Crystal Cruises to Restore SS United States

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Crystal Cruises announced something truly unique this morning, its intent to revitalize the fastest oceanliner in the world, the S.S. United States. “The prospect of revitalizing the SS United States and reestablishing her as ‘America’s Flagship’ once again is a thrilling one. It will be a very challenging undertaking, but we are determined to apply the dedication and innovation that has always been the ship’s hallmark,” says Crystal President and CEO Edie Rodriguez. “We are honored to work with the SS United States Conservancy and government agencies in exploring the technical feasibility study so we can ultimately embark on the journey of transforming her into a sophisticated luxury cruise liner for the modern era.” I have written about “The Big U” before.…

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Thoughts on Richard: Not Nixon

Delta Air Lines announced the semi-expected retirement of its CEO, Richard Anderson, today. Ed Bastian will succeed Anderson as CEO, and Glen Hauenstein will be elevated to President of Delta. I met Richard just once, and I found him to be remarkably affable. While I’m sure he has his CEO moments, he honestly struck me as someone that would be OK to sit down and have a beer with. That’s about the nicest thing I’ve ever said about any airline CEO. Though I still wish I had asked him these two questions. Change is hard, and the last few years have seen a lot of remarkable change in the airline industry. I’d opine that Richard Anderson has played a major…

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Delta Introduces New Luvo Wraps

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Delta Air Lines introduced an updated collection of healthy Luvo Wraps on domestic flights today. According to Delta, each wrap is made with high-quality ingredients that elevate flavor and taste, including fresh vegetables, nutty whole grains, and savory chicken without antibiotics. The wraps have limited sodium and added sugar and no artificial colors, sweeteners or flavors. Each wrap contains less than 500 calories, is packed with nutritional value, and contains satisfying servings of protein. The new options are available for purchase for all Delta Comfort+ and Main Cabin customers traveling on flights greater than 1,400 miles within the U.S., the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico. On Delta’s premium transcontinental services between JFK – LAX and JFK – SFO, the wraps are…

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Zumba Cruise, Some Best of, and More

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Back from vacation. Tanned (over tanned actually), rested, and ready to rumble. MrsMJ and I were away on a 5-day Caribbean cruise, actually the 2016 Zumba Cruise. Stop laughing…it was the real deal. Of course, I was accompanying MrsMJ, the Zumba Instructor, but believe it or not, I attended one class per day. MrsMJ? She attended 13 classes over 5 days. She wins. I’m preparing an article for publishing on the InsideFlyer brand about the experience, specifically the uniqueness of cruising on an affinity charter where I was a little out of my element. Hint: I had a ball…..seriously. And I worked out too. In the meantime, let’s recap some of the content from the week. New Rewards in Atlanta:…

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Best of: Revenue Based Loyalty-Wearing Shades in a Dark Room

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Note: This is a “Best of” post from 2014. Like other “Best of” posts, it was picked based on page views received. What is most interesting about this post other than jokes about shade glasses? We now know the direction that American has chosen. Gary says he’s glad my frequent flyer future is so bright that I have to wear shades. Admittedly, I’ve thought for a long time that change was coming to the frequent flyer landscape, it has just taken longer than I imagined. In a true “Forest Gump” moment almost 10 years ago (gasp…time flies), I was privy to a conversation between some airline people, a few with names many of you would likely recognize. The gist of the conversation – the things that…

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Best of: Airline Loyalty in 2016

As much as 2015 was a defining year for airline loyalty, 2016 holds even more promise…… or peril…. depending on your perspective. Rather than the single greatest marketing innovation “ever,” frequent flyer programs as they’ve historically been structured may turn out to simply be the single greatest marketing innovation of the early 1980s. (Feature image credit: Shutterstock) What Happened to Airline Loyalty Programs? A confluence of events that has been building for years. A focus on financials – Over time in the late 80s to very early 2000s, airline management tilted away from operations and marketing people running things to an environment where managers with a focus on finance took control. While there were a few fits and starts, generally, those financial managers began to question…

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Best of: Cruise Line Drink Packages

If you read the blog often, you know that I have a cruise coming up. Specifically, Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas. It’s a pretty lengthy 11-night cruise to the Caribbean from New York. Sailing from the New York area in December means a couple of things. First, it’s going to be chilly at the beginning and the end of the cruise, and warm in the middle. Second, we are going to have a string of successive sea days at the beginning and the end of the cruise as well. For these, and a few other reasons, I have decided to purchase the “Ultimate” drink package for MrsMJ and myself. Let’s look at a few details. (Note: When I reference pricing, please remember…

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Best of: Amex Platinum – The Annual Conversation

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American Express has been taking it on the chin lately. Losing Costco, Starwood program in jeopardy with Marriott buyout, etc. But for many business travelers, there’s been an old reliable card in our wallets for years, the Amex Platinum….and hey…if you’re lucky and/or good, the Centurion Card. Each year, the sizable $450 annual fee hits about this time, and I have a conversation with myself every year. The hefty annual fee is one I have continued to pay because of the benefits that come with the card. The benefits I value most in no particular order are: Cruise Privileges Starwood Preferred Guest Gold Hilton Gold Sky Club Access A smattering of rental car statuses (Avis, Hertz, National) Access to the Centurion Lounges at…

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Commentary: Cheap Oil is Near Term Positive

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I have warned of the hidden dangers of airlines and cheap oil before. The biggest being a loss of focus and discipline at airlines by both management and labor. Those dangers are still out there and I expect we’ll see them come into play sooner rather than later, but let’s be positive for a minute. Lower oil prices ultimately translate into lower transportation costs for many of the things we buy from tomatoes to televisions, and of course cheap oil flows right through to the bottom line of airlines. Here’s another little benefit – airlines start doing things they wouldn’t do before like add several new flights at LAX or placing an Airbus on the DFW to Boise route. And…

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New Rewards in ATL: Uber VIP

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Uber VIP has arrived in Atlanta. What is Uber VIP? A rewards program for Uber’s most frequent riders. How do you become an Uber VIP in Atlanta? Complete 10 rides per month. When you hit 10 rides, the VIP option will appear in the Uber app. According to Uber, “No matter how or where you Uber, we want to reward you for it. Complete ten rides per month and unlock an upgraded Uber experience that grants you access exclusive offers from our partners and the highest-quality rides.” And there’s more – “Sneak peak: Exclusive partners for February include: HUX, PeachDish, Murphy’s, and more!” What Do You Get? According to Uber, An Exclusive Experience – Advance access to Uber promotions and exclusive giveaways for VIP riders only.…

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