2023 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 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 24 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: The DOT says your time and troubles for airline delays and cancellations are worth just $17.50. Nonstops between the United States and Romania will return next year. Air Canada will fly to Charleston and WestJet will launch a Calgary-Seoul nonstop. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich skewers airlines with a witty video. Passport processing times have returned to normal, the State Department says. And more.

DECEMBER 17 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Three European airlines--Lufthansa, Austrian and Swiss--return to Tel Aviv in January. Alaska Airlines simplifies elite-status qualifications next year. You can now earn American AAdvantage miles on some Philippine Airlines flights. Air Canada and JetBlue will also fly to Tulum, Mexico. Newburgh/Stewart finally gets a new carrier. British Airways quits flying to San Jose. And much more.

DECEMBER 10 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Paris hotels plan to rip you off if you come for the 2024 Olympics. Europe's most contested route--New York-Milan--loses a competitor. Brazil imposes visa requirements and onerous financial disclosures on U.S. and Canadian visitors. Delta will try flying to Taipei again. British Airways' new uniforms are so sheer that the carrier warned flight attendants about their undergarments. And much more.

DECEMBER 3 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Be wary of a Christmas meltdown in the skies after an exemplary Thanksgiving season. Hyatt mostly improves perks for elite and super-elite travelers. United will extend elite status for frequent Israel flyers. Porter and Air Transat hope to break the Air Canada/WestJet duopoly in Canada's skies. The TSA says it will test self-service checkpoint screening. American will outfit 500 regional jets with in-flight WiFi. And much more.

NOVEMBER 19 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Delta alliance partners WestJet and AeroMexico add flights to Delta's big hubs. Alaska Airlines moves to distance-based awards next year. United and American add flights to Tulum, the new Yucatan airport. Trump loses its Waikiki hotel. JetBlue and WestJet add seasonal flights to Edinburgh. Vietnam's Bamboo Airways drops all international flights. Southwest raises the price of in-flight booze. And much more.

NOVEMBER 5 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: The flying boom in Austin seems to be over. Airlines add all sorts of new winter flights to sun destinations in Florida, Central America and the Caribbean. Denver gets two new airport lounges. Siem Reap in Cambodia gets a new airport. JetBlue slashes a raft of routes in New York and Boston. Amtrak overhauls its fare structure. Alaska Airlines adds new flights from Anchorage to New York and San Diego. A first officer is indicted for threatening to shoot his captain. And much more.

OCTOBER 22 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: As predicted, Delta makes only tiny changes to SkyMiles devaluation in response to flyer outrage. American is buying old Alaska Airlines planes, but that's good news for AA first class flyers. Shocker! Southwest improves the Rapid Rewards program for 2024. Marriott pushes MGM's participation in Bonvoy to next year. SAS now charges for business class seat assignments. United fiddles with its boarding procedure again. And much more.

OCTOBER 15 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Delta will fly to Tulum, the new airport serving the coastal resort on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. El Al's plan to link the United States and Asia via its Tel Aviv hub will be collateral damage in the Israel-Hamas conflict. Italy's ITA Airways will fly nonstop from Rome to Chicago and Toronto. ETIAS, a European digital database of travelers, is delayed again. A truly terrible week at the airports. And much more.

OCTOBER 8 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: SAS Scandinavian will leave the Star Alliance for SkyTeam. United ends three long-haul international routes with no notice. Porter Airlines says it'll fly to Los Angeles and San Francisco from Toronto/Pearson. Japan Airlines' new first class pods feature two seats that convert to large sofas and double beds. San Antonio gets its first Europe nonstops. Delta Air Lines finally pays off on pandemic cancellations. Cathay Pacific returns to Chicago. The latest on Israel flights and much more.

OCTOBER 1 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Congress kicked a possible government shutdown right into the Thanksgiving travel rush. The walks at Miami International have suddenly gotten very long. American and Delta will add nonstops to Naples. Lufthansa adds Frankfurt nonstops from Minneapolis and Raleigh/Durham. Alaska Airlines will fly from San Diego and Atlanta. Watch for more U.S. flights from Mexican airlines. And much more.

SEPTEMBER 17 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Delta makes SkyMiles "simpler"--by screwing all elite members and cardholders. It was hard to notice this awful summer, but significant airport upgrades opened. Aer Lingus adds Denver flights and revives Minneapolis service. Delta will fly from Honolulu to Tokyo/Haneda. Red Way, an airline start-up out of Nebraska, throws in the towel after just three months of flying. American is fined $4 million for violating DOT tarmac rules--and celebrates by holding a New York flight for five hours on the tarmac. And much more.

AUGUST 6 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: American Airlines looks like toast in Chicago, Boston and New York City. Hyatt, Marriott and InterContinental steal smaller hotel chains from each other. El Al will start service from Fort Lauderdale. Air Canada will fly to Singapore. United adds routes to Manila and Christchurch, New Zealand. Delta finally opens a second club at JFK. And much more.

APRIL 15 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Airlines and hotels don't need to offer travel deals now. JAL's new discount carrier offers $2,000 roundtrip business class fares between Japan and United States. Britain is lifting three-ounce liquid rule for carry-on bags. Air Canada will fly nonstop from Vancouver to Dubai. Breeze Airways finds no market for transcontinental nonstops from suburban New York airport. JetBlue will fly to Amsterdam. United trimming "shuttle" routes to Washington/Dulles. And more.

MARCH 23 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: You wanted a pre-Covid travel world? Europe's skies are back to normal with strikes paralyzing transportation. Biden's nominee for FAA Administrator withdraws after the Senate cancels a vote on his nomination. How's Delta's free, in-flight WiFi going? Kansas City opens a single-terminal to replace its once-grandiose three-terminal operation. Cleveland will impose a new daily fee on airport car rentals. The government's case against the JetBlue-Spirit merger won't begin until October. Norse Atlantic adds new flights to London. And more.