Happy Sunday to all our travel friends, both near and far. Here are some articles we’ve read from other bloggers (and other sources) that we think you may like, so we’re passing them along.
- Airlines spent the better part of 2020 granting status extensions to their frequent customers once it was evident that the COVID pandemic would be lasting longer than everyone hoped it would. Now we’re almost 1/4 of the way through 2021 and people still aren’t traveling for business or pleasure. Of course, there’s hope that in a few months, with more people being vaccinated, case numbers will drop and travel restrictions will be lifted resulting in a meaningful increase in travel. Still, people aren’t going to travel enough in the back half of the year to meet the reduced goals to keep status for 2022. Should airlines offer another pass for 2021 and start fresh for 2022? More important, should you even care about having status anymore?
- Hotel chains put plenty of effort into creating brand names and they sure do have a lot of them. The customer’s benefit is that you’ll have an idea of what type of hotel you’re booking. If I’m staying at a Holiday Inn Express, Hampton Inn or Courtyard by Marriott, the hotel’s interior will look the same no matter where I am. Higher-end hotels tend to vary more in design but you’re getting the same experience at every hotel. St. Regis hotels may look different but you’re going to get the same level of service at all of them, theoretically. But when a brand says one thing and does another, as these examples from stays at different Hyatt Centric properties show. While we’ve stayed at a Hyatt Centric and weren’t thrilled, I blamed the problems on the property, not the chain. It’s starting to sound more like the problem we have with W Hotels where I’m not sure what we’re going to get when staying there but whatever it is, we generally aren’t huge fans.
- United Airlines is going to start sharing customer feedback received from customer surveys directly with its flight attendants. First, I wonder why they’ve waited this long to start doing this? Why gather information if it’s not to improve your service? It’s also interesting that the internal memo stresses that the move is not meant to be punitive but to increase transparency. If you have to tell your workers something isn’t being done to punish them, it means things you’ve done in the past were designed to punish them, or as least that’s how they were perceived. You have to give workers positive and constructive feedback. If it’s all negative, then they’re going to feel they’re not doing anything right. And if that was how United was running things, I don’t feel bad that we’ve avoided flying with them.
- Cruising has been on hold in the US for almost a year. Alaska cruise lines were shut down for the 2020 season when Canada banned ships from leaving its ports in May. In February of 2021, Canada extended the ban through February of 2022. Canada’s move prevents cruising to Alaska from the Northwest US because of laws regarding foreign ships operating between US ports. It’s complicated, but it’s the reason why all ships either start in or stop at a Canadian port when traveling to Alaska. With US COVID cases dropping, vaccination numbers going up and people looking to travel, the two US Senators from Alaska are looking to get a bill passed that, temporarily, allows cruise ships to leave Seattle or other US ports for Alaska cruises.
- When people stopped traveling, airports cut down on services to match the decreased demand. This was especially true when it came to airport lounges. At the peak of the downturn, 80% of Orlando Airport’s lounges were closed. All but one has now reopened, offering limited services. Since we’re not flying yet, we can’t get a first-hand view of what changes lounges have made during COVID. However, other people are flying, and here’s a look at what one of our favorite Orlando lounges looks like during the pandemic.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary