Menno Traveler – May 2013

~ a newsletter for our business travelers ~

Airline Change Fees Increase – UPDATE
A few weeks ago we sent out a special Alert! E-mail announcing United and US Airways had increased their domestic ticket change fees.  As expected, American Airlines and Delta also increased their fees. For most domestic flights, the fees went from $150 to $200 for non-refundable tickets. Actual cost of the change depends on the type of ticket you have purchased, your status with the airline’s frequent flyer program, and the type of change you need to make. United just announced they have also increased international change and cancellation fees.

Jet Blue’s ticket change fees increased to between $75 and $150, with members of Jet Blue’s Mosaic program exempt from paying change or cancellation fees.

Boarding Pass ID Shows If You Can Zip Through Airport Security
Eligible travelers who have been approved for TSA PreCheck expedited security for domestic flights will begin to see a unique identifier on their boarding passes this week. This identifier will help qualified travelers route themselves to the dedicated PreCheck lanes at the nation’s 40 participating airports. Delta and US Airways passengers will see “TSA Prechk” on their paper boarding passes and the TSA PreCheck logo on mobile boarding passes. United fliers will see the PreCheck logo on both paper and mobile boarding passes. Click here for TSA PreCheck details including a list of the airport locations.

TSA PreCheck new airport locations:
Austin Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport CLE)
Memphis International Airport (MEM)
Nashville International Airport (BNA)
Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU)

Benefits of TSA PreCheck may include no longer removing shoes, light outerwear and belts, or laptop and 3-1-1 compliant liquids from carry-on bags.

Clear Customs Faster At O’Hare
Starting July 1, travelers with U.S. passports entering the country at O’Hare International Airport will be able to clear customs faster by using an automated kiosk instead of filling out a paper declaration card. Chicago plans to install 32 kiosks at O’Hare’s international terminal. No advance registration is required.

Upon deplaning, U.S. passport-holders will be able to proceed directly to the kiosks and answer a series of questions on a touch screen. A receipt will be issued, and the traveler will take the receipt and his or her passport and airline boarding pass to a Customs and Border Protection officer for verification. Personal data entered into the computer system will be handled securely.

Get the Seat You Want
The popular travel app for smartphones, TripIt Pro, has a function called Seat Tracker, and you can tell it what seat you want on the airplane, and they will notify you when it becomes available. Do you like extra leg-room? Stuck in a middle seat? Need seats together? Sounds pretty cool, right?

Well, when you book your air reservations with Menno Travel, our quality control software, MARVIN, automatically assigns, checks and changes seats based on your stored preferences. Preferences can be simple (using existing profiles) or complex such as: aisle, left side, forward, but not behind the bulkhead, over the wing, etc. Seat Clearance can be used for initial seat assignments on all reservations as well as improving seat assignments up to the time of departure.

Here’s what MARVIN did from May 2012 through April 2013 for our clients:
542 new seats assigned (where the traveler had no seat when the reservation was made)
1770 existing seats improved (95% were not center seats!)

Click here to see what else MARVIN can do.

Does Cheaper Equal Less Expensive?
For $39.00 our travel specialists can book your domestic flight, a car and your hotel! Is the time spent researching hotel options and entering in your personal information worth any savings? With just a quick call or email to our staff, everything is booked, confirmed, changed or canceled and it’s all on one reservation. We make travel simple!

Meanwhile, the traveler trying to save a dollar is still online researching the lowest airline price and best schedule, a car rental that is located at the airport, and a hotel location close to their destination. Is an hour of your time best SPENT booking your own travel? Call Holly Yoder to find out more ways to save money with managed travel.

How Travel Affects a Company’s Bottom Line
Businesses that continued to send employees on the road during the recession were more profitable than those that cut back on business travel, a new study has found.

The study, conducted by Oxford Economics showed that for every dollar invested in business travel, U.S. companies generated $9.50 in revenue and $2.90 in profit, according to the study, based on an analysis of government data on 14 industries over an 18-year period. An accompanying survey of 298 business travelers conducted in November found that 57% believed cutting their travel budgets during the economic downturn hurt their company’s performance. Only 4% said it helped.

Congratulations to those of you who continued to travel and grow company profits!

How well do you know your travel costs?
Menno Travel’s iBank reporting program is a great database resource for CFO’s, HR and Sales managers who want to track travel costs and prepare travel budgets.  Data is collected and stored every time a reservation is made or a ticket is issued.

Sort and filter the data to find your company’s top travelers and number of trips. See how far in advance your travelers are booking flights. Want to know how often and when a change is made to a reservation that increases the cost? How about a report showing exactly how many American Express Membership Rewards Points were utilized on a particular flight?

These are just a few of the reports that we offer our corporate clients.  What travel data would you like to see? How frequently do you want it?  We customize our reports to meet your needs.  Contact Holly Yoder if you have questions or requests relating to iBank reports.

American Offers Earlier Boarding To Those Who Don’t Use Overhead Bins
American said it will allow passengers with only one personal carry-on item that fits under the seat in front of them to board before Group 2 coach-class boarding. While AA generally charges for a first checked bag, for now, customers who wish to board before Group 2 can gate-check their carry-on bag at no charge.

Southwest Adopts A No Show Policy
For travel beginning on or after September 13, Southwest will add a no-show policy for nonrefundable fares not canceled or changed before departure. If a customer does not use or cancel any portion of a ticketed itinerary, the remaining reservation will be canceled and all unused funds on the full itinerary will be lost.

Notre Dame Home Games
Keep these dates in mind when planning your fall travel into and out of South Bend Airport:

August 31 – Temple
September 21 – Michigan State
September 28 – Oklahoma
October 19 – USC
November 2 – Navy
November 23 – BYU

What Travel Incentive Will Motivate You or Your Employees?
Without sales and increased productivity, your business stands to lose profits and market share. Why not support your staff and increase profits at the same time? A travel incentive awards program lets your staff know that you value and support them and has a positive effect on your bottom line. The best part is that a well-designed incentive program doesn’t cost you money, it makes you money! The increased profits from the short term program pay for the trip.

A successful incentive travel program also helps companies identify specific challenges and then design strategies to motivate key people to accomplish business goals. It’s human nature to want to be rewarded for short term behavior. Being aware of this basic characteristic within your company will help you capitalize on what people already have the ability to do. Isn’t it time for you to start taking a look at what travel incentive you can offer? Contact Maureen or Ronda for some ideas.

VACATION VALUE

Holland America Line: Summer on Sale Promotion
Take your family on a cruise this summer! Holland America Line’s “Summer on Sale” promotion offers:

* Savings of up to 50 percent off select cruise fares

* Free or reduced third and fourth fares on select voyages

* Shipboard credit of up to $100 per stateroom

Choose from Alaska cruises and CruiseTours, Europe and Canada/New England. Talk to one of our cruise specialists and pick the right destination and itinerary that fits your family.

Call 574-534-1521 or email Dorothy to book your cruise before July 12, 2013! Terms and conditions apply.