Monday, June 30, 2008
A program called Gogo, combined with ground towers positioned throughout the United States, will provide reliable connectivity, at a fairly decent speed, to passengers flying high above. Check out this marketing video describing Gogo, followed by a review by USA Today, putting Gogo to the test.
So how well does the technology work? Check out this review (text & video) from USA Today's Walter S Mossberg, who tested Gogo during a recent flight from San Francisco to Denver.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
June 28-June 29, 2008
Travel Sponsors Include: Virgin America, Air New Zealand, Mark Hopkins Intercontinental, The Handlery, Joie de Vivre Hotels, Hotel Whitcomb, Renoir Hotel, AAA, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
Click here for pride weekend information.
Friday, June 27, 2008
on Delta Airlines will soon cost you
In yet another setback for consumers, Delta airlines announced this morning they will begin charging customers a fuel surcharge fee when redeeming Delta SkyMiles for an otherwise "free" flight. In a press release, Delta stated effective August 15th, a $25 fee will be charged for flights within the United States and Canada, and $50 elsewhere in the world. The fuel surcharge will not impact existing itineraries or tickets purchased before August 15th.
This is the first known U.S-based airline to institute a fuel surcharge to customers redeeming banked frequent flyer miles. In the press release, managing director of Delta's SkyMiles program said, “This was a difficult but essential decision in the face of record-high fuel costs. We hope this is temporary, and should fuel prices subside from current levels, we will reevaluate this surcharge."
With the cost of oil exceeding $140 a barrel, airlines are struggling for ways to recoup operating losses. The fuel surcharge on award travel is surely seen as one possible solution. But already, consumers are crying foul, as the once advertised "earn a free trip" when redeeming 25,000 miles no longer applies. With the added fuel surcharge, it will soon become impossible to obtain a free trip with Delta.
Earlier this month, and with less uproar from the traveling community, American Airlines quietly announced they would add a $5 charge for all award tickets redeemed on their website effective June 21st. Without a huge public backlash - yet, in effect, American's move may have helped pave the way for Delta to institute the fuel surcharge announced today.
Summer's coming, so let's see where we are.
In a recession. (Your president may not be able to say it, but a travel editor can.) For people worried about keeping their jobs and their houses, vacation may enter the realm of the unthinkable.
"One of the good things that could come out of this
recession is a realization that travel is less about the place than it is about the displacement"
If you're on a plane that's leaving the country, you're in for a thrill as soon as you land and try to buy a cup of coffee. The dollar has plummeted in much of the world, especially Europe, a perennial tourist attraction.
And while you're counting your change, keep your voice down, as there are a lot of people out there who aren't terribly fond of Americans these days.
We're the once-loved nouveau-poor.
So what are we to do?
And movement. There is something about it that improves our mood. It is why mothers rock their crying babies. The pleasure's increased if you're not at the controls - a passenger on ships, trains, planes, even buses (though here the pleasure can wear off fairly quickly). A popular segue in country songs is feeling low followed by hitting the road.
But if you don't hit it very far, how do you get your culture-shock kick? Where's the thrill in seeing the next county?
Depends on the county. A few summers ago my wife and I took a little Florida road trip. We set off in the morning and stopped for lunch in Vero Beach. The special that Thursday at Mrs. B's just off the interstate was mullet, which Hania ordered with mustard greens. The tables around us were filled with ranchers; the talk was of cattle. We felt very far from home.
It used to be that the one quality deemed necessary for a traveler was a sense of adventure. The world was less known, less present, less furnished with ATMs.
Today the world is wired and YouTubed nonstop. The impression sometimes is that this has made it less interesting, less surprising, less foreign. Of course it hasn't; if anything, the world is more varied and complex than ever. Rather it's we, bombarded by the world, who have become less interested in it.
The quality necessary to the traveler today is a sense of wonder. For those who have it, a road trip to Oregon is just as enjoyable as a vacation in Italy. For it involves the same fundamental gift: a journey out of the house, to another place, one with a different landscape, culture, way of doing things. All of these are more striking in Florence than they are in Ashland, but our capacity for wonder gives us the ability to appreciate them in any degree. Nothing beyond our backyards is boring to us.
It's a kind of travel relativism, which can only be helpful in a period of economic gloom. Hard times have always given birth to positive developments, and one of the good things that could come out of this recession is a realization that travel is less about the place than it is about the displacement.
It's not really important where we go but that we go, marveling every step of the way.
Thomas Swick is the travel editor of the South Florida Sun Sentinel, where this essay originally appeared. To comment, visit sfgate.com/travel and follow the links.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
The examples below are all confirmed airfares for early Fall travel (September/October) but may be available on other dates as well. All fares displayed include taxes and fees. If you don't see your favorite city displayed, by all means...start looking for it. www.farecompare.com and www.travelocity.com (flexible dates option) and www.airfarewatchdog.com are all good places to start.
San Francisco to Hong Kong $784 RT (Asiana Airlines)
San Francisco to Cancun $306/ RT (Mexicana Airlines)
San Francisco to Frankfurt $599/ RT (U.S Airways)
San Francisco to Dublin $712/RT (United)
San Francisco to Madrid $895/ RT (US Air)
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
By Mike Grasso
Royal Caribbean's massive Oasis of the Seas, expected to be the largest most innovative ship at sea, is making a buzz throughout the travel industry. The 220,000-ton, 5,400-passenger mighty ship has a December 2009 launch date. So what's all the talk you ask?
The design of the ship follows what companies officials call, "neighborhoods," which is expected to offer something for everyone. Where families with kids may appreciate the lively boardwalk area with carnival games, a first-of-its kind carousel at sea (upper right picture), and a ice cream parlour, couples can relax in the Central Park neighborhood under one of the live trees while perhaps watching a street performance. Afterward, everyone will enjoy the outdoor show venue called the Aqua Theater (upper left picture), featuring water, light and acrobatic shows into the evening hours.
Monday, June 23, 2008
American Flight 442 was en route from San Francisco to Miami when the pilot declared an emergency, diverted to Los Angeles and landed shortly after 2 p.m., said FAA spokesman Ian Gregor. There was no fire on the plane, which carried 180 passengers, said Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman d'Lisa Davies. Read more from CBS5
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Most of the BRG opportunities (the fully refundable ones), you don't actually need to prepay - all you need to do is enter a credit card. Then, your rate is changed, without real money ever being involved.
In addition to finding these slick deals, they provide step by step instructions on how to properly submit a BRG claim to the hotel.
Friday, June 20, 2008
In the continuing battle against rising costs, United Airlines announced in a press release today that they will bring back minimum-stay requirements on nearly all routes, even in markets where they compete with low-cost carriers. The minimum stay requirements apply to those flying on the cheapest fares and for flights starting October 6th. Under the new rules, in order to score the cheapest ticket prices, a minimum stay of 1-3 nights will be required.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Fly to destinations such as San Diego, Los Angeles, Burbank or Ontario for just $37 one way through September. These cheap cheap fares are not available on every flight every day, so give yourself some time to hunt and peck for the ones that best suit your needs & budget.
With this promo, guests who had to pay an extra baggage fee from the airline will receive an equal credit, up to $25, applied to their hotel stay. The boutique hotel chain will be running this deal through September 9, 2008. Click here for more information on this offer.
Screeners at the nation's airport checkpoints are going to start wearing police-style badges - but real officers aren't too happy about it.
Some sworn officers fear airline passengers will mistake screeners for law-enforcement officials with arrest powers.The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is starting to equip its 48,000 screeners with 3-inch-by-2-inch, silver-colored, copper and zinc badges that will be worn on new royal-blue police-style shirts. Read More
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
and receive a $20 savings.
-Purchase now through July 31, 2008 for travel June 19 through August 28, 2008.
-You must be a registered Trueblue member (the free frequent flyer program with JetBlue)
Click here for more information
Monday, June 16, 2008
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Another new offer for 100 Free "Thank You" points is available.
Login to your Thank You account
Enter the following promotion code: DPR1CDW408WK
The 100 points will be credited immediately.
A previous offer for 100 points was posted in May.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
This afternoon United Airlines joined on and announced they too will begin charging $15 for the first baggage checked. U.S Airways quickly matched the United fee. The move follows American Airlines announcement of this new fee last month.
United said they will begin charging the fee for tickets purchased tickets beginning Friday for domestic flights of August 18 or later. The fee does not apply to Star Alliance elite passengers, those traveling in business or first class, or passengers flying internationally, excluding Canada. Based on current data, United expects about 1 in 3 passengers will be affected by this additional fee.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
At least 120 people were feared dead last night after a Sudan Airways plane carrying more than 200 passengers burst into flames shortly after landing at Khartoum airport. The flight, which had stopped at Amman en route from Damascus apparently veered off the runway after touching down in bad weather. Read more
Here's the "No Frills Airline" from Mad TV. Does this airline look familiar? =)
Monday, June 9, 2008
Saturday, June 7, 2008
The past few months have been turbulent ones for the airline industry. Put simply, the airlines are shrinking. We already lost Aloha, ATA, and SkyBus - among others. Remaining airlines are finding ways to "trim the fat" and find reasonable ways to limit costs/increase revenue while being hammered with record high oil prices. These changes will affect most passengers in some form.
Reuters has reported that more than 50 towns and small across the United States will reportedly loose airline service alltogether by 2009. Existing service to major cities, including right here in the Bay Area will be trimmed where necessary. Having a plane 80% full was the industry gold standard, now the bar has been raised. The airlines can no longer sustain flying planes 20% empty with the current cost of crude oil at all time highs. This means you can plan on flying fuller plans in the future. On average, that empty middle seat will now be filled with a warm body.
A method the airlines will use to ensure fuller flights is to limit the number of daily flights to particular cities. For example, City A to City B may have previously operated 6 daily flights, that may be cut down to 5. It may seem insignificant, but if the demand is the same, you can bet those 5 flights will operate near capacity, not to mention cost you more.
Fewer flights mean that during irregular operations, such as weather or mechanical cancellations, finding another flight to standby on will become more difficult. On the other hand, fewer flights may help already congested airports, such as Chicago's O'Hare, and get flights off the ground sooner.
You can also expect that your airline ticket price includes a seat and few other amenities.
American Airlines for example announced plans to charge $15 to check in your first bag. They also announced a $5 fee to book award travel on their website. U.S Air and United are now charging $150+ to make changes on non-refundable tickets. The cost of alcohol and food on some airlines is also climbing. Expect other fees in the future, and adjustments to existing ones.
Finally, frequent flyer miles. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know I am an advocate for using your miles. The airlines will continue to find methods to devalue your frequent flyer account, or resort to options limiting the number of new miles you can accrue, such as a recent policy change by United & U.S Air eliminating the 500 mile minimum rule on short-haul flights.
Although it may not sound it, I am an ally of the airlines. They are under extreme pressure to change a business model that is simply not working in this high-price-of-fuel environment. They are making adjustments the best they can, and ultimately some of these decisions will impact all of us during future travels.
Friday, June 6, 2008
- College Road Trip
- Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears A Who
- Vantage Point
- The Other Boleyn Girl
- Fool's Gold
- 10,000 B.C
Click here for rules and to enter the contest.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
There are also great fares from Sacramento to Los Angeles and Ontario for $41/each way.
Travel is restricted to certain flights through the end of July 2008.
Want to know more about DING! Fares? (Hint: you won't find these on the Southwest website).
Click here for more information.
More from the New York Times.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Signing up for E-Miles may qualify for bonus points as described in yesterdays 'Miles To Go' post.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Monday, June 2, 2008
"What you've done becomes the judge of what you're going to do - especially in other people's minds. When you're traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don't have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road."
-William Least Heat Moon, Blue Highways
You must purchase tickets by June 5th and travel between September 3rd and 30th to qualify for the discount. On the search page, enter promo code: SEPJET. The discount will appear prior to the confirmation page.
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