Thursday, July 31, 2008

San Francisco to Belize $363 "all in"

Continental Airlines is offering a $263+ airfare to Belize City, Belize (BZE) for travel now through October 28th. This is not considered "peak season" for Belize, but depending on your tolerance for weather (more variable than all sun) and number of other tourists visiting at the same time (not a ton of them), you may actually find this a good time to visit. The total cost is $363 round-trip, including taxes and fees. Visit to book.

Read more: Belize weather

Super 8 Promo: $8.88 Rooms

Mark your calender, set your alarm, and start dreaming of where your next vacation will be. Under an exciting new promotion, Super 8 Motel will be selling $8.88 rooms at all participating properties throughout the United States and Canada between August 8 and August 15, 2008. The first 800 guests to make make a reservation each night at 8:00 p.m. EDT (5:00 p.m. Pacific time!) receive this promotional pricing.

Be sure to have your Wyndham Rewards account number handy, to expedite your booking, thereby increasing your chances of scoring the discounted rate.

Click here to register (free) for a Wyndham Rewards account or read more details of the offer.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hot Worldwide Airfares Available Now

Yes, airfares have gone up - even skyrocketed in some markets, but HOT deals can still be found. We scoured the web this morning and found some amazing Fall airfares. All airfares noted below are confirmed inFLIGHTout deals as of 8:45 AM, and are subject to change or sellout at any time.

Fare noted is round-trip, includes all taxes, fees, surcharges.
  • San Francisco to Manila, Philippines - $825 (Asiana)
  • San Francisco to Milan, Italy - $699 (Air One & United)
  • San Francisco to Dubai, UAE. - $1227 (United & Air France)
  • San Francisco to Berlin, Germany - $702 (Continental)
  • San Francisco to Seattle, WA. - $166 (Virgin America & Alaska)
  • San Francisco to Jacksonville, FL. - $201 (Northwest)
  • San Jose to Long Beach, CA. - $100 (JetBlue)

To book, visit your favorite online travel agency, preferably one that offers a "flexible dates" option. Consider clicking any of the inFLIGHTout travel partners midway down the left column on this page.

Delta Hikes Baggage Fees

By Mike Grasso
Perhaps one day soon the fees to transport luggage may cost more than the passenger's airline ticket

In a press release Tuesday, Delta Airlines announced the increase of checked-bag fees; this impacts the quantity, the weight, and the size of bags. First and foremost, Delta continues to offer one free checked bag, as long as it meets the weight and size guidelines. Deviations from this one-bag policy will result in fees, fees and more fees. Here we go:

1st Bag checked - FREE
2nd Bag checked - $50 bucks for domestic flights (previously $25)
Plus higher fees for additional bags

Trying to pack your one piece of luggage as full and heavy as possible to avoid the 2nd bag fee? Delta is on to you! =)

Any checked bag - 51-70 pounds = $90 fee for domestic flights (previously $80)
Plus higher fees for heavier baggage

Finally, if the dimensions of said baggage exceed 63" inches, a $175 fee is levied (up from $150)
Anything over 80" is not permitted.

An example of how all these fees come together is best illustrated by an example on the Delta website: Check in an extra piece of luggage that goes over the weight limit and over the size limit, you get charged 3 different fees - each way. This would make for a painful vacation for an uninformed family flying out on vacation.

Some or all fees are excluded for passengers flying first or business class, flying internationally, or Delta Medallion members. For everyone else, the fee hikes begin for tickets sold on or after July 31st, for travel on or after August 5, 2008. Click here for all the details.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Grocery Miles: Earn United Miles Shopping for Groceries

We've mentioned this in the past, but no harm in bringing it back; United Airlines continues to offer bonus Mileage Plus miles for grocery shopping at Safeway, Krogers, Dominick's, Vons, Pavillions and Genuardis stores throughout the United States.

Once you have registered, you earn a 125 miles for every $250 spent. More importantly, for those who fly United infrequently but want to keep their Mileage Plus account active, this is an easy way to do so. Visit United Airlines GroceryMiles page.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Virgin America Introduces 'Main Cabin Select' Service

San Francisco-based Virgin America announced today an option called, "Main Cabin Select,"whereby coach-class passengers can buy up to receive an enhanced in-flight experience. MCS, which will be available on flights beginning on October, includes coach-class seats configured with 38" seat pitch (6 inches more than a typical seat), dedicated overhead bin space, complimentary food and cocktails, and an all-access pass to the Red In-inflight entertainment system.

From a service standpoint, Main Cabin Select is situated between First and Coach class, although MCS amenities sound closer to a first class product. MCS will be available for purchase starting September 15, 2008, for flights beginning from mid-October 2008 on. No word yet on the price tag for passengers seeking MCS.

Alaska Airlines Introduces Low Fare Calendar

Finding a low fare at the Alaska Airlines website just got a little easier. In addition to searching for flights by schedule and price on a particular day, you can now broadly search over an entire month for the cheapest available flights. Click here for more information on the new functionality.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

San Francisco to Asia flights from $789 "all in"

Pretty good deals just released for flights into Asia. If you haven't had much luck recently finding good airfares, consider repricing your ideal itinerary. Other destinations have had price reductions as well. Here are a couple inFLIGHTout confirmed deals:
  • Asiana Airlines, San Francisco to Hong Kong (HKG) flights from $789 round-trip, tax included. "V" booking class.
  • Northwest Airlines, San Francisco to Shanghai (PVG) $874 from round-trip, taxes included. "K" booking class.

The fares about were found for 9/2-9/9, though the low fares are available all the way through early December.

Click below (for Travelocity use the flexible date option) to search for fares.

Passing Picture - Four Points By Sheraton

I snapped this oh-so-friendly reminder not to smoke in the room at this Four Points Hotel near Chicago-O'Hare airport.

Earlier this year, we reported on how Sheraton and Four Points are moving toward becoming entirely smoke-free at properties throughout the United States & Canada.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Qantas 747 Emergency Landing, No Injuries

A Qantas 747 enroute from Hong Kong to Melbourne made an emergency landing last night in Manila, after a massive hole appeared in the plane.

The incident occured while flying at nearly 30,000 feet, at which time the plane then reportedly plunged, portions of the floor and ceiling collapsed, and oxygen masks deployed when the plane lost cabin pressure.

Still, despite the chaos and terror reported in the sky, the pilot managed to land the plane safely, and without injury to passengers. Read more, and view other pictures of the damage from the Sun.

Alaska Airlines Changes Miles Requirement for Free Travel

On Thursday, Alaska Airlines announced changes to its Mileage Plan account. Unlike recent changes to other airline frequent flyer programs, generally considered unfavorable to consumers, Alaska's announcement carries less of a sting.

For example, a domestic round-trip Coach Saver award ticket will now require 25,000 miles, compared to 20,000 points previously needed; this change aligns with most other airlines. But, the change begins November 1st, effectively allowing flyer's to redeem at the lower points level for the next few months.

Also, Alaska will offer Intra-State award travel for only 15,000 miles. Previously only available in Alaska, passengers flying wholly within AK, CA, ID, MT, OR, or WA receive a 10,000 mile reduction in the cost of award resumptions.

Other changes, including a $25 fee for booking award travel with an Alaska partner, will be instituted, but again, not until later this Fall. Click here to read the entire Alaska Airlines announcement.

Custom Luggage Tags for 1000 WorldPerks Miles

Wondering what to do with a small number of Northwest WorldPerks miles in your account? If you aren't planning on earning enough for free award travel, or you just want to use up your remaining miles, consider a pair of customized luggage tags for only 1000 miles. Simply visit choose one of several stock photos or upload your own, then enter up to 4 lines of text on your tags. Shipping & handling are included.
Thanks to N301dp at flyertalk for posting this deal.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

HIV Travel Ban To Be Overturned

Last week the U.S Senate voted to overturn a law that prevents HIV-positive visitors from entering the United States. The HIV travel ban, which prohibits travel and immigration for HIV-positive people, had bi-partisan support in the Senate, including Republican Senator Gordon Smith who said, "Our government still treats individuals with HIV/AIDS as modern-day lepers, categorically banning these individuals from entering into the US. To fully embrace our global leadership on HIV/AIDS, we must remove our unwelcome mat and overturn this ridiculous ban."

The United States is one of only a handful of countries that bans travel for HIV-positive people. Other countries include Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Russia.

Lifting the ban comes bundled with a $50 billion grant to fight HIV/AIDS funding around the world. Together, the bill is expected to move through the House of Representatives, then to the President. President Bush has previously expressed support for the bill.

Super Shuttle $3 Discount Code

Here's a $3 off coupon code valid for Super Shuttle. The code works at several airports throughout the country, including all the major airports in the Bay Area. Super Shuttle also awards a minimum 50 frequent flyer miles on U.S Airways, Northwest and Frontier Airlines with each reservation.

Visit and enter promo code: UYR59
Other Super Shuttle coupons can also be found in regional Entertainment books.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

U.S Domestic Airfares Up 4.4% Over Previous Year

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics released findings today that show an overall 4.4% increase in the average price of an airline ticket during the 1st quarter of 2008, compared to the same time period in 2007. In the Bay Area, San Francisco actually saw a 6.7% decline in fares, while Sacramento's increased by 6.2%.

Q1 2007 to Q1 2008 average fare by market
$317.88 to $331.72 (U.S Domestic Average Fare)
$240.23 to $244.46 (Oakland)
$263.07 to $279.36 (Sacramento)
$421.90 to $395.54 (San Francisco)
$261.02 to $268.03 (San Jose)

Double Starpoints At Select Starwood Properties

Another great post from *wood highlighting a double points promotion at 28 Starwood properties celebrating their 1st year anniversary in the Starwood Hotels & Resorts portfolio. The promotion runs through October 31, 2008, and requires registration prior to booking.

The Best Free Things to Do in San Francisco

Even considered as one of the most expensive places to live in the United States, San Francisco still offers plenty of exciting activities for free, including free museum days. This list from Frommers, great for locals and tourists alike, is a reminder that not everything in this pricey city comes with a price tag.

The de Young Museum (pictured left) offers free admission on the first Tuesday of each month.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Disney Sweepstakes: Vacation for 4 to New York City

Enter the 'Disney Ultimate Broadway' Sweepstakes for a chance to win a 4-day trip for 4 people to NYC, attend the theatrical shows of 'Mary Poppins,' 'The Lion King' and 'The Little Mermaid,' plus an exclusive backstage tour at the New Amsterdam Theatre, including coach airfare and hotel. Click here to enter.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Demand and Disappointment for Fuel Efficient Car Rental Reservations

The spike in fuel costs is driving a big demand for fuel-efficient car rentals. Too big actually. Car rental companies typically offer something for everyone, from the compact Ford Focus right on up to a full size Toyota Avalon (pictured left). Problem is, too many people, it seems, are reserving the smaller, fuel efficient drives only to find they've been (involuntarily) upgraded when arriving to pick up the vehicle.
This article from the L.A times uncovers what car rental contracts say about these less than desired upgrades, and how reserving a compact car may actually start costing you more.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

American Express

United Airlines Makes Bay Area Cutbacks

According to USA Today, United Airlines will be trimming several nonstop flights from the Bay Area this coming Fall. If you have confirmed reservations for any of these nonstop flights, contact United immediately (don't wait for them to call you) to receive priority status in choosing alternate routings.

San Francisco to:
-Atlanta - will be discontinued on 11/2/08
-Toronto - effective 11/2/08

San Jose to:
-Washington, Dulles - eff 9/2/08
-Chicago O'Hare - eff 11/11/08

Oakland to:
-Los Angeles - eff 11/11/08

Friday, July 18, 2008

End of Week Humor: Where Is Your Bag?

Here are a couple video clips of lost luggage that should give you some end-of-the-week chuckles. Enjoy-and have a great weekend.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

U.S Airways Dropping Oakland to Las Vegas Flights

Airline routes news is reporting that U.S Airways is dropping the daily Oakland to Las Vegas flight. The change is effective August 18th. The Oakland-Las Vegas city pair is part of 18 other routes being cut from the Las Vegas hub.

Reader Question: How Full Will The Flight Be?

Question: "...My flight is next week and I want to know whether the flight will be full, or if I might get an empty middle seat. How can I tell?"
Answer: Thanks for the email. Actually your question has two parts. Let's first tackle the empty middle seat question. Based on your writing, I'm assuming you are flying a plane that includes a configuration of 3 seats in a row, and you are hoping for an empty middle one. Aren't we all! =) It's impossible to determine whether you will have an empty middle seat because seat changes can occur at any time, including at the gate. Not until the boarding door closes can you be certain to score an empty seat next to you.

If you are curious about how full the flight is overall, which can sometimes give you an educated guess whether middle seats will be occupied, there are a couple ideas:

First, check the airline seatmaps. Many airlines allow you to pull up your reservation on their website, then modify your seat assignment. Here you can get a general idea of how full the plane might be.
Some cautions though. Some people have confirmed reservations but no seats assigned yet. The airline may block certain seats because they are carrying extra cargo and don't want to fill every seat with passengers (weight restrictions). The airline may also block seats for security reasons, for high-status passengers, or for airport check-in only. All that taken into consideration, it may be tough for an accurate appraisal of how full the flight will be simply by looking at the seatmaps.

Second, check the class availability of your flight. This will give you an idea of how many tickets the airline is still selling (and their respective fare class). Many cheap seats still available could be a sign the flight is not full. Reversely, if you see the flight is nearly sold out, then expect a cramped flight (or perhaps lots of cargo).

In summary, using both the strategies above could help in determining the flight load, but factoring in variables such as last minute flight cancellations, displaced passengers/crew and stand-by customers, a simple guess might be just as accurate.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

U.S Airways Dropping Sacramento to Charlotte Flights

After less than two months in operation, U.S Airways said Tuesday they will discontinue flights from Sacramento to its Charlotte hub. The route, which officially ends August 18th, was intended to be seasonal, but according to an airline spokesperson, “Skyrocketing fuel costs and softening demand," are also factors for the cutback. Overall, the airline plans on 4th quarter cutbacks in domestic capacity by 6-8% over last years levels.

In addition to Charlotte, U.S Airways also operates flights between Sacramento and Phoenix, Las Vegas and Philadephia.

Click here for more posts about on Sacramento Airport, including information on other airline cutbacks.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Vacation for 2 - San Francisco to Honolulu $534 pp/tax included

Maui deals available from $629.
Two people fly non-stop on United Airlines and stay at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani in Waikiki for under $1100 bucks. Plus you can upgrade to other upscale Starwood properties for slightly more. Valid for travel August 25th-September 8th.
This is an inFLIGHTout verified deal as of 9:45AM. This offer may end at anytime.
Example: SFO-HNL August 28-August 31st prices at $1068.00 for two people, including airline and hotel taxes. Additional nights increase the cost only slightly. Two people per reservation - no solo travelers for this discount.
Click here to book.

Delta Debuts Ads With Online Boarding Passes

Starting today, Delta Airlines customers checking in online for Las Vegas will see something more than their flight information on their boarding pass; Ads.

Perhaps you want information on the David Copperfield magic performance or details on current Cirque du Soleil shows. All of this - and more, on your boarding pass.

While some airlines are flying off into a direction of electronic boarding passes - dumping the paper all together, Delta Airlines is taxiing on with the good old fashioned paper boarding passes, just now exercising a creative use. Sure they are making a few bucks on the ads, but they claim to also be offering a service to passengers, particularly last minute folks, who don't necessarily have the time to research their destination before hoping on the plane. And let's face it, with airlines cutting back on inflight entertainment, raising the price of food and liquid and filling the planes to capacity, maybe these advertisements will keep passengers occupied in flight.

But love it or hate it, almost all Delta passengers will face it. By the end of the week, Delta will expand the ads so virtually everyone printing a domestic boarding pass at home will find advertisements batched with boarding passes. The company behind the technology says however that passengers will have an opt out box should they decide not to print out the ads.

Northwest and U.S Airways stated they too will begin boarding pass advertisements by year end as well.

Monday, July 14, 2008

"Will Work for Travel": How To Take Free (Or Nearly Free) Vacations

With the slowing economy and increased cost of goods and services, consumers are finding monthly disposable income a bit pinched these days. Taking that family vacation to Italy for example may have to wait in response to higher airfares, pricey hotel accommodations and the devaluation of the U.S Dollar.

But, don't despair, there are some great alternatives you and your family can consider, without the need to take out a second mortgage just for a vacation.

Check out this great article from IgoUgo, where users from have composed creative ways travelers can enjoy free or inexpensive travel. My favorite is the Timeshare tour, in which you visit a particular property, participate in a 90-minute presentation about a time-share, then enjoy a complimentary, or highly discounted 2 or 3 night stay. Locally, these deals have been found around the Lake Tahoe region and around the Monterey/Carmel vicinity.

Read here for other ideas on how to take a free (or nearly free) vacation from IgoUgo.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Handy Mileage Award Calculator

With recent capacity cuts from the airlines, trying to find available seats when redeeming frequent flyer miles can be a daunting task. Seats for two people - painful. One piece of advice is to book tickets far in advance. So if you are trying to plan a trip to Europe for early next summer, and you want to redeem your miles, now is the time to start looking.

Booking tickets far in advance means finding award availability before it is picked through by the masses. So how far in advance can you book award tickets? Most airlines permit bookings up to 330 days into the future - a bit shy of a year. This simple tool allows you to determine how far out 330 days is, eliminating the need for human calculation (or in my case, human error) so you can focus on the more important task - namely, where in Europe you want those frequent flyer miles to take you.

Friday, July 11, 2008

HOT! San Francisco to Buenos Aires, Argentina $698 rt - tax included

United Airlines is offering this hot fare from San Francisco to Buenos Aires (EZE). Only $698.
Fly between 14 July and 28 August (best fares were found in July), stay a minimum of 3 nights, earn a bunch of miles, and have a great time in this beautiful European-feel city.

Visit search within the above date parameters and/or click on the flexible dates tab. I found available flights between July 22 and July 29th for this fare. This thread on flyertalk mentions users finding the fare even a bit cheaper.
This unbelievable fare is subject to change at any time.

Emirates To Operate Superjumbo A380 On San Francisco Route

Emirates airlines announced Thursday the intention to operate a superjumbo Airbus 380 aircraft on its upcoming San Francisco to Dubai route. The double-decker Airbus 380 is the largest aircraft in the world.

The airline, which announced the debut of the San Francisco to Dubai route beginning November 20th, will initially operate using a Boeing 777 aircraft. Emirates Senior Vice President of commercial operations for the America's said, "We hope to build up the route for the A380. I would be disappointed if we could not operate the aircraft in two or three years in San Francisco."

On August 4th, Emirates will show off the first fully outfitted Airbus 380 at San Francisco International Airport. The plane has 14 first-class suites, 76 business class seats and 399 seats in economy.

(Above: An Emirates Airbus 380 aircraft at the 2005 Dubai Airshow. Nasser Younes/Agence France-Presse --Getty Images)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

U.S Airways To Shut Off In-Flight Movies

It a fuel savings estimated at $10 million a year, US Airways says it will stop showing in-flight movies on its domestic flights. According to Bloomberg news, the video systems add about 500 pounds to a plane, increasing overall fuel consumption. The movie systems will be turned off November 1st, but will remain operating for Hawai'i and trans-Atlantic flights.

ExpressJet Cutting Operations, Big Impact on Sacramento Airport

(Sacramento Business Journal)
ExpressJet will stop flying under its own brand name effective September 2. The company will discontinue its 13 daily departures from Sacramento International Airport, including flights between Sacramento and Bakersfield; Santa Barbara; Tucson, Ariz.; Tulsa, Okla.; San Antonio; Oklahoma City; Spokane, Wash.; Colorado Springs, Colo. and Albuquerque, N.M. Those flights will end Sept. 1 under the plan the company announced Tuesday.

The 39 aircraft currently used in ExpressJet operations will be among those returned to the lessor no later than June 2009.

On July 7, Delta Air Lines Inc. announced it was ending its Delta Connections partnership with ExpressJet.

ExpressJet, a subsidiary of Houston-based ExpressJet Holdings Inc. (NYSE: XJT), said it would stop flying Delta Connection routes, primarily out of Los Angeles and Salt Lake City, beginning Sept. 1. ExpressJet said it will continue to operate flights as Continental Express under a deal with Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL).

ExpressJet will continue flying a fleet of 205 aircraft as Continental Express to more than 150 destinations, as well as continue to serve charter customers with a fleet of 30 aircraft through ExpressJet Corporate Aviation.

"If we had any other choice, we would not take this difficult action," ExpressJet chief executive officer Jim Ream said. "However, rising fuel prices has made the operation impossible to sustain."

Tickets to ExpressJet flights before Sept. 2 are not affected, the airline said. The carrier will continue to sell tickets for those flights.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Northwest Institutes 'Service Fee' On Award Travel

One of several new/adjusted fees and personnel reductions announced by the airline
Just two weeks after Delta Airlines announced they would slap a fuel surcharge on all award redemption's, Northwest Airlines jumped on board and confirmed they too will institute a similar fee.

Described in a Northwest press release as a temporary "service fee" to offset fuel costs, passengers redeeming Northwest Worldperks miles will soon pay a fuel surcharge ranging from $25 for domestic travel, all the way up to $100 for trans-Pacific flights. The fee will be charged for ticketed itineraries beginning September 15th.

That's not all. Changing your itinerary will cost extra too. Beginning today, changes to non-refundable domestic tickets will increase $50 to $150. Changes to International itineraries will be hiked by as much as $150 more than present fees, depending on class of service and other restrictions.

The airline is matching several other carriers $15 first checked bag fee for tickets being sold as early as July 10th. No more checking your bags in for free.

1000 Bonus Starwood Points For Summer Hotel Stays

The Starwood Preferred Guest program is offering 1000 bonus SPG points for summer hotel stays at participating Starwood properties around the world. Four Points by Sheraton will earn 500 points.

First, register here. Then stay Sunday-Thursday at participating properties through September 30, 2008 to earn the 1000 bonus points. Click here for a comprehensive list of eligible properties.

Keeping Score On Capacity Cuts

In case your not keeping score at home, here is a summary of the big-name airline players and their expected cuts in capacity through the end of 2008:

-United Airlines will cut capacity system wide by 12%.
-U.S Airways by 8%.
-American Airlines by 11-12%, including ending all Oakland operations
-Delta Airlines will eliminate up to 13%
-Northwest 9.5%
-Continental 11%
-AirTran 5%
-Frontier Airlines by 17%

With the capacity cuts, many airlines will layoff or offer packages to employees, while airlines such as Midwest and AirTran are implementing pay reductions to certain staff.

Capacity cuts mean consumers can expect to dig deeper into their wallet as fares rise to meet the demand for fewer seats/less capacity.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

San Francisco to Puerto Vallarta $312rt/ tax included

United Airlines is offering discount tickets for flights between San Francisco to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The roundtrip price of $312 included all taxes, fees and fuel surcharges and is available at, using the flexible dates tab.

For example, I found non-stop United flights (operated by TED) for a long weekend getaway between Wednesday July 30th, returning Sunday August 3rd. The fare books into the "L" fare class and must be booked by July 11th, with travel completed by August 31st.

United To Drop San Francisco to Toronto Route

The current once-daily United Airlines flight between San Francisco to Toronto, Canada (YYZ) will end come November 2nd. With the change, flyers will now need to connect in Denver or Chicago or consider flying Star Alliance partner Air Canada, which utilizes Toronto as a major hub, operating four daily non-stops between San Francisco and Toronto.

Monday, July 7, 2008

'Jet Out Of Town' Promo: Discount On Your Next JetBlue Flight

From an email sent by JetBlue
"Jet out of town! Choose from over 50 destinations and two great ways to save."
$10 off using promo code JET10D or 10% off using JET10.
Book by midnight July 10th, for travel between September 3rd and December 16th, with blackout dates around Columbus Day and Thanksgiving. Click here to book.

Southwest Media Blitz: 'Fees Don't Fly With Us'

Each week it seems flyers are hit with yet another fee from the airlines. For example, last month Delta airlines announced they will add a $25-$50 fuel surcharge to all award redemption tickets. American airlines rolled out a $5 fee to all award tickets booked on their website, and even higher if you call the airline directly. Next month, United will assess $15 for the first piece of luggage checked, while a soda pop or coffee will set you back a couple bucks when flying U.S Airways. With many of these mainline carriers we are reminded that the ticket you purchase is merely for a seat on the plane; think Greyhound bus, but with wings.

Then comes along Southwest Airlines. With banner messages such as, "No surprise fees," and "Fees don't fly with us," the airline launched a media campaign last month which clearly goes against the nickel-and-diming strategy present throughout the rest of the industry. One television features a traveler feeding quarters into coin boxes to open the overhead bin, adjust his seat, and close his window blind.

In addition to television ads, the ad blitz covered print media, online banner ads, and radio spots. The airline also dedicated a page on their website outlining fees Southwest does not charge for.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

American Express

Sacramento Airport To Expand, Raise Fees - Upsetting Airlines

In May, Sacramento county government unanimously approved a $1.27 billion expansion of Sacramento International Airport, to include a new terminal, hotel, parking garage and people-mover tram. But the cost of the expansion is expected to be paid by already cash-strapped airlines.

As part of the plan, the airport will boost charges to the airline by $6 to $9 per passenger, climbing to over $13 by the year 2013 to help cover improvement costs. The airlines strongly opposed the extreme fee hike. American airlines recently notified Sacramento airport officials they will pull 1 of the 4 daily flights between Sacramento and Dallas due to "substantial and unreasonable" fee increases recently imposed on all airlines using Sacramento's runways and ticket counters. Airport officials contend the real reason for American cutbacks may actually be related to rising fuel costs and trimming of flights nationwide.

Meanwhile, county officials have defended the airport's expansion plan and rate increases as fair and necessary.

(Pictured above: Design of the second floor ticketing area for Central Terminal B at Sacramento International Airport. More pictures can be found here.)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July !!

Happy Independence Day

Have a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend, wherever your travels may take you.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Common Street Scams Overseas

(From the Perrin Post)
Headed abroad this summer? It's important to be aware of the tried and true ploys that petty thieves use ... and how to evade them. The other day I warned you about a common scam in Italy: the fake street fight. One little boy pretends to beat up another. When the victim approaches you in tears, asking for money so he can get home to safety, you pull out your wallet -- and the kids snatch it and race off. Here are three other scams to watch out for: Click here to read the rest of the story.

Air Canada Dropping Sacramento to Vancouver Route

According to the Sacramento Bee, Air Canada will be dropping twice-daily flights between Sacramento and Vancouver effective October 25th. Citing record high fuel prices and a mild recession, the airline will slash overall U.S-Canada capacity by 13%. In addition to the Sacramento loss, the airline will cut seasonal flights between San Francisco and Montreal this fall.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

$50 Off Your Next Midwest Airlines Flight

Received an email this morning from Midwest Airlines offering $50 off when purchasing a ticket using a paypal account. There is no minimum purchase requirement or blackout dates.

Simply purchase a ticket at by July 14th for travel through August 17th, and use promo code paypal50 on the flight search page. Read additional terms and conditions of the offer.

Midwest Airlines operates a daily flight to/from San Francisco and Kansas City, and seasonal service into Milwaukee. Click here for a route map. Be sure to tell friends about this offer.

Playing Markets That Trade Miles

(New York Times)
ANY traveler who has tried to redeem frequent flier miles for an award seat, only to be thwarted by blackout dates or limited availability, knows that attractive alternatives are hard to come by. You could spend miles for magazine subscriptions, donate them to charity or, in a few cases, purchase merchandise in an exchange that often doesn’t quite add up (17,000 miles for a coffee maker?). Click here to read the rest of the article

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

United Express To Launch San Francisco - North Bend Service

United Express/Skywest Airlines will launch service between San Francisco (SFO) and North Bend (OTH) later on Monday, July 7th. The twice-daily flight will be operated by a 30-passenger Embraer-manufactured EMB 120 Brasilia aircraft. Travel time between SFO and North Bend, located in Southwest Oregon is just under two hours.