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 email@example.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.
Menno Traveler – May 2013
~ a newsletter for our business travelers ~
Airline Change Fees Increase – UPDATE
A few weeks ago we sent out a special Alert! E-mail announcing United and US Airways had increased their domestic ticket change fees. As expected, American Airlines and Delta also increased their fees. For most domestic flights, the fees went from $150 to $200 for non-refundable tickets. Actual cost of the change depends on the type of ticket you have purchased, your status with the airline’s frequent flyer program, and the type of change you need to make. United just announced they have also increased international change and cancellation fees.
Jet Blue’s ticket change fees increased to between $75 and $150, with members of Jet Blue’s Mosaic program exempt from paying change or cancellation fees.
Boarding Pass ID Shows If You Can Zip Through Airport Security
Eligible travelers who have been approved for TSA PreCheck expedited security for domestic flights will begin to see a unique identifier on their boarding passes this week. This identifier will help qualified travelers route themselves to the dedicated PreCheck lanes at the nation’s 40 participating airports. Delta and US Airways passengers will see “TSA Prechk” on their paper boarding passes and the TSA PreCheck logo on mobile boarding passes. United fliers will see the PreCheck logo on both paper and mobile boarding passes. Click here for TSA PreCheck details including a list of the airport locations.
TSA PreCheck new airport locations:
Austin Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport CLE)
Memphis International Airport (MEM)
Nashville International Airport (BNA)
Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU)
Benefits of TSA PreCheck may include no longer removing shoes, light outerwear and belts, or laptop and 3-1-1 compliant liquids from carry-on bags.
Clear Customs Faster At O’Hare
Starting July 1, travelers with U.S. passports entering the country at O’Hare International Airport will be able to clear customs faster by using an automated kiosk instead of filling out a paper declaration card. Chicago plans to install 32 kiosks at O’Hare’s international terminal. No advance registration is required.
Upon deplaning, U.S. passport-holders will be able to proceed directly to the kiosks and answer a series of questions on a touch screen. A receipt will be issued, and the traveler will take the receipt and his or her passport and airline boarding pass to a Customs and Border Protection officer for verification. Personal data entered into the computer system will be handled securely.
Get the Seat You Want
The popular travel app for smartphones, TripIt Pro, has a function called Seat Tracker, and you can tell it what seat you want on the airplane, and they will notify you when it becomes available. Do you like extra leg-room? Stuck in a middle seat? Need seats together? Sounds pretty cool, right?
Well, when you book your air reservations with Menno Travel, our quality control software, MARVIN, automatically assigns, checks and changes seats based on your stored preferences. Preferences can be simple (using existing profiles) or complex such as: aisle, left side, forward, but not behind the bulkhead, over the wing, etc. Seat Clearance can be used for initial seat assignments on all reservations as well as improving seat assignments up to the time of departure.
Here’s what MARVIN did from May 2012 through April 2013 for our clients:
542 new seats assigned (where the traveler had no seat when the reservation was made)
1770 existing seats improved (95% were not center seats!)
Click here to see what else MARVIN can do.
Does Cheaper Equal Less Expensive?
For $39.00 our travel specialists can book your domestic flight, a car and your hotel! Is the time spent researching hotel options and entering in your personal information worth any savings? With just a quick call or email to our staff, everything is booked, confirmed, changed or canceled and it’s all on one reservation. We make travel simple!
Meanwhile, the traveler trying to save a dollar is still online researching the lowest airline price and best schedule, a car rental that is located at the airport, and a hotel location close to their destination. Is an hour of your time best SPENT booking your own travel? Call Holly Yoder to find out more ways to save money with managed travel.
How Travel Affects a Company’s Bottom Line
Businesses that continued to send employees on the road during the recession were more profitable than those that cut back on business travel, a new study has found.
The study, conducted by Oxford Economics showed that for every dollar invested in business travel, U.S. companies generated $9.50 in revenue and $2.90 in profit, according to the study, based on an analysis of government data on 14 industries over an 18-year period. An accompanying survey of 298 business travelers conducted in November found that 57% believed cutting their travel budgets during the economic downturn hurt their company’s performance. Only 4% said it helped.
Congratulations to those of you who continued to travel and grow company profits!
How well do you know your travel costs?
Menno Travel’s iBank reporting program is a great database resource for CFO’s, HR and Sales managers who want to track travel costs and prepare travel budgets. Data is collected and stored every time a reservation is made or a ticket is issued.
Sort and filter the data to find your company’s top travelers and number of trips. See how far in advance your travelers are booking flights. Want to know how often and when a change is made to a reservation that increases the cost? How about a report showing exactly how many American Express Membership Rewards Points were utilized on a particular flight?
These are just a few of the reports that we offer our corporate clients. What travel data would you like to see? How frequently do you want it? We customize our reports to meet your needs. Contact Holly Yoder if you have questions or requests relating to iBank reports.
American Offers Earlier Boarding To Those Who Don’t Use Overhead Bins
American said it will allow passengers with only one personal carry-on item that fits under the seat in front of them to board before Group 2 coach-class boarding. While AA generally charges for a first checked bag, for now, customers who wish to board before Group 2 can gate-check their carry-on bag at no charge.
Southwest Adopts A No Show Policy
For travel beginning on or after September 13, Southwest will add a no-show policy for nonrefundable fares not canceled or changed before departure. If a customer does not use or cancel any portion of a ticketed itinerary, the remaining reservation will be canceled and all unused funds on the full itinerary will be lost.
Notre Dame Home Games
Keep these dates in mind when planning your fall travel into and out of South Bend Airport:
August 31 – Temple
September 21 – Michigan State
September 28 – Oklahoma
October 19 – USC
November 2 – Navy
November 23 – BYU
What Travel Incentive Will Motivate You or Your Employees?
Without sales and increased productivity, your business stands to lose profits and market share. Why not support your staff and increase profits at the same time? A travel incentive awards program lets your staff know that you value and support them and has a positive effect on your bottom line. The best part is that a well-designed incentive program doesn’t cost you money, it makes you money! The increased profits from the short term program pay for the trip.
A successful incentive travel program also helps companies identify specific challenges and then design strategies to motivate key people to accomplish business goals. It’s human nature to want to be rewarded for short term behavior. Being aware of this basic characteristic within your company will help you capitalize on what people already have the ability to do. Isn’t it time for you to start taking a look at what travel incentive you can offer? Contact Maureen or Ronda for some ideas.
Holland America Line: Summer on Sale Promotion
Take your family on a cruise this summer! Holland America Line’s “Summer on Sale” promotion offers:
* Savings of up to 50 percent off select cruise fares
* Free or reduced third and fourth fares on select voyages
* Shipboard credit of up to $100 per stateroom
Choose from Alaska cruises and CruiseTours, Europe and Canada/New England. Talk to one of our cruise specialists and pick the right destination and itinerary that fits your family.
Call 574-534-1521 or email Dorothy to book your cruise before July 12, 2013! Terms and conditions apply.
Menno Traveler – April 2013
~ a newsletter for our business travelers ~
Our office will celebrate Easter by closing at Noon on Good Friday, March 29.
For your convience, our After Hours Emergency Service will be available.
Call 800-367-1633 and use the VIT Code P3ND. Fees Aply.
Have a wonderful Easter celebration!
Saving You More On Car Rentals
At Menno Travel we help you save money whenever possible. With car rentals, for example, we discovered that some rates on cars that were already reserved actually went down a couple of days prior to the rental date! This allowed us to pass the savings along to our client. This is another quality control check that we use to help you save money. Contact Geof or Holly if you would like to learn more about our managed corporate travel.
Do You Understand Your Company’s Travel Policy?
As businesses continue to clamp down on policy and compliance, research firm Amadeus surveyed 400 travellers and found only 53% fully understand their corporate travel policy and 34% had gone “off plan” last year. Managed travel takes the guesswork out of controlling costs and staying within budget. Contact Holly to learn more.
TSA Allowable Carry-On List Expands
The TSA ruled that airline passengers will be allowed to carry pen knives, corkscrews with small blades and other knives onto planes. Passengers also will be allowed to bring onboard, as part of their carry-on luggage, novelty-sized baseball bats less than 24 inches long, toy plastic bats, billiard cues, ski poles, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks and two golf clubs. The policy goes into effect on April 25. Click here for the TSA Prohibited Items list.
Get More With Delta and Starwood
By booking Delta flights and Starwood hotels together, you can earn reciprocal benefits with SkyMiles and Starpoints programs. Called the Crossover Rewards program, enrolled SkyMiles Medallion members will have access to benefits including priority check-in, 4 p.m. late checkout and free in-room internet access when staying at Starwood Hotels and Resorts. Starwood elite members can receive one free checked bag, priority check-in and priority boarding when flying Delta.
In addition, Medallion members will earn one mile per dollar spent on eligible room rates when staying with Starwood and Starpoint members will earn points per dollar spent on eligible flights in addition to the miles usually earned for their flight. Starwood includes Sheraton, Westin, Four Points by Sheraton, W Hotels, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, Le Méridien, element and Aloft. More information is available at delta.com/crossoverrewards or spg.com/crossoverrewards.
Ask for reservations at one of these Starwood hotels the next time you travel on Delta. Menno Travel has preferred rates and availability with several American Express hotel programs. Don’t miss out!
Delta SkyMiles Medallion Changes for 2014
Effective January 1, 2014, a minimum spend level based on the price of tickets purchased will be required to qualify for status in the 2015 Medallion program. This is in addition to the Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) or Medallion Qualification Segments (MQSs) already used to determine the various status levels of the SkyMiles Medallion program. This will not affect customers in 2013. For more information, click here to visit the Delta Skymiles website.
Hertz Carfirmation Technology
Hertz’s Carfirmation™ is a mobile alert service that sends a notice to your phone to let you know which car you will be driving and where it is parked the minute it is ready. It also shows other available cars and upgrades and lets you select the one you want – all on your mobile. Simple, fast and easy.
Go to the Personal and Contact details section of your profile on Hertz.com and opt-in to receive Mobile Gold Alerts by email or SMS, or both. This service is available at Hertz’s top 50 airports.
Southwest Now Flying from Grand Rapids and Flint
Flights on Southwest Airlines from Grand Rapids to Baltimore/Washington, Denver, Orlando and St. Louis will begin August 11. Southwest will offer nonstop flights, add new cities, larger airplanes and more flights. They will offer nonstop service between Flint, Mich., and Las Vegas starting August 11. Service from Flint will also include nonstop service to Baltimore/Washington, Orlando, and Tampa Bay.
New Boarding Option for Southwest
Southwest is offering customers the opportunity to purchase one of the earliest boarding positions for $40 per flight, when available. This new boarding option will only be offered at the gate on the day of travel, beginning 45 minutes before the flight departs. Customers will hear an announcement in the gate area and will be able to purchase an available boarding position via credit card from a Customer Service Agent.
Southwest Airlines A Mixed Bag
Based on an audit it completed in November 2012 looking at 100 major domestic city pairs, Topaz found that competing airlines were lower than Southwest Airlines over 60 percent of the time. Topaz studied only comparable flights between Southwest and its competitors and whether the itinerary was nonstop or had connections.
Of course, if travelers check one bag, Southwest is a lower price 60 percent of the time, Topaz determined. When checking two bags, Southwest Airlines is almost always a lower price in the 100 markets analyzed, beating competitors on pricing in such instances 88 percent of the time.
Recent advertising from Southwest indicates an apparent shift in their image, as they add new fees and complete their merger with Air Tran. We anticipate more changes this year. While Menno Travel actively sells Southwest when it benefits customers, Southwest chooses not to offer travel agent support, so our ability to advocate for you is limited.
AA-US Airways Integration to Take 12 to 18 Months
It will be at least a year or a year-and-a-half before American Airlines and US Airways start merging their operations. The two airlines have to work together to align their policies in the cockpit, in the cabin and on the ground, according to marketing and sales executives from the two airlines. That means it’ll be awhile before the two carriers operate with a single res system.
~ INCENTIVE TRAVEL ~
Putting the “WOW Factor” Into Incentive Trips
A well-planned event, a site that is known around the world, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity are all the trademarks of an incentive travel experience with a “WOW Factor”.
How do you make YOUR incentive pop? The “WOW Factor” is a way to set your program apart from others. Most “WOW Factors” are right under your nose, so to speak. Arrange for a private dinner at Fenway Park or Soldier Field. Local aquariums offer space for dinner under the sea and a museum can offer a setting or a cocktail party surrounded by original art.
Further away from home, the Mayan Ruins in Mexico or Blenheim Palace near London can provide an unforgettable gala experience with local flavor. These are things that your participants would not normally experience on their own vacation and what a dramatic way to present awards at the end of the trip!
Event budgets are tight and the “extras” are a natural place to cut costs. Be careful your incentive program doesn’t go from inspiring to merely rewarding, and your annual meeting doesn’t feel like a training seminar.
While it’s difficult to top your travel incentive programs year after year, it’s important to keep up with the latest trends, newest experiences and current hot spots. Contact Maureen or Ronda and let the experienced staff at Menno Travel help put the “WOW Factor” into your next incentive trip.
~ VACATION VALUE ~
Private Villa Rentals Offer Luxurious Value
Consider a luxurious vacation that will make you feel like the “Rich and Famous” by renting a villa or luxury condo in the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii, France or Italy! A dream can become an elegant and memorable reality thanks to The Villa Experience through our preferred supplier, American Express Vacations.
A private villa or condo featuring all the trappings associated with the most luxurious vacation can actually be more economical than a luxury resort. People often envision the concept of a villa vacation as something just wealthy can afford, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. A villa vacation is all about a luxurious travel experience where relaxation and privacy are paramount goals.
Villas are perfect for special needs like Honeymoons, Destination Weddings, Family Reunions, Golf Vacations, or Corporate Meetings. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to start planning your luxury getaway!
MENNO TRAVELER December 2012
the newsletter for our business travelers
Our office will celebrate the Christmas and New Year’s holidays by closing for the following days:
December 24 and 25
For your convenience, our After Hours Emergency Service will be available.
Call 800-367-1633 and use the VIT Code P3ND. Fees Apply.
We wish you all Happy Holidays!
Deb Mangas On the Move!
As Business Development Manager for Menno Travel for the past nine years, Deb Mangas worked closely with many of our corporate accounts. We’re happy to announce that Deb re-joined our Vacation Travel Department and is now available to handle your vacation travel. Deb kept her hand in the vacation travel business over the years and worked full time in that department prior to becoming Business Development Manager.
We appreciate the work Deb has done in bringing in business and servicing our corporate accounts. Deb will continue to represent Menno Travel in the local community and the broader travel community. Contact Deb to plan your next getaway.
New Business Development Manager Hired
Most recently the Associate Executive Director of the Nappanee Division of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Goshen, Holly Yoder joins Menno Travel as Business Development Manager. Holly is responsible for growing our individual and group corporate business. She brings enthusiasm and energy to this job and looks forward to learning to know our current and future clients. Please join us in welcoming Holly to our Menno family. You may contact her by calling our office or email email@example.com.
Southwest To Fly To Wichita
Beginning June 2, 2013, Southwest Airlines will offer new nonstop service from Chicago Midway to Wichita, KS and Tulsa, OK. The Wichita service on Southwest begins the day after it ends with AirTran, which is now owned by Southwest.
Delta’s New Website Adds Enhancements
Delta has a new look to their website. Here are a few key updates:
- SkyMiles members will need to create a password to replace the PIN.
- You will be able to access and print your ticket and baggage receipts past and present for up to two years with the new feature called My Receipts.
- My Delta is a feature that provides you with a summarized view of your upcoming trips, SkyMiles, promotion information, and much more.
Hurry and Buy Medallion Status Before the End of the Year!
Delta SkyMiles members have until December 31 to purchase Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) to be applied toward your 2013 Medallion status. If you are close to achieving 2013 status but are unable to acquire the remaining MQM’s, this is a great offer. Up to 10,000 MQMs may be purchased in 2,500 increments at a time. Miles can only be purchased on delta.com.
Incentive Travel – Finding the Perfect Fit
There are many types of incentive travel programs. The effort required to find the one that works best for your company or organization may be the reason you don’t have one. Understanding and structuring an effective incentive can be a daunting task and some companies just don’t see the value in it. It is worth your time and effort.
We have all heard “It takes money to make money” or “You can’t afford not to”. These are sayings that are parallel with company incentives. Whether you want to motivate employees or reward loyal customers, move inventory or increase sales, there is an incentive program out there for you. The incentive travel specialists at Menno Travel are available to help you consider your incentive travel options that will give you the most bang for your buck. Contact Ronda Morris or Maureen Russell to get started.
Argentina Changes Reciprocity Fee Policy
Any passenger visiting Argentina with an American, Canadian or Australian passport will be required to pay the Reciprocity Fee in advance online at the following site:
https://virtual.provinciapagos.com.ar/ArgentineTaxes/. They must register and pay with a credit card and a receipt will be given and must be shown upon their arrival in Argentina. Lack of proof of payment will result in the passenger being denied entry and they will be returned to their departure city by the airline. We strongly urge passengers to take this seriously!
TSA Removes X-Ray Body Scanners From Major Airports
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been quietly removing its X-ray body
scanners from major airports and replacing them with machines that radiation experts believe are safer. The decision was made not because of safety concerns but to speed up checkpoints at busy airports. The machines are being moved to smaller airports. Boston, Chicago O’Hare, Los Angeles, and JFK have had the machines removed. The replacement machines, known as millimeter-wave scanners, rely on low-energy radio waves similar to those used in cell phones. The machines detect potential threats automatically and quickly using a computer program. They display a generic cartoon image of a person’s body, mitigating privacy concerns.
You Earned It, Now Take It!
A survey by American Express found that 17% of those that earn paid vacation days will leave some of their days unused. The average American has eight unused vacation days and 34% of those days will expire at the end of the year.
What’s stopping you from taking that summer vacation, celebrating that anniversary or planning that once-in-a-lifetime trip? It doesn’t take much time to make a phone call or send an email, so start putting your vacation days to use! Contact Dorothy Shirk, Vacation Department Manager and let us arrange the perfect, well-deserved vacation!
P.S. Just having a vacation scheduled improves morale and productivity…
Menno Traveler – August 2012
Geof Landis Celebrating 30 Years at Menno Travel!
Congratulations to Menno Travel co-owner, Geof Landis, on celebrating 30 years at Menno Travel! Geof began his career arranging vacation travel, and became the Manager of the Corporate Department and now the co-owner.
Travel Management Reports Help With Budgeting and Forecasting
Recently we assisted one of our corporate accounts with a report comparing what they spent on airline flights for the past two years, assisting with their budget process for 2013. We’ve also had companies call and ask where travelers had been in the first quarter of last year to plan their sales strategy for next year. In each case we were able to provide a report within a short time.
With iBank corporate reports through Menno Travel, you can:
- Access travel data 24/7 via the web
- Proactively manage travel policy compliance
- Reduce travel expenses
- Negotiate more effectively with suppliers
- Immediately access live travelers location information
- Produce and automatically distribute 120 standard and ad hoc reports
Your Menno Travel Account Manager will review your travel program and recommend the reports with the information you need, in the format you want. An Executive Summary with graphs and the Exception Air Report can be automatically emailed to our accounts. Customized reports are available; however, there may be an additional fee.
Frontier Flying Between South Bend and Denver
Frontier Airlines has new nonstop service between its Denver, Colorado, hub and South Bend, Indianawith four weekly nonstop flights beginning on Oct. 11, 2012. For more information, click here.
Comair Shutting Down
Delta Air Lines announced that Comair will cease operations after Sept. 29. Delta has repeatedly downsized Comair over the past seven years. One of the most-formidable regional carriers in the world less than a decade ago, Delta says is now shutting down the operation because Comair’s fleet of smaller regional jets have quickly become outdated and too expensive to fly in today’s market.
Delta claims that there will be no disruption to customers and no significant adjustments to Delta’s flight schedule or locations served.
TSA Pre-Check Expedited Security Program Keeps Expanding
TSA Pre-Check is an expedited screening initiative that is expanding to airports across the country. Houston is the most recent airport to join the program. Benefits of this program may include no longer being required to remove items such as shoes, 3-1-1 compliant bag from carry-on, laptop from bag, light outerwear/jacket and belt through security.
Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and US Airways are contacting eligible frequent travelers with an invitation to opt-in. Once the passenger opts-in, the airline identifies the individual as a TSA Pre-Check participant when submitting passenger reservation information to TSA’s Secure Flight system.
Current members of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)’s Global Entry, SENTRI and NEXUS Trusted Traveler programs are automatically eligible to participate in TSA Pre-Check. If your airline did not extend an invitation to you, you can still participate by joining a CBP Trusted Traveler program. Click here to learn more.
Note: If you have a Trusted Traveler membership number for any of these programs, please add it to your Traveler Profile. Contact your travel consultant if you have questions.
The following airport locations are participating in the pre-screening program:
Baltimore/Washington International ThurgoodMarshallAirport (BWI)
HoustonGeorge Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
► The TSA will determine eligibility for modified screening on a per-flight-segment basis and does not guarantee expedited screening on future travel.
► The TSA Pre-Check only applies to passengers with a domestic itinerary.
► The TSA will still apply a random factor to this modified screening initiative.
I just want to let you know that Dee Suski, who always does a great job for us, went “above and beyond” handling a recent situation. She took a potentially large problem and turned it into a non-issue by recognizing and understanding what was going on and figuring out a solution. I very much appreciate her willingness and ability in solving this problem. Having the knowledge and experience to help when there are issues is a major factor in making the decision to use Menno instead of booking online.
Hotels Are Considering Charging For Their Now Free Wi-Fi
Some of the larger hotel chains that offer free Wi-Fi are considering charging for it because of the demand for downloading from the internet. Marriott International and Carlson Hotels have some locations that offer free Wi-Fi and a faster choice for an additional cost. Wyndham Hotel Group offers the choice but is also looking at a tiered model. Hyatt, La Quinta and Starwood’s Four Points by Sheraton are in various stages of boosting bandwidth without adopting any new fees.
Travelers are using more mobile devices on the road, hence the increase in Wi Fi use. Free internet access is at the top of guest’s want lists and this is forcing hotels to purchase more bandwidth. About 40% of guests are carrying two Wi-Fi devices and 35% are carrying three or more, and they are using them for more than email. Between March 2011 and December 2011 the amount of data per session in hotels jumped 50%, which translates into higher costs. Hotels are looking at the increase in costs and they have to decide how much bandwidth to provide for free.
Keep Lithium Batteries in Carry-Ons
The risks of lithium battery fires in aircraft have been a matter of concern in recent years as they have been implicated in a number of cargo flight crashes. There have also been incidents in which lithium batteries in mobile phones have burst into flames even while switched off on the ground, including in airport terminals, and inside aircraft in flight as a passenger carry-on item.
The concerns about the batteries have also spread to tablets and PCs, where a small number of incidents have also been reported in general use. Passengers should carry their lithium battery powered devices with them into aircraft cabins so that they are readily accessible if they do ignite. Airlines are training cabin staff in extinguishing the intense fires that can follow a battery meltdown.
American Survey Shows Small Business Travel And Economic Outlook
American Airlines released results of a recent online survey of more than 1,100 American Airlines Business ExtrAA travel managers of small- and medium-size businesses (SMBs). The survey shows that 71 percent of SMB travel managers estimate the economic outlook for their companies is expected to improve in the next 12 to 18 months.
Despite mixed economic data regarding the strength of theU.S.economy, 93 percent of respondents called face-to-face meetings crucial or helpful to the success of their business. Approximately 86 percent of responding SMB travel managers project that their companies’ travel will either stay the same or increase up to 24 percent over the next year. Another 6 percent anticipated a travel increase of 25 percent or more over the next 12 months.
In addition, the survey found that 65 percent of small businesses travel within theU.S.most frequently, 14 percent travel more internationally, and 21 percent engage in both domestic and international travel equally. The top 10 domestic cities most traveled to by SMBs includedNew York,Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth,Los Angeles,San Francisco,Miami,Washington, D.C.,Las Vegas,AtlantaandBoston. Four of the top five domestic destinations for business by SMBs are key financial and business centers. They are among the largestU.S.metropolitan areas in terms of population size and are American hubs.
Like Us On Facebook and Win!
When you “like” us on Facebook during the month of August, your name will be entered into a drawing to win Three National Car Rental Coupons*. Race to the Menno Travel FB page at www.facebook.com/mennotravelservice and qualify!
*coupons are combinable and some restrictions apply.
~~ Vacation Value ~~
Celebrity’s Immersive Wine Cruise Special!
Exceptional new cruise vacations immerse you in the top wine-producing regions of Europe. Book a 2012 Celebrity Wine Cruise vacation and receive exclusive Menno Travel Amenities*. Sail round trip from Southampton, England on the Constellation between September 7 and November 18. Ports of call includeVigo,Spain; Porto (Leixoes),Portugal;Bilbao,Spain;Bordeaux (Le Verdon), France; Paris (Le Havre),France.
But don’t wait too long—this offer is limited! Experience a modern luxury vacation that will take you away and leave you completely restored and renewed. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
* Amenities include Free Specialty Dining, $100 onboard credit and a bottle of wine. Terms and conditions apply.
Menno Traveler – June 2012
Changes to United Reservations Within 24 Hours of Departure
United’s new reservation system is unable to notify us of schedule changes within 24 hours of a flight departure. Instead, they notify the traveler and when the traveler is already checked in online the reservation is under airport control. Once under airport control, changes can only be made directly with the airline. This includes complimentary premier upgrades and re-accommodations due to flight cancellations or delays.
Even when the traveler is not checked in, the airport takes control of flights leaving up to 6 hours prior to departure for international flights and up to 2 hours prior to departure for domestic flights.
We attempt to assist with these changes when possible; however, we may be limited and instruct you that your best recourse is to present yourself in person at the airport. Likewise, our After-Hours Emergency Service will have the same limitations that we have in making changes.
Travel Policy Includes Natural and Man-made Disaster Instructions
Part of our service to our customers includes putting together a Company Travel Policy to help control and track travel costs. Among many cost-saving policies, it also includes safety instructions for what to do if a natural or man-made disaster happens while an employee is traveling on business. Below is an example:
First, always follow the local official’s instructions to safeguard yourself. Should a natural or man-made disaster happen while traveling in your location or elsewhere that affects your travel or threatens your safety contact Menno Travel, American Express or the After-Hours Emergency Service as soon as possible. Our travel professionals will be making arrangements on your behalf, so contact them by phone, fax, email or whatever means available to you.
If the airlines suspended flights, your Menno Travel professional will make every effort to confirm a car rental for your return. If you are unable to communicate with Menno Travel, locate the nearest rental service and inquire about a reservation. If you have a rental car and can safely use it to return home, do so.
If you are unable to leave the area contact ‘COMPANY NAME’ and we will inform your family. If you contact your family please ask them to contact the office or your supervisor. In this way, we can better assist your return.
Whether you’re traveling for business or taking a vacation, if you’re traveling outside the U. S.you will need a passport. In most cases, your passport needs to be valid 6 or 9 months beyond your scheduled return date. The best time to renew a passport is at least nine months prior to the expiration of your old one. New passports are taking about four weeks for processing, so check your expiration date and plan accordingly to enjoy carefree international travel! Click here for more passport tips.
Testimonial of Good Service Received
It’s always nice to get feedback from our clients! Thank you for your kind words, Betty.
Geof and Jill,
I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for the good service you offer at Menno Travel. Geof, as you are aware, our commencement speaker and his wife did not connect with the driver who was waiting for them at O’Hare last Thursday evening. Long story short, they did finally connect (after 3 hours) and the thing that helped save the day was the fact that you have an after-hours phone number on the electronic ticket and there is actually a ‘live’ person who answers! The benefit of going through a travel service who knows us is that you knew who to call at our office after hours and they in turn called me and the situation got resolved.
Again, thanks for your excellent customer service,
Average Business Travel Prices Have Risen, Study Finds
First-quarter data released by American Express Global Business Travel indicate that average business-travel prices have gone up. Average domestic airfares during the quarter of 2012 rose 6% from those in 2011, while average domestic hotel rates climbed 5% during the same period. To optimize travel budgets in this environment, it makes sense for companies to look at how they are encouraging compliance with corporate travel policies. It’s also wise for companies to regularly review their Menno Travel corporate travel reports to see how dollars are being spent.
United and Delta Increase Bag Fees
United Airlines announced that it has matched Delta with an increase in its fee for a second checked bag. The fee has increased from $70 to $100 for flights from North America, the Caribbean, South America (excluding Braziland Venezuela) to Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India. Earlier this year, Delta Air Lines increased its fee for a second checked bag from $75 to $100, for travel from North America, the Caribbean, South America (excluding Brazil) to Europe and North Africa. For more information, see this updated Ancillary Fees Comparison Chart.
Paying More for Seats
It could get tougher to avoid getting stuck in that middle seat without paying an extra fee. Some airlines charge you for the ability to pick your own seat. But some of the larger carriers are increasing the number of seats that they’re holding for premium flyers. This means that on some airlines, you can pay for a seat for more legroom, but you can also pay to get a window or aisle seat or a seat closer to the front of the plane.
Free upgrades to Delta’s Economy Comfort are offered to Delta Sky Priority members as well as those purchasing non-discounted coach tickets (Y, B, M) and are discounted for Silver Medallion members. Click here for more information and a complete description of the benefits of Economy Comfort.
Why Taking a Vacation is Good For Your Business
You should take a vacation this summer, not only to get re-energized but also to make sure your company can carry on while you are away. Taking a vacation gives you a chance to test the capabilities of your second in command and can set a good example for your employees.
Pre-Screening Now Available to United Mileage Plus Members at O’Hare
If you are a United Mileage Plus member and aU.S.citizen, you may apply for the Transportation Security Administration’s pre-screening initiative program atChicago’s O’Hare airport. If accepted into the program, you won’t have to take off your shoes, light outerwear or belts. And laptops can be kept in cases along with certain liquids and gels in carry-ons.
More than 1.5 million passengers have received expedited screening through the TSA screening program since it began in October.
It’s now available in 16 airports forU.S.citizens who are select frequent flyers of participating airlines or members of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Trusted Traveler programs for travel within theU.S.
For more information on the U.S. Trusted Traveler program, click here.
5 Ways to Stay Connected While Traveling
iPads, iPhones and Androids are now in most carry-on bags. Staying connected has become a priority for anyone traveling outside the country. You can save yourself from huge voice and data roaming fees with a few simple tips.
1. Cellular Carrier Discount Plans
Most carriers offer temporary plans for every country and include call time and/or data. While not for unlimited web surfing, they’re perfect for a few calls and basic email while away. Tip: Call your carrier at least a week before your trip to find out what they offer.
2. Cruise Roaming
On top of international roaming charges, the ship’s cellular service adds their own fees. Most carriers now offer discounted roaming for specific cruise lines. Usually you have to sign up for a temporary add-on. Tip: Just type “cruise” in the search box on your carrier’s website for details.
3. There’s More to theUSAthan Just the Lower 48 States
Most phones work in US territories just like they do on the mainland usually with no extra fees. This includesPuerto Rico,AlaskaandHawaii.
4. SIM Cards and Cell Phones
Companies like MRSIMCARD.COM, XCOMGLOBAL.COM, and many others sell prepaid SIM cards for most countries. If your phone accepts a SIM card, place it into your phone to make calls or surf the web. If your phone is locked (most in theUSAare), you can ask your carrier to unlock your phone or rent an iPhone, Android or Blackberry with call time and data.
5. MiFi for WiFi for the Family
MiFi is a tiny wifi hotspot that fits in your pocket. It allows up to 5 different laptops, smartphones, iPads etc. to connect and surf the web at once. The same companies that rent the phones for every country also provide the MiFi. Expert tip: Use web-based calling services like Skype, Facetime or Google Talk and you can call home free.
2012 Notre Dame Home Football Game Schedule
Plan ahead when traveling into and out ofSouth Bendairport on these dates:
Sept 8 Purdue
Sept 28 OPEN
Oct 13 Stanford
Oct 20 BYU
Incentive Travel Offers Unique Experiences
A travel reward is unique from other types of rewards because it is experiential. The anticipation of the experience drives behavior in a way that other rewards can’t. A cash reward is often absorbed into the participant’s day-to-day budget and is then forgotten about. However, a travel incentive reward contributes to behavior change because of its appeal.
For example, if your group is large enough to do a full-ship charter, such as Windstar or a river cruise, customizing your cruise incentive program offers exclusivity, from company flags to flexibility in scheduling.
Smaller cruise groups on large ships still offer opportunities for customization:
• Private events onboard in lounges or specialty restaurants
• Private events and tours on-shore
• Exclusive transportation to and from port with airport lounge access
• Private captain’s reception
• Exclusive seating for dining and shows
• Exclusive hospitality desk
• Exclusive daily newsletter
• Closed-circuit TV broadcast of activities
• Stateroom door plaques
Whether a river cruise in Europe, around the islands ofHawaii, in the Med, or just a short cruise fromFlorida, the Menno Travel incentive travel specialists will make sure your incentive program brings your group together to build camaraderie and loyalty while helping you increase your profits.
Contact Ronda Morris today to discuss how a well-planned incentive travel program can help your company meet its goals.
Jim Clarke, Chief Financial Officer of Banks Hardwoods, returned from a Princess Asia cruise booked by Kami Heckaman. He sent this note to Kami, and we thought we would share it. “We made it back from our trip and everything was wonderful. Thanks for your help on this and I look forward to planning our next adventure with you. Here is my blog address from the trip if you want to check out pictures and narrative.” http://jimandkimasia.wordpress.com/
We are glad you enjoyed your trip Jim, thank you for sharing your adventure.
If you are interested in a cruise of Asia, we have the connections to get you there. Call or email Kami 574-534-1521 today.
Menno Travel employees volunteered with United Way of Elkhart County and Goshen Schools to help students improve their reading skills. The United Way sponsored this program for all second grade classes in Goshen Schools to bring men from the community into the classroom to read to students. There is also a pilot program in the first grade classes at Model Elementary with the hopes of expanding next year. This was the second year that Menno Travel participated in the program coordinated by Michelle Kercher. Owners Doug Risser and Geof Landis along with Kendal Sommers and Brandon Rasler from the Technology Department took one half hour each week over the last four weeks to go to the classrooms in Chamberlain and Prairie View Elementary Schools.
Tips on Getting a U.S. Passport
Whether you’re taking a vacation or traveling for business, if you’re traveling outside the U.S. you will need a passport. The best time to renew a passport is at least nine months prior to the expiration of your old one. New passports are taking about four weeks for processing, so heed these tips and enjoy carefree international travel!
► Applying for a new passport can be started online at www.travel.state.gov/passport, but then the applicant must appear in person at a U.S. Passport Office. Offices are located in the U.S. Post Office of these local cities:
ELKHART – GRANGER – MISHAWAKA – GOSHEN – NOTRE DAME – SOUTH BEND – NILES – VANDALIA – WHITE PIGEON – SYRACUSE
► Certified copies of birth certificates are required and must include the following:
• Full name of the applicant
• Full names of the applicant’s parent(s)
• Date of birth
• Place of birth
• Raised, embossed, impressed or multicolored seal of issuing authority
• Registrar’s signature
• The date the certificate was filed with the registrar’s office (must be within one year)
►U.S. passport applications for children under the age of 16 require both parents’ or legal guardians’ consent.
► Some countries require that your passport be valid at least six (6) months beyond the dates of your trip.
► If you have international travel in less than 2 weeks you are eligible to schedule an appointment at a regional passport agency. The closest one to our office is Chicago.
► You can renew by mail if your most recent U.S. passport has all of these:
• Is undamaged and can be submitted with your application
• Was issued when you were age 16 or older
• Was issued within the last 15 years
• Was issued in your current name or you can legally document your name change
Passport applications and photos available in our office!
Menno Travel Saves Companies Money on Unused Tickets
Do you know who is monitoring airline tickets purchased online? Are unused business tickets being used for business or personal travel? Once a ticket is issued and paid for its like money! It can be used against another trip anywhere as long as it’s with the same airline. If your company has no monitoring system in place for these transactions, your company could be losing hundreds of dollars in unused tickets.
In 2011, Menno Travel tracked and reused 653 tickets for our corporate clients with a combined value of $316,240!
Through our management reporting feature, we are able to send an Unused Ticket Report to our corporate clients on a regular basis. This report lists the non-refundable tickets that are available for the company’s travelers. This information is also stored in each traveler’s personal profile for immediate access and use when making future reservations.
Old United Mileage Plus Numbers
When United took over Continental, they changed their Mileage Plus account numbers from 11 digits to 8 alphanumeric characters. Every Mileage Plus member has been issued a new account number.
In order for you to continue receiving mileage credit for United reservations, your new Mileage Plus number must be added to the reservation. If you are one of our accounts and have not already done so, please email your new Mileage Plus number to your travel professional.
If you do not know your new Mileage Plus number, you can find it by logging in to www.united.com using your old Mileage Plus number and PIN. Your new number will be displayed.
US Airways Phishing Emails
Recently there have been a large number of phishing emails arriving from US Airways. If you receive an airline ticket confirmation like this, we advise that you do not click on the link in the email. If you do have an airline reservation, go to the carrier site directly to view your reservation or refer to your email ticket confirmation. Emails like these are attempts to acquire your personal information to use for fraudulent purposes. Don’t fall into the trap!
Hotel Priority Club Theft Alert
Recently one of our clients was the victim of credit card fraud involving his hotel priority club card. He received an email confirmation from a hotel that he had not reserved and after contacting the hotel he learned that someone had booked a room using his priority club membership number. Because his credit card information was attached to his priority club card for speedy check-in, the person involved was able to make the reservation, check-in, and charge the room to the credit card.
The desk clerk failed to request ID or a credit card for imprinting. The police were called and upon entering the room found the thieves (a couple) still asleep in the bed, and they were apprehended and arrested! Our client was fortunate that no additional credit card fraud was attempted.
If you have hotel priority club cards, and have provided a credit card number to be attached to the account for express check-in, you might want to contact the hotels and have this changed for your protection to prevent credit card fraud.
Airline On-Time Performance Improves
Airline on-time performance was much better in January than it had been a year earlier, going up to an on-time arrival rate of 83.7 percent from 76.3 percent in January 2011. It was the best January for on time performance in 18 years, according to the Department of Transportation. Cancellations were down, too, with airlines cancelling just 1.5 percent of flights, down from 3.9 percent in January 2011. And, airlines reported no tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic or international flights.
Allegiant Adding Flights from South Bend and Ft Wayne to Florida
South Bendand Ft Wayne airports announced new nonstop jet service toPuntaGordaAirport, located along the southwestFloridacoast, thirty minutes from Ft Myers. Service will begin June 27, 2012 fromSouth Bendand June 28 from Ft Wayne. Introductory one-way fares will be as low as $94.99* one way if booked by April 30. (*Limited seats and subject to terms and conditions.)
Allegiant To Charge For Carry-on Baggage;
Allegiant now charges $35 for a carry-on bag. The airline will allow customers to bring on one personal item free of charge, but only if the item can fit under the seat in front of them. Bags that must be put in overhead storage bins will cost $35 if not reserved in advance. If paid for in advance, a carry-on bag has varying charges based on the route, however, most fees are about half the cost when reserved and prepaid. The same is true for checked baggage charges.
Allegiant also recently reduced the allowable weight of a checked bag to a maximum of 40 pounds before additional charges apply. Be sure to check with the airlines website www.allegiantair.com for the most up to date fees, terms and conditions.
2012 Notre Dame Home Football Game Schedule
Plan ahead when traveling into and out ofSouth Bendairport on these dates:
Sept 8 Purdue
Sept 22 Michigan
Sept 28 OPEN
Oct 13 Stanford
Oct 20 BYU
Nov 3 Pittsburgh
Nov 17 WakeForest
Pinnacle Airlines Files Chapter 11
Pinnacle Airlines Corporation, which provides regional jet service for Delta, United and US Airways, filed for Chapter 11 court protection. The company’s reorganization plan calls for “restructuring its key operating agreements with Delta Air Lines and winding down its operations with United Airlines and US Airways”, according to a company statement. With a Chapter 11 filing, operations will be business as usual so we do not expect service problems.
GasBuddy App Handy for Rental Car Fill-ups
This is a great Smartphone app for locating gas stations near you and to see their current gas prices. Use this in places where you need to return a car rental with a full tank of gas. Not only will you find the least expensive gas prices, you can locate the station closest to the rental return location. For more information on this app, go to gasbuddy.com.