inFLIGHTout (the daily blog) served the needs of Bay Area travelers from 2006-2010. The site remains up to provide a comprehensive listing of travel tools and resources. Please continue to follow me on Twitter. Happy and safe travels. -Mike
Sunday, August 15, 2010
For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. -Robert Louis Stevenson
Clickety Click here for a chance to win one year of free travel on Southwest Airlines or a full year movies at Cinemark theaters. No purchase necessary, submissions must be received by September 2, 2010.
Today Virgin America announced yet another city to their growing list of destinations they fly. Beginning December 6th, the airline will begin twice-daily nonstop flights between San Francisco and Dallas, Texas. Dallas is the 12th confirmed city the airline will operate in. Future plans include expansion into leisure markets within Mexico. www.virginamerica.com
Purchase a luxury travel comfort pack for just 99 cents (free shipping!) at meritline.com. Inside the pack is a pillow, eye shades and ear plugs. Great for those red-eye or overseas trips. The pillow alone can run $10-$15 at the airport, and the quality seems to be decent for the price. Use coupon MLCK401008080963NL1 after searching for the item "luxury travel" and placing the item in your shopping cart.
Hats off to morecowbell @ Fatwallet for this deal. Note - the coupon code works on the first 1,000 orders only.
American Airlines is lowering the cost of award redemptions by 30% - for all short-haul flights within the continental. U.S. and Canada. Routes 700 miles or less are eligible for the promotion. Award travel must be ticketed by August 31, 2010, for travel through December 15, 2010. For example, a one-way award ticket which normally costs 12,500 miles is available for 8,750 miles instead.
The airport is an interesting place where emotions often run high: sadness for departure, joy of arrival and panic for tight connections, to name a few. Something just happens at airports that can sometimes mentally throw us off. And the security checkpoints certainly don't provide any relief. At the intersection of these emotions is the possibility that we forget even the simplest things...such as remember to retrieve all your personal items from the scanning machine! Countless times I've watched passengers, usually in a dazed and confused look (probably having just finished waiting in a long security line) confidently grabbing their shoes and personal belongings then marching off from the checkpoint, but forgetting their laptop computer which was placed in a separate bin. Ouch!
So... here's the tip: Place a temporary label across the top of the computer with your name and phone number. This way if you accidentally leave it behind, those honest folks at TSA can page or call you while you're still at the airport.
Despite the overturn of Prop 8 yesterday, same-sex marriages are still on hold in California for a little while longer. However there are other places around the world where same-sex couples are clearly welcomed. This post on SFGate today talks about five such destinations. Be sure to read the reader comments for other ideas as well.
Mexicana Airlines, which last week disclosed serious financial problems and this week filed for creditor protection in Mexico has now suspended ticket sales. According to CNN, the company confirmed ticket sales stopped Wednesday afternoon. Although the website was operational Wednesday evening, tickets were not able to be purchased on the Mexicana website. Up to this point, Mexicana Airlines was one of the leading airlines operating flights from the Bay Area to Mexico. Passengers holding confirmed reservations on Mexicana may wish to contact the airline or its partner American Airlines, for possible reaccommodation.
In the Nuts about Southwest blog comes word of new service between San Jose and Austin, Texas - often referred to as the "Nerd Bird" route for the number of high-tech companies in each city. The new service begins November 7th with twice-daily flights. Alaska Airlines is the only other airline offering nonstops between the two cities.
From Engadget: "...huge friggin' buses engulfing smaller cars on the road." This is one method China is considering reduce street congestion. The idea is to utilize the space between regular vehicles and bridges, saving construction costs of building lifted monorails. This allows cars to drive underneath these mega buses releasing overall congestion.
The first 186km of track will be built in Beijing's Mentougou district by years-end.
Tennis fans - this one is for you. Fly to NYC and hang out with tennis pro Melanie Oudin. The trip includes flights to New York for two, 4-night hotel stay, a $100 Adidas gift card, $500 shopping spree and an autographed tennis racquet from Melanie. Good luck.
As promised, here are a few shots (finally uploaded!) from my storm chasing travel adventure west of Minneapolis on July 17, 2010. This first image, one of the last from the trip, was of a rapidly approaching shelf cloud south of Anoka, MN. In one of the videos (link below) you see me drop the camera and hear my car racing away to take cover. Pretty scary stuff for a California native.
Here is a map and summary of the severe weather events of the day, and specific incidents reported to the National Weather Service in Minneapolis.
This blog from the Minneapolis Star Tribune provides outstanding graphical updates throughout the day (latest entry first) as the storms progressed throughout the region.
Video to my YouTube site with a few videos including footage of the shelf cloud approaching and sitting it out (in both fear and excitement) as severe weather passes overhead.
Half-dollar sized hailstones pounding on my windshield will be a sound to never forget. The helpless feeling and thought the windshield might shatter at any moment was enough for me temporarily withdraw from this particular storm chase. On my escape out, I captured these after-the-fact shots of golfball size hail lying around on a baseball field near Rockford, MN. There were reports of baseball, even SOFTBALL size hail in the region earlier in the day. (Yikes!)
Although I fared well, other windshields in the path of these severe storms provided little to no barrier as shown in this image from the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Effectively immediately, American Airlines is dropping close-in processing fees for Gold and Platinum elite AAdvantage members. Previously, award travel ticketed within 21 days of departure involved paying up to $100.00 - known in the industry as a close-in processing fee. Executive members are already exempt from the fee, while non-elite's will still need to pay up.