Today: Impact on Delta Airlines (and your airfares) of Obamacare; Top Labor Day destinations according to Priceline purchases; Super-elite fliers get perks galore that smooth the turbulence of air travel.
Delta warns ObamaCare will drive $100 million spike in health care costs
In a letter to the administration, Delta executive Robert Knight stated that the cost to his airline would be roughly $100 million in order to implement provisions required by Obamacare.
“Like many large companies, Delta faces significantly increased healthcare costs in 2014 and beyond,” the company said in a statement on Friday. “Delta will absorb the vast majority of those increased costs so that we can continue providing a high value, high quality health plan. Consistent with our culture, Delta will always keep the best interests of our people in mind in connection with the healthcare and other benefits we provide.”
In the original letter, Knight disputes the notion that the law — the biggest parts of which take effect at the start of 2014 — will mean “business as usual” for big employers. A combination of factors, he claimed, will “mean that the cost of providing health care to our employees will increase by nearly $1 million next year.”
Priceline: Big cities outbook beaches for Labor Day
Based on over 30,000 credit card-backed hotel room booking requests made on priceline.com’s Name Your Own Price® hotel service for the upcoming holiday, this annual survey is one of the more accurate predictors of Labor Day travel trends. The bottom line: cities beat out beaches.
Here are the Top 10 destinations, according to Priceline bookings. (In some cases the main city was listed several times, i.e. New York Midtown West, NY Midtown East, NY Upper East Side. Those have been combined into one listing under New York.
#1 New York City
#3 Las Vegas
#4 Oahu, Waikiki Beach Area
#5 San Francisco
#6 New Orleans
#7 San Diego
#9 Paris, France
Inside United’s secret club for top fliers
As coach passengers are faced with shrinking legroom and fees every step of the way when flying, those with the big bucks (or companies forking over big bucks) are being treated to a world of luxury and customer service that normal coach and even business travelers cannot imagine.
At the same time that airlines fight informing everyday, normal passengers of their rights through posters at airports, they shower their anointed big spenders with everything from private cars to whisk them between flights and special concierge services.
The rest of us are on our own.
At the far end of United’s main O’Hare terminal, tucked behind sliding glass doors, four smiling women in gold neckerchiefs await Global Services members. These fliers face no airport lines. The agents know many of them by name and have boarding passes waiting for those who often run late. After picking up their tickets, the travelers step straight to the front of the security line, cutting in front of fliers and drawing confused looks.
United dedicates more than 400 employees at 60 airports across the world to Global Services members. At O’Hare, a handful spend their day in a small room, monitoring the flights of Global Services members scheduled to pass through the airport and pre-emptively booking backup plans for any whose travels get disrupted.