Upgraded: Enterprise Rent-a-Car turns a new leaf
Enterprise Rent-a-Car has committed to purchasing 500 Nissan Leaf electric vehicles — not hybrids, electrics — for implementation in Phoenix, Tucson, Knoxville, Nashville, San Diego, Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle. The cars can run for about 100 miles on a single charge. No word yet on rates, but you’ll start to see the cars at rental locations beginning in January 2011. The challenge, of course, is recharging it, unless you happen to have “a standard SAE J1772-2009 connector for level 1 and 2 recharging (110/220 V AC)” or “a TEPCO connector for high-voltage ‘level 3′ quick charging (480 V DC 125 amps) using the CHAdeMO protocol” handy…
Downgraded: Southwest Airlines
Southwest keeps acting more and more like a “regular” airline. The company has changed its contract of carriage to brazenly and bizarrely refer to a mechanical delay as an act of God. Deus ex machina? I don’t think so. Lame, and begging for a legal challenge…
Strong: Downgraded: Wegolo
The Netherlands-based discount-airline fare aggregator Wegolo lost a court case to Ryanair, thereby preventing it from scraping Ryanair’s website to include their fares in search results. Ryanair’s beef? Wegolo charged a surtax on the Ryanair fare for booking via the search site.
Downgraded: Star Alliance
After several years of expansion (with the addition of Continental being the biggest deal, from a USA-centric perspective), Star Alliance is losing a member: Shanghai Airlines, which is merging with China Eastern Airlines, is leaving Star Alliance for SkyTeam in October. Within Star Alliance, Air China remains the lone Chinese member airline. Will another Chinese airline join the fray? Maybe the butt-kicking staff at Sichuan Airlines will convince management to get interested in joining the party?…
Upgraded: Hotel ratings
Every year, the J.D. Power survey results come out with some fanfare, rating customer satisfaction with major hotel chains. The top line news is usually the winner in each category. I like to go deeper, and if you’re interested, the full results are here. Somewhat of surprise for me: The more casual Aloft brand beat (but effectively tied) the more established Westin brand within the Starwood franchise.
Upgraded: Repo Men
It’s not looking good for Mexicana Airlines right now. The company has had three aircraft seized by creditors, they are canceling flights, and they are publicly admitting that they are “probably” looking to enter bankruptcy. Points for honesty! If you’ve got tickets already, it’s probably too late to buy travel insurance. If you haven’t bought tickets, it’s probably a bad idea to click “purchase” until you know for sure what’s happening.
UPDATED August 3, 2010: Mexicana has indeed filed for bankruptcy. The airline is cutting back flights, but is still operating.
UPDATED August 5, 2010: Mexicana has now stopped selling further tickets, but is still technically operating. Not exactly a confidence booster to shut down your sales operations, though. Mexicana Click and Mexicana Link, the lower-cost domestic airline subsidiaries, are still operating and selling tickets.