CRUISE, AIRLINES, TOURS, HOTELS, TRAVEL AGENTS ALL AFFECTED DIFFERENTLY
Trump’s new rules on Cuba travel
have industry assessing damage
By the Travel Weekly staff
President Trump’s decision to reverse several hallmarks of President
Obama’s Cuba policy, including
individual people-to-people travel
to Cuba, left many in the industry
scratching their heads.
Trump called the Obama administration’s deal with Cuba
“terrible and misguided” before
signing a policy that will require anyone
traveling under the people-to-people category to be part of a group, a rollback to
It will also prevent Americans from doing
business with Gaesa, Cuba’s Armed Forces
Business Enterprises Group, which is involved
in myriad parts of the Cuban economy. That
prohibition is expected to limit the number of
hotels and restaurants tourists can visit.
Trump asserted that “easing restrictions
on travel and trade does not help the people;
it only enriches the Cuban regime.”
Cuba experts last week disagreed.
William LeoGrande, an American Uni-
versity professor who has written extensively
on U.S.-Cuba relations, said, “The irony is
the president justified the policy as trying to
help the private sector and starve
the military, when in fact by ban-
ning individual people-to-people
travel, the burden of that falls directly on the
Cuban private sector.”
On the other hand, the experts agreed that
the rollback could have been much more
painful. For example, the new policy exempts
airlines and cruise ships, which will continue
to be allowed to operate.
Travel Weekly’s annual ranking of retailers
with travel sales of $100 million or more.
Spirit, the airline people love to hate,
strives to improve its customer service
By Robert Silk
Spurred by its early 2016 management
change, Spirit Airlines, long an industry
whipping boy for its subpar operational performance, has been improving.
In the first quarter of this year, for example, Spirit recorded an on-time rate of 76.3%.
That still makes it 10th among the 12 airlines
ranked by the DOT’s Air Travel Consumer
Report, but it’s a big improvement over the
carrier’s 67.3% rate a year earlier.
Spirit has seen even bigger improvements
in its baggage handling. In fact, the carrier’s
mishandled bag rate in April was 1.46 per
1,000 passengers, third-best out of the 12
airlines tracked. That marked an improvement from a mishandled bag rate of 2. 11
per 1,000 passengers in April 2016. For all of
2015, Spirit mishandled 2.57 bags per 1,000
Driving such performance improvements
is Bob Fornaro, who was the CEO of Air Tran
from 2007 until that airline’s merger with
Southwest in 2011. He took the helm of Spirit in January 2016.
The hiring of Fornaro followed the sudden departure of Ben Baldanza, the CEO
who had transformed Spirit into the first
ultra-low-cost-carrier (ULCC) in the U.S.,
employing a business model of low base
fares and upcharges for everything from water and boarding passes printed at the airport
to carry-on bags.
But Baldanza was sometimes brazen about
See SPIRIT on Page 54
See CUBA on Page 49
IN OTHER NEWS
Following Otto Warmbier’s death, operators rethink tours to North Korea
Demand for Alaska cruises is booming, but a few cabins can still be had
THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY’S TRUSTED VOICE
WWW.TRAVELWEEKLY.COM JUNE 26, 2017
AA said it would cut seat pitch to 29 inches.
Then its execs came to their senses.
IN THE HOT SEAT ON TRAVELWEEKLY.COM SOJERN DATA POINTS MARK PESTRONK
Cuba Educational Travel’s Collin Laverty on
the impact of Trump’s new restrictions.
Dispatch, Mexico: Hokol Vuh, a food adventure.
While U.S. travelers seek hot spots this year,
international travelers seek ‘staycations.’
Lacking a subpoena, a travel agency is under
no obligation to share client travel records.
SECTION 1 OF 2
SPECIAL PULLOUT SECTION
On a Qatar Airways flight, I was forced to check
my laptop. Now it’s missing.