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Preview: washingtonpost.com - Business Class -- The Washington Post's Keith L. Alexander on Business Travel

washingtonpost.com - Business Class -- The Washington Post's Keith L. Alexander on Business Travel



Washington Post columnist Keith L. Alexander writes about business travel and offers advice about managing airline and rail travel.



 



Farewell to a Snakebitten Industry

Tue, 22 Aug 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Terrorism. Bankruptcies. Labor strikes.



If Northwest Attendants Strike, It Could Be a Bumpy Ride

Tue, 08 Aug 2006 00:00:00 EDT

If Northwest Airlines flight attendants walk off their jobs next Tuesday, the carrier's own passengers won't be the only ones to suffer. Airline travelers who have no plans to fly Northwest could find themselves wishing they'd stayed home.



US Airways To Tackle Complaints

Tue, 01 Aug 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Wanted: US Airways customer service agents.



Other Airlines Suit Up To Play Southwest's Game

Tue, 18 Jul 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Over more than 30 years, Southwest Airlines has justly earned a reputation as the first carrier travelers look to for cheap fares. Its influence in lowering air fares generally can't be overstated. Any time the airline moved into a new market, its rivals were forced to bring their prices down. In 1993, when Southwest arrived at BWI, US Airways and United Airlines had to cut their prices by as much as 40 percent.
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Airlines Struggle to Weather Summer Storms

Tue, 11 Jul 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Thunderstorms already have turned the summer into a season of delays, canceled flights and frustrations for passengers, particularly in the Northeast and Midwest. Airlines have wrestled with getting flights out safely while maintaining customer service.



US Airways Move Could Squeeze Out Upgrades

Tue, 04 Jul 2006 00:00:00 EDT

US Airways is considering eliminating 10 seats in the first-class sections on its transcontinental flights, which would make premium seating harder to get through frequent-flier upgrades.



Airlines Look for Best Ways to Board

Tue, 27 Jun 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Who knew that boarding an aircraft would become the newest customer-service issue to rile passengers since the removal of hot meals on flights?



Shop Till You Fly

Tue, 20 Jun 2006 00:00:00 EDT

After her father's death, Leesa Weiss was in a Rockville funeral home putting together the final arrangements when she noticed a placard indicating that the place accepted credit cards.
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US Airways May Not Save E-Mail Alerts for Cheap Fares

Tue, 13 Jun 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Every Thursday for the past five years, Allan R. Clyde would monitor his e-mail for the latest weekend getaway flights offered at steep discounts by US Airways. He'd look for a last-minute trip to Minneapolis to see family or to Connecticut to see his goddaughter. He would even forward the e-mails, called "e-savers," to friends and co-workers whenever he saw a destination he knew they liked.



Delayed, Not Canceled

Tue, 06 Jun 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Heading home from Phoenix last month, Linda Brennan of Vienna had to endure a nearly five-hour wait for her United Airlines connecting flight to Chicago. Only one other flight was available: at 6 a.m. the next day.



In-Flight Glossies Share A Lucrative Demographic

Tue, 30 May 2006 00:00:00 EDT

If magazine advertisers want to reach the most affluent readership, they need not turn to Fortune, Forbes or Real Simple. Instead, they could target in-flight magazines.



The Electronic Suggestion Box

Tue, 23 May 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Hotel comment cards -- those personal remarks scribbled out by guests and dropped at the front desk -- may become a thing of the past. And customer surveys -- those questionnaires that show up within days after you check out -- also may become a victim of modern technology.
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Stand By for Crowded Planes Over Summer

Tue, 16 May 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Heading off for a two-week business trip, Gary Hacker made it aboard his 4 p.m. flight to Chicago -- but his 50-pound Samsonite suitcase wasn't as lucky.



United Pilots Get Personal

Tue, 09 May 2006 00:00:00 EDT

That impersonal voice from the cockpit -- "This is the captain speaking" -- is getting friendlier at United Airlines.



Fuel Costs May Curb Company Trips

Tue, 02 May 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Record fuel prices are forcing many businesses to curtail travel and have prompted some to begin adjusting their 2007 travel budgets, according to a survey of 1,700 corporate travel managers conducted by the National Business Travel Association.



Air of Caution at CDC After Mumps Outbreak

Tue, 18 Apr 2006 00:00:00 EDT

It was the kind of news that many frequent fliers had long suspected.
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Delta Stays Quietly Hopeful

Tue, 11 Apr 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Barring a last-minute agreement between Delta Air Lines and its 6,000 pilots, the nation's third-largest airline could be grounded as early as next Tuesday.



Looking to Boost Service, United Casts a Wide Net

Tue, 04 Apr 2006 00:00:00 EDT

With complaints rising, United Airlines is hoping to placate passengers with the Nordstrom treatment.



Frequent Fliers Squeezed Out

Tue, 28 Mar 2006 00:00:00 EST

Brad Sexton, a marketing executive for Revolution Studios in Santa Monica, Calif., tried to redeem 45,000 miles last week on Delta Air Lines for a first-class ticket from New York to Los Angeles for a trip he planned for this summer. But he was told that there were no available seats on the popular route until Feb. 1, 2007.



Northwest's Prime Seats Sell, But Some Fliers Don't Buy In

Tue, 21 Mar 2006 00:00:00 EST

Just one week after Northwest Airlines set off a major customer-service uproar by unveiling a new $15 fee for aisle and exit-row seats, the airline says the response from customers has been better than anticipated.
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Cabin Pressure May Add To Long-Flight Hazard

Tue, 14 Mar 2006 00:00:00 EST

Recently, Mike Wood spent 17 hours flying from Lima to Sao Paulo to New York's JFK International and back home to Washington's Reagan National Airport.



Airlines Hope Fliers Will Trade Trips For Televisions

Tue, 07 Mar 2006 00:00:00 EST

Instead of using your frequent-flier miles for a free trip, several airlines hope you might be more interested in exchanging those miles for a new TV, DVD player or a digital camera.



Airfares Bank Sharply Higher

Tue, 28 Feb 2006 00:00:00 EST

For more than a year, the consultants at A.T. Kearney in Old Town were accustomed to paying about $100 for a round-trip ticket from Washington's Dulles International to such cities as Chicago, Atlanta and Orlando.



Passengers Order Up Pie-in-the-Sky Airline Amenities

Tue, 21 Feb 2006 00:00:00 EST

Imagine boarding an aircraft and seeing a makeshift office set up where passengers can access the Internet, send and receive faxes, and make phone calls for a fee.
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Budget Rent a Car Topping Off Some Bills With Fuel Charge

Tue, 14 Feb 2006 00:00:00 EST

The next time you rent a car, pay close attention to your final bill: There might just be a new fee attached that you may not deserve.



Dulles Lands On-Time Title for December

Tue, 07 Feb 2006 00:00:00 EST

If your flight arrives on time, there's a good chance it's touching down at Washington's Dulles International Airport.



Paying More for Small Extras

Tue, 31 Jan 2006 00:00:00 EST

A new survey of 1,001 fliers suggests that many would pay a little extra for additional perks, such as extra frequent-flier miles, more overhead bin space and the ability to sit in a child-free section of the plane.



Divining Needs Of Travelers: Don't Ask

Tue, 24 Jan 2006 00:00:00 EST

The next time you walk into a hotel lobby or check in for a flight at an airport, look over your shoulder. You may notice someone watching your every move.
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A Valuable Lesson For Security Checkpoints

Tue, 17 Jan 2006 00:00:00 EST

It's an airport ritual every passenger must endure.



Baggage Suggestion Leads To Some Carrying On

Tue, 10 Jan 2006 00:00:00 EST

A key lawmaker's suggestion to restrict airline passengers to one carry-on bag has sparked a debate among politicians, travelers, airlines and their employees.



Flyi's Demise Sets the Stage For Higher Fares

Tue, 03 Jan 2006 00:00:00 EST

It was June 16, 2004, the first day of service for Independence Air. The gates at Dulles International Airport were transformed into a party with bright blue balloons, champagne and a jazz band. Employees were clapping and dancing at the gate, celebrating the launch of the nation's newest low-fare airline.



Peace on Earth, Not Necessarily Aboard Aircraft

Tue, 27 Dec 2005 00:00:00 EST

It's holiday time and that means -- theoretically at least -- peace on Earth and good will toward men (and women).
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Handy Holiday Gifts For the Frequent Flier

Tue, 20 Dec 2005 00:00:00 EST

Barbara Stein remembers sitting in an hotel room in Carbondale, Ill., a few years ago, furious about missing a crucial Redskins game because it wasn't being televised where she was staying.



Not Even Soda Is Sacred

Tue, 13 Dec 2005 00:00:00 EST

Some frequent travelers have long joked that it was bound to happen, and now it has: An airline will begin charging $1 for a cup of soda, taking away one of the last in-flight perks that airlines historically have given away.



New Rules, New Anxiety

Tue, 06 Dec 2005 00:00:00 EST

Two new government initiatives aimed at airline travelers -- one focusing on terror, the other on infectious disease -- have sparked an outcry of concern from many frequent fliers who fear the new rules will lead to increased confusion, frustration and even privacy issues.



When an Aviation Lawyer Gets Bumped, the Airline Pays

Tue, 22 Nov 2005 00:00:00 EST

Thatcher A. Stone is the kind of passenger no airline wants to tick off.
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Independence Would Be Missed

Tue, 15 Nov 2005 00:00:00 EST

Barbara Carnahan, travel manager for Ratner Cos., is busy rearranging schedules for her 150 traveling executives to take advantage of Independence Air's cheap fares sooner rather than later.



Independence Miles May Vanish

Tue, 08 Nov 2005 00:00:00 EST

When Delta, Northwest, United and even US Airways filed for bankruptcy protection, few consumer advocates warned travelers to quickly use up their frequent-flier miles.



United Express Looks for Edge With Bigger Jets

Tue, 01 Nov 2005 00:00:00 EST

United Airlines is slowly rolling out its latest weapon in its battle to fight off low-cost carriers and win over business travelers: new 70-seat regional jets.



To the Front of the Line, for a Price

Tue, 25 Oct 2005 00:00:00 EDT

For years, Leo Elias set his alarm clock for midnight whenever he was booked to fly on Southwest Airlines the next day. Jangled out of bed, he would stumble over to his computer to print out a boarding pass. It was the ritual he and other Southwest passengers had to endure to ensure that they would be among the first to board, with their choice of seats and an empty overhead bin for their bags.
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New Management Restores Some US Airways Extras

Tue, 18 Oct 2005 00:00:00 EDT

It's been less than a month since America West executives took over US Airways, but the new management team has wasted no time in reversing recent cost-saving initiatives that had frustrated longtime US Airways customers.



Grounding Fuel-Based Flight Cancellations

Tue, 11 Oct 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Delta Air Lines caused a stir among passengers last week by admitting to something that has long been suspected as common in the industry. The carrier acknowledged that for more than a month it had canceled some flights as late as two days before departure because the planes weren't full enough.



A Fight That Passengers Won't Win

Tue, 04 Oct 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Margot Romary will never argue with a flight attendant again.



New US Airways Enters A Period of Adjustment

Tue, 27 Sep 2005 00:00:00 EDT

In a sweat, John W. Sutton dashed up to what he thought was the US Airways ticket counter yesterday at Washington's Reagan National Airport. A makeshift canvas sign behind the agent read: US Airways and America West.
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New Orleans Airport Reopens Today, but Barely

Tue, 13 Sep 2005 00:00:00 EDT

KENNER, La. Roy Williams, director of the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, spent most of yesterday talking with the media. Between interviews, Williams checked his e-mail and cell phone in hopes of learning which airlines might resume service at the nation's 41st-largest airport.