2024 Archive
Joe Brancatelli
Joe Brancatelli is a publication consultant, which means that he helps media companies start, fix and reposition newspapers, magazines and Web sites. He is also the former executive editor of Frequent Flyer magazine and has been a consultant to or columnist for more business-travel and leisure-travel publishing operations than he can remember. He began his career as a business reporter and created JoeSentMe.com in the dark days after 9/11 while stranded in a hotel room in San Francisco. He lives on the Hudson River in Cold Spring, New York.

FEBRUARY 18: BE MORE COMFORTABLE IN COACH (REALLY!)
Nancy Pelosi was a master vote-counter as Speaker of the House. But her load factor miscalculation left her in a middle coach seat last week on a flight to the Super Bowl. Don't make that mistake. Here's how to score the seat you want in coach--and guarantee the middle seat is empty. Plus the rise of the 3- or 4-seat international coach "couch."

FEBRUARY 11: CARS WITH WINGS
You can still do it: Pick up a new car in Europe, drive around for a holiday, then ship the vehicle home. But there are wrinkles, including a South Carolina option and several lease-and-sellback schemes. Here is the latest on European Delivery plans, a secret of the savviest frequent flyers.

FEBRUARY 4: FEBRUARY FOLLIES
This month's key issues: the Boeing 737MAX-9s are (almost) all back. Two Ohio airports have a brilliant service while you're parked there. Why are American Airlines cutting staff and Delta raising credit card fees? The tale of Amsterdam's $13 stroopwafel. Idiots defaming pilots of color. The depressing reality of the continued imposition of the 3-ounce carry-on rule. And more.

JANUARY 28: NOBODY ASKED BE, BUT ... FAILURE EDITION
This edition is all about failure. There's been a lot of failure on the road lately. Continuing disclosures of MAX-9 failures from Boeing, the failing JetBlue-Spirit merger, failing start-up airlines and the failure of schedules and airport services are just some examples. It's a dreary scene indeed.

JANUARY 21: FIVE STORIES I MISSED
I write thousands of words about travel each week. And it's still not enough. Important stories have slipped through the metaphoric cracks or haven't gotten enough attention here. So this week a quick look at some things I missed: Porter Airlines' interesting new coach cabin. The demise of a room-service ghost kitchen operation. The spotty success of efforts to stop "drip pricing" at hotels and resorts. Why are cities subsidizing airlines to fly? And why you should never carry large amounts of cash to the airport.

JANUARY 14: SAVING JETBLUE COULD BE A BREEZE (AIRWAYS)
JetBlue Airways chief executive Robin Hayes jumped or was pushed out this week and his demise was inevitable. In nine years, he took a profitable, disruptive innovator and turned it into a money-losing, also-ran carrier that aped the competitors it once easily outmaneuvered. Can JetBlue be saved? It could be a Breeze if JetBlue teamed up with the struggling start-up launched by its founder.

JANUARY 07: BAD WEATHER, BLACK SWANS AND AIRLINE CRISES
No month that starts with a fatal crash can be a good one. Still, the "miraculous" evacuation of a Japan Airlines Airbus A350 at Tokyo/Haneda Airport seemed to be a felicitous omen for the beginning of 2024. But that was before the jaw-dropping incident at Alaska Airlines when the door plug of a Boeing 737MAX-9 fuselage came apart in-flight. Plus there was lousy weather in the East and the Midwest--and real questions about how "miraculous" that JAL evacuation really was. Here's how we covered it in real time.