Saturday, June 30, 2007

Car explosion at Glasgow Airport today just a day after authorities in London prevented a potential deadly attack on their city. Homeland Security reporting U.S. Airports will be increasing security measures, but that the overall terror alert level remains unchanged. Continuing coverage from Reuters.

Virgin America: 1 Million seats go on sale in coming months

The federal government recently gave Virgin America 2 thumbs up to rev up their engines and take flight in the U.S. In response, Virgin then hired hundreds of folks, the drivers of airline, whisked them through new employee orientations and now seemingly ready for departures into the sky. But, so far there are no confirmed reservations on any flight. That will soon change.

According to
InSide BayArea, Virgin America is now waiting on one final government hurdle - authorization to sell tickets. They've been cleared to have the airline, a-OK to have planes and use the airports - but to sell tickets, have passengers, and make money on flights, well, that's one last government hurdle. Once that is completed, likely sooner than later according to company big Whigs, expect a million seats to go on sale over a 4-5 month period.

Virgin America is a start-up airline based in San Francisco (Burlingame). Over the past couple years the airline has worked to get the airline operational, most recently pleading with the public and government to allow them to open for business. Virgin America has announced they will start flying by late summer with an initial route SFO-New York's JFK, followed by other popular routes within the U.S. They have marketed the airline as offering enhanced on board entertainment and customer service - without the hefty price tag.

Friday, June 29, 2007

San Francisco to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil Under $600 round-trip

I'm pricing out San Francisco to Rio Brazil for $598 round-trip, taxes included on American Airlines. (Thanks MeVoy on Flyertalk). Interesting connection options in Miami/Dallas/New York/ and/or Sao Paulo, would potentially earn up to 14,000 base frequent flyer miles for this trip. Valid travel dates August 5-December 12th "Q" class. I booked out a week in September with plenty of flight availability.

South America fares are typically pretty high, in part because of limited service from the U.S.
That makes this deal hot. Keep in mind Brazil has a $100 Visa fee and several travelers have reported petty theft and elevated levels of fear in Rio over the years. That said, Brazil is a wonderful country to visit, and spending a few days in Rio than venturing elsewhere in the Country may be a good option.
San Francisco to Las Vegas $108 round-trip TAXES INCLUDED on United Airlines
Valid for travel from August 27th through October. Not valid on Friday or Sunday travel.
Use Expedia or Travelocity "flexible dates" option

Miles for your time and thoughts

The "E-miles" program, offering frequent flyer miles in exchange for your time and thoughts (fill out surveys), is currently offering a sign-up bonus of 250 Northwest Airlines miles to new members.
The program is available to Delta, Continental, and US Airways members as well, though not with a sign-up bonus.

I've used e-miles for the past several months. I recommend not using your primary email address as new offers and other associated junk mail may soon fill your box. The earned miles post too your respective frequent flyer program each quarter in 500 mile increments.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Southwest Airlines mixes things up

Southwest CEO Gary Kelly announced that his airline will
be adjusting its schedules and slowing anticipated growth in 2008. Still, the airline plans on adding 19 new planes to its fleet next year.
A listing of flight changes impacting the Bay Area are detailed below and go into effect later this Fall.

Also of interest, Mr.Kelly says that Southwest will unveil a new boarding/seating procedures during the 4th quarter this year. Some speculate Southwest may charge for certain seats, following other airlines lead, in order to generate revenue outside of simply selling air tickets. Southwest has also said they are considering higher cargo loads, changing their frequent flyer program and offering onboard entertainment as additional options to strengthen profits.

-Sacramento & San Jose airports are only slightly impacted by the changes.
-Oakland Airport to:
Tucson (New Service) 1 flight a day
Salt Lake City - added 1 flight a day
San Diego - minus 2 flights a day (20 daily flights down to 18)
Reno - minus 1 flight a day
Philadelphia - minus 1 flight a day
Baltimore - minus 1 flight a day

Also, Southwest begins flights out of San Francisco in August.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Southwest accepting reservations through Jan 11th
As of this morning, Southwest began accepting reservations on its website through January 11, 2008; time to start shopping Holiday and New Years flights? Unlike mainline carriers who allow bookings nearly a year in advance, Southwest restricts its schedule usually to 6 months or less. Some have reported finding some really great fares the first couple days Southwest opens up its schedule.

"Thanks Again" offers 500 free frequent flyer miles

"Thanks Again" a program whereby local merchants, mostly dry cleaners, offer miles for utilizing their services are offering a one-time sign up bonus. Sign up (free) between now and the end of July and receive 500 frequent flyer miles on either United, Continental or Delta. Then earn additional miles after qualifying transactions.

The program requires you to register your credit card; some may be concerned about releasing this personal information to 3rd parties. 1) I've personally joined the "Thanks Again" program and received the 500 miles from United - took a couple weeks. 2) You could provide a pre-paid debit/gift credit card with a balance on it, or perhaps try registering a virtual credit card number offered by banks.

Here are links to the respective programs:

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Phone Call You Don't Want

Northwest Airlines canceled 14% of Sundays flights, 11% of Monday & Tuesday flights nationwide; places phone calls to some unlucky customers.

A game of 'He said, she said'. Nobody is taking blame for massive Northwest Airline flight cancellations over the weekend through today, including flights to the Bay Area. Pilots blame poor management planning and staffing issues. NW bosses point fingers at bad weather and disrupted work schedules. Some warned this was inevitable, still others warn of more to come. Some customers have reported receiving phone calls from the airline hours or days in advance of the scheduled flights to offer alternatives. Others, less happily have found out when they check-in at the airport.

If you have plans to fly Northwest over the next several days, be sure Northwest has your current contact information. Also, you can register for NW's free flight update alerts via their website in case of schedule changes or cancelations.

San Francisco - Fayetteville/Northwest Arkansas (XNA) $88+ tax round trip on American
Looks like you need to travel outbound on a Saturday, with departures mostly in September. Use or Travelocity and choose the "flexible dates" option.

Having visited Arkansas recently, I can attest to the natural beauty of the region. This makes for a great couple days visit to escape the buzz of the city and relax in the great outdoors.
The Clinton Library isn't to far from here either.

UPDATE: Fare gone!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Site Enhancement
Our domain name is up and running, and you can now access us directly at - rather than through blogger.
Be sure to add INflightOUT to your favorites and links toolbar. Thanks to everyone for your support.

Low Cost (International) Carrier - Oasis, coming to Oakland

LCC Oasis Airlines based out of Hong Kong says it will soon be flying the long awaited Oakland - Hong Kong route later this year. Oasis, which began flying just last year, currently operates London-Hong Kong will begin Vancouver to Hong Kong service later this week.

Per their website, service between Oakland and Hong Kong will begin shortly after the Vancouver service commences followed by other worldwide destinations.

What makes Oasis unique is its long-range International flights. Most LCC operate within regions of the world. Oasis, which says it offers basic meal and beverage service in the main cabin, will be utilizing 747-400 aircraft formerly owned by Singapore & ANA Airlines. Their business plan asserts that by flying long range routes, they can save on preset expenses incurred when flying multiple shorter distance cities thereby offering lower fares to its customers.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Your First Class Seat Awaits

First on & first off the plane, complimentary fine foods and alcohol, massage, warm terry cloth socks, down-filled duvets and more are waiting for you (really); come aboard.

The quiet, the relaxation, the temptation...ugh, the price. Business and First Class for international flights can set you back well over $5000-$10,000. But, there are other options. First, consider this sampling of luxuries that await you when flying business or first class on some of these top international airlines:

Forget standing in long lines at the airport. Qatar airlines will have your personal escorted to the plane by way of a ride in a 7 series BMW. Once aboard and relaxed they offer a 10 course meal, "that typically includes caviar, lobster, prawns, Arabic mezzas, fine chocolates, cheese platters, freshly brewed cappuccinos, and the finest wines from the old and new world."

Singapore Airlines rolled out the SkySuite on some of its flights (ya can't just call it a seat), which fully reclines to any angle - right down to a flat bed. Also offered is turn down service, fresh bed linens and a down filled duvet.

Malaysia Airlines features 15" LCD monitors in first class, including video, TV and music on demand and tempting cuisines from around the globe. Malaysia Airlines also offers advanced onboard lighting systems, which replicates outside lighting providing a more natural feel to your journey.

Virgin Atlantic prides itself on having the longest fully flat (79.5") bed in its upper class suites, an upper body massage and mini-manicure.

Emirates Airlines 500 channels of on demand entertainment await their customers, along with Internet access on board for laptop enabled laptops and currently a promotion for 2 complimentary nights at the Ritz-Carlton, Dubai for first class travelers. First class cabin reportably comes with the highest ratio of crew-to-passengers of any airline in the world.

Wake up. Dream is over. These amenities (and really, this is a short list of them) do make hops over the Oceans a lot easier. An alternative to paying cash for these great seats is to redeem frequent flyer miles. For example, United frequent flyer members can redeem points toward business class travel on its partner Singapore Airlines. Another way are operational upgrades (rare), where an airline may be oversold in economy class and "bumps" folks (typically high paying or elite passengers) to business or first class.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Avis offering FREE I-Tunes w/rental

This is the final week of the Avis promotion; earn up to 20 free I-tunes downloads with each car rental. See T&C here. I've personally used this promotion several times without problems.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Delta: Fares up $5 bucks each way today on most routes

Reuters is reporting Delta Airlines has raised Domestic Fares across the board on most of its Domestic Routes. The increase of $5 each way is in part to offset rising fuel costs. As of late this morning, no other carrier has matched the increase.

UPDATE: 2pm. American Airlines has matched the fare increase.

250-foot long Zeppelin to the Bay Area in 2008

Longer than the AirBus 380, and flying lower than commercial aircraft...a German-made Zeppelin NT airship may soon be flying the Bay Area skies next year. Airship Ventures announced yesterday that it will offer passenger flights around the Bay Area, including Napa pending a few hurdles including FAA clearance. Wiki article on the Zeppelin.

AP Photo

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Sacramento to Hong Kong $630 roundtrip w/taxes

Air Canada has been offering some great deals to parts of Asia since introducing Sacramento service last week. AC has a fare of $448+ taxes and fees ($630 total) to Hong Kong and Tokyo, and $660 to Shanghai and Beijing. The flights route from Sacramento through Vancouver.

Hint: Visit and choose dates after August 21st (click the 'dates flexible' option) to see what is available at these great fares. I checked this morning and most of September and October is available.
250 American Airlines miles for completing a survey about American Airline Vacations

Pick a seat...any seat...then show us the money

AirTran begins a service allowing customers to choose their seat assignment at the time of booking their airline ticket, for a fee.

Most airlines allow you to pick the place to park your bosom on board the plane well before you hop on board. With AirTran, most customers select their seats day of departure. This new optional service allows mid and low priced ticket holders the ability to reserve certain seats in advance, including emergency row for a fee from $5-$15 each way rather scooping up whatever seats may be left on day of departure. Premium class and high priced Y,B, & M fares are not subject to the fee.

For a family of 4, an added cost of up to $120 to sit together cuts into the budget of a vacation.
For a solo 6'2 traveler, $30 for an emergency exit row seat might be appealing.

Good and Bad.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

United: systemwide delays today

Breaking News: United is reporting a computer problem at their Chicago hub, relating to how they weigh and certify planes preparing for departure. This is effecting many flights in & out of the Bay Area. United reports flights should begin operating back on time within the next several hours. Be sure to check the status of your flight before arriving at the airport.

Frontier Airlines modifies their birds and frequent flyer program

Denver based Frontier Airlines says it is adding blackout dates to its award redemption tickets but concurrently increasing redemption seat availability options by 30%. For example, traveling the day before or the day after Christmas are considered blackout dates and you couldn't use miles for to redeem for such an itinerary (Christmas day itself is OK though). "EarlyReturns will be better equipped to guide you towards dates that have seats available. Adding this flexibility to the program will allow you to use your miles for more flights" says Frontier in a written email to its Early Returns members.

Also, Rocky Mountain news reports Frontier will be swapping out seats, for a thinner and lighter version, ultimately adding 4 additional seats on most planes and a reduction of seat pitch of 1-2 inches, though reportably no loss to leg space.

Frontier Airlines currently operates flights from San Francisco, San Jose and Sacramento, and is one of only a few U.S based airlines still offering round trip Domestic U.S & Canada award redemption's starting at only 15,000 miles.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Southwest's new Oakland-Denver route takes aim at United

Southwest began new service, flying 5 daily non-stop flights from Oakland to Denver this past weekend, a direct shot at a United hub. Initial flight loads are reported high, with Southwest offering advance tickets at $79/each way promo rates.
Travel focused credit cards with up-front perks

Several credit card companies offering first-use bonuses for signing up for their card have been around for a while; United & American have a 20,000 miles sign-up bonus, Delta 17,500 miles, Alaska 15,000 miles, just to name a few. But here are two gosh darn good (great) deals worth really checking out:

For a limited time, American Express is offering a FREE domestic round-trip ticket (25,000 membership reward points) after you are approved and use the Business Gold Rewards card.
No annual fee the first year.

A personal favorite of mine is the AMEX Starwood Preferred card, offering 10,000 Starwood points on approval and 1st purchase. 10,000 points is worth a few nights hotel stay at many Starwood properties throughout the world, with no blackout dates. Or you can transfer these points to airline miles. No annual fee the first year.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Adding a Low Cost Carrier to your Itenerary

As the world becomes smaller, and more people become interconnected, small regional airlines have rapidly formed over the past few years to get people into remote areas outside main tourist hubs. From this, Low Cost Carriers also began to glow, offering cheap, no frills transportation to cities and villages around the globe.

LCC are cheap, sometimes offering seats as low as a penny + tax each way. But everything else than your body in a seat may cost ya. Some airlines charge for checked luggage, many for food or drinks. Change fees can be steep and restrictive, and flights often packed. But if you play by the rules, LCC offer an inexpensive option for connecting to cities outside major international hubs.

It seems every day there is a new Low Cost Carrier (LCC) opening up shop - last I checked I've counted over 80 on the Internet alone. Rather than listing all these out, i've provided a links to search engines in Europe and Asia offering LCC options. In Australia, I recommend JetStar, and in South America, where the LCC airlines are a bit slower in forming, there are fewer options. One Brazilian carrier, WebJet is provided for reference. Be sure to shop around.

Europe Search engine for city pairs in Europe
Asia Listing by each country in Asia (I recommend Air Asia)
Australia JetStar
Brazil Webjet
Canada WestJet

Wikipedia has a good listing of several other LCC airlines

Sunday, June 17, 2007

SFO-Dublin,Ireland $497 taxes included

Checked fares this morning and saw U.S Airways is offering round-trip flights from San Francisco to Dublin (DUB) Ireland for a base fare around $390 - $497 with all taxes & fees. Travel at this fare must commence on or after October 1st. A few flights on American and Delta pull up fares slightly higher - but still decent prices as well. Fare Basis TFA0NG

October might be a great month to visit; just coming out of peak summer travel, but before the harsh winter. One valid trip at this price I checked on was October 24-29th, with a stop in Philadelphia.

Fare found on Farecompare and Orbitz and U.S Air

San Francisco to San Diego $39 each way + tax on Alaska airlines through the summer (weekend travel permitted at this fare, though limited dates left)

Oakland (Or SFO) to San Diego $39 each way + tax on Southwest Airlines
(Southwest starts flying from San Francisco on August 26th)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

TSA Airport Cops inspecting your naughty naughty goods

(Thanks Theresa)
In light of upcoming Summer Pride festivities in San Francisco and around the world, visitors should take a few steps to properly pack sex toys and other naughty goodies when going thru airport security. Whether a small discreet lube packet, or the giant Jeff Stryker extended-plus vibrator, travelers should educate themselves on how TSA security might deal with such goods.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Welcome Aboard: Inside a Virgin America plane

Check out this promotional video highlighting the interior of the new Virgin America A320 aircraft. Snug leather seats, specialized interior lighting, and the best in-seat entertainment for a domestic carier.
Hmm...wonder how much that will cost.

Back in May, Virgin America received final approval to start flying out of San Francisco.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

"Get in, sit down, shut up," Welcome to the Unfriendly Skies

Drunk passengers at 35,000 feet is SOOO yesterday. Now flight attendants are dealing with shoe-spitting, chest-punching, bomb-threatening passengers, pouting because traveling has rapidly become a stressful nightmare. Flights are filled to capacity, airport security is an annoyance at best and delays & cancellations are taking their toll. But there's more.
Flight attendants have seen their pensions disappear, their payroll slashed and a one-time lucrative career become little more than a minimum wage job w/benefits. I'd be a little pist too.
This USA Today story discusses how the skies have become quite unfriendly these days.
NTSB Investigating Runway Incursion at San Francisco International
National Safety Transportation Board preliminary report regarding the near-miss airplane accident at SFO 2 weeks ago between Republic Airlines & United/SkyWest.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Air Canada commences Sacramento service

Air Canada Jazz begins service from Sacramento International on Friday, offering twice daily non-stop service into Vancouver, BC., and connections to cities around the world.

AC is part of the Star Alliance network, United Mileage Plus members receive credit for flying many Air Canada flights. Alternatively, Aeroplan members can earn double miles for flying this route by registering here first.

Air Canada will be operating 50-seater regional jets, with 7:40am and 4:30pm departures from Sacramento.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Hot Coupon
Travelocity $50 off 3+ night hotel stay
$50 off a 3 night or more hotel stay when booking at and using coupon code
HOTEL50 or clicking this link. Offer expires June 30th valid for stays through October 07.
Must use a Mastercard for the purchase.

4000 Delta SkyMiles to NEW members

Gotta be a member of the Starwood Preferred Guest program (free to sign up-and HIGHLY recommended by me). Complete this form by June 30th and 4000 Delta miles are yours!
Something for nothing - always a good thing.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Cathay Pacific adds additional SFO-Hong Kong Service

Prompted by increased passenger yields, Hong Kong based Cathay Pacific Airlines will be increasing service to 2 flights daily, up from 1 daily, on it's SFO-Hong Kong Route (HKG). The additional passenger capacity will offer passengers more options when flying into or beyond Hong Kong. Asia has been a hot market for the airlines, even as U.S Domestic flight capacity decreases, demand for Asia flights has been increasing. Though no start date for the new service was mentioned, they expect it will begin in the next few months.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Want "A" Boarding zone for Southwest? Yes Please!

Boardfirst and Planefast are two of a handful of websites offering Southwest customers an "A" boarding pass when registering your flight information on their website. Southwest, which offers seating on a first come - first served basis, assigns the first 40 or so checked-in passengers boarding group "A", the next 40 group "B" and so on. Boardfirst and Planefast offer a service (ranging from free to $5 bucks w/a guarantee) where they will check you in automatically at midnight, when on-line check in begins each day, thereby securing you an "A" group - and first on the plane. When you wake up simply "re-print" your boarding passes at home. Boardfirst was previously sued by Southwest Airlines for such a service, but I believe they won the case.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Leaving Foreign Currency fees at home during your next vacation

Foreign Currency Transaction fees charged when using your credit card overseas can range from a mere nuisance to a big-fat expense. For example, most Visa cards charge 2-3% on top of any purchase, making a $300.00 purchase cost you $3 bucks more. Nothing more than a cup of coffee (even a Latte) you say? Consider how this cost might pinch the pocketbook over a 2 week vacation in Paris. Flyerguide is one of many sites that have broken down the costs of using plastic overseas, whether it be your debit card, ATM or credit card. Some cards charge NO fees. With this information, consumers can be better decide which cards to take with them on their next overseas adventure.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

United begins SFO-Taipei & Palmdale Service

Today United airlines began flying daily non-stop service San Francisco to Taipei. United is the only U.S based carrier offering non-stop service to Taiwan. A Boeing 777 aircraft is used on this hop over the Pacific, with flights scheduled to depart SFO at 12:41pm each day.

Also today, United began 2 X daily SFO-Palmdale service on its 50 seater CRJ-200 planes.
Palmdale is located 60 miles Northeast of downtown L.A near Lancaster.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

American downgrades miles expiration policy

American Airlines joins United and U.S Airways as airlines that cap the lifespan of earned frequent flyer miles to 18 months, down from 3 years. You must have valid activity (ie: earned miles) in the account in order for the 18 months to reset. If you fail to maintain an active account, your miles will cease to exist.

Many people have complained about how frequent flyer programmes are stiffening policies, and this is yet another example. In reality however, the policy is not that difficult to follow. One car rental every 18 months, where American Airlines is a valid partner is a qualifying activity to keep your account active. Opinion Place, an online survey site allows you to earn AA miles for voicing your opinion; again, a valid activity to keep your AA frequent flyer program active.

In the end, this policy will allow airlines to truly drop infrequent flyers & people uninterested in keeping a relationship with the particular airline.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Sleep Stations coming to SFO

PowerNap Sleep Stations are coming to San Francisco International Airport this fall.
Local government approved the trial of these individual sleeping units where a traveler can catch some quick comfy rest rather than resting in standard airport chairs at the gate. The units will cost around $20 for 20 minutes and initially be tried in the International Terminal. It is reported that showers may be optional.

FWIW, the cost of a chair massage at the airport runs about the same price. If you find comfort and relaxation in a massage, that may be the better way to go.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Northwest & Southwest Slash fares to/from Colombus Ohio

Likely in response to SkyBus' low price model, NW & SW airlines have slashed prices to amazingly new lows. NW is offering fares to/from Oakland, San Jose & Sacramento to Colombus for $98+ tax roundtrip...and SW offering DING fares for $30 each way. You must download DING from the Southwest website in order to see these fares. Most flights are for August and September.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Southwest Airlines emergency landing goes bad

SFGate is reporting a Southwest Airlines flight from Sacramento made an emergency landing into Oakland airport due to a possible technical problem. Upon landing however, the nose gear collapsed on impact. Full story.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

FREE plane ticket when you buy $125 in Dockers

JCPenny and Dockers are running a short-term promotion; spend $125 in Dockers for Men merchandise, receive a free roundtrip ticket to select destinations in the U.S.