American Will Make Preferred Seats Free for Corporate Travelers

All those seats that frequent-flyers can access for free—American Airlines plans to make them free to corporate customers, as well, via global distribution systems.

American eastern sales division managing director Jim Carter told BTN GDS subscribers will be able to access preferred seats—those aisle, window and forward-cabin seats that are upsold to layperson customers when they reach the seat-map page during the booking process—at no cost. This nod to corporate customers does not extend to American’s Main Cabin Extra seats, which offer extra pitch and legroom and typically occupy the first three or four rows of the main cabin.

Why is American making preferred seats free?
Any passenger with status already could access preferred seats for free, Carter acknowledged, but “it’s startling how many corporates don’t have status,” he said. And on American flights, those who don’t have frequent-flyer status and who don’t buy preferred seats don’t receive a seat assignment until they check in, he said. Considering U.S. carriers’ global load factor has risen from 77.6 percent in 2005 to 83.8 percent in 2015 and American’s has risen from 78.6 percent to 83.6 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, preferred seats may be the only way for main-cabin corporate customers to avoid the dreaded middle seat.
Despite all those packed planes and thus no trouble selling preferred seats, American claims simply to be giving corporates what already is theirs. “The expectation from our [corporate] customers is that [preferred seats] ought to be included in the seat assignment, and we agree,” Carter said.

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The Main Event: 5 Fundamentals Every Planner Must Know

Growing a successful event planning business is certainly not for the faint of heart. Mr. Larry White Sr., CEO and Founder of VIPeVENTS Concierge, @VIPConcierge_LW, an event planning and services company, specializes in providing his clients with an unforgettable experience that results in greater relationships, opportunities and revenues.

Mr. White shares key insights and essentials on how to host successful events and build sustainable relationships

1. Be intentional in deciding which community partners and corporate sponsors to connect with to foster mutually beneficial relationships

2. Know the target audience of your client

3. Have a strong social media presence. In order to fill seats at events, you must invest time, energy and resources into growing your online platforms

4. Establish a core leadership team

5. Attend networking events at least monthly or quarterly with a variety of corporate and outreach initiatives

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Business Travel Lags, While Meetings Keep Momentum

The U.S. Travel Association’s Travel Trends Index shows domestic business travel fell for the fourth straight month and is expected to underperform through summer. The latest quarterly Meetings Outlook from Meeting Professionals International, on the other hand, revealed seven of 10 respondents see “favorable” business conditions on the horizon.

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