Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thursday's Travel InsideOut

This is what happens when a travel company doesn't properly handle a customer service complaint. Did United strike just the wrong note? United Breaks Guitars View it

More on one guitarist's viral moment. USAToday: Disgruntled United flier gets hit song on Web with revenge video The story of a Canadian musician whose guitar was allegedly damaged by United baggage handlers at Chicago O'Hare had become one of the most-talked-about aviation stories on the Web this week. Now, after going viral online, the story also has gone mainstream. The Chicago Tribune, U.S. national TV networks and a bevy of Canadian papers are among those to pick up the story during the past day. The move shows just how quickly the Internet can help a disgruntled customer can turn the tables on a company and its effort to manage its public image.
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The kingmakers strike back. Dennis Schaal Blog: Update: Founders Introduce 'Reverse Opaque Rates' and Point to Shortcomings I wrote a post the other day about how Bob Diener and Dave Litman, the founders of HRN (a.k.a., have launched, and indeed they intend to shake things up. Diener, who owns 50-50 with Litman, described the site's introduction of "reverse opaque rates" for hotel sales. Read more

Airline industry listless when it comes to stagnant air. Wall Street Journal: Why Air Quality on Planes Can Seem Stagnant Airline customer service isn’t the only thing in need of improvement these days. The air in airplane cabins needs some fixing, too, and not just because your seatmate sneezed all over you.

A year ago, a blue-ribbon panel of experts across the aviation industry recommended voluntary standards for onboard air circulation, lower ozone exposure, new monitoring for contaminated air from oil or hydraulic fluid leaks, and limits on pesticides used on planes. Read more

Gate1 learns it's all about transparency on taxes and fees. Travel Weekly: Wholesaler to pay $50,000 fine to the DOT Gate 1, a travel wholesaler based in Fort Washington, Pa., has agreed to pay a fine to the Department of Transportation. The fine settles allegations that Gate 1 failed to properly disclose taxes and fees when advertising travel packages via e-mail and on its website.

The company accepted a $50,000 liability, but agreed to pay $25,000 in two installments over the next 90 days in a settlement with the DOT. The remaining half will be waived if the company refrains from similar violations for one year. Read more

To say that FareCompare, with more than 170 Twitter accounts, has embraced social media, is an understatement. Dennis Schaal Blog: How FareCompare Uses 170 Twitter Accounts, ITA Software for 'Dramatic' Uptick FareCompare, the metasearch site, has more than 170 departure-city based Twitter accounts and it is using them to leverage a calendar-based search, powered by ITA Software, for what CEO Rick Seaney claims is a "dramatic" increase in ticket-sale percentages.

FareCompare, of course, doesn't handle any bookings, but passes off consumers to sites like Orbitz and CheapTickets for reservations.

In the last two months or so, FareCompare began tweeting fare drops using 170 Twitter accounts, such as flyfromEWR, based on the 170 cities in North America with the highest outbound passenger traffic. You can read more here about what FareCompare is doing on Twitter. Read more

Mobissimo's Beatrice Tarka hadn't satisfied her yen for international expansion with eight international sites, so the metasearch company unveiled a ninth -- in Japan. Mobissimo adds Japan to its network Travel search engine Mobissimo has added Japan to its worldwide network of travel search sites with a new site featuring local content for Japanese users and prices in Japanese Yen.

Much more than a simple translation, Mobissimo’s new Japanese site includes fares and travel offers from local travel agencies, hotels and all major and low-cost airlines relating to Japanese users for travel worldwide and covering more low-cost airlines than any other travel search engine. Read more

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