Wednesday, December 31, 2008

An Invitation to 'Step Back From The Baggage Claim'

How about starting off the New Year with a wonderfully inspiring book titled, Step Back From The Baggage Claim? In this book, author Jason Barger uses different points in a journey, including the dreaded baggage claim, to highlight the inconsiderate behaviors and actions of passengers in airports throughout the country. He then uses these situations as reflection points to achieve greater self-awareness and then ultimately challenges readers to step back from the "metaphorical baggage claim in life."

In one example, Barger humorously writes about the human wall surrounding baggage claim; "Their knees are bent in an athletic stance, ready to pounce on the first bag that dares to look even slightly similar to their own. They do not budge an inch until they get their bags from the spot they earned." Meanwhile others resort to peeking through cracks in the "human wall of entitlement" in a frantic search for their bags lying on the conveyor belt.

What can we learn from this?

Even while the collective conscious around baggage claim may be anxious, frustrated and tired, there is an opportunity to step back and recognize the needs of others. Maybe it's the Mom with two kids running around who needs a bit of help pulling her bag off the conveyor belt. Or a couple just arriving on their honeymoon who just want to get away. Yield to others, help others, be the person in the crowd who takes a step back from baggage claim. It might even become contagious and inspire others to do the same.

Although the airport is a playground of opportunity to carry out these acts of kindness, it is just a starting point. Throughout the book, Barger provides examples on how people, in their everyday lives, have the capacity to step back from the baggage claim and change the world; it all starts at the airport.

Two thumbs up to this enjoyable read!

Visit for more information or to order a copy of this book. While there, read how the author spent seven straight days in airports throughout the United States and conducting roughly 10,000 minutes of observations of people's behaviors.

(Special thanks to Jason Barger for providing a copy of this book for review)

Alaska Airlines Award Redemption Sale - To Seattle

Great news for Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members heading to Seattle: The airline announced a sale for award redemption's between Seattle and San Francisco, Los Angeles and Long Beach. Instead of the regular 25,000 miles required for a free round-trip ticket, you pay only 15,000 miles. Discounts are available for one-way and first class travel also.

The offer is valid for flights between January 6, 2009 and March 19, 2009.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

San Francisco to Ft Lauderdale $187 "All In"

American and Continental have dropped fares between San Francisco and Ft Lauderdale to under $200 round-trip, taxes and fees included. Plenty of availability through April 30, 2009. 21-day advance ticketing required. To book, visit and search by "flexible dates."

inFLIGHTout Travel Tip: Program Airline Phone Numbers

What's worse than showing up at the airport and finding out your flight has been cancelled? Realizing you will be competing with up to 200 other people from your flight trying to get rebooked as well. Everyone has a story: "We're on our honeymoon," "I have a business meeting to attend," "I have elite status," and the list goes on. At the customer service center in the airport, everyone lines up in proper form, hoping for the best - expecting the worst, to find out whether they will even fly out today.

The key here is to have your situation looked at before the others. Call it selfish, if you must. But there are a limited number of seats and trying accommodate a full plane of customers from a cancelled flight onto later flights can be a challenge. Here is what you can do to improve your chances of of a desirable outcome:

Program airline phone numbers in your mobile phone. (Go ahead and do this now, I'll wait). This way while you are standing in line at the customer service/rebooking center, you can concurrently call the airline. By the time you hang up the phone, many of your fellow passengers may still be in line awaiting their fate.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Circus Circus Reno Hotel From $19 Bucks Per Night

Just received an email from Circus Circus in Reno offering $19 rooms Sunday-Thursday now through March 31st. Just $49 for Friday and Saturday stays. Plus get a free upgrade to the North Tower and $65 on Circus Fun Bucks.

Those planning a couple days on the slopes should consider shuttle buses than run to/from Reno area hotels and Lake Tahoe resorts.

Book by December 31st to take advantage of this holiday offer from Circus Circus.

Five Must-Do's With Each Airline Reservation

By Mike Grasso

So you found the perfect flight based on your scheduling, pricing and preferred carrier needs - Great! Now, to ensure a smoother journey and avoid unplanned hassles, consider adding these additional steps to your airline ticketing process:

1. Ensure the airline has your current contact information
Be sure you provide the airline a solid email address and phone number in the event they need to reach you about changes in your itinerary. If you have registered a username/profile direct with the airlines, be sure it stays current.

2. Include your frequent flier number with your reservation.
Input your frequent flier number during the reservation process. If you forget or are unable to, call the airline at any point before departure. Then, check your boarding passes to ensure your number shows up properly. Although requesting mileage credit after a flight is possible, airlines are slow and require additional documentation to consider post-flight credit.

3. Obtain seat assignments for your journey
If possible, obtain your seat assignments in advance. This provides your first opportunity to choose your favorite seats. Need some ideas? Scroll on over to to view seat layouts with all the major carriers. Some airlines have limitations on how far in advance you can reserve seats - but are often willing to note seating preferences on your reservation.

4. Sign up for mobile flight alerts
Airlines website allow you to check the status of flights fairly easily. But websites such as will send you up-to-the-minute information on flight delays or cancellations. The service is free and available with most airlines.

5. Monitor decreases in the airfare price
Some airlines will credit you the difference if the price of your ticket happens to fall after you've purchased it. With just a few clicks, Southwest Airlines by far has the most consumer friendly procedure to apply for such a credit. United Airlines is another favorite, but you need to make a phone call, request the credit, and wait for the voucher to arrive in the mail. Neither Southwest or United charge for the refaring. Websites such as can track and alert you to fare drops so you can apply for a credit with the airline.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Hertz Free Car Rental Offer (Yes, Free)

HOT!  Receive a free weekend day car rental from Hertz. No minimum rental period requirement. You just pay any applicable taxes and fees. Very little fine print on this one! Offer is valid once per month through March 31, 2009 in most U.S markets (excludes Hawai'i, Florida and New York Metro Areas). Some blackout dates may apply. 

Sound too good to be true? That's what I thought too until I priced some cities out:

Orange County: $2.36
San Diego: $2.13
San Francisco: $22.74 ($4.89 downtown!)
Las Vegas: $6.07 
Austin: $11.23
Seattle: $12.24 

Price above is the total cost for a 24-hour rental contract at airport locations, except where noted above. Many car types are eligible for this offer. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays



Tuesday, December 23, 2008

“I soon realized that no journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within.” - Lillian Smith

Monday, December 22, 2008

Cathay Pacific 2009 All Asia Pass Now Available

Those planning a visit to Asia next year should consider Cathay Pacific's 2009 All Asia Pass. With the basic Asia Pass, travelers can visit Hong Kong and two other cities in Asia served by Cathay Pacific and Dragon Air. Travel is permitted for up to 21 consecutive days. A special bonus: You earn Asia Miles in Cathay Pacific's frequent flier program, as you fly around Asia on this pass. The cost is $1499+ taxes and fees for the basic pass departing from San Francisco. Add-on's are available, if for example you want to extend travel beyond 21 days or visit additional cities. 

This pass is particularly useful if your plans take you to more remote, less-visited Asian destinations where the cost to purchase individual airline tickets could add up quickly. For example, if you want to fly from Hong Kong to Kathmandu, a round-trip ticket could cost over $1000. Using the Asia Pass, include Kathmandu as an add-on city and pay just $300. 

Click here to read a brochure about the 2009 All Asia Pass from Cathay Pacific. 

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Continental Jet Skids Off Runway, Dozens Hurt

A Houston-bound Continental Airlines flight skid skidded off a Denver runway Saturday evening, crashing into a nearby ravine. 38 injuries have been reported, none of which are considered critical according to Denver Airport officials. A small fire associated with the accident was quickly extinguished by airport services. Weather in Denver was cold, but not snowing at the time of the accident. Read more for MSNBC.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Win a Trip to Tahiti from the Travel Channel

Enter for a chance to win a trip for two to Tahiti and its enchanted isles. You and a guest will fly round-trip from Los Angeles to Papeete, Tahiti. You'll enjoy two nights on Tahiti before journeying to the neighboring island of Moorea, where you'll stay for four nights. This seven-day, six-night holiday is sure to be the escape of a lifetime. Register by December 31, 2008, for your chance to win.

Couple Sues United Airlines for Overserving Husband

This story was intended for today's, "Friday Fun" section, but after you read the arguments, you realize this is some pretty serious stuff. 

The case involves and husband and wife traveling on a United Airlines flight from Osaka, Japan to San Francisco. According to the lawsuit, United flight crew served Yoichi Shimamoto alcohol in 20-minute intervals, causing him to become inebriated and unable to control himself. 

The lawsuit claims that once deplaning, Mr. Shimamoto struck his wife, Ayisha, several times in the face and upper lip, as they were heading through U.S Customs. Shimamoto was arrested and charged for disorderly conduct and battery. 

Both the husband and wife are now suing United Airlines for "negligently" over serving alcohol to the husband. 

Legal analysts say if a bartender negligently served an obviously drunk patron, the bartender could be held liable. But, since the act occurred over the Pacific Ocean, International law - which sometimes conflicts with State law, may apply. Read the U.S.A Today Story
"I should like to spend the whole of my in life traveling abroad, if I could anywhere borrow another life to spend afterwards at home." — William Hazlitt

Thursday, December 18, 2008

JetBlue Unveils JetPaws Pet Program

Earlier this week, JetBlue Airways unveiled JetPaws, an exclusive new in-cabin program designed to provide pet owners with helpful Travel Pettiquette guidelines, which outline the social graces of jetting with small dogs and cats. As part of the new program, customers will also receive two bonus award points for each flight through JetBlue's TrueBlue customer loyalty program, helping two-legged customers earn free travel faster when traveling with Fido or Fluffy.

"With more than 80,000 pets traveling on JetBlue each year, the JetPaws program is designed to make traveling with pets smooth from start to finish, offering valuable TrueBlue points along the way," said Kim Ruvolo, Brand Manager of JetBlue Airways.

Other JetPaws program elements include a special welcome email for pet owners within one week of their booking and complimentary access to a downloadable e-booklet highlighting pet-friendly hotels, restaurants, parks and animal hospitals in some of JetBlue's top cities, including: Boston; Fort Lauderdale; Las Vegas; Long Beach/L.A.; New York; Orlando; San Francisco; and Washington, D.C.

JetBlue accepts up to four small cats or dogs in the cabin of the aircraft on both domestic and international flights. The combined weight of the pet and carrier may not exceed 20 pounds. Only one pet is allowed per customer and the pet carrier does count as one personal carry-on item. For the safety and comfort of all customers, pets must remain in a closed carrier at the airport and in-flight for the entire duration of the trip. To book a pet, customers must call our reservations team at 1-800-JETBLUE.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tips to Make Air Travel Easy

By Kelly Kilpatrick
Guest Contributor

Taking to the air is often the shortest route between two places, especially if they’re far away. But not many people are comfortable
flying – some are plain scared while others don’t like being cooped in a seat that’s too small for them in a small area that could get claustrophobic. Frequent air travelers resort to certain tricks to make their journey more comfortable, so if you’re apprehensive about air travel, you’d benefit too by implementing these tips:

·Plan your journey well in advance.
·If you’re travelling far, choose a flight plan that allows you to stop over at airports that are known to be comfort havens for travelers.
·If you’re traveling long distances and expect to be jet lagged, book flights that get in at night so you can rest overnight and begin your work refreshed the day after.
·Plan for traffic jams and other impediments when you leave for the airport.
·If you like to be undisturbed during the flight, book a window seat, but if you’d like to get up and move around, ask for an aisle location.
·If you have the option of checking in over the Internet from home, use it to save you some time.
·If you’re travelling with children and/or the elderly, allow enough time for emergencies and delays.
·Aircraft cabins are pressurized, and this tends to dehydrate you. So, as tempting as those in-flight drinks are, avoid them because they only tend to make you thirstier.
·If you’re prone to stiff legs or hate long journeys, walk around the aisles of your plane when it’s safe to.
·Read up on security instructions for carryon and other luggage before you travel.
·Tag your bags with bright colors so that they’re easily identified on the conveyor.
·Wear comfortable clothes and loose shoes so that you’re able to fit your legs into them even if they’re swollen because of the long journey.
·Keep your travel documents carefully.
·Make sure you know enough about the country/place you’re travelling to.
·Talk to others who have been there before, especially about cab fares to and from the airport.
Most drivers tend to rook foreigners and take them for a ride, both literally and figuratively.
·Follow security rules at the airport to avoid unnecessary hassles.

Travelling is a fun experience, and if you have planned your trip well enough, you should come out of it longing for the next one.

This post was contributed by Kelly Kilpatrick, who writes on the subject of Visa airline card offers. She invites your feedback at kellykilpatrick24 at gmail dot com

SuperShuttle and Delta Partner Up, Offer Frequent Flyer Miles

Delta SkyMiles members who book a ride online with SuperShuttle will now earn frequent flier miles. In a press release this week, SuperShuttle announced the new partnership with Delta will reward passengers 50 miles for each one way trip to or from the airport. 

SuperShuttle has similar partnerships with Northwest Airlines, Frontier Airlines and U.S Airways frequent flyer programs.  

Monday, December 15, 2008

Emirates Launches San Francisco Service Today

The inaugural flight between San Francisco and Dubai will also go down in the books as the world's longest green flight trial

At 3:45 PM today, Emirates Airlines will launch nonstop service between San Francisco and Dubai. The 16-hour flight will, at least initially, operate three times a week utilizing brand new Boeing 777-200LR aircraft, featuring luxurious private suites in First Class, lie-flat seats in Business Class, and generous space for Economy Class guests. 

But today's flight is much more than the debut of a top notch premium airline. The flight from SFO later today is also a trial to launch a new environmental program to execute the world's longest green journey. Simply put, it means rolling out the most environmentally-sophisticated route and trip possible to save an estimated 2,000 gallons of fuel and 30,000 pounds of carbon emissions. 

Specifically, today's inaugural flight will demonstrate many fuel and emission saving measures including:
  • The new 777-200LR will be specially washed beforehand to minimize drag.
  • A pre-planned priority departure route out of Dubai will provide an unimpeded climb through to cruise altitude, allowing the aircraft to reach its optimum cruise altitude as quickly and efficiently as possible.
  • The aircraft will track close to the North Pole following extensive work by Emirates and aircraft manufacturers to open this new routing. 
  • Flexible routings will be pursued over Canadian airspace.
  • The FAA and San Francisco Air Traffic Control will seek to offer optimal routings for arrival and if possible a continuous descent approach to minimize fuel burn.
  • All on-board glass, newspapers, aluminium and paper will be collecting for recycling.
Passengers traveling through San Francisco Airport today will have an opportunity to see the new Emirates aircraft parked at the International terminal. The scheduled arrival time from Dubai is 1pm. Immediately following the arrival, local media will attend a press conference on the new service and best practices in Eco-efficient air travel. 

For more information on Emirates and the world's longest green flight, visit

JetBlue Reconnects San Francisco to Boston May 1st

JetBlue recently announced it will return flights, at least for the Summer, between San Francisco and Boston-Logan beginning May 1, 2009. One daily flight will be offered between the two cities. The airline also operates daily nonstops from Oakland International.

Earlier this month, Virgin America said it plans to start twice-daily service between SFO and Boston effective February 12th.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Virgin Atlantic 747 Landing at SFO (Friday Fun)

Here is a special treat for all the airline fans out there. From the Laughing Squid comes this video of a Virgin Atlantic 747 landing at San Francisco International - viewed from the cockpit. Leading up to the touchdown you get to watch the pilots in action as they go through each of the steps to gently lower this big bird onto the runway.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Advantage Rent A Car Files For Bankruptcy

On Monday, San Antonio-based Advantage Rent A Car announced it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Citing the sluggish economy and a drop in leisure travel, among other reasons, the company says it will explore strategic alternatives, including a reorganization, sale, or merger to maintain operations.

The company said it will layoff 440 employees and close 21 rental locations nationwide, including a few in Southern California, keeping only its most profitable stores.

In most cases, customers with upcoming Advantage reservations at affected locations will have their reservation transferred to Hertz Car Rental. If you have questions relating to the closed locations call: 1-888-846-0808.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

San Francisco to Puerto Vallarta $228 "All In"

HOT FARE! (as of 8pm Wednesday)
U.S Airways has flights between San Francisco and Puerto Vallarta for $124 roundtrip + fees, for a total cost of $228. The fare is valid now (no advance ticketing required) through February 26, 2009. Fare basis is RX0XF. Some flights are operated by United.

Plenty of availability. For example, January 9-14 is available at this price, with a connection in Phoenix.

Be sure to click on "flexible dates" option when searching for flight availability.
"The only way of catching a train I ever discovered is to miss the train before."
-G.K. Chesterton

Southwest Adjusts Summer Schedules

Southwest Airlines has released their summer schedule plans, and despite trimming nearly a dozen flights nationwide, the Bay Area is largely unaffected.

From Oakland Airport: Beginning May 9, 2009, an additional flight will be added to Albuquerque for a total of 3 daily nonstops. One additional flight to Kansas City route will result in 2 daily nonstops. Southwest will bring back a daily flight to Nashville which had previously been dropped from its schedule. Finally, Oakland will loose one flight up to Reno, but will continue to offer 3 daily nonstops.

From San Jose Airport: Overall, a loss of 2 flights on already high frequency routes. Las Vegas looses one flight, down to 8 nonstops. Los Angeles also looses a flight, but still leaves a whopping 12 daily flights still intact.

No adjustments to scheduled to/from Sacramento and San Francisco Airport were listed in their Summer schedule of changes.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Modern Manners Guy Podcast: Hotel Manners

In his weekly Podcast, Modern Manners Guy (MMG) serves up quick and friendly tips to help listeners live a more pleasant life, particularly in awkward or unfamiliar situations.  Advice on wide-variety of topics such as arriving fashionably late to a party to politely informing someone their zipper is down, are covered by Mr. Manners. 

Although many of these tips apply both at home and during travels, MMG dedicated a recent Podcast specifically to manners during Hotel stays. He reminds us hotels are mini communities, and its residents should adhere to norms that make for a pleasant stay for everyone. 

So how do you handle loud neighboring guests? What acts of kindness can you carry-out at the hotel to brighten someones day, while still enjoying yours?  Visit the Modern Manners Guy for answers to these questions and many others. 

inFLIGHTout Now on Facebook Groups

Now broadcasting beyond the blog, find inFLIGHTout in the Facebook groups directory. 

Here we've posted an assortment of travel photos, videos of some amazing aircraft landings, and links to sites we've discussed on the blog. 

By adding inFLIGHTout to your group list, you are automatically signed up to receive exclusive alerts to travel deals from the San Francisco Bay Area - beyond the standard run-of-the-mill airfare and hotel sales. 

Add inFLIGHTout to your Facebook profile now. Thanks for your support!

Behind the Gossip Sweeps: Win a Trip to New York

Enter the Behind the Gossip Sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip to New York for two.  Prize includes a 3/night stay in NYC in February 2009, hotel, airport transfers, 2 NYC dinners, a Nikon Coolpix camera, and a meet and greet with either Leighton Meester or Ed Westwick. Enter by December 31, 2008. 

Monday, December 8, 2008

Virgin America's Newest Destination: Boston

In a press release today, Virgin America announced it will begin flights from the West Coast to Boston-Logan beginning February 12th.

Boston represents the eighth city in Virgin America's growing network.

The announcement comes just after Virgin announced it was suspending plans to expand into Chicago O'Hare, after failing to secure gate space.

"We'd been talking to Logan since the beginning of operations in August," David Cush, President and CEO of Virgin America said in the press release. "But things really heated up last week. We had some planes coming in, and we wanted to be able to put them in operation. So when it came time to look at pulling the plug on Chicago, we got in touch with the people at Logan, and they were able to work out a nice offer of arrangements for us."

Virgin is planning two daily flights between San Francisco and Boston, three from LAX. Tickets are now on sale at the airlines website,

Register for Ebates to earn cash back on travel and more

Register for Ebates and start earning cash back on all your travels. Earn cash back for airline ticket purchases from United, Alaska and Jetblue Airlines, and even more cash back for hotel stays at Best Western, Marriott, and InterContinental brands. 
It's free to register (they even give you a $10 sign up bonus if you make one purchase by 12/31/08), and the cash is automatic ; no pesky mail in rebate forms. Plus, this cash back is in addition to any incentives tied to your credit card, such as airline or hotel miles. The only downside is you must wait a few months from the date of purchase to receive the cash. 

You continue to shop at the same websites you normally would, except you click through to them via the Ebates website. This activates the cash back monitor. Once you make the purchase, Ebates is alerted and you receive notification of a pending cash payout. 

I use Ebates before making any online purchase - travel or otherwise. Over the past 14 months I have received $180 cash back via Ebates - enough for a free airline ticket! 

Friday, December 5, 2008

Thanksgiving Tradition of Sitting Around At the Airport (Friday Fun)

Americans Enjoying Thanksgiving Tradition Of Sitting Around At Airport

American Airlines Now Charging Fees to Non-Customers (Friday Fun)

(All in fun, of course)
Straight from the headlines of The Onion comes word that American Airlines will begin charging fees to non-customers of the airline. According to the article, a $25 tax will be incurred for traveling with another airline, and $30 for any customer who decides to stay home, and not travel during the holidays. Read more...from the Onion

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Delta 1000 Mile Bonus for Flying Delta and Alaska

From the mailbox this week, Delta Airlines will award 1,000 bonus miles each time you fly Delta and Alaska/Horizon on the same ticket. The promotion highlights the expansion airlines' joint alliance. The offer is valid for travel through February 29, 2009. Click here to register. 

United to Cut 300 Jobs at San Francisco International

After shrinking overall company operations, including eliminating nearly 20% of its fleet, United Airlines says it now needs to reduce staff. Earlier this year, the airline said it plans to cut 7,000 jobs, in total. Included in this number are 300 jobs at the San Francisco maintenance base, where some employees will receive layoff notices effective January 11, 2009. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"Like all great travellers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen." 
-Benjamin Disraeli

Random Sightings: Willows Airport

Snapped these pictures of the Willows Airport, about 140 miles Northeast of San Francisco. 
This is a general aviation airport with no scheduled commercial air service. This ain't no LAX. =)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

San Jose to Long Beach - $39 Each Way

JetBlue's e-vent of the week promotion will score you a ticket to/from San Jose and Long Beach for just $39 bucks each way. $10 more to/from San Francisco and Oakland. Book before Thursday for travel between January 7 to February 11, 2009. Visit

British Airways Considers Qantas Partnership

Today British Airways announced they are in partnership talks with Qantas, Australia's largest airline. Although British Airways officials cautioned no guarantee a deal can be reached, both airlines are reportedly working toward a "complete and permanent merger." Read more from the New York Times.

Six Free Issues of Condé Nast Traveler Magazine

(Thanks to saveatmsu on fatwallet)
Chevy is running a promotion whereby people can receive six free issues of select magazines, including Cond√© Nast Traveler magazine. Fill out this form by January 7, 2009 to take advantage of this offer.  Use offer code: 85924565

Looking Back: Popular inFLIGHTout posts from November

(Thanks Bonnie for this idea)
Here is a look back at some of the more popular inFLIGHTout blog entries from November 2008. 

Be sure to check back daily for a potpourri of travel-related posts just like these. 

-10% off JetBlue flights through the Winter (expired)
-Mileage Runs: Who and Why
-World's highest waterfall dive (Video)
-United Passengers injured on flight to SFO
-Oakland to Seattle $111 RT tax included (expired)
-Carol Burnett Show - "No Frills Airline" (Video)
-Images of Long Beach Airport
-Travel Tip from inFLIGHTout: Wet Naps
-Allegiant Airlines to fly from Oakland, drops SFO
-United Airlines announces 2009 Mileage Plus Program changes
-Six Ideas for peaceful flights for all
-Oakland Airport launches free WiFi
-Horizon Launches Sacramento to Santa Barbara flights
-Shutterfly: 250 Free Delta miles for new customers
-Safeway and United: Earn 1000 United miles shopping at Safeway
-San Francisco to New Orleans $155 RT tax included (expired)
-50 Travelers wanted for global scavenger hunt
-Virgin America Launches WiFi
-Parking and Waiting Options at Bay Area Airports

Looking for something more specific? Search over two years of inFLIGHTout posts by entering keyword(s) in the upper left hand corner of this page. 

Monday, December 1, 2008

inFLIGHTout Travel Tip: Register Your Trip

In light of the unfortunate events in Mumbai and Bangkok recently, it is a good idea to let the State Department know your international travel plans. U.S Embassies located throughout the world can aid you in the event of civil unrest, terrorism or natural disaster. Additionally, U.S Embassies and Consulates can assist if you are a victim of a crime, become ill, or are involved in a car accident. 

Registering your trip is voluntary and free. 

Click here to read additional information from the U.S State Department and to register. 

San Francisco to Palmdale Flights End Saturday

On Saturday, United Airlines/Skywest will end flights into Palmdale, a small airport located 90 minutes Northeast of Los Angeles. The airline had been struggling with just 30-40% passenger loads since it began the route in mid-2007. The cancellation of the route means Palmdale airport will no longer offer commercial airline service, ending, for now, one dreamed up solution to partially unclog LAX of air traffic congestion. 

Read more: earlier inFLIGHTout announcement of the route cancellation. 

Friday, November 28, 2008

Frontier Modifies Same-Day Flight Change Rule

Effective immediately, Frontier Airlines will charge a flat $75 fee for same-day confirmed changes. Previously, customers were charged the difference between their previously purchased ticket price and a new one.  

"We realize how important it is for our customers to have the flexibility to change their flight on the same day of travel. This new flat fee should make same-day confirmed changes convenient and accessible to any customer who needs it," said Frontier President and CEO Sean Menke, in a press release. 

Customers wishing to make a same-day change to their travel plans must submit the request in-person at the airport, and is subject to space availability. Requests made prior to day of travel will incur the existing $150 change fee. 

Summit members are exempt from the $75 same-day change fee. 

Thursday, November 27, 2008

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
 -John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Parking and Waiting Options at Bay Area Airports

With another busy travel season upon on, finding a good spot to park the car at local airports might become a little more difficult. But whether you are trying to park and fly, or just waiting to pickup friends and family from an arriving flight, there are several options to consider before making the drive over to the airport.
San Francisco Airport:
-Cell phone waiting lot offers 60 minutes of free parking/waiting. Conveniently located five minutes from the terminals. 
-General parking, ParkFast parking and ParkValet parking offer fliers a variety of choices depending on individual needs. 

Oakland Airport:
-Offers a Park and Call lot with 30 minutes of free parking/waiting. 
-General parking and Valet parking is available as well. See Oakland parking map

San Jose Mineta Airport:
-Cell phone waiting area lot permits 30 minutes of waiting. 
-General parking, and corporate parking with guaranteed parking spot and express exit.
-Call 408-277-3145 for current parking availability at San Jose Airport.

Sacramento Airport:
-30 minutes of complimentary waiting in the hourly parking lots. 
-General parking and ParkSmart automated parking allows arriving passengers to quickly locate open parking spaces and shuttle buses to the terminal. 
-Detailed airport map here

Keep in mind that although Bay Area airports offer complimentary park and wait options, your vehicle must remain attended at all times. 

Finally, for up-to-the-minute information on departing and arriving flights, visit, where you can sign up to receive flight updates via text messaging at no charge. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

50 Travelers Wanted for Global Scavenger Hunt

Great Escape 2009 is now accepting applications for what Outside Magazine calls, "One of the 50 Most Amazing Trips in the World," that crowns The World's Greatest Travelers.™ 

Essentially A Blind Date With The World, the event is limited to 25 teams of two who will travel around the world overcoming challenging and unique culturally-oriented scavenges along with a series of thrilling interactive personal experiences in at least 10 secret nations across 4 continents.

But as life changing as participating in The Global Scavenger Hunt has been for competitors, there is much more to this event than riding elephants and camels, swimming with sharks or dolphins, visiting the great ancient souks of the world and witnessing Sahara sunrises and Himalayan sunsets--there are lives to change! The event is a global travel-a-thon platform that has participants traveling a million kilometres for the $1 million goal to raise money for life-changing organizations. Last year's event helped scores of families with micro-loans and helped construct and fund three elementary schools in Niger, Sri Lanka and Sierra Leone in conjunction with organizations like Kiva, The Nomad Foundation and Free The Children. Funds have supported Doctors without Borders, Partners in Health and CARE, among others.

Do you have the curiosity, courage and Indiana Jones-like daring to sign up for a global adventure without knowing a single destination-taking A Blind Date With The World---but knowing when the adventure ends you will have gone all the way around the world and trusted strangers in strange lands everywhere you went?

The next event is scheduled to begin April 17, 2009 and is limited to just 25 teams of two. To participate, submit your application ASAP - as teams are selected on a first-come first-service basis. Teams will be contacted and interviewed as to their suitability for the competition, including past travel experience. 

The entry fee of $9,900 per person covers all international airfare, 23-nights in First Class hotels and about 40% of meals. Visit and apply online at or call 310.281.7809.

Enter Lufthansa's 'Discover Your Moment Sweepstakes'

Register for the Lufthansa Airlines "Discover Your Moment" Sweepstakes to win one of several prizes including a first class tickets for two to Munich and a five night stay at the luxurious Mandarin Oriental. Contest ends December 14, 2008. 

Monday, November 24, 2008

Oakland to Seattle $111 "all in" Through May 2009

The cost to fly between the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle has really come down in the past couple weeks. Previously, fares of $69 each way were considered a steal.  Recently though, low fares of just $49 each way were available out of SFO on Virgin America and United, but were limited to travel through December. Today, Southwest and Alaska Airlines released some of the lowest fares we've seen in quite a while:

Fly Oakland to Seattle non-stop for just $45 each way + tax on Southwest Airlines.  This fare is available seven days a week through the end of their schedule - May 8, 2009.  Alaska Airlines is available for $4 more round-trip  

Six Ideas Toward Peaceful Flights for All

By Mike Grasso

Let's face it, even in the midst of long lines at airport checkpoints, overly crowded airplanes, and a lack of overhead bin space, passengers remain fairly civil with each other at 40,000 feet. But compared to last winter, there will be fewer flights in the coming months, meaning fuller flights, and with the nickle-and-diming game by the airlines charging for everything from pillows to soft drinks, tensions may be running a little high up in the sky.

But, there are some steps you can take to make the flying experience a little more enjoyable for both you and others seated around you. I've come up with some ideas, partially inspired by the Live Aloha movement, intended to show how very basic actions individuals take can result in a positive cumulative result.

1. Smile, say hello, acknowledge your seatmate and the people around you. No need to become best friends here, but you are traveling together some distance, why not exchange neighborly greetings?

2. Help passengers boarding the plane who seem lost or a bit distressed. If someone is uncertain where their seat is located, help them. We sometimes forget our fellow travelers can be international tourists, or others not accustomed to the American boarding procedures and aircraft types.

3. If you encounter a passenger having difficulty lifting their luggage into the overhead bins, give them a hand. It's tempting to ask questions such as why someone packs their carry-on bags so heavily in first place knowing they can't lift them in the bin, but regardless, the passenger still needs assistance at that moment. It is a nice gesture to lend a hand.

4. Once you have located your seat, step in and let other passengers through. The flight attendants preach this common courtesy because it really does help. It could mean the difference between an on-time and late departure.

5. Be cognisant of passengers with tight connections. On particularly late arrivals where several passengers may misconnect, the flight crew should ask folks to permit those with onward connections to deplane first. But in other instances where only a few may be impacted by the late arrival, no such announcement may be made, so listen for others commenting on their concern and invite them to proceed off the plane ahead of you.

6. As you deplane, thank the flight crew. Many crew members have taken pay cuts, been stripped of their pensions, and find themselves working in a economically suffering industry. Despite these setbacks, many continue to provide service with a smile.

Helping others need not be performed on a grand scale. Simple individual courtesies and favors to others are almost always appreciated, both by the recipient and often by nearby onlookers - wanting to help, but failing to step forth. Plus, who can dispute the great feeling attained from simply lending a helping hand to a stranger? Putting these ideas (and others) into action will help everyone toward a more peaceful journey.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

"The idea that seeing life means going from place to place and doing a great variety of obvious things is an illusion natural to dull minds." -Charles Horton Cooley

Friday, November 21, 2008

Orbitz and Expedia Hotel Discount Codes

With already discounted room rates and the coupon codes below, now is a great time to consider purchasing your next hotel stay. Although the terms are pretty straight forward, these discounts will not necessarily apply to all hotels and destinations - particularly if other limited time offers are concurrently running. 

Expedia: $50 off a 3+ night stay. Book by 1/31/09, travel through 3/31/09. Coupon: FAN50
Orbitz: 20% off 1+ night stay. Book by 11/23/08, travel through 1/31/09. Coupon: SAVEBIG20

Flashback: Carol Burnett Show - 'No Frills Airline' (Friday Fun)

Originally posted this past summer, this video continues to be watched time and time again by inFLIGHTout'ers. For those new to the site, or others just wanting a good afternoon laugh - here it is again: A classic from the Carol Burnett show; a fun poke at the dreadful service passengers receive riding in economy class. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

U.S Airways Reinstates Bonus Miles For Elites

In a press release today, U.S Airways announced the return of bonus miles for most flight activity and the 500-mile minimum perk, for all Dividend Miles elite members. 
Beginning November 20th, Dividend Miles elite members will receive bonus miles commensurate with their status level. For example, Gold members will receive 50% bonus miles for all eligible flights. The airline says it will retroactively credit members accounts back to August 6th, 2008, when the bonus miles perk was taken away. 

Further, Elite members will again appreciate the return of the 500-mile minimum accrual rule. Since May, the airline was awarding frequent flier miles based on the actual mileage flown - even on very short flights of say 300 miles. Now passengers who fly these short-haul flights will be given a minimum 500 miles. Again, the airline says it will retroactively credit passengers back to May. 

Dividend Miles members should expect all retroactive credits to appear on their December 2008 Dividend Miles account statements.  Full press release. 
"The travel writer seeks the world we have lost --the lost valleys of the imagination."
-Alexander Cockburn

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Oakland Airport Event Today Celebrates Free Wi-Fi

As we announced late last month, Oakland International has been busy testing the newly installed - and free to passengers, Wi-Fi service throughout the airport. With this new service, Oakland passengers will no longer need to whip out a credit card to pay for wireless Internet access. Instead, users will notice non-intrusive advertisements from companies such as Microsoft, American Express and Holiday Inn as they connect to the web.

To celebrate the new service, airport officials will hold a small wire cutting event later this morning, demonstrating the new service and its associated benefit to travelers.

More information on the new service:

Los Angeles-based FreeFi Networks is the company providing the installation at Oakland Airport. "Air travelers like Wi-Fi, but don't like paying for it," said Lawrence laffer, FreeFi's director of sales and marketing, in a press release.

Oakland Airport is the second major airport installation for FreeFi. A successful launch at Denver International Airport earlier this year has been cheered by business and leisure travelers alike, commenting on the overall quality of service and limited advertisements while connected.

Earn 1,000 Bonus United Miles At Safeway

United and Safeway continue their GroceryMiles partnership, rewarding shoppers with 125 United miles for every $250 spent at Safeway.

Now, for a limited time, you can earn 1000 bonus miles for shopping at Safeway, Vons, Dominick's, Genuardi's or Pavilions twice between November 12th and December 31, 2008 and spending at least $250 on each visit. Now that is a cart full of groceries! But with grocery shopping for the holidays on the horizon, spending $250 - twice, may not be such an impossible task.

Click here for general information about the GroceryMiles program.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"The fool wanders, a wise man travels" -Thomas Fuller

Airlines Eye Additional Onboard Ads

On a recent East Coast U.S Air flight I came across this advertisement for Verizon on my tray table. This addition to the U.S Airways fleet, which began several months ago, is expected to provide additional revenue to the airline and help curb the high cost of fuel.

The idea and location of the ads, which at first glance seem a bit comical when lowering the tray table, are anything but funny for a suffering airline industry desperately to again fly high.

With the recent drop in fuel prices, can we still expect advertisement-covered tray tables to encroach on your airline of choice?

Possibly so.

Although the worst seems to be over for airlines' record high fuel costs, it has prompted an industry-wide reaction on methods to increase revenue, without necessarily raises the base cost of airline tickets. If passengers find the advertising on U.S Airways flights is not overly intrusive, it may go over well, and thus adopted by other airlines.

Although advertising revenue from tray tables will not alleviate all the financial pains of the airlines, it is one of many steps the airlines can take to move in the direction of profitability.

Monday, November 17, 2008

San Francisco to New Orleans $155 "All In"

Northwest Airlines just lowered the price from San Francisco to New Orleans - now just $155 "all in" (including taxes and fees). Fare is valid through February 11, 2009. Delta also lowered their fare to about $165 all in. This is one of the lowest prices we've seen for this route in a while. Visit and use the "flexible dates" option, to check availability.

Images from Long Beach Airport

A few pictures I recently snapped of the small, but bustling Long Beach Airport (LGB), in sunny Southern California.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Mileage Runs: Who and Why?

By Mike Grasso
Imagine yourself crawling out of bed at five in the morning to catch a 7 AM trans-continental flight, arriving on the East coast with just minutes to spare before you make the trek back home. At its simplest form, this is a mileage run. Although likely fatigued from the all day journey, tomorrow will be better, particularly since you earned a whopping 6000 miles (or more) for your efforts.

The rules are simple: Fly as far away as you can, for the least possible amount of money. It makes no difference whether you embark off to Sarasota, Florida or Hilton Head, North Carolina, because a true mileage run means you will probably never leave the airport of your arrival city. Just enough time to visit the airport facilities and enjoy a fresh cup o' joe, before boarding begins for your return flight home.

A complicated question asked so many times of me: Why? Why do people do this?

Some view it as a necessity. Frequent travelers who find themselves just a few thousand miles short of maintaining their elite status need to find a way to earn some quick elite-qualifying miles before year end. A mileage run is perfect for them. A simple flight from point A to point B and back allows one to fancy their elite status for yet another year. The banking of useable miles, the ones used to redeem for free award travel, may be less of a priority for this type of mileage runner.

Some regard mileage runs as an opportunity to visit cities while creatively building off-the-beat routings, maximizing mileage potential. For example, San Francisco to Washington D.C is available non-stop, earning 4,820 miles round-trip. Instead, consider San Francisco to Seattle, to Washington D.C, earning 5,956 miles round-trip. For the clever and so-inspired, you could add stops in two other cities enrute to D.C, without adding a substantial cost, to accrue even more miles. These types of mileage runners seek to bank as many useable miles in their frequent flier account, enabling them to redeem for more frequent free trips in the future. (It's important to note that since the focus of the trip is to visit the city - meaning a stay of 1 or more nights is involved, some in the industry do not consider this a true mileage run.)

Finally, a smaller group of travelers view mileage runs as a sort of hobby, sometimes spending hours composing an exciting itnerary that includes four stops - in each direction, including visits to small regional airports that most would simply fly over. These extended mileage runs last upwards of 24 hours, and often include a red-eye flight. The exaustive journey yields huge mileage payouts, and provides avid travelers a chance to see parts of the country - at least the airports, they might not otherwise fly to. Some find themselves volunteering-for compensation on oversold segments, esentially paying for the cost of the mileage run.

But let's face it, if you have an aversion to flying, mileage runs are no friend of yours. But, if you find yourself a bit short of a status level (December 31st is the last day to accrue miles for next year's status), or you want to try your own mileage run, I highly recommend visiting the Flyertalk Mileage Run Forum (it's where I started many years ago), where a community of like-minded flyers can offer expert advice and recommendations on putting together a run that works for you.

Friday Fun: World's Highest Waterfall Dive

Check out this video on YouTube of a man in China attempting to make the Guinness Book of World Records for highest waterful dive.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

10% Off JetBlue Flights Through the Winter

From the JetBlue website comes another 10% off promotion. Simply book a ticket at before November 14th for travel between now and February 10, 2009. Several blackout dates around the holidays apply - be sure to read the t&c's. Promotion code: 10offnov
"I swims in the Tagus all across at once, and I rides on an ass or a mule, and swears Portuguese, and have got a diarrhea and bites from the mosquitoes. But what of that? Comfort must not be expected by folks that go a pleasuring." -Lord Byron
American Express

Register for the 'Dubai is the Prize' Sweepstakes

Complete this form for a chance to win a magical trip for two to Dubai, courtesy of Emirates Airlines. According to the sweepstakes rules, you must register by November 18, 2008.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Book AirTran and Get $25 Cash Back

AirTran and Paypal have teamed up to offer flyers $25 cash back when booking their next ticket at and use Paypal as the method of payment. The offer runs between November 12 and November 30, 2008, and is limited to the first 8,000 customers. There is a minimum purchase of $100 required. The $25 rebate will be credited to your Paypal account 6-8 weeks after purchase.

Expedia 24-Hour Sale: Book By Tonight

Check out Expedia's 24-hour hotel sale, including rock bottom prices at select hotels in Las Vegas. These are some of the cheapest rooms we've seen in a while. 

Many other properties throughout the U.S and world are participating in this sale.

According to the terms, you must book by tonight at 11:59 PM (PDT). Below are some verified prices we found for a 1-night stay, during randomly selected dates in November and December. 

Las Vegas:
Stratopshere: $25/mid-week,  $58/weekends.
Tropicana: $32/midweek, $71/weekends.
Imperial Palace: $33/midweek, $55 weekends.
Monte Carlo: $99/mid-week and weekends
Circus Circus: $32/mid-week, $62 weekends
Treasure Island: $69/mid-week, $129/weekends
New York New York: $70/midweek, $120/weekends
Planet Hollywood: $79/mid-week, $179/weekends

San Francisco: (friends/family coming to town for the Holidays?)
Fairmont: $119/mid-week and weekends
Parc-55:  $107/mid-week, $149/weekends
Clift: $139/mid-week and weekends
Whitcomb: $79/mid-week and weekends

Fare Sales Often Lost in Translation

In this Washington Times post, writer Nicholas Kralev explains how the U.S airline industry continues to mislead customers when they advertise airfare sales.  A banner advertisement of cheap flights to Orlando, for example, is followed by fine print stating the price is for each direction based on round-trip purchase. Kralev asks, "So if a round trip is required to get the quoted price, why aren't fares advertised in the actual amount you need to pay for a round trip?" Read the rest of the story. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Southwest Airlines Visa Free Flight Promo Continues

If you are looking for a new mileage earning credit card, and appreciate the first-use bonus that comes with, then the Southwest Airlines Visa from Chase may be just what you need.
Chase continues to offer this great credit card deal: Get approved for the Southwest Airlines Visa card and earn 16 rapid rewards credits after your first purchase, enough for a free round-trip ticket. Just pay the $59 annual fee. It's like paying $59 bucks to fly round trip any one of many destinations Southwest serves.

Although other airlines, such as United, offer huge first-use bonuses that often equate to a free flight after just a single card purchase, the ability to utilize those miles toward a free trip comes with many strings attached. If you use miles for a last minute flight, for example, United and American Airlines will charge a "close-in" fee. If you book a flight, then decide to cancel it, UA and AA will charge a "redeposit" fee to place the miles back in your account.

Southwest has neither fee. Using your Rapid Reward credits for a last minute flight, or making changes to an award ticket - even cancelling it all together, results in no fee. But, like the other airlines, Southwest award flights are now capacity controlled, meaning only a select number of seats are availed for free flights.

Monday, November 10, 2008

United Premier Exec Members Receive New Boarding Priority

According to an email from United, effective Wednesday, Premier Executive and Star Alliance Gold members will now enjoy an even higher level of boarding privileges when flying United.

Global Service, 1K's and First Class passengers will continue to board first, followed by Business Class, all via the Red-Carpet Lane. Then all Premier Executive and Star Alliance Gold members will be invited to board, through the main Economy lane. After all the "most valued" customers have boarded, boarding with resume beginning with Boarding Area 1 - including lower level Premier members.

The change essentially elevates the Premier Exec status to a level one notch up from Boarding Area 1, at least in terms of boarding order. This enables Premier Execs and those with equivalent access from partner airlines, to have more overhead space available, get adjusted to their seat, and simply relax, before the boarding of the masses.

Take A Winter Break and Fly South

Good seasonal fares now available for travel over the next few months.

Here is sampling of fares, recently lowered by the airlines, for flights South into Mexico and South America. Other cities are available.

Book early, availability and pricing can change at any moment. All sample fares have been verified for availability.

-San Francisco to Sao Paulo, Brazil (pictured above): $783 RT, "all in" (taxes and fees included).
TAM Airlines via Miami or JFK. Fare valid through January 2009.

-San Francisco to Cancun, Mexico: $297 RT, "all in."
American Airlines. Fare valid through mid-December 2008.

-San Francisco to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico: $325 RT, "all in."
United and American Airlines. Fare valid through mid-December 2008.

-San Francisco to Bogota, Columbia: $570RT, "all in."
Delta Airlines.Fare valid into much of 2009.

Visit Farecompare for more travel ideas.

Horizon Begins Sacramento to Santa Barbara Flights Today

Nonstop service between Sacramento and Santa Barbara returns today thanks to Horizon Airlines. The route was recently discontinued by regional airline ExpressJet.

Two daily flights, one in the morning, one in the evening, operated by a 70-seat Bombardier region jet will be available during the week, and one daily flight on weekends. 

Santa Barbara airport (pictured above) is one of my favorite airports to fly through. The charming little airport resting near the mighty Pacific is a preferred alternative to the hustle and bustle of LAX to the south. For example, upstairs at the Overlook Cafe, there is an observation deck to watch the small commercial planes come and go. Downstairs, the inviting back patio, complete with lawn and wooden benches, provides the perfect opportunity for waiting passengers a last minute chance to soak up the warm Southern California Sun.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Security Checkpoint. Friday Fun

Virgin America Launches WiFi Later This Month

Virgin America announced the roll out of WiFi on its planes will begin November 22, 2008. The company plans to roll out the service on one plane a week until the entire fleet is connected, sometime during the second quarter of 2009. Passengers with WiFi-enabled devices will enjoy connecting to the Internet, checking email, and sending text messages during future Virgin America flights. The cost for this service is $10 for short-haul flights, $13 for long-distance trips. 

inFLIGHTout Travel Tip: Wet Naps

Always carry wet naps or baby wipes when travelling. Exactly who was sitting in the airplane seat before you? When was the last time the airline wiped down the tray tables on the aircraft? Why are the interior windows soiled? Rather than imagine what the answers to these questions might be, simply wipe down your seat area once you board the aircraft. A brief 30-second wipe down will rid the area of germs and make your flying experience a bit more pleasant, and healthier.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Win One of 1,000+ Prizes in the Travel Concierge Sweepstakes

Register for the American Airlines Travel Concierge Sweepstakes to win one of over a thousand prizes, including American Airlines and Mastercard gift cards or a subscription to a virtual concierge service.
Click here for the direct link to the registration page. Contest ends December 31, 2008.
Mexico Sale!
Take a break from Winter in Mexico
& Save up to 40%!

Book by December 8th for travel from November 3rd to December 8th.

Acapulco Hotels! (Save up to 30%)
Cancun Hotels! (Save up to 40%)
Cozumel Hotels! (Save up to 40%)
Guadalajara Hotels! (Save up to 35%)
Ixtapa Hotels! (Save up to 30%)
Los Cabos Hotels! (Save up to 35%)
Mazatlan Hotels! (Save up to 40%)
Mexico City Hotels! (Save up to 35%)