MTS Traveler Newsletter Masthead

October 2011

Incentive Travel Program Success with Royal Caribbean Cruise

What a way to achieve business objectives while realizing a good return on investment! On a Royal Caribbean cruise, your company can accomplish your goals with unparalleled value, ease of planning along with the delivery of a meaningful and memorable experience for you and your participants.

Mid-City Supply, headquartered in Elkhart, Indiana, returned last week from taking 153 employees and customers on a Mediterranean cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas visiting Spain, southern France and Italy. This is what they had to say about the experience:

Since we started planning our Mediterranean cruise back in early 2008, Maureen, Mary Ann and Dorothy (Menno Travel Incentive Travel Staff) have been along side Jeff New (Mid-City Supply Owner) and myself every step of the way.  Their attention to detail during this process was simply fantastic.  While on board the ship, they interacted with our customers in every professional way possible.  They were always available to answer questions or to help with any situation.  Plus, they provided us with some nice surprises during our final night on board. 

Our goal is to give our customers the very best travel experience possible and once again, thanks to the Menno Travel ladies, we delivered another trip of a lifetime.  In a word, your team is Outstanding.

– Jeff Stevens, Vice President Sales and Marketing at Mid-City Supply

American Express Platinum Cardmember Benefits Expanded

Take advantage of these new Travel Benefits for Corporate Platinum Cardmembers:

►  Global Entry Membership Application Reimbursement: With Global Entry, there’s no need to wait in the passport line. This U.S. Customs and Border Protection program allows participants to enter the United Statesby using automated kiosks located at 20 major airports around the country. Corporate Platinum Card members will be reimbursed the $100 application processing fee when paid with the Corporate Platinum Card. Apply online at globalentry.gov.

►  Complimentary Gogo®: Corporate Platinum Card members can now enjoy 10 complimentary in-flight Internet sessions on any Gogo-equipped flight each year. Participating airlines include Air Canada, AirTran, AlaskaAirlines, American Airlines, Delta, Frontier, United, USAirways, and Virgin America. Corporate Platinum Card members can simply use their Card to pay for a Gogo session and receive a statement credit within six weeks upon receipt of their bill. For more information about Gogo, please visit gogoair.com.

►   Access to Airspace Lounge™: Corporate Platinum Card members, and up to two guests, can now catch up on business in the newly opened Airspace Lounge at Baltimore Washington International airport, regardless of which airline they are flying.

Contact Geof or Deb for information on other travel benefits through American Express.

American Changes Boarding Policy For Economy Passengers

American now boards economy class passengers in a randomized order based on how they check in for a flight. First-class, AAdvantage premium frequent fliers and uniformed members of the military still board first. According to American the change was made “to enhance the travel experience for our customers and to make the boarding process more welcoming and more personal.”  Flight attendants are not happy with the new procedure saying it is causing “complete chaos in the cabin.” The new policy is similar to the one that Southwest Airlines has employed for years. American introduced “priority boarding” last year, guaranteeing Group 1 boarding. That costs $9 per flight segment.

United MileagePlus and Continental OnePass Merger

All of the 2012 MileagePlus features and benefits will take effect on the day the Continental OnePass and United MileagePlus technology systems are converted to a single system in early 2012. Until then, the MileagePlus and OnePass programs will continue to operate separately as they do today.

At system conversion, OnePass members will be automatically enrolled in MileagePlus and receive MileagePlus award miles equal to their OnePass award miles balance. If you already have a MileagePlus account, we encourage you to link it to your OnePass account now.  Sept 30th was the last day to transfer miles from Continental to United.

Go to onepassmergerupdates.com for additional information on the merger.

United MileagePlus New Status-Levels

Beginning in 2012, MileagePlus will adopt new status-level names and terms for qualifying miles and segments. The MileagePlus status levels will be:

►  Premier® 1K®          100,000 Premier qualifying miles (PQM) or 120 Premier qualifying segments (PQS)

►  Premier Platinum 75,000 PQM or 90 PQS

►  Premier Gold           50,000 PQM or 60 PQS

►  Premier Silver         25,000 PQM or 30 PQS

All levels will require a minimum of four flights per calendar year on the new United, including Continental or Copa Airlines. If you hold a Chase-issued Continental Airlines Presidential Plus(SM) Card, you are exempt from this minimum flight criteria as long as your Card account is in good standing at the time of qualification.

UA and CO combine/rename airport clubs as United Club

United and Continental airlines renamed their separate airport clubs this past Saturday, another step toward combining the two carriers. The lounges will be called United Club, replacing United’s Red Carpet Club and Continental’s Presidents Club. Together, they have more than 50 lounges at 39 airports.

Delta Airlines Updates

First Class is now available on 228 Delta Connection regional jets. Delta is the onlyU.S.carrier to offer a First Class cabin on every domestic flight longer than 750 miles (approximately 2.5 hours).

This summer, Delta began offering its new Economy Comfort class on international flights on more than 160 aircraft. Located in the first few rows of the economy cabin, Economy Comfort features:

•    Up to four additional inches of legroom and 50 percent more recline

•    Early boarding

•    Complimentary spirits, in addition to all other standard international Economy Class amenities, including complimentary meals, beer, wine, entertainment, blankets and pillows

•    In-seat power on most aircraft equipped with personal entertainment systems, along with free HBO programming and other for-fee content. In-seat power and seat-back screens are being installed through 2013.

Delta has in-flight Internet service onboard its regional CRJ700 aircraft operated by Delta Connection carrier Atlantic Southeast Airlines.

SkyMiles members will now have the option to use their miles to upgrade on AirFranceoperated flights between the domesticU.S.andEurope.

Delta Raising Bag Fees on International Flights

Tickets Issued on/after Oct 1 for travel on/after Oct 15: 

2nd bag fee to $40 USD/CAD for travelUS, CA, MX, C. America, Caribbean to/from MX, C. America,Caribbean

2nd bag fee of $75 USD/CAD and $60 USD/CAD online for travel US, CA, MX, C. America, Caribbean, S. America (excluding Brazil) to/from Asia (excluding JP, PH), Australia, New Zealand

2nd bag fee of $75 USD/CAD and $60 USD/CAD online for travel US, CA, MX, C. America, Caribbean to/from S. America (excluding Brazil)

2nd bag fee of $40* USD/CAD for travelJapan(entire country) to/from Guam/Saipan/Palau

2nd bag fee of $75 USD/CAD/EUR and $60 USD/CAD/EUR online for travel between South America (excludingBrazil) andEurope

Tickets Issued on/after Oct 1 for travel on/after Nov 1:

2nd bag fee of $75 USD/CAD and $60 USD/CAD online for travel US, CA, MX, C. America, Caribbean,  S. America (excluding Brazil) to/from Middle East and South Africa

2nd bag fee of $75 USD/CAD and $60 USD/CAD online for travel US, CA, MX, C. America, Caribbean,  S. America (excluding Brazil) to/from India

1st bag fee of $25* USD/CAD for travelUS, CA to/fromCaribbean(excluding DO, GY, HT)

*Same fee applies for online or airport check-in

Note: There are no changes to existing baggage exceptions for Military, Elite etc.

Stiffer Airline Consumer Protection Laws Now in Effect

It’s official. The new Department of Transportation rules designed to give airline passengers more protections are in effect. That means airlines now have to refund your baggage fees if they lose your bags. If you’re bumped from a flight, they now have to pay double what they used to for that inconvenience. The ban on lengthy tarmac delays now covers international carriers as well as domestic carriers.

An Airline-Related Funny

A vulture approaches the gate to board an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess stops him and says, ‘I’m sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger.”

                – thank you, corporate client BJ Thompson

Aviation, Past and Future, Viewed Through the Prism of 9/11

What’s the state of the airline industry a decade after 9/11? Airlines today are leaner and more resilient than they’ve ever been, according to the International Air Transport Association’s just released “The Impact of September 11 on Aviation.”  Airline revenues this year will be nearly double what they were in 2001 and they’re flying one billion more passengers than they did a decade ago. Still, 9/11 cost airlines about three years of growth and profit margins remain slim.

The report’s main focus, however, was less on the past and more on the future. It looked specifically at how to improve the check-in experience, turning it from an obstacle course to a more streamlined experience. The goal is to use data the airlines already have to judge the risk travelers present and allocate security resources toward screening and checking high-risk passengers. Scans of passengers’ passports or tickets would send them to one of three different lanes. Most travelers would simply stroll through a checkpoint that can detect metal and other dangerous substances–without having to stop, unpack or strip. This type of progress is certainly good news!

International Driver Permits Now Required in Some Countries

When traveling abroad, many foreign countries do not recognize yourUnited Statesdriver’s license as official identification. However, most countries do recognize a valid International Driving Permit (IDP) — and, in some countries, such asItaly, it’s now a requirement.

Major car rental companies in foreign countries often require you have a valid IDP, in conjunction with your validU.S.driver’s license, before they will rent you a vehicle.

If you are 18 or older, you can apply for an IDP at any AAA full-service branch location and receive it in the same visit. The application form is available online. You will need to provide:

►U.S.driver’s license valid for at least six months past the issuance of the IDP.

► Completed IDP application.

► Two original passport-type photos. (See guidelines for specific requirements.)

► $15 fee.

You may also obtain an IDP through the mail; however, you will need to allow 4-6 weeks for processing and delivery.  For more information on IDP, click here .

Here’s An Interesting Phone App

Jibbigo is a language App that can be used on any iOS iphone, iPad, iPod or Android

product. The App costs $4.99 per language and is available for translating English into and back from Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Iraque, Arabic, Chinese, Tagalog and Korean. Each language has a 40,000-word vocabulary and costs $4.99 and 10 minutes to download. The program works entirely on the mobile device and is not connected to any server therefore no roaming charges. You speak to the device and it answers in the chosen language. For more information go to jibbigo.com.

Hertz Launches eReturn Service

On your Hertz car rentals, you can now receive an eReceipt as part of their new eReturn Service. To sign up for this service, you must go to the Vehicle Preference page of the online Gold profile (Hertz #1 Gold Club membership is free through Menno Travel!) and check “eReturn” to sign up. And then, when you return your car, just fill in the Express Return slip on the Rental Agreement and leave it with the keys on the dash. Simply drop and go – Hertz takes care of the rest.

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MTS Traveler Newsletter Masthead