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On The Road With Joe Brancatelli
Cruel, Cruel Summer
THEY WARNED US:
Bananarama and Ace of Base explained this summer's flying.
United bails on India. Alaska Air adds Aer Lingus awards. TAP flyers pay for the airline's revival. Russia protects the Malaysia Flight 17 attackers.
Hilton's boss is cheap and a creep. Dulles Airport mobile lounges have
been the answer. Travel makes you a fan of hot sauces.
Steals & Deals
A new Chase card is great for Southwest Companion Pass. Singapore discounts Vietnam business class. Weak promo from Marriott Bonvoy.
Business Travel This Week
No time for a wine country getaway in California? How about a day of sipping in the sunshine on an island just 20 ferry minutes from Seattle?
"Disruptive" products have been few and far between lately. But several excellent "don't leave home without it" bits of gear have appeared.
I come not to praise room service but to bury it. And maybe gleefully dance on its grave. Food-delivery apps are its replacement.
I'm like most humans. Certain smells get to me. Butter on a skillet. Wet cement. And a jar of Noxzema skin cream. They all smell like family.
Allow me to file a comically sad trip report, replete with mechanical delays, endless lies from United Airlines--and awful lounges.
A collection of coves, towns and beaches, the Costa Smeralda is for those looking for an honest experience and the Sardinian lifestyle.
Need a quick sense of a town and its cultural life? Head to a food hall. Here are some of the best ones to visit at major U.S. hubs.
The Clift in San Francisco is working on its latest revival, this time as a four-star hotel with lots of style and lots of personal service.
Forty-eight years ago this week, I was knocking back drinks in an airport cocktail lounge, awaiting a stand-by flight to the woman I love.
Don't Feel Fine
Scrapping published award charts means one thing: The world of frequent flyer plans as we knew them is done.
Winning the 'New' Game
How to deal with the endless devaluations? Do not hoard. "Bank" with bank points. And consider moving to cashback cards.
Points and Miles Scams
Airlines and hotels are unwilling to pay back your loyalty even if you do understand their rules and play the game their way.
Business Travel Considered ...
American's Premium Economy
International premium economy can be very comfortable and the fare difference between premium and business class is gigantic.
Big Space and Big Savings
Considering Norwegian's "premium" cabin? It's not business class. But legroom is great, perks are good and fares are cheap.
Singapore's Lo-o-o-ng Haul
Kudos to Singapore Airlines for making its premium economy cabin on ultra-long-haul flights as painless as possible.
Don't tip for "good" service. Use tips to get what
want on the road. And if you go big, you'll get served.
Left to Our Own Devices
Are you prepared for the day when airlines dump seatback monitors and leave us to our own devices for entertainment?
VIA Rail business class from Toronto to Montreal may be the road warrior's dream experience. It sure beats flying.
Business Travel Baggage
A Babel of Bags
There's no one "best" bag for every frequent flyer. But here are several useful thoughts about how to choose "ideal" luggage now.
Upgrading Your Carry-On
Luggage should be durable, functional and economical. A
carry-on bag gets you there with ease and style.
Bags, Thoughtfully Designed
Away bags aren't as ruggedly built or laden with features as higher-priced hard-sided luggage, but they're thoughtfully designed.
Fixing JFK. Again. And Again.
Politicians are once again trying to bring JFK into the 21st century. They're always trying to bring JFK into the 21st century.
SIA's Nonstops to Nowhere
Singapore Airlines revives Newark and Los Angeles nonstops. But it will find flyers have moved on from the 18-hour runs.
United's Dying Star
United Polaris business class was created by cynical fools, launched too soon by a new boss and now is being slashed.
Up Front With Norwegian Air
Should you fly Norwegian's Premium cabin to Europe? Depends on how much you pay. The lower the fare, the more you like it.
British Airways' Hard, Fast Fall
British Airways pioneered business class beds. Two decades later, the airline is old and busted and its managers don't care.
Cathay Pacific: Existential Crisis
Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific is one of the best airlines in the world. But will flyers pay for best anymore?
TAP Is Back in the Game
Portugal and TAP, now partially privatized, have revived. The new business class is nice and Lisbon is a compact hub.
Everything's Cool at Alaska Air
Alaska Airlines chugs along, pleasing flyers from coast to coast. Now comes the test of the Virgin America merger.
North to a Better Place
Just across the border, Air Canada shows you can run a profitable airline without totally disrespecting frequent flyers.
Not Crazy After All These Years
More than 18 years after it was launched, JetBlue Airways still offers much better value for money than the legacy carriers.
United Is Still Dead to Him
Ralph Raffio despised United and vowed he'd never fly them again. After four years, he did. It wasn't bad--yet he still hates 'em.
Airline Pants on Fire
Delta CEO Ed Bastian tells outrageous lies to cover even larger ones. The entire airline business is built on a web of deception.
Untimely Hotel Lies
Hotel chains lie when they say new 48-hour cancellation rules benefit our need for last-minute rooms. It's about their profit.
Our Flying Hell
American Airlines and other U.S. carriers have cut seven inches from coach seats in 17 years and yet we keep flying.
One in 30 overseas trips ends with medical problems. That's a higher risk than for lost bags or cancelled flights. Are you covered?
Literal Road Warriors
Frequent flyers literally have become road warriors thanks to a range of luxe bus lines that offer plush rides and regular schedules.
Bagged by Bag Fees
A decade of statistics shows airlines have won the war of checked bag fees. We pay them now even when we don't check bags.
Rocks and Hard Places
Airlines are literally beating us in the aisle. Reregulation wouldn't work, either. In other words, we are screwed and without hope.
Strategies & Tactics
Miles: Time Vs. Hoarding
Time isn't kind to miles or points. "Earn 'em and burn 'em" is wise advice. But hoarding appeals to a few who like a big balance.
Dead Cat Bounce in First Class
International first class is dying despite new bells and whistles from carriers desperate to shore up their cabins.
MacBook Goes Backward
All the new MacBooks have the same awful keyboard that older 12-inch MacBooks use. It's a new design with the same old flaw.
Mister Meatball and the Man
With his past, Ralph Raffio was reluctant to submit to "the airport man" for an interview to get Global Entry. He worried for nothing.
How to Complain
Disgruntled business travelers need to complain properly to get results. Here are 12 tips to help you write the perfect letter.
Travel Is a Waste of Time
Modern-day travel is a schedule-busting, soul-crushing, spirit-killing, life-sapping waste of time.
Hotel Desk Jobs
Major hotel chains eliminate desks to make their guestrooms smaller and drive us into the lobby where they can sell us stuff.
Priority Pass isn't just about airport clubs. It works at airport restaurants and hotels, too. And no one pays for it anymore.
Let's Get Small
The future of the hotel industry? More brands, much smaller rooms and lobbies that sell you stuff.
Aircraft Now in the Air
Airport Arrivals & Departures
Airport Delays Now
Airport Status via FAA
Air Traffic Control Live Radio
Aviation Weather Center
Delays & Cancels (FlightAware)
Delays & Cancels (FlightStats)
County-Level Weather Alerts
Europe Air Traffic Control
FAA Airspace System Status
FAA Command Center Map
Flights on Radar in Real Time
Flight Aware Misery Map
Global Flight Status
TSA Security Wait Times
Track Lost Luggage in Real Time
U.S. Customs Wait Times
Search & Archives
Our Complete Archives
Business travel isn't just meeting rooms and airport clubs. Sometimes we actually get to
places. Here's how we cover some of our favorite hub cities--and the destinations beyond.
Dublin and Ireland
Lisbon and Portugal
London and Britain
Rome and Southern Italy
Allen on Africa
Will Allen is a regular visitor to Africa. He loves safaris and do-it-yourself excursions to view wildlife. Here are his reports.
Allen on Asia
Will Allen has lived and worked in Asia for decades. Now he's a regular visitor. Here are his reports.
A Vet Returns to Vietnam
When Fred Abatemarco shipped out, his goal was to get "back to the world." Now he comes back from the world to visit.
The Cuba Conundrum
President Obama opened Cuba relations. Airlines followed. Travelers didn't. Now President Trump wants to shut it down.
Find What You Need Fast
Our carefully curated collection of links will help you find everything you need about airlines, airports, hotels and much more.
What do you do when restaurant service is so bad that you can't even get your bill? Do you stay or do you go?
The Path to Perfect Pizza
Here's where to eat the best pizza on the road around the country.
Burgers & Business Travelers
Here is where to find some of the best, most interesting burgers in hub cities.
New Hub Dining
The best and most interesting new places to drink and dine in a dozen hub cities.
Tired and Hungry
Exhaustion and hunger are baked into today's business travel.
Airport Food Report
Airport dining is changing rapidly. But we still prefer burgers, pizza and chicken.
My Dinner With Danny
Restaurateur Danny Meyer's dining rooms pop up inside hotels all around New York.
Miles Chasing Seats
A new McKinsey report gets the problem with frequent flyer plans. Solutions? Not so much. So here are some great ideas.
The dark Web is aflood with stolen airline miles for sale. In 2017, 11% of attacks on financial accounts hit frequency plans.
The Death of Loyalty
Airlines and hotels have so bastardized and diluted their frequency plans that the only winning move is not to play.
After the Love Is Gone
How to think about frequency plans now that airline loyalty is irrelevant and first class upgrades impossible.
Mileage ex Machina
The complaint that frequent flyer miles have lost value is tricky to prove.
Screw the Programs
It's time for frequent flyers to stop being loyal to frequent flyer plans and do what is best for them.
Luggage Tag Loyalty
Will Allen flew five million miles on Delta Air Lines and all he got for the loyalty is a luggage tag.
The Why of It All
Why do the airlines believe they are above the dictates of "good faith and fair dealing" with frequent flyers?
The Southwest Companion Pass is one of the most valuable perks in travel. Here is how to get one.
Delta's Big Diss
Delta thinks that it is a "better" airline and doesn't need to reward your loyalty. So SkyMiles is designed to be awful.
Hotel Hot Sheet
The Lords of Lodging are old masters at doling out small indignities. It's part of the game they run on us.
Hotel cancellation policies are all over the map. Most want 24-to-72 hours notice, but some want a week.
Marriott Vs. Guests
Marriott promised a fair merger of SPG and Marriott Rewards. Real travelers have learned that Marriott stacked the deck.
Michael Matthews Reader
Legendary hotelier Michael Matthews died in August. He left behind columns that will make you think--and laugh--about hotels.
Here's how to protect yourself against the apparently endless string of data breaches hitting hotel chains large and small.
Can a hotel be "independent" and still part of a chain? The "soft brands" claim to offer indy charm and chain convenience.
Lobbying for Change
Hotels now mimic the airlines with their ups, extras, surcharges and resort fees. The practice has to stop and stop now.
The Airbnb Effect
Surprisingly, the rapid growth of Airbnb hasn't hurt traditional hotels and resorts. Both are prospering nicely.
The Enemy Is Us
Travel is an enemy of the environment. That is undisputed fact. And business travelers are in the equation.
Do Airlines Hear Us?
When we've offered feedback to airlines, half of us insist that all we've gotten in response is the sound of silence.
Who Needs Free Food?
There are many things I would prefer over cheap food put in front of me to distract me from the misery of flying in coach.
How to Fix the Airlines Fast
Forget Justice Department probes and DOT fines. Here are five airline fixes that federal regulators could impose now.
Taking Back the Skies
Airlines treat us like trash because we let them get away with it. We need to stop enabling them and fight back.
Greecing the Competition
Emirates adds a second route between the United States and Europe, literally flying where U.S. carriers won't go.
Done With Delta
Why am I leaving Delta? Let me count the ways: the high prices, the worthless elite status and the weak partnerships.
Wrong Lessons Learned
Airlines shouldn't be able to charge for a service--in what they have forgotten is a service industry--and then not provide it.
Tales From the Road
There's one day in eternity when Delta premium economy fares to Jo'burg are loaded into the system at bargain rates.
The Airlines of Oz
The airlines are always right. Unless, of course, they're not. You are commanded never to look behind the curtain.
X Marks the Airport
Can JetSuiteX, a start-up created by an airline veteran, convince frequent flyers to use smaller airports and smaller planes?
Business Travel Now
Nostalgia in business travel has no value. Business travel is eternally about the next flight, the next hotel, the next meeting.
Free Time on the Road
On the road, we get about two hours a day of free time--and we log 14 hours of work. It's a very bleak picture.
Downgraded to the Bus
I got downgraded to a bus--and I got upgraded. It's part of the tale of Amtrak's secret network of Thruway motorcoaches.
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