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 The Brancatelli File

joe NOBODY ASKED ME, BUT...

BY JOE BRANCATELLI

April 21, 2005 -- Nobody asked me, butů
I'm not going to worry about a potential America West-US Airways merger until someone shows me the money--and the third party foolish enough to fund the deal.

Why is Glenn Tilton still running United Airlines after 29 months of management ineptitude, labor rancor and stunning losses?

Nobody asked me, butů
A lot of people are worried about the wholesale outsourcing of aircraft maintenance to overseas companies whose mechanics aren't certified. Sadly, nothing will change until a plane crashes and passengers die.

Starwood is telling people it will launch two more hotel brands in the coming months. Since they've already launched W for hipsters, can X for pornographers be far behind? Then they can create a hotel called Σ and claim it is "the brand formerly known as Sheraton."

Nobody asked me, butů
Airport clubs are still the best investment business travelers can make in their own comfort and productivity on the road.

Isn't it time that some smart financial institution creates a package of banking services just for business travelers? I'd support a bank that offers no-fee ATM withdrawals worldwide and a credit card that doesn't rip me off on currency exchanges.

Nobody asked me, butů
Now that we've had a Papal funeral and "chimney cam" coverage of a Papal conclave, the only spectacles that the worldwide all-news networks have yet to cover are the funeral of a British monarch and the coronation of a new one.

I can't wait for May 5 and the BBC coverage of the British Elections. Every time they throw to a constituency for the announcement of the results I think I'm watching a Monty Python sketch. And I just love those rosettes that all the candidates wear.

Nobody asked me, butů
Isn't it cool that hotels and resorts are all rushing to create packages that give you free local calls or all-you-can-eat long-distance calls now that we all use our cell phones and never bother to use the phone in our guestroom?

Shouldn't XM Satellite Radio launch a channel for business travelers? Besides, I always wanted to be an overnight DJ.

Nobody asked me, butů
Another spate of airline mergers won't save the Big Six. The mergers in the 1980s and 1990s only made them weaker. And you never eliminate capacity because smart airlines like Southwest and JetBlue and AirTran move right in and launch profitable new flights.

Anybody notice that the biggest winner when a Big Six airline closes a hub is Southwest? American bailed on Nashville and Raleigh-Durham and Southwest now dominates in both cities. US Airways is pulling down Pittsburgh and here comes Southwest next month.

Nobody asked me, butů
Am I the only one who wants to punch the television screen when some holier-than-thou apologist for the Catholic Church insists that women can't be priests because it's a matter of doctrine and doctrine can't be changed? Yeah, well, it was once a matter of Catholic doctrine that the sun revolved around the earth. They even made Galileo apologize for his heresy.

Don't you think all the powers-that-be in Islam should get together and revive the concept of Khalif? There hasn't been one in 80 years and maybe it's about time.

Nobody asked me, butů
Does anyone fly Midwest Airlines (fka Midwest Express) anymore? I'm just asking.

Fares are so wacky these days that journalists are creating blogs to cover them. Rudy Maxa, the Savvy Traveler and TV travelogue host, has launched MaxaBlog.com. And George Hobica, who used to be AOL's Fare Guy, has launched The Airfare Blog.

Nobody asked me, butů
I'm glad it looks like Berlusconi's government is going to fall in Italy. Italy with a stable government just isn't as much fun.

Am I the last frequent flyer in America who doesn't travel with an iPod?

Nobody asked me, butů
I'm really getting fed up with Web sites of otherwise respectable media operations that think it's okay to cover the content with advertising.

Have you noticed that there's one pop-under ad for every word of news that runs at USAToday.com?

Nobody asked me, butů
Do you think the Los Angeles Lakers regret trading Shaquille O'Neal now?

Maybe they should just auction the Stanley Cup on eBay and be done with it.

Nobody asked me, butů
Continental Airlines is going to lose tons on its nonstop flights between Newark and Hamburg, but if you've got OnePass miles to burn this summer, you could do a lot worse than go to Hamburg. Beautiful city.

There's a discount airline based in Sweden called Snalskjutsen. The Web site says that it's pronounced Snolschussen. Doesn't Ikea sell a chair called Snalskjutsen?

This column originally appeared at JoeSentMe.com.

Copyright ę 1993-2005 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved.