Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Disney turns crowd control into a science

We are always fascinated by the behind the scenes stories of how Disney makes the magic happen at Walt Disney World.  The New York Times article highlights some of their latest innovations.

From the New York Times:

“Control is Disney’s middle name, so they have always been on the cutting edge of this kind of thing,” said Bob Sehlinger, co-author of “The Unofficial Guide: Walt Disney World 2011” and a writer on Disney for Frommers.com. Mr. Sehlinger added, “The challenge is that you only have so many options once the bathtub is full.” 

Read more by clicking on the above link.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Southwest Airlines turns 40

We recently bought stock in Southwest Airlines.  Boy they just do things right.  Avoiding baggage fees.  Lower costs.  And most of all its the people who work for them.  Just fly with some one else and you will know what I mean.  The New York Times article from last week tries it best to balance and find fault with the airline.  But even the problems don't seem like they are insurmountable. 

 My favorite quote:

But here, too, Southwest sensed an opportunity to showcase its difference. While baggage fees generated roughly $1.7 billion for the industry in the first half of the year, Southwest drew the line. It made its “Bags Fly Free” policy a centerpiece of its advertising and marketing campaign. 

“A lot of people have been trying to pickpocket and nickel-and-dime their customers,” says Kevin Krone, the company’s head of marketing. “We don’t think it’s right.”

The policy turned out to be a good business move.

Southwest’s revenue rose by $1.6 billion in the first nine months of 2010, compared with that period in 2007, even as its capacity declined by 1 percent. Part of that growth in sales, Southwest believes, came from new customers fleeing bag fees. Mr. Kelly calls his rivals’ approach “a gift.”

The policy yielded another advantage. It allowed Southwest to subtly shift the focus away from its fares. Although it still offers low fares to many destinations, Southwest doesn’t always have the lowest fares every day on every flight, says Bob McAdoo, an airline analyst at Avondale Partners. 

Click the above link to read more.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Roughing it

From the Consumerist:

Like something from a '70s disaster movie, 3,300 passengers on board the Carnival Splendor found themselves stuck out to sea off the coast of Mexico after a fire in the engine room.
Click the above link to read more.

Sticker Shock

From the New York Times online:

...and others have been discovering in recent months, airfares in most of the world are on the rise as the global economy picks up and demand for air travel climbs, particularly for business trips. Airlines, meanwhile, have been reluctant to add more flights to meet that growing demand. That is increasing pressure on ticket prices and making for packed planes and longer standby lines as the year-end travel season approaches. 

This has been a boon, of course, for an industry that is expected to roar back into profit this year, to the tune of $8.9 billion. That comes after airlines collectively lost nearly $26 billion during the previous two years, according to the International Air Transport Association, an airline industry group. Many of the world’s leading airlines are reporting that the three-month period ended Sept. 30 was one of their most profitable quarters in years. 

The degree of sticker shock varies significantly by region and by class of seat, with fares on some routes still at or below those of a year ago, despite some large increases in traffic.

Click the above link to read more.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Las Vegas Top Secret Tourist Trips

Looking for a free shave while in Vegas?  Cheap booze? Looking for a temporary casino?  A free room tour of the Bellagio? Free coupons to dozens of Vegas restaurants?

Click the above link to the stripbroadcast.com.  More secrets than you care to know.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

When is the cheapest time to book a flight?

The answer is eight weeks ahead of time. In the afternoon.  Science solves one life's mystery.

Click the above link to read more from Lifehacker.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Spirit Airlines: Cheap Airfare, but at What Cost?

From ABC News:

So to get a better idea about Spirit, I bought a ticket between New York and Myrtle Beach, S.C. and prepared for the worst. The first thing you notice when boarding are ads for timeshares, casinos and the airline's credit card plastered everywhere inside the cabin.Then there is the legroom. Or, I should say, the lack of legroom. I'm 5-foot-4 and my knees were touching the seat in front of me. And that was before the supersized gentleman one row up decided to lean back. Too bad I wasn't on one of Spirit's new jets -- the seats on those don't recline at all

Click the above link to read more.

Monday, July 12, 2010

20 Reasons to Hate the Airlines

From Time.com:

How much is it worth to you to cut in line at the airport? You can find out this summer, as several airlines have begun charging passengers a fee (between $10 and $30, depending on the airline) for the privilege of being first in line to board, ahead of that family of four with seven carry-ons. It's just the latest in the airlines' long campaign to boost their bottom line by quietly upping fees, cutting back on services and finding new ways of charging customers for things they used to get for free. Indeed, ever since the 1978 deregulation of the airline industry, the history of air travel has been one long, painful chronicle of nickel-and-diming the consumer to distraction. Here's a brief history, in 20 chapters.

Read more by clicking the above link>>>>>

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Best Time to Shop for Airline Tickets – Tuesday 3pm Eastern

From Fare Compare.Com:

We recently did a comprehensive study of our database of current and historical airfares (the world’s largest) and found an interesting and useful trend that has been happening for the past few years.
  • Airlines typically file their airfare sales late Monday evening (at 8pm Eastern)
  • Usually only one or two airlines kick off a sale on any given week
  • During the morning hours of the next day (Tuesday) other airlines scramble to match the new lower prices on the routes of the initiating airline(s) (during domestic airfare feeds at 10am and 1pm Eastern)
  • So at about 3pm Eastern time is when all the matching discounted seat prices hit reservation systems for domestic travel — this is when the maximum number of cheap seats are available to consumers
  • Even more interestingly these airline sales tend to last for only 3 days, so late on Thursday the sale prices are yanked, so if you are shopping on the weekend your likely paying too much for a domestic airline ticket.
Additionally not all departure dates are created equal — Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday are the cheapest days to fly (Monday, Friday, Sunday the most expensive) and you should try to avoid the days where airlines are charging “peak travel surcharges” (at least on half your trip) which can save you up to $30 each way.

Read more by clicking the above link.

Friday, January 29, 2010

7 reasons to book a trip through a travel agent

From the St Louis Post Dispatch:

Some vacations should never be booked through anyone but a travel agent, and a honeymoon is one of them. But there are others.

A recent Forrester Research study found something of a backlash when it comes to booking travel online. It concludes 15 percent fewer travelers used the Web in 2009, compared with two years ago — a finding that comforts many travel agents who previously saw themselves on the endangered list.

Continue reading by clicking the above link.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The insanity of baggage fees

From the New York Times:

“The difference between Southwest and other airlines is striking,” said George Merkle, a credit counseling executive from San Antonio who flies about once a month and prefers Southwest largely because of its no-fee policy. On a Southwest flight from Baltimore to San Antonio in November, he said, he and his wife were able to store their jackets into the overhead bins because there was so much room. He cited, by contrast, a recent Frontier Airlines flight where many passengers carried on their luggage to avoid the $20 fee to check a bag. “Boarding seemed to drag on interminably,” he said. “People were dragging bags of many sizes on.”
The carry-on crunch has pitted passenger against passenger as the race for space ensues. Like many other fliers, Mr. Merkle has arrived at his seat only to find the bin space above it jammed with the bags of passengers who boarded before him and picked out bin space randomly as they headed toward the rear of the plane. To find a spot for his bag, he had to walk several rows back. “On deplaning, I had to struggle against the flow,” he said. “No one had any mercy.” 

Click the above link to read more