Commercial Medical Escorts - Blog - Travel Agent Our CME blog will keep you aware of what is going on within the aero medical transport industry and the latest news for Commercial Medical Escorts. http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/ http://www.rssboard.org/rss-specification BlogEngine.NET 2.0.0.36 en-GB http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/opml.axd http://www.dotnetblogengine.net/syndication.axd My name Commercial Medical Escorts - Blog 0.000000 0.000000 Winter Travel Season-- Top 10 Ski Resorts <p>Summer is coming to an end and winter will be just around the corner. Individuals choose to go on vacation and holiday year round. Whether it is a weekend getaway or a weeklong exploration, vacation is an opportunity for people to relax and do some of their favorite activities. The winter season brings opportunities for snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, snowboarding and skiing around the world.</p> <p>Vail, Colo., is the top ski resort in the U.S., according to members of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), while Whistler in Canada is the best for skiing outside of the U.S.</p> <p>Vail was chosen by 23 percent of those surveyed mainly because it is a large ski area with plenty of accommodations, has different skill levels and has the right ratio of social activities to skiing to keep clients happy. Several agents said their choice of Vail was based entirely on the feedback from their customers, with one saying “my opinion doesn’t matter; my clients ask for Vail and return to Vail more than any other ski resort.” </p> <p>Following Vail were:  Aspen, Colo. (15%); Park City, Utah (10%); Breckenridge, Colo. (9%); Steamboat Springs, Colo. (6%); Beaver Creek, Colo. (3%); Snowmass in Aspen (2%); Telluride, Colo. (2%); Keystone, Colo. (2%); and Jackson Hole, Wyo. (2%).</p> <p>Whistler, Canada, was chosen by 18% of respondents for its proximity to the U.S., beauty and good accommodations. Said one agent: “It is easy for Americans to reach and the village has lots of things for families to do.”</p> <p>Rounding out the top 10 international ski resorts are: Zermatt, Switzerland (15%); St. Moritz, Switzerland (11%);  Innsbrook, Austria (8%); Chamonix, France (4%); Banff, Canada (3%); Davos, Switzerland (3%); Val d’Isere, France (3%); Kitzbuhel, Austria (3%); and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy (2%).</p> <p>As you start to plan your winter vacation, consider some of the key winter locations that boast 300+ inches of snow a year. Many of our nurses will travel to these winter destinations to bring your loved ones home via commercial airline. Our escorts sometimes will pick up a patient in 80 degree weather and return them to a climate in which the weather is below 20 degrees.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">  </span>This is the nature of the business and their suitcase is always packed for dramatic climate changes.</p> <p>We encourage you to engage in those winter activities that you love the most, but please ensure you consider safety when going down those triple diamond trails. We suggest all travelers purchase travel insurance and be aware of your surroundings. Safe travels this upcoming winter season.</p> http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/09/03/Winter-Travel-Season-Top-10-Ski-Resorts-in-the-US-Abroad-.aspx http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/09/03/Winter-Travel-Season-Top-10-Ski-Resorts-in-the-US-Abroad-.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=390543da-3cb8-48ae-a883-45a69f204830 Thu, 03 Sep 2015 15:57:00 -1200 Senior Travel Travel Agent Travel Stories Travel Tips Lux Joseph http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/pingback.axd http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=390543da-3cb8-48ae-a883-45a69f204830 0 http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/trackback.axd?id=390543da-3cb8-48ae-a883-45a69f204830 http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/09/03/Winter-Travel-Season-Top-10-Ski-Resorts-in-the-US-Abroad-.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/syndication.axd?post=390543da-3cb8-48ae-a883-45a69f204830 Beware of Tourist Scams When Traveling Abroad <p><span style="font-family: Arial; font-size: small;">Summer is the season for our medical escorts to be traveling to/from Europe on a weekly basis. Although Commercial Medical Escorts moves patients in and out of Europe throughout the year, summer is the most favorable time of year for travelers to see the Amalfi Coast of Italy, the heart of Paris, and the other magnificent destinations throughout Europe. Pictures and stories depict Europe as a great place to visit, but as a tourist CME reminds you to be cognizant of your surroundings and stay away from “tourist traps”.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph;"><span style="font-family: Arial; font-size: small;">U.S News reports the top ten European cities as:</span></p> <ol> <li><span style="font-size: small; font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Rome</strong></span></li> <li><span style="font-size: small; font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;"></strong><strong style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Paris</strong></span></li> <li><span style="font-size: small; font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">London</span></li> <li><span style="font-size: small; font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;"></strong><strong style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Florence</strong></span></li> <li><span style="font-size: small; font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;"></strong><strong style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Barcelona</strong></span></li> <li> <span style="font-size: small; font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Amsterdam </span></li> <li> <span style="font-size: small; font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Prague</span></li> <li> <span style="font-size: small; font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Berlin</span></li> <li> <span style="font-size: small; font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Venice </span></li> <li><span style="font-size: small; font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Vienna</span></li> </ol> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">Of these top ten destinations, three of the cities are in countries where tourist scams are most prevalent. Spain is the number one ranking country in Europe known for tourist and holiday scams. Italy and France follow close behind. Every day travelers to these areas have a high chance that they could become a victim of one of these scams. Some of the most common scams include pickpockets, over-charging taxi drivers, charging a hidden tourist tax at hotels, street vendor tactics, and street crime.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">In an article written by Hugh Morris from The Daily Telegraph, he provides statistics from a study which travelers were scammed: <br /></span></p> <table class="MsoNormalTable" style="mso-cellspacing: 1.5pt; mso-yfti-tbllook: 1184;" border="0" cellpadding="0"> <thead> <tr style="mso-yfti-irow: 0; mso-yfti-firstrow: yes;"> <td style="padding: .75pt .75pt .75pt .75pt;"> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;"><strong>Rank</strong></span></p> </td> <td style="padding: .75pt .75pt .75pt .75pt;"> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;"><strong>Country</strong></span></p> </td> <td style="padding: .75pt .75pt .75pt .75pt;"> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;"><strong>Percentage of Individuals scammed</strong></span></p> </td> </tr> </thead> <tbody> <tr style="mso-yfti-irow: 1;"> <td style="padding: .75pt .75pt .75pt .75pt;"> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">1</span></p> </td> <td style="padding: .75pt .75pt .75pt .75pt;"> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">Spain</span></p> </td> <td style="padding: .75pt .75pt .75pt .75pt;"> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">21.5</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr style="mso-yfti-irow: 2;"> <td style="padding: .75pt .75pt .75pt .75pt;"> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">2</span></p> </td> <td style="padding: .75pt .75pt .75pt .75pt;"> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">France</span></p> </td> <td style="padding: .75pt .75pt .75pt .75pt;"> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">14.8</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr style="mso-yfti-irow: 3;"> <td style="padding: .75pt .75pt .75pt .75pt;"> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">3</span></p> </td> <td style="padding: .75pt .75pt .75pt .75pt;"> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">Italy</span></p> </td> <td style="padding: .75pt .75pt .75pt .75pt;"> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">10.2</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr style="mso-yfti-irow: 4;"> <td style="padding: .75pt .75pt .75pt .75pt;"> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">4</span></p> </td> <td style="padding: .75pt .75pt .75pt .75pt;"> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">Turkey</span></p> </td> <td style="padding: .75pt .75pt .75pt .75pt;"> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">8.4</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr style="mso-yfti-irow: 5;"> <td style="padding: .75pt .75pt .75pt .75pt;"> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">5</span></p> </td> <td style="padding: .75pt .75pt .75pt .75pt;"> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">Austria</span></p> </td> <td style="padding: .75pt .75pt .75pt .75pt;"> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">8.1</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr style="mso-yfti-irow: 6;"> <td style="padding: .75pt .75pt .75pt .75pt;"> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">6</span></p> </td> <td style="padding: .75pt .75pt .75pt .75pt;"> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">Greece</span></p> </td> <td style="padding: .75pt .75pt .75pt .75pt;"> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">7.5</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr style="mso-yfti-irow: 7;"> <td style="padding: .75pt .75pt .75pt .75pt;"> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">7</span></p> </td> <td style="padding: .75pt .75pt .75pt .75pt;"> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">Belgium</span></p> </td> <td style="padding: .75pt .75pt .75pt .75pt;"> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">7</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr style="mso-yfti-irow: 8;"> <td style="padding: .75pt .75pt .75pt .75pt;"> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">8</span></p> </td> <td style="padding: .75pt .75pt .75pt .75pt;"> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">UK</span></p> </td> <td style="padding: .75pt .75pt .75pt .75pt;"> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">5.4</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr style="mso-yfti-irow: 9;"> <td style="padding: .75pt .75pt .75pt .75pt;"> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">9</span></p> </td> <td style="padding: .75pt .75pt .75pt .75pt;"> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">Armenia</span></p> </td> <td style="padding: .75pt .75pt .75pt .75pt;"> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">4.4</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr style="mso-yfti-irow: 10; mso-yfti-lastrow: yes; height: 3.5pt;"> <td style="padding: .75pt .75pt .75pt .75pt; height: 3.5pt;"> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">10</span></p> </td> <td style="padding: .75pt .75pt .75pt .75pt; height: 3.5pt;"> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">Cyprus</span></p> </td> <td style="padding: .75pt .75pt .75pt .75pt; height: 3.5pt;"> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">4.4</span></p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;"> CME strongly encourages our nurses and physicians to take necessary safety precautions when traveling abroad. Our operations team does a full safety review of each destination to ensure our escorts are aware of the safety protocols and current social environment at each location. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;"> The USTIA provides the following tips to prevent common scams when traveling:</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">Once you have arrived, here are some top travel scams you want to be on the lookout for:</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;"><br /> 1. <strong>Credit Card Confusion</strong> – You’re relaxing late at night in your hotel room after a long day. The phone rings, and the clerk at the desk explains there has been a mix-up on your paperwork and credit card number information.  They would like to read the credit card number to you to verify that it’s correct.  They provide you with the last 4 digits of your card number and ask you to verify that it’s correct (it won’t be).  After you explain the number is incorrect, they sound confused and ask you to read back the entire number. Once you read the entire card number they claim to have found the form and all is well. You’ve just been scammed!</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">What to Do When The Phone Rings: </span></p> <ul style="margin-top: 0in;" type="disc"> <li class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph; mso-list: l4 level1 lfo2; tab-stops: list .5in;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">Never give your credit card information over the phone from your hotel room.  </span></li> <li class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph; mso-list: l4 level1 lfo2; tab-stops: list .5in;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">Go downstairs to the hotel registration desk in person should any “questions” arise in regards to your reservations or payment details.  </span></li> </ul> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;"><strong> </strong></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;"><strong>2. Taxi Cab Scam</strong> – You’re standing in the hotel’s official taxi line waiting. Suddenly you hear “taxi?” and turn to see a nicely dressed person motioning for you to leave the line. You notice the 15 people waiting in front of you and think bypassing the line might be a good idea; after all, you’re in a hurry! </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">Do not take the offer! Scam artists are known for posing as taxi drivers. Accepting a ride risks more than your wallet, and you might become a victim.  Once you are in the car, these con artists may take you to a deserted area and then assault and/or rob you of your luggage, money and other valuables. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">What to Do If Approached: </span></p> <ul style="margin-top: 0in;" type="disc"> <li class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo3; tab-stops: list .5in;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">All official taxis should have the car number and company plainly visible on the outside. Check for it – if you don’t see it, don’t accept a ride. </span></li> <li class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo3; tab-stops: list .5in;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">Visibly examine the rate “sheet” and/or the meter when you get into the car. This may keep the driver from getting any ideas about hiking up the per mile rate after you’ve started toward your destination.  </span></li> <li class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo3; tab-stops: list .5in;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">If you’re unsure about where and how to catch a proper taxi, check with your hotel concierge for a recommendation. </span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;"><strong>3. Helping Hand</strong> – Walking in a crowded tourist attraction, you suddenly find you’ve been bumped and food or drink spilled on your clothes. The kind stranger who jostled you offers to lend you a helping hand to clean up. While helping you, the stranger also helps him or herself to your wallet.  </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">What to Do: </span></p> <ul style="margin-top: 0in;" type="disc"> <li class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo4; tab-stops: list .5in;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">Stay alert in a crowd! Any attempt to divert your attention or jostle you should be treated as a pick pocketing attempt. </span></li> <li class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo4; tab-stops: list .5in;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">Divide up any money that you are carrying between your pockets, socks, shirt, wallet and any other areas you can think of. It is unlikely that a thief will be able to reach all the different areas where your money is stored should you be targeted.  </span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">4<strong>. The Deal of a Lifetime</strong> – This one may happen prior to departure!  These scam artists will offer you hotel or other accommodations in a travel hot spot for a ridiculously low price. The goal is to relieve you of your money as quickly as possible. To do this, they might offer you a “bonus” or a “prize” for purchasing. Typically the prizes sound great, but are not as advertised.   </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;"> <br /> What to Listen For:</span></p> <ul style="margin-top: 0in;" type="disc"> <li class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo5; tab-stops: list .5in;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">Time sensitive Offer – “only good for next few minutes…” </span></li> <li class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo5; tab-stops: list .5in;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">Warnings - “you can’t tell anyone about this!” or “only one package is available...” </span></li> <li class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo5; tab-stops: list .5in;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">Verbal pauses - “ahs” and “ums” </span></li> </ul> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">If you are approached, do not agree to purchase without first verifying that the company is legitimate. In the U.S., you can do this by inquiring about the company’s liability Insurance. Any legitimate company should have liability insurance. If not, it should be a red flag that things aren’t on the up and up. Remember, if a trip seems too good to be true, offers too many prizes or bonuses or is below market cost, then it probably isn’t a legitimate offer.<br /> <br /> If possible, use a credit card when paying for your tickets, hotel, car rental and attraction fares. This ensures you can dispute any charges if you do get scammed without actually being out money from your bank account.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">Be smart when you travel. Make sure you purchase travel insurance and always know your surroundings. Commercial Medical Escorts believes safety and security is the number one priority and so should you!</span></p> http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/07/22/Beware-of-Tourist-Scams-When-Traveling-Abroad.aspx http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/07/22/Beware-of-Tourist-Scams-When-Traveling-Abroad.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=326247c9-6cd3-4886-acb1-f3369ac434c5 Wed, 22 Jul 2015 15:45:00 -1200 CME News Senior Travel Travel Agent Travel Tips Lux Joseph http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/pingback.axd http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=326247c9-6cd3-4886-acb1-f3369ac434c5 0 http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/trackback.axd?id=326247c9-6cd3-4886-acb1-f3369ac434c5 http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/07/22/Beware-of-Tourist-Scams-When-Traveling-Abroad.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/syndication.axd?post=326247c9-6cd3-4886-acb1-f3369ac434c5 CME Offers Advice to Help Keep Summer Travelers Cool <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">Recent headlines are full of reports predicting that this summer will be a record-breaker when it comes to airline passengers being bumped from their flights. For many, the prospect of being bumped is frustrating at best, and for those who are unaware of their rights, the results can be maddening, not to mention costly. Add to that ever-changing security rules and new passport requirements and summer travel can seem daunting. With this in mind, CME has prepared a list of tips to help summer travelers stay calm, cool and collected. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">Airline Bumping: What You Need to Know</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">To avoid being bumped:</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">    Get an advance seat assignment. Passengers with seat assignments are typically only bumped if they arrive late and their seat assignment is released.</span></p> <p><br /><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">    Check-in online. If you do not have an advance seat assignment, or you want to change your seat assignment, 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.</span></p> <p><br /><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">    Don't be late. If all else fails, get to the airport early. Some airlines reserve a portion of their seat assignment inventory for airport check-in. If you are denied a seat assignment at check-in, put your name on the "standby" seat assignment list.</span></p> <p><br /><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">If you are bumped or wish to take advantage of airline's request that you give up your seat:</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">    Know the lingo. Voluntary bumping occurs when a passenger with a confirmed seat assignment agrees to give up his seat for negotiated compensation. It is not regulated by the DOT. Involuntary bumping occurs when an airline forcibly bumps a paid passenger from a flight because it has been oversold. The DOT regulates compensation for involuntary bumping.</span></p> <p><br /><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">    Know what questions to ask. If you volunteer to give up your seat in response to an airline offer of a free ticket, it is important passengers ask about restrictions. Ask about expiration and blackout dates, such as holidays.</span></p> <p><br /><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">    Know your rights. If you are involuntarily denied boarding, and substitute transportation is scheduled to arrive at your destination between one and two hours after your original arrival time (between one and four hours on international flights), the airline must pay you an amount equal to your one-way fare to your final destination, with a $200 maximum. If the substitute transportation is scheduled to get you to your destination more than two hours later (four hours internationally), or if the airline does not make any substitute travel arrangements for you, the compensation doubles (twice the cost of your fare, $400 maximum).</span></p> <p><br /><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">Navigating Security</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">    Remember 3-1-1. New regulations limit the amount of 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. Items purchased after clearing security may be brought on-board. (Visit TravelSense.org to learn about restrictions in Canada, the U.K. and the European Union.)</span></p> <p><br /><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">Traveling Internationally?</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">    Better get a passport. Effective Jan. 1, 2007, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative requires a passport or other accepted document for all air travel from within the Western Hemisphere for citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda. U.S. citizens returning directly from a U.S. territory (Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Swains Island and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) do not need to present a passport.</span></p> <p><br /><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">    Plan (way) ahead. The U.S. State Department's Passport Services unit is experiencing a major backlog in processing applications. Rather than taking four to six weeks, routine applications or renewals are now taking 12 weeks. Even expedited service takes about three to four weeks. And, because the service uses a centralized system, travelers cannot get their documents faster by submitting applications directly to a regional processing facility. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: small;">At CME, our nurses and physicians experience many of these travel challengers on a daily basis when traveling. CAMTS requires all of our medical staff to have travel insurance and we also encourage all travelers to have it. Depending on the type of policy you have, you may be entitled to a variety of benefits when situations such as those described above. Safe travels this summer!</span></p> http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/06/21/CME-Offers-Advice-to-Help-Keep-Summer-Travelers-Cool.aspx http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/06/21/CME-Offers-Advice-to-Help-Keep-Summer-Travelers-Cool.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=8f26f1c5-acfd-400f-9bde-2d11adcf7c78 Sun, 21 Jun 2015 12:59:00 -1200 CME News Senior Travel Travel Agent Travel Stories Travel Tips Lux Joseph http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/pingback.axd http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=8f26f1c5-acfd-400f-9bde-2d11adcf7c78 0 http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/trackback.axd?id=8f26f1c5-acfd-400f-9bde-2d11adcf7c78 http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/06/21/CME-Offers-Advice-to-Help-Keep-Summer-Travelers-Cool.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/syndication.axd?post=8f26f1c5-acfd-400f-9bde-2d11adcf7c78 Loyalty Programs Among Hotels and Airlines Attract Travelers <p class="MsoNormal"> </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%;">Now we all know that hotels seek to give their customers the best in customer satisfaction. As one enjoys their visit and the services offered, one is more inclined to return to that hotel, even prioritize it over many others. Yet hotels strive for more than just excellent services in order to win over the hearts of their customers, such as hotel-loyalty plans. This actually ends up being extremely important, as it increases each customer’s experience and satisfaction with that brand. Thus, like all things, hotels seek to improve and strive to be the best they can be in this regard</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%;"> </span><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small; line-height: 115%;">J.D Powers took a survey of the change in satisfaction with different Hotel Loyalty and Rewards and it turned out that Hilton HHonors and Delta Privileges ended up being a tie for highest ranked satisfaction in their programs. To start, this survey looks at many different part of these loyalty plans, such as how easy it is to redeem points, how easily can one earn points, customer service, and even the rewards themselves. After looking into all of this, J.D. Powers was able to find that the overall satisfaction with these programs had increased from 676 in 2014 to 701 in 2015, along a 1000 point scale. The satisfaction score for Delta and Hilton HHonors both ended up being 727.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small; line-height: 115%;">As the study was going on, several observations were made. For one, it turned out that reviews, awards, and online ratings seemed to help drive the satisfaction of these programs for its members as opposed to just word of mouth. What also aided in the growth of members satisfaction was the ability to earn points from purchases of goods and services. Yet one big factor which even helped people decide which program to sign up with was the convenience of the location compared to where these members planned on going.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small; line-height: 115%;">It’s not hard to see why Delta was tied for first in ultimate membership satisfaction. For simply being a member, one earns the benefits of priority check in and wait list, express checkout, and free high-speed internet access with one’s stay. Yet the benefits continue to grow as one’s membership increases, including getting up to $500 credit for platinum plus members to spend on guest rooms, events, meetings, and dining.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small; line-height: 115%;">Hilton has its own set of rewards as well, which was ranked equal to Delta, including complimentary access to fitness and health centers, every fifth night free, having a second guest stay free (assuming you’re a diamond member), and much more.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="line-height: 115%; font-size: small; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;">The loyalty rewards program has certainly boosted the overall amount of satisfaction that hotel program members have toward the brand they are loyal to, so if you aren’t part of one of these, it may be a good idea to change that quite soon, so long as you do your homework in what works best for you. We recommend speaking with your travel agent to ensure you are enrolled in all the programs available to you as a traveler. Our escorts are constantly flying to different parts around the world and those mileage points on preferred carriers can add up to a complimentary ticket, gift cards, and other great perks that the travel partners use to keep you coming back to their hotel/airline for future travel.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"> </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: small; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;">Hotel Rewards Programs Sources:</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><a style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;" href="http://www.hotelsmag.com/Industry/News/Details/57626" target="_blank">http://www.hotelsmag.com/Industry/News/Details/57626</a></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><a style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;" href="http://hhonors3.hilton.com/en/explore/benefits/index.html" target="_blank">http://hhonors3.hilton.com/en/explore/benefits/index.html</a></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><a style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;" href="https://www.deltahotels.com/Delta-Privilege/Member-Benefits" target="_blank">https://www.deltahotels.com/Delta-Privilege/Member-Benefits</a></p> http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/04/21/Loyalty-Programs-Among-Hotels-and-Airlines-Attract-Travelers.aspx http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/04/21/Loyalty-Programs-Among-Hotels-and-Airlines-Attract-Travelers.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=b18ec7e5-6924-4d72-8632-03428175402a Tue, 21 Apr 2015 08:11:00 -1200 Budget Travel Senior Travel Travel Agent Travel Tips Lux Joseph http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/pingback.axd http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=b18ec7e5-6924-4d72-8632-03428175402a 0 http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/trackback.axd?id=b18ec7e5-6924-4d72-8632-03428175402a http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/04/21/Loyalty-Programs-Among-Hotels-and-Airlines-Attract-Travelers.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/syndication.axd?post=b18ec7e5-6924-4d72-8632-03428175402a Delta Flight 1086 Skids Off Runway at LaGuardia Airport <p>On Thursday, March 5th, Delta Flight 1086, coming from Atlanta, attempted to land in LaGuardia Airport during heavy snow. After the plane touched ground, about halfway through the  7,000 foot long runway it began to slide off towards Flushing Bay, breaking through a fence and stopping on an embankment just short of the icy water.<br /><br />LaGuardia Airport is known for it’s short runways in comparison to other airports and for it’s close location to the waterfront of Flushing Bay.  More so, being close to three other airports, pilots are forced to navigate through tight turns while preparing to land. Since other airports have more runway space, planes landing in them normally glide over part of the runway before landing. John M. Cox, a former US Airways Pilot, now CEO of consultancy Safety Operating Systems, told ABC news “You put the airplane on the ground and land it.”.<br /><br />Should a plane accidentally overshoot the landing, the Federal Aviation Administration made it mandatory that at the end of each runway there should be an engineer materials arrestor system. This would act as a measure to be sure the plane stops, as it’s wheels would sink into the material, acting to slow the plane down. The issue was that the plane began to slide off the runway about halfway through, at 4,000 feet.<br /><br />Because the runway extends onto a steel pier over the water this makes it easy for the runway to freeze over, which would make landing more difficult in very cold conditions. Steve Blazejewski told the New York times that he remembered “skidding forward but veering off to the left.”<br /><br />To add on to what happened, Jared Faellaci stated, “The wheel felt like they didn’t take, we were going so fast.” He goes on to say “One or two seconds later we skidded off to the left side of the runway.  We skidded for about 20 seconds, and you could feel that we had gone off the pavement. It wasn’t a smooth surface anymore, it was very bumpy.”<br /><br />According to Patrick Foye, the executive director of the port authority, the runway had been plowed minutes before the incident. He stated that other pilots who had landed earlier “reported good braking action. ”<br /><br />As the plane approached the river, it was stopped by the bern, which was used to stop the bay from flooding onto the airport runways. Foye said, “The plane did not make contact with the water.” While there was a minor fuel leak, it was quickly dealt with. The passengers made it off the plane safely, using the right wing to get down because the chutes did not deploy.<br /><br />Jared Kaufman, one of the passengers, told ABC news “As we walked across the runway, it was covered with so much snow that I was wondering: who decided it was safe to land here?”<br /><br />The airport was closed for several hours after the incident. At around 2:30, LaGuardia airport reopened one of its runways. It was initially reported that the runway would be closed until 6:00pm however all appropriate parties handled the situation very efficiently.<br /><br />This isn’t the first incident LaGuardia Airport has had during the winter season. On March 2, 1994 Continental Airlines flight 705 began to skid during it’s take off, and found itself on the berm. Around 30 injuries were reported then.<br /><br />There was an earlier incident on March 23, 1992, where a plane, holding 51 passengers, was trying to take off during a snowstorm and ended up crashing into Flushing Bay, killing 27 passengers. <br /><br />At Commercial Medical Escorts, safety is a number one priority for our patients, nurses, physicians, and their families. Our dedicated safety committee in collaboration with our operations team, constantly are reviewing and analyzing our transports to ensure safety protocols are being met. It is important that we look at this from all angles to ensure we deliver our patients with a smiling face and peace of mind for every transport.</p> http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/03/06/Delta-Flight-1086-Skids-Off-Runway-at-LaGuardia-Airport-.aspx http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/03/06/Delta-Flight-1086-Skids-Off-Runway-at-LaGuardia-Airport-.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=53f17b85-0d0a-4160-93ea-359866c3a4cf Fri, 06 Mar 2015 17:19:00 -1200 Travel Agent Travel Stories Travel Tips Lux Joseph http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/pingback.axd http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=53f17b85-0d0a-4160-93ea-359866c3a4cf 0 http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/trackback.axd?id=53f17b85-0d0a-4160-93ea-359866c3a4cf http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/03/06/Delta-Flight-1086-Skids-Off-Runway-at-LaGuardia-Airport-.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/syndication.axd?post=53f17b85-0d0a-4160-93ea-359866c3a4cf Marriott International Continues to Expand Across North America <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/image.axd?picture=2015%2f1%2fmarriot-logo.jpg" alt="" width="307" height="307" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11.0pt; font-family: Arial;">Commercial Medical Escorts has entered into its Caribbean and Canadian travel season. While we transport patients worldwide throughout the year, we definitely can identify and see trends in the different destinations throughout the year. It is very common for our office to move several patients a week back to different parts of Canada including Ontario, Albert, Quebec, and British Colombia.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">  </span>When our escorts typically overnight in Canada one of the major hotel brands that is commonly use is the Delta hotels. However, a recent agreement with a major US hotel chain means changes among upscale hotels in Canada.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11.0pt; font-family: Arial;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11.0pt; font-family: Arial;">Throughout Canada, the Delta brand has a total of 38 hotels. Marriott International saw Canada as a breakthrough in a market which they do not 100% dominate. When individuals stay at hotels throughout Canada, Marriott International is not the first hotel that comes to mind. However Delta, is a brand that is recognized throughout the Canadian market and Marriott saw that as an opportunity for brand success.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">    </span>This major acquisition will increase Marriott International hotel count to 120 in all of Canada. Delta Hotels currently has approximately 10,000 rooms. This acquisition will make Marriott International the largest full-service hotel company in the country.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11.0pt; font-family: Arial;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11.0pt; font-family: Arial;">Throughout the last decade we have observed a variety of large acquisitions within the hospitality industry. The airline industry being one of the biggest players in acquisition has demonstrated the positive and negative effects that it has on consumers. <span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"> </span>Marriott has been aggressively seeking acquisitions to improve its expansion throughout the world. Many companies that expand too quickly find themselves unable to meet their demand, but that doesn’t seem like the future for Marriott. Marriott International has been expanding aggressively so that they can maintain a strong presence in attractive regions throughout the world. Other recent acquisitions include acquiring Protea Hospitality Holdings in Africa and Moxy Hotels in Italy.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11.0pt; font-family: Arial;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11.0pt; font-family: Arial;">When selecting hotels for our escorts to stay in, we consider a variety of things similar to things consumers should consider when making their own hotel reservations. The Internet has become a great resource for individuals, but it isn’t always the most accurate. With today’s technology, hotel pictures can also be deceiving or embellished to look better than they really are. We strongly encourage you to utilize Trip Advisor to read up to date reviews or consult a travel advisor. Marriott is a well-known brand, but as you enter into different countries American brand hotels are not always available. Be smart, research your destination and ensure the hotel meets your needs, but is also in a safe area.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11.0pt; font-family: Arial;"><br /></span></p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/image.axd?picture=2015%2f1%2f171532LOGO.jpg" alt="" width="334" height="334" /></p> http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/01/28/Marriott-International-Continues-to-Expand-Across-North-America.aspx http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/01/28/Marriott-International-Continues-to-Expand-Across-North-America.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=1c1c8e4b-a6e4-4239-bc79-ab4b0695996e Wed, 28 Jan 2015 16:18:00 -1200 Budget Travel Travel Agent Travel Tips Lux Joseph http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/pingback.axd http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=1c1c8e4b-a6e4-4239-bc79-ab4b0695996e 0 http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/trackback.axd?id=1c1c8e4b-a6e4-4239-bc79-ab4b0695996e http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/01/28/Marriott-International-Continues-to-Expand-Across-North-America.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/syndication.axd?post=1c1c8e4b-a6e4-4239-bc79-ab4b0695996e Understanding the Tarmac Delay Rule <p>Every day we have nurses, physicians, and patients traveling to different parts of the world via commercial airlines.  We arrange travel for our clients on more than twenty airlines and in a single day we can have more than ten transports occurring simultaneously.  With this data, one can only imagine the number of delays that can occur since we are using commercial airlines. It is one of the challenges CME and other medical escort companies face however; it is one challenge that cannot be avoided. Sky Cap Corp, our in-house travel department, works tirelessly to ensure appropriate connection times for our escorts and patients, but one can never tell what type of delay may occur on daily basis due to weather, mechanical, air traffic, or even a strike by an aviation union. CME is fortunate that Sky Cap Corp is continuously monitoring our flights to ensure seamless transfers and if a delay is going to affect a transport a backup plan is in place.<br /> <br />If you are traveling alone or made your own arrangements you may be left out in the cold “figuratively speaking” in an event of a delay or cancelled flight. As a passenger it is important for you to understand your rights and what airlines are and are not responsible for. Recently the Transportation Department fined Southwest Airlines $1.6 million dollars for violations of the tarmac delay rule that occurred during a snowstorm in January 2014. But do you know that the tarmac delay rule is and what rights you have?</p> <p><br />The Office of the Assistant General Counsel for Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings issued an announcement in 2011 that outlined the tarmac delay:<br /> <br /><em>A reportable tarmac delay is a tarmac delay at a large, medium, small, or non-hub U.S. airport that lasts for more than three hours. The 3-hour limit begins when passengers no longer have the option to get off of the aircraft, which usually occurs when the doors of the aircraft are closed. However, if an aircraft is at the gate with the doors open, and passengers are not allowed off the aircraft, the time limit would start at the point when passengers were no longer permitted to deplane. If the flight that experienced the reportable tarmac delay is reported under the Airline Service Quality Reports required by 14 CFR Part 234, the data for that flight should be reported under Part 234 instead of Part 244.</em><br /> <br /><em>In the final rule, we state that covered carriers should file Part 244 reports for any reportable tarmac delay of “three hours or more.” This standard is inconsistent with the tarmac delay contingency plan requirements under Part 259 and the existing reporting requirements of the Department’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), both of which use a “more than three hours” standard. We intend to correct this inconsistency in a future rulemaking to make it clear that carriers do not need to file a report for a tarmac delay of exactly three hours. In the meantime, as a matter of enforcement policy, we will accept reports under Part 244 that meet the “more than three hours” criteria. For additional information, please refer to BTS Accounting and Reporting Directive No. 303A, issued on August 12, 2011.</em><br /> <br />Europe has a similar policy in place in regards to tarmac delays as well. Keep in mind though, delays due to weather does not require the airline to provide any particular compensation to passengers affected by weather related delays. Within the European Union, if a plane is boarded and sits on the tarmac for more than five hours, passengers will have the right to demand to be let off. If the tarmac delay is more than an hour, the airline must provide air conditioning, use of toilets and water.<br /> <br />In reference to recent events surrounding the Ebola virus the tarmac rules do not apply. In the event that a passenger on board an aircraft is suspected to have Ebola or another serious contagious virus or illness, passengers may be held on the plane to ensure health and safety policies are followed. No fines will be assessed to the airline. A safety relation or security related reasons are the only incidents that may exempt an airline from the hefty fine.<br /> <br />In the recent incident with Southwest, the assessed fine was much higher than previous incidents recorded by the DOT. The DOT advised this was due to the large number of passengers and flights that were affected. Southwest claimed that is was due to a shortage in staff, and the DOT advised there should be an appropriate amount of staff available as a contingency plan in the future to prevent this from happening again. Weather was a factor in this particular incident, but the DOT is making it very clear that they are serious about their rules and regulations. Southwest’s fine was more than the total amount of fines that have been issued since 2009 (5.24 million).<br /> <br />As a passenger on a commercial airline it is critical to understand that the tarmac delay rules don't just impact what happens when you're onboard a flight that's stuck at the gate. Airlines are required to post flight delay information on their websites for every domestic flight. You can even visit www.flightaware.com to see the statistics of on time arrival for a particular flight. You can compare delay trends flight-by-flight (and airline by airline) to lessen your chances of a lengthy delay.<br /> <br />If you are subject to a tarmac delay, we encourage you to call the airline or check their website to get information on filing a formal complaint. To learn more about the new federal tarmac delay rules, visit http://airconsumer.dot.gov/, the official site of the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings.</p> http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/01/18/Understanding-the-Tarmac-Delay-Rule.aspx http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/01/18/Understanding-the-Tarmac-Delay-Rule.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=9cad0119-0c09-41fe-90f7-666d55f9fe9c Sun, 18 Jan 2015 11:42:00 -1200 CME News Senior Travel Travel Agent Travel Tips Lux Joseph http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/pingback.axd http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=9cad0119-0c09-41fe-90f7-666d55f9fe9c 0 http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/trackback.axd?id=9cad0119-0c09-41fe-90f7-666d55f9fe9c http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/01/18/Understanding-the-Tarmac-Delay-Rule.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/syndication.axd?post=9cad0119-0c09-41fe-90f7-666d55f9fe9c Travel Outlook for 2015 from ASTA <p>Our in-house travel department has shared with CME some outlook on travel this upcoming year, 2015. CME works closely with our travel department to ensure we are providing on the best travel arrangements for our clients. Our travel department has extensive knowledge on the medical assistance industry as well as travel. As our travel department is partnered with the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), he has advised us that ASATA has set an aggressive agenda for 2015 in its mission to be the lead advocate for travel agents who, in turn, are the strongest allies of the traveling public. The agenda includes action at both the federal and state levels, continues work begun in 2014 and adds new initiatives that support free and unfettered world travel.</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph;"><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial;"> <br /> “ASTA is the only industry organization with the know-how, the staff, the resources and the alliances to effectively defend the interests of travel agencies across the country,” said Sky Cap Corp President and CEO Joseph McNamara. “This was reflected in our work in 2014, a banner year for ASTA advocacy that saw us leverage our unique strength as an association before the U.S. Congress, the White House, federal agencies and all 50 state legislatures in the fight to keep the retail distribution channel strong and thriving for years to come.”<br style="mso-special-character: line-break;" /> <br style="mso-special-character: line-break;" /> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph;"><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial;">The Association’s advocacy priorities for 2015 include:</span></p> <ul type="disc"> <li class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto; text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo1; tab-stops: list .5in;"><strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";">Ensuring Transparency in the Cost of Air Travel:</span></strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";"> ASTA will work to ensure that the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) landmark rulemaking on airline ancillary fees provides agents and consumers full access to airline ancillary fees and the ability to purchase the complete air transportation product; and will fight airline efforts to insert the so-called Transparent Airfares Act overturning DOT’s full-fare advertising rule into “must-pass” Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization legislation in Congress.</span></li> </ul> <ul type="disc"> <li class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto; text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph; mso-list: l4 level1 lfo2; tab-stops: list .5in;"><strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";">Reducing the Regulatory Burden on Travel Agents:</span></strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";"> ASTA will fight against proposals in Congress and at the DOT that will require agents to make new and unwarranted disclosures to consumers during airline ticketing, such as one in a 2012 law requiring notification that the aircraft their client is flying on may be sprayed with insecticides.</span></li> </ul> <ul type="disc"> <li class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto; text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph; mso-list: l6 level1 lfo3; tab-stops: list .5in;"><strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";">Fighting Oppressive Taxation:</span></strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";"> ASTA will continue to oppose any state proposals to apply new taxes to agency fees and other income, including proposals to subject service industries such as travel agencies to state sales taxes, and to apply state and local hotel taxes to hotel “intermediaries” such as agents. At the same time, ASTA will work with its car rental partners to enact federal legislation to preempt state and local governments from imposing discriminatory taxes on car rentals.</span></li> </ul> <ul type="disc"> <li class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto; text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo4; tab-stops: list .5in;"><strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";">Cuba Travel:</span></strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";"> Building on the recent agreement reached between the U.S. and Cuban governments to ease long-standing restrictions on trade and other interactions between the two countries – including those preventing American citizens from travelling to Cuba – ASTA will work with President Obama, Administration officials and the U.S. Congress to ensure that Americans are free to travel to Cuba without constraint from their own government. While working toward a full repeal of the travel ban, the Association will petition the Administration to expressly permit any travel agent to book travel for Americans lawfully entitled to travel to Cuba under the new regulations called for by the President in late 2014.</span></li> </ul> <ul type="disc"> <li class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto; text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph; mso-list: l5 level1 lfo5; tab-stops: list .5in;"><strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";">Travel Facilitation:</span></strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";"> ASTA will support the expansion of “Trusted Traveler” aviation security programs, such as TSA’s PreCheck and CBP’s Global Entry, and will ensure that agents have a voice and active role in their implementation. On the international side, the Association will support the Jobs Originated through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act, which will streamline visa processes for “inbound” travelers and help the U.S. recapture its historic share of worldwide overseas travel. </span></li> </ul> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto; text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph;"><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial;">The highlights of ASTA’s advocacy work during 2014 include:</span></p> <ul type="disc"> <li class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto; text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo6; tab-stops: list .5in;"><strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";">White House Meeting:</span></strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";"> In March, ASTA secured a first-ever meeting in the White House to brief President Obama’s advisors face to face on the value of the travel agency channel to both consumers and to the small business-driven national economy.</span></li> </ul> <ul type="disc"> <li class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto; text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo7; tab-stops: list .5in;"><strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";">IATA NDC:</span></strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";"> The association worked collaboratively with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Department of Transportation (DOT) and other aviation stakeholders to ensure that the DOT’s August approval of IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) initiative was subject to a number of consumer protection conditions designed to protect competition and consumer privacy. Going forward, ASTA will work to ensure that agents’ views and business needs are taken into account as NDC is further developed – as a member of several IATA advisory committees as well as a recently-announced initiative to develop understanding of the impact (e.g., from a business, technology and commercial perspective) of NDC for travel agents.</span></li> </ul> <ul type="disc"> <li class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto; text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph; mso-list: l8 level1 lfo8; tab-stops: list .5in;"><strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";">Hazmat Notification Regulations:</span></strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";"> ASTA was successful in its efforts to rework a burdensome DOT regulation that would have required agents to secure their client’s acknowledgement of complex federal hazardous materials restrictions before issuing an airline ticket. Instead, starting in 2016 the disclosure requirement can now be fulfilled any time prior to check-in, such as by automatically providing it on the passenger’s itinerary. This is a big win for agents, as the original requirements would have added to existing passenger notification requirements travel agents have to comply with regarding code-share flights, insecticide spraying and others issues. These requirements would have saddled the industry with more than $58 million in initial training and programming costs and $26 million per year in ongoing compliance costs. </span></li> </ul> <ul type="disc"> <li class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto; text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph; mso-list: l7 level1 lfo9; tab-stops: list .5in;"><strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";">Travel Insurance Reform:</span></strong><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman";"> Working with a coalition led by the U.S. Travel Insurance Association, ASTA and its members have helped reform costly and complex travel insurance licensing in 31 states. Members’ grassroots efforts – including committee testimony in Colorado (Rich Sattizahn), Hawaii (Rachel Shimamoto, Wendy Goodenow) and Maryland (Larry Swerdlin, Jay Ellenby) – were instrumental in moving this initiative forward. Once in place nationwide, these standards will save agencies thousands of dollars in annual licensing costs while reducing the risk of state fines for non-compliance. Counting only the 31 states that have adopted the standards, ASTA estimates the collective savings for the travel agency industry to be $7.5 million per year thanks to this reform.</span></li> </ul> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph;"><span style="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: Arial;">As one can see, having a travel department that has a strong relationship established with the travel industry demonstrates progressive growth and outlook for CME’s operations. CME’s business relies heavily on the travel industry and people traveling around the world. If there is a declining trend in travelers that is something that CME wants to know because it can impact our business significantly. While we do not want people to become ill or injured, we are proactive in demonstrating the importance of travel insurance to travelers around the world.</span></p> http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/01/11/Travel-Outlook-for-2015.aspx http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/01/11/Travel-Outlook-for-2015.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=4b7be7c7-3ccc-44ec-88f9-59e292f4f6c1 Sun, 11 Jan 2015 13:27:00 -1200 Senior Travel Travel Agent Travel Stories Lux Joseph http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/pingback.axd http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=4b7be7c7-3ccc-44ec-88f9-59e292f4f6c1 0 http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/trackback.axd?id=4b7be7c7-3ccc-44ec-88f9-59e292f4f6c1 http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2015/01/11/Travel-Outlook-for-2015.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/syndication.axd?post=4b7be7c7-3ccc-44ec-88f9-59e292f4f6c1 JetBlue Gives You Less <div><span lang="EN"> <div> <p><img style="margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; display: block;" src="http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/image.axd?picture=2014%2f12%2fjetblue+charges.jpg" alt="" /></p> Jetblue Airlines and Southwest airlines appear to be the only two US Carriers that still allow passengers to travel with one checked bag free of charge. For travelers, this is a luxury considering every other airline charges a fee for a checked bag and those rates van vary among carriers. But is Jetblue shifting their philosophy and joining the reins of their competitors by adding baggage fees to their products?</div> <div> </div> <div>JetBlue Airways recently made the decision to charge for checked bags in the upcoming quarter after pressure from analysts advising them to align their fees with their competitors. When we asked our travel agent how he thinks this will affect passengers he stated, A lot of individuals still look to JetBlue and Southwest because of the first bag checked for free however, that is primarily your travelers who dont travel frequently. Most individuals who travel frequently have status with one or more of the airlines, or have a credit card that pays for the first checked bag to ultimately it will not affect them. The decision to charge for bag fees was not a single decision made by JetBlue Airways. This shift comes with other changes including fare structures, legroom in economy class, and plane configuration.</div> <div> </div> <div>As mentioned earlier, these decisions were driven by a Wall Street viewpoint to increase the maximum revenue potential for JetBlue Airways. In regards to checked bags, JetBlue plans to introduce a fare structure that will be three tiered based on the number of bags the guest has. Similar to other airline programs, the higher fares offer more flexibility and increased number of frequent flier points to be earned. Just a small increase for the airline will drive approximately 65 million in additional revenue for 2015.</div> <div> </div> <div>Along with the fare structure change, JetBlue is reconfiguring their airplanes to add additional seats. This is another attempt to add additional revenue to their sales portfolio. However, this will affect the customer experience with a decrease in seat pitch. JetBlues current seat pitch is 34.7 inches. However after the planes new configuration the seat pitch will decrease to 33.1. The average traveler may be disgruntled by this change, but JetBlue will still lead the industry with the largest seat pitch. On the A320s the increased number of seats will go to 165 whereas they could have increased it to 180. JetBlue believes in the customer experience, but also realizes its place in the industry. In the USA alone we have seen the number of major domestic carriers decrease year over year due to bankruptcy and mergers. JetBlue is attempting to find a medium between making the numbers profitable, and also meeting the needs of their customers.</div> <div> </div> <div>When JetBlue Airways first introduced these changes, the first thought from consumers was negative, but that is because the change hasnt been fully processed by the traveler. They have decreased the seat pitch, but they are still ahead of all their competitors. They are beginning to charge for bags, but they still will have fares that include a first bag checked for free. JetBlue is leaving the decision up to the customer as to whether they add a fee to their flight or choose a fare in which it is included. These fares are scheduled to begin in early 2015.</div> <div> </div> <div>Southwest will soon reign as the only USA carrier to include the first checked bag free of charge. While Southwest may see this as an opportunity to acquire a share of JetBlues customer’s who oppose the fee; it will be interesting to see if these changes actually shift customers to look at Southwest as their new carrier of choice. When travelers look for an airline ticket there are a variety of factors that are considered including fare cost, baggage fees, destinations, seat comfort, in-flight entertainment, etc. A small change like this may not mean a loss of business for JetBlue, but instead, additional revenue that was sitting on table.</div> <div> </div> </span></div> <p> </p> http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2014/12/16/JetBlue-Gives-You-Less.aspx http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2014/12/16/JetBlue-Gives-You-Less.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=da8d6a67-afcf-4625-9316-a6fc6da556a4 Tue, 16 Dec 2014 14:27:00 -1200 Budget Travel CME News Senior Travel Travel Agent Travel Tips Lux Joseph http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/pingback.axd http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=da8d6a67-afcf-4625-9316-a6fc6da556a4 0 http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/trackback.axd?id=da8d6a67-afcf-4625-9316-a6fc6da556a4 http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2014/12/16/JetBlue-Gives-You-Less.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/syndication.axd?post=da8d6a67-afcf-4625-9316-a6fc6da556a4 Amazon vs. Expedia <p><img style="margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; display: block;" src="http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/image.axd?picture=2014%2f12%2famazon+logo.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>When it comes to booking a hotel for your upcoming trip there are many resources out there. Some people utilize their travel agent as they typically are the most knowledgeable and can find the best bargain. For those who choose to look for a hotel on their own they may consider Hotels.com, Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, or Hotwire to name a few of the many online travel agencies available to consumers. Out of all of these selections, Expedia is the United State’s online travel agency giant and within its portfolio are Hotels.com and Hotwire.com. Some individuals may say they have a small monopoly on the hotel industry, but will that still be the case in years to come?</p> <p>Amazon, a company that is known to almost every consumer around the world has over 240 million customers. They started off in the business of selling books online and is now the heart of the economy and has grown to be a retail mega store, a grocery store, a bookseller, an entertainment studio, and even a music provider. Amazon could soon become a distribution channel for hotels. Amazon currently works with a small selection of boutique independent hotels, but their track record shows that it would be no surprise to see them battle up against Expedia.</p> <p>Many hotel chains are becoming frustrated with Expedia’s power over the industry and a new competitor added to the mix would challenge Expedia’s process and potentially redefine the market. A company like Amazon has the experience and ability to change the direction of buying hotels online. Amazon has already approached several hoteliers about the possibility of Amazon launching a hotel booking service for their clients.</p> <p>For some of the hotels that are already being sold via Amazon have positive reviews and in an article by Travel Weekly one of the hotels, William’s Grant Inn, stated that after an offer was run on Amazon, they would see an increase of 50-100 calls for accommodations.</p> <p>Many consumers look for “one stop shop” places. With Amazon’s already diverse selection of business and now the idea of potentially adding a hotel booking engine Amazon is only continuing to “dream big”. Their CEO, Jeff Bezos, has always been a driven individual with an outlook to change the world.</p> <p>The Amazon Empire could be Expedia’s next big competitor and could also create a shift in how hotels currently do business. A hotelier’s main focus is to fill the rooms. When a hotel’s clock turns midnight any room unfilled is revenue lost. Hotels sell their rooms through a multitude of channels and adding another player to the program will only maximize their place in the marketplace.</p> <p>If and when Amazon launches a hotel will you book there over one of the other options available? I believe that Amazon’s strong focus on the customer experience may shift how consumer’s shop for their hotel. Furthermore, Amazon is continuously looking at ways to do things different and who knows what that means for the future of hotel shopping.</p> <p> </p> http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2014/12/07/Could-Amazon-create-a-hotel-booking-engine.aspx http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2014/12/07/Could-Amazon-create-a-hotel-booking-engine.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=c8e24bd6-768a-4fad-a0bb-49b3a55b51ff Sun, 07 Dec 2014 09:18:00 -1200 Travel Agent Travel Stories Lux Joseph http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/pingback.axd http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post.aspx?id=c8e24bd6-768a-4fad-a0bb-49b3a55b51ff 0 http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/trackback.axd?id=c8e24bd6-768a-4fad-a0bb-49b3a55b51ff http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/post/2014/12/07/Could-Amazon-create-a-hotel-booking-engine.aspx#comment http://www.commercialmedicalescorts.com/blog/syndication.axd?post=c8e24bd6-768a-4fad-a0bb-49b3a55b51ff