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 cynicism 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.
DECEMBER 8 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
Business Travel Briefings
The briefing in brief: Two more airlines jump into the very crowded market for flights to France. Loyalty programs remind you that pandemic perks are history. Can Newark Airport be fixed? We'll know more next month when the new Terminal A opens. Alaska Airlines ends free lounge access for most first class flyers. Under court order, Iberia begins weighing carry-on bags. Air Canada launches live, in-flight television broadcasts. And more.
NOVEMBER 6 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
British Airways and Iberia move to Terminal 8 at JFK. New credit cards from Amtrak. Upsells from Hilton Honors. The Silver Line rail link to Washington/Dulles (finally) opens this month. Air France returns to Newark. Air Canada gives free WiFi to premium class Rouge flyers. In-flight mask mandates aren't dead yet. TSA lowers the price of PreCheck. Delta pays off a pilot it tried to smear. United opens new gates at Denver. LAX gets a nonstop to ... Grand Cayman. And more.
OCTOBER 20 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Expect a cold, dark travel season in Europe. Delta is pulling down flights from its Raleigh-Durham "focus city." Wilmington, Delaware, is back on the airline route map. Marriott buys City Express, a limited-service brand in Latin America. Hawaii gets better inter-island connections, but United is bailing on Hilo again. Amtrak says its San Diego trains may not resume before the end of the year. Trump Hotels wildly overcharged the Secret Service for protecting the former president and his family. And more.
OCTOBER 9 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Watch out for gate changes next week at two Chicago/O'Hare terminals. (No) surprise! Delta devalues SkyMiles again. Airlines rush in new capacity to Australia and New Zealand. Travel's toughest get--South Africa--finally gets a bit easier. Free night awards earned from Amex Hilton card spend are now valid any day of the week. And more.
OCTOBER 2 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Western airlines play musical chairs in alliances with Gulf carriers. Wan points promotions from the major hotel chains. A new backdoor benefit for Amex Platinum cardholders. Airlines dump a slew of mostly domestic routes in secondary markets. Sonesta picks up four all-suite hotels in Manhattan. WestJet adds nonstops between Winnipeg and Los Angeles.Frenchman's Reef on St. Thomas is divided into two new Marriott-aligned resorts. And more.
SEPTEMBER 9 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: United is bailing on New York/Kennedy again--and also exits four other airports. Delta will open nine more gates at LAX this week. American's long goodbye to its transcontinental and international first class cabin sure is confusing. Orlando's newly opened Terminal C already has a capacity issue. Virgin Atlantic will join Skyteam. Marriott Bonvoy adds two more credit cards. And more.
JUNE 5 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Washington/National renames and renumbers all gates and terminals. Delta's new terminal at New York/LaGuardia is gorgeous--and it requires long walks to the gates. After 20 years, St. Louis has international flights again--but it costs as much as $137 a flyer in subsidies. United restores a la carte service in Polaris business class. Amtrak will add weekend trains to the Berkshires. Air France remaking Boeing 777-300 business class cabins. And more.
MAY 5 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: How fast are business travelers returning to the skies? Delta Air Lines cuts more Sky Club perks. Finnair getting walloped by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Qantas offers special aircraft to fly its 20-hour nonstops to New York and London. Spirit wants no part of a JetBlue merger. Schiphol Airport is an operational quagmire. American Airlines slashes more commuter flights. And more.
APRIL 21 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Breeze Airways says it will fly nonstop to Los Angeles and San Francisco from Westchester County Airport in the New York suburbs. Delta opens huge SkyClub at LAX. Charlotte opens an expansion of Concourse E. British Airways tacks another $100 fee each way on American AAdvantage business class awards. Mexico City opens a new airport--and no one is there. JetBlue will launch flights to Heathrow and Gatwick in London from Boston. Jurys Inn will disappear. And more.
MARCH 17 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Stop listening to the travel pundits. They don't know what's coming on fares--or anything else. The Transportation Department says SkyWest can't drop flights to 29 cities until the agency says so. KLM says it will buck the Dutch in-flight mask mandate. American says it will resume alcohol sales in coach. WestJet will launch flights between Chicago and Toronto. Emirates begins Tel Aviv flights in June. And more.
MARCH 10 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: In-flight mask mandate extended to April 18, but there's no word on testing to return to the United States. American drops some international routes blaming an aircraft shortage and United dumps a raft of small cities blaming a pilot shortage. Star Alliance now allows you to pay into its lounges in Los Angeles and Buenos Aires. Start-up Breeze and Avelo add more routes. The Silver Line to Washington/Dulles is delayed again. And more.
FEBRUARY 17 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Start-up airlines Avelo and Breeze battle for control of Connecticut. Hyatt raises award price of many of its best properties. Alaska Airlines offers flight pass for California runs. British Airways will operate two "poor man's Concorde" daylight flights to London. Delta will resume daily international runs from Minneapolis-St. Paul. And more. And more.
FEBRUARY 10 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Airlines are hurriedly rebuilding transatlantic route networks. Your American AAdvantage miles might be worth this much. Alaska Airlines increases first class award prices. Delta Air Lines downgrades in-flight experience in the name of environmental activism. American Airlines and British Airways plan big makeover in Terminal 8 at JFK. Southwest resumes alcohol sales next week. Ugly tales from the road get uglier. And more.
FEBRUARY 3 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: A special report on strategies and tactics for 2022 travel deals. The niche carriers have the best international offers, U.S. airlines are limiting themselves to "flash sales" and the major hotel chains are leaning into points promotions. And more.
JANUARY 20 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: When the oligarchy that controls airlines fights the oligarchy that controls mobile phones, flyers end up dazed and confused. Hyatt will rebrand three InterContinental hotels in London. Nasty passenger beats the rap by claiming Ambien and booze made him lose control. InterContinental says it will improve IHG Rewards, but won't say how. Breeze says it'll fly its first Airbus A220s with first class cabins from Tampa. And more.
JANUARY 13 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: U.S. airlines are contracting fast as travel slows. Omicron and travel rules force carriers to juggle international routes. Big doings at the top of the hotel market. A Latin capital gets a new airport. JetBlue Airways fiddles with its weak TrueBlue program. Avelo joins TSA PreCheck. Is China trying to destroy Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong's flag carrier? And more.