by Rob Hard
Tuesday December 29 2009

International Business Travel News Report, December 2009

Airline security levels were heightened as a result of a failed terrorist plot onboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 (Delta Air Lines) bound for Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport from Amsterdam on Christmas. The incident occurred on an Airbus 330-300 aircraft with 278 passengers onboard, and landed safely. The passenger was taken into custody and questioned by law enforcement authorities. Since then, President Obama has issued a directive to review airline security measures.

A recent New York Times article, “For Security Ideas, Ask Business Travelers,” explored the notion that business travelers may be the ones in the best position to gauge the pulse of airport security. Quoting Douglas J. Engmann, road warrior and president of Engmann Options, a financial services firm in San Francisco, it is perhaps one of the first times I’ve heard an admission that it’s the passengers – and particularly business passengers – who have the most unique insight into airline security procedures:

The Eliot Suite Hotel in Boston, MA, for business travel.

The Eliot Suite Hotel in Boston, MA, was ranked #7 of the top 20 business hotels in the world by Travel & Leisure for 2009 (meeting room).

“I go through, what, 150 T.S.A. checkpoints a year? People like us, we notice things. If you think about it, we’re also the ones who are most at risk, because we’re flying the most. So we’re not ones who want to make it easy for a terrorist to get on an airplane. On the other hand, we’re the ones who have the most experience at going through the checkpoints and observing … We’re the first responders, basically. Passengers stopped and flight attendants stopped this guy from doing more damage.”

Check back for my business travel view on airline security in the coming weeks.

Other business travel news …

Speaking of airline news, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued rule limits for airline tarmac delays that are slightly stronger than bills which have sat in committee in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Issued during the week of Christmas when snow storms delayed holiday airline traffic, the rules – which go into effect in the spring of 2010 – are being promoted as a win for passengers, but is it? Check back for more on this in the coming weeks for my updated business travel view on tarmac delays.

In business hotel news, Travel & Leisure announced its top 20 list of the World’s Best Business Hotels for 2009. They include:

  1. Palacio Duhau-Park Hyatt, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  2. Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, Taipei, Taiwan
  3. St. Regis, Shanghai, China
  4. XV Beacon, Boston, MA
  5. Four Seasons, Hong Kong, China
  6. The London West Hollywood, West Hollywood, CA
  7. Eliot Suite Hotel, Boston, MA, USA
  8. Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, Dallas, TX
  9. Sofitel Shanghai Jin Jiang Oriental Pudong, Shanghai, China
  10. Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, China
  11. Peninsula Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
  12. Pudong Shangri-La, Shanghai, China
  13. Omni Mandalay Hotel at Las Colinas, Dallas (Irving), TX
  14. Intercontinental Buckhead, Atlanta, GA
  15. The St. Regis, Beijing, China
  16. The Peninsula Beverly Hills, Beverly Hills, CA
  17. Mandarin Oriental, New York, NY
  18. Conrad Centennial, Singapore
  19. Four Seasons Hotel, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  20. Ritz-Carlton Central Park, New York, NY