Travelers beware of basic economy fares being sold by the Airlines

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The big three airlines are all moving to try to sell more and more services in addition to the price of your airline ticket. Toward that end Delta, American and United Airlines have all announced they will be offering “basic’ fares that strip out all of the added features of normal tickets. These new fares cut out a lot of services that if people are not aware of they will be madder than a hornet when they find out the lower fares do not include; carry-on luggage, seat selection, boarding priority, flight changes, upgrades or mileage plus credits. To me it makes no sense to save $20 – $30 and lose all of these benefits. Ironically, the airlines are reporting even though they lower the price for these “basic economy” airfares they actually make more money as people actually pay more to pay for the extra services after the fact. United Airlines, to their credit is working hard to try to educate people of how these new fares are different from the past.. CLICK HERE to see a nice chart explaining the pros and cons of these new fares.

Airline bumping hits a 20 year low –

Despite what you saw and read about airline passengers getting involuntarily bumped from oversold flights earlier this year it turns out that the airlines have all dramatically decreased the number of passengers involuntarily bumped during the second quarter of 2017 to a 20 year low. United Airlines received a big black eye in April when they suffered a very public nightmare when a passenger was physically removed from an oversold flight. Since that time United and other airlines have aggressively implemented policies where fewer and fewer people are bumped from a flight. For example United had 957 bumps in April and only 46 in June. Ironically, many people think that Southwest Airlines has few if any bumps however they had 2642 bumps during the first 6 months of the year. They promised they would be eliminating overselling of flights however they have not told us when they will implement this groundbreaking commitment. The good news is that the DOT reported that only one person in 19,000 is ever bumped from an oversold flight. READ MORE HERE.

Some hotels in NYC start restricting non-guests from using lobby restrooms –

Points, Miles & Martinis is reporting that on a recent trip to the W Hotel in New York City that they were unable to use the restroom as it required a room key to gain entry. With thousands of visitors a day it seems the hotel wants to limit the number of people using their restrooms. I can understand that up to a point. I for one have always tried to use hotel restrooms as they tend to be a lot cleaner than public restrooms or even restaurant facilities. Even with a keyed entry if you are patient enough to wait until a hotel guest comes by with a key you can probably slip in at the same time. I have also noticed at several new restaurants in NYC that they have about 8 private restrooms for one person each instead of a men’s and women’s restroom. I really like this idea. With this approach men and women simply queue up and wait for the next door to open. This offers outstanding privacy.

Government raises per diem rates for government travel in 2018 –

The GSA recently announced that they are increasing the amount that federal employees will be reimbursed for travel expenses from $142 a day to $144 a day. This represents $93 a day for lodging and $51 a day for meals Ironically there are 332 non-standard areas that have per diem rates higher than the standard rates listed above. This is amazingly low amount as business travelers will pay almost twice this amount when accounting for hotel, car and meals. CLICK HERE to see all the info about the 2018 GSA per diem rates.

Wow! I am seeing some amazing deals for up-to 65% off on travel to Mexico, Hawaii and the Caribbean this winter –

Some big sales end this Thursday for travel in January, February and March. It looks like many resorts are trying to fill up early by offering big discounts (up to 65% off) if you make your reservations by Thursday, August 17, 2017. Call one of our friendly travel advisors at 402-435-8888 if you want to get away from the ice and cold this winter.

Need information on any of the above?
Call our friendly travel advisors….
Lincoln – 402-435-8888 Toll-free 800-737-0582

If you thought all the planes were full this year, you were right –

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Recent information from IATA reports that global air passenger traffic grew an amazing 7.9% during the first 6 months of 2017 to reach a 12 year high. Airlines also set a record by filling an amazing 80% of all their seats. Just a few years ago the airlines were averaging about 67% of their seats full. Almost all the planes that I fly are full. I took a 5am flight two weeks ago to Chicago thinking I would have the plane to myself only to find it was full to the gills. This is good news for the airlines but can be a major headache to travelers as I explain below: CLICK HERE to read more.

Warning! Full planes means you could be stuck for 2 -4 days if a major weather event happens –

Just this last week Chicago had a bad day of storms. We had an associate attending a seminar in Chicago who had his flight canceled because of the weather. His only option was to wait 2 days until there was an empty seat on another flight to Omaha. He decided to rent a car and drive the 7 hours to Omaha.

Let’s do the math on how full airplanes can delay your travel for 2-4 days –

Let’s assume an airline has 6 flights a day from Omaha to Chicago that are 80% full. A massive snow storm hits Chicago causing all six flights to be canceled because of the weather. If each flight averages 150 seats and the planes are 80% full you have 720 passengers (150 pax/flight X 6 flights X 80% full) who are displaced. Passengers are then forced in trying to find a seat the next day only to see there are only 180 empty seats as those flights are also 80% full. Basically, it can take as long as four days to find the additional 720 empty seats that were displaced because of a snow storm.

Steve’s Travel tip #91 – Business travelers need to take non-stop (direct) flights when planes are this full –

Almost every week we are seeing a weather event, computer malfunction, or even mechanical delays that are causing thousands of people to have their flights delayed or canceled. If you have serious business to attend to it is probably worth the extra $100 to $200 to pay for a direct flight to avoid the possibility of major delays. This is especially true when heading into the upcoming winter travel season.

Be sure to check to see if your Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check pass is set to expire in the next few months –

I was shocked to find out that my Global Entry pass is set to expire in April of 2018 (on my birthday). It turns out they are only good for 5 years and you have to re-apply to renew the card. It seems like it was only yesterday that I got my Global Entry pass. It is still the best travel investment I have ever made as it has allowed me to save hours and hours waiting in line.

The case of the shrinking airline seat –

Just a few days ago a federal court ordered the FAA to investigate if the airline’s massive movement to shrink the size of their airplane seats possess a safety risk and should the FAA impose minimum seat standards. The airlines are quietly shrinking the size of seats on planes so they can add more seats that they can sell. The seats are getting so small that for many people of stature (size) like me find it almost painful to fly on some flights today. Ironically, instead of taking the issue on from a comfort perspective the flying public is challenging the safety aspects as well. Let’s hope some kind of minimum seat size can be prescribed to treat passengers, not like self- loading freight. CLICK HERE to read more.

Do not miss New York, New York with Morrie this coming November –

Join our back-by-demand fantastic tour of the Big Apple this November, once again hosted by Morrie Enders with The Lincoln Community Playhouse. This once-in-a-lifetime 5-day tour will not only feature some of the greatest Broadway shows, but also give you time to explore one of the world’s greatest cities with Morrie and friends. We have included 3 shows and a panoramic city sightseeing with our own private guide, a true New Yorker, who can’t wait to share all his ins and outs and local secrets with you. CLICK HERE to see all the details and call or email our friendly group department today at 402-435-8888 / to secure your spot. Few seats are left – do not hesitate!

Need information on any of the above?
Call our friendly travel advisors….
Lincoln – 402-435-8888 Toll-free 800-737-0582

Hello from Las Vegas –

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I am writing you today as I am returning from spending a short 36 hours in Las Vegas for a business meeting. Spend just a few hours here and you will easily understand how it gets the nicknames of “sin city” and “glitter gulch”.

Here are my Top 10 travel tips when visiting Las Vegas and how it has changed since years gone by.

#1 – Don’t stay in anything less than a 4 star hotel in Las Vegas (LAS) –

You will be really disappointed in your room, service and quality of stay if you reach down to a 3 star in glitter gulch. The cost of a four star hotel is still pretty reasonable (sometimes under $100) and you can even find deals on 5 star hotels when you travel mid-Week. Hotels offer great prices for staying Sunday to Wednesday.

#2 – If you get a taxi driver who starts telling you stories you are paying too much for your cab fare –

Talking taxi drivers are simply trying to distract you from realizing he is taking you the long way to your destination. Of the 6 taxi rides I had to the same destination the two times I got drivers who talked all the time the taxi fare was $10 higher as they took us the “fastest route” instead of the direct route. When the taxi driver starts telling you stories you are in trouble.

#3 – Pay for your taxi ride with cash –

They will charge you $3 extra to use your credit card.

#4 – Use Uber instead of taxi’s –

It is faster and cleaner and cheaper.

#5 – Where have all the $1 shrimp cocktails and $2.99 all-you-can-eat buffets gone? –

I guess I am aging myself when I think back to the good old days when they tried to draw you to LAS with the lowest priced buffets. Today’s buffets are a culinary dream that can cost upwards of $95 a person. CLICK HERE to find out about the best buffets.

#6 – LAS is the entertainment capitol of the world –

Every hotel has a major headliner. The best singers, dancers, magicians, broadway productions, and comedians in the world perform here every night. Be sure to buy your tickets before you arrive in LAS as the shows fill up fast.

#7 – LAS is foodie heaven –

If you are looking for great food from every corner of the world you will find it in LAS. Every top chef in the world has one or more restaurants in this city. Be prepared to open up your wallet if you sit down for dinner in this city. The average cost of a great steak, side dishes, and a few drinks can push $100 per person. Wait staff are paid very well so you will also be blessed with great service at almost every hotel restaurant here.

#8 – Hotels here will charge you a disgusting $39 daily resort fee –

This trip I stayed at the Aria. It is a fine hotel in a great location. My $170 a night rate became over $238 a night when adding the resort fee and taxes. That is disgusting in my book. There ought to be a law preventing hotels from deceiving the public like this.

#9 – Up in smoke –

Nevada has just approved recreational use of marijuana. Now the town is really going up in smoke.

#10 – Be prepare to walk and walk and walk –

The hotels are so massive that just walking from the front desk to your room can be almost a 1/4 mile or more. And if you walk between hotels what looks like just a few blocks on a map can actually be a few miles. Bring comfy shoes!


#11 – Don’t rent a car if you are staying along the “Strip” –

Valet parking can cost upwards of $75 a night. That pays for a lot of taxi cabs.

#12 – Don’t believe them when they tell you it is “not hot” but “dry heat” –

When the temperature hits 110 degrees in LAS the low humidity only makes it feel like 105. It’s HOT in Las Vegas.

#13 – Be warned, taking your young family to LAS may be a mistake –

You will find all the good. the bad, and the ugly of humanity in Las Vegas. It is bright, bold, brash and in your face. That freedom of expression in LAS is refreshing to some and disgusting to others.

Need information on any of the above?
Call our friendly travel advisors….
Lincoln – 402-435-8888 Toll-free 800-737-0582

Marriott and Hilton 48 hour new cancellation policy may backfire on them –

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The big news in the travel industry the past several weeks has been what will be the effect of Marriott’s and Hilton’s announcement that they are changing their cancellation policy from 24 hours to 48 hours. The reasons for this change is an obvious attempt to prevent travelers from making a hotel reservation and then cancelling a few days before arrival to take advantage of lower prices hotels offer with unsold inventory at the last minute. By moving the cancellation window farther out to 48 hours I think some vacation travelers will simply not make reservations in advance and wait until the last minute to book their hotels. In effect the hotel cancellation window moving further out to 48 hours will actually just accelerate the problem hotels are having not fix the issue. Executive Travel has built cool technology we call HotelZip that takes a hotel booking and rebooks it at a lower price when those last minute hotel deals pop up.

Airline frequent flyer programs are the biggest enemy to corporations trying to save money –

For over thirty years I have been amazed to see how much airline frequent flyer programs have caused business travelers to pay much more money on a flight so they can earn the miles and perks for personal gain. I call this using OPM (Other People’s Money). It is not unusual to see a business traveler spend $200 or more on flights of their preferred airline in order to earn their points and now, more importantly, elite status. When a flyer earns elite status on an airline they earn valuable perks like free upgrades to first class, waived luggage fees and many other bennies. The bottom line to corporations trying to manage the cost of their travel program is that these airline perks can cost your company an additional 15% to 20% in expenses per year. The dilemma companies face is how to provide the right balance of traveler comfort with the company’s bottom line. Call us at 402-435-8888 if your company needs help in this area.

Frontier Airlines announces massive expansion –

The ultra low cost carrier (ULCC) announced that when their major expansion is complete next year they will serve 82 cities that the airline said account for 90% of the U.S. population. They will also fly 314 nonstop routes. The biggest change is that they will be adding dozens of new flights through their Denver hub. This reverses what they did 4 years ago when they eliminated gobs of flights into and out of Denver. Maybe they should be called Yoyo Airlines?

Get Ready for a Battle Royal as United and Frontier battle for king of Denver –

If you are traveling to Denver in the next year you should soon be seeing some amazing low prices as Frontier Airlines (article above) is adding dozens of new flights into the city. To win over new customers Frontier will most assuredly offer rock bottom prices to try to bring new customers their way. United Airlines has always been King of Denver and they will compete by playing hardball with their pesky new little cousin by showing they can play the low fare game as well. The biggest winner will be the traveler going to Denver. Let’s enjoy it while it lasts.

July and August are the hardest months to find frequent flyer seats –

We work with dozens of companies to help them manage and maximize their airline frequent flyer miles. As you know the airlines continue to make it harder and harder to use their frequent flyer miles. We have noticed this is especially true when trying to use the miles for international business class seats. Using miles for business class seats is usually the best return on your investment. For as little as 125,000 miles you can receive an international business class seat with a value of $6,000 or more. Using your miles for business class international travel is very difficult during July and August. The bottom line is that when the planes are full the airlines don’t want to give away seats when they can sell them. CLICK HERE to see our cool new video that shows how your company can earn big dollars having Executive Travel manage frequent flyer miles earned using a company credit card.

Wow! Travel to the Caribbean is on sale and prices are as much as 60% off for travel this fall –

From now until December 15 you can take advantage of the lowest prices of the year for many resorts throughout the Caribbean. We are seeing many promotions that include, up to 60% off, kids stay free, $1,500 resort credits, and even free transfers. If you love the sun and fun of the Caribbean give one of our friendly travel advisors a call at 402-435-8888.



Need information on any of the above?
Call our friendly travel advisors….
Lincoln – 402-435-8888 Toll-free 800-737-0582