Following is our regular summary of the latest travel news and best frequent traveler promotions reviewed during the past week.
If it was a good deal—or a notably bad deal—from an airline, hotel, or car rental loyalty program, you can read all about it here, and plan your travel accordingly.
Upcoming changes to its business model are being applauded by investors. But for travelers, JetBlue's best days may be behind it.
In the burgeoning ride-share arena, it's been a two-horse race between Uber and Lyft. But Uber's growing network of business partners gives it a decided edge. ... read more»
Bigger isn't always better. But it's usually better than being smaller. And in business, a key measure of size is ubiquity.
There are plenty of other online payment apps out there, but PayPal rules. It's not inherently superior to the alternatives. Rather, it dominates because it's seemingly everywhere: PayPal is listed as a payment option on many of the largest retailer websites, alongside Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.
And the list is ever-growing. Ryanair this week announced that it will accept PayPal payments for its tickets, as do many other airlines and travel companies.
PayPal has 152 million users. The others, not so many.
In the burgeoning ride-share arena, it's been a two-horse race, between Uber and Lyft.
While there has been a tendency to measure and compare Uber and Lyft according to the number of cities they serve, their revenues, the numbers of customers served or rides delivered, and so on, the winner -- the PayPal of the car-share space -- will be the company that most effectively and completely insinuates itself into the lives of consumers. ... read more»
You guys. I'm blushing.
You may have read my work in SmarterTravel's Today in Travel blog, particularly in my Upright Position column. In addition to business-oriented topics like bag fees, booking tips, and bargains at hotels, I also write about important issues like Pajama Jeans and yoga pants.... read more»
As of earlier this week, JetBlue's share price had soared 49 percent for the year. According to TheStreet, that outsized spike was largely attributable to institutional investors' and analysts' faith that Dave Barger, the airline's CEO, will soon be replaced by a new top manager.
(Barger's contract is up in February 2015, but there's speculation that he might depart sooner, allowing current JetBlue president Robin Hayes to assume Barger's role.)
What's so good about Barger leaving? Barger is known as a champion of the customers-first school of business that underpins JetBlue's strategy of delivering upgraded service at affordable prices. In the view of analysts, some of whom have called for Barger's dismissal, that approach has kept JetBlue from fully realizing its profit potential.
What might JetBlue look like under new management?
Industry analyst Helane Becker, commenting on MarketWatch, cited two opportunities to quickly and easily pad JetBlue's bottom-line numbers. First would be to add 12 more seats to each of the airline's A320 aircraft. Second would be to impose fees for the first checked bag and for inflight WiFi. "We believe a management change would lead to a change in philosophy and likely morph the model similar to one of Spirit Airlines, although not as extreme. The changes would improve the financial outlook for the company in our opinion." ... read more»
You're about to catch a flight when you get a message to "see agent," in place of a boarding pass. That agent says you can't get on your flight. Congratulations! You're on the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) No-Fly List. Although this unhappy event doesn't occur often, it's devastating when it does.
Presumably, if you're a terrorist or intend harm to the country, you already know why the government listed you. But government lists have been known to contain errors. People sometimes get on the No-Fly List without any apparent cause—and without knowing why. That's why a group of travelers recently sued the government, charging lack of due process, with legal support from the ACLU. A federal judge in Portland, OR agreed, ruling that an inability to challenge the list in any meaningful way is unconstitutional. (Several other similar cases are in the pipeline.) In response, the DHS says it plans to change the system within the next six months. ... read more»
Toss away a perfectly good plane ticket? Sometimes that's a good idea.
The experience of a friend shows why. He lives near Minneapolis and wanted to visit a sick relative who lives in North Carolina. He wanted a one-way ticket from Minneapolis to Charlotte, because he wasn't sure how long his relative would be hospitalized, and he wanted a nonstop flight because he has a bad back and didn't want the hassles of connecting. When he got online, he found that the least expensive one-way nonstop ticket would cost $517. "Way too much," he thought. "There's gotta be a better way."
As it turns out, there are better ways.
... read more»