PORT MANATEE -- Port Manatee's 2015 official directory and recently redesigned website are winners.
The directory and website are to be honored with communications awards of merit from the American Association of Port Authorities. The awards will be presented Nov. 4, during AAPA's 104th annual convention and expo in Miami.
Port Manatee's official directory features a comprehensive business directory as well as extensive facts and specifications concerning the port. The directory is available on Port Manatee's recently relaunched website and in print. The new website, portmanatee.com, offers redesigned features and enhanced navigability.
Carlos Buqueras, Port Manatee's executive director, said port staff is "very grateful" to receive the awards. Selections in AAPA's 48th annual competition were made by a panel of 46 public relations professionals.
Era of free checked suitcases on JetBlue ends
NEW YORK -- JetBlue Airways had proudly proclaimed itself a holdout on fees for years, allowing passengers to check one bag for free. Now it will charge up to $25 for checked luggage. The move leaves Southwest Airlines as the only major U.S. carrier not to charge a bag fee. JetBlue Airways had announced the change in November but didn't give details of how it would be implemented until Tuesday.
The fee only applies to new bookings; existing reservations still get one free bag. Passengers will pay less if they plan ahead. Those with the cheapest tickets will pay $20 each way if they check in online or at a kiosk. The fee jumps to $25 if they go to the counter. A new fare class that costs about $15 extra each way would include one free bag. Fees for a second checked bag and reservation changes are being lowered.
The airline plans to reinvest the millions of dollars it will collect from bag fees into new seats and TVs, according to Marty St. George, JetBlue's executive vice president of commercial products and planning.
U.S. home prices increase in latest figures for April
U.S. home prices increased at a solid clip in April, led by double-digit jumps in Denver and San Francisco. Values increased more than 7.5 percent in Tampa, Dallas, Miami and Seattle.
The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 4.9 percent in April from 12 months earlier, roughly the same annual pace as March, S&P Dow Jones Indices said Tuesday. Strong job growth and low mortgage rates have prompted greater demand for housing, boosting home values. The continued gains are at roughly double the pace of wage growth, but current levels appear more manageable than the double-digit home price increases seen during parts of 2013 and 2014.
Prices in the Denver met
ro areas climbed 10.3 percent, while home values in San Francisco rose 10 percent. But price growth was tepid in the Boston, Cleveland and Washington, D.C. areas, where prices were up by 1.8 percent or less. The Case-Shiller index covers roughly half of U.S. homes. The index measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The April figures are the latest available.
Chick-fil-A has something to crow about with customers
Chick-fil-A, the Atlanta-based chicken chain, a focus of gay-rights protests three years ago, led the fast-food category in the 2015 American Customer Satisfaction Index restaurant report released Tuesday.
The company had the highest score recorded by a fast-food restaurant with 86 out of 100. The results show an uproar over comments by CEO Dan Cathy and the company's past donations to anti-gay groups hasn't haunted Chick-fil-A's reputation.
Chick-fil-A was followed in the rankings by Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., with a score of 83. Rounding out the top three: sandwich purveyor Panera Bread Co. with a score of 80.
The report's results highlight trends that have been rocking the fast-food industry. Overall customer satisfaction with fast-food restaurants dropped 3.8 percent to 77, the lowest score in five years.
Much of the decline can be attributed to McDonald's Corp.'s performance. This year, McDonald's came in last place, falling 6 percent to a score of 67. The company has struggled to appeal to customers who increasingly want fresher fare and healthier food, an area where top companies such as Chipotle and Panera Bread excel. The 2015 restaurant report was based in 5,023 customer surveys collected between Jan. 19 and Feb. 9.
-- Herald staff, wire reports