Interesting question. One that in years past could be answered with an emphatic “YES!” However…. Things are changing in the frequent flyer game, and the airlines know this. Most frequent travelers are members of almost all frequent traveler programs, be it an airline, hotel or car program.  It’s not necessarily because they want to. Rather, it’s a sign of the times.

American Airlines and US Airways have been talking for almost a year about the possibility of a merger of the two airlines. Resolution is very near, but a few snags have come up. Issue such as each airlines unions, future management team, as well as basic corporate ideology are just a few wrinkles in the deal.

As many of you may know, hotel prices are mimicking other industry pricing formats. In other words, they are climbing. The average daily hotel rate (ADR) growth in 2012 was strongest in the Americas with an ADR increase of almost 4% year over year.

If you are traveling to the Dallas / Ft. Worth airport in the near future, expect to see the car rental counters a bit more crowded. A brand-new rental firm called Silvercar has opened its first outlet at Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport, offering a technology-reliant business model that it says should appeal to time-stressed business travelers.

Today’s traveler has to deal with a number of security issues. Whether it’s the security of their home while they are away, or the security of parking their car at the airport parking lot. Most people think of “travel security” as the ritual one does of partial undressing before being allowed into the airport terminal. Notice I didn’t say anything about the “full body scanners”…. ooops – I just did.

1) You can't board the plane unless you have the exact change.

2) Before you take off, the flight attendant tells you to fasten your Velcro.

It sounds like travelers CAN make a difference after all. After months of travelers complaining about the TSA invading their privacy by being forced to go through airport security scanners (that showed EVERYTHING a traveler had on them), the U.S. Transportation Security Administration announced Friday that it will remove body-imaging machines that display what some people have described as naked images of travelers.

CUSTOMER: Hi, how much is your paint? 

CLERK: Well, sir, that all depends. 
 
CUSTOMER: Depends on what? 
 
CLERK: Actually, a lot of things. 

Since Southwest Airlines' annoucement last year of the agreement to purchase AirTran, the once “low cost carrier” has morphed into an airline looking a lot more like its brethren. While Southwest, for now, is still not charging for luggage, they have shown inclinations to model the merged airlines after the policies set by AirTran. Revamping their best-in-class frequent flyer program was just the beginning.

Each year at this time, those in the know don their Nostradamus hats and try to predict what will be in store for the world of travel. These projections are usually close as indicators for air, car and hotel have been relatively consistent for the past few years: airfares – up 4 – 7%; hotels – rates up 5 – 6%, occupancy up 3 – 5%, and car rental, despite their need to increase prices, remain stuck in a 2 – 4% increase. Below are forecasts given by numerous  travel groups.

One of the most irritating things for people who manage travel is all of the ancillary fees the airlines charge. What is even more frustrating are the hidden profits the airlines are making. Domestic airlines in 2011 reaped over $21 Billion in additional fees. By the end of 2013, these ancillary fees are expected to top $40 Billion.

Great news for all TravelPlex customers! Travel Weekly announced important news for those who use The Signature Travel Network, the launch of a new program to boost awareness of new and recently remodeled hotels.

You may have been watching the legal struggles between the airlines and the reservations systems developing over the past several years.  The most heated issue currently is between American Airlines and Travelport, which is a reservation system that provides content to thousands of travel agencies all over the world.

Money is tight and people are looking for ways to get the biggest bang for their vacation buck.  With more and more value-conscious consumers turning to cruises, the industry continues to grow and play a vital role in our economy.  In the following article, Christine Duffy, President of CLIA, talks about how the cruise industry is supporting new job growth and sustainability.

Amy Bertrand of STLtoday.com picks the brain of Donna Oliver, Sr. VP at TravelPlex Travel & Cruise.  They discuss how to be a smart traveler, the allure of cruises, alternative cruises to events such as the Winter Solstice for the Mayan calendar, and more.

On Oct. 31, 2012 American Airlines and Travelport released a joint statement acknowledging an agreement had not been reached as of the end of the contract date, but both parties were continuing to work towards a “new long-term agreement”.