For the last two weeks, I provided you with 30 of my top predictions. Today here comes 15 more. During the past thirteen years, 73% of my predictions have come true! Here’s the rest of what I think will happen in 2018 (part 3 of 4).
# 31- People will start sending their luggage by FedEx instead of checking it with the airlines –
Every major airline (except Southwest) now charges as much as $120 roundtrip to have you check your luggage. While travelers hate these fees the airlines have figured out they can charge these fees without suffering the wrath of their customers. After four years of predicting I anticipate that in 2018 we will finally see UPS and FedEx start to promote a “door to door” luggage service at a cost equal to or less than the cost of taking your luggage to the airport and paying those fees.
# 32 – Almost 1 in 3 hotel rooms will go empty in 2018 –
Despite the hotel industry’s record-setting growth and price increases the last five years the fact remains that almost 35% of hotel rooms will be empty in 2018. Obviously, some markets like New York City, Chicago and other metropolitan areas will continue to see steep increases in hotel rates because of limited hotel room supply. However, many hotels are full during the week and empty on weekends or vice versa.
# 33 – Your frequent flyer miles will be worth less in 2018 –
The airlines are all trying to rapidly devalue your frequent flyer miles this year. Add to that they are also making it tougher to earn miles as they have converted their programs from miles traveled to dollars spent. If you have a bunch of frequent flyer miles 2018 will be the year to use them as they will be worth less and less every year ahead.
# 34 – More companies will change their travel policies to allow their travelers to pay $100 or more for a direct flight –
Missing a connecting flight in 2018 could keep you stranded in an airport for up to four days. Once again, with airlines flying their planes 90% full means they only have a few seats available if a flight is canceled or delayed. Add a major storm into the mix and missing your connecting flight in 2018 might mean you are sitting in the airport waitlisted for the next available seat, which might be two to four days later. This is a giant reason why companies in 2018 will relax their travel policies and allow their business travelers to spend $100 or more for the convenience of direct flights.
# 35 – American Airlines will rapidly continue to improve service as they target to not only be the biggest but one of the best airlines in 2018 –
American Airlines brought on one new airplane a week into their fleet in 2017 and they have one of the youngest fleets in the industry today. Their merger with US Airways is mostly complete and they are working to improve the customer experience in many ways. American Airline’s focus for the past 6 years has been how to be the biggest. In 2018 and beyond now they want to be the best. Let’s hope they continue to get better every day.
# 36 – Plastic Hotel Key Cards will soon go the way of the paper airline ticket –
In 2014 Starwood Hotels started keyless entry to some of their hotels. Now what started as a trickle is turning into a full tsunami. Using your smartphone to unlock your hotel room is the next big thing in the hotel industry. The reason that all the hotels want to move rapidly to replace the old plastic key cards with wireless Bluetooth using your smartphone is that this forces the travelers to download the hotel app on to their smartphone. Once you have downloaded their app they have many more ways to “touch” you in 2018.
# 37- “Bleisure” travel combines business with leisure travel in 2018-
The millennials are figuring out hundreds of ways they can squeeze every ounce out of their business trips by combining them with mini-vacations as an extension of their business travel.
# 38 – Airplanes will hit more turtles than drones in 2018 –
A lot has been written about the proliferation of drones as Christmas presents the past two years and how they will be an overriding concern for airplane safety. A recent article in Popular Science Magazine quoted research done by Eli Dourado, of the Mercatus Center showing that since 1990 the FAA has recorded 198 airplane-and-turtle collisions and one drone/airplane collision in 2017. Now consider that there are 10 billion birds flying in U.S. airspace and maybe 1 million drones. Bottom line – let’s worry about the birds first. Here is a good article about Drones and airplanes. http://www.iflscience.com/
# 39 – Allegiant Airlines’ planes are so old they will all be AARP certified in 2018 –
The low-cost airline has a fleet that averages 19.8 years old according to Airfleets.net. Some of their planes are older than the average age of college football players. Unfortunately, Delta is not much better as their average fleet age is 17 years. CLICK HERE to read about all the airline fleet ages.
# 40 – Expect airlines to offer travel sales for discounted miles –
Airlines know when and where they have empty seats. Plus they have billions of frequent flyer miles on the books that they need to provide redemption incentives to get those off the books and stimulate sales of seats. In 2018 they will offer special sales so instead of it taking 35,000 miles to redeem for a free seat to Mexico they will have sales that lower that redemption level to 25,000 miles or less. The airlines know many people only have enough miles for one free ticket and usually 2 to 4 people in a family will travel to Mexico. So if they have one free ticket they also get to sell one ticket and fill two empty seats.
# 41 – Lost luggage will turn into delayed luggage in 2017 –
Delta and American both have baggage tracking buttons on their apps and websites that allow you to follow your bags as you fly. All the airlines are rapidly improving the ways they track luggage. Granted there will always be luggage that is lost, but with all the new airline technology most of the time in 2018 it will just be delayed and reach you the next day.
# 42 – Airline customer service (an oxymoron) is actually getting better in 2018 –
Some will ask, “How could it get any worse?” Actually, I have seen an amazing turn around in airline customer service heading into 2018. Delta Air Lines is leading the pack with its “southern charm”. American Airlines has made amazing progress with customer service. United Airlines is projected by me to be the most improved airline in 2018.
# 43 – Travelers are craving authentic experiences in 2018 –
They want boutique hotels, unique eating experiences where the locals eat and ways to stay away from the plastic-fantastic tourist traps in 2018.
# 44 – New hotels will have names you never heard of in 2018 –
Thousands of new hotels will be built in the United States. Many of these hotels will be new brands that you have never heard of like Citizen M Hotel, Restoration Hardware Hotel, SLS Hotel, EDITION Hotel, AC Hotel, Pod Hotel, NoMad Hotel, Cambria, Hotel ZaZa and many more. The movement in hotels is away from the chains and toward a more personalized and boutique experience. Ironically many of the mega hotel chains are branding these new boutique hotel names.
# 45 – Almost half the 50 states have not adopted security measures for drivers licenses but will receive extensions so they can use their driver’s licenses as I.D. to fly in 2018 –
The Department of Homeland Security is implementing the REAL I.D. program. This program requires all states to adopt better security measures for driver’s licenses and other identification, to discourage forgeries and prevent terrorism. Many states are not in compliance and residents in those states were worried they would have to provide a passport or another valid form of I.D. to get on a flight in 2018. Fortunately, DHS extended the waiver until October 2018 in hopes more states would comply. CLICK HERE to see a map if your state is in compliance.