Thursday, January 31, 2008

TSA launches 'Evolution of Security' website

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), most notably known as the men and women working airport security checkpoints throughout the United States, have started their own blog. Titled, "The Evolution of Security," the TSA hopes their blog will initiate dialog about issues that effect travelers. Likewise, they plan on using this forum to help answer the "why" questions many travelers have about existing security methods TSA employs. Moderation of the blog is performed by various TSA personnel from around the country.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Korean Airlines increases San Francisco to Seoul flights

Effective May 29th, Korean Airlines will offer non-stop service from SFO into Seoul 5times a week, up from the current 4X week schedule. Then starting June 28th, Korean will begin 7X a week (daily) service in anticipation of the busy travel months.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

HOTELS.COM 10% off coupon. (From Fatwallet) Book a two night or longer stay by January 31st, and receive 10% off your visit. Valid for travel through April 30, 2008.
Not valid at Starwood, Harrah's, MGM and Marriott properties. Apply Coupon Code: CPN0801C11 at checkout.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Hilton HHonors drops blackout dates for award redemption

In an unprecedented and exciting move, Hilton has dropped blackout dates from all award redemptions using the HHonors program. The previous policy, and typical of most hotel programs meant redeeming hotel points for free stays was not available or heavily limited on certain blackout dates such as holidays. Now, all members of HHonors may redeem points for any room, anytime a room is available. Hilton, Embassy Suites, Hampton, Doubletree, Homewood, Conrad and the Waldorf Astoria collection properties which all fall under the HHonors umbrella, are impacted by this exciting change. Starwood Hotels, is the only other large brand of hotels that has no blackout dates on award redemption.

Santa Rosa - Las Vegas (non-stop!) begins April 24th

Thanks to added service out of Santa Rosa airport, North Bay flyers will soon have access to non-stop flights into Las Vegas. Beginning April 24th, Horizon airlines, a subsidiary of Alaska Airlines, will operate a single daily flight on this route utilizing a 76-seat Q-400 (pictured to the left) turboprop aircraft. Introductory fares are available for as little as $69 each way.

In addition to this point-to-point route, Horizon began flights from Santa Rosa to its Portland, Seattle and Los Angeles hubs or "focus cities" last March. Visit for more information.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Cathay Pacific's 2008 "All Asia" Pass now available

Cathay Pacific has just released the details of their 2008 All Asia Pass. With this pass, you can fly from San Francisco to Hong Kong and two other Asian cities for as little as $1099. The real value of the pass is the diverse network of cities to choose from and generous stopovers permitted. Under the "basic cities" plan, you have 24 destinations to choose from including Denpasar (Bali), Manila, Seoul, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. "Add on" cities include Kathmandu, Bangladesh, Mumbai, Dhaka, and destinations throughout China.

The pass allows up to 21 days of travel, so if three cities doesn't tickle your fancy, you can add other destinations from their listings.

More information on the 2008 All Asia Pass from Cathay Pacific can be found here.

no one deals like we do!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Vegas casino burns, but not part of a show

A large fire broke out yesterday at the top of the Monte Carlo Resort & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Flames and thick black smoke were rising from the roof of the 3,000-room hotel, according to television newscasts. The hotel was evacuated and no injuries had been reported in the three-alarm blaze, which broke out shortly before 11 a.m. Television pictures showed firefighters on the roof of the 32-story hotel and casino shooting streams of water into the building as the flames spread across two wings.

Meanwhile, Anton Nikodemus (Pres and COO of Monte Carlo) stated on the casino website, "Starting today, Monte Carlo employees will receive pay, health and welfare benefits and toke and tip replacement for the lesser of 30 days or the re-opening of Monte Carlo. These payments will be offset if during that 30-day period a Monte Carlo employee accepts another position at another MGM MIRAGE property or company or accepts employment outside MGM MIRAGE. Also, if a Monte Carlo employee accepts a position with a non-MGM MIRAGE company and is subjected to a waiting period before receiving health benefits, then MGM MIRAGE will continue to provide the employee’s health benefits for the lesser of 30 days or the re-opening of Monte Carlo."

When it was built, the massive Monte Carlo was the world's seventh-largest hotel. It's now considerably overshadowed by its high-profile, more theme-intensive brethren. The property recently received AAA's Four Diamond rating and had nearly 3,000 employees.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Regular travelers to Seattle will appreciate Alaska Airlines latest promotion: Earn double MileagePlan miles for flights to/from San Francisco and Seattle for the rest of the year. This is a qualifying promotion whereby you need to fly this route twice prior to being eligible for this promotion. Details here. This offer is likely in response to competitor Virgin America, who announced service into Seattle will begin in March.

Continental doubles fuel surcharge

In a struggle to keep the engines running and show a profit, Continental Airlines announced today a doubling in the fuel surcharge on domestic airline tickets. With the increase, consumers will now pay an additional $40 for domestic airline tickets.

United and American Airlines surprised in the industry last week by charging as much as $50 for fuel surcharges. Although initially matched by other airlines, most of these charges were scaled back or dropped altogether after consumers balked at the higher fees.

The airline industry has been hammered with rising fuel costs. American, United and Delta all came out with 4th quarter losses directly attributed to the cost of fuel. Continental however did show some profit, mainly related to higher revenues from International routes. The fuel surcharges are seen as an immediate way to escape the red and bring the airlines back into profit mode.
Analysts expect other airlines will adjust their surcharges upward in response to Continental's announcement.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Oakland - Portland $44 one way Southwest Airlines DING! Fare
Valid for travel during most of February

Worst hotel ever?

While they certainly aren't the official ratings or rankings, hotel guests have long used to post reviews and experience ratings. Contrary to the prestigious T+L hotel ratings, some hotels are at the top of the charts in less admirable ways.

For example, users of rated the Hotel Carter in New York City as one of the dirtiest hotels in the United States. Here's a few excerpts from some mildly opinionated guest reviews:

"All of the reviews you read about hotel carter are accurate. Police in the lobby, blood stained sheets, filth, horrid staff. Our room looked as if it hadn't been cleaned in about 18 years. I have never in my life seen anything like this."

"On arrival I found that there were various small bugs in the room and paint crumbling off the walls in the bathroom and bedroom."

"When telling the cab driver at JFK where we were staying he instructed us not to leave anything in our rooms. (bad start!) On arrival at the hotel at about 7pm there were 3 prostitutes standing outside."

"Four of us stayed in this so called hotel over the new years eve weekend. Our room was disgusting, filthy carpet with ash, ash in the drawers and even cigarette butts left around. The bathroom had hairs all over the place, and let me tell you they weren't all head hairs."

"This hotel is good for one thing that is burning downit is the most discusting place i have ever stayed in i checked out after one3 hour stay as the smell of stale sweat and grease is un bearable the rooms are filthey cold unheathy"

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Fare is $78+tax and available mostly in February, a few days in March.  Most other airlines charging at least $10-$20 more for this route currently.  Visit and choose the "low fare finder" bubble. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Los Angeles - Vietnam $638 roundtrip w/taxes

Asiana Airlines is offering this great deal from Los Angeles - Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi, Vietnam. The base fare is $469+ tax roundtrip w/taxes. Travel dates are February 8th-April 30th. The airfare from SF-Vietnam can often run $1000 or more, so buying a cheap ticket to L.A on Virgin and connecting to this inexpensive Asiana flight is a great deal. Not to mention Asiana is one of the best airlines in the world. Fare Basis: VLXSP45 (thanks Justchris82 from flyertalk). Asiana is part of the Star Alliance Network.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Freddie Awards: Vote for your favorite frequent travel programs

Frequent travelers from around the world are invited to cast a vote in the 20th Annual Freddie Awards, which are designed to award excellence among frequent travel programs in the airline, hotel and credit card industries. Introduced by InsideFlyer magazine publisher Randy Petersen in 1988, the Freddies allow members to rank airline and hotel programs from their point of view. The awards have grown in stature and importance and are the most prestigious member-generated awards in the industry.

Voters rate hotel, airline and credit card programs in nine categories: Program of the Year, Best Award, Best Bonus Promotion, Best Affinity Credit Card, Best Member Communications, Best Award Redemption, Best Elite-Level Program, Best Customer Service and Best Web Site.
The Freddie Awards are determined by value voting, a system in which voters rate the value of their program choices on a scale of one to 10. Programs with the highest average score and at least one percent of the popular vote in each category are awarded Freddies. In essence, Freddies are awarded for quality, not quantity.

The awards are named after the late Sir Freddie Laker (1922-2006) who attracted fame, and a knighthood in the United Kingdom, for his pioneering marketing ideas within the travel industry in the 1970s.
Vote Now! Freddie Award balloting is conducted entirely online at Voting concludes on February 29, 2008 at 11:59 p.m. MT.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

United to expand San Francisco to Eugene Service

On March 30th, United Airlines will resume regular mainline operations from San Francisco to Eugene, Oregon. In response to a downturn in the economy, United thinned capacity to Eugene in 2003 by utilizing smaller 50-66 seater (United Express/SkyWest) regional jets. Since then, demand has increased and flight loads averaged greater than 90%. The aircraft being put into service (Boeing 737's) will accommodate 110 passengers each.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Midnight Madness! $480 round-trip w/taxes SFO-Hong Kong, Shanghai & others

Unprecedented sale from United Airlines for flights into Asia. We are pulling up fares for $530 round-trip, taxes included from San Francisco to Shanghai, and even cheaper for Beijing and Hong Kong. United also has a 15% off e-certificate mailed out to some customers this week, which is combine able on some of these fares. Brings the total airfare to around $450. Travel period runs through February 29th only, and is subject to 3 or 7 day minimum stays, depending on the fare basis. Visit or book soon!

Friday, January 18, 2008

San Francisco - San Diego $99 roundtrip, taxes included. Virgin America.
Valid 7 days a week, through May 21st. Visit to book. Most other carriers currently running $25 or more for this route.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

British Airways Crash at London's Heathrow Airport, 13 injured

Hundreds of flights into London cancelled as the investigation of the crash continues.
(CNN) A British Airways Boeing 777 flight en route from China crashed Thursday, just short of a runway at London Heathrow Airport. Passenger Paul Venter told the UK Press Association: "The wheels came out and went for touchdown, and the next moment we just dropped. I couldn't tell you how far."
More from CNN

Southwest Airlines Coast-to-Coast Sale in progress

Fly from the Bay Area to the East Coast for $99 bucks each way. Must travel Tuesdays or Wednesdays Until May 8th. Book tickets soon. Fly from any Bay Area Airport to Buffalo, Long Island, Hartford, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Norfolk and other cities. Visit:

ManyBag and LapChildren Fees from Spirit Airlines

By Mike Grasso

Spirit Airlines currently permits checked bags on their flights for a $5-$10 fee (the lower reflects bag payment made online versus the airport). Effective February 20th, that fee doubles; $10-$20 per bag. More than 3 bags will cost an additional $100 bucks each. You may haul a free carry-on and one personal item onboard the plane free of charge.

While other airlines charge excess baggage fees, Spirit takes it to a higher level. American and United for example charge $80 and $85 respectively, for a 3rd checked bag. Southwest, even with the introduction of charging a fee for the 3rd bag (effective January 29), it will set you back only 25 bucks. Spirit is truly leading the way in higher baggage fees.

Want to bring a LapChild along during your Spirit flight? (They don't count as the free carry-on). Children under the age of 2 are not required to purchase their own seat, but come May 1st if they're going to sit in your lap, those little people incur a LapChildren fee of $25 bucks each way on Spirit Airlines.

To compare LapChild fees, SkyBus, often referred to as the lowest of low cost carriers operating in the U.S, charges $10 for each segment a child is parked on your lap, but they also charge as little as $10 bucks for a flight; the added fee seems reasonable there. Otherwise, this type of fee doesn't really exist with other airlines in the United States. So in sum, that infant of yours will soon pay for his/her share of onboard oxygen and fuel costs when flying Spirit Airlines.

In defense of these fees, the airlines are struggling to cut costs, and a few pounds of infancy do add a few bucks to operating costs. It's possible then, in the larger airline world, we might expect other airlines to follow Spirits move on similar LapChildren fees, and modify their existing ManyBag fees.

Background on Spirit Airlines:
Spirit Airlines inaugurated flights from San Francisco Airport in 2006, but does not currently offer routes from the Bay Area; it's unknown whether the airline pulled out completely, or seasonally. Spirit offers a huge network of routes throughout the East Coast and the Caribbean.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Delayed Passengers at SFO - pillows and sleepers now available

San Francisco International has taken a bold move to help extinguish customer frustrations for certain plane delays. Under a new plan now available, if a plane has boarded and then is delayed for longer than an hour, airline personnel {should} notify the airport who will then initiate some special TLC for the passengers; booze and pretzels for all! (No).

This special care includes:
1. Deplane passengers into the International Terminal where additional restroom facilities will be available. 2. Allow people to walk around a bit, not feel cramped sitting and waiting on the plane. 3. Provide sleeping pads, pillows and sheets during instances when passengers must remain in the terminal overnight.

The plan is voluntary for the airlines, and they must contact the airport directly in order for the plan to kick-in.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Delta Reportedly Begins Merger Talks With United, Northwest

(CNNMoney) Delta Air Lines has opened merger talks with Northwest Airlines and UAL Corp.'s United Airlines in the hope it can close a deal over the next two weeks, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday. Read more

Indian carriers competing for San Francisco

Jet Airways and Kingfisher airlines, both India-based carriers, are competing for a San Francisco presence.

Jet Airways, which currently offers flights from India to the East Coast, has begun hiring at SFO as it moves its regional headquarters from New York. The airline has said it will commence Delhi to "West Coast" U.S operations next month. Meanwhile Kingfisher, ranked a 5-star airline by SkyTrax, announced flights from Bangalore to San Francisco will commence in August 2008. Flights from the Bay Area to India currently require at least a 22 hour time commitment, often with 2 connections. New service from S.F to India would likely reduce flight takes, and at least for now, be free of competition from U.S-based carriers.

Monday, January 14, 2008

United plane backs into another @ SFO, no injuries

From SFGate: A United Airlines Boeing 757 jet that was backing out of a gate at San Francisco International Airport crashed into a SkyWest plane carrying 60 passengers and crew Sunday night in what airport officials called a serious accident. Read More

Saturday, January 12, 2008

United Airlines bumps fuel surcharge to $25

Delta matches increase, expect higher ticket prices system wide
United Airlines said Friday it more than doubled its fuel surcharge price to $25 each way to offset higher fuel costs.

In an email, a United spokesperson said it raised its surcharge price from the previous range of $0 to $10, depending on the market. "Every penny increase in a gallon of jet fuel costs our industry $195 million annually, and while we operate more efficiently, we must be able to pass commodity costs on to customers, as other industries do." According to Rick Seany of FareCompare, Delta Airlines has matched this unprecedented increase as well.

Southwest announces changes to Bay Area departures

Citing concerns of slowing economic growth, Southwest Airlines announced several route changes from airports around the SF Bay and nationwide. In all, the airline will trim a net 17 flights, while it focuses on higher yielding routes. The changes go into effect May 10th.

Oakland - San Diego, Las Vegas, Ontario, Los Angeles, Burbank; 2 daily flights being axed on each route.
San Jose - Los Angeles and Ontario will loose a daily flight each.
Sacramento - Burbank, Los Angeles, Ontario, San Diego; loosing 1 flight each.

Oakland - Austin service will be inaugurated with 1 daily non-stop.
San Francisco - San Diego; 2 extra daily flights to be added, for a total of 10.
San Jose- Denver; New 3 X daily non-stop service will begin

Friday, January 11, 2008

Pulling out the classics: Old Airline commercials

Was forwarded a link to some classic airline commercials dating back a few decades. What blast from the past! The fine dining, the introduction of non-smoking planes, and the mm mm fresh baked honey rolls on every flight. Those were the great days of flying. Enjoy.

Check out these other videos
United Airlines, Sweet Rolls ad
United Airlines, friendly skies ad
Northwest Airlines, no more smoking ad
American Airlines, doing what we do best ad
TWA, a taste of Europe, flying in the USA ad

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Air Canada plane makes emergency landing,14+ hurt

While enroute from Victoria, BC to Toronto this morning, a routine Air Canada flight encountered severe turbulence requiring the plane to make an emergency landing in Calgary. Of the 88 passengers on board, at least 14 were injured, including some seriously. Reuters is reporting there may be as many as 40 injured.Developing News.

San Francisco - Cancun Mexico $202 roundtrip taxes included

12:05am Another great deal! SFO-Cancun on Mexicana Airlines. Fare Basis: EL14RSS. Price is $104 rt + tax, making it just $202. Visit to book. This price is valid 7 days a week through the 2008 schedule.
Supersaver Fare, no changes permitted. It's possible you do not earn frequent flier miles either. Still a great price for Spring Breakers, or just a nice weekend getaway. Book soon!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Top 100 Hotels in the World

Travel + Leisure magazine publishes an annual best hotels list as determined by its readers. For this poll, the magazine turns to its discriminating readers to determine the very best in travel, from hotels that go the extra mile to operators who make the journey possible. Many of the major brands have recognition in this list, but it seems like the usual suspects including the Mandarin, Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, and Four Seasons sweep the top spots.

After ringing in 2008 at the Westin Bonaventure in downtown Los Angeles, I took a moment to reflect upon all the different hotels I had stayed at in 2007. I quickly realized that I had stepped foot in very few of the list's elite hotels catering to the elite wallet. But rather than feel discouraged, I simply made a new year's resolution to turn this 'best of' list into more of a 'to do' list.

So what are the top hotels in the world? The image above is a sample list of the top 20 hotels in the world. If you're looking for the complete list of the 12th annual poll, as well as the methodology used in the rankings, click right over here. You'll also find quite a few rankings in other relevant dimensions of travel.

Source: Travel + Leisure magazine

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

San Francisco - Barcelona or Madrid Spain $417 roundtrip taxes included

HOT DEAL that won't last from United & Lufthansa Airlines
Price is $191+tax and surcharges, total cost $417 roundtrip. Valid thru mid-March 2008.
Weekend travel may cost slightly more, and minimum stay requirements apply. Example valid dates: March 6-March 11th. Visit to see other available dates.
American Airlines MileFinder
This website application lets you select your city to determine mileage earning opportunities within your neighborhood. Could be useful when traveling as well, since it shows you restaurants and other businesses that offer AAdvantage miles for services. No new opportunities here, just a different way of displaying mileage opportunities.
Check out MileFinder

Monday, January 7, 2008

San Francisco - Kiev, Ukraine $485 round-trip w/taxes

Early Spring fares from S.F into Western Europe run about this price range, so this deal to fly further East into Europe looks pretty good. And after's Kiev. =)

Flight is operated by Alitalia Airlines from New York, along with Delta Airlines from SFO to New York.

Fare available for January & February only.
Think...cold! Visit
for more pricing info. New fare should be uploaded early this evening.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Changes to Southwest's Checked Baggage Policy

Historically known for its liberal baggage policy, Southwest Airlines will soon modify its limits on checked baggage. According to the Southwest website, the airline states passengers may now check up to 2 bags free of charge effective January 29th. Previously, and generously, the airline had allowed up to 3 bags free of charge. The new policy is on par with the competition and is at least partially in response to rising jet fuel costs.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

American Airlines to test anti-missile system

(Associated Press) Up to three American Airlines jets carrying passengers will be outfitted with anti-missile technology this spring in the latest phase of testing technology to protect commercial planes from attack. An American Airlines spokesman said Friday that the test will determine how well the anti-missile system holds up under the rigors of flight.

The technology is intended to stop a missile attack by detecting heat given off from the rocket, then firing a laser beam that jams the missile's guidance system. Read more

Friday, January 4, 2008

Monterey - Salt Lake City service to be discontinued

Delta Airline's Monterey to Salt Lake City service will be discontinued Sunday. The airline which had up to 2 daily flights connecting fliers from the far South Bay to its SLC hub cited rising fuel costs and ridership as the chief reasons for ending service. Delta says while they are considering bringing back service over the summer, overall the route faces an uncertain future.
Storm Highlights from Greater Bay Area Airports: (Updated 12:20 pm) San Francisco Airport - Microburst Alert temporarily issued at 11:30am, followed by wind-shear alerts (cancelled at of 12:20p)
SFO reported peak wind of 67mph at 8:47am
Sacramento Airport 52mph at 8:52am
San Jose Airport 58 mph at 6:53am
Golden Gate Bridge 70mph at 9:19am
Angel Island 78mph at 9:00am
Kregor Peak 107mph (elevation 1900 feet) at 9:41am

Nearly 500,000 people in Bay Area without power.
San Rafael Bridge closed, BART service temporarily stopped from 24th Street Station Outbound.

-San Francisco International has cancelled 30% of flights (67 total) so far today. Most are departing, just quite delayed.
-Oakland, San Jose & Sacramento Airports report 6-25% of flights cancelled thus far.

Weather conditions expected to gradually improve later today.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The National Weather Service is expected to issue a special Airport Weather Warning for San Francisco International this afternoon. An AWW addresses weather phenomena that may adversely impact ground operations at airports, and is usually issued just prior to the onset of severe weather. Weather conditions, specifically erratic winds, will likely disrupt regular airport operations. In the upper left column of this page is a map of real-time airport delays and problems.

Related: Virgin America announced today a fee waiver policy for flights to/from San Francisco and other VX cities due to winter weather conditions. Passengers holding confirmed reservations between January 3-7th may qualify for waiver of change fees and/or fare differences for switching flights. Details here.
Site Update:
Exciting changes are on deck for inFLIGHTout readers in 2008. Two years ago inFLIGHTout was a simple weekly newsletter to friends and families offering good deals on flights. Then after encouragement from friends, the newsletter advanced to the travel blog you read now, with travel related stories and deals dispatched on a daily basis. This website remains a hobby and an outlet for me to help others find that perfect airfare, best use of frequent flier miles, and generally to ensure people get the most out of their next trip.

Therefore, in order to provide readers with a complete analysis of travel related deals, Thomas Wang will join the inFLIGHTout team, offering informative hospitality-focused content to readers. As an avid traveler with a keen interest in hotels, Thomas hopes to bring you sporadic tidbits and stories of interest as they pertain to the hotel/lodging industry.

By adding this new dimension to the inFLIGHTout blog, Thomas and I hope to keep you readers informed on not only your air travel, but where to stay once you arrive. Thanks for your continued support.

American's short-hop for short-hauls still available

American Airlines continues to offer its short-hop frequent flier award. With short-hop, you can fly short distances for fewer miles; specifically, destinations 750 miles or less require 15,000 miles instead of the normal 25,000 miles. Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego* are qualifying cities from San Francisco and San Jose Airports. Short-hop is valid for departures thru February 08. More details can be found here.

*San Diego service is from San Jose Airport only.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Oakland - Columbus, Ohio $40.16 round-trip!

Skybus, the ultimate in low-cost-carriers within the United States is selling seats on many routes for $20.08, just in time for the new year. Oakland-Columbus is the only route Skybus operates from the Bay Area, though many other routings throughout the U.S are included in the promotion.
The price of $20.08 is each way + tax, so it will run you about $60 dollars for a round-trip ticket to Columbus, and checking their website this morning, it seems there are plenty of seats left.
Visit SkyBus for more information. Book soon, these prices won't last.
Also consider: Top 10 things to do in Columbus (From TripAdvisor)

BART to increase service & fees systemwide

BART has approved a systemwide fare hike and added service effective January 1st. Highlights include:
-Earlier service from Downtown San Francisco to SFO airport.
(First train will arrive SFO 5:15am, instead of current 5:31am)
-Added service after 7pm Monday-Saturday and all day Sunday
-Fare increases of .10-.30 cents a ride
(Example: Embarcadero Station to SFO was $5.15, now increases to $5.35 each way)