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Business travel By Joe Brancatelli

AirTran Airways Logs on to In-flight Wireless: AirTran
Airways is equipping all of its aircraft for in-flight Wi-Fi. It claimed
the entire fleet of 136 Boeing 737s and 717s will be wired with
Aircell's Gogo Inflight service by the end of July, a record for speedy

  • Delta Air Lines, which began wiring its domestic fleet
    last fall, has only reached the 150-plane plateau in mid-May.
  • American
    , which wired its first planes early last year, has fewer than
    25 aircraft
    equipped with W-iFi.
  • It's taken almost a year for Virgin
    to have all of its 28 planes wired. But notice what you haven't heard
    from any of these carriers? Whether travelers are actually using the
    system on the planes and paying the $8-$13 fee charged for each flight.
    As you'll recall, an attempt to wire international aircraft for
    Internet failed miserably earlier in the decade because passengers
    refused to pay up to $30 a flight for access to Boeing's Connexion

Southwest Airlines Brews a Strategy for Milwaukee Flights
: Southwest Airlines has announced its fourth new city this year — Milwaukee — and it's another sign that the 800-pound gorilla of discount carriers is going hard after the turf that once belonged to legacy carriers. Although Southwest didn't release details of the Milwaukee launch, the move puts it in direct competition with Milwaukee-based Midwest Airlines (fka Midwest Express), now a vassal of Northwest Airlines, a division of Delta Air Lines.

  • AirTran is also fighting hard for a position in Milwaukee, which has a small local market and a secondary function as a less stressful alternative for travelers based in the suburbs north of Chicago/O'Hare.
  • Besides Milwaukee, Southwest launched flights into Northwest's Minneapolis hub earlier this year. Flights to New York/LaGuardia begin next month and service into Boston/Logan starts in August.
  • Most interesting of all, Southwest is pulling off this big-city expansion in the midst of a 4 percent systemwide reduction of flights. The strategy Southwest is employing, for lack of a better term, can be called "prime time." By the fall, an astonishing 86 percent of its flights will operate between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. And in August, it will drop 85 existing flights, most of them during less productive and profitable off-peak hours. In Raleigh-Durham, for example, the cutbacks affect one flight a day in the Philadelphia, Chicago/Midway, Orlando and Nashville markets. And in Nashville, one flight a day is being trimmed on nine routes.

Pay More, Get Less With Newest Bag Fees
: Here's another twist in the airline game of charging for luggage. On its New York-Grenada and New York-Barbados runs, Air Jamaica now charges $25 to check a second bag. What do you get for the $25 fee? One-week delivery. Seriously. Air Jamaica says the second bag may not travel on the same flight with you and might not arrive for a week.

  • Several weeks ago, US Airways raised checked-bag fees by imposing a $5 extra charge if you don't arrange checked bags online. Effective for new ticket purchases for travel on or after June 10, United Airlineshas matched the new charge. Both United and US Airways will charge $20 to check the first bag at the airport and $30 to check a second bag. The fees remain $15/$25 if you deal with the bags online.

Related Orbitz resources:

Joe Brancatelli is editor and publisher of, a non-commercial Web site for business travelers. Copyright 2009 by Joe Brancatelli. Licensed by contract for Orbitz use.

Tagged: Caribbean

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