This past Sunday I was traveling home and flying from Dallas to Omaha. As I approached the security line I saw a sign that said TSA PreCheck but the line was twice as long as the line beside it for non-PreCheck travelers. I thought there must be a mistake and I asked one of the security people who said: “yes, I was standing in the correct line”. I then took out my phone and took a picture of the line and did something I don’t normally do, which was to post the picture on facebook with a grumpy comment about the long line. The good news is that even though the TSA PreCheck line was longer it moved much faster and I was able to get through in less than 10 minutes. The bad news is that it would appear that we are getting closer and closer to the point that TSA Precheck has less and less value as more and more people join the program.
Southwest Airlines is falling apart –
The golden boy of the airlines is getting black eye after black eye this year. The last four weeks the airline has been fighting with their mechanic’s union and they have had to cancel thousands of flights as not enough planes are available to fly. Sometimes over 200 flights a day are canceled. Add to this a recent article in the Wallstreet Journal disclosing an FAA investigation into Southwest’s baggage weight discrepancies and concerns about safety. The world’s biggest secret about Southwest Airlines was they used to be known as the “low fare” airline but in the last 5 years has quietly raised their airfares so they are often the highest in the industry. In baseball, three strikes and you’re out. I personally like Southwest and their entrepreneurial spirit. I am sure they will correct the labor problems sooner than later. But the myth of being the “low fare” carrier is officially dead.
My butt is getting bigger or the airplane seats smaller in 2019 –
All the major airlines are trying to quietly put more seats on airplanes so they can make more money on every flight. The seats are getting so small they are actually painful to sit in for many flyers. I am 6’4” tall and it is almost impossible for me to fit my legs between the seats. Even the “economy comfort” seats offered by all the major airlines that offer 4-5 inches more legroom are better but they are also decreasing the width of the seats so a flight that lasts over one hour is like being in a torture chamber. (This is just one of my 72 annual 2019 travel industry predictions for the year. CLICK HERE to see them all).
Executive Travel promotes Paul Glenn as our new CEO –
We announced big news in our company last week as Paul Glenn was promoted to Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Filling his shoes is Bill La Peer, an industry veteran, who will be the new President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Executive Travel. I will retain my position as Chairman of the Board of the company and this will allow me even greater flexibility to expand the vision of our company. Many people asked me last week why we are having these organizational changes and the answer is simple. We want to continue to be the FASTEST (responsive) travel management company (TMC) in the industry. We want to act with URGENCY on everything we do. The industry is changing at the speed of light. We have to have an organizational structure that can innovate and respond quickly to our customers, our employees, new technology and our rapidly changing world. Our new structure will allow us to do that so much better. I’m excited! CLICK HERE to read more about our big news.
Over 92,000 people now receive our weekly travel alert –
Two weeks ago I had a speech at a conference in Florida and was able to recollect how we started the business 33 years ago. 31 years ago we started sending out weekly faxes with travel information at the suggestion of my good friend John Brasch. I remember the excitement of getting a new fax machine that would send 100 faxes. That grew to a computer-generated fax machine that could send several thousand faxes but take all night to do it. Then came the internet and we moved the Weekly Travel Alert to the email format of today. This last year we more than doubled the number of people receiving the weekly email. In 2019 we anticipate our list will grow to over 100,000 people. The question asked most often by people is, “Do you actually write the Weekly Travel Alert or does someone on your team?” Yes, I still write it and it takes me about 4 hours a week to come up with enough content in a format that someone might like to read. I do sometimes get into trouble as I tell it like it is and that sometimes does not make everyone happy. I will tell you the good, the bad and the ugly. I shoot straight and tell you the inside scoop of “how the sausage is made” in the travel industry. Thanks for allowing me to continue this fun ride with you.
Tour at a slower pace with Gentle Journeys! –