Rafat Ali

Latest Stories

Online Travel

OMG, Boston’s Logan launches a customer service avatar: Clearly, the future of annoyance.

Call us crazy, but hearing the same digital voice over and over again as you patiently wait in a rush hour line, doesn't seem too friendly. Or maybe we're just having a bad day.

Hotels

New York beyond Manhattan is becoming a reality in hotel industry

Artisanal Brooklyn's now a destination in itself, so that's an obvious one to tap for hospitality industry. Then Long Island City in Queen, a stop or two into Manhattan, makes an easy hop for tourists.

Tourism

Brand USA’s management changes aside, hopes to stay on track

As the story mentions in a sidebar, political issues may end up deciding the future of Brand USA, especially if Republicans come into power with this presidential elections.

Airlines

Who gets Aer Lingus? Turkish Airlines now interested in buying

At some point in the near future, all airlines in the world will be owned by one of the global four: Emirates, Etihad, Qatar, and Turkish Airlines. Turkish just pulled out of a bid for Polish LOT Airlines.

Online Travel

The most social landmarks worldwide, ranked by Facebook check-ins

How do you build a tourism strategy around TGI checkins? No, really. OK, not really. Point is: don't read too much into it, you social media types. Have you seen people being social IRL at Times Square?

Airlines

Chicago airports to get limited free access with Wi-Fi

Devil is in details: no word on what those "limited sites" will be. And it does not include email beyond initial promo period. But then, just improving cell signal in airports would solve lots people's woes.

Airlines

Heathrow set for big increase in capacity; no need for 3rd runway?

A way to get out of the very political debate around the third runway at Heathrow, which at this point seems unlikely to come to fruition.

Hotels

Tiered-access net neutrality has a parallel world in hotel free wi-fi-land

The tiered access debate has been going on in the mainstream Internet industry for years now, and looks like it is coming to the hotel industry as well. Here's hoping the "ancillary revenues" movement does not come to hotels.

Airlines

There goes Alaska Air’s JD Power’s reputation: bag fee for some first-class flyers

The war on upgraders continues, and expect others to follow. For Alaska, it is treating mileage upgraders the same as last-minute-paid upgraders, something that is sure to cause consumer dissonance.

Online Travel

Because it is all retail anyway? Sears launches online travel site

Strange half-hearted launch from Sears, with SearsVacations.com. Looks more like something the third-party provider International Cruise and Excursions coaxed Sears into.