Monthly Archives: January 2017

Comparing Basic Economy Fares

basic-economy-fares

There is a new bandwagon in the business travel industry – and it’s basic economy fares from major airlines. Delta has had a handle on their basic economy class since last year. But both United Airlines and American Airlines announced their own twist on the basic economy fare within the last three months. With this sudden competitiveness for cheap seats, we decided to compare each new basic economy class by airline.

The gist of basic economy fares?

  • Cheaper ticket prices, but a few of the perks of the flight have been removed
  • Traveler can’t choose their seat
  • They are also the last to board the plane
  • Still has access to on-flight perks such as inflight entertainment, snacks and non-alcoholic drinks

Delta Air Line’s Basic Economy Class

  • Allows use of overhead bin and the area below the seat in front of you
  • If traveling with others or family, it’s likely you won’t be sitting together
  • Traveler will not be eligible for same-day changes or ticket refunds after the Risk Free Cancellation Period
  • Also not eligible for paid or complimentary upgrades or preferred seats, even with Medallion® Status

United Airline’s Basic Economy Class

  • No use of overhead bins for luggage. This is the biggest differentiation with United’s basic economy class.  When originally announced, it spurred a lot of emotion in the business travel community.
  • Seat is assigned prior to boarding. No changes or upgrades are allowed.
  • If you are a MileagePlus member, you will still earn miles from the flight, but you will not accrue Premier qualifying credit or lifetime miles or toward the four-segment minimum, and won’t receive some benefits.
  • Checked baggage is still available for the addition fee.

American Airline’s Basic Economy Class

  • Most recently announced, American’s Basic Economy Fare will go on sale in late February
  • No use of overhead bins – following United’s suit
  • Seats assigned at check-in, but they do offer seat selection for an additional fee.
  • BUT- if you are an AAdvantage elite status member and eligible AAdvantage credit cardmembers, you are exempt from certain restrictions
    • Use the overhead bin for an addition piece of luggage (no larger than 22 x 14 x 9 in.)
    • Keep you priority or preferred boarding privileges
    • Keep your checked bag benefits

Modified Travel Itineraries Increased In 2016 Due To Risk Factors

SecurityLogic

As security threats become more prevalent and health concerns rise in different areas of the world, travel managers and company decision-makers have been watching. A new study by International SOS and Control Risks found an overall increase in modified travel itineraries due to travel risk factors in 2016.  In addition to itinerary modification, 80% of organizations adjusted or reinforced travel security measures in various other ways. Almost half of the respondents say they increased their travel mitigation procedures in the last year.

Overall, the business travel industry as a whole sees the need to update travel procedures or implement risk mitigation activities. And it’s not slowing down anytime soon. Even with this jump in travel risks, business travel has risen by 44% in the last year, according to this study. Over half expected business travel to increase through 2017 as well. Meaning more companies are likely to update risk protocol in the future.

Top risk mitigation actions during 2016:

Below are the ways in which companies increased their risk mitigation techniques over 2016.

  • Reinforced travel security measures (50%)
  • Updated travel policy (45%)
  • Introduced pre-trip travel advisory emails (39%)
  • Implemented travel safety training (32%)
  • Implemented programs to locate travelers (25%)
  • Provided pre-travel health programs (22%)
  • Invested in crisis communication systems (20%)
  • Enforced use of mobile check in (15%)

The greatest challenges facing travel managers or human resource managers:

Companies are actively taking precautions to ensure their business travelers are safe. Unfortunately, a hurdle with most decision makers is internal compliancy with their travelers. Below are the top challenges employers faced in implementing new risk management protocols.

  • Educating employees about travel risks (49%)
  • Communicating during a crisis (47%)
  • Tracking employee travel (42%)
  • Confirming that employees have read pre-travel information (37%)
  • Travel risk policy compliance (31%)
  • Managing a crisis (31%)
  • Business continuity planning (23%)
  • Implementing a travel risk policy (23%)
  • Confirming that employees have taken travel risk training (23%)
  • Understanding legal obligations to travelers (22%)
  • Management buy-in of travel risk policy (18%)

Activities found to be successful by travelers and decisions makers:

Overall, travelers are less likely to encounter problems if the prepared for the destination and have a known procedure for events. These are the tasks both travelers and decision makers found success in mitigating immediate travel risks in their destination city.

  • Share itinerary with friends and family (59%)
  • Research threats by destination (54%)
  • Know vaccination requirements (42%)
  • Explore attitudes, cultures, and practice of local population (42%)
  • Protect against mosquito bites (36%)

How Christopherson Business Travel provides safety reassurance

Studies like these just reinforce why we created our AirPortal 360 suite in the first place. Our SecurityLogic technology allows travel managers to instantly locate their travelers anywhere in the world in an instant. Displaying safety risks, weather complications, traffic delays, etc, it provides an overview of the destination, without needing to be on the ground or search through additional websites. Should an emergency or disaster strike, our Safety Check feature contacts the traveler instantaneously, notifying them they need to check in with their

Should an emergency or disaster strike, our Safety Check feature contacts the traveler instantaneously- notifying them that they need to check in with their employer. We provide peace of mind for duty or care responsibilities and work fast in an emergency. Our other technology tools in the suite compliment SecurityLogic, ensuring everything you need is in one place.

 

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company, specializing in advanced technology and personalized account management. Learn more about SecurityLogic and our other tools, or contact us for a free demo.

How Christopherson Provides Organization for Travel Management

organization-travel-management

 

It could be the ‘type A’ personality in me, but I often think there’s room for improvement in most situations. I’ve also noticed this trait in many travel managers, procurement officers and executives. In positions as busy as these, isn’t the job more manageable with a structured and reliable system? Fortunately, I know Christopherson can provide that oh-so-necessary organization for travel management tasks. Our technology allows for peace of mind and instant access to information for company’s travel management needs. Why are we so confident that we can provide that satisfaction? Read some of our top benefits below:

How Christopherson provides organization for travel management

– With our AirPortal 360™ Dashboard and Mobile App, you have a 360° view of your travel program instantly and at all times.
– No more digging through your inbox to find a traveler’s itinerary. Christopherson’s SecurityLogic® will tell you exactly where your travelers are in seconds. You can even look at their past or upcoming trips by customizing your search.
– Eliminate that spreadsheet tracking your company’s unused tickets. AirBank® technology seamlessly tracks the unused funds from cancelled tickets. We even provide reminders, ensuring they are used before expiring.
– All of your traveler’s pertinent travel information and preferences is stored in our Traveler Profiles, allowing you to take one less step when booking. There is no need to keep a series of post-it notes on your desk with traveler’s information written on them.
– Lastly, eliminate the need to “shop” for fares prior to booking a trip. With PolicyLogic™, your company’s travel policy is built into our software. When travelers book their travel either with an agent or through one of our online booking tools, your travel policy will always comply.
By choosing Christopherson Business Travel as your travel management partner, you are signing on from streamlined and organized travel management. We are at the forefront of travel technology, and have been since we opened our doors in 1953. Contact us to learn more about our AirPortal® platform, and how we can declutter your travel management procedures.

Avoid Syncing Your Phone To A Rental Car

never sync phone to rental car

 

Beginning another year in the business travel industry, I often find myself reflecting on the changes and advances I’ve seen in the previous year. The biggest change I’ve notice is the growing access to technology conveniences while traveling. Aircrafts are equipped with USB charging ports and entertainment apps. It’s easy syncing your phone to a rental car or connecting to free wireless networks in hotels.  With so many ways to stay connected during business trips, I now even find myself feeling annoyed when an airport does not offer free Wi-Fi access.

The compulsion to stay connected while traveling

Being “connected” to the office, email, current news, etc, is becoming an ever-growing necessity of business travel. Not only do we always feel the need to stay connected, but we demand it in a convenient manner too. In this growing frenzy to stay locked in with those in the office, many travelers unknowingly put their employer’s information and personal data at risk while achieving this growing need. With this growing accessibility, I find myself easily forgetting the consequences as well.

Why you should avoid syncing your phone to a rental car and other no-no’s

While reading a recent USA Today article, I was reminded of the hacking risks related to connecting to unknown or unsecured networks. When free or instant wifi is offered, security is often a second thought. This is how hackers and identity thieves are so successful. Our “careless connection” behavior is found in many circumstances when traveling, including hotel wifi issues or basic phishing schemes. Below are a few surprising situations in which you might encounter unsafe network activity.

  • Syncing your phone with a rental car. Most newer rental cars immediately offer pairing with their onboard infotainment system. Unbeknownst to most travelers, your information can stay within the car’s system after you return the car. This leaves you susceptible to the future drivers of the car. Or, hackers can install malicious software to the car before you rent it, accessing your information once you connect your phone.
  • Using the free USB charging stations in the airport. Plugging your phone into an infected USB hub is so common it even has a name – “juice jacking”. While connected to this port, hackers can easily access your private information.
  • Connecting to free wifi in your hotel or airport. Are you seeing a trend here? Free access leaves many open to malicious software and hacking schemes.

Tips for avoiding hacking scams

As we’ve covered, immediate and instant communication is a necessity for business travel. And unfortunately, the easiest routes often put you in arms length of security issues. Below are a few easy tips to avoid hacks. Some of these tips are from the Federal Trade Commission.

  • Avoid connecting your phone to a rental car’s infotainment system. Instead, manually enter the addresses needed.
  • Charge your phone in a rental car with a cigarette lighter adapter. This is the only way it will charge your device without accessing your personal information.
  • ‘Do you trust this computer?’ Say ‘no’. Don’t quickly skip through this step. If you are traveling and accessing unknown devices, always select ‘no’ for this option.
  • Delete your data before returning the rental car. If you do sync your phone with a rental car’s infotainment system, be sure to delete your information before returning the car to the rental office. Deleting information is usually done by going into the settings menu of the infotainment system. Find your device and go through the prompts to delete the data. The owner’s manual or car rental company may have more information.
  • Bring a fully-charged portable phone charger with you. These portable devices act as a second charge for your phone. When you are almost out of battery, just connect your phone to this device, and it charges your phone without needing to access an electrical outlet. Just remember to charge it before you leave home.
  • Use a company VPN to access sensitive data while in hotels. Ask your IT department to set up an VPN connection to use while you’re traveling for business. This connection is a secure access straight to company files, so your information can not be hacked.

Our world is continually changing with increased accessibility and connectivity. With this instant gratification, it is very easy to overlook the potential security issues involved. I hope these tips will help as a reminder next time you are about to sync your phone with a rental car or in other ‘convenient’ situations.

The Bachelor – Travel Manager Edition

travel manager

Now in its 21st season, The Bachelor has become a sweeping television phenomenon. The shows premise is one of reality tv, drama, and ridiculous courtship. One eligible bachelor who is searching for love dates 25 women before deciding who he loves and would like to marry.  Watching the new season, I can’t help but draw similarities to the travel industry. As travel managers search for new travel management options, they often pursue a few different companies. Like The Bachelor, they meet and ‘court’ these bachelorettes, the travel management companies. Based on similar interests, personalities, or values, the travel manager selects one company to provide their travel management services.

Travel managers – the bachelors of travel management

So who wins the relationship proposal in the end?  There’s a lot of choices, but I’ve found that the contestants often fall into three categories:

  • The flashy big-city contestant: big, bold, and less flexible to change.
  • The down-to-earth contestant: well-rounded and everyone’s favorite.
  • The oddly-interesting contestant: quirky, inconsistent, and risky.

Sometimes the pursuit of flash or risk makes for an entertaining episode, but it is often the pursuit of the well-rounded “bachelorette” that ends up resulting in a lasting marriage! Travel management companies fall into similar categories. Each brings different characteristics and benefits to the table, and usually, the company most in-line with the company’s needs will win the bid.  However, in the end, it’s up to the travel manager to award the ‘final rose’.

Christopherson Business Travel is an award-winning travel management company for businesses. Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, we have been at the forefront of innovative travel technology and exceptional account management since 1990. Contact us to learn more about our award-winning travel management solutions.

Delta and Aeroméxico Partnership Announced

Delta Aeroméxico partnershipMore exciting news comes from Delta Airlines in 2017. Delta and Aeroméxico recently announced a transborder alliance, establishing a historic partnership between the United States and Mexico. These two airlines have been partners for 22 years, offering more than 400 flights between the two countries. This Delta and Aeroméxico partnership is expected to increase these benefits and choices for fliers.

The Department of Transportation recently authorized an antitrust immunity, allowing the airlines to establish a joint cooperation agreement.
Delta CEO, Ed Bastain said in a recent press release, “Together, Delta and Aeroméxico are stronger in the U.S.-Mexico market than either airline can be on its own. The partnership will make it possible for us to offer customers more flights to more destinations, with more choices every time someone travels across the border. We will offer industry-leading reliability, great service and an unmatched array of options.” “Our partnership means growth of services and jobs for both Delta and Aeroméxico,”

Once finalized by the DOT and the Mexican Federal Economic Competition Commission conditions are met, it will allow Aeroméxico and Delta to coordinate and enhance the experience for their travelers.

What does this Delta and Aeroméxico partnership mean for travelers?

Collectively, they already operate more than 400 flights between them, offering greater benefits to their flyers. In the near future travelers can expect to see:

  • Expanded destinations
  • Improved connecting schedules
  • Seamless operations
  • Improved experience on the ground, including updated gate and lounges

Sales and marketing for this venture will soon be created, increasing the presence in Delta’s United States hubs in Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York, Salt Lake City and Seattle. Aeroméxico will begin marketing efforts in their hubs in Mexico City, Monterrey and Guadalajara.

Christopherson Business Travel is a premier business travel management company in the United States. We offer travel solutions with our top-of-the-line custom technology, account management services and 24/7 agents. Contact us to learn how we can save you time and money on future business travel.

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How To Prevent Jet Lag While Traveling

prevent jet lag business travelWe’ve all been there – adjusting to a new time zone with headaches, nausea, disorientation, insomnia or exhaustion. Add on a day full of meetings or an important presentation, and you are certainly at a disadvantage. While air travel makes it possible to soar to the other side of the world in a matter of hours, the jet lag can take a serious toll. And while there’s no official cure to prevent jet lag, its effects can and should be mitigated for the sake of your business travel. We’ve compiled these tips from a collection of Virtuoso travel advisors to help you from falling behind on your next trip.

Five tips to prevent jet lag, from a collection of Virtuoso travel advisors:

“Set your watch to your destination time when you board the plane and act as if you’re already in that time zone. If it’s night there, try to sleep. If it’s day, do your best to stay awake.”
– JOHN OBERACKER

“To help you sleep during your flight, I highly recommend wearing lightweight, loose-fitting clothes. I also bring my own neck pillow and cashmere pashmina that doubles as a blanket. And of course, flying business or first class will help you rest and be ready for your arrival.”
– MARY ANN RAMSEY

“If it’s feasible, schedule an overnight layover en route to your ultimate destination. During my recent family vacation to Hawaii, for example, I arranged flights with a hotel stay in San Francisco, which significantly lessened our jet lag.”
– LISA LEAVITT

“Stress-reducing massages and spa treatments are essential for reducing jet lag – think airport massages and jet-lag therapies on arriving at your destination.”
– PAÔLA MANSUR

“If you arrive during the day, stay active and get as much sunlight as possible. I recommend taking a private tour that will help you get familiar with your destination, requires minimal brain power, and keeps you from slipping into your bed too early.”
– KRISTEN LOWREY LARSON

 

Do you have any tips to prevent jet lag while traveling for business? Leave them in the comments below or find us on Facebook or Twitter.

Christopherson Business Travel is a travel management company for busy corporations. With our top-of-the-line travel technology, account management, and 24/7 customer service, let us handle your travel so you can get back to what’s more important.

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Choice Humanitarian Expedition – Carmen’s Story

Christopherson Business Travel sponsors a group of employees to participate in a humanitarian expedition with Choice Humanitarian annually. Being a corporate partner with this international non-profit organization, we engage and volunteer whenever possible. This amazing organization assists villages across the globe in extreme poverty by providing self-sustaining techniques to improve their community from within. This year, the group, including myself, assisted in the Polochic region of Guatemala.  Read my story below, and be sure to leave comments on our blog or Facebook page.

Carmen’s Story


humanitarian expedition - Christopherson Business TravelI knew that going on a CHOICE humanitarian trip would be a life-changing experience—traveling to a remote village in extreme poverty is bound to be eye-opening. But to be honest, I wasn’t ready for what I found.

The objective for our trip was to install new stoves in the villagers’ homes. Their current stoves were simply open flames constantly burning. The smoke was a true hazard, harming their lungs and eyesight. But the stoves we installed have a metal stovetop which contained the flame. More importantly, they have an exhaust pipe to push the smoke outside the house.

The conditions of the villagers’ homes were one of the first things I noticed and something that will stay with me forever. Most had one or two rooms total, but some families had additional buildings. Their ‘living room area’ was often their kitchen. Beds—typically just wooden boards with a blanket—were separate. It made the camping pad I brought with me look like luxury. Floors were made of dirt, hardened from years of wear, yet they still kept their homes clean and swept. Animals roamed everywhere, particularly chickens, running inside and outside of all buildings and structures. Though they had dogs and cats in the village, they were not kept as pets and were malnourished and starving, only bones and skin. One family had a pig. We were told they were one of the wealthiest families, as this was a luxury.

The village children were a highlight. They were always happy, generous and intrigued. I never saw them argue over a toy or gang up on one another. One girl named Carmen was particularly bright, ambitious, and creative. She was one of the only girls not wearing the traditional skirts the other girls wore. Someone told me her family could not afford the traditional clothes for her, so she continued wearing the ‘modern’ clothes that most girls transition out of.

It could be that Carmen and I share the same name, but I know she will stay with me forever. Though she’s bright and clever, she was born in a small village with very strict gender rules. She will likely never go to college or travel abroad or even experience life outside of this rural mountain. Though I obviously can’t foresee political or social changes for Guatemala, it’s unlikely things will change for her. Thinking back to how stressed out I was about little things before going on the expedition now makes me feel so selfish—things like how annoyed I was that Target didn’t have my favorite mosquito repellent to bring with me, or how mad I get when a show won’t load on Netflix. I haven’t been simply handed much in my life, but I have opportunities that many, many, many others don’t.

I am so grateful for the CHOICE expedition experience. The main purpose of the trip was to help others in our world, but I can confidently say I will continue to do so for the rest of my life. See more photos from the expedition group on Facebook.

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Should Calls On Planes Be Allowed? You Can Help Decide.

calls on planes - business travelerThe travel industry was left a bit perplexed in December when the Department of Transportation (DOT) made a sudden announcement.  They stated a “proposal to require airlines and ticket agents to disclose in advance to consumers if the carrier operating their flight allows passengers to make voice calls using mobile wireless devices.” So what does this mean? The DOT has decided they will no longer regulate the use of cellphones for calls on planes. Instead, the decision will be determined by the airline and ticket agents.

 

Why are phone calls currently prohibited on airplanes?

Electromagnetic interference has been the culprit for prohibiting these calls on planes. It’s also why laptops and other devices need to be turned off during takeoff and landing.  This interference is more prominent in our lives than you might think. For example, when your phone is too close to speakers, producing a static noise. Or how you sometimes hear a number being dialed on a wireless phone through a baby monitor. These are small examples that most have encountered without much consequence.

Airplanes on the other hand often use a number of radio frequencies for different tasks.  If those wires are crossed while flying the results may be more severe. Radio frequency is used to communicate with ground control, air traffic control, guidance and weather detection. If a passenger’s phone is turned on, it could possibly garble the message between the pilot and others, similar to putting your phone too close to speakers.

 

Why phone calls are now safe on planes

The Federal Communications Commission rules do not cover wi-fi or other non-radio frequency communications. Leaving the DOT to decide if wi-fi voice calls on planes should be allowed. Calls made using radio frequency would still be prohibited.

 

The pros and cons of approving calls on planes

For me, there are two obvious sides to this coin. If you are an efficient business traveler, your productivity on a plane will significantly improve if you are able to call the office, clients or prospects while flying. The downside, of course, being strapped in a seat for hours, forced to listen to the one-sided calls around you. What if you are flying in the middle seat and both neighbors are on the phone? How will that affect your work? Like crying babies aren’t enough of a distraction?

Many figureheads and politicians have already put in their two cents.  Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) made a statement saying “Small seats, little legroom and, now, cell phone chatter – air travel could become even less comfortable if consumers are surrounded by passengers talking on mobile phones,”

DOT wants to hear from you

Overall, the DOT is still defining their decision. Is leaving this decision in the hands of airlines acceptable, or if voice calls should be prohibited altogether? Fortunately, they are looking for feedback. Members of the public can comment on the notice of proposed rulemaking at regulations.gov, docket number DOT-OST-2014-0002. The notice closes on Feb 13, so be sure to submit your comments for their review before then.

Christopherson Business Travel is a travel management company for busy corporations. We’ve succeeded for more than 60 years by innovating technologies and providing superior account management. Learn more about the Christopherson approach.

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