Get Connected | Contact Us

Fees, Fees, and More Fees

by Lux Joseph 11. July 2014

Fees for bags, fees for the lounge, and fees for in-flight beverages…the list goes on. Years ago a traveler would purchase a ticket and the sale would be complete. In today’s travel world, the sale is far from complete once you have your airline ticket. Furthermore, some recent announcements show that fees are not going anywhere. For most businesses, once fees are implemented that rarely if never go away. As a traveler, it is important to know the fees that you pay and what they are going to.

The bi-partisan budget agreement in 2013 is what is going to be affecting the restructuring of the passenger fee from TSA. Currently the fees that are in place are $2.50 per leg on a connecting flight with a one way cap of $5.00 and a roundtrip cap of $10.00. These fees will now be a flat fee of $5.60 per one way travel and $11.20 for round trip. These fees go to support t a variety of aviation security expenses.

While the aviation security fees increase may seem practical and necessary to ensure the safety of travel, those fees are not the only ones being introduced around the world. Venezuela’s largest international airport recently imposed a “breathing tax”. Maiquetia International Airport in Caracas recently installed a new air purification system and for those passengers departing out of CCS, they will have to pay a 127 bolivar per-person tax to cover this new piece of equipment. Essentially they have to pay to breathe clean air as this new system will serve to protect the health of travelers and eliminate bacterial growth. While this is beneficial to the travelers, should this expense be passed on to the travelers? Or should this be an overhead cost that the airport absorbs the expense?

Depending on the industry or arena of work, fees are applicable for different situations. Travel agents, including our in-house travel, have a fee for their services. We pay the travel agent for their expertise, knowledge, experience, and guidance. For Commercial Medical Escorts, the cost savings from using our travel agent far exceeds the fees paid. For a long time, American Express Platinum card holders were able to access the Delta Sky Lounge including one guest complimentary. However, as of recently American Express Platinum card holders have to pay a fee of $29.00 for their guest. Complimentary Sky Lounge access for members and their guests was once a benefit of being an American Express Platinum Card Holder, but now it is now another revenue opportunity for the credit card company.

When fees are implemented in any industry, it is important that the consumers see where their money is going and that it has a positive effect. Unfortunately most programs around the world that have new fees imposed are unable to effectively explain or show the benefit to the consumer whom is paying the fees. As you continue to travel, it is important to check with your airline of travel to ensure you are up to date with the most recent fees you can be expected to pay. A great resource for this information is:   http://i.slimg.com/sc/sl/graphic/u/ul/ultimate-guide-to-airline-fees_050114.pdf

Getting Stuck in the Airport

by Lux Joseph 29. June 2014

Travel these days can be fraught with inconveniences, lost baggage and delayed flights among the most familiar of travel woes. But, if you are going to be spending a few “unexpected” hours at an airport, where is it best to be? A recent survey of ASTA travel agents found that domestically, the best airports to be “stuck in” are Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Orlando International Airport. Both airports received an 8-percent share of the responses.

As the "world’s busiest passenger airport," Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson offers travelers more than 200 shopping and dining outlets and a 24,000-square foot executive conference center. Orlando, meanwhile, provides travelers numerous shopping and dining outlets, even an upscale eatery for those with money to burn as well as time to kill.

With an abundance of technological services, including numerous self-service business centers and rapid-charge stations, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport came in third with 6.3 percent of the vote. Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport, with its art gallery, aviation museum and gaming opportunities ranked fourth with 6 percent.

Tied for fifth place (5.4%) were Charlotte Douglas International Airport, with its free WiFi and memorable white rocking chairs in which to while away the hours, and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, which is home to a 4-story tall model of a Brachiosaurus. Need we say more?

Best Domestic Airports to be "Stuck In" 

  

  

Share of total response 

1

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

8.4%

2

Orlando International Airport

8.4%

3

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

6.3%

4

McCarran International (Las Vegas)

6.0%

5

Charlotte Douglas International Airport

5.4%

5

O’Hare International Airport (Chicago)

5.4%

Most of our nurses and physicians when flying connect through Atlanta, Charlotte, and Chicago. When traveling with patients it is important that we provide a significant amount of connection time. A traveler who is traveling on their own may chance the 50 minute legal connection, but during a commercial medical escort, it is important to allow adequate connection time for wheelchairs, customs, and possible terminal changes.

Best International Airports

On the international front, Amsterdam’s Schiphol received the largest number of responses with 23.6 percent. How could it not with a wedding chapel, an array of "snooze" chairs and a casino? Even the restrooms are fun with scenery to make you feel that you are in the heart of Amsterdam.

London’s BAA Heathrow Airport (21.7%), is a shopper’s dream with personal shopping services as well as the shopping collection service (available only to those traveling within the European Union). Tied for third were Frankfort and Singapore’s airports (6.7%). Travelers who find themselves delayed at Singapore’s Changi Airport can take in a movie, play Xbox or, if the mood strikes, head for the nap lounge, while those at Frankfort Airport with a bit more time on their hands can take advantage of the on-site hairdresser, tailor or dry cleaners.

Paris, Charles de Gaulle Airport offers those with an unplanned delay a chance to track down and meet Merhan Karimi Nasseri, the man upon which the movie, The Terminal, was based. Meanwhile, business travelers who find themselves with a lay-over at Hong Kong International Airport (4.5%) can take advantage or airport-wide, free WiFi service.

Best International Airports to be "Stuck In"

 

 

Share of
total response

1

Schiphol Airport (Amsterdam)

23.6%

2

BAA Heathrow (London)

21.7%

3

Frankfurt Airport (Germany)

6.7%

3

Changi Airport (Singapore)

6.7%

4

Charles de Gaulle Airport (Paris)

4.8%

5

Hong Kong International Airport

4.5%

When making travel arrangements, sometimes it’s better to have too much time during a connection than not enough. With the increased number of amenities being added to these airports you will always find something to occupy your time. It’s every traveller’s worst nightmare: having to make a connecting flight, missing said connection and having to scramble to re-work travel plans. Keep this in mind when making your next travel arrangements.

Summer Travel Tips

by Lux Joseph 21. June 2014

With the 4th of July holiday weekend in the near future–and the start of the summer holiday travel season–rapidly approaching, Commercial Medical Escorts offers advice for travelers heading into the busy summer travel season.

 

At CME we encourage you to work with a professional travel consultant to plan your next trip, be it a grand tour of Asia or a long weekend. A professional travel consultant like the one we use can save you both time and money. Sky Cap Corp, our in-house travel management states, “Travel consultants are committed to making their clients’ trip the best travel experience possible. So while the summer travel season is always a busy one, this year if you work with a travel consultant to plan your summer vacations, it doesn’t have to be a frustrating one.”   

 

As part of Commercial Medical Escorts ongoing commitment to provide clients and travelers with useful travel tips, below are recommendations from its consumer Web site, TravelSense.org, to take the hassle out of summer travel:

 

Car Travel Tips 

  • Plan itineraries and arrange accommodations well in advance. Reservations for hotels, restaurants and rental cars get booked quickly during peak travel times. Your travel agent can help you get the lowest rate and make sure your rental car has room for your family, luggage and whatever souvenirs you bring home.
  • Get a tune up. Before any long-distance drive, make sure to have your oil changed and your brakes, fluids and tire pressure checked. The slightest deficiency in air pressure significantly reduces your car’s gas mileage
  • Get an early start to avoid holiday gridlock. Traveling during late night/early morning hours helps. The worst times to travel are after meals since most travelers postpone leaving until they’ve eaten with their families.
  • Choose public transportation. Many U.S. cities now offer public transportation. Chances are, if you are visiting a city this summer, it will be your fastest and most convenient bet for getting around your destination quickly and at low cost. Plus, it’s a positive step for the environment. Ask your travel agent about transportation options available at your destination.
  • Buckle up. Make sure all children weighing less than 80 lbs. are properly restrained in child safety seats at all times. Child seats should be placed in the back seat, and never in front of an airbag. If possible, get a qualified person to check whether your car seat has been properly installed–in many areas local police and trained nurses will check it for free.
  • Don’t forget Fido. Those who are traveling with pets should contact their local agent for pet-friendly hotels along the way. Pet owners should also be reminded never to leave pets waiting in parked cars– temperatures can soar quickly during the sizzling summer months.

 

Air Travel Tips:

  • Book your ticket ASAP. If you must book last minute, remember the key to securing the best deal is flexibility in travel dates–ask your travel agent to check into fares or consider flying into an alternate airport and renting a car. At CME, we are constantly booking last minute tickets due to the nature of our business, but having a dedicated travel team saves our clients a significant amount of money. If your holiday vacation includes international travel, make sure you have appropriate travel documents.  Travel agents can advise you on the new rules.
  • Arrive early. Difficult airport parking, long lines at security checkpoints and the possibility of the airline overselling the flight and bumping passengers, should all be considered when deciding what time to arrive at the airport. Give yourself plenty of extra time. Need some incentive? Keep in mind that those who arrive earliest for an overbooked flight stand the greatest chance of staying onboard.
  • Keep a close eye on all your belongings. Just as airports are extremely crowded during the peak period with travelers, they can also be fraught with thieves working the airports. Be aware of your surroundings and maintain a close watch over tickets, wallets, purses, and other belongings at all times.
  • Avoid getting bumped. 1) Get an advance seat assignment. Passengers with seat assignments are typically only bumped if they arrive late and their seat assignment is released. 2) Check-in online. Most airlines allow you to do so within 24 hours of departure. Seat assignments that were not available at the time of ticketing may be available when checking in online. 3) Don’t be late. If all else fails, get to the airport early.
  • Remember 3-1-1. Regulations limit the amount of gels and liquids passengers can take through security in their carry-on luggage to travel-size toiletries of three (3) ounces or less that fit comfortably in one (1) quart-size, clear plastic zip-top bag and the one (1) bag per passenger must be placed in the screening bin.
  • Know your limits. Pack light and know baggage limits. You cannot carry sports equipment that could be used as a weapon, such as golf clubs and baseball bats. All electronic items are subject to additional screening. Be prepared to remove your laptop from its travel case to be X-rayed separately.

 

At Commercial Medical Escorts, safety is a top priority for our medical escorts and our patients. Providing travel tips and tips surrounding our industry is important to us and we hope that you are able to use this information when traveling this upcoming summer season.

 


© Commercial Medical Escorts. Optimized website design by MoreVisibility.