Menno Traveler

When a Vacation Quickly Turns Into a Nightmare


 

I am lucky enough to work in an office with some amazing women. I want to share a quick story about what happened a couple weeks back. Here is what happened.

Imagine you are at the end of your Christmas break Key West vacation and tonight you will be home in Northern Indiana. You head to the airport for the last leg of the journey. Upon arriving at the airport, you receive a rude awaking as armed guards barricade the entrance of the airport and direct you out of the area.  This was a reality for a client of ours.

On Friday, January 6th, our clients arrived at Fort Lauderdale International airport to see armed guards motioning them to stay back. They had just arrived at the scene of a horrific shooting. One of the advantages of using a travel agency is the security of knowing that you have a personal assistant to get you out of any travel situation. Immediately our client texted their agent at Menno Travel, we had already received a travel warning regarding the shooting at Fort Lauderdale Airport. Before they texted us, we were in the midst of going through our data base to see who was flying in, out, or connecting in Fort Lauderdale. Whenever there is a major alert (weather, malfunctions, terrorist incidents) Menno contacts our clients letting them know of potential delays and provides them with other travel options.

Maggie, the vacation agent working with the stranded clients, called Delta and tried to find a way back to South Bend. That particular Friday, there were major winter ice storms passing through the East and West coasts, it was also the end of Christmas break. Usually, our agents can find another route home, the difficulty was getting five passengers back on the same flight. Maggie searched multiple airports in Florida to try and find a flight back to this area. There were no Delta flights back to our area that had five seats available. While on hold with Delta, Maggie found five seats on an American Airlines flight departing from Miami the next morning. She negotiated with Delta and got a refund for our clients and booked the American Airline flight to Chicago. She then booked a hotel room in Miami. The next morning when the family arrived in Chicago, Maggie had arranged for a limo to pick them up. It was the cheapest option back to South Bend. The limo drove our clients back to South Bend and dropped the family off at their front door, then drove the husband to South Bend airport to pick up his personal car. Menno is currently working on getting refunds for our client’s limo and hotel expense.

In an unpredictable world where stories like this occur, having someone to back you up and provide service at this level is critical. We hope that this situation, or any situation, never happens to our clients but we will be there if it ever does.

The Zika Virus and what you need to know

What is the Zika virus? The Zika Virus is a disease spread to people through mosquito bites. The common symptoms of the Zika Virus are fever, joint pain, rashes and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The symptoms last several days to a week. The illness is usually mild. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon and deaths are rare.

 

Since the Zika virus is spread through mosquito bites everyone is susceptible. One in five people infected with the Zika virus will get sick. The symptoms are similar to the flu. Recently Brazil linked the Zika virus to babies born with Microcephaly. Microcephaly is a condition where the baby’s head size at birth is smaller than the average. Babies with smaller head sizes might have brains that do not develop properly causing problems later in life.  The sharp rise in babies born with Microcephaly in Brazil in the past couple months has caused the CDC to issue a travel alert (level 2 Practice Enhanced Precautions)

 

What countries are most affected? The travel alert is for these countries. (Countries are being added to this list daily. The list is accurate as of 5/18/16)

 

  • American Samoa
  • Aruba
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Bolivia
  • Bonaire
  • Brazil
  • Cape Verde
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Curacao
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Fiji
  • French Guiana
  • Grenada
  • Guadeloupe
  • Guatemala
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Jamaica
  • Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia
  • Marshall Islands
  • Martinique
  • Mexico
  • New Caledonia
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Saint Lucia
  • Puerto Rico
  • Saint Barthelemy
  • Saint Martin
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Sint Maarten
  • Samoa
  • Suriname
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tonga
  • US Virgin Islands
  • Venezuela

 

All travelers to the countries listed above should consult your physician. The CDC is recommending that pregnant women and women who are trying to become pregnant consult with your physician and consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. If you contract the virus please seek a professional health care provider.

Information about the Zika virus is being updated on a daily basis.   We will continue to monitor the situation.  Please refer to our website for additional details.

For more information you can visit the CDC website here

The airlines and tour operators are just coming out with policies for passengers to reschedule and or cancel trips to the affected countries. We are monitoring these policies daily and will be contacting you shortly to give you the options.

More Travel Options Than You Think

Living in communities close to local regional airports is very convenient. It’s great to have less traffic, easy parking, short security lines, and the ability to connect to wherever you need to go! But sometimes at an airport of choice, the air fare can be significantly higher than normal, or the flight schedules are not convenient.   Here in the Indiana-Michigan area, one of the challenges is scheduling around Notre Dame Football games. In these situations, your corporate agent will check all the options at surrounding airports, balancing convenience and cost-effectiveness.

We know that many of our customers live in different parts of the country and use airports other than those found in the Michiana area.  But we found it interesting to compare the distance to regional and metropolitan airports available in our geographic area.  The same will be true in other regions as well. The options may surprise you!

     Traveling From

table

 

 

* Distance based on google maps

Deem Mobile App: A simple App to ease the mind

Deem customers of Menno Travel can take advantage of the mobile app for your iPhone or Android. Menno Travel is excited this technology is available for our online customers.

Today’s travelers need a powerful mobile app that has the ability to view and search for upcoming flights from their phone. Not to mention, book hotels and car service based on location, brand, policy, TripAdvisor ratings, and price. The Deem mobile app can deliver all this and more.

Check it out!

  • Management of upcoming travel reservation
  • End-to-end reservation capability for flights, hotels and car rentals
  • TripAdvisor ratings in hotel search results
  • Calendar sync to provide real-time updates
  • Select and compare seat sections across flight results
  • In-app flight check-in and mobile boarding pass
  • Location-based restaurant deals and offers to stay within per diems

To get the app today, login to your Deem account and find the Go Mobile! box on the right side of the screen and download it now!

Car Hotel Automated Recheck Technology (CHART)

Are you paying too much for cars and hotels?

Menno Travel has developed an automated technology to enhance our service to the corporate community. Last year Car Rate Checker found over 650 lower car rental rates for our customers totaling a staggering $26,900. With the year half over, we have already saved over $17,000 for our valued and loyal customers.

We also found that hotels trend the same way, and we put our heads together and launched our Hotel Rate Checker which will celebrate its 1st birthday in July! Knowing that online retailers such as Expedia and Hotels.com, return rates based on different searches, we harnessed this data to your advantage.

The average three night hotel stay, now costs more than your average domestic airline ticket. Luckily Hotel Rate Checker has been hard at work saving our customers on average $23 per night. That’s Amazing!

Booking your cars and hotels with Menno Travel assures lowest rate availability, through our access to discounted rates AND our Car Hotel Automated Recheck Technology (CHART) continues to search for lower fares after the reservation is made. Book your hotels & cars with Menno Travel and let CHART do the rest!

Why Incentive Travel Works

Incentive Travel – 10 Powerful Benefits

Rewarding customer loyalty and sales growth and performance with fantastic corporate rewards will benefit your business. After all, giving customers reason to not look elsewhere is part of any successful business. Below, we take a closer look at the powerful advantages of incentive travel.

1. Motivate and Inspire Customers & Sales Staff with a Memorable Reward

Providing desirable travel incentives is a great way to motivate and inspire your customer base. It will encourage business-centric buzz around your industry, with everyone wanting to be sure to not miss out, thus meeting their targets and win the reward.

2. Incentive Travel is a Cost-Effective Alternative

According to the Harvard Business Review, money is the most expensive way to reward. Travel incentives can be more cost-effective and offer greater value in terms of the benefits to staff, customers and the business.

3. Corporate Rewards Can Help Your Business Achieve its Goals

Through inspiring and motivating your customer base, corporate rewards can help you to achieve a number of company objectives, such as:
• Customer retention
• Increasing sales and profitability.
• Maintaining consistently high sales performance

4. Foster Customer Loyalty and Dedication

A great rewards system will ensure your customers feel appreciated. This feeling of appreciation fosters a positive environment, increasing consumer loyalty to the company. Similarly, appreciated customers are more dedicated. This leads to greater sales and increased profitability.

5. Forge Stronger Networking Dynamics

The thrilling adventures and shared experiences of a fantastic trip will hone and develop networking dynamics. It will also allow company and customer to build stronger relationships, and offers an informal forum for honest discussion about the company.

6. Personal Benefits for your Customers

Everyone benefits from some time away. Rewarding your customer with a travel experience will help to relieve stress, boost confidence and reignite creativity. A short break can do wonders for the soul – and your business by extension.

7. A Healthy Customer base is a Happy Business

Studies suggest that perceived benefits that no one else or a select few can get, keeps the loyal customer returning to the company. This comes back to the sense of appreciation and the personal benefits of corporate rewards.

8. Excellent PR for your Organization

Word-of-mouth is a very powerful tool. Customers who have received a memorable corporate reward are likely to rave about it to their friends and family. Also the opportunity to re-connect with past participants is an appealing part of reward packages. This will entice greater sales to your company and will improve your organization’s PR overall.

9. Travel Incentives are More Effective than Cash Rewards

Cold, hard cash is one of the most common, and according to statistics, least effective ways to reward people. The money is often treated as part of a discount and is spent on bills or household items. In contrast, an enticing travel experience is proven to inspire and motivate. In addition, the memory of a fantastic trip will last much longer than a cash bonus, fostering feelings of gratitude towards the company.

10. Flexible Experiences for Every Budget

Incentive travel can be tailored to suit budgets, making travel a practical reward option for small and large businesses alike.

Book your corporate travel experience with a company you can trust. Menno Travel, Group & Incentive Department has the knowledge and expertise to provide your company with unique travel options. Menno Travel’s Group & Incentive Department can manage your customer/sales loyalty travel incentive.

Please contact our Group & Incentive Department at travelstaff@mennotrav.com

Menno Traveler March 2015

Menno Traveler – March 2015

~ a newsletter for our business travelers ~

Online Booking Tool Mobile App
Menno Travel’s online booking tool, Deem, includes a mobile app for booking air, car and hotel reservations. You can view all your reservation details in one place. Flight alerts about delays, gate changes or cancellations keep you on track.

Fares that are out of your company’s travel policy are clearly identified. Along with Deem’s expense management you can quickly add images of receipts to your digital wallet and then submit expense reports for review and approval. Managers can review and approve expense reports, ensuring company policies are being enforced and you are being reimbursed in timely fashion.

Contact Geof Landis if you are interested in learning more about Deem, our convenient online booking and expense management option.

Mission and Humanitarian Travel
In addition to corporate travel management, Menno serves religious travel needs, specifically those of missionaries, church organizations, and pastors. We handle the travel arrangements to conferences, study tours, and student groups. We have access to mission fares and assist with travel insurance for short or long term assignments.

We have experience with destinations in Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, in addition to North America and Europe. We can assist with procuring visas, passports, and other travel documents, obtaining information on required or suggested health measures, and obtaining information on allowed baggage and excess baggage costs. We can also provide customized travel reports for destinations and current state department international travel advisories and warnings.

If you know anyone looking for help planning Mission or Humanitarian individual or group travel, contact Ron Yoder.

Ronda Morris Taking on New Responsibilities
In addition to handling corporate travel reservations, Ronda will be working with our corporate accounts to provide sales and customer service support. Contact her at ronda@mennotrav.com or call 574-534-1521 if you have questions about the services you currently receive from Menno Travel.

Booking More Than The Major Airlines
Are you surprised that we book Jet Blue and Southwest and Allegiant airlines? Don’t be! We are a full-service corporate travel management business, booking airlines, hotels, and car rentals to suit your business travel needs. Let us know if you have a special request and we will see if we can help you out, using our connections with our suppliers.  We are people with the right connections!

Two Ways You Will Save Money Using Menno Travel
*
 Delta SkyBonus tickets: If you have a SkyBonus account, remember that we can save you money by managing your account and suggesting when it is most advantageous to use points instead of paying for a ticket.

American Express Membership Rewards Points: As an American Express Travel  Representative office, we are able to book your travel, charge it to your American Express card and then credit your American Express card account using your Membership Rewards Points.

Contact Geof Landis if you are interested in taking advantage of either the SkyBonus or Membership Rewards Points programs.

Were Your Travel Plans Affected by Winter Storms?
We are so glad to have winter in our rearview mirror! Winter storms always cause a lot of flight cancellations and stranded travelers. Jill, Dee, Ronda and Ron were kept busy again this winter, watching flights and re-accommodating travelers to get them where they needed to go.

To ensure that you receive immediate assistance, please let the person directing your call know when you are stuck and calling us from an airport. We also check all of our reservations to flag those that may be affected by weather so that we can proactively get you on your way.

SBN Airport Valet Parking Great Option…Especially for Winter
Did you know that South Bend International Airport (SBN) offers valet parking service? For the same price as short-term parking, the service will have your car cleared off, warmed up and ready just steps outside the terminal doors when you arrive.

Simply follow the signs at the airport front drive. Then give the attendant your flight information and car keys. When you return, your car will be waiting at the curb! Cost for valet parking is $5 for up to one hour and $13 for 1-24 hours. Call 574-288-4912 or 800-681-8885 for more information.

Delta Redefining Service Classes On Flights
Delta is redefining the products it offers into five distinct products including Delta One, First Class and Delta Comfort+ which offer customers the best of Delta’s services by providing premium products while Main Cabin and Basic Economy will offer value options.

For example, Delta Comfort+ is adding premium snacks and complimentary Starbucks®, beer, wine, and spirits on most flights. They will also have a location toward the front of the plane, have more legroom and on some longer flights, extra recline. In addition, Delta Comfort+ includes Sky Priority® boarding and dedicated overhead bin space and Wi-Fi and complimentary premium entertainment through Delta Studio™ where available.

Visit DELTA.COM/EXPERIENCE or click here for complete details on Delta’s renewed suite of experiences. For a product chart, click here.

Delta SkyMiles Updates Delta has expanded the number of airline partners that SkyMiles members can select to redeem for award travel. Delta also recently updated the Fly Delta app to give customers the ability to book award travel from mobile devices. Or, call Menno Travel and we will be happy to assist you with your award travel bookings as well.

Customers can now earn (Medallion Qualification Dollars) MQDs, regardless of ticketing carrier, for travel on most of Delta’s airline partners, which will help achieve Medallion status faster. MQD earning varies based on carrier, percentage of distance flown as determined by Delta and fare class paid.

New one-way award tickets beginning as low as 10,000 miles plus taxes and fees, are available through December 31, 2015, for travel in select U.S., Mexican and Caribbean markets. Check out your favorite destinations and plan a trip now!

US Airways and American Frequent Flyer Programs Combining
American Airlines and merger partner US Airways will combine their frequent-flier programs. The US Airways Dividend Miles® program will be combined into the AAdvantage program and here’s what you need to know:

Once the programs are combined, your US Airways Dividend Miles mileage balance, Preferred‑qualifying activity and million mile balance will be transferred into your AAdvantage account on a one‑to‑one ratio. Elite status level will be determined by looking at your combined elite‑qualifying activity for 2014, and separately, your combined 2015 year‑to‑date elite‑qualifying activity. It may take a few days to transfer everything, but you’ll receive an email you once it’s completed.

You’ll continue earning miles when you fly on American, US Airways, oneworld and other participating airlines, as well as with over 1,000 partners. And, you’ll still be able to redeem miles for flights, upgrades on American and US Airways, car rentals, hotel stays and more.

Dividend Miles award bookings and mileage upgrade requests will be disabled a few days before the two programs are combined to allow time to integrate your accounts. If you plan to redeem Dividend Miles for an upcoming trip, plan to book now.

Once the programs are combined, Dividend Miles will be converted into AAdvantage miles, and you’ll be able to redeem AAdvantage miles with American.

Hyatt Launches Free Wi-Fi To All Guests Worldwide All Hyatt hotels and resorts worldwide will provide free Wi-Fi to guests on an unlimited number of mobile devices or laptops in guest rooms and social spaces at Hyatt-branded hotels. Platinum and Diamond Hyatt Gold Passport members will receive a free upgrade to premium Wi-Fi service in those spaces wherever available, and guests will have the option to purchase premium service in those locations.

Marriott To Use Apple Pay Marriott International, Inc will become the first global hospitality company to offer Apple Pay. Guests using Apple Pay at check-in will simply bring their iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus or soon, Apple Watch, near the contactless reader at the front desk. When their device responds with a subtle vibration and beep, the payment information has been securely captured. There will be no need to provide a credit card upon check-in.

At select Marriott Hotels, guests have been testing an app for service requests, enabling them to chat in real time with hotel staff to make requests, such as extra towels, valet service, dinner reservations and more. Marriott will launch an app for the Apple Watch, upon availability. With the Apple Watch app, Marriott Rewards members will be able to use it to check-in in advance, receive prior notification when their room is ready, and checkout at nearly 4,000 hotels globally. Marriott expects to start rolling out Apple Pay this summer beginning at select hotels.

A Look Back at Airline Commissions 20 Years Ago
20 years ago the airlines started cutting travel agencies out of their commission structure, forcing travel agencies to either stop selling airline tickets or start charging fees.  At that time, many travel agencies went out of business, fearing their clients wouldn’t suddenly begin paying for their services.

At Menno Travel, our clients’ need for our services continued and we began to charge fees based on our cost to provide the service.  Other agencies weren’t so lucky. There were about 36,000 accredited travel agencies that dwindled to fewer than 10,000 during the first 10 years of commission cuts. So much changed with technology and is changing more every year. Many agents were forced to treat travel as a business and the good ones survived.

Thank you to all of our clients who believe in travel services, including managed corporate travel!

Menno Traveler December 2014

 Menno Traveler December 2014

Happy Holidays!
Our office will close at noon on December 24 and be closed December 25 and January 1. Safe travels!

Our after-hours service will be available by calling 800-367-1633 Use the VIT Code P-3ND. Fees apply.

Car Rate Checker Continues to Save You Money
In the past 12 months, our Car Rate Checker found lower rates on 677 car rentals for a total savings of $26,863.73. Savings ranged from a few dollars per rental up to several hundred dollars. In one case, a 4-day rental for a mid-size car dropped from a total of $614.61 to $309.62, a savings of over $300 on just one rental!

Book Hotels with Menno and Save Money
A closer look at online retailers of hotel rooms reveals that rates returned from different searches vary on average by $17 per night. According to the Northeastern University study, Expedia and Hotels.com steered a subset of users to more expensive hotels, dividing users into different groups to test new website features and algorithms. Cheaptickets and Orbitz showed more expensive room rates to users who were not logged into the site, offering users who were logged in unadvertised discounts of about $12 per night on 5% of hotel rooms.

Booking hotels with Menno Travel assures lowest rate availability, access to discounted rates AND our hotel rate checker program continues to search for lower fares after the reservation has been made…need we say more?! …Ok, here’s the “more”:

Hotel Rate Checker has been in service just five months and has found lower rates for 151 rooms for a total offered savings of $6,749.68. Call us to book your next hotel and get in on the savings!

Watch Out for Changing Hotel Cancellation Policies
Last month we emailed an alert to our customers that as of January 1, 2015, Hilton Worldwide and Marriott International will require cancellation of reservations by midnight the night before arrival, or they will charge a penalty of one night’s stay.

While Hilton claims these changes will make more rooms available for travelers needing last-minute accommodations, this policy doesn’t allow for the flexibility a business traveler needs. Bad weather and travel delays can wreck a schedule quickly and some travelers are booking away from their longtime loyalty hotel chains.

Be aware that many hotels within chains have varying policies. Some allow cancellations as late as 6 p.m. the night the reservation was to start and others require 24 hours or more notice in advance.

If you are caught in a penalty situation, contacting the hotel to explain the situation could lead to a penalty-free cancellation or another resolution so you don’t pay the night’s stay penalty. Menno Travel can help you choose the best hotel that fits your travel needs.

Delta Rated #1 Airline for Business Travelers
A survey by Business Travel News resulted in the #1 ranking for Delta who was praised for exceeding customer expectations through its industry-leading operational reliability and thoughtful continuous upgrades to products and services.

The airline ranked first among carriers in all 10 categories, with significant year-over-year gains in each and scoring particularly high in key areas of the survey, including: Value of Relationships with Account Managers and Sales Representatives; Quality of Customer Service; and Networks, Airline Partnerships and Frequencies.

Menno Travel receives strong support from Delta, benefiting our customers in the form of waivers and favors when needed. In an era of cutting back, Delta remains committed to the travel agency community where servicing our customers comes first.

2015 Travel Costs Projected to Increase
The American Express Global Business Travel Forecast 2015 predicts air, hotel and ground transportation prices to be neutral to slightly higher across all regions in 2015.  Airline consolidations, stricter corporate travel policies and limited hotel supply are changing supply and demand dynamics and are also expected to impact pricing next year. An improving economy in the United States will likely cause price increases across all categories.

Consequently, it will become even more important for travel managers to have access to relevant and reliable data on their company’s travel spend.  Armed with this insight, travel managers and Menno Travel can leverage it to ensure an organization’s travel investments are appropriately allocated to support its overall business objectives.

Contact Geof Landis to learn how you can gain control of your travel expenditures.

United Frequent Flyers May Use Miles For Airport Food
If you are a Mileage Plus member, you can use miles in lieu of money to pay for food and drinks at the Newark airport. United has set the exchange rate at about 143 miles per $1. For Newark travelers dining at Saison, a French bistro in Terminal C, a $29 seared salmon entrée costs 4,150 miles, and a $14 sidecar runs 2,000 miles. A bottle of Fiji water ($2.99) is 430 miles. The same payment options will roll out to the terminal’s retail and duty-free shops over the next 12-18 months, as part of a $120 million renovation. By 2016, a traveler will be able to use miles to purchase everything for sale at Newark’s largest terminal. The airline is discussing the miles-as-payment option with other airlines as well.

UA Follows Delta’s Lead with Frequent Flyer Changes
United Airlines is raising its Premier Qualification Dollar, or PQD, requirement for earning Premier status.  PQDs measure a member’s annual spending on United flights. The PQD requirement for Premier Silver members will increase from $2,500 to $3,000, for Premier Gold members from $5,000 to $6,000, for Premier Platinum members from $7,500 to $9,000, and for Premier 1K members from $10,000 to $12,000. Click here for a list of FAQ’s about the changes.

Last month, Delta raised its Medallion Qualification Dollar requirement for earning Medallion status by a similar percentage.

The PQD requirement only applies to members with addresses within the United States and United will continue to exempt members who spend $25,000 or more on a co-branded United credit card from the PQD requirement for Silver, Gold, and Platinum status.

UA Through-Check Baggage Policy Update
Effective for travel on and after March 1, 2015, if a traveler holds a second ticket on another airline beyond the destination of the first ticket, United will check the bag to the destination on the first ticket(s). Then, the traveler must collect their checked bags on arrival at their first ticketed destination, and then re-check them with the next carrier for their continuing flight(s).

United will check bags through to the final destination if the second ticket is on United Airlines, United Express or Star Alliance partner airlines.

Online Thieves Aren’t Just After Credit Card Numbers
Travelers should not assume airline, hotel or car rental loyalty accounts are secure. For example, Hilton reported a breach of Hilton‘s HHonors loyalty program recently, as dozens of users posted claims of unauthorized access that led to loss of points. Granted this is not like a credit card number breach, where the numbers can be used for purchases; rather, it’s the account number and login that are being sold, which can then be translated into goods via online purchases.

Take these precautions when it comes to cybersecurity:

  • Provide as little information as possible when signing up.
  • Use passwords with alpha, numeric, and special characters.
  • Change your password regularly.
  • Regularly monitor your account for signs of unauthorized activity.

Be assured that Menno Travel uses the highest online security measures when completing and storing your traveler profile information electronically.

U.S. Airport Lounges Offering Day Passes
In the United States alone, there are more than 170 airport lounges where any traveler can buy a day pass. Most of the airlines — United, Delta, American — still allow all passengers the ability to pay a one-time fee to access their lounges … and you don’t have to be flying the carrier associated with the lounge.

Airspace is a private company operating lounges in San Diego International Airport, Baltimore Washington International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Airspace Lounges allow you to pay a one-time fee for use, which in some places is as little as $20. Once inside, there is complimentary food and beverages and a relaxed atmosphere.

American Express is the first credit card company to start building its own network of lounges called The Centurion Lounge. They are currently in Dallas Fort-Worth, LaGuardia, Las Vegas and San Francisco, with Miami to open in early 2015 and more are planned for the future. The lounges are available to platinum and centurion cardholders free of charge. But any American Express member, with any type of American Express card, can access the lounges for $50.

Minute Suites lounges are almost mini bedrooms, and offer travelers a private retreat to work, nap or relax. Each suite comes with a daybed, pillows, fresh blankets, a sound-masking system and more. They have suites in Dallas, Atlanta and Philadelphia.

Spirit To Charge $100 For Carry-On Baggage
Putting a bag in the overhead bin will soon cost some Spirit Airlines passengers $100, more than they paid for their tickets. The airline currently charges $45 for a carry-on bag. As of Nov. 6, customers who pay the fee at the boarding gate will pay $100. Any bag that needs to fit in the overhead bin is considered a carry-on. A bag that fits under the seat is free. The fee remains at $45 if passengers pay at an airport counter or kiosk.

Enjoying Tax Breaks at a Convention
Sunshine, beaches and business can mix, and the IRS allows deductions for business conventions held in some exotic areas. The primary purpose of the trip must be business related and held in the following destinations:

Besides the 50 U.S. states, tax deductions can be taken for business meetings or conventions held in the U.S. possessions of American Samoa, Baker Island, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Island, Kingman Reef, Midway Islands, Palmyra, U.S. Virgin Islands, Wake Island, other U.S. islands, cays, and reefs; Canada, Mexico, The Republic of the Marshall Islands, The Federated States of Micronesia, Bermuda, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominican Republic, Dominica , Costa Rica, Grenada, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, and The Republic of Palau.

Outside of these destinations, there is no deduction unless you can demonstrate that the convention’s location meets specified standards of reasonableness, based on specific factors. Always check with your financial advisor before planning a business trip.

Foreign Currency, a Convenience Available at our Menno Travel Office
For international business trips or vacations, it’s smart to plan ahead and purchase foreign currency before leaving for your trip. Starting your trip with a supply of local currency saves you time and allows you to hit the ground running at your destination.

We stock the most common currencies in our office and can get large amounts and out of stock currency usually within two business days. Click here for a list of currencies and more information on buying and selling foreign currency.

VACATION VALUE – Join our locally hosted group tour to Alaska in 2015
What: Princes Cruise’s Denali Explorer, 12-Night Alaskan CruiseTour
When: June 15 -27, 2015
Local Hosts: Tim and Marisa Yoder, Goshen business owners

The itinerary is Princess Cruises’ most popular Alaska land & sea vacation and the best value. Featuring Direct-to-the-Wilderness rail service — a Princess exclusive — to take you between ship and the Alaska wilderness, you’ll enjoy 7 days at sea on the Star Princess and 5 nights at Princess wilderness lodges, including at legendary Denali National Park, plus visits to Fairbanks and Anchorage. It’s the best way to see all the best of Alaska!

Tim and Marisa will accompany the group from Goshen to make your trip worry-free and enjoyable. They have escorted several group trips over the years and have a passion for travel while enjoying the company of old and new friends. Join them and experience beautiful Alaska!

Click here for complete details of our hosted Alaska Cruise Tour or go to www.mennotrav.com,  call Kim Wright at Menno Travel, 574-534-1521 or 800-635-0963 or email her at kim@mennotrav.com. A brochure is available in our office located at 210 South Main Street, Goshen, Indiana. Call or stop by today!

Menno Traveler June 2014

~ a newsletter for our business travelers ~

Ronda Morris Moving to Menno Travel Corporate Department We are happy to announce that Ronda Morris is joining Jill Mann, Dee Miller and Ron Yoder in our Corporate Department. Most recently Ronda worked in our Group Department handling group travel including corporate incentive trips. Ronda is a Certified Travel Counselor (CTC) and former owner of Destinations Travel Service in Warsaw, Indiana. Ronda began her travel career in 1983 at Warsaw Travel and joined our staff in January 2012. In the past she handled corporate travel for a top orthopedic company in Warsaw.

Ronda is looking forward to working with you and servicing your travel needs.

Menno Notifying Travelers with Unassigned Seats Because more airlines are charging for advance seat assignments or not allowing advance seat assignments at all, we have started to track and notify our travelers of their booked flight without a seat assignment. Menno Travel programming guru, Kendal Sommers, has set our quality control program to check our reservations for seats or improve seat assignments.

Sometimes we are able to secure a paid advance seat assignment. Sometimes the seat can be assigned at check-in, 24 hours prior to the flight.  Otherwise, seats are generally assigned when the traveler arrives at the airport.

Why is this happening? Airlines routinely block 30%-40% of coach seats for premium customers, people with special needs or available only for a fee. Facing the likelihood of getting a bad seat at check-in, sitting apart from children or even getting bumped from an overbooked flight, many travelers feel pressured to pay for a reserved seat.

Tickets do come with seats, of course, and airlines say almost all customers without seat assignments get them at check-in or close to departure. They may be lousy seats, or seats split from family. And in some cases, the person who doesn’t have a seat assignment is the one involuntarily bumped from the flight. That’s rare, but it does happen and is a major source of traveler anxiety.

Jill, Dee, Ronda and Ron will do their best to use all of our resources to secure your seat assignment!

Looking for Customer Feedback
Recently our Corporate Travel Specialist Jill Mann was invited to attend a corporate staff meeting to discuss travel. Travelers and travel planners had the opportunity ask questions and provide feedback. Our customer appreciated the opportunity to have one-on-one time with Jill and we appreciated the suggestions on how we can improve our service to them specifically.

If you would like a Menno Travel representative to come to your company meeting to talk about corporate, leisure or group travel, please feel free to contact Geof Landis or your corporate specialist. We welcome your feedback and look forward to serving you better.

Lufthansa Charging Seat-Selection Fee On April 28, Lufthansa began charging a fee of $35 for advance seat selection on certain booking classes on long-haul flights. Passengers who select seats at check-in (up to 23 hours before departure) will not pay a fee. Lufthansa has charged for seat selection on domestic, European and northern Africa flights since November; those fees are $15.

South Bend International Airport St. Joseph County Airport Authority Board President Tom Botkin announced that South Bend Airport (SBN) is becoming South Bend International. The Airport team, in conjunction with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), is working to build a General Aviation Facility and a Federal Inspection Station. Both of these facilities are under design with construction expected soon. The project will be paid for with a combination of federal, state and airport funds. Airlines have expressed interest in serving South Bend to Mexico and the Bahamas. We will keep you informed as we receive more information.

American Adds Flights from Fort Wayne to Philadelphia and Charlotte New flights from Fort Wayne to Philadelphia. PA and Charlotte, NC are set to take off in October. Air service to the North Carolina city is particularly attractive because it often serves as a gateway to major East Coast or international destinations.

Notre Dame Home Football Games 2014 Making plans for fall travel? Keep these dates in mind for flying into and out of South Bend and the surrounding areas. Make reservations now if you know you will be traveling during this time so you are not disappointed with a sold out flight.

Aug. 30  –  RICE
Sept. 6  –  MICHIGAN (night)
Oct. 4  –  STANFORD
Oct. 11 –  NORTH CAROLINA
Nov. 15 –  NORTHWESTERN
Nov. 22 –  LOUISVILLE

United Changes MileagePlus Frequent Flyer Program United Airlines changed its frequent-flier program, basing MileagePlus awards on dollars spent rather than miles flown. Frequent fliers will earn five miles for every dollar spent, while those with premier status will earn accelerated rewards. For example, Premier Silver fliers, the lowest premier tier, will earn seven miles per dollar, while Premier 1K fliers, the highest tier, will earn 11 miles per dollar. The new earning structure will not affect the way members qualify for premier status in 2015, the airline said.

The change mirrors a move by Delta Air Lines earlier this year. Surcharges, such as those for fuel, will be included in the base fare for award-purposes, while taxes and airport charges will not. The switch took effect March 1 and applies to flights on United, United Express and most United-issued tickets for flights on the company’s airline partners.

American Airlines, the only network carrier to continue to base awards on miles flown, will likely follow suit by switching to a dollar-based award system. American probably won’t announce a change until its merger with US Airways is further along next year, with changes potentially taking effect in 2016. Southwest Airlines, the biggest carrier at Chicago Midway, and JetBlue Airways already base awards on spending rather than miles.

Corporations now more than ever will need to pay attention to travel policy to ensure that their travelers are not booking higher priced tickets for their own personal benefit. Contact Geof Landis to discuss your company travel policy.

Delta Charging for First Checked Bag to Some International Destinations When traveling in Economy Class between the United States or Canada and Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic and between Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, your first checked bag will now cost $25. Some international markets will continue to receive the first checked bag free. For complete Delta baggage information, please visit:  http://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/traveling-with-us/baggage.html

Southwest Offers Mobile Boarding at all U.S. Airports Southwest Airlines now offers mobile boarding passes at all U.S. airports. You can use your smartphone or other electronic device to get through security checkpoints and board aircraft. Southwest passengers also can use the airline’s new mobile app and website to check in for flights.

AirTran to Fly Last Flight December 28 AirTran will fly its final flight December 28. The flight, from Atlanta to Tampa, is a reprise of the airline’s first flight on Oct. 26, 1993, when the airline was called ValuJet.  Southwest closed on its acquisition of AirTran on May 2, 2011.

The two airlines will operate as separate carriers until AirTran flies its final flight.  As AirTran planes are transferred into the Southwest brand, the AirTran network will gradually decrease.  You can purchase both Southwest and AirTran flights in one itinerary. Frequent flyer rewards will continue to be earned on each airline and then will be rolled into the Southwest Rapid Rewards program at the end of the year.

Delta flying to Seoul from Seattle Delta now operates nonstop service from Seattle to Seoul, Korea. This is the fourth nonstop international route added from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in a year, including London-Heathrow, Shanghai-Pudong and Tokyo-Haneda. On June 16 they will add nonstop service to Hong Kong.

40% Of U.S. Travelers Now Get Expedited ScreeningForty percent of the U.S. traveling public now passes through expedited airport security screening lanes, due in large part to the expansion of the TSA’s PreCheck program. The PreCheck program allows “low-risk passengers” to pass through security checkpoints while leaving on their shoes, light outerwear and belts, and keeping laptops and allowable liquids in carry-on bags. The program now is at 118 U.S. airports nationwide.Click here for more details on the PreCheck program and to get signed up.

Frontier Charges for Carry-on Bags Frontier Airlines has completely unbundled its economy fare, which means you now pay a fee for carry-on bags in addition to checked bags and seat assignments. You may still bring aboard one personal item for free (handbag, purse, pocketbook, backpack, briefcase or laptop), but an additional carry-on will cost $25 at the time of initial travel purchase at Frontier’s website or the airline’s call center. Paying for a carry-on at airport check-in will cost $35; at the gate, $50.

Become a member of Frontier’s Ascent and Summit level EarlyReturns loyalty program and receive a free carry-on bag and two free checked bags. Click here for more details.

Airlines Rank Just Ahead of the IRS in Customer Satisfaction Airlines received the lowest customer satisfaction ratings among all travel-related industries, according to a new report released recently. For the second year in a row, airlines earned a score of 69 out of 100 points, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index travel report. That is among the lowest of any industry or agency, above only the IRS, subscription television providers and social media sites. Way to go, airlines!

The survey found that passengers appreciate that airlines are mishandling fewer bags and a check-in process that’s been made simpler by technology. But passengers are dissatisfied with seat comfort and in-flight service in particular. Fliers were most satisfied with lower-cost carriers like JetBlue, who came out on top among airlines for the third year in a row, and Southwest. But both carriers saw their scores drop in 2013. United was at the bottom. The travel index’s findings were based on interviews with 7,445 travel consumers between Oct. 21, 2013, and March 11, 2014.

7 Tips to Safeguard Your Valuables When You Travel The month-long police sting and subsequent arrests recently at Los Angeles International Airport proved that there are people taking stuff from our bags.

The airlines have plenty of small print in their contracts saying they’re not responsible and LAX isn’t the only place this is happening – they’re just the only ones to get caught.

Follow these steps so you do not become a victim:

1. Don’t Be Too Flashy: It’s nice to say you have a Louis Vuitton bag. But if you check this bag, you’re just inviting a little sift-through. Nice bag usually signals nice stuff is inside. And nice stuff is easy to turn around quick on Craigslist or eBay.

2. Don’t put valuables in your checked luggage. If you really need to bring expensive electronics or jewelry with you on your trip, put it in your carry-ons. That way, nobody is touching them but you.

3. Pay the fee to get on early if offered. The fee for express boarding really pays off when you get quick access to the overhead bins.

4. Take your bag through security, check it at the gate. Yes, it may be a bit of a pain to lug the heavy bag through security. But if you check the bag at the gate for plane-side loading, you’ve significantly decreased the time and the amount of hands that are touching your luggage.

5. Use your clothes to store valuables. If you absolutely feel you have to check in valuables, store them in your clothes. If you put the valuables in jean pockets on the bottom of your bag, they don’t stand out for the easy grab.

6. Get the TSA-approved lock. It’s the type of lock that allows the inspectors to inspect the bag and relock the baggage without damaging the lock or the bag. Criminals are going to find a way into your bag and if they see the expensive lock on the bag, they’re figuring there are expensive goodies to be taken from that bag.

7. Use technology to your advantage. One of the great plusses of the iPhone is the “Find My Phone” feature that lets you track your phone if you lose it. Now there’s similar technology for luggage. One such company doing this is Lug Loc. Their electronic tracker device will track your bag for up to 40 days without the battery dying. TrakDot is another option. A little bit pricier and there’s an annual service fee but no per-trace fee.

Vacation Specials from Delta Vacations For a limited time, Delta Vacations is offering exclusive savings on airfare and 25% off all hotel rates on flight and hotel vacation packages to Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Plus, receive 1,000 extra Delta bonus miles per person.

– Exclusive airfare savings, not available anywhere else – 25% off all hotels + other special hotel offers – Up to 8,500 bonus miles in the SkyMiles® program

Upgrade to a luxury vacation and enjoy flights in First Class or BusinessElite®, VIP transfers and up to 7,500 bonus miles per person, for a possible total of 8,500 bonus miles per person.

To receive these savings, call or email Menno Travel and book by July 31, 2014, for travel Oct. 6, 2014 – Mar. 19, 2015.

Destination Highlights Europe Witness history firsthand on a European vacation. Start in London with Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the Tate Modern and head outside the city to see Stonehenge. Then, pop over to Paris for food, fashion and museums galore. Prague has a fairy-tale aura with gothic architecture and amazing castles. Ride a bike through Amsterdam to visit the Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank House. Head south to Madrid for local culture and tapas. Don’t miss Italy’s darlings — Florence, Rome and Venice. There’s so much to see and do in Europe, best call Menno Travel and start today.

Middle East and Africa Here you’ll find an enchanting duet of East and West, ancient history and modern civilization and untamed land and urban beauty. The playground of the Middle East, Dubai prompts you to go big or go home with its larger-than-life attractions, gorgeous cream-colored shoreline and international culinary delights. Israel’s modern metropolis, Tel Aviv, is a cultural capital bursting with creativity, style and a diverse, open population. Johannesburg mixes thrilling adventure, city verve and encounters with nature to create a magical destination you won’t want to miss. For a vacation like no other, Africa and the Middle East should definitely be on your list.

April 2014 Menno Traveler

Menno Traveler – April 2014

~ a newsletter for our business travelers ~

Meet Brooke Kaiser, Menno’s Newest Travel Professional
Brooke grew up in Syracuse, Indiana and is a 2012 graduate of Indiana University, Bloomington with a B.S. in Recreation/Park and Recreation Management. She most recently was Curriculum Coordinator at New Beginnings Preschool and Day Care in Milford, IN.

Brooke is learning all aspects of travel, included our Worldspan airline reservation system and the many, many preferred suppliers and American Express programs used to bring value and credibility to planning travel for our customers.

You might meet or hear Brooke as she spends time job-shadowing our staff and working in our Sales Assistance Center, answering phones and greeting walk-in customers.

We are excited that Brooke has chosen travel as her career and Menno Travel as her place to work! Welcome Brooke!

Doug Risser Retiring May 1
Doug Risser joined Menno Travel as his first “real” job out of college back in 1972.  From his start as a domestic agent to Manager in 1980 and as Co-Owner with Geof Landis since 1995, he has worn many hats, including marketing, group and incentive travel (he loved that!), financial oversight, and general management.  Although Doug has always enjoyed the benefits of being in travel, he and Sharon will travel even more starting May 1.

Doug and Sharon will continue to host cruise groups for American Express Travel including an Imperial Capitals of Europe river cruise with Uniworld at the end of August and a Spice Route cruise in December from Chennai to Singapore via Myanmar, Malaysia, and Phuket with Azamara Club Cruises (information on both of these are on Menno Travel’s website).

Doug is proud that in his more than forty years with Menno Travel, the Goshen office has built a reputation for ethical dealings, has high employee retention, has always been profitable, and is solid financially.  Menno Travel is recognized nationally within the travel industry through involvement with the American Society of Travel Agents, ARTA, NTA, American Express Travel, and others.

Doug will “retire” to manage The Exchange Business Suites, the completely remodeled office space on the second floor above Menno Travel (see related article).

Employees Who Take Vacations Are More Productive
Research shows that people who take more than two weeks of vacation are less likely to have a heart attack. In addition, time off improves the employees family life and social life. Research shows that business productivity actually grows when workers take their time off. They come back refreshed and recharged.

Employers could do a better job of encouraging their staff to use their paid time off. Americans are working themselves to the bone with no personal benefit other than working hard.

Better yet, use travel to motivate employees, awarding trips for a job well done or meeting a deadline! Contact Dorothy Shirk to purchase employee travel rewards certificates.

Preparing for Summer Travel
While this past winter had more travel disruptions than usual, the fact is that more flights are delayed due to weather in the summer than during the winter.  Thunderstorms can appear on short notice, unlike this winter where we were often notified of cancelled flights days in advance and could re-accommodate you before you ever left home.  Let Menno Travel manage all of your reservations from one record so that one call to us or our emergency after-hours service will change your air, car rental, and hotel reservations.

Local Company Commends Delta Air Lines for Signing Tourism Code of Conduct
We would like to recognize and congratulate Everence, a local company offering banking, financial and insurance services, for encouraging Delta Air Lines to sign The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism (also known as The Code).

The Code is an initiative supported by ECPAT-USA (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes).

To avoid becoming unwitting facilitators of traffickers, the travel and tourism industry – including airlines, hotel chains and travel agencies – are being asked to scrutinize their operations. Through participation in The Code, companies will strengthen their formal human rights policies to include building awareness of human trafficking and modern slavery among clients and guests, and educating employees to help authorities uncover traffickers and protect potential victims.

Everence, through Praxis Mutual Funds, joined other ICCR members in a series of dialogues over several months. Led by Sr. Valerie Heinonen of Mercy Investment Services, the conversations encouraged Delta to take the lead among U.S. airlines by signing The Code.

More information is available on ICCR‘s website.

Make your voice heard by clicking here and thanking Delta for participating in The Code.

Delta’s New SkyMiles Mileage Earning Structure Not Popular with Businesses
Delta’s new frequent flyer program that will base earnings on ticket price starts January 1, 2015. Delta says the new redemption structure will create more flexibility and expand on ways to use miles.

The Business Travel Coalition recently released the results of a survey regarding this change, and some 82 percent of all survey participants agree that as airlines seek to maximize total revenue per passenger, and add ancillary fees to traveler financial incentives for the purpose of calculating award points, that travel policy will become more difficult to maintain adherence to; 84 percent say the new programs will result in higher prices paid for by their companies.

Airlines have the right to change their frequent flier programs, but it is thought that airlines will secure higher yields and revenues from the vast number of less frequent business travelers for whom new incentives to earn valuable perks will be compelling.

Because airlines do not provide fee data to their partners and customers, an insufficient level of ancillary fee transparency and tracking can lead to traveler abuse where out-of-travel-policy services are purchased.

Click here for complete details of Delta’s 2015 SkyMiles Program.

American Updates Award Travel Levels and Checked Bag Policies
Passengers traveling on American on miles they earned or who paid full price for an economy seat won’t get free checked bags anymore.

US Airways is ending blackout day for redeemed miles, but American is changing the number of miles needed to get an unrestricted free flight. More miles will be needed on popular travel days, fewer on less-busy ones.

According to the Associated Press, mid-tier elite members (platinum on American; gold and platinum on US Airways) will get two free checked bags; a reduction of one for the US Airways’ Dividend Miles elites.

And lower-level elites (gold on American; silver on US Airways) will get one free checked bag, a reduction from two for the American customers.

For complete information on award miles, visit the American Airlines award chart.

For complete information on baggage policies, visit aa.com/baggage.

United Adds 500 New Electronic Charging Stations
United Airlines began installing nearly 500 electronics charging stations in customer seating areas at many of the airports United serves. Chicago O’Hare was first to be outfitted with more than 110 of the new charging stations in Concourses B and C by the end of March. Next will be Houston, Los Angeles, Newark and Washington Dulles hubs in the coming weeks as well, along with New York LaGuardia and Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans. Each of United’s new charging stations offers access to six, 110-volt power outlets and two USB ports, enabling customers to charge a range of electronic devices simultaneously.

United Airlines Cracking Down on Oversized Carry-On Bags
United is getting tough on passengers with oversized carry-on bags, even sending some of them back to the ticket counter to check their luggage for a fee.

The airline has started a push to better enforce rules restricting the size of carry-on bags – an effort that will include instructing workers at security checkpoint entrances to eyeball passengers for bags that are too big.

United has new bag-sizing boxes at most airports and sent an email to frequent fliers, reminding them of the rules. The size limits on carry-on bags have been in place for years, but airlines have enforced them inconsistently, rarely conducting anything beyond occasional spot checks.

United says its new approach will ensure that bags are reliably reviewed at the security checkpoint, in addition to the bag checks already done at gates prior to boarding.

Passengers are typically allowed one carry-on bag to fit in the overhead bin, which can be no larger than 9 inches by 14 inches by 22 inches. Fliers can also bring one personal item such as a purse or laptop bag that fits under the seat in front of them.

People flying with oversized bags can have the suitcase checked for free at the gate, a longstanding practice. But those who get halted at the entrance to security must now go back to the ticket counter and pay the airline’s $25 checked-luggage fee.

The Truth About Hotel Rates
It’s Complicated! – Recently one of our corporate customers had four executives at a Holiday Inn Express in New Jersey.  Our corporate agent had booked them a rate of $145 per room, per night for a King bedded room.  A walk-in hotel guest checking in next to them was offered a rate of $109 for a room with a double bed. Furthermore, the desk agent told the guest that he could have had a rate of $99 if he had booked on the hotel’s website.

Our customers questioned how the rates could fluctuate so much and the manager explained that the reservation that we had booked for them was a refundable, non-prepaid rate with a confirmed King bed. The $109 rate was a non-refundable hotel direct rate for one double bed for a single guest, and the $99 rate was a hotel website non-refundable, advance purchase rate for a double bed for a single guest.

The truth is that Menno Travel can find you the best unrestricted rates (i.e. not prepaid, “opaque”, non-refundable, government rate, etc.) and pre-paid, non-refundable, advance purchase rates. Most business travelers need or want their hotel reservations to be “changeable”, so the pre-paid, non-refundable rates tend to be purchased more often in our leisure department.

Delta’s Innovation and Marked Improvement on Flight Delays
Scenario: The crew of Delta Air Lines Flight 55 couldn’t legally fly from Lagos, Nigeria, to Atlanta unless they waited a day due to new limits on how much pilots can fly in a rolling 28-day period. The trip would have to be canceled. Instead, Delta headquarters told the captain to fly to San Juan, Puerto Rico, which they could reach within their duty limits. There, two new pilots would be waiting to take the Boeing 767 on to Atlanta. The plane arrived in San Juan at 2:44 a.m., quickly took on fuel and pilots, and landed in Atlanta only 40 minutes late.

The episode, unorthodox in the airline industry, illustrates the fanaticism Delta now has for avoiding cancellations. Last year, Delta canceled just 0.3% of its flights, according to the flight-tracking service FlightStats.com. That was twice as good as the next-best airlines, Southwest and Alaska, and five times better than the industry average of 1.7%.

On 72 days last year, Delta didn’t cancel a single one of its 2,500 flights. “We’re posting numbers that we’ve never seen in our industry,” said Delta President Edward Bastian in an interview. Bad storms, of course, still cause massive airline cancellations, even at Delta, and airline officials say they are quicker to cancel when storms are forecast. This year’s cancellation numbers will be higher because of the harsh winter storms-two major ice storms in Atlanta already caused more cancellations for Delta than it had all of last year. But Delta has had more zero-cancellation days this year compared with the same time last year and expects to return to the lowest percentage of cancellations among U.S. airlines again before the end of April.

Delta Providing Sleep Kit Amenities on Long-Haul International Flights
Delta introduces new sleep kits and several updated amenities for passengers seated in the Economy cabin on long-haul international flights. Sleep kits will include individual eyeshades plus earplugs to help customers get better rest when travelling between continents. Finally the airlines are bringing back free stuff in economy class!

8-Hour Time Lapse Photo of Take-offs at LAX

Enjoy a look at what took a day and 370 photos to do: LAX time lapse take-offs

 

Look for Throwback Thursday Posts on our Facebook Page
Last October Menno Travel celebrated our 60th Anniversary.  We dug deep looking for interesting pages and articles from our history.  We’ve enjoyed looking back and want to share some with you.

Among the posts on our Menno Travel Facebook page have been Throwback Thursday postings sharing memories, with many photos of employees both current and past.  You might especially enjoy Geof’s photo wearing his “snazzy” plaid suit from more than 30 years ago!

We invite you to share the fun with us by “liking” us on Facebook.

New Business Suites Available above Menno Travel Office
The Exchange Business Suites, in downtown Goshen above Menno Travel, celebrated its opening on Friday, March 7, during Goshen’s First Friday event.

“The Exchange offers four secure suites that can each house three or more people in a setting that is comfortable and modern, yet private and secure when needed, and with casual collaborative space including a coffee and sitting area, conference room, storage areas, and modern restrooms,” stated Doug Risser, who is developing the space with his wife, Sharon.  “Among the striking features are the large windows facing onto Main Street in the two front suites”.

At present, the entire second floor is available with almost 4,000 square feet of finished space.  Rent is $2,200 plus utilities.  Rates for individual suites and a rent-a desk options vary according to size, view, and amenities.

Complete information on The Exchange is online at TheExchangeGoshen.

O’Hare’s International Terminal 5 Renovation Revealed!
O’Hare International Airport and retail developer Westfield unveiled a long-awaited $26 million renovation of its international terminal. Terminal 5 first opened in 1993, well before 9/11 and the resulting onslaught of security. As TSA lines were added, they blocked access to about 95 percent of the terminal’s dining and retail options, which meant travelers were limited if hungry or thirsty after clearing customs.

Construction started in July 2012, adding more than 18 restaurants and retail shops, including 11 local Chicago brands, such as Rick Bayless’ modern Mexican eatery Tortas Frontera, the Italian eatery Tocco, the artisanal market Goddess & Grocer and the coffee roaster and retailer Kofe powered by Intelligentsia. Chicago-based Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises is opening four locations, including casual eatery Hub 51, Asian restaurants Big Bowl and Wow Bao, and R.J. Grunts Burgers & Fries.

Supreme Court Rules for Airline that Kicked Frequent Flier off its Plan
The Supreme Court decided unanimously recently that an airline had the right to dump a frequent flier who complained too much. The decision allows airlines to have sole discretion to drop frequent fliers. The case involved Rabbi Binyomin Ginsberg, who was ousted from Northwest Airlines’ WorldPerks loyalty program for complaining too often about getting bumped from flights and repeatedly seeking compensation the airline considered unfair. The airline argued that frequent-flier programs operate at the sole discretion of the airline. Airlines said they can’t tailor their programs to a patchwork of consumer laws from 50 states.

Support Ruthmere and Win a Trip to Highclere Castle, The Real Downton Abbey!
Ruthmere, three historic properties, gardens and events in Elkhart, Indiana has teamed up with Menno Travel to make this dream trip come true for one lucky Ruthmere member and a guest.

New Ruthmere members at the Individual and Family Membership levels as well as current Ruthmere members who renew at their existing membership level will receive one chance to win.

“TRIPLE YOUR ODDS OF WINNING”
New members who join at the Patron level or higher will receive three chances to win. Renewing members who increase their level of membership in 2014 will also receive a total of three chances to win.

On December 31st, 2014, one Ruthmere member’s name will be drawn as the winner of a 5-day, 4-night trip for two to London, England, worth $5,000.

Visit www.Ruthmere.org to donate online and receive your chance to win this trip. Terms and conditions apply.

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