Up Front With Martin B. Deutsch for 1988
December 1: WRAPPING UP 1988
Frankly, 1988 was a rather humdrum year in terms of travel-industry developments. For all intents and purposes, airline mergers in the United States virtually disappeared since there were very few airlines left to merge. However, the compulsion to couple moved abroad with a significant marriage between British Airways (the survivor) and British Caledonian.
November 1: SORRY, ROME IS CLOSED TODAY
Just where is this flood of mass tourism leading us? How much more on a given day in August can a city like Rome absorb? Is there a limit? If yes, when will it be reached? Who will tell the hopeful pilgrims that Rome is a city of finite dimensions, rooms, services, space? We’re sorry, but Rome is closed today; there’s just no more room.
OCTOBER 1: THE HONG KONG OUTLOOK
There’s a new reality behind the façade of glitz and glitter that Hong Kong shows its visitors. No matter how optimistic the overt speculation about Hong Kong’s future after the takeover by the People’s Republic of China in 1997, residents of the Crown Colony are deeply concerned. Those who have the wherewithal and opportunity are taking concrete steps to hedge their bets, steps that are having a discernible impact on hotel and other service industries.
September 1: YOU GOTTA KEEP MOVIN', YOU GOTTA KEEP IMPROVIN'
Frequent Flyer is eight years young with this issue, and the editors decided that, like every 8-year-old, it deserved a few nice gifts--like a face-lift and a pocketful of new features. So we’re introducing some key changes in format, content, and appearance.
August 1: BUILDING ON TRADITION IN HONG KONG
When I arrived in my room at the much-modernized Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong, I found the expected accoutrements and amenities. But what I also got was a high-tech briefing. The elegant 214 rooms and suites disguise an electronic state-of-the-art creation that’s both challenging and recreational. I say "disguise" because millions were spent on a renovation that would keep the Peninsula’s traditional look intact, and at the same time make the accommodations more spacious and gracious.
July 1: JET LAG AS A WAY OF LIFE
Yet another war story for the frequent flyer files. Last April I flew to San Francisco, stopping overnight before enplaning for a travel industry convention in Australia. I got up about 7:00 A.M. the next morning at the swank new Portman Hotel, never suspecting it would be almost forty-three hours before my head next touched down on a real pillow at the Melbourne Hilton.
June 1: FURTHER TALES OF THE SOUTH PACIFIC
There are several advantages to cruising, not the least of which are convenience, enforced relaxation and isolation. The convenience comes from checking in, just once, to your hotel at sea, packing and unpacking only one time. If you can’t relax on a cruise you’re ready for biofeedback, therapy, a variety of colored pills, or electric shock treatment. And there’s no doubt about it: the environment, both physical and psychological, that a cruise creates is conducive to lessening the top-of-mind specter of office pressures.
May 1: OH, WHAT THE JET AGE HATH WROUGHT
What is the opposite of an inaugural? A termination? A shutting down? An epilogue? Word games aside, I remember when I was cutting my teeth as a trade journalist, the airlines were in a growth pattern, shedding glamour in their wake like a vapor trail. Now, we're in a cycle of consolidation and contraction.
April 1: THE SERVICE SYNDROME
In the latest analysis of the top ten issues facing the travel industry, the editors of Travel Management Daily pinpoint "airline service" as the most nagging headache that continues to face and faze this country’s shrinking family of air carriers. The summary cites "increasing pressure from the public, the press, and government to improve the quality of airline service as delays mounted, near-misses proliferated and consumer complaints skyrocketed."
March 1: ESCAPE TO THE SOUTH PACIFIC
French Polynesia, Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora. Names of places that conjure up long-held fantasies about that singular escape to the South Pacific, the symbolic escape we all hold in reserve. You can visualize those translucent blue or turquoise waters, feel the fresh winds ruffle the palm fronds. The artistry of Paul Gauguin comes to mind.
February 1: ‘DEAR DOUBTING THOMAS…’
The sad truth is that while I prefer to fly in first or business class, I frequently frequent the main cabin, as it is euphemistically called, and I’m often wedged in back there on sold-out flights. This coach-class habit occurs most often on domestic routes, where you can’t buy a first-class seat on high-density routes at the last minute, even if you want to. The bonus mileage upgrades have propelled many first-class sections into the ranks of a scarce commodity, if not an endangered species. Like on a nonstop flight coast-to-coast.
January 1: SERVICE, SERVICE, SERVICE
Service has been my battle cry since we launched Frequent Flyer back in 1980. I’ve written, nay preached, ad nauseam, that the attitude, the mood created inflight, is the critical factor in determining the passengers’ flight experience. Give me a friendly crew, a polite caring cocoon in which to pass those encapsulated hours, and very little else matters. Give me service and the rest of the equation comes into balance.
Copyright © 1980-2007 by Martin B. Deutsch. All rights reserved.