Airline Fees Reached More Than $6B in 2012, DOT Says
Preliminary data from the Transportation Department's Bureau of Transportation Statistics show $3.5 billion in luggage fees and $2.6 billion in reservation change fees going to airlines in 2012 -- a record amount since 2008, when airlines began charging luggage fees. The fact that these fees account for carriers' 3.7% profit margin last year could mean they will be a favorite revenue source for airlines for years to come. And if the $50 increase in change fees recently imposed by several major carriers is any indication, more fee increases may be in store for passengers this summer.
Airlines Increase Change Fees
United Airlines: Increased change fee from $150 to $200., They have also increased their change fee from U.S./Canada/ to South America from $250 to $300. All other markets have NOT changed.
US Airways: Increased change fee for travel within U.S., Canada, Central America, the Caribbean and Hawaii from $150 to $200. Their change fee to/from Brazil from $250 to $300. The change fee to/from Europe and the Middle East remains at $250.
Delta Air Lines: Increased standard domestic free from $150 to $200 for U.S. and Canada. Their international fee is staying at $250.
American Queen to Revive Riverboat Cruising in Pacific Northwest
American Queen Steamboat Co. has announced its acquisition of the 223-passenger Empress of the North. The river-cruise line says it intends to deploy the ship, which will be renamed the American Empress, in the Pacific Northwest region. The vessel will begin cruising out of Portland, Ore., in April 2014 for sailings along the Columbia and Snake rivers.
Holland America Unveils Round-the-World Cruise for 2014
Holland America announced plans for another voyage around the world in 2014, departing from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and returning there after 113 days. The 1,380-passenger Amsterdam is scheduled to begin the voyage on Jan. 4 toward Peru, its first of 38 stops that include Barbados, Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong and Pitcairn Island
Globus' CubaTours Program
Globus has revived its Cuba program with two new nine-day itineraries. The Undiscovered Cuba itinerary highlights cultural and historical attractions in Havana, while Cuba's Charming Colonial Cities and Havana takes travelers across the country, with stops in Playa Girón, Camagüey and Cienfuegos. Globus had previously offered travel products to Cuba but withdrew because of the complicated licensing process under the Treasury Department's people-to-people program.