Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Southwest raises fares $5 each way

Southwest Airlines increased fares on the bulk of its routes by $10 roundtrip Friday, encouraging competitors to quickly match prices.

United, American, US Airways, Continental, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue and AirTran followed and raised their fares Friday evening, according to Rick Seaney of FareCompare.com, which narrowly monitors fares.

"I don't expect this hike to fail," he says. "I don't ever recall an airfare hike in which Southwest participated that was not widely winning in raising ticket prices."

Southwest says rising fuel costs forced its move. "We implemented a modest systemwide fare raise of $5 one-way to offset higher fuel costs," says Southwest spokeswoman Ashley Dillon.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Delta Fined $2M For Violating Travel Rules For Disabled

The U.S. Department of Transportation levied a $2 million civil penalty against Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) for allegedly violating policy protecting air travelers with disabilities.

According to the agency, an investigation found "many violations of the requirement to provide assistance getting on and off the airplane." The airline carrier's complaint records also showed that it frequently "did not provide an adequate written response to disability complaints from passengers."

The Aviation Enforcement Office also found that Delta--the second biggest U.S. airline by revenue failed to properly report each disability complaint in reports filed with the department.

Of the $2 million penalty, $750,000 must be paid by the carrier and up to $1.25 million may be used to develop its service to passengers with disabilities beyond what is required by law. It is the largest civil penalty ever assessed against an airline by the Department of Transportation in a non-safety-related case.

Monday, February 14, 2011

High-speed train system has a long way to go

The Obama management is proceeding at full speed with plans to create a national high-speed rail system, proposing billions in next year's budget to help lay the groundwork. But political opposition and hefty costs could mean the ambitious program goes nowhere speedy.

President Obama's 2012 budget unveiled Monday includes $8 billion for high-speed rail coming year, part of a planned $53 billion investment in enhanced train service over six years.

The wealth would further Obama's vision of providing high speed train access to 80% of Americans in 25 years.

Egypt still a travel risk for Australians

Egypt prepare for historic democratic change after President Hosni Mubarak gave in to thousands of protesters and stepped down.

Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd said the Gillard Government had offered to help in the transition to democracy, but said travellers and Australian-Egyptian nationals should continue to follow the Government's travel guidance.

"Public shouldn't just conclude automatically that security concerns have disappeared," Mr Rudd said.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Nokia Joins Forces With Microsoft to Challenge Apple, Google; Shares Slump

Nokia Oyj, the world’s largest maker of mobile phones, said it’s forming a software corporation with Microsoft Corp, betting that together the two companies can challenge Google Inc. and Apple Inc.

Nokia fell as much as 12 percent, the biggest fall in a almost 10 months, after its plan to make Microsoft’s Windows its primary software was seen as a sign of the extent of its troubles taking on Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android platforms.

“It’s a clear admission that Nokia’s own platform strategy has faltered,” told Ben Wood, a London-based analyst with CCS Insight. “Microsoft is the big winner in this deal, but there are no silver bullets for either company given strength of iPhone and Android.”

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Coke Sales Rise Globally

Coca-Cola Co. posted solid fourth-quarter worldwide sales growth and continued to take share from rival PepsiCo Inc. in the key North American market.

Coke's growth was fastest in emerging markets like India and Brazil, but the company is seeing stabilization in its biggest markets. In North America, sales volume in juices, sodas and all other beverages rose 3%, excluding the impact of acquisitions and foreign-currency translations. That was the third straight quarter the figure was up. Parts of Europe saw budding signs of recovery.

Significantly, Coke also saw its North American soda sales volume tick up for the third straight quarter, in defiance of a years-long slide across the industry as customers switched to water and other drinks for health and economic reasons.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Dollar falls against euro as China raises rates

The U.S. dollar fell to the euro in late trading Tuesday after China announced that it would increase rates. Investors have also become less worried about the unrest in Egypt, moving away from the dollar and looking to invest in riskier currencies.

China's central bank said Tuesday that it would increase deposit and lending interest rates by a quarter percentage point, the second time China has raised rates in over a month.

"It was expected, but the time was unknown," said Camilla Sutton, chief currency strategist at Scotia Capital. "Investors are anticipating more interest rate hikes out of China."

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Toyota Motor Q3 profit slumps, outlook lifted

October-December operating profit was 99.07 billion yen ($1.20 billion), down from 189.1 billion yen in the similar period a year earlier. Net profit fell 38.9 percent to 93.63 billion yen.

For the year to March 31 it lifted its working profit forecast to 550 billion yen ($6.68 billion) from 380 billion yen, after profits for the first nine months exceeded that figure.

It increased its global sales forecast to 7.48 million vehicles from 7.41 million, with domestic sales seen at 2.02 million vehicles compared with an earlier prediction of 1.99 million. Its U.S. forecast was unchanged at 2.09 million units

Monday, February 7, 2011

American Airlines-Orbitz-Expedia feud may affect ticket prices

The recently sparked feud between American Airlines and the travel websites Orbitz and Expedia has business travel managers worried that the dispute may end up making plane tickets charge more money.

It all started previous year when American Airlines yanked its ticket sales from Orbitz to save on the commissions and fees it pays to sell tickets through travel sites. Expedia jumped into the fray by withholding American Airlines ticket information from its web site.

At the heart of the quarrel is a complicated revenue-sharing arrangement between the airline, the travel site and the global distribution systems that dole out ticket information.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Super Bowl XLV: Winter Weather Causing Travel Problems For Fans

The NFL goes out of their way to make sure that the Super Bowl isn’t played in nasty winter weather to even be considered to host the big game a city has to have decent weather or a domed stadium. Dallas usually has both and just to make sure weather doesn’t play a part in the outcome of the game the retractable roof at Cowboys Stadium will be closed on Sunday. Despite all of their power, however, the NFL can’t handle the weather nationwide and the big winter storm in the Midwest has wreaked havoc on the travel plans of Packers and Steelers fans.

But it’s not just the bad weather conditions in the Midwest Texas was hit by a sizable ice storm previous this week. According to flight tracking service FlightAware at least 1,250 flights to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport have been canceled this week. That’s second only to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, where ‘The Windy City’ has been impacted by one of the most severe blizzards in current memory. The storm in Texas was followed by unseasonably cold weather with high temperatures in the mid-teens.

Dallas Super Freeze delivers power outages,travel problems as sub-freezing temperatures continue

The Super Freeze held its grip on North Texas on Wednesday, as residents faced mass transit delays and icy roads that again blocked area schools and canceled Super Bowl-related events for students.

And don’t look for much of a break before the weekend. Weather forecasters say temperatures probably will be in the low to mid teens early Thursday at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, and might not hit the freezing mark there until noontime Saturday with a chance of snow Thursday night and Friday morning.

“If we get some sunshine there’s a option we could get above freezing Friday afternoon,” said Daniel Huckaby, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Calm Twin Cities weather masks widespread travel disruption

Impact from the storm's early stages rolled all the way to Minnesota, where 125 Delta Airlines flights to different cities across the country about one-third of the airline's Twin Cities traffic were cancelled. Many more cancellations were expected Wednesday, said Delta spokesman Anthony Black.

5 flights to Chicago were diverted to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, likely stranding those passengers for at least Tuesday night, said Patrick Hogan, Metropolitan Airports Commission spokesman.

But the airport was "relatively quiet and calm," Hogan said. That's most likely because airlines have been cancelling flights well ahead of their scheduled departure time, keeping people from showing up at the airport at all.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Google in Talks to Save Travel Deal

Google is negotiating with the U.S. Department of Justice in move to head off an antitrust lawsuit against its acquisition of ITA, a leading travel information aggregator.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company freshly agreed to pay $700 million for ITA, a travel service that powers an estimated 65 percent of direct online flight bookings, including sites like Kayak, SideStep and travel results at Microsoft's Bing search engine.

Should the agreement go through, some travel companies like Expedia fear that Google's rankings could be skewed to favor of the its travel service, prompting the Justice Department to look into for possible antitrust violations.