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December 17, 1993 - Image 28

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-12-17

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.



With airline tickets on the rise,
travelers can still get a good deal.

HMHF owners Mike and Ron Fayne.


idnie Herold prefers
to travel on charter
flights for one rea-
son: They are
Twice a year,
this West Bloomfield resident
takes a charter to Las Vegas to
play in a card tournament. Her
most recent trip, last Septem-
ber, cost $269 round-trip. At the
time, commercial flights from
Detroit to Las Vegas were more
than $400.
Mrs. Herold is one of millions
of passengers who annually fly
with charter airlines. Not only
are these flights less expensive,
but they have overcome prob-
lems of the past, markedly im-
proving their on-time records in
recent years.
Tour operators like Hamilton,
Miller, Hudson & Fayne, one of
the nation's largest travel man-
agement companies, have seen
business soar as passengers dis-
cover charters.
Working with travel agencies,
EINIEF offers charter flights and
package tours that can include
lodging costs and airport trans-
fer fees. They serviced 350,000
passengers last year and char-
tered 51 different flights a week.
"Over the years, people have

looked at charters as an alter-
native to travel that for some
reason was negative. Now peo-
ple are realizing the value and
credibility in them," said
Michael Fayne, president and
co-founder of HMHF.
Mr. Fayne and his brother
Ron established HMHF after
winning a package trip to Spain
for selling real estate. The broth-
ers decided it would be profitable
to package and sell trips, simi-
lar to what they won, to travel
The Faynes began by ar-
ranging student tours around
the country. The idea of pack-
age tours caught on, and HM=HF
was established in 1970.
Ron Cockburn, a sales man-
ager with Keytours, a Windsor-
based tour operator that does
business in the Detroit area,
agrees that charters have over-
come past stereotypes.
Edward Singer, owner of Ed
Singer Junkets, in Berkley, is a
licensed junket representative,
which means he works for the
casinos by bringing gamblers to
destinations like T as Vegas, At-
lantic City and Nassau.
Mr. Singer, who often books
his customers on charter flights,
said the advantage to commer-

cial airlines is when a plane is
delayed or canceled, commercial
airlines have more planes at
their disposal.
"Charters have really gotten
much better," said Mr. Singer,
who uses HMHF, Keytours and
Travel Charter, a Troy-based
charter wholesaler that offers
travel packages to Europe and
vacation destinations outside

"People are
realizing the value
and credibility of

Michael Fayne

the United States. "These air-
lines don't want to be an incon-
venience to people because it's
their reputation that suffers.
Most people don't realize the
charter wholesale companies
lease the planes; they don't fly
HMHF uses commercial and
charter airlines such as Leisure
Air and Sun Country. Keytours
and Travel Charter send their
passengers on American Trans
Air. Travel Charter also employs
commercial airlines.

Spirit Airlines, Inc., a Detroit-
based air carrier which was orig-
inally conceived as a tour
operator under the name Char-
ter One, acquired a fleet of air-
craft and recently became a
scheduled air carrier.
Now, the airline goes to Flori-
da and offers packages to At-
lantic City, including casino day
Tour operators agree compe-
tition in the Detroit market is
fierce and meeting consumer de-
mand can be challenging.
"Everyone is really cost-con-
scious so we have to keep our
price as low as possible but still
make money. We are very aware
of what other operators are do-
ing," Mr. Cockburn said "For ex-
ample, people who go to Vegas
are so cost-conscious that if there
is a $5 difference in price be-
tween packages, that makes all
the difference."
Mr. Fayne said the way
HMIFIF competes in the market
is not only through selling trips
to standard charter destinations
like Florida, Las Vegas, and
Mexico but offering a variety of
creative packages. HMHF offers
day trips to destinations like At-
lantic City, the Bahamas or New
York for a shopping excursion.

"We try to do things we think
are fun and that people will buy,"
Mr. Fayne said. "I think the
most rewarding thing is just to
think about the fact that we cre-
ated this business. When I go to
the airport and see all the bags
with our luggage tags, it's very
The economic outlook has a
significant effect on the travel
business. Mr. Cockburn said
when the economy is bad, Key-
tours books fewer trips. Mr.
Fayne said a bad economy is
beneficial for RMHF because he
believes people still travel but
look for alternative ways to do it.
Other trends those in the trav-
el business have noticed include
more last-minute travel plans
and shorter but more frequent
Can tour operators continue
to make travel plans at a dis-
count and still make a profit? Ac-
cording to Mr. Fayne, they can.
"The future looks bright as
long as the scheduled airlines
choose to make a profit and we
will continue to be an alterna-
tive for people who want to
spend less. Because we serve
such a small market, we are not
a threat to the scheduled air-
lines," he said. ❑

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