November 2013 - Mobile
Service Excellence Since 1989
Great Hotel Programs Available Through MacNair Travel
Whether you are traveling for business or for pleasure, staying at a luxury resort or a roadside hotel, or booking 6 weeks or even 6 minutes in advance, be sure to check with MacNair for the best rates, extra amenities, and maximum flexibility. We offer programs from a variety of sources including Orbitz, American Express Travel, AAA, and Altour. We also have programs specifically for American Express Gold, Platinum, and Centurion Cardholders. Additionally, Sabre guarantees us the lowest flexible rates at thousands of hotels around the world. These offerings simply cannot be beat. Here are some examples of the great benefits of booking you get with MacNair. As our clients, you can take advantage of these rates throughout the holiday season or all year long. For the Executive - for the nights of November 18th, 19th, and 20th, we can offer a rate at the Mandarin Oriental in Atlanta of $425 per night for a Deluxe Guest Room, and the 3rd night is free! This rate includes complimentary breakfast for two daily, a $100 hotel credit, and a guaranteed late check-out time of 4pm and subject to availability, early check-in, and a room upgrades. Additionally, American Express Centurion Cardholders receive a guaranteed upgrade at the time of booking, and an additional $100 hotel credit. For the Road Warrior - for the nights of December 9th, and 10th, we can offer a rate at the Fairmont Chicago for just $179.10 per night with a King room including continental breakfast, a welcome amenity, and subject to availability, a room upgrade. This is the lowest flexible rate you will find anywhere - as this rate does not require prepayment, and can be cancelled without penalty until 3pm the day prior to arrival. For a Weekend Away - for the nights of December 6th, 7th, and 8th, why not take a long weekend on one of the Florida beaches, before prices go up for the winter. The Hutchinson Island Marriott is offering rooms starting at just $109 per night! This rate is non-refundable and non-changeable once booked. AAA members can upgrade to a 1 bedroom oceanfront suite including breakfast for just $60 additional dollars per night!
FAA Approves Use of Most Electronic Devices Throughout Flights
The Federal Aviation Administration announced on October 31 that airline customers will soon be able to use most of their electronic devices throughout their entire flight, accepting recommendations made recently by an agency advisory group. However, voice communication on cell phones remains banned. The FAA expects customers will be able to use their devices from take-off to touch down by the end of the year, but left certification and implementation plans and timetables to the individual airlines. (Source: The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, CNN)
MacNair Travel Webinar: 2014 Travel Forecast - 14 Trends & New Tools to Consider Nov. 12
With budgets and travel policies tight, and expense scrutiny high going into next year, it can be confusing to know how to take travel management to the next level. What new tools have become available? What tools are now ready for prime time? What are some of the most impactful best practices that can be implemented to drive the adoption of your travel program in a creative way? How can you extend our travel program to better manage meetings? How can you best support and secure your travelers in our crazy world? What changes to the industry can you expect? How can you improve the lives of travelers?
Join us on November 12 as we review the top 14 travel trends and tools that should be considered going into 2014. Click Here to register for the event.
Introducing our Travel Consultants: Diana Greer, Personal Travel Division
How long have you been in the travel industry and how did you get your start?
I have been working in the travel industry since the early 1980s. I started with Armed Services Vacations where we specialized in marketing to the Military community in the area. Armed Services Vacations became a part of MacNair Travel in 1996 so I have been with MacNair Travel Management almost 20 years.
Can you tell us a little about yourself? What do you enjoy doing when you aren't being a travel consultant?
In my free time I do home improvements to my very needy house, travel to see my family and friends, and keep busy with community activities, including being active in the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Constitution Chapter and the American Red Cross Over Seas Association. This Veterans Day is the 20th Anniversary for the Dedication of the Women's Vietnam Memorial so I'm very busy with the planning of this event. I am also addicted to books on tape so since I have very little leisure time to read, I can use this resource during my commute to and from work.
Recently you traveled to China, how was it?
I had a great time. My daughter teaches school at the International American School of Guangzhou in southern China, which was once Canton. The city has over 15 million people and consists of high rise apartments and office buildings. The old has been torn down for the new to handle the mass of humanity currently living in this city, which consists of a large international community with business interests throughout China. We were only an hour train ride to Hong Kong so we traveled there for a few days. Victoria Pike is the most popular attraction along with riding the Star Ferry between Hong Kong and Kowloon. We also caught another ferry to a smaller Island called Lamma that seems to attract lost souls from the Hippy generation, and enjoyed delicious Chinese seafood dishes at an outside beach restaurant.
What is your favorite memory from your time at MacNair?
All the great parties and social events. With so many people telecommuting, it is special when we can all get together. The White Elephant Gift Exchange at our holiday party and winning Pre-Season Redskin tickets at the summer parties are some of my favorite memories and it makes it even more special when the Redskins have a winning season.
What have you found to be the most challenging?
Staying a step ahead in a tech world where travel is just a click away. We always have to be better and smarter than what is found surfing the Internet for "deals". We offer travel consultation by phone, emails and face to face, which is certainly much safer than putting your credit card out there in cyber space on some unknown Internet discounter just because the price is the lowest. As people get away from personal contact in planning that special family vacation, honeymoon, etc. they loose the expertise and professionalism of an agent that can make their trip seamless. It is a challenge we deal with daily losing leisure travels to the Internet.
What changes have you witnessed in the travel industry in your time at MacNair?
Leisure travel has changed dramatically. Twenty years ago the world seemed smaller; travelers were not as knowledgeable about their destination so tended to book tours where they were safe with a group and a guide. Though structured tours are still an excellent way to travel, the independent and well informed traveler is the trend. The world now appears more accessible with the advent of the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, and even the smartphone that continues to get smarter taking us along for the ride to destinations we would never have ventured to. In the past when I sent my clients off on a vacation I didn't hear from them until they returned. Now with blogging, Skype and the ease to make long distance calls I can follow them throughout their travels. My visit to Guangzhou is a perfect example of how a smartphone can make travel possible in a city where few speak English and all characters are Chinese. Using your smart phone, you can enter an English word or phrase and it will change it to Chinese or even say it out loud to the taxi driver or clerk. Also, always having Google Maps available was helpful to keep us from getting lost in a jungle of high rise buildings that all look very much the same.
If you weren't a travel consultant, what would you be doing?
I graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Education. I taught for a few years between jobs overseas. My passion for travel took me away from the classroom, but if I hadn't been drawn to the travel profession I would still be teaching.
Any other observations you'd like to share?
MacNair Travel Management has an excellent, knowledgeable Leisure Division. We are all general specialists with each having a specific specialty such as cruises, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Canada, etc. Be sure you reach out to Trish, Kathleen, or myself when planning your next vacation. We are here to ensure your next trip is a Dream Vacation Experience.
American Express to Open the Centurion Lounge in Dallas/Fort Worth
American Express announced the opening of a new proprietary Centurion Lounge at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) in October, in Terminal D. The airport lounge will be a haven that helps American Express Card Members relax, recharge and reboot. Entry to The Centurion Lounges is now complimentary for both Platinum Card and Centurion members. Other American Express Card Members can enter the lounge for a fee of $50. Some of the perks that are offered in the new DFW airport include: onsite professionals to provide card-related and travel-related services, complimentary spa therapies, members can taste Southwestern cuisine designed by local celebrity chef Dean Fearing, enjoy a Texas-inspired signature cocktail, or access to free Wi-Fi. (Source: American Express)
Reagan National in the Process of a $37 Million Facelift
Reagan National Airport's terminal A is in the process of getting a $37 million facelift. The historic terminal was recently visited and noted to be lighter and brighter than it had been a few months earlier. The check-in counters have been freshened up and the lighter colors and windows throughout the area make the space seem larger than it was before. In addition to new lighting and flooring, the renovation will add new facilities for baggage processing and an extra security lane. The work is expected to be complete for the holiday travel season, but other aspects may not be in place until early 2014. (Source: Washington Post)
British Airways Begins Digital Tagging Trial
British Airways has begun to test personalized digital bag tags that are being developed by the airline with employees from Microsoft, who have been chosen to take part in the month-long trial. The digital bag tag, which contains all a customer's baggage details, could eventually do away with the need for paper tags every time a person travels. Extensive testing has already begun to take place to make sure that the tag works in a live airport environment to make sure that it can stand up to the rigors of an airport baggage systems and everyday travel. The digital bag tag has been designed for repeated use, with a battery life of up to five years, and will be compatible with all smartphones. (Source: Breaking Travel News)
TSA Screenings Begin Before the Airport
The Transportation Security Administration is expanding security screenings so that they start before passengers reach the airport through programs such as Secure Flight, which uses a passenger's name, date of birth, gender, passport number and other identifiers to compare them with terrorist watch lists. "Secure Flight has successfully used information provided to airlines to identify and prevent known or suspected terrorists or other individuals on no-fly lists from gaining access to airplanes or secure areas of airports," the TSA said. This program has been in place since November 2010 and is used throughout airports in the continental US, as well as, point-to-point international flights through US airlines. (Source: The New York Times)
Mileage Runs May Leave with 2013/span>
Frequent flyer mileage runs, which are end-of-the-year flights to lure more people to an elite status, may be on the chopping block. Airlines such as United and Delta are tightening rules for frequent flyer programs. "With the new revenue requirements in place, mileage running will rarely make economic sense, except in cases where a traveler is just a few miles and dollars short of an elite threshold," said Tim Winship, who publishes FrequentFlier.com. (Source: USA Today)
Enterprise Rent-A-Car Announces Push into Motorcycle Rentals
Enterprise Rent-A-Car announced it will launch a pilot program in Las Vegas to rent Harley-Davidson motorcycles. "When you go to Las Vegas, you will see motorcycles everywhere," said Dave Nestor, a senior vice president at Enterprise. "With the number of tourists that hit that marketplace every year and the weather (being) so nice, a lot of people like to see the countryside on motorcycle." Renting a bike will cost $120 to $160 a day -- comparable to "exotic" cars or large SUVs -- with discounts available for weekly rentals. (Source: USA Today)
India to Offer Visas on Arrival
India is working to make the tourism process easier, offering visas on arrival to senior citizens, foreign tourists, and pensioners in more than 40 countries. The country will also expedite the process for other travelers using the traditional route to obtain visas. (Source: ArabianBusiness.com)
Airlines Share and Expand their Loyalty Programs
Travelers can now earn credits on Emirates and Virgin America flights. Virgin America's Elevate points and Emirates' Skywards miles can be earned on flights by either carrier. Emirates also has U.S. partnerships with JetBlue and Alaska Airlines. JetBlue is also allowing travelers to share frequent flyer miles saying it will allow up to seven family members or friends to share miles, as long as one person is 21 years old. Also expanding their loyalty program is American Airlines by offering status matches to frequent flyers at other carriers, and giving elite flyers generous rewards. (Source: The Seattle Times/The Associated Press; USA Today/Today In The Sky blog; Forbes)
TripCase Tip of the Month
Based on your location and itinerary, TripCase can map directions between items in your trip. No more searching for addresses or using multiple apps to map where you're going. Map locations and look up driving directions within your trip with a single click.
- Delta installs passport kiosks at JFK to reduce wait times. John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York has installed automated passport kiosks to reduce wait times for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Delta Air Lines purchased the kiosks, and began testing the process this past month. "If all goes well, we'll go fully live soon" Delta spokeswoman Leslie Scott said. (Source: CNBC/Road Warrior blog)
- Delta Air Lines revamps BusinessElite meal service. Delta Air Lines will give BusinessElite passengers a choice of one of four hot main dishes, though hot nut snacks will no longer be offered. The redesigned meal service is expected to allow passengers more time to sleep on flights. (Source: BusinessTraveller)
- Alaska updates minimum check in policy to 40 minutes. Alaska Airlines is increasing its minimum check-in time for all customers from 30 to 40 minutes on most domestic flights. In a statement, Jeff Butler, Alaska Airlines' vice president of customer service, airports and cargo said, "The new policy will make check-in times the same for everyone, making it easier for passengers to remember the cutoff, regardless of how they are checking in and whether they're checking a bag." The minimum check-in time for international flights remains 60 minutes. (Source: Travelers Today)
- United installs satellite-based Internet on 100 aircraft. United Airlines announced a milestone in its in-flight Internet service on October 14th. The carrier has installed satellite-based Internet service on 100 aircraft, and continues to install the service on about 30 aircraft a month. Satellite-based service allows Internet access on international flights. (Source: Frequent Business Traveler)
- United changes baggage allowance for Star Alliance members. United Airlines tickets issued on or after October 17, 2013 will have the number of free checked bags adjusted for their customers who hold Star Alliance Gold or Silver status. This change aligns United's policy to those of Star Alliance partners, creating a more consistent experience for customers traveling on itineraries with multiple carriers. The changes will be adjusted at check-in and are as follows:
This will affect travelers using their US Airways Dividend Miles number when traveling on United.
- United Airlines offers double miles through November 21st. This offer is for loyalty-program members and is only good for travel that is made before November 21st. (Source: Frequent Business Traveler, American City Business Journals/Chicago)
- Southwest Airlines to join PreCheck program this month.Southwest Airlines plans to join the Transportation Security Administration's PreCheck program by mid-November. The move will allow some Southwest passengers at Chicago's Midway Airport and other airports to qualify for expedited security screening. (Source: American City Business Journals/Chicago)
Vacation Hotspots by Diana Greer,
Personal Travel Consultant
Getaway on a Holiday Caribbean Cruise. This year celebrate the festive season at sea with your family and friends. Princess Cruise lines are having a sale on their 4-day roundtrip cruise from Ft Lauderdale between December 14th and December 26. You can receive fares as low as $199 or enjoy a free room upgrade for your 3rd and 4th guests for $29. Qualifying cruises include a 4-day Western Caribbean getaway to Cozumel departing December 14th, a 4-day Eastern Caribbean getaway to Grand Turk on December 18th, a 4-day Eastern Caribbean getaway to the Princess Cays on December 22nd, and a 4-day Western Caribbean getaway to the Grand Caymans on December 26th. Please call or email Diana Greer for more information at 703-650-5260 or email@example.com.
Kenya Family Adventure. Enjoy a Kenyan safari adventure with your family for $3,662 per person based on a family of four. This deal includes a private guide to lead game drives in Laikipia, Lake Nakuru and Masai Mara and private guided tours of an elephant orphanage, giraffe center and the Karen Blixen house. Choose from options to stay in classic safari camps or family chalets to make your safari more enjoyable. This 7-night family safari goes through some of the best game parks in Kenya and is based on travel by 8/16/14, so call one of our MacNair leisure specialists at 703-836-1101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Experience Europe in the off peak season. All the charm of Europe is available for less during the off peak season. Now's the time for rich experiences at prices you will love at all 4 and 5 STAR hotels. Take advantage of these great rates that include all taxes and breakfast for two people per room; Istanbul's Noah's Ark Hotel for$41 per night, Prague's Grand Majestic Plaza for $49, Rome's Residenza Antica for $56, Lisbon's Mundail for $59, Venice's Duodo Palace for $62, Berlin's Angleterre for $65, Budapest's Sofitel for $69, London's Leonard for $74, Munich's Europa for $77, and in Paris the Royal Elysees for $85. Add the low winter airfare to make this an affordable time to visit Europe. MacNair Travel and our partners offer a full range of sightseeing activities and unique experiences in these and other destination throughout Europe. At MacNair Travel our agents specialize in most European Countries and are here to help you plan the perfect vacation so don't hesitate to contact our team at 703-836-1101 or through email email@example.com to book your next adventure.
The Best Gifts are the ones you can't wrap. Looking for a great gift idea for your family and friends? You can purchase a Travel Certificate from MacNair Travel Management for any denomination. Please contact Diana, Kathleen, or Trish with our Personal Travel Division at 703-836-1101 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss this great gift option.