Adelman Travel Newsline
Sunny days melt into starry nights on charming Sanibel & Captiva islands
Florida's Sanibel and Captiva islands are a favorite of Adelman vacation counselor, Geri Jacoby-Smith. Whether for a long weekend or an entire week, there are many reasons why Sanibel and Captiva make for a great getaway. The naturally beautiful islands feature many exquisite beaches, quaint shopping areas and have a laidback atmosphere. Additionally, the close proximity to Fort Myers make Sanibel and Captiva easy to reach.
Sanibel and Captiva beaches are known as a favorite stomping ground for shell-lovers all over the world as the islands' 15 miles of Gulf Coast beaches are often considered to have the best shelling in North America. Visitors doing the "Sanibel Stoop," the term for the bent-over posture used to collect seashells, can reportedly find up to 250 different types of shells. Sanibel and Captiva are also perfect for wildlife lovers as you can often spy alligators, dolphins and over 230 different bird species. Besides hitting the beaches, vacation must-dos include a trip to the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge and a visit to the park and pier around the historic Sanibel light house, which is the highest point on the island and perhaps the most photographed structure on Sanibel.
Sanibel and Captiva also have a low impact ordinance. "There are no chain restaurants, no big box stores, and no high rise hotels," says Geri. Even without the big chains, there are many amenities offered at the different hotels, along with plenty of opportunities for boating, fishing, kayaking and biking. There is also an abundance of quaint shops and great local dining options. "The islands simply exude charm as you appreciate all the beauty around you and the ocean breezes coming in off the Gulf of Mexico. Sunsets on Sanibel and Captiva are amazing, says Geri. "I love the way the sun seems to melt into the Gulf of Mexico!"
Whether you are traveling as a couple, with your children or are taking a multi-generational vacation, Sanibel or Captiva is a great choice for that perfect getaway. Contact Geri Jacoby-Smith or one of our other professional vacations counselors for more information or advice. Simply call 800-749-7116 or visit our website at www.adelmanvacations.com.
Don't battle the Black Friday crowds, get that perfect gift by calling Adelman instead
You don't have to get caught in the throngs of holiday shoppers in order to find that perfect present for your special someone. Instead, give Adelman a call and give the gift of travel! An Adelman Travel gift card makes a great present because it can be used for a wide variety of travel-related options. You can surprise your loved one with a dream vacation or make someone's trip extra special by giving additional funds so they can upgrade to an oceanfront suite, take an extra excursion or more. The options are endless! Simply contact your Adelman Travel consultant for additional information.
Following the trend, American to revamp its loyalty program
Similar to its biggest competitors, Delta and United, American announced it will modify its AAdvantage frequent flyer program so that members will be rewarded for dollars spent instead of miles flown. American is also changing the parameters for the redemption of free flights and elite status qualification. A phased-in approach will be used. Details are as follows:
Elite status: Starting Jan. 1, 2016 American will remove elite-qualifying points. Instead elite status will be based solely on Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) or Elite Qualifying Segments (EQSs). Then, beginning in 2017, the elite status year will be valid through Jan. 31 of the following year.
Upgrades: As of Jan. 1, Executive Platinum members will earn four system-wide upgrades upon qualification. They will have the opportunity to earn up to four more per membership year. Then because American is increasing the rate at which EQMs are earned, beginning Mar. 1, 2016, Gold and Platinum members will earn four 500-mile upgrades for every 12,500 EQMs per membership year. The cost of a 500-mile upgrade will go up to $40.
Award Miles: In the second half of 2016, American will move to a different model for calculating award miles. Members' mileage earnings on American marketed flights will be calculated off the base fare of the ticket plus carrier-imposed fees. Then a multiplier of 5, 7, 8 or 11 will be used based on elite status. Award miles on partner airlines will be based on a percentage of the flight distance flown and fare class purchased.
Redemption: New award levels will apply for tickets redeemed on Mar. 22, 2016 and beyond. Members will need more miles for some routes including Europe and other international destinations, but fewer miles will be needed for other routes such as Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America. Travelers will be able to redeem MilesAAver awards for as low as 7,500 miles one way on flights of 500 miles or less.
Promotions: American said it is extending its AAdvantage bonus miles promotion for travel in first or business class until the new awards earning model is implemented next year.
Responding to corporate customers' dislike of surcharges due to their lack of transparency and their immunity to discounts, Air France-KLM has shifted its pricing model. While the airline company is boosting its fares, it is removing surcharges on all flights within Europe and is reducing extra fees on select long-haul flights. Thus, more of what corporate customers are paying will fall under their negotiated discount. Officials note that the surcharge is not being completely eliminated in long-haul markets, so the carrier still has a mechanism to respond to future fuel price increases.
Following the lead of other airlines, Air France-KLM is phasing in a 20 Euro fee to select a seat prior to check-in on select routes. Elite frequent flyer members, those purchasing flexible economy tickets, and those with certain disabilities will be exempt from the fee. The new charge will go into effect on Dec. 1, 2015 for flights starting Jan. 26, 2016.
New nonstop service between Phoenix and Memphis will begin Mar. 3, 2016.
Delta Air Lines
Delta unveiled new service options including five new daily flights between Los Angeles (LAX) and Denver beginning June 1, 2016. The new flights will allow Delta to offer one-stop service to several key international destinations through LAX. In 2016, Delta will begin using Boeing 717 aircraft on all Shuttle flights between LAX and San Francisco. It will increase to 10 the number of flights offered from LAX to New York-JFK and Seattle. Additionally, the carrier will add a third daily flight to Boston.
In other news, Delta is changing its Comfort+ premium economy product. Starting May 16, 2016, Comfort+ will become a new fare class and will be completely separate from the main economy cabin. A curtain will be used to partition Comfort+ from regular economy and there will be dedicated overhead bin space along with the extra leg room and other upgraded amenities that Delta says exceeds anything offered by other airlines. Because Delta is turning Comfort+ into a new fare class, travelers will pay a modest fee to upgrade from any coach ticket. Elite loyalty members will not have the same access to Comfort+ as they currently do. Instead, they will have to request an upgrade.
Starting Mar. 1, 2016, Delta said it will no longer accept pets as checked baggage. Pets that do not qualify for travel in the cabin will have to be shipped using Delta Cargo. Airline officials note that with Delta Cargo pets will be closely monitored during travel and will be handled in temperature controlled holding areas and vans.
Finally, Seattle travelers will be able to take advantage of a second Sky Club scheduled to open next summer. The new state-of-the-art club will be located between Concourses A and B.
Disgruntled flight attendants announced plans for three additional strike days to take place on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 26 and 27 and again on Monday Nov. 30. Details on targeted routes have not yet been revealed. Airline officials said "As soon as these effects are known, Lufthansa will set up a goodwill policy for all booked passengers." The carrier is also urging travelers to watch for updates on www.lh.com and to register their contact information so updates can be sent by e-mail and SMS regarding the status of their reservations. Adelman is also monitoring the situation in order to assist affected travelers.
SAS, Scandinavia's largest airline, will be the first carrier to offer direct routes from Miami to Copenhagen and Oslo. The new year-round service, which is already available for sale, will commence Sept. 28 and 29 of 2016 respectively.
In what industry analysts say could be a game changer, United is testing a program where loyalty members can use their miles to purchase in-flight Wi-Fi. For now, United will use surge-based pricing because it does not have the technological ability to offer every passenger high-speed internet at once. Since speeds diminish as more travelers attempt to connect, United will raise the fee to discourage too many people from using the system at one time.
With the test, United has launched a web portal that gives passengers access to the new program and miles-payment option on select flights. United expects that it will expand the program to all mainline flights by early 2016 and then to United Express flights by the end of next year.
Marriott to acquire Starwood; data breach hits Starwood properties
After months of speculation, Marriott emerged as the "winner" among several rumored buyers by reaching a deal to acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts. The transaction, which has been approved by both companies' boards of directors, will create the world's largest hotelier. The merged company will operate under the Marriott name and will be comprised of 30 brands. Industry analysts expect that in the short term many things will remain status quo as companies are nearing the end of rate negotiations for 2016. However, down the road, this merger is expected to prompt a lot of change. With 19 overlapping brands, some will likely be eliminated. Loyalty plan changes are also inevitable as Marriott looks to merge its Rewards program with the Starwood Preferred Guest program.
In other news, Starwood is reporting a payment card data breach, which has occurred at 54 U.S. hotels. A malware program infected point-of-sale terminals in restaurants and shops at the affected locations. Hotel officials say there is no indication that room reservation payments or Preferred Guest loyalty accounts were compromised. The attack began a year ago and ended in April of this year. Starwood is urging customers to review their credit card transactions. Starwood is also offering affected customers free credit reporting for one year.
From the Hill
DOJ to block Newark slot swap
The U.S. Department of Justice is looking to block an airport slot swap that it says will give United Airlines too much control at Newark Liberty International Airport. The proposed plan would give United 24 new slots at Newark, while Delta would gain United's slots at JFK. United already controls 73 percent of the take-off and landing slots at Newark airport. Officials note, "Airfares at Newark are among the highest in the country, while United's service at Newark ranks among the worst. Allowing United to acquire even more slots at Newark would fortify United's monopoly position and weaken rivals' ability to challenge that dominance."
Longer security lines at O'Hare; Wait-time tools
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is advising travelers passing through Chicago O'Hare to allow extra time for security clearance as wait times are at higher than usual levels. At peak times, which include early mornings and evenings, wait times may be even longer. In response American Airlines is telling its travelers to arrive at least 2 hours prior to departure.
Want to know what to expect for wait times at airports around the country?
The TSA offers crowd sourced information on security wait times at many of our nation's airports. For details please visit http://apps.tsa.dhs.gov/mytsa/.
Travelers can also turn to www.ifly.com for security wait time information at select airports across the country. The ifly website and app also offer a wealth of other airport-related information including parking, restaurants, services & amenities, layover ideas and more.
Visit our Web site at www.adelmantravel.com for more travel information, resources and unique services including corporate travel management and vacations.
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