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Business travel
By Joe Brancatelli

Hotshot Indian Carriers Get a Dose of Reality: Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines, two hotshot Indian airlines with global ambitions, have been forced to face the harsh realities of the nasty economic times. Kingfisher’s flights between San Francisco and Bangalore, expected to launch this past summer, have been permanently shelved. And no wonder: Kingfisher’s new service between London and Mumbai has averaged only a few dozen passengers per flight. On the other hand, Jet will dump its San Francisco-Shanghai-Mumbai flights in January after just a few months of operation. The two privately owned airlines, which have won raves for their sybaritic service, have now concluded a wide-ranging alliancethis week. It includes code-sharing and other cost-saving measures–and all but ends the spare-no-expenses competition between Kingfisher’s flamboyant boss, Vijay Mallya, and Jet chieftain Naresh Goyal. … Emirates has moved its flights to the United States into Terminal 3 at its hub in Dubai. … And there’s always change at London’s Heathrow Airport. British Airways says it will move its Atlanta-London flights away from Gatwick and into Heathrow next March. Meanwhile, Air France and Delta are giving up on their joint service from Los Angeles to Heathrow. The flights were launched in the spring with great fanfare.


Do You Know About Fourth Class? OpenSkies, the boutique airline owned by British Airways, now flies on two routes: New York-Paris and New York-Amsterdam . The most notable advantage: the carrier’s wonderful prem+ cabin, which is the latest and greatest iteration of "premium economy," which offers some of the perks of business class for the cost of full-fare coach. Prem+ on OpenSkies offer seats configured 2×2 with 52 inches of legroom for about $1,500 roundtrip. A business-class seat can cost as much as $8,000. Icelandair is launching a premium economy cabin on transatlantic flights, too. The service began on November 1, although Icelandair’s premium economy class isn’t quite as lavish. Japan Airlines and Qantas have also introduced full-blown premium-economy cabins this year. Virgin Atlantic, All Nippon Airways, EVA, British Airways, Air New Zealand and SAS Scandinavian also sell versions of premium economy.


On-the-Road Intelligence to Help You Travel Smarter: Clear, the security line-cut program, opened at Terminal A at Boston/Logan Airport. Terminal A is Delta’s new home at Logan. … American Express platinum cardholders are losing a perk: The domestic free companion airfare program ends on November 15. … Bay Area diners take note: the new Michelin guide for San Francisco gives three stars to one restaurant — The French Laundry in Yountville — and awards two stars to six other dining rooms: Aqua, Coi and Michael Mina in San Francisco; Cyrus in Healdsburg; Meadowood in St. Helena; and Manresa in Los Gatos. … Korean Air has changed its free checked-baggage allowance. Effective November 1, coach passengers can check two bags weighing 50 pounds each. Business- and first-class fliers continue to receive a 70-pound-per-bag allowance. … Almost 15 months after it launched, Virgin America is finally allowing redemptions in its Elevate frequent flier program. A quick look at its award chart, which is based on the retail cost of a ticket, not mileage levels, shows that awards require about 45-50 points per fare dollar. A ticket selling for $149, for example, costs 6,930 Elevate points.

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Joe Brancatelli is editor and publisher of, a non-commercial Web site for business travelers. Copyright 2008 by Joe Brancatelli. Licensed by contract for Orbitz use.


Tagged: California, Europe

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