Hello from Hong Kong

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I’m writing you today from Hong Kong (one of my favorite cities in the world), as I am making my way to Guangzhou, China for a short three-day visit to the Canton Trade Fair. The Canton Fair takes place twice a year and is the largest trade export fair in the world. I am here this week to meet manufacturers of E-bikes. These electric bicycles are the hot new thing in the U.S. and we will be launching a new company to import some amazing E-bikes. Take a peek at a preliminary (draft-not yet completed) website we are building to showcase these hot new E-bikes at https://tailwindebikes.com/home-staging/

Get ready to be fingerprinted when traveling to China –

Upon arrival in China, I was amazed to find out they are now fingerprinting everyone entering the country. When I was just here in April and they didn’t require it but now they do. One of the best thing that China has done in the last few years was allowing U.S. citizens to buy a 10-year visa instead of having to buy one every year.

Here is a tip to get to your hotel in China when your taxi driver does not speak English –

Most taxi drivers in China do not speak English so when you jump in a taxi at the airport and tell them you want to go to the Westin they have no idea what you are saying. When this happens I simply pull out my phone and call the hotel. Most hotels have staff that speaks English and Mandarin. I simply hand the taxi driver my phone and the hotel clerk then gives directions to the hotel. Works every time.

Luxury Hotels prices in China allow you to travel in style and not break the piggy bank –

The service, food, and facilities of all these hotels are some of the best in the world. One hotel told me they have 4 staff members for every room in the hotel. Even with this amazing service, the prices for a 5-star hotel in China is 50% less than the same brand in other countries.

Women of Nebraska is off to Paris and the Normandy, and Italy! –

Join Women of Nebraska on two exclusive journeys next year. From April 22 to May 2, we will explore the best France has to offer. With the 75th anniversary of the liberation this upcoming June, this is the once-in-a-lifetime tour to join. A day dedicated to the D-Day beaches is included and we will enjoy Paris, Versailles, Monet’s Garden, medieval abbeys, French food, culture, and art. CLICK HERE to see all the details. September 17 through 28, we cherish the delights of Italy. From Rome to Venice via Assisi, Tuscany, and Florence. From past to current movie stars to the greatest artworks of the world. We will cook, sniff, sip and taste the best wines, learn all about olive oil, visit the Vatican City, take a gondola ride, laugh and have fun with our fellow Women of Nebraska travelers. CLICK HERE to see all the details. SMALL GROUPS, max. 20 travelers. Reserve your spot TODAY! Call or email our friendly Group Department today to learn more, 402-435-8888/GroupDepartment@executivetravel.com.




Tired of shrinking airline seats? A new law allows the government to set minimum seat sizes –

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Congress just days ago passed a new 5-year bill that reauthorizes the funding for the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). Included in that new legislation is language that requires the FAA to set minimum standards for seat width and pitch. Can you say “Yippie”? Airlines have gone crazy the last few years in shrinking seat sizes. Customers have complained and Congress finally listened. Now if the bureaucrats setting the new minimum seat width can withstand the wave of airline lobbyists who will try to persuade them to allow for the current system to stay in place maybe we will not all feel like we are being pried into a sardine can on our next flight. The airlines did win big when the final legislation did not take away their ability to have unlimited ability to control and increase prices on almost all fees (including change fees, luggage fees, etc.) CLICK HERE for a short article on all the changes in the bill.

 

Why wait on hold for 90 minutes calling an airline when you can talk to us in 4 seconds? –

Recently I talked with a corporate prospect who told me they were frustrated when they recently had to wait 90 minutes on the phone to talk to their travel company. They then decided to call the airline directly and push what seemed like 100 buttons to try to talk to an agent. They got the recording that they could leave their number and they would call them back sometime within 2 hours. Now I really like having the call back feature rather than waiting on line but can you imagine it still taking two hours to talk to a live person at an airline? After hearing this story I asked myself “I wonder how fast I could get through to an agent at Executive Travel?” I picked up the phone and called our corporate phone number and was so pleased when on the first ring I heard the friendly voice of Julie ask how she could help me. Our team has made a commitment to be the “Fastest and easiest travel management company to do business with”. Every week we measure how fast we pick up the phone. We average between 14 and 17 seconds every week. We also make sure that you do not have to press any buttons to talk to a live agent. One more reason to use your friendly folks at Executive Travel.

 

American Airlines removes options for non-elite members if flights delayed or canceled –

AA recently announced they are removing the option to be re-accommodated on other airlines if a flight is delayed or canceled. In the past, if a flight was canceled or delayed the airline would first re-accommodate travelers with an AA flight. If no AA flight was available they would generally allow you to take another airline. The new rules will allow the re-accommodation on other airlines but only for their top travelers. Even Gold and Platinum Elite members will not be re-accommodated unless the flight is delayed by 5 hours or more. This is going to go over like a lead balloon. CLICK HERE to read more.

 

Steve’s travel tip #97 – Here is how to get your frequent flyer miles put back into your account when an airline says no –

Several months ago I was supposed to be flying from China to Cartegena for a business meeting. I used my AeroPlan (Air Canada flying on Star Alliance airlines) miles to book a ticket using 135,000 miles. Before my flight, I decided I was tired of traveling and called the airline to see what I could do to cancel the trip and put those miles back into my account. They said that I could not put my miles back into my account because my trip was under 22 days prior to departure. However, they would allow me to change the date of my trip to sometime in the future. So here is what I did to save those 135,000 miles. I first changed my flight from departing on October 16 to departing six months later. This cost me a $90 change fee. I then called back a month later and said I would like to refund those 135,000 miles back into my account as the new flight is more than 22 days in advance. This cost me another $90 fee. The bottom line is I spent $180 in change fees but was able to save 135,000 miles for future travel. That is a pretty good return on investment.

 

All the world is on sale –

There are some amazing deals for travel this fall and winter to almost every destination around the world. If you are thinking of traveling in the next 6 months give our friendly travel advisors a call (402-435-8888).

 

Join our fun tour to London and the stunning Cotswolds this May! – “Christie, Cottages, and Comedy” –

This is just a few of the essences we bring you on this charming tour of London and the Cotswolds, May 20-28, 2019. Join Morrie Enders, Lincoln Community Playhouse, and us, as we take off for a tour of the best that London and the honey-colored picturesque countryside of the Cotswolds have to offer. Walk in the footsteps of the greatest English playwright, follow Sherlock and Christie, enjoy a pint at the local pubs, and be carried away by the two included West End shows! You will also experience the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Windsor Castle, Bath, Blenheim Palace and Oxford! 10 seats left – call us today at 402-435-8888 to secure your spot! CLICK HERE to see the detailed tour brochure!

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




Here are Steve’s 8 great tips when your flights are canceled or delayed (by over 2 hours)

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As we head into the fall and winter seasons the likelihood of delayed or canceled flights becomes much more likely. Here are my 8 great tips on how to deal with canceled and delayed flights:

1. Call your friendly travel advisor –

This is the fastest and easiest way to deal with the headaches of a canceled or delayed flight. One call and they can coach you 24/7/365 on all your options. Many of our customers tell us what a blessing it was for them to simply pick up their phone and call one of our friendly travel advisors to change their flight rather than stand in the long lines at the airport when a last minute flight delay pops up on the flight monitor.

2. Download the airline app on your phone before your trip –

When you find out your flight is being delayed or canceled simply check the airline app. The airlines now will almost always rebook (confirmed seats) you on another flight and send that info to your app.

3.  Standby for the next flight –

If the new itinerary provided by the airline is later in the day and earlier flights are sold out you can ask the airline to waitlist you on an earlier flight.

4.  Reschedule your whole trip –

Sometimes the new schedule assigned by the airline does not allow you to make your meeting or seriously affects your plans. One option you have is to simply cancel the whole trip and get your money back. You can then reschedule it at a future date.

5. Switch to a nearby airport –

If flights to your destination are sold out the airlines will often allow you to rebook your flight to an alternate airport.  For example, if flying to New York – LaGuardia and flights are full ask them to check Newark or JFK. If flying to Omaha ask for Lincoln or even Kansas City. If you switch to a nearby airport you have to arrange and pay for ground transportation on your own.

6. Ask to rebook you on another airline using the old rule 240 –

Some of the airlines have reciprocating agreements with other airlines that allows them to help each other by re-accommodating displaced passengers on another airline (originally called the old 240 rule). This means if your United flight is canceled and no other flights are available on United you can ask United to place you on an available American flight at no additional cost.  Airlines will hardly ever offer this option to you and only do this as a last resort (when you ask) as they want to keep you on their airline and not pay another airline to take you. (Note that Southwest, Frontier, Allegiant, Spirit and other low-cost carriers do not work with other airlines and you are out of luck asking to change airlines on a canceled flight).

7.  The gate agent can work miracles –

Sometimes the best thing to do is to approach the gate agent on the flight you want to get on (after your flight has been canceled or delayed) and politely ask if they can help you with this problem. Usually, a friendly request works better than an in-your-face demand.

8. Understand when the airline will pay for food and a hotel –

If your flight is canceled because of a weather (commonly called an act of God) event beyond the control of the airline they will not be required to pay you for an overnight stay at a hotel and food. If however, the cancellation is within the control of the airline, such a mechanical problem or shortage of staff the airline is required to pay for food and lodging.

 

Join us at The Still in Lincoln tomorrow for a Scotch presentation!

If you dream about a trip to Scotland to experience the best whisky, then join our FREE and exciting Scotch presentation tomorrow, Wednesday, October 3rd, from 4-7pm, taking place at The Still, 6820 S 70th Street, Lincoln, NE 68516. Swing by to meet our tour hosts and Scotch connoisseurs, Mark and Bob Feit, and learn all about the details of this exciting tour taking off May 31 – June 9, 2020. CLICK HERE for full tour details or call or email our friendly Group Department at 402-435-8888 / GroupDepartment@executivetravel.com for more information. No need to RSVP for this event – we are looking forward to seeing you!

 

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




European invasion of credit card fees for buying tickets may hit the U.S. –

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Airlines in Europe are already charging a fee to use a credit card to purchase an airline ticket. With the European playbook in hand, U.S. airlines would love to mirror these fees ASAP.  Now that jet fuel prices have doubled in the last few years, the airlines are scrambling for revenue to offset higher expenses. Expect one of the smaller airlines like Frontier or Allegiant to start with a small $10 fee to test the waters. If people don’t scream too loud then “Katie bar the door” as the avalanche of fees will hit us again.


Hello from Chicago –

I am writing to you today from the Windy City of Chicago. I am here today on a short one-day business trip to meet with some of the top brass of United Airlines. They are sharing with our team some of their many new growth strategies and customer service initiatives they have and will launch this year.  It is so refreshing to see an airline reach out and ask how they can do things better.


Congress tells Airlines they have gone too far in shrinking airline seats –

Congress just passed legislation to fund the FAA which included a provision for the FAA to come up with new rules setting minimum dimensions for seat width and legroom.  I am not a big advocate of the Government getting into the airline business, however, the airlines have gone way too far in shrinking seat size. It is painful to fly in many seats today. I hope the new rules come fast and furious.

Dominoes fall as major airlines all increase bag fees to $30  –

First it was Jet Blue, then United, then Delta, and last but not least came American.  Raising the cost to check a bag from $25 each to $30 each on the surface does not sound like much but it raises billions for the airlines. Stop and think if you are a single traveler with two bags it will now cost you $60 each way ($120 round trip) to check your bags. If you paid $300 for your ticket you just added 40% more for the price of your trip. Wow!

Did you know you can have a second passport? –

It turns out that people who do international travel extensively can hold two passports. This allows them to travel with one and leave the second one at home getting processed with visas etc for their next trip. Click HERE for more details.

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




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