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.

If you currently have a travel policy in place, contact Geof to have it reviewed. If you don’t have a policy, contact Deb or Geof to learn how a comprehensive travel policy can benefit your company.

Passport Expirations

Whether you’re traveling for business or taking a vacation, if you’re traveling outside the U. 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.

Contact Deb or Geof to learn more about controlling travel expenses with a travel policy.

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 22Michigan

Sept 28 OPEN

Oct 13 Stanford

Oct 20 BYU

Nov 3Pittsburgh

Nov 17WakeForest

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.