Saturday, August 30, 2008

$15 Off a JetBlue Ticket When Paying With AMEX

JetBlue and American Express have again partnered to offer a discount when you purchase your next round-trip ticket at and pay with AMEX. The offer is valid for travel through December 17, 2008. You must be a a TrueBlue member (free to sign up) to receive the discount. A few blackout dates apply.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Hotel Discount Codes from Orbitz

Best in Stay Awards (120x60)
Looking for a discount on your next 2+ night hotel stay? Here are some great coupons you can use on your next Orbitz hotel purchase. Valid for stays through December 31, 2008, unless otherwise noted. Here are the discount codes:

2night stay - $35 off: 35ORBDOT
3night stay - $50 off: 50AFFORB
4night stay - $75 off: 4ODWR75 (travel through 2/1/09)
5night stay - $100 off: EQUALITY100 (travel through 11/15/08)

(partial thanks to iceui2 at fatwallet for finding some of these codes)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Zoom Airlines Grounds Flights, Files Bankruptcy

Canadian-based Zoom Airlines failed to receive additional funding from creditors Thursday, causing the airline to suspend operations and enter into Bankruptcy. Yet another victim to the high cost of fuel.

In a press statement today, co-founders of Zoom stated, "We deeply regret the fact that we have been forced to cease all Zoom operations. It is a tragic day for our passengers and more than 600 staff."

The discount carrier operated intra-Canada flights, and internationally between Canada and the U.K, Paris and Rome. Additional service was provided to/from New York, San Diego, Fort Lauderdale and Bermuda.

On the Zoom website, customers holding confirmed reservations are given direction on how to apply for a refund, and an option to receive a discounted price for re-booking with select carriers.

Hyatt Place Offers Business Travelers Etiquette Tips

Hyatt Place Hotels has partnered with etiquette expert Anna Post to offer business travelers a series of short etiquette-focused topics meant to help professionals succeed. As she explains on her website, knowing proper etiquette in different situations is helpful, but sometimes the most appropriate response isn't always the most obvious.

Some areas she touches on are using technology appropriately; Be self-reliant - be self prepared; Master the art of small talk; Appearance matters. In using technology appropriately for example, Post offers solutions on how to accept phone calls during meetings, without necessarily upsetting other meeting attendees.

Click here to visit The Etiquette Effect.

Hyatt Place Hotels partnered with Etiquette effect as they continue to roll out their new hotel brand throughout the U.S. The brand, primarily targeted toward the business traveler, includes 24-hour made-to-order fresh food, complimentary continental breakfast, 42" plasma TV's, office desks, complimentary wireless internet, and an over sized sofa-sleeper that is separated from the main sleeping area.

Locally, there are two Hyatt Place locations in the East Bay, and one near Sacramento.

Click here to visit Hyatt Place Hotels.

Entertainment Weekly Back To School Sweepstakes

Enter to win a vacation for (4) people to the British Virgin Islands, including roundtrip airfare, and accommodations at the beautiful Leverick Bay Resort & Marina. Simply register before September 30th for your chance to win.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Gustav Likely To Impact Travel

Hurricane Gustav, which made landfall over Haiti on Tuesday, continues to move over the warm open waters of the Caribbean. Forecasters say that although the interaction with land caused the storm to weaken to tropical storm status, warm sea temperatures and low shear will likely cause the storm to regain strength.

The National Hurricane Center predicts the storm to eventually move into the Gulf of Mexico this weekend, possibly as a category 3 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 111 mph.

Persons planning travel into the Caribbean over the next couple days, or into the Gulf regions of the United States next week, should monitor the latest information on Gustav's progress.

Although the airlines do a wonderful job accommodating passengers in advance who might be impacted by inclement weather, it is wise to monitor changes yourself, particularly if your travel includes a cruise, or hotel accommodations.

Midwest Airlines Double Miles Promo

MidwestMiles members can earn double miles on all flights between September 8 and November 19. Bonus miles are earned on all Midwest Airlines and Midwest Connect flights.
Click here for information on registering for the promotion.

Midwest Airlines operates flights between San Francisco and Kansas City, with connecting service to other cities throughout the U.S. The current S.F to Milwaukee route ends September 8th.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

San Francisco Airline Memorabilia Show & Sale Returns

The 9th Semi-Annual San Francisco Airline Memorabilia show and sale returns in September. The show is a great opportunity to buy, sell or trade airline and aviation goods - or just hang out with other like-minded aviation hobbyists.

San Francisco Airline Memorabilia Show & Sale
Saturday September 27, 2008
9am - 3pm
Best Western Grosvenor Airport Inn, South San Francisco
$5 admission (Children under 5 are free)

For more information visit

Monday, August 25, 2008

Carnival Cruises One Day Sale

On Thursday August 28, 2008, Carnival Cruises will feature big savings on cruises throughout the world. With options ranging from a 3-day Baja Mexico weekend getaway, to a luxurious 12-day European escape, there is something for everyone.
Click here for more information.

American and Continental End Oakland Flights Next Week

As we reported over the summer, both American and Continental Airlines will discontinue Oakland operations. The move, part of a series of cutbacks by each airline, means passengers will need to choose other Bay Area airports for their travel needs.

American Airlines ends flights effective September 2nd.
Continental Airlines ends flights effective September 3rd.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Engine Trouble Forces Jet Back to SFO

On Friday night, an engine on United flight #158, bound for Chicago, stalled in-flight forcing the plane to operate on the one remaining engine. Shortly thereafter, the pilot turned the plane around and landed about 30 minutes after takeoff. Reports from passengers stated smoke had entered the cabin while in the air. A United press release however asserts the smoke occurred only after the plane safely returned to the gate and engine turned off. No injuries were reported.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

"No Free Ride" parody brings out the fun in fees

(Thanks Bruce)
Fees are up, and services are down at airlines throughout the U.S. This parody from Parody & Son makes light of the troubling airline industry, and the impacts on passengers. Enjoy!

Friday, August 22, 2008

United Airlines: 10% Off Your Next International Flight

United has teamed up with Visa to offer customers a 10% discount on their next economy class international flight to Asia, Europe, or South America. Tickets must be purchased by September 30, 2008, for travel between September 9 and November 20, 2008.
Visit to receive your discount.

Holiday Inn Relaunches Brand

One of the most recognizable hotel names, with more than 3000 properties worldwide, has some grand changes in the works.

Holiday Inn is relaunching their brand, shining a new logo, freshening up their guest rooms, redesigning their welcome experience and committing to a new service promise.

Highlights of the changes:

Redesigned Brand Signage – Holiday Inn is making dramatic changes to its signage (see photo), including energizing the signature green color and eliminating the current shield shape. The new brand signage will also be incorporated into design elements in each of the more than 3,100 hotel lobbies and more than 400,000 guest rooms worldwide.

Refreshed Guest Room – Guests will be able to enjoy a new bedding experience with fresh, white duvets and pillows that come in two comfort levels: soft and firm. Bathrooms will feature a showerhead that offers superior pressure while conserving water as well as enhanced amenities, to deliver an invigorating and up-to-date bath experience.

Warm Welcome – A new signature arrival, including new lighting, landscaping and design features will create an energised and a sense of welcome that is universally recognisable and unique to the brand. Guests can expect a more interactive and efficient check-in process, while customised music and scent selections will also engage them in a complete sensory experience.

New Service Promise – Holiday Inn is committing to provide the best-in-class service. As part of the relaunch, the brand will initiate a new service culture – “Stay Real”. The service culture will enhance staff behaviour and skills to best serve guests, treating them as real people and consistently delivering the real, genuine service for which Holiday Inn is known.

The relaunch is currently rolling out to hotels around the world at the rate of 150 properties a month. Holiday Inn expects the new branding to be completed by 2010.

The original Holiday Inn was founded in 1952 in Memphis, Tennessee. Holiday Inn, and Holiday Inn Express are part of the Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG).

Deciding Whether to Purchase Travel Insurance

In a recent post, industry expert Peter Greenberg answers a reader question about whether one should purchase travel insurance. He outlines situations in which having travel insurance would be particularly beneficial, say if an airline or cruise line goes out of business, and others times when it may be unnecessary cost. He finishes his response by reminding folks that traditional medical insurance, such as plans offered through employers, has limitations when traveling abroad and find yourself in an emergency.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Frontier Airlines To Charge Fee for "Free Ticket"

Award redemption fee part of a package of changes announced
In a press release today, Denver-based Frontier airlines announced they will institute a $25 non-refundable redemption fee for travelers booking a free flight using Frontier EarlyReturns miles. Previously, members of their frequent flier program could redeem miles without being subjected to this fee.

Frontier also announced a 5,000-15,000 across the board increase in miles needed for a free ticket. Previously known as one of the best redemption options in the industry, 15,000 miles for a free, capacity controlled domestic ticket will now climb to 20,000 miles; still a relative bargain.

Other changes announced in the press release include adding a $75 fee for close-in redemption's - whereby travelers book award travel within 14 days of travel, and $75 bucks for redepositing miles for an unused award travel booking.

"We have always been incredibly proud of our EarlyReturns program, which offers one of the lowest redemption levels in the industry," said Frontier Vice President of Marketing, Sales and Distribution, Jim Young. "Unfortunately, with oil still nearly 50% higher than just six months ago, we had to review the current structure and revise elements that will afford our ability to remain both customer friendly and cost conscious. Even with the new fees and redemption levels, we still offer one of the most competitive programs in the industry."

The changes are effective September 15th. Some fees are waived for Frontier elite members.
"Here I am, safely returned over those peaks from a journey far more beautiful and strange than anything I had hoped for or imagined - how is it that this safe return brings such regret?" -Peter Mathissen

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

American Airlines Launches In-Flight Wi-Fi Today

For $13 bucks, passengers flying select American Airlines routes, including San Francisco to New York, will now enjoy in-flight Internet access. According to the Baltimore Business Journal, the service, which was launched today, allows customers with Wi-Fi enabled devices to send emails, surf the web or instant message; Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) services are not available.

Video: How in-flight internet works

Death Toll Rises in Madrid Plane Crash

Two dozen survivors pulled from wreckage

An airliner departing Madrid's Barajas International airport caught fire Wednesday and reportedly crashed after a take-off attempt.

The Spanair flight carrying 172 passengers and crew was en route to Las Palmas, in the Canary Islands - a popular vacation destination.

Latest government numbers report 90 fatalities, but CNN+ is reporting nearly 150 deaths. "It is certain catastrophe," one emergency official said.

Madrid newspaper El Mundo stated the aircraft broke into two as it crashed off the runway. Another report stated the accident occurred after a second attempt at take-off.

Spanair is Spain's second largest commercial airliner.

(Photo from Sky News)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Airline Cutbacks Arriving Soon At Oakland

Many airlines, forced to shrink capacity, are thinning routes or even dropping them entirely from their route map. Oakland Airport has been hit particularly with the downturn in the industry. The following is a recap of announced cutbacks for the next few months at Oakland International:
  • American Airlines will cease Oakland operations on September 2nd. The airline has daily non-stops to its Dallas hub.
  • Continental Airlines will also end operations the next day, September 3rd. It operates flights to its Houston hub.
  • United Airlines, which operates daily flights to Los Angeles will end on November 2nd.
  • Southwest will drop its daily non-stop to Tucson, effective November 3rd.
  • Taca Airlines, operating a daily flight to San Salvador will end on September 1st.
  • ExpressJet will end flights to Salt Lake City on September 1st.

Monday, August 18, 2008

TripAdvisor Brings Movies to Union Square This Week

TripAdvisor's traveling movie tour comes to
San Francisco's Union Square this week. Bring your friends and family, a blanket and snacks, and enjoy complimentary movies in the square. Movies start at sundown.

They will also be accepting donations of gently used travel bags for Suitcases For Kids, a non-profit organization providing suitcases, duffel bags and backpacks for foster care children around the world.

Event information:
-Tuesday @ 6:00pm: Roman Holiday
-Wednesday @ 6:00pm: Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Visit for more information.

Friday, August 15, 2008

San Francisco to San Juan $258RT/ Tax included

Nice weekend getaway here: Fly Continental Airlines from San Francisco to San Juan, PR., for $258 round-trip, including taxes and fees. The fare is valid through September for Monday-Thursday travel, with a 3-night minimum stay requirement. Click here to search availability.

Starwood Offers 500 Bonus Points Per Night in September

Starwood Hotels and Resorts is offering 500 bonus points for each eligible night you stay during the month of September. Unlike other promotions, this bonus is per night, not per stay, allowing up to 15,000 bonus points to be earned with this promotion. Registration is required before your hotel stay. Click here to register and read all the terms and conditions.

JetBlue To Launch San Francisco to Long Beach Flights

JetBlue announced plans to begin flying between San Francisco and its West Coast focus city - Long Beach beginning later this Fall. Initially the airline will operate two daily non-stops starting October 18th, but will add a third daily flight effective November 2nd. From Long Beach, passengers can connect to several other destinations throughout the U.S.

The airline also operates daily flights between Sacramento, Oakland, and San Jose to Long Beach.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

American and British Airways To Team Up

British Airways announced a deal that partners up with American Airlines, allowing both carriers to operate together, fixing routes, schedules and fares throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe. Spain's Iberia Airlines, recently acquired by British Airways, is included in the partnership.

One hurdle for the airlines will be receiving government approval. They must convince the U.S. that the deal does not negatively impact consumers. European regulators will likely be concerned about the dominance the combined airlines will have at London's Heathrow Airport, where the two carriers control nearly half the take-off and landing slots to the United States.

Virgin Atlantic's Chief Executive Richard Branson is not so excited about the prospects of a combined airline; "Make no mistake, A BA/AA alliance would be bad for passengers, bad for competition and bad for the UK and US aviation industry". Branson has sent letters to Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain urging them to say no to the proposed deal.

On the plus side, if the agreement is approved, travelers would likely see more booking options, including a wider array of destinations, easier hub connections and improved cooperation between the two frequent flier programs.

Convention Reveals Latest Airline Amenities

(Wall Street Journal)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

JetBlue 'Travel Together' 3-day Promotion

Save up to 20% when you travel with others.
Book between August 12 and August 15 for travel September 3 through October 31.

Save 10% when traveling with 1 other person. Promo code: JETTWO10
Save 15% when traveling with 2 other people Promo code: JET15THREE
Save 20% when traveling with 3 other people Promo code: JET20FOUR

Using the 10% code above, I was able to book a ticket for (2) from San Jose to Long Beach for $91.20 per person, tax inclusive.

Click here to read full terms and conditions and book your flight.

What is the International Drivers Permit?

The International Drivers Permit is essentially a permit to operate a motor vehicle outside of the United States. The International Drivers Permit translates the U.S drivers license into 10 other languages, making it a smoother process for say foreign police or car rental companies who may not easily understand the U.S drivers license. It is a valid document in 150 countries around the world. The permit is not in itself a license to drive; it must be accompanied with an officially issued drivers license from the states.

There are only two organizations in the U.S. where you can purchase an International permit:

National Automobile Club and the American Automobile Club. The permit fee is $15, and membership to either organization is not required.
Photo courtesy of Wanderus

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sacramento Int'l Officials Launch 'Big Build' Site

Sacramento International Airport officials announced the launch of a website dedicated to provide interested parties up-to-date information on the $1.3 billion airport expansion.

The site,, includes information about the project including a fly-through animation, employment opportunities for the build, and construction information that may cause traffic issues around the airport.

JetBlue drops Bay Area routes to Boston

Citing high fuel costs, JetBlue says it will cut routes between San Francisco and San Jose to Boston next month. Flights will end on September 3rd from SFO, and September September 16 from SJC. The airline will continue to offer flights to/from Oakland and Boston.

Monday, August 11, 2008

TSA to allow laptops to stay in approved bags

A constant annoyance for travelers passing through airport security is the requirement to remove their laptop computer and place it in a separate bin for screening. It sounds like a simple task, but in particular for business travelers often traveling each week, the repetitive nature of the required task becomes a constant nuisance.

Even those traveling without laptops are affected, as the special laptop screening results in longer security security lines.

Changes are in the works.

After receiving responses from over 60 manufacturers of laptop computer bags, TSA has decided on particular "checkpoint friendly" laptop bags, which provide a clear, unobstructed view of the laptop computer as it passes through the X-ray machine.

"Checkpoint friendly" bags must have a dedicated laptop-only section (see illustration above)which unfolds to lie flat on the X-ray machine belt, contains no metal snaps, zippers, buckles or pockets.

The new rules go into effect on August 16th are expected to streamline the security checkpoint process.
no one deals like we do!

Cathay Pacific Explore India Sweepstakes

Enter for a chance to win a trip for 2 to India, including a Taj Hotels. Resorts and Palaces hotel stay. You must register between now and August 31st to qualify. Click here for more details.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Riding Coach on the Emirates A380

Last week I described the superior product Emirates has produced for passengers lucky enough to ride in Business or First Class on Airbus 380 flights. But what about everyone else? That is, the other 399 passengers flying downstairs in economy class.

Friends have asked, "is it worth flying the plane if you are not flying in luxury class?"My response is, while the luxuries are more prominent upstairs, there are plenty of enhancements and offerings for those riding downstairs, in economy, that do make riding the big bird an exciting experience, even in coach.

Economy/Coach Class
Thumbs Up:

  • Economy seating (see below) is configured 3-4-3. Seat pitch is 33" which is about 1"-2" larger than economy seating offered by most U.S.-based airlines.

  • A 10.6" seat-back mounted display screen is offered at each seat. Over 1000 channels of programming, including on-demand TV shows and movies, music and more is available using Emirates ICE entertainment system.

  • A USB port works with the entertainment system, allowing you to bring personal music, video or PDF files from home. Power

  • A seat-back mounted hook was added enabling passengers to hang a coat or sweater without the need of stowing it in the overhead bins, and providing easy access in the event the cabin cools during flight.

  • Tray tables, as expected, are included at each seat. In addition, a drop-down cup/drink holder can be used, making it unnecessary lower the entire tray table just to lay your drink down.

  • Exceptionally quiet in-flight experience. Conversations can take place in a normal tone and volume, without competing against excessive engine noise found on older aircraft models.
  • Three separate jetways (pictured below) allow concurrent loading/unloading of passengers on both the upper and lower decks.

Thumbs Down:

  • Rows 85-88; the numbers basically say it all. It's pretty far back on the plane. There is a general feeling of being cutoff from everyone else on the plane, in part because a center wall, which replaces where 4 seats would be located (3-4-3 configuration) causes an obstructed view to the opposite side of the plane. This areas of the plane is not for the claustrophobic! That said, these rows are sometimes reserved for flight crew, and would therefore be an infrequent problem for regular passengers.

Overall, Economy class on Emirates Airlines' A380 transcends the competition. Although far short of the generous amenities afforded to business and first class fliers upstairs, as you would expect, there is still a general "wow" feeling as you walk through the cabin. The massive interior, the unsoiled carpets, the smell of newness, all contribute to the experience.

Of course this same "wow" happened with the advent of the Boeing 747, and other grand additions to aviation history, but the A380 marks the latest and greatest in technological developments, and combined with the high standards of service Emirates has built its reputation on, flying the Airbus 380 on Emirates is simply an enjoyable journey not to be missed.

Click here for more pictures from Economy
Click here for more pictures from Business and First
Click here for pictures from the Emirates A380 arrival into SFO last week

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Wedding on a Wing

A bride, a groom, a minister and a bi-plane for each; you've got yourself a marriage. Check out video from a couple who recently tied the knot, tied down to a plane, flying over Great Britain.

Emirates Postpones San Francisco Launch

According to airline routes news, Emirates Airlines has again postponed their San Francisco launch. Although no reason is cited, Emirates previously stated delays were related to taking delivery of a new Boeing 777-LR, set to operate the San Francisco to Dubai route.

Emirates now expects to begin operating flights from
San Francisco on December 15, 2008.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Affinia Hotels Magic 8 Ball Offer

Another great 08-08-08 hotel offer.

Affinia Hotels is offering $88 Sunday night rooms at their New York City, Chicago and Washington, D.C. properties through March 31, 2009. But you must make the reservation between 8am (EST) and 8pm (PST) on 08-08-08.

Click here for more information.

Related: Click here for details on the Super 8 Motels $8.88 Promotion announced last week.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Delta 1,000 Mile Online Booking Bonus Promo

A (temporary) return to the online booking bonus!
Delta Airlines is offering a 1,000 mile SkyMiles Bonus when booking your next round-trip ticket at, and pay with your American Express card.

The promotion runs now through December 31st, and you must register before booking travel in order to earn the bonus miles. Click here for more information and to register.

New Southwest Rapid Rewards Membership Bonus Offer

If you are not a member of Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards program, now may be the time to enroll. A promotion running now through September 30th. awards new members two (2) rapid rewards credits for enrolling, and another two (2) credits for signing up for email updates. You need a total of 16 credits within 24 months to score a free round-trip ticket.
Click here for additional information & to register.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Alaska Airlines Ends San Francisco to Vancouver Flights

On August 24th, Alaska Airlines will discontinue the San Francisco to Vancouver route. The airline operates two daily Boeing 737 flights between the city pair. Passengers will need to connect through the airlines' Portland or Seattle hub in order to continue into Vancouver.

Southwest Airlines Visa: Free Trip Offer Continues

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. Previously the promotion has been 8 rapid rewards credits for signing up and using the card. $59 bucks to fly to one of the many destinations Southwest serves in the U.S makes this a hot offer.
Click here to read the t&c or to apply for the card. (corrected link)

Sacramento to Philadelphia $181 "All In"

Sacramento to Philadelphia is currently pricing at $155+ tax, "$181 all in."
The fare is available on United ("L" class) and Northwest ("K" Class) with good availability through early January 2009. Visit Travelocity and search using the "flexible dates" option.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Review of the Emirates Airbus 380 at SFO

By Mike Grasso
August 1, 2008, Emirates Airlines made history by launching the first-ever, Airbus 380 commercial airliner service into the United States. The flight touched down at New York's JFK, and will continue to be operated 3 times a week JFK and the Emirates hub in Dubai.

During a little downtime in the flights, the airline shuttled the super-jumbo jet to San Francisco Airport, where media and other aviation VIP's got a sneak peak of the A380, and a taste of the world famous Emirates service.

First Class
The 14 First Class Suites (pictured left) exceed a private jet experience. Electronically controlled double-doors open to an adjustable bed extending 86" in length. The suites provide the opportunity to customize a level of service depending on your needs. Simply relax in your suite with the accompanying mini-bar and refreshments, vanity mirror, 23" digital TV, including 1100 channels of programming, and request flight crew service on an as needed basis.

Or, pamper yourself with the award-winning service Emirates is known for. Indulge in a seven course meal, with a variety of options to please all tastes. First class passengers may order limitless menu items, including a complete range of sundries and premium liquors by simply informing the nearby cabin attendant.

First class passengers receive complimentary access to two full-service bathroom spa's (pictured above), including hot steamy showers, to freshen up after a long journey. Although showers are limited to 5-8 minutes in length due to water restrictions, guests are permitted to use the remainder of the bathroom for a longer duration. And who wouldn't, with heated flooring, premium grooming products, a hair dryer, and a 15.4" LCD monitor.

Although the suites provide a high level of privacy and comfort, they are not floor-to-ceiling enclosures you might expect when you hear the term, "suites." The surrounding wall to the walkway stands about 3-4 feet in height. Nevertheless, the luxurious first class suite on the Emirates A380 is one not to be missed, and certainly surpasses most other first class aviation products available.

First and Business Class, both which cover the entire second level of the A380, share a lounge area near the rear of the aircraft. Two nearby leather couches invite friends, new and old, to truly enjoy the experience of flying - outside of the assigned seat. A few steps away, a full-service bar (pictured above), featuring warm and cold canap├ęs, premium liquors, and service with a smile, are all available at your leisure.

Business Class
Business class (pictured above), includes 76-lie flat beds which vary between 70" and 79" in length, depending on your seat. Although business class does not feature enclosed suites, high quality food and service, much like in first class, remain available to guests. On-demand media programming is available with a 17" personal digital TV in each unit.

An important consideration when flying Business Class on the new Airbus 380 is the staggering layout of the seats affecting your experience. Some rows for example are designed for two passengers travelling together, but still with the option of putting up a privacy wall in-between, while other rows are built with a large amount of space between the seat next - not particularly warming for a couple traveling together. An Emirates purser I spoke with indicated that the varying layout reflects the needs of the traveler, and often times, those traveling in business class are flying solo. Bottom line here. not all business class seats are equal, and be sure to know this when selecting them during the reservation process.

The business class product itself appears to be of superior quality and will most certainly makes for a wonderful flying experience.
Additional First & Business Class photos can be found here.

All Classes
Ring-ring, who is that calling? It's a friend sitting back in row 86K. (That is, economy class of course). A feature available to all passengers on the plane is the seat-to-seat calling. Can't sit together? Too lazy to go visit them? Call them. The quality of the voice comes through quite clear on the receiving end.

Another great element of the Emirates Airbus 380 are the three mounted cameras. The tail-mounted cam (pictured above) makes for hours of viewing pleasure, particularly during take-offs and landings.

The entire aircraft is equipped with the latest and greatest in technological developments. Each seat features a USB port whereby you can upload and work on important business tasks, or entertain yourself with music and movies you brought from home. ICE, the onboard entertainment system offers over 1000 channels of on-demand entertainment, as well as live BBC news headlines.
Each cabin has crew-controlled mood lighting and sounds. As night falls, the cabin dims and stars fill the roof of the cabin; by morning, light begins to fill the cabin, with the sounds of birds chirping, softly in the background.

Emirates has incorporated even these small details to ensure a premium travel experience for all passengers, regardless class of service.

Please check back later this week for a review of Emirates A380 Coach class.

JetBlue Charging $7 For Napping Supplies

JetBlue flights of two hours or longer will now feature and pillow and blanket - for $7. Yes, they are trying to sell us on something that was previously free. According to the airline, the nap pack features a hypoallergenic pillow and fleece blanket that passengers are free to keep after use. The airline is including a $5 Bed Bath and Beyond coupon with each pack.

U.S Airways, who recently began charging for on board soft drinks and coffee, responded to the JetBlue news by stating a charge for pillows is something they plan to institute in the future as well.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Emirates Airlines Airbus 380 Arriving At SFO Earlier Today

Check back Tuesday for complete coverage of the Airbus 380 Demonstration flight at SFO. For now, check out more photos of the A380 arrival at SFO from earlier today.

Rite Aid $3.99 Passport Photos

Bay Area residents living near a Rite Aid store can appreciate this weeks circular. On the Photo Shop page (page 12 locally, but may vary by market) advertises Passport photos for only $3.99 a set, after a $4 rebate. Best of all, Rite Aid rebates are submitted electronically, saving you the hassle of submitting forms and receipts by mail. Passport photos can often cost between $8 and $20 elsewhere. Click here to view this weeks Ride Aid circular.

Final Day To Book Starwood 50% Rack Rates

Direct from our friends at *wood

This is the final day to score 50% off rack rates at Starwood properties in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean. Keep in mind availability will vary by hotel, and remaining inventory may be limited. Nevertheless, if you are planning a hotel stay during August or September, the period in which this promotional pricing runs, it makes sense to do a quick search for availability at your hotel of choice. You must book by Midnight (EDT) tonight to qualify for this deal.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Taca Drops Oakland to San Salvador Flights

Taca will drop daily service between Oakland and San Salvador effective September 1st. It was only last November the airline began operating the route. The airline will continue to operate service between San Francisco Airport and San Salvador.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Petition to Save U.S Airways Dividend Miles

On August 6, 2008, U.S Airways is scheduled to officially end the bonus miles program for Preferred status Dividend Miles members. This change, which we reported back in June, is an unprecedented move by the airline that hugely impacts its most loyal flyers. A core benefit to elite members of most frequent flyer programs is the 25-100% bonus miles for each paid flight. Come August 6th, U.S Airways will rip that benefit entirely from its Dividend Miles program.

Even if you are not an elite flyer of U.S Airways, there is reason to be concerned. Such a drastic move to a frequent flyer program is undoubtedly being monitored by other airlines. If this change slides through without flyers voicing their disapproval, it's likely other airlines, perhaps your airline of choice, will follow in the footsteps of U.S Air.

Now a grassroots effort is underway to stop U.S Airways from implementing this significant reduction in elite benefits. The website, provides an outlet for those concerned about the change to go on record. While at this site, you can learn more about the scheduled program change, read an outstanding editorial from Flyertalk founder Randy Peterson about why U.S Airways should rethink their decision, and finally sign a petition demanding the airline rescind their planned change.

Emirates Inaugurates Airbus 380 to United States

Special coverage of Emirates A380 flying to San Francisco on Monday
Earlier today, Dubai-based Emirates Airlines launched the first-ever commercial Airbus 380 service to the United States. The flight is scheduled to touch down at New York's JFK airport at 4:45 p.m. local time. No other airline operates A380 flights to the U.S.

On Monday, the A380 will fly to San Francisco to begin two days of familiarization flights along the West coast. The plane will be greeted with a water cannon ceremony upon landing at SFO. Shortly thereafter, media will have the opportunity to tour the interior of the aircraft and experience the service and comfort Emirates is famous for, during a two hour demo flight.

I'm pleased to report that I've been invited to attend the Monday festivities at SFO. Please check back late Monday for complete coverage on this exciting and historical event.
Read more: Past articles on Emirates.