Hello from Chicago

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I am writing to you today as I am attending the annual meeting of the GBTA (Global Business Travel Association). This is where all the major airlines, hotels, and car rental companies of the world come together and strut their stuff.  Things are changing fast in the travel world and at this meeting, we heard from the CEO’s of United Airlines, Hyatt Hotels, and Boeing. Plus we had a little fun hearing from legendary sportscaster Bob Costas.  Last night our company sponsored a dinner cruise sailing on Lake Michigan for our customers and business partners attending GBTA. The view of the Chicago skyline at sunset was breathtaking.

Here are a few tidbits from the first day of GBTA 

Boeing 737  Max update – Boeing says they hope to have the Boeing 737 Max back into service early in the fourth quarter. However, most of the airlines are saying that is a best-case scenario and they are making plans that hope for the 737 Max to be back by the first of the year.
Southwest makes big news – They announced they plan to become more business traveler-friendly. In the next year, they will be making their fares available to be booked outside of their website on the Travelport and Amadeus travel platforms.  This will make it much easier to book and change reservations for business travelers.
Prices for travel in 2020 should show little increase – The experts are saying at most we should see a 1% increase in airfares, hotels and car rental rates in 2020.  If the economy slips I think rates will remain flat or even slip lower especially for hotels which appear to have been overbuilt in many cities the last few years.

Are taxis making a comeback? – A funny thing happened at Chicago O’Hare Airport. It used to be when you arrived at O’Hare that the taxi line would be a block long and take 30 minutes to get a cab. Along comes Uber and Lyft and they start grabbing a large piece of all those rides and originally offered prices half the price of Taxies. When I arrived on Sunday night my Uber app said it would cost $90 to get to my hotel so I decided to check out a taxi ride. It turns out that since so many people now use Uber that the line for a taxi was only 10 people long and the price was $56, which saved me $34. Maybe taxi’s are making a comeback.

Chicago is one of my top 5 U.S. cities – 
I have often overlooked Chicago on my list of favorite cities because it is so close to where I live. However the more I visit Chicago the more I think it is truly one of the USA’s top 5 cities to visit. I rate then #1 New York City, #2 Washington D.C., #3 San Francisco, #4 Chicago #5 Boston and #6 Pawnee City, Nebraska.
Executive Travel is an industry leader in business travel management. But we also know how to have some fun with your next vacation.

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