Executive Travel : Business Travel Notes

Times Wire Services

Frequent-Flier 'Freddies': InsideFlyer magazine's annual "Freddie Awards," which honor airline marketing pioneer Sir Freddie Laker, named United Mileage Plus as the best frequent-mileage plan. United was named as the top choice by 22% of the magazine's readers. Delta SkyMiles, at 19%, and American's AAdvantage program, at 17%, were close behind. Much less close was the voting on the best hotel program--Hilton's HHonors was voted best by 45% of the readers, with Marriott Honored Guest Awards a distant second at 26%. The awards reflect preferences of very frequent fliers--the average person casting a vote has almost 1 million miles or points, said InsideFlyer Publisher Randy Petersen.

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Ticketless Travel on Rise: Frank Dinovo, president of Omaha-based Travel & Transport, one of the top 10 travel firms in the United States, estimated that by the end of 1996, half of all ticket transactions will be electronic. United Airlines spokesman Joe Hopkins said a recently published estimate saying United hopes to have about 40% of its tickets converted to the electronic system by the end of 1996 is more or less accurate.

The Apollo computer reservation system will issue an electronic ticket for United when no other type of ticket is requested, and an Apollo spokesman said America West and Continental will also be offering electronic tickets in the same system sometime in 1996. Peter Moen, vice president of account management for Carlson Wagonlit Travel, said he thinks a written itinerary to accompany electronic tickets will become standard, although that could change as people get used to the new process.

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Southern California Appetite Back: The recession and the region's string of mishaps during the last few years had spoiled consumers' taste for eating out, but now they are hungry again in a big way, according to the latest Zagat Survey.

Zagat's 4,800 surveyors in Southern California, who polled 1,200 restaurants from Santa Barbara to Palm Springs, reported that people are eating out more frequently and spending more. Diners ate out four times a week in 1995, compared with 3 1/2 times a week in 1994. Diners spent 4% more in 1995 than in the previous year, "the first uptick since California's deep recession took hold early this decade," the report says.

The trend is borne out by preliminary state statistics showing that for the first six months of 1995, the latest figures available, California posted a 3.3% increase in restaurant revenue statewide compared with the same period in 1994.

Of the 30 markets surveyed by Zagat, Southern California remains one of the top markets for takeout or dining out, with surveyors reporting that those polled said 70% of their lunches and dinners are from restaurant kitchens.

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