airways of India and WOW Air of Iceland is collapsing. China Southern joins AAdvantage. And more.

MARCH 14 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: How Marriott messed up the name Bonvoy by not managing its Internet sites. Denver Airport hit by bomb cyclone and thousands were stranded. SWISS International and Finnair add premium economy cabins. Eurostar's delays are off the rails. And more.

MARCH 7 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: American AAdvantage essentially devalues by 10 percent. Southwest launches Hawaii flights and promptly annoys flyers in the East. Aer Lingus learns the limits of endless expansion. Canadian travelers get lots more flights. American grounds 14 jets and delays begin to pile up. And more.

FEBRUARY 28 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: The DOT whacks Delta and American for long tarmac holds. Southwest and mechanics squabble as cancellations spike. New hotels in London, Munich and Changsha, China. United pours new flights into Denver. Egyptair adds a Washington-Cairo nonstop. More PreCheck airlines.

FEBRUARY 14 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Airbus kills Airbus A380, the aircraft that never made commercial sense. Marriott launches a new name (Bonvoy) and another devaluation. Tel Aviv gets more flights. Sea-Tac juggles dining options, boots Anthony's, Vino Volo. American continues JFK pulldown.

FEBRUARY 7 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: American keeps adding awful coach seats, but Delta and United are improving. A little. Three chains are developing 70 percent of the nation's new hotels. International routes come and go. More airport clubs where we need them. Um, Cindy McCain ... And more.

JANUARY 24 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Airlines add flights, but you better like flying from their hubs. What happened to Hyatt's Canadian expansion? American AAdvantage unveils not-ready-for-prime-time changes. The shutdown shuts down some plans of Alaska and Southwest airlines. And more.

JANUARY 17 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: JetBlue dominates Boston/Logan despite Delta's new flights. ReallyStup: Marriott renames its loyalty program Bonvoy. Air Italy adds Milan nonstops from Chicago and Toronto. Airport clubs are hot global commodities. The start-up California Pacific is grounded. And more.

JANUARY 10 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
What will 2019 look like on the road? If you can predict the outcome of the government shutdown and Brexit, you'd know more. But Amazon is headed to the airport, Southwest is headed to Hawaii, the international discounters are on the edge and some really big airports will open.