Airline Efficiency Rates At All Time High

 

airline efficiency rates business travelersOne of the challenges or frustrations felt by frequent business and leisure travelers is having their flight leave on time, or worse yet, cancelled. However, things may be looking up. It seems years of hard work for the airlines are finally coming to fruition. Reviewing the month of November 2016, typically the brunt holiday traffic, we saw the highest rate airline efficiency in decades.

According to the Department of Transportation, 86.6 percent of flights in the U.S. arrived on time during the month of November 2016. That’s a significant improvement from the previous year. In regards to cancellations, less than one-third of 1 percent from the busiest airlines had domestic flight cancellations. Making it the lowest rate since the DOT started keeping records in 1995! Also, the number of bags lost, damaged or delayed by the airlines was the lowest since the beginning of this record keeping in 1978.

Which airlines had the best scores

  • One-time arrival
    • Delta Airlines posted the best rates for on-time arrivals.
    • Hawaiian Airlines compared favorably at over 90 percent.
    • Southwest Airlines ranked seventh, with 86.1 percent of its flights arriving on time.
    • American Airlines had the eighth-best performance with 85.4 percent.
    • The lowest on the list was Virgin America at 81.4 percent.
  • Regarding cancellation of flights,
    • Delta had no cancelled flights during the month of November, but instead diverted flights to other airports.
    • Alaska, Frontier, Hawaiian and Virgin America canceled fewer than 20 flights each with far fewer diversions than Delta last November.
  • Lost/Damaged bags
    • Overall the airlines reported approximately two mishandled bags for every 1,000 passengers.
    • Virgin America and Alaska had the best rates of bag handling.
    • ExpressJet and Frontier had the worst rates.

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Business Travelers Increasingly Moving To Sharing Economy

sharing economy business travelersThe times, they are a-changin’. One of the biggest adjustments in the business travel industry in recent years is the growing trend of sharing economy options. Companies like Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb have created an alternative from big-business hotels and car services. The results are often informal connections and saving money. So how are companies reacting to this industry change?

Sharing Economy is growing in the business travel industry

A survey by the Global Business Travel Association found that businesses are increasingly allowing the use of rides sharing services, like Uber or Lyft. This compliance has increased nearly 15% since June 2016. Over the same period, permission to book through Airbnb or other lodging services increased by 20%.

Though the compliance growth has been substantial for it’s short time, these sharing economy companies have a long way to go to gain the majority of the market. According to GBTA, half of corporate travel policies still don’t explicitly allow employees to use ride-hailing apps. 70% also make no mention of using home-rental services.

Hurdles in travel management compliance?

Let’s say your company allows sharing economy for business travel. Is the company’s internal communication strong enough to get the message out? This seems to be one of the biggest setbacks the sharing economy is facing right now. In another study by the GBTA, of 24% of companies that permit ride-hailing apps, only 12% of their employees were aware of the compliance. Begging the larger question– what good is a modern and updated travel policy if no one sees it?

Christopherson Business Travel is an award-winning Travel Management Company, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. With more than 60 years of experience, we provide travel solutions with our proprietary technology and customized account management. Contact us to learn more about our unique business model or to schedule a demo.

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Flying First-Class – Worth the Extra Cost?

first class upgrade business travelAs a frequent business traveler, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by airline upgrades before. But recently, flying from Denver to Seattle, I received a complimentary round-trip upgrade to First Class!  Having never flown premium before, I was excited to take advantage of the opportunity.  Along with the comfy seat at the front of the plane, I didn’t realize first class came with additional perks before you even enter the plane.

Surprising First Class inclusions:

  • Pre-flight: priority counter access at check-in; increased baggage allowance; priority baggage tagging; premium line access through TSA security; and priority boarding.
  • Flight: blanket/pillow/bottle of water waiting at your seat; dedicated overhead bin space; in-seat power outlet and increased seat recline; attentive service from a cabin-specific attendant; drinks in real glassware (alcoholic and non-alcoholic); meal and snack selection.
  • Post-flight: ability to get off of the plane first; priority baggage claim delivery.

Since I did not have to pay extra for the upgrade, its tough to say whether or not its worth the extra cost. What I will say is that the increased seat comfort, extra overall space/legroom, and additional attention from airline staff certainly reduced my usual travel fatigue.  When I arrived at both my destinations, I felt stress-free and energetic!  It’s the type of feeling that I certainly wouldn’t mind enjoying again on a long international flight!  In fact, if the airlines are reading this blog, please know that I would gladly enjoy a complimentary opportunity on any future flight!

Christopherson Business Travel is an award-winning corporate travel management company. With more than 60 years of experience, we solve our client’s problems with  superior mobile travel technology and individualized customer support. Contact us to learn more about what sets us apart.

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How To Help Ban Phone Calls On Planes

Have you ever noticed how sounds seem amplified when you are on an airplane?   Everything is louder than normal due to the confined space – like babies crying or stranger’s conversations. This is one of the reasons why I am a passionate supporter for not allowing phone calls on planes.  If you thought the middle seat was bad before, just imagine being seated between two different phone calls!

In a recent blog post by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), they cover additional insights, like the potential security risks and impact on personal productivity.  Interestingly, 64% of business travelers oppose allowing phone calls on commercial airplanes. Even if specifically designated rows are assigned, still 51% of business travelers disagree.

What to write to the Department of Transportation, to help ban phone calls on planes

As an active member of GBTA, I support their efforts to ban the use of cell phone on planes. I also encourage anyone who feels strongly should go to the DOT website and share their comments on that page. The docket will close February 13, at 11:59pm ET.

Feel free to copy and paste the text below, which was provided by GBTA, or write your own.  Then enter your name, select “Public Comment(s)” from the drop down menu under “Category” and click continue.

Sample Comment:
I believe the use of mobile wireless devices for voice calls is detrimental to the traveler and should be banned between the time the aircraft door is closed and the aircraft’s landing. In February of 2014, when the DOT previously issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Use of Mobile Wireless Devices for Voice Calls on Aircraft, 97 percent of the commenters expressed opposition.

Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 41712, DOT should find the use of mobile devices for voice during flight to be so disruptive that it would be inconsistent with adequate air transportation. Travel is difficult enough and the DOT should not add to traveler’s misery.  When it comes to flying on commercial airplanes in the United States, silence is golden.

#NoCallsOnPlanes

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How to Live a Championship Life? Dr. Kevin Elko

It’s a new year and one of my resolutions is to attend more motivational seminars in 2017. Last month I attended a motivational conference at Frazer Memorial UMC in Montgomery Alabama.  Led by Dr. Kevin Elko, he is a world renowned performance consultant, speaker and author.  Elko has worked with professional sports teams Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints. He also has consulted with BCS National Championship footbal teams including; the University of Alabama, LSU, FSU, and the University of Miami.

In the business world, Dr. Elko focuses on helping organizations in the areas of leadership, goal setting, and various other motivational topics. His corporate clients have included; ING, Tyson Foods, Abbott Labs, LPL Financial, The Hartford, Genworth, Jackson National Life, Pioneer Investments, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, and Sun Life, just to mention a few.
how to live a championship life
The theme of the night was ‘How to Live a Championship Life?’. What a great motivation for the new year! Several of the takeaways could be directly applied to 2017 and the many years to come.

How To Live A Championship Life

  • Learn to talk to yourself – Be your own motivation.
  • Decide – Decide to be positive, Decide not to complain, Decide to be a better friend, parent, co-worker, spouse.
  • Be a blessing to someone.
  • Write more handwritten “Thank you notes.”
  • Enjoy Life!

Dr. Elko is the author of four books, Nerves of Steel, The Pep Talk, True Greatness: Mastering the Inner game of Business Success and Touchdown: Achieving Your Greatness on the Playing Field of Business and Life.

 

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A Great Delta Flight Experience With Rough Beginnings

delta flight delayedWe’ve all had those flights—when everything goes wrong. That’s exactly what happened on my recent trip on Delta, but it surprisingly ended on a high note.  Finishing a presentation in South Bend, IN with my co-worker last week; we were connecting through Atlanta on our way home to Salt Lake City, UT. A typical route for any seasoned business traveler, I boarded the plane expecting the usual. Little did I know the delays, complications and cancellations that were waiting for me. Over the course of the next few hours we would move from one plane, to another, and then to the third and final flight to finally get to Atlanta, only to miss my connection to Salt Lake City. Fortunately, I became better acquainted with some delightful fellow travelers and experienced Delta’s amazing employees and new technology in action.

Delta flight faces initial setbacks

The hiccups started when we spent the first 20 minutes on the plane waiting for a working deicing machine. Once we took-off, 15 minutes in to the flight our pilot announced we would be returning to South Bend due to a rudder problem.  Fortunately, our pilot was amazing.  He was informative, positive, and very concerned about his responsibility as our pilot. A few minutes prior to landing he then reassured us that protocol required fire engines and an ambulance to be waiting upon landing.  One passenger nearby was seriously upset about the possible negative outcomes.

We landed, moved everyone to another plane, and sat in the same seating.  The crew on board and the gate folks at South Bend were amazing—calm, informative, and respectful of all travelers.  They also announced that any connections leaving before 9pm would likely be missed, so travelers should reschedule. We pulled away from the gate and our pilot, whi I affectionately dubbed ‘Captain America’, very calmly came out of the cockpit and used the loudspeaker in front of us. In a comforting and personal way, he announced that a sensor light needed to be repaired before we could take off.  Encouragingly, he said it would only take 10 minutes.  Personnel were already on their way to repair it, and then we would be off again, hopefully making good time to catch our connections.

Well, the passenger who lost it earlier, immediately hit her flight attendant button. Saying she had a bad feeling, she asked to be removed from the plane and would reschedule to fly tomorrow. The flight attendant, who remained kind and understanding, checked with the pilot and she was able to deplane.  After waiting more than 10 minutes, my co-worker and I both looked at each other— something must be up, again!  Captain America very apologetically stated that the crew was not able to make the repair. We would need to change to yet another plane!  Thankfully, there were additional Delta planes available in South Bend.  Feeling wary from sitting on two planes already, my surrounding fellow travelers and I quietly thought about rescheduling. Most of us realized though, that we had a better chance of getting home early tomorrow morning if we ended up in Atlanta, rather than South Bend.  We grudgingly accepted the bad news.

Delta professionally alleviated a very stressful situation

It was only a few years ago that this same situation would have required hours of standing in long lines. To my surprise upon landing, a notification from the Delta app popped up on my smartphone. With an acknowledgement stating how much Delta appreciated my patience and understanding, it included a list of 4 hotels from which I could choose to spend the night.  I also realized that after boarding plane number two, an email was sent explaining an additional amount of miles had been added to my Delta FFY account!

At 11:30 pm, standing in line at the service counter, feeling very tired and irritated, I thought to myself this is where I’m going to get a little ticked off!!  Amazingly the one and only service counter person directed us all to go to the machines provided off to the side. Instructing us to place our boarding pass code on the scanner to obtain our hotel voucher and boarding pass for our re-accommodated flight for the next day.  That was it! Off we went to catch the 24-hour shuttle to our Westin hotel.

Delta is truly providing great service their customers, even in the worst of situations. Though I was inconvenienced, my stress level was minimal, due to Delta continually striving to climb high in their customer service!  From their kind employees, to their app notifications, and their customer service kiosks, I felt taken care of every step of the way. Kudos to DELTA.

 

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Executive Order On Immigration May Affect Business Travel Industry

immigration ban affects business travelAn Executive Order on immigration was signed by President Donald Trump on January 27th, placing immediate travel restrictions from seven countries. While this may not pertain to most of our client’s travelers, the ban is already affecting the business travel industry and its trends.

The Executive Order on immigration

Citizens from these seven countries – Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, will not be allowed to enter the United States. Restrictions will continue for the next 90 days. Currently, these nationals may travel to and from the U.S. only if they are in possession of a Green Card. They will undergo additional secondary screening upon arrival. This is a recent change to the order, following some confusion when the order was first released. Those already living in the U.S with visas will not be removed. The U.S. State Department website also advises these citizens to not schedule visa appointments at this time, or attend their pre-scheduled visa appointment. They will not be permitted entry into the embassy or consulate.

How companies are responding to the 90-day ban

A survey conducted by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives found that 39% of the 260 respondents said the ban had the potential to reduce corporate travel. When asked if the ban posed travel difficulties for their company, 20% responded “yes”, while 34% were still unsure of the repercussions.  Their largest travel difficulty concerns were; fear of traveler harassment, fear of harassment of US travelers in the Middle East, uncertainty regarding Green Card and approval via credibility, and limited access to the employee pool.

Leading multinational corporations and tech companies have already expressed their concern by the Trump Administration’s actions on immigration. CEOs from companies such as; Ford, Amazon, Coca-Cola, Bank of America, Chobani, Uber, Netflix, Starbucks, Apple, Twitter, SalesForce, Tesla, General Electric, Expedia, and TripAdvisor have released statements concerning the ban.  Additionally, Google and their parent company, Alphabet, sent an internal memo to their employees, urging any employee in the U.S. on a Green Card or visa to use caution. The memo stated, “Please do not travel outside of the U.S. until the ban is lifted. While the entry restriction is currently only in place for 90 days, it could be extended with little or no warning.” The definitions of this Executive Order are still being defined.

If you are a client and require assistance or need to make amendments to your itinerary,  please contact Christopherson Business Travel .  Our agents will check the most up-to-date airline policies.  You can contact your dedicated reservations team per the phone numbers noted on your itineraries.

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Sighted: A Gym In An Airport!

gym in airportsWhen you travel for work, it’s hard to maintain your lifestyle. Finding time to exercise or follow a healthy diet can seem almost impossible when your priorities are centered on networking, deadlines, and adhering to a schedule. After a long day of meetings, I often find myself, pacing,  just to get in a few more steps in before my plane boards. Apparently, I’m not the only business traveler attempting to burn calories while waiting at the airport.

New Airport Gym

Enter Roam Fitness, a new company establishing workout facilities in airports.  Opening their first gym in the Baltimore/Washington International Airport, it’s the first of its kind to hit the air travel industry. It is located after the security gate at the D/E connector. Not only is having a gym in an airport a potential game-changer, but their amenities appear to be top-of-the-line and well aligned with business traveler’s needs. A few services they provide:

  • cardio equipment
  • free weights, medicine balls, stability balls, yoga supplies
  • TRX system
  • stretching space
  • bathrooms with private showers
  • towel service
  • lockers
  • clothes and shoe rentals for unprepared members
  • vacuum seal to contain sweaty garments post-workout

The company has plans to open other locations, with several more airports on the horizon. The airports in negotiations are Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport,  Pittsburgh International Airport, and Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. They have their sights on 23 additional airports, mainly located in the United States, but also including Heathrow Airport in London.

Depending on your frequency to the Baltimore/Washington International Airport, a membership may work with your budget. They offer day and month passes, as well as annual passes. These annual passes include additional perks, such as a 24-hour advance reservation on showers.

I’m probably not the only traveler excited for a healthy airport activity like a gym. This advancement in is a push in the right direction for a healthy lifestyle, especially for on-the-go business travelers.

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Comparing Basic Economy Fares

comparing basic economy faresThere 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
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Modified Travel Itineraries Increased In 2016 Due To Risk Factors

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.

travel risk factors SecurityLogic

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.

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