The Clear Card is now available
through Delta at LAX.
Just in time for the busy summer travel season, the company that helps speed travelers through airport security checkpoints has expanded its offerings with Delta Air Lines to include “fast lanes” at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and New York’s John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports.
It is the latest expansion for the Clear program, operated by Verified Identity Pass Inc., which has signed up more than 175,000 travelers nationwide with Clear cards accepted at 18 U.S. Airports including Denver, Salt Lake City, San Francisco and Reno, Nev.
“Clear has recently passed the 1 million milestone for members processed through our fast pass lanes throughout the country,” said Steven Brill, CEO of Clear.
With often lengthy waits to get through Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints, travelers seeking to enroll in the program can start with an online application and then complete the process at an enrollment location where their fingerprints and iris images are captured.
Driver’s license and Social Security numbers are required. Once identification is validated, Clear program members are given a special high-tech card that gives them access to special lanes. The program costs $100 to enroll, plus a $28 TSA vetting fee.
At the Clear fast lanes, concierges ready X-ray bins for Clear travelers and help them retrieve their items on the other side to help travelers move through more quickly and with less hassle.
“The concierge service alone has made Clear lanes 30 percent faster than regular security lanes,” Brill said. “We plan to improve that even more with investments ... in enhanced technology which, once approved by TSA, could enable our members not to have to remove shoes, outer garments or laptops.”
Other airports where Clear is offered include Washington, D.C., Cincinnati and Orlando, Fla.
Paperless Hotel Room
It seems just about everything is going paperless, including your hotel room. Fontainebleau Resorts recently announced it will use Apple technology to create “paperless” hotel rooms — well, almost. The rooms still will include toilet paper.
Fontainebleau said the technology will be rolled out at its Miami and Las Vegas resorts set to open this fall and later next year, respectively.
Specifically, simple and intuitive options for booking and pre-planning will be offered online at Fontainebleau.com, and interactive programming will be available throughout the resort.
The highlight of the program, however, is a personal iMac in every guestroom to assist guests in customizing their vacation, interacting online and creating immediate, actionable guest feedback.
Guests can use their own laptops and devices to access much of the same information and planning features available on iMacs. Customer information also will be integrated with the on-property devices, so that check-in kiosks will recognize details about a customer — such as a prior request for a hypoallergenic pillow or an outstanding newspaper preference selection.
Fontainebleau is planning a grand reopening of Fontainebleau Miami Beach this fall after a total investment of more than a ginormous $1 billion. Fontainebleau Las Vegas, a $2.9 billion, 63-story destination resort and entertainment complex, that sits upon 25 acres of the Las Vegas Strip, is expected to open next fall.
How Much Should You Make?
The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) unveiled an online interactive salary tool designed to help agency owners and managers, as well as current and prospective employees, see where they rank in terms of salary and benefits. ASTA travel agency owners and managers can benchmark their employees’ salaries against others in their region, while employees and job seekers can see how their pay or a proposed salary compares against their peers.
“Armed with this information, travel agency managers will be in a better position to recruit and retain the workforce they want,” said ASTA president and CEO Cheryl Hudak.
To access the tool, ASTA members should go to www.asta.org/education
VAX Gets a Boost from Funjet
Funjet Vacations recently boosted its VAX booking and shopping functionality, including scheduled air and charter/value flights that can now be searched from a single place in a new dynamic booking engine at VAX Vacation Access. The system requires fewer clicks and offers more intuitive searches, and the layout includes one-step air-only and air/hotel searches. Now, agents can compare prices more easily between charter and scheduled air options.
“We simplified the VAX booking process to make it easier for agents,” said Ray Snisky, president of Funjet. “These improvements ... will allow agents to more quickly search for the options and products that their customers are looking for.”
The new enhancements are the latest to be introduced this year, along with new Web site layouts and a virtual product show www.funjetvacationsproductshow.com that features suppliers’ products and sales content.
Expedia Corporate Travel has rebranded itself as Egencia in an effort to update its image and differentiate its corporate travel business. It also introduced new tools for business travelers, travel managers and travel bookers. One new tool, SeatGuru, comprises color-coded, interactive airplane seating charts that outline the benefits and drawbacks of various seats on more than 275 planes and 40 airlines. The company also introduced an unused ticket performance report to help managers monitor usage, along with tools that allow managers to customize hotel policies.
Dolce’s new GDs Code
Dolce International has launched a private label GDS code for its 26 properties across the U.S., Canada and Europe, allowing agents to see the company’s entire portfolio of properties as a single brand. Dolce International is now represented through the chain code DX on the GDS for its properties that include the historic Dolce Hayes Mansion in Northern California; the alpine village of Utah’s Zermatt Resort & Spa; the new Dolce Valley Forge adjacent to one of America’s most upscale shopping malls; and the Michelin-starred cuisine of France’s Dolce Chantilly.