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Joe Brancatelli is editor and publisher of, a
non-commercial Web site for business travelers.


New routes and new service overseas: Washington Dulles has gotten another international route. Avianca has launched five weekly flights between IAD and Bogota, Colombia. … Emirates Airlines is due to begin flying the Airbus A380 in October between New York/Kennedy and Dubai and now there’ll be a second U.S. route for the leviathan. Qantas says that it will fly the plane between Los Angeles and Melbourne beginning on October 20. The Qantas configuration will have 14 first-class beds, 72 business-class seats, 332 coach chairs and 32 seats in the airline’s new PremiumEconomy cabin. … Meanwhile, Thai Airlines dropped its ultra-long-haul nonstop flights from New York/Kennedy and Bangkok on June 30. And Aer Lingus will end its longest U.S. haul, the Los Angeles-Dublin route, at the end of October.


The big shrink continues: The high cost of oil and many airlines‘ reluctance to hedge their fuel costs adequately is leading to massive cuts in airline routes maps and schedules. Immediately after the Labor Day holiday, lots of service will be eliminated. Continental Airlines will chop 15 cities, for example. The domestic cuts are Chattanooga, Tennessee; Green Bay, Wisconsin; Montgomery, Alabama; Oakland and Palm Springs, California; Reno, Nevada; Sarasota and Tallahassee, Florida; and Toledo, Ohio. Internationally, the destinations cut are Bali; Cali, Colombia; Cologne, Germany; Guayaquil, Ecuador; Monclova, Mexico; and Santiago, Dominican Republic.

Meanwhile, the new fall schedule at American Airlines shows a sharp reduction of flight frequencies on routes at its San Juan hub. And Delta Air Lines says that it will cut its domestic capacity by 13 percent by the end of the year  The biggest casualties: Orlando, Boston and Los Angeles. Flights to Orlando from more than a dozen cities will be dropped and a slew of recently launched service from Los Angeles will end, including nonstops to Boston; Hartford, Connecticut; and Columbus, Ohio. Boston cuts include the end of flights to Norfolk, Virginia; Charleston, South Carolina; Greensboro, North Carolina; and Jacksonville, Florida. Finally, Air Canada is trimming its schedule by about 7 percent. Most notable cuts: Toronto-Rome and Vancouver-Osaka.


On-the-road intelligence to help you travel smart: United Airlines and US Airways have matched American Airlines’ $15 fee for checking a first bag. United’s charge is effective for tickets purchased starting on August 18, but US Airways will begin its levy on tickets purchased beginning on July 9. Like American, United is exempting first- and business-class passengers, international travelers and elite-level frequent fliers. US Airways is exempting international fliers and elite-level travelers.

Besides matching American and United on the first-bag fee, US Airways has invented some new fees. Beginning in August, it will charge coach passengers $2 for soft drinks and raise alcohol charges to $7. And on August 6, it will charge $25-$50 for the privilege of claiming an award ticket. … Continental Airlines has created a lifetime program for its OnePass frequent flier members. Travelers who have a million lifetime flight miles receive Silver Elite status for life. Fliers with two million lifetime miles receive Gold Elite status for life. Four million lifetime miles earns Platinum Elite status for life. Travelers who qualify should begin receiving membership packets sometime this summer. … Avis Rent A Car has joined the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards plan.

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Copyright 2008 by Joe Brancatelli. Licensed by contract for Orbitz use.

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