2024 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.

MAY 19 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: JetBlue Airways is a financial wreck and operational disaster and management is desperately remaking the airline's route map. United and Delta won't resume Tel Aviv flights until next month. American launching new Caribbean flights from Charlotte, New York and Philadelphia. After its 2022 meltdown, Southwest agrees to issue $75 vouchers for future cancelled and long-delayed flights. Montana's busiest airport will go part-time next spring. Qantas will pay up for booking travelers on already-cancelled "ghost flights." Bilt points now transfer to Hilton Honors, but don't do it. The pipe dream of seamless ground connections. Record travel expected over Memorial Day. And much more.

APRIL 28 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Ted Cruz won't get private airport screening for politicians. Southwest Airlines dumps four airports and slashes service in Chicago and Atlanta. SAS joins SkyTeam on September 1. Delta returns to Lagos, Nigeria. Lakeland, Florida, gets commercial flights for the first time in more than 35 years. Pasco, Washington, finally gets flights to LAX. Mr & Mrs Smith hotels are now live at Hyatt. And much more.

APRIL 14 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Delta scraps "branded" boarding and returns to a numbered zone system. TSA adds eight more airlines to PreCheck. Fees for three customs-bypass plans--Global Entry, SENTRI and NEXUS--will rise. Turkish Airlines adds another U.S. gateway. Norse adds Las Vegas-London/Gatwick nonstop. The yen is crashing against the U.S. dollar. Middle East travel is scrambled again after Iran's attack on Israel. And much more.

MARCH 24 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: The FAA comes knocking at United's door looking for safety lapses. JetBlue cuts route network at Los Angeles and in South America. In an attempt to reduce delays in New York, the FAA moves Newark to Pennsylvania (sort of). South African Airways is on the brink again as a sale falls through. China Airlines will launch Seattle-Taipei flights. Hertz chief executive quits after EV debacle. Another extension to Japan's high-speed rail network opens. And much more.

MARCH 17 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Frontier Airlines will sell an "upgraded" product with empty middle seats. Delta will return to Tel Aviv in June, but is dropping its year-old LAX-Heathrow flights. Hilton buys Graduate Hotels, which aims at college towns. Amex Platinum will no longer rebate SiriusXM subscription fees. The airport in Bangor, Maine, will close several days a week this spring for repairs. And much more.

MARCH 10 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Wells Fargo introduces impressive (and inexpensive) travel rewards card with a new points-transfer option. Hyatt raises award prices on many hotels. Three new routes to Asia from London may appeal to U.S. flyers looking for good connections. The TSA is testing self-service security screening. Delta raises checked-bag fees. And more.

FEBRUARY 25 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: United Airlines resumes flights to Tel Aviv next week and KLM returns to Israel next month. Joining three U.S. airlines, Air Canada adds bus routes from a key hub. U.S. carriers are paid millions to add nonstop flights to Brisbane, Australia. Lynx Air goes under. American Airlines lowers price of transferring miles between AAdvantage accounts. How Britain's new high-speed rail network became a costly debacle. The "stew" who ended employment discrimination. And more.

FEBRUARY 18 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: American Express opens a huge airport lounge in Atlanta and Delta Air Lines promises three business-class-only clubs this year. Hilton steals Small Luxury Hotels from Hyatt. British Airways resumes Tel Aviv flights in April, but American Airlines delays its return again. Carl Icahn takes a 9.91% stake in JetBlue and immediately receives two board seats. United grounded five jets this week because of an obsolete FAA regulation. Would Cary Grant or Humphrey Bogart use rolling luggage? And more.

FEBRUARY 3 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: Air France and Austrian Airlines launch intriguing new U.S. routes. United will trim SFO flights in late spring. American launches flights to Brisbane, Australia, and will begin a New York-Tokyo route. Start-up BermudAir will begin flying to Baltimore/Washington and Orlando. Ted Cruz wants politicians to get escorts and private airport security screening. Eurostar will continue direct trains between London and Amsterdam after all. And more.

JANUARY 21 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: JetBlue and Spirit are shocked--shocked!--that their proposed merger has been blocked. New transborder routes will make travel between the United States and Canada easier. SAS will fly to Atlanta as it transitions to the SkyTeam Alliance. The newest Las Vegas destination casino may be a bad bet. Hotel room rates soared in 2023. Chase opens a Sapphire Lounge at New York's LaGuardia Airport. And more.

JANUARY 15 BRIEFING FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
The briefing in brief: No one knows when the grounded Boeing 737MAX-9s will be back in the air for Alaska and United airlines. Barry Sternlicht, who created Starwood Hotels, purchases ten properties in London. Southwest drops five routes to Hawaii. Japan Airlines will launch its newest first class later this month on New York-Tokyo route. Caribbean carrier LIAT is folding. And more.