Monday, December 31, 2007

Thanks to all for your ongoing support and feedback.

Happy New Year

All the best in 2008.

From inFLIGHTout

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Take the Traveler IQ Challenge

From Travelpod comes a fun little IQ challenge for travelers, or anyone who thinks they're a geography smartie pants. This is the same application seen on Facebook and other related sites.
Have fun! Traveler IQ Challenge

Friday, December 28, 2007

Operation SPOT in progress at airports throughout the country

Behavior detection officers are on active duty at dozens of airports throughout the U.S according to SeattlePI; they're looking for unusual behaviors, facial expressions or questionable emotions and reactions during brief interactions with passengers during the standard screening process.

Screening Passengers by Observation Technique (SPOT) was designed by the TSA to stop terrorist activity. Carl Maccario who helped design the program said, "We're looking for behavior indicators that show a certain level of stress, fear or anxiety above and beyond that shown by an anxious member of the traveling public."

Since January 06' the program has identified 70,000 people for the secondary screening, and made 600-700 arrests for a variety of charges.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

United Airlines Cancels over 600 flights past 3 days

According to the Chicago Tribune, United has canceled over 600 flights in the past 3 days due to weather and staffing problems; this has left thousands of people delayed or stranded throughout the country. Initially caused by the severe winter weather across the Midwest, a backlog of delays and cancellations resulted in flight crews being unable to report to other scheduled flights on time. While other airlines have been impacted this week, none to the degree of United's problems.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

HOT! San Francisco to Ft. Lauderdale (FLL) -$177 round-trip, taxes incl. United & US Airway
Valid from April 2008 thru the Summer! Book at or
Fare basis: LR14NX

Monday, December 24, 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Renovation Plans for SFO's Terminal 2

The outdated, empty, and unused Terminal 2 at San Francisco International Airport will soon get some much needed tender loving care.

Formerly known as the old International Terminal, Terminal 2 has been closed since 2000, which is when the impressive and grand International Terminal debuted. Then with the drop in air travel around and after 9/11, considerations for reopening the terminal seemed pointless.

Now, business at SFO is up, but available space is not. International travel is up 8% year-to-date versus last year, and domestic up 2%. The airport simply needs more gates than currently available.

So, Airport commissioners voted last week to solicit bids for contractors for the renovation of the terminal. Once the bidding and design process are completed, it will take about 30 months of constructions before flights would begin again from Terminal 2. 14 new gates are expected once the renovation is finished.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Frequent-Flier Miles & Charity

The time of giving is upon us, and frequent-flier miles make a perfect gift. Perhaps you have too few miles for a free ticket? Consider donating your miles to charity. Or, if you tend to donate to charity already, you can earn miles for your generosity. From the Daily Mitzvah is a listing of many airlines offering this miles & charity exchange. Happy giving and/or receiving.

Continental Airlines: Donate your miles
Delta Airlines: Sky Wish Charities
Midwest Airlines: Miracle Miles
Northwest Airlines: Air Cares Partners
United Airlines: Charity Miles
USAirways: Miles of Hope

Thursday, December 20, 2007

How do I save expiring frequent-flier miles?

By Mike Grasso
As reported earlier this week on INflightOUT, American Airlines, following the lead of other airlines, began requiring timely activity to member frequent-flier accounts. Failure to comply means fliers risk loosing everything they accrued in their pot-0-miles.

Airlines no longer want to keep "old" miles on the books. If you flew to Europe in 1999 and earned no other frequent-flier miles in your account since, the airline wants to drop your account off its books. Those unredeemed frequent-flier miles represent a debt to the airline, much like an undeposited check. The miles and check both go "stale" after a while.

"Stale" miles equate to zero value nowadays. Depending on the airline, miles are forfeited for inactivity of 12-36 months. Don't let the miles go stale!

Any qualifying activity usually keeps those miles fresh. Back in the day, airlines required you to FLY to earn frequent-flier miles - ha, long-passed are those days. Today, you don't even have to visit an airport to earn airline miles. For example, you can earn miles for grocery shopping, video rentals, dry-cleaning, credit cards, school tuition, and car rentals, to name a few. Visit your airline's frequent-flier page, then click on the section detailing how to earn miles from other than flying.

Use'em or loose'em!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

San Francisco to Madrid or Barcelona $492 r/t taxes included

Pretty decent fare, available thru March 20th 2008 on Delta Airlines.
Visit to search for fares.
Purchase a $100 Southwest Airlines gift card (for friends, family, or...yourself) and earn 1 Rapid Reward Credit to your account. Limit $500/5 credits. This promotion is great for folks just a few credits shy of a free ticket. Must use your Southwest Airlines credit card and purchase by December 31st to qualify for this offer. T&C and details here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Passenger Jet Makes Historic Landing in...Antarctica

A passenger jet has made a historic landing on a new blue ice runway in Australia's Antarctic territory and regular flights are expected to start within a week, officials said Wednesday.

But trips on the Airbus A319 to the Wilkins Runway will be for scientists and research staff only, with no plans to open the airlink to tourists, project manager Charlton Clark told AFP

Full Story from AFP

Sunday, December 16, 2007

About those drinking glasses in your hotel room...

(Thanks JR) From comes this hidden camera story about how some Hotels aren't cleaning the drinking glasses in rooms, cleaning them with glass cleaner, or using gloves they used to cleaned the toilet with! The suspects in this video: 1 Sheraton Suites property, a Embassy Suites, and a Holiday Inn. Lesson learned: Do some cleaning of your hotel room after housekeeping leaves.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Effective today, American Airlines AAdvantage accounts must have a qualifying activity at least every 18 months, otherwise the miles will cease to exist. From the AA website:
"AAdvantage members now must have mileage earning or redemption activity once every eighteen (18) months in order to remain active and retain their miles. Effective December 15, 2007, mileage balances will expire from AAdvantage accounts that have not had miles either earned or redeemed within the previous eighteen (18) month period. If the last activity in your AAdvantage account was prior to June 15, 2006, all miles subject to expiration will expire on December 15, 2007."

Airport Sighting...

Friday, December 14, 2007

American Airlines now offers a co-branded Visa card with 20,000 AA miles after you make $250 in purchases. Prior to this, American has offered only the Mastercard. Click Here.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Continental Airlines began testing of paperless boarding passes last week at Houston Airport. If all goes well, you'll be paperless for an upcoming flight as well. How does this technology work? Passengers can use cellular phones or PDA’s as boarding passes using encrypted bar codes. It cuts out all of the needless paper usage AND in totally in sync with the way technology is developing today. The barcodes are received by the passenger as an SMS text message. Passengers will receive their boarding passes electronically, then present the barcode to be scanned by the TSA at the security checkpoint. The idea is to provide additional security, as the barcodes are not as easily reproduced as counterfeit boarding passes. Read the rest of the story at BusinessTravelLogue

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Virgin America begins Seattle flights in March

Virgin America announced today that flights will commence from San Francisco to Seattle beginning March 18, 2008. This will mark the 7th city Virgin America provides air service, including San Diego which begins in February. 3 daily departures are currently scheduled.

Visit for more information.

Settlement Reached for Foreign Transaction Fee Case

Do you have money owed to you?
A settlement has been reached and court certified, in a class-action lawsuit certain to make International Travelers of the past 10 years at least $25 bucks richer.

Plaintiff's allege major credit card companies such as Visa, MasterCard and Diners club employed shady tactics for disclosing (or rather hiding) fees customers would be charged for using their credit card overseas.

Customers who used a qualifying card Internationally between February 1, 1996 and November 8, 2006 are eligible. 3 options are given for collecting, with the most basic being to accept a $25.00 payment, and the most generous up to 3% of estimated annual foreign transactions.

Look for settlement forms in the mail this week; it's not junk mail! Or visit: for more information.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Lonely Planet 40% off coupon code + free shipping. What a deal!
Lonely Planet offers high quality, in-depth information about destinations around the globe.
Visit Lonely Planet thru this link: Coupon Code: LP40. Expires December 19th.
Hint: They are giving away a free bag with most orders, you need to change the quantity of that bag to "0" at checkout, then the 40% discount + free shipping is activated. (or you can keep the bag and pay full price for the books). Stock up goodies for next year's vacation!

Winter & Spring 08' European Fares under $500

Need some travel ideas? Winter and Spring 08' Airfare Deals available now from United & Lufthansa Airlines All fares verified to be $500 or less, roundtrip, taxes included. Travel thru most of March 08'
San Francisco - Madrid, Cologne, Basel, Berlin, Barcelona, Geneva, Zurich, Manchester, Frankfurt. Visit: or

Monday, December 10, 2007

Megabus offering FREE seats down to Los Angeles

Megabus, the discount bus line, is offering 100,000 free trips to "promote public transportation as a way of curbing carbon emissions." The trips must be taken between Jan. 16 and March 11. There is a .50 cent ticketing fee per reservation. Use Promotion Code: WIN2008 at
For example, on a red-eye ride, you leave SF Cal-Train Station 1130pm (Megabus pickup point) and arrive L.A Union Station at 615am.

Might be an interesting alternative to a flight down to LAX

Saturday, December 8, 2007

3 A.M. Home Invasion? No, It's American Airlines

By Don Teague, NBC News Correspondent
I sat straight up in bed, unsure why, but knowing deep down something was terribly wrong.
"Why am I awake?" I thought to myself. I looked at the clock: 3:10 a.m. The sudden movement woke my wife. "What are you doing?" she asked." I heard something," I said. Before she could ask what, we both heard it again. DING-DONG. Read the rest of the rude awakening here.

Friday, December 7, 2007

JetBlue announces trial Wi-Fi on San Francisco Route

The race for Wi-Fi on board a U.S based airline is really heating up. Many airlines have talked about it, some even seriously. But JetBlue plans to test it live on December 11th. On a JFK-San Francisco route, 1 aircraft will be configured with BetaBlue, a wireless system allowing passengers to text and email messages with their own Wi-Fi enabled devices. The service will reportably be free.

This test run is expected to last several months and will not be available on most aircraft during the testing phase.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Virgin America has extended their 25% off deal through December 21st. Book by that date, travel before March 19th and save 25%. Promo Code: ELEVATE25.
Free travel book for Rick Steves fans: "Followers of Rick Steves, whose guides to Europe are packed in many a bag of globe-trotting Americans, will like this offer. Rick is giving away free copies of his 63-page, summer 2007 personal European travel journal. It's an inside look at where he goes, how he travels and what he's thinking as he trots from Rome, to Spain, to Croatia, among other places.

Included are memorable hotel stays, including one at a former convent in Florence. The Loggiato dei Serviti sounds Old-World wonderful. Beamed ceilings, parquet floors, heavy curtains with tasseled sashes, views over an ancient square. In winter, you can book a double for about $140, which is a very good price in these days of the doleful dollar. To request a copy of Rick's journal, click here on his Blog Gone Europe blog." (USA Today) Click here

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Southern Sky over the Bay Area

Hardly matching the grand appearance Virgin America flaunted to the people of San Francisco, Southern Sky Airlines will quietly commence flights from Oakland and Sacramento in the next couple months. The charter airline, established by Aviation Advantage, is currently selling tickets from Oakland-Las Vegas ($69/each way) for flights beginning March 11th. Flights direct from Sacramento to Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco will be offered as well.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Airlines Cut Costs to Offset Fuel Prices (Associated Press)
The airline industry has been laying out plans to offset rising fuel prices and a possible economic slowdown. These plans include halting the expansion of domestic routes, merging of companies, and selling off freqeunt flyer programs. Full Story
Air New Zealand and Passport Magazine are giving away a
roundtrip ticket to next year's Sydney Mardi Gras. To be eligible, you need to answer 5 quiz questions about Air New Zealand.

(And you arn't getting the answers from me!) =) Good luck
Click here

Monday, December 3, 2007

According to federal statistics, airplanes are more crowded now than ever before. On average, most U.S flights operate above 80% of capacity; that empty middle seat is more likely than not to be filled. To compare, back in 1990 planes averaged 62% of capacity.

This means more people crowding the boarding gates, cramming in carry-on bags, and elevated stress levels from passengers and airline crew.

With such high aircraft loads, winter storms than cause flight cancellations make it much more difficult to rebook passengers on later flights, further irritating flyers. Read more: Here is a recent story from the Washington Post discussing the cause of higher flight loads, and other affects on travelers;
"Less free to move about the cabin."

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Oakland - Munich or Frankfurt, Germany $392 roundtrip w/taxes

HOT DEAL! OAK-Munich or Frankfurt $392 RT w/taxes on United Airlines.
Connecting service through Denver, Chicago or Washington-Dulles. Fare available through most of March 2008. Frankfurt is a good city to connect to visit other areas of Europe, by air or rail. Fare Basis: SLXSNY1E. Visit
Google Checkout is again offering discounts and frequent flyer miles for making purchases at certain online retailers. Click here for a listing of participating stores. Some of the coupons give you $5-$50 bucks off your order and/or frequent flyer miles with Alaska, United, Continental, Northwest, Delta and other airlines.

This ad from Southwest Airlines brings a little humor during a time when jet fuel prices are rising and airlines are matching other airlines price increases.

(click the ad to see the fine print)

Friday, November 30, 2007

Report: United considering a merger, passes on Delta.
After a firm statement from United Airlines denying merger talks with Delta Airlines, Business Week is reporting a merger between some other airline may be in the works.
Meanwhile, UAL chief says a industry merger would be a plus.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sacramento to Santa Barbara now available Nonstop

ExpressJet Airlines began new service from Sacramento International Airport to Santa Barbara this month. Sacramento travelers can fly nonstop with ExpressJet to Albuquerque, Bakersfield, Colorado Springs, Spokane, Oklahoma City, Santa Barbara, Tucson and San Antonio.

ExpressJet Airlines aircraft are quiet, fuel-efficient and configured with no middle seat. Amenities include complimentary headseats and over 100 channels of XM Satellite Radio, along with "beer for a buck" on most flights. Visit

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

SFO-Las Vegas Air & Hotel package (with extras!) for Under $200 bucks

Amazing Las Vegas hotel & air package.
TravelZoo posted a deal at the Monte Carlo Hotel in Las Vegas... $50 bucks a night, including great perks like 2 free buffets, 2 admissions to their spa, $10 in slot pay, and 2 cocktails. Minimum 2 night stay. GREAT offer viewable here.

Combine that hotel deal with the Virgin America 2 for 1 promo mentioned here a few days ago... $50 bucks per person round-trip to Las Vegas, and you have a great vacation getaway!
San Francisco - Boston, MA $180/Roundtrip including taxes. Continental Airlines.
Available certain dates during January and February.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Southwest to add San Francisco - Phoenix flights

Southwest Airlines, which relaunched flights from SFO earlier this year, continues to expand its network of routes. In a press release, the airline announced new non-stop service from SFO-Phoenix will begin March 8th. 5 daily departures are currently scheduled.

Since returning to San Francisco Airport, Southwest has commenced flights to Chicago-Midway, Las Vegas, San Diego and Los Angeles. This new service to Phoenix is in addition to non-stop flights it offers out of Oakland, San Jose and Sacramento.

Monday, November 26, 2007

JetBlue has announced today it has begun selling tickets on online travel sites, such as Orbitz, Travelocity and The deals mean JetBlue can expand its customer base and step up competition on the US domestic market. Until today, travelers had to purchase tickets directly from JetBlue.
San Francisco - Rochester, MN $118+ tax roundtrip Northwest Airlines.
Travel valid 7 days a week thru December 14th. Fare Basis K3QA6NC.
Available for purchase after approximately 11am Pacific Time.
Many other small to medium sized cities throughout Wisconson and Minnestota have been reduced in price as well.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Virgin America: Buy 1 Get 1 Free Offer

H O T T E S T airfare deal of the year! (thanks FW)
Virgin America has a promo code Buy 1 Get 1 Free valid system wide.
For example: San Francisco-New York is $169+ tax ROUNDtrip when 2 people fly together on the same reservation.
For Example2: San Francisco-Los Angeles $50+tax ROUNDtrip when 2 people fly together on the same reservation.
The source of this promo code is a blog called DIGGNation -, and apparently the code was given to some of their subscribers, but seems to work for everyone.
Book at: enter code: DIGGNATION on the start page where it asks "have a promo code?"
*Digg Promotion: Promo Code discount is only valid for two guests traveling on the same itinerary. Offer ends at 11:59pm Pacific Time on December 7, 2007. Promo Code is valid for travel in the Main Cabin between November 26, 2007 and March 19, 2008. Blackouts are December 19, 2007 through January 6, 2008, February 14, 15 and 18, 2008. If travel is changed to a date outside of this window, or if itinerary is modified so that there are not two guests traveling on the same flights, Promo Code discount will become inapplicable, and guest will be responsible for any increase in air fare. The Promo Code may be used only towards newly-booked travel and may not be applied to prior bookings. Promo Code discount will be deducted off of base fare. Promo Code may not be redeemed for cash. Offer may not be combined with any other sale or promotion.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

HOT FARE: San Francisco to Minneapolis $98+ tax roundtrip! Sun Country Airlines
Fare valid through December 14th. Visit

A safety video that's FUN to watch

Compliments of Virgin Atlantic

Friday, November 23, 2007

Earning cash-back & frequent flyer miles for online purchases

"Black Friday" is upon us, and like animals hunting for prey in the wild, shoppers around the country are in rapid chase to find the perfect holiday bargain. But some of the best bargains can be found online, in the safety of your own home.

Many online businesses are offering incentives such as free shipping or coupons for post-Thanksgiving purchases. But, you can even do better: A website called RewardsDB adds icing to the cake by telling you where cash-back or frequent flyer miles can be earned for shopping at certain websites. (And you typically don't earn these bonuses by shopping at the brick & mortar stores).

Websites that you may already use or have considered such as and Expedia which sometimes already have great deals, give an extra little commission for shopping with them. It's easy and nearly an automatic process.

Visit the RewardsDB website for more details.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Zagat: Hooooray to Virgin America, Midwest Airlines

Zagat, best known for its reader-generated restaurant guides, also applies its methodology to the airline industry. Latest survey results shout "swell job" to Midwest Airlines, known for their freshly baked onboard cookies, and Virgin America, a newcomer, who delivers top-notch onboard entertainment to all passengers.

Meanwhile, the news is grim for other airlines. Since Zagat began covering airlines in 1990, only Continental and Southwest Airlines have improved in reader survey results.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

HOT deal! 25% off your next Virgin America flight.
Book book before December 7, 2007 for travel through March 19, 2008. Click on the Redeem button or enter this promo code when you book your travel online at ELEVATE25

Monday, November 19, 2007

ATA's 3 'Be's' for smooth airline travel this week

The busiest travel week of the year is in progress. Here are some great travel tips from the American Travelers Association:

Be Early
- Be Early Rule #1 - you can never be too early for your flight.
- Be Early Rule #2 - Allowing extra time is often the only thing that gives you the ability to solve many airline delay problems.
- Be Early Rule #4 - Arrive early at the departure gate and board the aircraft as early as possible to help to avoid being bumped from your flight (unless you want to be! =) )
Be Informed
- Be Informed About Your Flight and Use Advance, Online Check-in to Obtain your Boarding Pass
- Confirm all of your flights well before departure day either online or through the airline's toll-free telephone numbers.
- Check-in and print boarding passes online at least 24 hours before departure.
- Confirm the actual departure time of all of your flights: before leaving for the airport; when you get to the airport; and when you are waiting at the airport. Things change.
- Know the TSA 3-3-1 Rule for liquids and gels in carry-on bags
- 3-ounce containers in 1 quart-sized zip-top bag with only 1 zip-top bag per passenger.
Be Prepared to
- Use Self service check-in kiosks to obtain boarding passes, obtain or change seats,
and at some airports to check bags.
- Go directly to the security checkpoint if you have a boarding pass and no bags to check.
- Confirm that all checked bags have bag tags on the outside and inside that contain your name, address, e-mail address, home phone number, cell phone number, destination phone number, and flight information.
- Be Prepared for the Security Check Point w/ ID and boarding pass in hand
- Be Prepared for Long Lines and Delays from the Time you Arrive at the Airport Until You Get on the Plane.
- Be prepared for: lines on the roads into the airport; lines to get into the parking lots; lines at the check-in counter; lines at the security checkpoint; lines to get food and drinks; lines at the
Starbucks; and lines at the gate.
- Be prepared to be self sufficient during flight delays on the aircraft, by bringing food and snacks with you from home and buying drinks after passing through the security checkpoint.
- Be prepared to call the toll-free number of your airline if your flight is cancelled or delayed, to re-accommodate yourself on an earlier or later flight. Do this in addition to standing in line with
passengers waiting to be accommodated, until you are re-accommodated
on the phone or at the desk.
-Be Ready to Have a Good Flight and a Happy Holiday!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Use Caution when buying airline coupons on Ebay

Scam Alert: Auction site Ebay is filled with attractive coupons and discounts for many airlines in the U.S. Whether you need discounted tickets on Southwest, Continental, Northwest and Alaska (to name a few), Ebay seems to have the discount your looking for. Most have rules however stating the certificates cannot be sold, traded, etc., so you need to be mindful of this.

But this story is really about United Airlines $100 off e-certificates on the Ebay site. It seems someone very creative, arguably bored, may have found a way to "crack the code" and is trying to sell fraudulently obtained e-certs by transposing numbers. The technique for doing this is described on travelglitch. The result: some people on Ebay are selling these codes at a steep discount.

This causes duplicated e-certificate numbers, with one person using the code they legitimately obtained from United, the other using the code they ultimately obtained from a fraudster.

inFLIGHTout recommends you ask the seller for a scan or other documentation showing they have the actual e-certificate from the airline before deciding to purchase. If they airline becomes tuned in to the fraudulent situation, you may find yourself, and your mileage plus account under scrutiny. (Yes, they have suspended & closed accounts for not adhering to frequent flyer program rules).

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Free luggage tags from our friends at

Friday, November 16, 2007

British Airways has been flying "ghost flights" across the Atlantic ocean right into the United States.
Citing a lack of cabin crew, the airline has been shuttling their huge planes across the globe without a single passenger on board. Details from USA Today

Friday Comic Relief

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Earn 1,000 bonus Delta SkyMiles when you spend $20 or more with Shutterfly. Great for uploading & printing holiday photos, greeting cards and more.
Offer expires December 31st. Visit Shutterfly for more information.

Save $50 bucks on your next Northwest Airlines Purchase

Paypal has partnered with Northwest Airlines whereby you get $50 bucks back on your next airline ticket purchase when using paypal as your payment method. Minimum airfare is $250, and you must purchase by November 21st. Click here for more details.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

HOT FARE. Sacramento - Philadelphia, PA $105+tax roundtrip ($137 all in) December 1-19th
Continental, Delta and Northwest Airlines.
Priceline Eliminates Airline Ticket Booking Fees
This month, Priceline began eliminating airline ticket booking fees on all published domestic and international fares. The change does not apply to Priceline's Name Your Own Price airline ticketing service, which offers already discounted tickets.

There are many pro's and con's to using Priceline and other travel sites such as Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity. A con has historically been the added service charge for airline tickets, though often only $5-$15 per ticket. This policy change at Priceline may be a wake up call to the other travel sites to reexamine their fees, while at the same time making such travel sites a more attractive option to consumers.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Virgin America Falling Fall (and Winter) fares

Fly in High Style for Less On Virgin America Now Through December 18, 2007, With Fares as Low as $129 SFO-New York, $39 SFO-Las Vegas, $119 SFO-Washington Dulles

Tickets are on sale today on Virgin America's website
Tickets must be purchased by November 15, 2007.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Bay Area Departutes & Arrivals: Qantas, Jet Airways, Jet Blue, United

Qantas Airline's San Francisco - Vancouver service ends seasonal service on January 6th.

The airline was operating a limited 2 x weekly schedule with full onboard service and amenities, before it (and many of its passengers) continued on to Sydney.

Jet Airways has confirmed its San Francisco - Mumbai, India service will begin "soon". The airline has posted several employment opportunities at SFO.

United airlines has pushed back the inauguration of San Francisco to Guangzhou, China service to June 2007. Previously the airline announced plans to start flights on March 25th.

JetBlue will be chopping the Oakland-Ft Launderdale non-stop service come this January, just two years after they began service on this route.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Most delayed flights in America: SFO makes the list!

The US Department of Transportation released its monthly on-time statistics report this week, and September 07' wasn't so bad. While Nationwide statistics showed overall improvement for on-time performance compared to August 2007 and the September 2006, there were 5 flight routes that reported being late more than 85% of the time. One of those "top 5" is a flight that departs San Francisco. DOT considers a plane late when it arrives at its destination 15 minutes or more after the scheduled time.

Most Frequently Delayed Flights

Comair flight 5042 from Philadelphia to New York JFK – late 90.91 percent of the time!
Atlantic Southeast Airlines flight 4822 from Atlanta to Myrtle Beach, SC – late 89.66 percent of the time
Atlantic Southeast Airlines flight 4377 from Lafayette, LA to Atlanta – late 87.50 percent of the time
Atlantic Southeast Airlines flight 4423 from Atlanta to Lafayette, LA – late 87.50 percent of the time
Alaska Airlines flight 688 from San Francisco to Los Angeles – late 86.36 percent of the time

(Alaska Airlines has since dropped this evening flight from its schedule)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Southwest Airlines "Special" and "Not so Special" customers

The airline announced several changes including added perks for frequent or high paying fare customers; stops short of calling themselves a 2-class airline. (Let's just call them "special").

First, yes - the "Cattle class", unique to Southwest remains, but with some minor changes. The airline will start giving passengers an assigned number within the current A, B and C boarding groups and then have you line up in your respective group and board together. To this point in Southwest's history, passengers simply queued according to their assigned group.

Other changes:
A "Business Select Class" will be created, whereby those paying the highest fares (often last minute and/or refundable) pay an extra $10-$30 and receive a guaranteed "A" boarding pass (first on the plane), free cocktail and ability to earn RapidReward credits a bit faster.

All members of its RapidRewards program who have flown 32 one-way flights or 16 round-trips in 12 months will be placed on the carrier's "A-List," where they will be automatically checked in for their flight in advance, and will most likely receive an "A" boarding pass.

Although the airline has operated on a one-class system - no first class cabin and no elite levels in the RapidRewards program, quite unlike most other U.S airlines, the changes announced yesterday begin to erode away at a single class Southwest society many people are use to.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Virgin America announces new San Diego service

Virgin America announced today ticket sales has begun for daily flights between its home base of San Francisco International Airport and San Diego International Airport. The service will begin on Feb 12, 2008 with three daily flights and will expand to five daily flights on March 9, 2008. Prices are available as low as $39 each way in economy and $149 each way in First Class. San Diego will be the 6th destination served by the airline.

Virgin America's brand new planes feature moodlighting, custom-designed leather seats and the Red Inflight Entertainment system which allows guests to order food, watch one of 25 movies, satellite TV, play a videogame, create a personal playlist from over 3,000 MP3 music tracks onboard or instant message with other guests -- all from a 9" video touch-screen and keyboard at every seat
Travelocity Promotion: $50 off a 3 night stay at participating hotels, when using your Mastercard. Expires November 30th.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Taca Airlines begins Oakland - El Salvador service soon

Taca Airlines begins Oakland - San Salvador, El Salvador service November 17th. The flight departs at 12:30am arriving at 7:50am later that morning. Departures are currently scheduled for Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. This route compliments an existing daily Taca flight from SFO to San Salvador.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Southwest Airlines Credit Card from Chase: Free trip after 1st purchase

I posted this several weeks ago, and it is well worth re-posting. Chase is again offering 16 Rapid Rewards credits after your first purchase on their Southwest Airlines card. 16 credits is enough for a free round-trip flight on Southwest. You pay $59 for the annual fee. Here is the link

It took about 2 weeks for the rapid rewards credits to post to my account - no hassles or problems.
A few good fares found today:
Oakland-Los Angeles $78+ tax/roundtrip United & Delta Airlines
Oakland-Long Beach $78+tax/roundtrip JetBlue
Oakland-Chicago-Midway $57+tax one-way Southwest DING! Fare
San Francisco-San Diego $78+tax/roundtrip United Airlines
Sacramento to Columbus for $58+ one-Way Southwest Airlines DING! Fare

Most of these fares have holiday black-out date exclusions or other travel date restrictions. Visit or download the DING! program from Southwest for more information.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Breaking News 2:40pm A small executive jet has crashed into a heavily populated neighborhood in Sao Paulo, Brazil - at least 8 people dead.

Earlier this year a Tam airlines flight crashed into a building in Sao Paulo killing 199 people.

San Jose - Palm Springs now available - NONstop

Horizon Air will inaugurate new once-daily, nonstop jet service between San Jose and Palm Springs today. The seasonal service will run through April 6, 2008. The only other competition in this market is from United Airlines with twice daily service from SFO.

The new flights will be operated with 70-seat CRJ-700 regional jets and feature Horizon’s special brand of inflight service, including snacks, Starbucks coffee, and wine and microbrews at no extra charge. A quick check of fares showed prices as low as $74.00 each way for advance ticketing.

Horizon and Alaska currently serve Palm Springs with year-round nonstop flights from Sacramento, San Francisco.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Back with the Friday Funny!
(click to enlarge)

Have a great weekend everyone

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Sacramento to Philadelphia, PA $98+tax ROUNDTRIP ($139 all in) Northwest Airlines
December 1-19th. Fare basis TY03RBV9

No 'Mile High Club' Memberships on Singapore's Airbus 380

Singapore Airlines has taken the unusual step of publicly asking passengers on its new Airbus A380 plane not to engage in any sexual activities. The potential problem has arisen because the first class area of its giant superjumbo contains 12 private suites complete with double beds.

Singapore, which is the first airline to start flying the A380, said the suites were not sound-proofed. It said it did not want anyone to offend other travellers or crew.
Singapore added that while the suites were private, they were also not completely sealed.

"All we ask of customers, wherever they are on our aircraft, is to observe standards that don't cause offence to other customers and crew," the airline said in a statement. "Nothing different applies for our Singapore Airlines Suites customers." -BBC News (Thanks Yih!)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

San Francisco - Memphis, TN $178/roundtrip taxes included Frontier Airlines
Fare valid 7 days a week through next year.
Sacramento to Philadelphia as low as $49 One-Way
San Jose to Tampa Bay as low as $83 One-Way
Southwest Airlines DING! Fares. Valid December 1-17th. Book by 3pm today.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Winter and early Spring European Airfares...get'em while their "hot"
San Francisco/Oakland to Rome, Paris, Madrid, Istanbul, Cologne, Hamburg (to name a few) all priced in the $520-$550 range roundtrip, taxes included. Fares are restricted generally to flights through March 08.

These are not the best fares we've seen historically, partially because of added fuel surcharges, but nevertheless make for a fun vacation getaway at a reasonable price. The change in seasons during March is a great time to visit most areas in Europe.
Visit for a map of current airfares to Europe.

American testing new snacks for flights departing San Francisco

In an effort to appeal to more customers, between Nov. 5 and Nov. 25, on a weekly-rotating schedule, American will test four new snack and beverage items on morning and afternoon flights departing San Francisco and Los Angeles to New York John F. Kennedy (JFK). Available for $3, the test will feature Starbucks doubleshot Espresso & Cream, FUZE Green Tea, vitaminwater power-c, and CLIF Bar Chocolate Brownie Energy Bars.

Then, between Dec. 3 and Dec. 23, on a weekly-rotating schedule, American will test three different premium fresh items on afternoon transcontinental flights departing from San Francisco to New York JFK. Available for $10, the test will feature a fruit and cheese plate, antipasto platter, and a premium sandwich.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Pan Am: The Glamour of travel - decades ago

This past weekend in 1927, the very first Pan Am flight took off from Key West headed for Havana. 80 years later some of the faces of the airline--through the years--gathered in South Florida to remember the Pan American World Airways legacy.

Captain John Marshall remembers the night he flew Pan Am's last official flight from Sao Paolo to New York. "I asked the tower if we could take a low pass, they said no," said Marshall. "I thought about it anyway, but then I realized I had 6 hours of Brazilian airspace to fly through."

That was in 1991, but Marshall and 400 former Pan Am employees have reunited in Miami to celebrate the company's 80th anniversary, a story that began in Miami."The original flight in 1927 was out of Key West," said Marshall. "All the major sea plane operations were out of Dinner Key which is presently Miami City Hall."

With 35,000 employees Pan American was once considered the world's leading pioneers in aviation. "I started right out of college and thought I would do it for six months because it was a lot of fun and within six months I knew there was never going back," said flight attendant Carla Marshall.Marshall was with the company for 23 years.

In the early days flying was glamorous and elegant, but now some would say its mass transit."When I fly today I'm amazed at all the security, having to pull out your bag of liquids and the hassle of traveling and the stress of it," said Nancy Hult Ganis, a former Pan Am flight attendant.Pan American Airways no longer flies the skies, but its history lives on in exhibits and collections here in South Florida. This includes the flight academy at Miami International Airport, where former employees had an opportunity to shop for some memorabilia.

Source: CBS-4 Miami

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Horizon Airlines inaugurates Santa Rosa - Portland, OR service Sunday

By Mike Grasso

A time, not too long ago Santa Rosa airport was a tiny little general aviation airport tucked near the vineyards of the Napa Valley. At times in its history, the airport provided minimal commuter service to San Francisco, but that ceased to exist in 2001. Now 6 years March 2007, the airport business in Santa Rosa has really come alive.

Officially called the Charles M. Schulz - Sonoma County Airport, "STS" has become a key city for vacation-goers wanting closer access to the Valley and business travelers connecting elsewhere in the U.S.

In March 07' Horizon Airlines moved in, offering daily non-stop flights to its hub in Los Angeles and Seattle. Now, the airline is adding non-stop service to Portland beginning this Sunday. Horizon, under the parent company Alaska Airlines, offers connecting service throughout North America and is known for their on board complimentary snacks and alcoholic beverages and enhanced seating arrangements.

Additional proposals include bringing in additional carriers some time in the future.

Friday, October 26, 2007

San Francisco - Dublin, Ireland $480 r/t taxes included

Aer Lingus begins non-stop service from San Francisco to Dublin, Ireland this weekend. The Irish Airline is celebrating with a sale of $199 (each way) tickets on Tuesday and Wednesday's.

The service will launch with four round-trip flights per week and introductory fares as low as $288 each way. Those one-way economy class fares drop to $199 each way during a special online sale – from 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, October 30 until 3:59 p.m. on Wednesday, October 31 -- for weekday flights (Monday and Wednesday) in January and February 2008. Friday and Sunday flights are $20 more each way. Tickets must be purchased online at during the sale period.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Many of us have stories of the "worst" airplane delay or getting stuck in some airport because of a dreaded snowstorm. I certainly have a bucketful of war stories to share. But sometimes I like to step back and put it all in perspective: I can travel. Many in this world cannot.

Consider how air travel has enabled us to roam this great earth, soak up far-off cultures or partake in a grand fiesta in a distant land. Some will snap pictures and have a lifetime of memories. Others will be permanently moved by what they see, feel and experience away from home. Whatever your end goal remember that we have been blessed by have the opportunity and capacity to freely roam the world. Others will never leave their country, if not even their own village. Is that 2-hour airport delay really that big of a deal?

Many great quotations on the net about travel. Here are a few of my favorites that I think tie in quite well with my above thoughts. I hope you enjoy them. -Mike

"If we are always arriving and departing, it is also true that we are eternally anchored. One's destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things" - Henry Miller

"Far away is only far away if you don't go there" - O. Povo

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness" -Mark Twain

"Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living" - Miriam Beard

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Most airlines serving Southern California are waiving fees for passengers wanting to reschedule flights in or out of the area's airports because of the catastrophic wildfires this week.
Similar to the significant impact Hurricanes and Earthquakes have had on cities in the past, airlines tend to relax their change or cancellation policies for travelers heading in effected regions. USA Today

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Did you know that San Francisco International Airport is one of only a dozen or so U.S airports that offer flu shots?
The travel clinic at SFO, located in terminal 2 also offers many different immunizations relevant to travelers health and wellness. Flu shots are available at other airports such as Las Vegas, Atlanta, Newark, Denver and Honolulu as well.
More information about the travel clinic and vaccincations offered at SFO can be found here.

Monday, October 22, 2007

NASA: 'You don't want to know what we know about flying safely'

Anxious to avoid upsetting air travelers, NASA is withholding results from an unprecedented national survey of pilots that found safety problems like near collisions and runway interference occur far more frequently than the government previously recognized.

A senior NASA official, associate administrator Thomas S. Luedtke, said revealing the findings could damage the public's confidence in airlines and affect airline profits.

Among other results, the pilots reported at least twice as many bird strikes, near mid-air collisions and runway incursions as other government monitoring systems show, according to a person familiar with the results who was not authorized to discuss them publicly. CBS NEWS

Oakland - Tucson, Arizona: Non-stop service begins November 4

Southwest Airlines will introduce a single daily non-stop flight from Oakland to Tucson beginning November 4th. Currently the only other airline offering non-stop service from the Bay Area is United Airlines from SFO, also with once daily service.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Sacramento to Philadelphia for $75-$77 o/w. Southwest Airlines. DING!
Valid 7 days a week December 1 thru December 18th.

San Francisco to Raleigh/Durham for $90 o/w. Southwest Airlines. Ding!
Valid M-Thu & Sat. December 1 thru December 18th.

Purchase by 8pm CDT today

Friday, October 19, 2007

"Best of" Collection of rough airplane landings

Good mix of some pretty rough landings.

Damn, these pilots don't make enough money!

Be sure to turn DOWN your volume. Annoying background music attached to the video.


This week Southwest Airlines began offering DING! fares to & from San Francisco airport.

DING! is an online application which alerts subscribers to special Southwest Airline airfare deals - deals not even found on their own website. DING, named because of the familiar ding chime heard on airplanes, often releases deals once or twice a day and usually must be purchased that day. Oakland, San Jose and Sacramento airports have listings daily, and now San Francisco was just added to the daily digest as well. More information on DING! can be found here.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

San Francisco - Hong Kong $662 roundtrip, taxes included. United Airlines.
Fall fare valid through December 7. Minimum stay requirements apply.
Visit fare basis code: SXLAX7

Bringing the weak dollar on vacation

As the U.S dollar closes at all time lows against the euro, British pound and other currencies, finding inexpensive vacations around the world has been a struggle. While the actual airline ticket to fly out of the U.S has remained largely stable in price, the cost of goods as the international destination continues to rise as the value of the U.S dollar weakens. But not everywhere.

In a recent blog entry, foXnoMad recommends several travel friendly destinations, where good deals can still be found. They include; Morocco, Thailand, Mexico, China, Jordan, Micronesia & Venezuela. I'd also add Argentina, Peru, Brazil and Vietnam to the list.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Jet Airways: SFO meets India, next year

Jet Airways airline appears to be gearing up for a San Francisco launch early next year. The airline is currently hiring for multiple positions at SFO, and a quick Wiki search revealed a February 2008 debut date. Although no press release has been issued as yet, the carrier had previously announced plans to operate a SFO-Mumbai, India route.

Interestingly, another Indian airline, Kingfisher, has plans to begin service from SFO to Bangalore, India next year as well. The Bay Area travel market continues to heat up.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Oakland - Buffalo NY - $81+tax each way Southwest Airlines. Fare available Tue/W/F/Sat
San Jose - Raleigh/Durham NC - $86+tax each way Southwest Airlines. Fare avail most days
Sacramento - San Diego - $46+tax each way Southwest Airlines. Fare avail most days.
Above are all DING! fares from Southwest December 2-December 15th.

Fare Basis Code: Unscramble to reveal the mystery behind your fare

By Mike Grasso
Decoding the Fare Basis of your Airline ticket. Oh what fun!
Understanding the pricing strategy behind the fare basis can help you realize the different fares available for a particular route, saving ya oodles of money.
Caution: Now entering the murky waters of airfare pricing.

A fare basis code (different from the confirmation number) applies to all purchased airline tickets. Each code explains how your fare was calculated, the restrictions on it and more. They usually aren't printed on your boarding pass, occasionally found on your receipt, or sometimes no where to be found & you just have to call the airline directly to find it out. Hint: Travelocity is pretty good about giving at least the first letter "booking class" when you view rules of a selected airfare. Let's look more into fare basis codes:

Below is a sampling of fares available for San Francisco to Las Vegas:

The "L" fare basis code is the cheapest $44 each way. The "14" in the code signifies the ticket must be purchased 14 days in advance. The remainder of the codes can signify peak or off peak or minimum stay requirements. If you were purchasing a ticket 10 days before departure, the computer would display a $99 "W" fare because you meet the requirement of a 7 day advance purchase. Of course if the airline has sold out of the "W" fares, then it looks for the next higher priced tier- in this case a "V" fare. Finally, the "Y" fare is a refundable fare with 0 day minimum purchase; you can walk up to the ticket counter to purchase - and pay the $407 fare that luxury comes with.

Fare Basis Purchase as early as Fare
LA14ON9 29 Oct 07 $ 44
WA7NGZ 22 Oct 07 $ 99
VA3NGZ 18 Oct 07 $ 109
YTED0 15 Oct 07 $ 407

This is a simplified version of how to unscramble your fare basis code. In reality there are several fare basis codes, and sub-categories, since airline pricing is pretty complex. Here is a link for SFO-SEATTLE (scroll to the bottom part of the screen) if you want to look at some additional fare basis codes. You can also check your own itineraries and try to decode the mystery behind fare basis. BTW - fare basis codes are different from the airlines confirmation code.

An important thing to remember is the airline allocates a particular number of seats for each fare basis. They don't want the plane full of people buying cheap tickets! So maybe 10 of the "L" cheap cheap tickets are available, and 15 of the "W" still pretty cheap tickets. Once the "L" tickets are sold out, then everyone else gets "W" or higher fares. So when you book a ticket for 2 or more people, if there is only 1 cheap cheap seat left, most of the time the computer doesn't split your reservation where 1 person gets the "L" and other the "W" fare - both end up getting the "W" more expensive fare. In other words, if your buying for 1 person, the fare is cheap, but buying for 2 in this example, the fare isn't as cheap per person. In this example, you might consider booking this as 2 separate reservations so at least 1 person can take advantage of the lower price.

Of course the fare basis is only 1 piece of the pricing pie. The airline may not offer multiple tiers of pricing on some routes because of a lack of competition or expected higher demand. In this case, all the fares may be high when you perform a search. Best advice: Keep at it. Check prices periodically, airlines have sales, and sometimes they even have unannounced short-term deals which the general public never hears of unless they just happen to stumble on it.

In the meantime, have fun with your fare basis code - decode. Use the link provided above and change your cities and dates in the address bar line to suite your needs. With this information, you can find all fares published and the restrictions with each, enabling you to make an informed decision for airline tickets.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

SFO to welcome Aer Lingus later this month

New airline at SFO takes flight later this month.
The airline will begin non-stop service from San Francisco to Dublin Ireland on October 28th, with connecting service elsewhere in Europe.

The flight departs at 3:15pm arriving Dublin 8:15am the next day.

Initially operating twice a week, starting in December service will be upped to 4 times weekly. Fares are available as low as $577 roundtrip w/taxes.

Though Aer Lingus left the Oneworld Alliance (Cathay Pacific, American, etc) earlier this year, it still retains some mileage accrual offers while traveling on certain partner airlines. Otherwise, Aer Lingus has their own frequent flyer program - the Gold Circle Club.