February 19, 2013
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SmartBrief for The Business Traveler

Business fliers will feel effect of AA-US Airways merger
Business travelers may not enjoy a potential merger between American Airlines and US Airways, as it could interrupt regular routines and frequent-flier programs, this feature says. Joe Brancatelli, a business-travel expert, says the merger will result in the elimination of some connecting hubs that are in the same region. "These guys didn't merge to make our lives better," he said. "They merged for their own purposes." Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model) (2/18)
Southwest upsets some of its fans by tweaking offerings
Southwest Airlines styles itself as the maverick of the aviation industry, offering cheap, no-frills flights and refusing to charge extra for basic services in the manner of its larger rivals. Recently, Southwest has upset some fans by shrinking legroom, making its frequent-flier program less generous and implementing an early-boarding charge. Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model) (2/9)
The Smarter Traveler
Frankfurt Airport is top self-service travel hub, survey finds
A new SITA report states that Frankfurt Airport has the most self-service bag drops and self-service check-ins around the globe. The airport's intelligent information kiosks scan a traveler's boarding pass and direct him or her to the appropriate terminal using the quickest route. FutureTravelExperience.com (U.K.) (2/14)
United trims bag limit for international business class
United Airlines is changing its baggage limits for international business class to two bags from three bags. The airline has also changed its limit for domestic first-class flights. Australian Business Traveller (2/18)
Refuel and Refresh
VIP lounges may be worth the cost for frequent travelers
Before purchasing a VIP pass to an airline lounge, it is a good idea to understand which lounges are eligible and to understand that not all lounges have been newly built or remodeled, this feature says. Also consider Priority Pass, a program that enables access to lounges and is not run through an airline. "Bottom line, if you fly just one airline and fly a lot, join that airline's club, with United an especially good choice thanks to reciprocal privileges. But if you fly on multiple U.S. carriers frequently, the American Express Platinum Card makes sense," writes George Hobica, founder of airfare site Airfarewatchdog.com. FoxNews.com (2/13)
Hotel rooms evolve with unique design ideas
Hotel developers can take a nod from boutique hotels to create one-of-a-kind rooms. A few tips are to explore different configurations, integrate furniture into the architecture and turn the bathroom into more of a spa complete with a bathtub and high-end fixtures. Hospitality Net (2/14)
Travel Pulse
Do you expect the American Airlines-US Airways merger to affect your business travel? 
VoteYes, positively
VoteYes, negatively
VoteI'm not sure yet
The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedoms."
-- William O. Douglas,
U.S. Supreme Court justice
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