December 2014 Menno Traveler

 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!

Deem Mobile App

We are excited to announce that Menno Travel is now able to offer a mobile app for our Deem customers. If your company is using Deem for online reservations you can download and start using the new app today.

The new app delivers:
• Management of upcoming travel reservations
• End-to-end reservation capability for flights, hotels and car rentals
• TripAdvisor ratings in hotel search results
• Calendar sync to provide real-time updates to your calendar based on travel reservations
• Select and compare seat sections across flight results
• In-app flight check-in and mobile boarding pass

 

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June 2014 Menno Traveler

~ 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.

Flight Options Segment View/Trip View

While looking at flight options you may choose between Segment View or Trip View. Segment View will allow you to select you outbound and return flights separately, while Trip View allows you to select your flights based on the whole itinerary.

You can change the view selection on the page with the flight availability : (Click Images to enlarge)

 

You can also choose which view you see by default in your travel preferences as shown here:

Why Use An ASTA Travel Agency?

Save Time, Save Money: Use a Travel Agent

There’s no end to the choices people have today, whether it’s where to shop, what to buy and especially where to travel, but one of the most important choices a person can make is the decision to use a travel agent when planning their next vacation.

“Gone are the days when a travel agent just got you from Point A to Point B. Today’s agent is a travel counselor skilled at not only providing their clients with their dream vacations but at giving them great value for their money. They are experts at navigating the Internet, and act as advocates on their clients’ behalf in the event something goes wrong, such as a natural disaster or political unrest,” ASTA President and Chair Chris Russo said. “Travel agents understand that travel planning isn’t just about places, it’s about people.”

Here are just a few reasons to use a professional travel agent:Travel Agents are working for you

  • Customer advocacy: If you have a problem with a particular part of your travel experience, the agent is there to act on your behalf to see that restitution is made. ASTA, for example, is the only travel industry association aggressively fighting to improve the travel experience, and air transportation in particular, for all consumers, not just those with access to the Internet.
  • Expert guidance: Travel agents, unlike instructions on a Web page, are experts in understanding and deciphering the myriad travel information and codes out there. It’s what they’ve been trained to do and they do it every day.
  • Personalized service: Instead of an impersonal voice thousands of miles away, travel agents are your neighbors. They know what you want and what you value in your travel experience.
  • Professional advice: Travel agents are there to make sure you get where you want to go, when you want to go and for the lowest price.
  • Time: Instead of checking a long list of travel Web pages, which only provide rates and fares for the companies that have contracted with them, why not go straight to the source? A travel agent has all the information at their fingertips, saving you a few hours in front of a computer screen or on hold.
  • Unbiased information: Agents work for their clients, not for a travel supplier. It makes sense that a happy customer will be a repeat customer.

ABOUT ASTA
The mission of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) is to facilitate the business of selling travel through effective representation, shared knowledge and the enhancement of professionalism. ASTA seeks a retail travel marketplace that is profitable and growing and a rewarding field in which to work, invest and do business.

Elkhart Truth Features Doug Risser

The Elkhart Truth’s Angelle Barbazon has a feature on Menno Travel’s Doug Risser.

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A Toast To Doug Risser

Employees, Friends, and Family joined together to thank Doug Risser and wish him well in retirement. 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).

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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.

December 2013 Menno Traveler

the newsletter for our business travelers

~~ Happy Holidays! ~~

Our office will be closed at noon on Tuesday December 24, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day for our employees to enjoy the Holidays with their families.

For your convenience, our After Hours Emergency Service will be available.

Call 800-367-1633 and use the VIT Code P3ND. Fees Apply.

One Call Does It All When Bad Weather Disrupts Your Travel Plans

Winter is upon us and that means lots of flight schedule changes! Whether you’re traveling during our business hours or after hours, your one call to Menno Travel will provide the assistance you need to rebook a flight, get a hotel for the night or rent a car to get you safely where you need to go.

During disruptions in travel, our staff works tirelessly to find good schedules on alternative flights whenever possible. This often requires long on-hold times with airlines, so leave that to us and we promise to get you on your way as quickly as possible. Outside of office hours call 800-367-1633 and use the VIT Code P3ND. Fees Apply.

Car Rental Rates Checked For Lower Fares

Menno Travel is saving you money and you may not even know it’s happening.  We have developed a Car Rate Checker Program that checks every car rental reservation and when the rate has decreased,we rebook the same car at the lower rate saving your company money. The best part is that this service is done at no additional charge; it’s the power of doing business with Menno Travel!

Below is a sample of real savings (in green) by one of our corporate accounts:

Car Rate Check Savings

Checked Date

Segments

Book Rate

Rental Rate

Savings

Origin

Org Date

Destination

Dest Date

11/15/2013

3

$381.82

$239.15

$142.67

MDW

11/17/2013

MDW

11/22/2013

11/18/2013

2

$100.69

$95.26

$5.43

MDT

11/20/2013

MDT

11/22/2013

11/22/2013

3

$247.01

$107.22

$139.79

DFW

11/24/2013

DFW

11/27/2013

11/29/2013

2

$236.57

$192.12

$44.45

SDF

12/1/2013

SDF

12/5/2013

11/29/2013

4

$296.41

$256.49

$39.92

IND

12/1/2013

IND

12/6/2013

12/2/2013

4

$124.82

$122.62

$2.20

ATL

12/4/2013

ATL

12/6/2013

Our Car and Hotel Programs Give More

Through American Express we offer our travelers special rates and amenities on hotels and car rentals. The Preferred Extras Hotel Program provides worldwide coverage with over 35,500 properties in 170 countries and 7,400 cities, offering competitive and flexible last room availability rates.  

The Altour Hotel Collection offers an amenity-based program at over 600 luxury five star and boutique properties. The program focuses on continuing to manage hotel expenditures while providing travelers with a wide range of price and property options.

The American Express® Car Rental Rates Program offers competitive car rental savings and value-added programs to business travelers. The car rental partners Hertz, Alamo, National, Avis, Budget and Enterprise continually strive to support customers with periodic coupon programs, exclusive promotional rates, and special corporate rates.

Contact Holly Yoder for more information or to discuss your corporate travel policy.

Convenience Is Another Reason To Call Menno Travel

Contact us for the convenience of having all reservations (air, car and hotel) in one place with all frequent traveler account numbers stored and attached appropriately to your bookings. One fee covers it all!

~~~~~~~~~~~

ALERT! Now Is The Time To Book Spring Break

For best cruise, resort or hotel options and best flight cost and schedule, now is the time to call us at 574-534-1521 or email dorothy@mennotrav.com to make your Spring Break plans!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

US Airways Legally Merged With American

The merger has legally closed, which means US Airways will combine with American to form an airline with an extensive network, greater schedule options and a modern and fuel-efficient fleet.

There is no impact to any existing reservations you may have with American Airlines or US Airways as they will continue to function as two separate airlines for quite some time, and very few changes will happen immediately. Beginning in early January, you will have the ability to earn and redeem miles on both carriers and reciprocal lounge access.

You can stay up-to-date on the latest developments by visiting aa.com/arriving.

American Express Platinum Card Removes AA Lounge Access

Beginning in March, American Express Platinum Card will no longer allow access to American Airlines Admirals Club® lounges or US Airways® Club locations, now that American and US Airways have merged into one airline.

Access to Delta Sky Club™ is still granted by presenting your Platinum Card, your valid ticket for same day travel on the corresponding airline that is operating the flight, and a government issued ID. Your spouse and children under the age of 21, or up to two traveling companions, may join you as complimentary guests in the club room.

The Platinum card also provides access to the Priority Pass™ membership for no additional charge. This membership will get you in to 600 participating Priority Pass VIP airport lounges worldwide. Call 800-801-6564 to enroll and see a complete listing of participating lounges at www.prioritypass.com.

A new benefit for American Express Platinum and Centurion cardmembers and guest is access to Centurion Clubs in Mexico – Mexico City, Argentina – Buenos Aires, Brazil – São Paulo, and India – Delhi.  Menno Travel co-owner, Doug Risser has used the clubs in Rio and Sao Paulo and says they make a nice respite from the hustle and bustle of the airports. The first Centurion lounge in the US is in Las Vegas with more to come.

Changes to US Airways and United MileagePlus Partnership

Effective Monday, March 31, 2014, US Airways will no longer be a MileagePlus or codeshare partner with United Airlines due to the merger with American Airlines. United customers with Star Alliance travel on US Airways flights will continue to receive Star Alliance benefits through March 30, 2014. 

All current tickets for travel on US Airways will be honored. Award travel can be booked on US Airways using MileagePlus miles through March 30, 2014. As long as customers earn award miles they will also earn Premier qualifying miles and Premier qualifying segments. On eligible US Airways flights between January 1 and March 30, 2014, customers can earn also Premier qualifying dollars. Star Alliance status benefits will apply on US Airways through March 30, 2014.

Customers with a United Club membership or traveling on a United international premium cabin ticket can access US Airways Clubs through March 30, 2014. To learn more about earning and using miles during this transition, click here

TSA Expands Enrollment for PreCheck Program

The Transportation Security Administration has opened its PreCheck program to the general public. The PreCheck application program requires a background check, fingerprinting and an enrollment fee of $85 for a five-year membership.

Once approved, travelers will receive a Known Traveler Number and the opportunity to go through PreCheck lanes at security checkpoints at participating airports. Previously, to be eligible for PreCheck, travelers had to opt-in through participating airline’s frequent flier program, or be enrolled in one of Customs and Border Protection’s Global Entry, SENTRI or NEXUS Trusted Traveler programs. Those avenues into PreCheck will still be available.

The TSA opened their first application center at the Indianapolis International Airport, making it convenient for travelers in Indiana to appear in person for the required interview, present identification and be fingerprinted. Walk-ins are welcome. By the end of the year, TSA expects to open application centers in the New York City area, the Washington, D.C. metro area and the Los Angeles area. TSA ultimately plans to expand to more than 300 application centers across the country.

You can also pre-apply online here and set an appointment at an approved enrollment center.

Average Airfares Have Risen 6.5% In The Past 8 Years

An analysis by USA Today Network on domestic air ticket prices at the 100 busiest U.S. airports has found that airfares have risen an average of 6.5%, after inflation, between the first quarter of 2005 and the first quarter of 2013. Some airfare increases were attributed to a decline in domestic airline seats as a result of mergers by major carriers. Airports that saw an increase in airline seats, such as Denver, San Francisco and Charlotte Douglas International, saw an average 18% decline in domestic ticket prices.

Cell Phone Use On Planes

The Federal Communications Commission voted to get public comment on the possibility of lifting the ban on in-flight cellphone use, which would pave the way for airlines to install cellular transponders. Since then, most airlines have chosen to not to allow cellular calls or Internet-based voice communications onboard their flights, including Delta, JetBlue, Southwest and United.

American Airlines said that it will keep its customers’ wishes in mind should the FCC give airlines the power to decide whether they want to allow in-flight use of cellphones. Virgin American is also reserving the right to decide at a later time.

Stay tuned to see which airlines you can fly without needing to put up with listening to other traveler’s phone conversations!

United Offers Subscriptions for Checked Baggage and Economy Plus Seats

Pack freely when you travel with United and United Express operated flights. With a United baggage subscription, you and up to eight companions traveling on the same reservation can each check up to two bags per flight for free. Subscriptions begin at $349 for one year.

Note: The purchase of a checked baggage subscription does not waive charges that would ordinarily be assessed for oversized and/or overweight bags and does not cover the cost of checking more than two standard bags.

Economy Plus® subscriptions start at $499.00. Your subscription will let you reserve an Economy Plus seat on any United or United Express® flight that has available Economy Plus seats.

Starting at $500.00 or 65,000 miles, purchase a United Club membership and you’ll have access to more than 45 United Club locations and other select partner lounges worldwide.

Click here to purchase these options.

Menno Traveler November 2013

the newsletter for our business travelers

 

~~ Happy Thanksgiving everyone! ~~

 

Our office will be closed on Thursday and Friday, November 28 and 29 for our employees to enjoy the Thanksgiving Holiday with their families.

 

For your convenience, our After Hours Emergency Service will be available.

Call 800-367-1633 and use the VIT Code P3ND. Fees Apply.

 

Thanksgiving Holiday Travelers ToTop 25 Million!

Airlines for America predicts an estimated 25 million passengers will fly during the 12-day Thanksgiving travel period from Nov. 22 to Dec. 3. The peak will occur on Dec. 1 when more than 2.5 million will travel, the group said. It added that airlines are adding seats to accommodate holiday demand, and planes are expected to be more than 85% full on the busiest days.

 

Saving Money, Time and Hassle by Booking Hotels and Cars with Menno Travel

When you book an airline ticket with Menno Travel, there’s no additional cost for us to make a hotel or car rental reservation for you using our preferred American Express rates. If you’re not ready to make your hotel or car reservation at the same time that you called to make your airline reservation, no problem! Add it later and there is still no charge.

 

And just like we do with your airline frequent flyer number, we add your hotel or car rewards number to your reservation so that you receive all of your perks and benefits. You don’t miss a thing and all of your reservations are in one place. This is convenient when you need to make a change…one call does it all, including calls to our After Hours service.

 

All air, car and hotel bookings appear on corporate reports, making expense reporting quick and efficient.

 

“Menno Travel Rocks!”

We received this note from one of Ron Yoder’s clients last week –

“I’ve been traveling internationally as a part of my job for the past decade—so have faced my share of frustrations and headaches that are all part of the package when you deal with multiple airlines. Working with Ron from Menno Travel has taken a huge load off my mind—he handles all the details, making sure that my trip runs smoothly. On a recent trip to Central Africa, my team was stranded for a week in Paris due to flight cancellations. Knowing that Menno Travel would take care of getting our tickets refunded meant I could focus on keeping our project on track, and begin making plans for an alternate trip. Ron has saved me hours and hours on the phone, and managed to secure a full refund*! Something I’m 100% certain I could never have managed, allowing us to reschedule the trip for a later date. Thanks Menno! For anything involving multiple connections, or team trips, using Menno is a no-brainer—the peace of mind is priceless. You guys rock!”

 

* Delta originally offered a partial refund of $700 and through our connections we were able to get the additional $1,600 back for our client.

 

ALERT! Now Is The Time To Book Spring Break

For best cruise, resort or hotel options and best flight cost and schedule, now is the time to call us at 574-534-1521 or email dorothy@mennotrav.com to make your Spring Break plans!

 

Using Portable Electronic Devices in Flight

The Federal Aviation Administration now allows the use of electronic devices at all stages of flight, but airlines had to test their own aircraft to make sure there is no interference.

 

JetBlue, Delta, United, US Airways and American have completed their testing, have received FAA approval and are now allowing smaller, handheld approved devices to be used in ‘airplane mode’ during all phases of flight within the 50 United States, unless otherwise instructed by a crew member. Mainline domestic carriers are restricting use to their main carrier flights and hope to expand to allow use on their regional carriers soon. Watch for further announcements on expanded service.

 

Cell phones should be in airplane mode or with cellular service disabled, no signal bars displayed, and cannot be used for voice communications due to Federal Communications Commission regulations that prohibit any airborne calls on cell phones. The new rules apply only to flights in the U.S. and not flights to U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

 

New Technology to Allow Texting and Talking in Flight

Gogo’s Text & Talk technology is currently being tested and will hopefully be available on passenger airlines during the first quarter of 2014. The service works through a Gogo Text & Talk app where you can dial or send or receive texts using a dialing pad, or tap contacts names or the names inside “recents” caller lists.

 

Gogo is a major provider of fee-based Wi-Fi and digital entertainment inflight services. Its services are currently available on more than 2,000 planes across nine domestic U.S. air carriers.

 

Changes To United’s Frequent Flyer Program

United Airlines has announced changes to its frequent flyer program. Effective February 1, 2014, United Airlines Mileage Plus customers using award miles with partners on the Star Alliance Network will see an exponential increase in cost compared to similar awards flown only on United. First class ticket awards on partners will go up 40-80% and business class ticket awards on partners will go up 20-40%. Some economy class awards will increase by 5-15%.

 

United Airlines changed the number of frequent flyer miles required for some reward flights, including flights serving Hawaii and international first class flights. MileagePlus reward miles needed to redeem domestic flights remains unchanged.

 

Delta Changing Redemption Levels For SkyMiles Awards

Select redemption levels changed for Award Tickets booked now, for travel on or after February 1, 2014. You can continue to book Award Tickets for travel before February 1, 2014, at the current Award redemption levels. Click here for complete details. (Delta’s increases are much less severe than the ones made by United.)

 

Are You Receiving the Royal Treatment From Your Car Rental Company?

Have you seen or heard about travelers who bypass the rental counter, walk directly to the car rental lot, walk up and down an aisle assessing the cars as if they are about to purchase the car and then hop in one and drive away without even talking to a company representative?! Have you ever wondered who those people are and what they pay for that?

 

Well, they pay nothing…and it could be you. With National Car Rental, all you need to do is sign up for their Emerald Club, reserve a mid-size car and you pick any car from their Emerald Aisle. You get Free Upgrades and Free Membership. There is no pre-reserved car, just an entire block of options for you to pick from. You also get to select from Free Rental Days, frequent-flyer miles or hotel rewards.

 

Rent often and you can earn Emerald Club Executive® status with 12 paid rentals or 40 paid rental days in a calendar year. You’ll enjoy all the benefits of Emerald Club® membership plus a higher level of privileges, including your choice of full-size or better cars from the exclusive Executive area, guaranteed upgrades, and One Free Rental Day with six rental credits.

 

Emerald Club Executive Elite® status is attainable with 25 paid rentals or 85 paid rental days in a calendar year. You’ll enjoy all the benefits of Executive status plus a guaranteed car (up to a Fullsize) with 24-hour notice, vehicle delivery to most private airport terminals at many U.S. National locations and One Free Rental Day (any car class with no blackout dates) with just five rental credits.

 

Enroll here and begin receiving your benefits with your next National rental. If you sign up for a new account, remember to advise us of your National account number so that we can add this to your profile for future bookings.

 

Delta Allows Same-Day Changes 24 Hours Prior

Delta travelers are now allowed to request a same-day change up to 24 hours prior to the original flight departure time, rather than only on the day of departure. The new departure time must still be on the same day as the originally-scheduled departure.

 

Full details are available here on Delta’s website.

 

Mobile Device Check-in at South Bend Airport

Mobile boarding is now available for passengers traveling on Allegiant and United from South Bend Airport (SBN).  Allegiant and United passengers with web-enabled mobile devices can check-in, proceed through security and onto the plane without a printed boarding pass.  Delta is working to have this service available to its customers soon.

 

Alaska Airlines Increases Minimum Check-in Time for Domestic Flights

Alaska Airlines is increasing its minimum check-in time for all customers from 30 to 40 minutes on most domestic flights. The minimum check-in time for international flights remains 60 minutes.

 

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