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FIRST PHOTOS: ANA 787-9 First Commercial Flight 

Read our latest post w/ Global Business Travel to learn how to “unmanage” your #travel to slash costs + earn cash

Filling out your Customs forms? There’s an app for that ..

Airlines Are Unlocking New Value In Their Frequent Flier Programs via @businessinsider 

“Unmanage” your travel to slash costs and earn cash

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

main watching plane at airportIt’s a popular misconception that companies will lose out on business travel discounts if they use an open travel platform. Finding a company who provides business rates with an open booking platform is tricky. Even harder to find is one paying cash back on just about every booking, every flight, every hotel, and every rental.

ExpertFlyer caught up with Shannon Fore, Director of National Accounts at Global Travel for Business, a unique unmanaged business travel booking engine that purports to provide a wealth of travel product and cash back incentives.  According to Fore, there is no doubt a cost associated with traditional managed travel. Some companies charge per employee, per month, some charge a flat annual fee based on corporate size, as well as reporting capabilities. For example, many managed travel companies charge a per transaction service fee of $25-$55. So, if a company does 3,000 transactions a year this amounts to a bill of $165,000 just to pick up the phone! The determining factor in whether or not this Managed platform cost is worth its weight in gold can be summed up in terms of savings. Do the savings outweigh the costs?

Fore says, based on her research, that unmanaged travelers spend a third less per trip compared to managed travelers. It was also determined that unmanaged or open travel bookers experienced a higher level of employee satisfaction since, in fact, they were in charge of their trip — down to seat choice, hotel choice and carrier choice. The alternative is being at the mercy of a managed travel booker who carries the purse strings, as well as criterion which goes with there company travel policy.

Faced with increasing travel costs, tax hikes, fuel surcharges and the like, companies are urgently looking for savings opportunities more than ever. Seems like now’s a good time to explore options, such as open travel platforms that have no set up fee, no transaction fees and no monthly service fees.

“Did you know…The Guy in the Window Seat Wants to Talk to You?”

talking on a placeWhy don’t airline passengers, sitting inches apart for hours on end, utter a single word to one another?  Most likely, because we assume that the other person doesn’t want to talk and we rather not risk annoying anyone.

Since the ups and downs of air travel always pique our interest, we were drawn in by a recent New York Times article written by Jeff Kaye, a co-C.E.O. of the executive search firm Kaye/Bassman-Sanford Rose Associates and C.E.O. of the recruiting training company, Next Level Exchange.  Since the 1990s, Jeff has been contradicting the assumption that our seat mates don’t want to engage.  In fact, he says, about 90% of people DO like to chat and share.  Since Jeff travels all the time and all around the world for business, he makes a regular habit of greeting fellow passengers and asking a few polite questions.  In addition to interesting company, he’s been rewarded with advice, recommendations and anecdotes that made the trip fly and in many cases left him a little bit smarter.

Next time you’re on a plane, say hello to your seat mate.  You never know where the conversation will take you.  Read the entire story here:

Keeping your Identity Safe While Traveling: Part 1

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

identity theftMost travelers give little thought to protecting their identity, and with theft of personal and financial information being one of the largest growing crimes – both domestically and internationally, travelers need to take extra precautions due to their built-in vulnerability while on the road.  We talked with Travel Security expert and consultant, Detective Kevin Coffey, and he’ll share effective strategies to guard against scammers and slick identity thieves while traveling for business or pleasure.

Tips to think about before you go…

  • Social Networking Sites

It just does not happen to celebrities so don’t announce the dates of your travel on your Facebook page. That’s like issuing an open-invitation to thieves. Some ID thieves are known to monitor social networking sites because travelers like to announce their travel plans on them.  ID thieves will sometimes use this time to take over your email accounts and send emails to your friends saying you have fallen victim to some type of emergency while traveling and need cash.  Since they have taken over your email account while you’re in the air, you may know about this for some time.

  • Notify Credit Card Companies Before You Go

Let your credit-card company know if you’ll be traveling (especially internationally) because bank and credit card fraud departments are more vigilant about any unusual activity on your card, which can be a great way to detect a problem. But if you’re away from home when the bank calls to verify the charges, you could end up with a frozen account while you’re out of town. Avoid the hassles and notify your bank before you leave home.  Consider giving them additional numbers to contact you while on the road in case unauthorized charges pop-up during your trip. Continue reading →

“Did you know…Overseas airlines are auctioning off upgrades?”

(Wall Street Journal)

plusgrade logo

Plusgrade auction technology

New York-based Plusgrade, a sophisticated software auction platform that enables airlines to offer travelers the opportunity to upgrade their travel experience, may be powering a new trend in air travel, awards and upgrades.

The Wall Street Journal reports that airlines overseas have started auctioning off upgrades, with travelers in economy or premium-economy cabins bidding against each other for seats that offer better space, food, service and sleep.  Plusgrade’s chief executive, Ken Harris, stated in an interview with WSJ that the auction technology may be coming to the U.S. soon.

Read the full WSJ article here.