Friday, August 31, 2007

Friday Afternoon Humor.
Have a great Labor Day Weekend everyone!!!

Horizon Airlines to debut San Jose to Palm Springs route

Horizon Airlines announced the inauguration of San Jose-Palm Springs Jet service beginning November 4th. Two daily departures of the 70-seater CRJ-700 Jet will operate seasonally, and compliment other flights Horizon & Alaska Airlines offer from other Bay Area airports.
Horizon's special brand of inflight service includes snacks, Starbucks coffee, Wine and microbrews at no extra charge.

Schedule: November 4-April 6th 2008
10:50 am departure
1:25pm departure

Thursday, August 30, 2007

9:25am Southwest DING! Fare OAKLAND-RENO $39/each way+tax
Monday-Saturday travel September 1- October 31, 2007
Labor Day Weekend - Bay Bridge will be closed. From 8pm Friday through 5am Tuesday morning, massive improvements to the Bay Bridge, including replacing a 350 foot section near Yerba Buena Island.
For those traveling to the local airports, BART will be operating 24 hour a day service through the weekend stopping at most stations on its routes. More info at

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Southwest Airlines Promo: Fly 3 - Fly Free

FIRE, FIRE! The California travel market is on FIRE - with HOT airline deals continuing.
Southwest, JetBlue and Virgin America operating all brand new routes out of the Bay Area are fighting each other (and the larger airlines such as United & American) for market share. For example, once Southwest Airlines starts SFO-LAX service in November, there will be over 100 daily flights operating this route between all the airlines. This equates to sizzling hot deals for folks like us.

And here's the latest example (see previous posts for other deals)

Southwest Airlines is offering a free trip within the 48 states after you fly just 3 round trips within California August 27-December 31st and/or SFO-Las Vegas between November 4th and December 31st. This applies to newly booked tickets only.

Full details here!

Sacramento to Cabo San Lucas $220 Roundtrip incl taxes

HOT fare! American Airlines is offering Sacramento to Cabo, Mexico for $220 round-trip with taxes included. Valid September 1 to October 15th. Non-stop or 1 stop service via Dallas available. Visit or for availability.

Northwest Airlines bonus miles for "going to school"

Just in time for the start of school, Northwest Airlines has announced 2 new courses at WorldPerks® University.
For each course, read a short description of a product or service Northwest offers, answer 3 (simple) questions and earn 100 Northwest Airlines Worldperks miles.

WP101, WP102, WP200 have been available for a while now. WP201 and WP 202 were just added. That's up to 500 free Northwest miles! Plus, they have some extra credit opportunities if you do real well on your tests. Miles for "going to school" - sign me up! =P Here's the direct link

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Intra-California Sale continues

After yesterday's $34 each way sale from Oakland to Ontario and Los Angeles on Southwest - the other main carriers serving the Golden State responded with their own deals:

United is now offering $78+Tax ($99 all in) roundtrip Oakland to Los Angeles
American is offering $78+Tax ($99 all in) roundtrip San Francisco to Los Angeles
JetBlue is offering $78+Tax ($97 all in) roundtrip Oakland to Long Beach.

Southwest has said it plans to fly from San Francisco to Los Angeles starting in November...
this ought to ensure healthy competition continues for Bay Area flyers.

FAA orders emergency inspections on newer 737 planes

Aviation authorities have ordered emergency inspections of newer model Boeing 737 airliners in response to last week's explosion and fire that destroyed a China Airlines plane in Japan.
The Federal Aviation Administration on Monday ordered all U.S. airlines to check for loose hardware in panels which are extended on the wings to increase lift for take-off and landing.

The FAA said loose hardware appeared to have punctured the fuel tank of the China Airlines jet on August 20 in Okinawa, Japan. Leaking fuel caused a fire that engulfed and destroyed the airliner. All aboard escaped safely.

There are more than 780 affected planes registered to U.S. airlines. About 1,500 are in service with other airlines around the world.

Monday, August 27, 2007

DING! Fares today from Southwest Airlines are HOT!

Oakland to Los Angeles $36/each way + tax (That's $92 bucks roundtrip, taxes included!)
Oakland to Ontario $36-$39/each way + tax
Monday-Saturday travel September 1 - October 31 only

Sacramento-Philadelphia $70/each way + tax
Tue/Thu/Friday travel September 4-28 only

You must have the DING! fare program downloaded on your computer to qualify for these fares.
DING! is available at

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Delta Airlines Enlists Top Chefs to Bolster Its Menus
New York Times Sunday August 26, 2007

Delta seems to be getting more serious about the food it is serving to passengers - at least to those sitting in the high-priced seats and others willing to pay for it.

Starting Sept 13, the airline will feature entrees created by the Miami chef Michelle Bernstein for first class passengers on flights from Kennedy International Airport to Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle. Choices include short ribs in a red wine sauce. Also, chocolates from Godiva's new line, Chocoiste, will be available.

Then in November, the celebrity chef Todd English will introduce creations on a for-sale menu for coach passengers on the same routes, as well as flights to destinations like Atlanta; Portland Ore; and Las Vegas. Items under consideration include a spinach salad with beets, walnuts and manchego; and hummus. Prices are expected to range from $3 to $10.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Southwest Airlines begins out of San Francisco Airport tommorrow
Initial routes:
to San Diego 8 times daily
to Las Vegas 7 times daily
to Chicago 3 times daily

Friday, August 24, 2007

United: Double Miles for San Francisco Flyers

Hot off the Press!
United Airlines is offering double mileage plus miles for flights in/out of San Francisco to select California cities (and Las Vegas). Register here, read the t&c, then buy tickets between now and October 5th, travel through November 14th.

This promotion is a clear response to Southwest Airlines double Rapid Reward credits for flying in/out of SFO for nearly same time period (see a few posts down)

Friday Afternoon Comic Relief


Thursday, August 23, 2007

HOT Orbitz coupons for International Travel
-Coupon 75INTL for $75 off a 3 night hotel stay
-Coupon 200INTL for $200 off a 5 night hotel stay
Valid through March 31, 2008.
Click here to visit Orbitz

The Rise & Fall of the 'online booking bonus'

By Mike Grasso

So sad. Delta Airlines has discontinued its online booking bonus of 500 miles.
Airlines which historically have offered online booking bonuses initially did so to lure people to book tickets through their computer, rather than a travel agent or on the phone. Back in the day, many reservations booked online at the airlines website scored you upwards of 1000 added frequent flyer miles.

Since then, airlines have initiated service fees for booking reservations with an agent - ranging from $10-$40 bucks. Some airlines have also trimmed, cut, and slashed travel agent commissions on booking air-only reservations. Finally, online travel sites such as Expedia and Travelocity often charge a service fee, albeit it minimal, for booking air tickets. All of this has worked to the airlines advantage, to the point where online booking bonuses are rarely necessary to get folks to travel with the mouse directly to the airlines website.

Delta joins Northwest in discontinuing online booking bonuses, while United, Continental and U.S Air only offer 500 miles, and American now down to 250 bonus miles.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Southwest Airlines: "Helllllo San Francisco"

Hot offer for passengers flying in or out of 'the City by the Bay'
Southwest Airlines is welcoming San Francisco flyers with a special Rapid Rewards promotion.
NEW Members of their frequent flyer program will earn 8 credits (that's half way to a free round-trip ticket within the U.S) and DOUBLE rewards for flying to/from San Francisco between August 26th and October 31, 2007 when booking at

Southwest Airlines begins flying out of SFO this weekend after a several year "break" from the airport.

Visit this link for more information on the offer.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

United Airlines Discounted Award Travel is back

United Airlines is again offering their discounted award travel promotion. By redeeming 15,000 mileage plus miles, you can travel to any non-stop destination of 700 miles or less. Normally 25,000 miles are required for any domestic travel.

For example:
You can fly San Francisco to Palm Springs, San Diego, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Las Vegas, Orange County, Salt Lake City, Redding or Sacramento by redeeming just 15,000 miles.

The offer of course is not limited to just the Bay Area. For a complete list of valid to/from cities click here.

The fine print: This offer is valid for the Fall only - September 1 - December 14th. Previously the airline permitted travel over the Christmas Holiday. Still, this is a great deal, especially for smaller markets that United Express serves and the typical airline ticket would set you back $300 or $400. Here is the link for the promotion.

Monday, August 20, 2007

San Francisco to San Juan, PR $275/rt taxes included

Good deal here; American Airlines is offering 1-stop service from SFO-San Juan, Puerto Rico for $275 round-trip, taxes included. Monday-Thursday travel days from September 4th through December 13th. American Airlines website.

China Airlines plane bursts into flames, 2 injured

A possible leaky fuel line is the blame for a China Airlines flight which burst into a wall of flames shortly after landing in Okinawa airport Sunday. Amazingly all 165 passengers and flight crew escaped before the plane was engulfed in fire. Details from USA Today.

Here is a Video of firefighters working to extinguish the inferno.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Hurricane Dean Travel Advisory
Among others, Spirit and Delta Airlines have issued travel advisories and relaxed travel rules for passengers with travel plans into the Bahamas and Caribbean over the next few days.

As of 10am Saturday, Hurricane Dean, a Category 4 Hurricane was expected to rip through the island of Jamaica later Sunday, then head toward the Gulf of Mexico in the U.S.

Anyone planning travel into the Southeast U.S over the next several days should also monitor the storm track of Dean.

Frontier Airlines connects Bay Area to Puerto Vallarta

Frontier Airlines continues to expand their Mexico service from the Bay Area. In a press release this week, the airline announced flights from Sacramento and San Jose to Puerto Vallarta will commence on December 15th - just in time to plan a winter escape out of state.
To ignite some interest, the airline is offering double EarlyReturns miles and tickets as low as $119 each way. See new routes page. Tickets are available for purchase on the Frontier Airlines website now.

Sacramento - Puerto Vallarta

Departs 3:15 p.m. Arrvies 8:45 p.m.
Monday, Thursday, and Saturday
Departs 7:00 a.m. Arrives 12:30 p.m.

San Jose CA - Puerto Vallarta
Departs 7:00 a.m. Arrives 12:30 p.m.
Tuesday and Friday

Departs 10:55 a.m. Arrvies 4:10pm

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Afternoon Comic Relief

Thursday, August 16, 2007

History about to unfold: Airbus 380 flies in October

The grand mamma/pappa (you can choose the gender) of planes will soon be put into service for everyone to enjoy. This will truly be an amazing moment in aviation history. The Airbus-380 will begin flying passengers by the end of October.

First though, Singapore Airlines will auction off their inaugural flight to some lucky folks through eBay. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to charity organizations.

More information can be found here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Reminder: The Bay Bridge will be closed for Labor Day Weekend... details and alternate ways of getting across the Bay at

1 Minute for 1001 Travel Tips (freebie alert!)

International shipping company DHL continues to offer a informative travel book featuring 400 pages of travel tips engineered by the folks at Foders for simply completing a 1 minute survey about your (business) shipping needs. Link

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

San Francisco to Newark, NJ $185/rt taxes included. Valid for travel Tues/Wed/Saturday August 14th to November 14th. Non-stop service. United Airlines

Southwest Airlines Intra-California Sale

Though not the best fares Southwest sometimes offers, these aren't so bad either.
Book by August 23 for travel August 28 through January 11, 2008. Fares are each way.
14 Day advance purchase on these tickets, valid most days (including peak travel days Friday & Sunday!)

Oakland, CA $49 to/from
Burbank, CA
Los Angeles, CA
Ontario, CA
San Diego, CA

Sacramento, CA $49 to/from
Burbank, CA
Los Angeles, CA
Ontario, CA
San Diego, CA

San Jose,
CA $49 to/from
Burbank, CA
Los Angeles, CA
Ontario, CA
San Diego, CA

San Francisco, CA$49 to/from
San Diego, CA(Service beginsAugust 26, 2007.)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Southwest Airlines initiates nonstop Oakland to Tucson service beginning November 4th.
The flight departs Oakland at 610pm and arrives Tucson at 925pm.
Several other departure times are available, but require a connection in Las Vegas, Los Angeles or San Diego.

Virgin America: My experience & Feedback

Virgin America launched its first flight last week - August 8th. The day began with delays in New York City causing the inaugural flight to be grounded until the weather passed. Once the skies cleared up, Virgin America finally began to fly.

The following day I hopped aboard a short-hop Virgin America flight from SFO-Los Angeles to marinate myself in all the fancy shmancy features the airline has been hyping itself with.

At the Airport:
VX flies out of the International Terminal at SFO. Two thumbs up to begin with!

The international terminal is spacious, clean and fun; unlike traditional domestic terminals where passengers are packed into gates likes herds of cattle, the international terminal at SFO with its high ceilings, dimmed lighting, and massive walkways allow travelers more space and freedom.

Inside the terminal looking out, giant planes representing countries from Europe and Asia prepare load the masses. Flying out of this terminal invokes an excitement, a thrill that you are about to embark on a great journey somewhere soon. Virgin America flying out of this terminal seemed appropriate.

On the Plane:
Stepping aboard the plane it immediately feels unlike any other domestic plane. The cool & hip interior lighting gives way to brand new leather seats throughout the cabin and in-seat personal entertainment systems. Passengers can watch live TV, listen to music, play games or purchase movies. You can also order food and drinks from your seat. Order your favorite drink(s) and then press the "checkout" button and the order in theory will be delivered to you. It's a neat little service, in particular when snacks and foods are offered on long-haul flights. There are some kinks to be worked out and some educating passengers on how to get drinks on a flight. For example, if you wait for the trolley and flight attendant to come by, you may go thirsty.

Overall Thoughts and Experience:
Virgin America has been successful in presenting a fresh and sexy image of their airliner. From check in, through the air, and back on the ground, Virgin America proved it is trying to make a difference in U.S. air travel. But, after much hype and publicity, it is now time for the company to really step up and make good on their promise of creating this new type of airline.

Although staff throughout the airports and on board were (super) friendly, a few lacked the ability to answer specific questions about the airlines frequent flyer program or on airline policy. Also, my outbound flight (and the return) were delayed, and incorrect information was initially dispatched to waiting passengers about the cause for delays. Virgin America must take ownership of delays and not fallback on second-class customer service seemingly comfortable with other mainline carriers.

The on-board entertainment system had a few problems, mostly with the satellite TV - to be expected sometimes. But every time the flight attendants made announcements, the games feature on the entertainment system kept resetting which meant players had to start from the beginning. 2 of the screens would later lock up entirely. The handheld remote failed to work in one of the seats as well.

I'm excited for Virgin America and hope to see announcements for new routes in the coming months. Before this however, I'd like to see the company properly train front-line staff and work out some of the initial problems encountered during their 1st week in operation.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Miles for surfing the web
For those who just can't get enough Internet surfing and/or frequent flyer miles, here is a site that will offer the best of both. ZooMiles, a search engine powered by, will allow you to earn miles while surfing the web. The site is expected to fully launch next month, but folks can request an invitation now. Link

Friday, August 10, 2007

Friday Afternoon Laugh
(have a great weekend everyone!)

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Free bonus miles points/miles with United, American, Amtrak & Air Canada
Thanks, View from the Wing Blog

Fill out a short survey and/or sign up to receive emails and earn the bonuses below.
250 free United Airlines miles
250 free American Airlines miles
250 free Amtrak points
1000 free Air Canada miles

These promotions are great because most airlines require some activity (air or partner) within a certain amount of time, otherwise they delete your frequent flyer account. Most airlines recognize these registrations as a qualifying partner activity therefore keeping your account active.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Virgin America's first flight (NYC-SFO)...delayed. But in fairness, so were most flights out of New York City this morning. A major storm - including a possible tornado slamed greater NYC today causing subway flooding and huge airport delays. Details.
Get approved for the Southwest Airlines Visa card and earn 16 rapid rewards credits after your first purchase, enough for a free roundtrip ticket. They are also offering additional credits for balance transfers (balance transfer fee applies).

Previously the promotion has been 8 rapid rewards credits for signing up and using the card. So.....with the annual fee of $59.00 per year - $59 bucks to fly to one of the many destinations Southwest serves in the U.S makes this a hot offer. More information here.
Thanks to RedSox9547 on fatwallet for pointing out this offer.
After years in the making, Today marks San Francisco based - Virgin America's inaugural flight

CNN Coverage

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Oakland/San Jose to Miami/Ft Lauderdale/West Palm Beach - $202/rt including taxes. Valid travel September 5-November 14th. American Airlines
Domestic on time arrivals in the United States have hit an all-time low. According to a Department of Transportation (DOT) press release, the first 6 months of 2007 saw more than 1 out of every 4 flights delayed, the worst record in the 12 years statistics have been recorded by the DOT.

American Airlines reported only 57.9% of its flights on time among the major carriers, while Southwest had the most on time flights at 75.3%.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Virgin Atlantic Gay Themed Commercial

A cute Virgin Atlantic video promoting their Upper Class Suite.

San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose - Coastal Mexico (Puerto Vallarta, Cabo, Ixtapa/Zihuantanejo/Cancun) $300 taxes included
Valid on Delta Airlines & Mexicana depending on airports you fly to/from
Through December 18th. Farecompare

Megabus pulls into the Bay Area this week

MegaBus is expanding their coach service to the San Francisco Bay Area. Beginning Wednesday, Bay Area buses begin rolling non-stop from the Bay Area to Los Angeles city center with travel time less than 7 hours.

So where is the flight tie-in since this is a travel blog?

OK There is no direct connection! But, with the first 4 seats on each coach costing a mere $1 each (there are 56 seats total on each bus), a fairly quick ride south dropping you off near downtown L.A and 3 X daily service - including a "red eye" bus ride (leave 1130pm arrive L.A 6am), it's certainly worth considering over a flight to LAX.

What about Greyhound? (oh yea...Greyhound)

They're still around, and with a well established infrastructure of schedules and routes, it would seem Megabus is driving against some stiff competition. Megabus asserts however that their low price, tiered pricing structure (tickets never cost more than $36 each way) and non-stop service make them a superior product.

What I see absent from their press release is how coach service will meet a need for travelers. In the U.S at least, shady stories are ever present as it relates to Greyhound, not the least bit because of where the bus stations are located. A marketing campaign to drive people onto the buses because of a superior product such as service, onboard movies/entertainment or buy-on-board food is needed. The company should also remove itself from the present image of a dark, seedy Greyhound Bus Station by emphasizing where bus drop off points are located (ie: Cal-Train Station in the exciting SOMA, or near Dodger Stadium in L.A).

Still, Megabus is an option people have as an alternative to air travel, at least to Los Angeles for now. While I doubt business travelers are lining up to purchase, small groups of friends may find some fun riding the bus down to L.A for the weekend. Megabus
Source: Megabus Press Release

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Sacramento International record: 1 Million+ passengers in June

Sacramento International Airport broke an all time record of serving over 1 million passengers during the month of June. The airport, which has seen a 5% growth year-to-date, has added new airlines and destinations, thereby making Sacramento an alternative to some Bay Area airports.

Complimentary Wi-Fi in the terminals & hand lotion and sanitizer in the restrooms are some of the extras one will find at the airport. J.D Power and Associates recently ranked Sacramento Airport #2 in the nation among mid-sized airports.

Above: One of the interesting walkways at SMF

Friday, August 3, 2007

San Francisco - New York City non-stop $219/RT w/taxes Aug 18-Sept 29th
Travel not allowed on Fridays or Sundays. Booking through Travelocity

Premium airline - Jet Airways coming to San Francisco

Above: Exclusive mini-suites on Jet Airlines

India-based Jet Airways says it is rolling out aggressive plans to expand into the North American market. Currently Jet Air flies to 50 destinations across the globe, and with brand new Boeing 777 plans about to be delivered, the airline plans on adding Toronto, Newark, JFK and San Francisco to Mumbai.

Jet Airways is known internationally for their posh first class section; divided suites with shutterlike doors. Inside there is a seat that reclines into an 83-inch-long lie-flat bed, a 23-inch entertainment monitor and dual credenzas that eliminate the need for overhead-bin storage. Economy passengers aren't left out either, with the latest onboard video/audio entertainment systems.

Newark service begins this week, followed by Toronto next month. By January the airline expects service to commence from San Francisco and JFK, offering connecting service in Shanghai or Brussels.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Airlines to replace "No Smoking" with "No Mobile"

With the introduction of mobile phones services onboard some European-based airlines next year, the outdated "no smoking" signs above each seat will soon be replaced with "no mobile."

The illuminated "no smoking" signs have now become outdated since almost universal bans on lighting up on scheduled passenger planes were introduced in the late 1990s.

The "no mobile" sign will show a mobile phone crossed out and will be illuminated during takeoff until the plane has reached a certain altitude in order to ensure there is no interference with mobile networks on the ground.