upgrade

Ned Levi has four new year’s resolutions for travelers which can enhance their sojourns. Ned wishes everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.

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We’d entrusted our route to the Google Maps app on my iPhone; it had never steered us wrong. The program assured me that yes, the winding road between Santa Maria and Interstate 5 was the fastest, most direct route to our destination. It even showed me the gas stations along the way: a Texaco, an Exxon and a Chevron. Wrong on all counts.

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Strategies for getting hotel upgrades, Airlines apply for antitrust immunity in Japan, Boeing 787 tests reach halfway point

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Sure, the latest customer surveys suggest customer satisfaction scores have plummeted to their lowest levels in years. (How bad is it? In one notable case, the industry celebrated a customer-approval grade of C-.) And if you read this column, you can try to count the many times the travel industry has let its customers down.

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Armando Alvarez’s first class upgrade was revoked by a United Airlines gate agent, because the gate agent said he was dressed too casually to sit in first class. Ned Levi explores airlines’ dress codes.

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You’d think reports of superior customer service from an airline like United would be random — a one-off for a carrier that consistently gets inferior scores. Maybe not.

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JetBlue, Frontier, Northwest and United are among the airline leaders in the art of upsell. This practice allows the airlines to keep a low price available in sales channels to entice customers to buy, then they offer upgrades for larger seats, inflight entertainment and food.

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Why wait for Google Travel, the long-awaited travel initiative from the search engine giant? You can Google your trip now.

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