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.

Friday, October 12, 2007

HOT! San Francisco to Istanbul, Turkey $570 roundtrip w/taxes

The annual fall airfare sale to Europe is in progress. Some pretty decent deals ranging from $500-$800 rt taxes included can be found from the S.F Bay Area. What's the catch? You need to sit in the cargo section of the plane. OK, not really. You must however be willing to travel during off-peak months which start now and run through mid March.

I personally love Europe in March; coming out of a cold winter, the air is still slightly crisp at night, mild by day; more sun than rain, and best of all, a lack of tourists and plenty o' discounted hotel rooms.

United Airlines has great deals from S.F to Switzerland, Spain and other popular European destinations. But my pick is Istanbul; situated a bit further South, climatically favorable, perhaps a bit politically unfavorable, but nonetheless an exciting destination and for only $570 bucks. For those keeping track of miles (love ya!) that will net you about 7000 each way.
Visit or

Thursday, October 11, 2007

ParkSFO coupon: 2 days free parking (min stay is 4 days) Valid for October. Coupon link HERE. I've used ParkSFO in the past and felt they had fast, responsive service & shuttles 24/7.
Budget Car Rental: 3000 Delta Skymiles and 20% off when renting a car for 3 days or longer, through December 15th. Click HERE for the offer and T&C
2 free luggage tags from the friends at Trip Advisor click here

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Makeover for Southwest Airlines Gates

Here's a picture of the new gates Southwest is promising to roll out to airports across the country through 2008. (click on pic for better view)
-Business focused area with padded seats, tables with power outlets, power stations with stools, and a flat screen television for news programming
- A family area with smaller tables and chairs, “kid friendly” programming on a flat screen television, and power stations for charging electrical devices.

Boeing delays launch of 787 Dreamliner

In a press conference today, Boeing announced a 6-month delay in launching its long awaited 787 Dreamliner as it struggles to assemble the new lightweight, carbon-composite plane. More than 700 planes are on order from airlines around the world, including U.S based airlines. The first 787 aircraft was expected in the Summer of 08' but is now delayed until November at the earliest.
Hot Fare: San Francisco to Kansas City - $120 roundtrip + tax Continental Airlines
Fare Valid 7 days a week thru February 9th CLICK HERE

Virgin America begins SFO-Las Vegas service today

With 5 daily non-stops, Virgin America will commence service to Las Vegas from SFO later this morning. The airline will be flying in congested skies however as Southwest has over 20 daily flights from SFO&OAK and United 8 from its SFO hub. Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson will be at SFO for the launch of this new route.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Multiple bomb threats forced the closure of the Oakland Airport for about an hour Monday afternoon; 2 threats toward a specific Southwest Airlines flight, and another at the airport itself. Authorities closed all roads leading into the airport complex -- the West Coast hub for Southwest -- and passengers were hustled out into the parking lot. The closure lasted for about an hour until authorities gave the all clear.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Cathay Pacific roadshow flying into town this week

The Cathay Pacific Roadshow is coming to the San Francisco Bay Area this week. The airline will let people experience their new first, business and coach class cabins up close, without having to buy a ticket. The event is timed to coincide with the addition of a 2nd daily flight from SFO-Hong Kong set to begin October 18th.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Video: Airliner Close Call in Seattle

One of many videos on the web showing the effects of turbulance while attempting to land a plane.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

San Francisco to Cancun, Mexico $142rt+ tax ($240 "all in") Mexicana Airlines
Fare valid on various days through December 31st.

Friday, October 5, 2007

The Airbus 380, wrapping up its short publicity gig at SFO will be heading to France this afternoon. When the A380 departs, they plan to maneuver in the vicinity of the City of San Francisco near Aquatic Park (230-3pm), utilizing the Fleet Week Airshow area for approximately 30 minutes before leaving. They will have a chase aircraft taking photos of them. The location and altitudes of the maneuvers may cause some public inquiries, as this area is not usually flown over at low altitudes by large aircraft. San Francisco Tower has coordinated the operations with the airport public relations and noise abatement offices.

Air New Zealand's "Pink Flight" for Sydney Mardi Gras

Air New Zealand is planning a special flight, open to anyone, who is heading to Sydney for the Gay Mardi Gras festival in late February. The flight includes a pre-flight party at SFO and one-time frills activities & entertainment on the party flight to Sydney. They also promise down-time for those who need some nap-time. Just checked on fares - not bad at all; $499/each way + tax. Visit this website, or check out their booth at the Castro Street Fair this weekend.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Delta Airlines: Changes to frequent flyer redemption's effective December 1st. "SkyChoice Award Ticket Reservations will no longer be available on every Delta flight in which a seat is available for sale. SkyChoice Award Ticket Reservations will continue to be available on most Delta flights, but seats will be limited and possibly unavailable on some flights."

Translation: Under the current policy, a "SkySaver" award redemption for travel in the U.S is 25,000 miles, subject to capacity control (hard to find an available seat). You still had the option of spending 50,000 miles though "SkyChoice" and you could choose any seat on any flight. New policy states "SkyChoice" will now also be capacity controlled (you can no longer have any seat, any flight), but you will have more options than a Saver ticket.

Alaska Airlines: Effective April 1, 2008. Mile balances in your Alaska Air frequent flyer account will expire after 2 years of no activity (down from the existing 3 year requirement).

Airbus 380 SuperJumbo to land at SFO later this morning

The brand-spankin' new 525 passenger Airbus 380 aircraft has been making appearances around the world the past couple months, and San Francisco is the next stop. At 9:40 Tuesday morning, the SuperJumbo will make history by touching down at SFO. Hundreds of media and invite-only guests for the event will also be treated to viewing SFO's new triple passenger loading bridge.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

(Thanks Tommy) U.S Department of Transportation numbers show that airline on-time performance for the month of August was 71.7%.
More than 1 in 4 flights, on average, were delayed more than 15 minutes. Of the largest U.S carriers, United ranked the worst with only 66.2% of their planes arriving at the scheduled time.
August numbers, which are best described as "terrible", are slightly better than the month of July at 69.8% - one of the worst since the government started keeping records in 1995.

San Diego: Virgin America's next destination?

No official announcement of what city Virgin America plans to expand to next, but this job posting for an Airport Team Member in San Diego might be a clue. San Diego was on a list of several key cities the airline hoped to expand to in the future. At the same time however, the airline faces stiff competition both in schedules and pricing, from Southwest; 18 daily non-stops from Oakland, 8 daily non-stops from San Francisco, 9 from San Jose) and fares as low as $39 each way. Could be a tough market to fly into.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Oakland - St.Louis, MO $138/rt + tax United Airlines T/W/Saturdays through schedule

Monday, October 1, 2007

inFLIGHTout hand -selected Monday morning airfares
new:Santa Rosa-Los Angeles $118/rt+ tax Alaska Airlines
(Horizon Air) thru Dec 13
Oakland-Long Beach $78/rt + tax JetBlue through December 14th
San Jose-San Diego $78/rt+ tax American Airlines through Dec 14
Sacramento - Columbus, OH - $180rt + tax Southwest Airlines DING! fare, M/T/Sa Nov 3-19th*
San Francisco - Las Vegas - $88rt +tax Virgin America & Southwest through Schedule period
*Today's DING! fares must be purchased by 1:40pm Pacific time
Effective today, U.S. Citizens traveling by air to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda must present a passport to enter or depart from the United States. It is always strongly recommended that U.S. Citizens verify the specific documentary requirements for their destination country as well. The previous temporary policy which relaxed documentation rules expired on September 30th. Bring your passport!