America’s “superpower” days may be on the wane, but the land of the free and home of the brave is still packing a strong punch as a top business destination. While competitive new economies rise around the globe, airlines, hotel chains and more are still falling over themselves to serve the lucrative USA-bound business travel market. Hold on to that US Dollar cash card as you may find yourself among the many who continue to head stateside for business.
German flag carrier Lufthansa clearly sees the potential as four American cities are now served by its fleet of Airbus A380 “superjumbos”. As well as linking Frankfurt with its fellow finance hub New York and oil capital Houston, the mammoth aircraft is also deployed on services to Miami and San Francisco. These jets each house two business class cabins, which account for 98 of the seats onboard and include features such as fully flat seating and AC power ports.
Middle Eastern giant Emirates is another airline sending its A380s to the USA – and not by halves. A third daily flight operated on that aircraft type now links Dubai with New York’s JFK airport – each including 76 business class seats. In addition a fourth Emirates flight utilising a smaller – but still pretty big – Boeing 777 – flies from Dubai to JFK with a stop at Italy’s financial powerhouse, Milan, en route.
A recent move by Delta Air Lines shows that travelling in style is still an important factor for business travellers in the USA. In 2011 the carrier launched a trial at its Atlanta base – the luxury car terminal transfer service involving Porsche Cayenne 5 Hybrid vehicles. This is not to be confused with airport to city transfers – this exclusive automobile experience is offered to select passengers to take them from gate to gate when connecting flights. The concept has clearly taken off, having now been rolled out to airports in New York, Seattle, Detroit, Los Angeles and Minneapolis.
On the hotel front, chains are continuing to put an emphasis on making life easy for their valued and regular business guests. Members of the Starwood Preferred Guest scheme – operated by Starwood Hotels & Resorts – can now take advantage of keyless room entry at certain hotels, a number of these in the USA. Having downloaded an app they can glide straight from the taxi to their room without queuing at reception and unlock it with their smartphone. Aloft hotels in Cupertino and Harlem, W hotels in Hollywood and New York and the Element Times Square are the properties where this service is currently available.
Business travel is indeed alive and well in the USA and with no signs of a slowdown the demand on foreign currency providers for US Dollar cards looks set to continue.