The Brancatelli File for 2017
WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT JOE
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 16: I LIVE TO SERVE: YOUR QUESTIONS, MY ANSWERS
Travel is essentially a selfish endeavor. Whether it's leisure or business, travelers only care about their own needs. I try to remember that basic lesson as I put together this Web site in general and this column in particular. So this week, answers to your questions about "urban" resort fees, the relative value of Delta and America miles and the kinda-sorta new United business class. Plus, an interactive exercise in travel and politics.

February 16: TURKEY, TRAVEL, TURKISH AIRLINES--AND POLITICS
What's behind the collapse in traffic at Turkish Airlines and its hub at Istanbul Ataturk Airport? Raw, naked politics--the kind of the raw, naked politics that make it impossible to view travel in a bubble.

February 2: TRAVEL IS POLITICS. WE COVER IT. GET OVER IT.
Nobody at JoeSentMe.com makes any money from this. We are volunteers. We do it because we want to write about travel intelligently. To speak truth to power without worrying about pressure from advertisers. Or politicians. Or political fanboys. When Trump does dumb stuff and it affects travel, I'll call him on it. Just like we called out Obama and Bush when they did dumb stuff. And right now Trump is making our lives on the road miserable.

January 30: STRANGE DAYS INDEED
Late January and early February usually are among the slowest weeks of the year for travel, both business and leisure. Except for the odd blizzard, not much happens. This year? Strange days indeed. Yes, we got a requisite blizzard in the Northeast. But we also got computer meltdowns at United and Delta airlines that ground flights to a halt. And a week into his presidency, Donald J. Trump made good on a campaign promise and imposed a temporary ban on immigration and travel by people in seven nations. Federal courts promptly stayed all or parts of the President's executive order--and, of course, that sent him into a frenzy of tweets, recriminations and threats. Here is how we've been trying to cover it all.

January 26: GREECING THE WHEELS OF AIRLINE COMPETITION
Emirates this week announced a year-round nonstop between Newark and Athens and the big news is how little controversy surrounds the route. Gulf carriers have run into a competitive wall, which has slowed them much more effectively than the phony protectionism espoused by competition-adverse U.S. airlines. It's a lesson for us all.

January 19: LESS FOR THEM IS STILL NOT MORE FOR US
Now that all three legacy airlines have instituted Basic Economy fares, we know the truth. The fares aren't cheaper, just repackaged and stripped of basic functionality. And once again we know: Less for them is not more for us. The airlines once again remind us how much they despise customers, even the most frequent ones.

January 12: THE DEATH OF TRAVEL LOYALTY
It doesn't take a genius to know that travel loyalty is dead. Airlines and hotels have so bastardized and diluted frequency plans that the only winning move is not to play. There is another system, a better way for frequent travelers. Time to do what's good for us, not the travel industry.

January 8: A LONG WEEK AHEAD ON THE ROAD
I wanted to update you on conditions for travel this evening and next week, which is shaping up as rough. Plus some factual points on Friday's massacre at Fort Lauderdale Airport.

January 5: WHAT I WON'T CARE ABOUT ON THE ROAD IN 2017
You know why new years suck? Because travel talking heads make ludicrous predictions about the year ahead, compile lists of the coming "big stories" or make believe every airline or hotel CEO has something relevant to predict. You won't get that from me. Instead, I'll you what I don't care about: Things like lying airline CEOS, self-aggrandizing hotel executives and stupid stuff done "out of an abundance of caution."

These columns originally appeared at JoeSentMe.com.

Copyright 1993-2017 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved.