Thursday, October 30, 2008

California Voters: Why You Should Vote NO on Prop 8

As many of you know, on November 4, 2008, voters in California whether or not to take away the rights of gay couples to marry. If Proposition 8 passes, it will be the first time in history that discrimination is written into the state constitution. Prop 8 targets a specific group and says they are no longer equal under the eyes of the law. It's discrimination and we cannot tolerate that in our state. Prop 8 is hurtful and damaging.

My friends, over the past several weeks I have donated significant time and money to the NO on 8 campaign. For me, it is still not enough. So, over the next few days I will dedicate this blog to the NO on 8 campaign. This issue is of utter importance and something I felt the need to share with all my loyal readers. I've included several videos (one blog post down) so you can see the faces and hear the stories of why Prop 8 must be defeated.

Please, if you are a registered voter in California, Vote NO on 8.
Call friends, families, neighbors, professors, - anyone who will listen to you. Tell them 8 is all about Hate. NO on 8. Visit to find out other ways you can help.

Finally, I'd like to leave you with a note a friend sent to me emphasizing the importance for everyone to speak out and against this hateful proposition:

Many of you may think, "I'm straight, what does this have to do with me?" Well, it is an important moment of conscience and commitment, and a time for us to reflect and to remember the words of the Rev. Martin Niemoller:

"In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;

And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;

And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;

And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up."

The Faces Against Proposition 8

Celebrities Say NO on Prop 8

Did We Vote On YOUR Marriage? - Vote NO On Prop 8

Five Lies with the Yes on 8 Ad

Prop 8 Has nothing to do with schools or kids

Mayor Gavin Newsom: It's Not Too Late To Defeat Prop 8

Let California Ring

Assemblywoman Fiona Ma and other API Leaders Speak out against Prop 8

PSA NO to Prop 8

Tearful Republican Mayor of San Diego Reverses Stance on Gay Marriage
(Audio problems the first 30 seconds of this video)

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Vows to Fight Anti-Gay Amendment

Senator Feinstein: NO on Prop 8

Oakland to Tijuana Flights Coming Soon?

Low-cost-carrier Avolar Airlines has applied to the U.S Government to operate flights between Oakland Airport and it's base in Tijuana, Mexico. In their application, the airline asks to operate flights 3 times a day between the two cities - as soon as possible, utilizing Boeing 737 aircraft.
Avolar has operated within Mexico since 2005. In the past several months however, the airline has earned some rather unfavorable publicity after having routes temporarily suspended for financial reasons. This left some passengers stranded in Tijuana.
We'll keep you posted on the progress of Avolar coming to the Bay Area.

Want A Creepy Kick? Check Into A Deadly Hotel

Rickety old haunted houses are for lightweights. Want to really feel the fear? (You sicko.) For seekers of creepy kicks, there's nothing quite like a bona fide gruesome death site. Hotels are primo spots for dubious deeds—including big-time murders, overdoses, and suicides, as well as run-of-the-mill accidental biotoxin poisonings.

So in the spirit of a forensics-leaning Halloween, here's our list of 12 inns that hosted famous passings. They range from rock 'n' rollers' expiration sites off L.A.'s Sunset Strip to a sumptuous boutique hotel on Paris's Left Bank. Most have successfully scrubbed themselves of their dubious reputation, while a few happily trade on the notoriety. But one thing is shared by every place listed: You don't need a ghost-busting team to get a genuine shudder from their bloodstained histories. Read more
-Slideshow of Deadly Hotels

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Government Approves Delta and Northwest Merger

The U.S Justice Department approved a merger between Delta and Northwest Airlines today, the final regulatory hurdle that creates one of the world's largest airlines.  Although the merger was announced several months ago, airline execs had to convince the government the merger would not cause substantial harm to consumers, such as significantly lessening the competition. And that they did. 
The merged airlines will combine flight schedules and loyalty programs over the next two years. According to a Delta press release, for customers, it will be business as usual during the process - as changes will be "thoughtfully" rolled out. 

AeroMexico Applies for SFO to Mexico City Route

(Update: Airline plans to fly SFO-Mexico City)
According to the airline route updates blog, AeroMexico has applied to operate a Oakland to Mexico City route effective December 2, 2008. If approved, the flight would operate daily on a Boeing 737 aircraft.

The added service could benefit consumers. The only non-stop flights offered from the greater Bay Area are from San Francisco (United and Mexicana) and Sacramento (Mexicana). The increase in total available seats between the Bay and Mexico City may help drive down prices in the coming months.

AeroMexico is part of the SkyTeam airline alliance.

inFLIGHTout Expands to Larger Audience With Newstex

I'm proud to announce that Web content aggregator Newstex and inFLIGHTout have teamed up enabling a larger audience to enjoy topic-specific posts previously enjoyed primarily by Bay Area readers.

Newstex processes blogs, such as inFLIGHTout, in real-time through its NewsRouter technology to automatically tag each blog post with key data then redistributes to downstream enterprise customers to ensure greater exposure and reach for this valuable content. Content from inFLIGHTout will be integrated in over the next several weeks.

Readers of inFLIGHTout will continue to enjoy writings relevant to the needs of business and leisure travelers throughout the United States, including right here in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area.

Thank you to my loyal readers for your ongoing support!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

American Changes 'Minimum 500 Mile' Accrual Policy

Change impacts non-elite AAdvantage members

Following in the footsteps of United and U.S Airways, American Airlines says effective January 1, 2009, it will award frequent flier miles based on actual miles flown, stripping away the minimum 500 miles awarded for short-haul flights less than 500 miles in length. For example, a flight from San Francisco to Los Angeles - about 337 miles in length, would earn the 500 mile minimum based on the old policy. With the new change, only 337 miles are earned. United and U.S Airways recently adopted the same policy.

Unlike the United and U.S Airways policy change however, American airlines has exempted its elite members from this. Thus, AAdvantage Executive Platinum, AAdvantage Platinum, and AAdvantage Gold members will continue to enjoy the 500 mile minimum on most flights.

Monday, October 27, 2008

San Francisco to New York City $155 Roundtrip "all in"

HOT FARE. 12:45 PM.
San Francisco to New York City for $155 round trip, including all taxes and fees on Delta Airlines, and some codeshares with Northwest. Fare valid for Monday-Thursday and Saturday travel, between November 3, 2008 and January 14, 2009. This amazing fare is available for non-stop flights into JFK, or for slightly more you can connect and fly into LaGuardia. Click here to search for flights. This fare will not last long.

TripAdvisor $1 Million Charity Giveaway

To celebrate over 15 million reviews, and show the power of a collective voice, TripAdvisor is giving away $1 million to environmentally and socially conscious organizations, and needs your help to allocate the funds. Vote for any of the following: Conservation International; Doctors Without Borders; National Geographic Society; The Nature Conservancy; Save The Children. Submit your vote by November 9, 2008.

When Buying Air Miles Is A Bad Purchase

By Mike Grasso

Purchasing airline miles directly from the airline is often a poor method of accruing miles, both economically and practically. But purchasing miles for a near-immediate redemption opportunity can be quite beneficial.

First, the airlines usually price these miles at a premium, valued far higher than earning miles by most other means (flying, car rentals, credit cards, etc.)For example, let's say you are 10,000 miles short of a free flight to New York. United Airlines will gladly sell you 10,000 miles - but for $357 dollars. Instead, purchase a ticket to New York City for about the same price, and you'd earn 5,000 miles in the process. In that scenario, there is no direct value added when buying miles from the airline. Always weigh purchase price options with award redemption opportunities.

Also, redeeming miles into a capacity controlled frequent flier program means the airline will limit your redemption opportunities on days, flights or routes it chooses. If it's a popular route, high-season, or holiday, you will have a tough time finding availability. They would rather sell expensive tickets than fill the plane up with people redeeming miles. And guess what? You are not the only person trying to redeem miles on a flight. Many people are competing for what is often limited overall availability. Thus, buying premium-priced miles for use on low-value flights with the added uncertainly seats will even be offered by the airline, isn't very practical.

And simply buying miles to fill up your frequent flyer account, with no specific purpose for using them, would be like depositing money into a bank savings account that earns 0% interest. Worse off, if the airline goes under, your miles will probably vanish. Whatever you do, don't buy miles and let them sit.

But, buying airline miles can be situationally helpful. If you are 1000 miles short of 50,000 - enough for a free economy ticket to Europe on some airlines, you may want to fork up the $50-$60 cost. In this case, call the airline first - check for award redemption availability before buying miles. Another example is maybe you are 5,000 miles short of 90,000 - enough to fly Business Class on Singapore Airlines to Asia. The true value of that business class ticket is probably $6,000 or more. Paying $150 to cover your miles shortfall does seem tempting. Again, check for availability of award seats before buying the miles.

Lastly, as if they airline doesn't already have a strong-hold on these frequent flier programs already; buying miles is not a real-time exchange. United Airlines says it can take up to 48 hours to post to your account, American Airlines up to 72 hours. So while you are waiting for those purchased miles to post to your account, award availability may vanish from under your eyes. If you are in a situation like this, call the airline first, explain your scenario. They may do a courtesy hold if you provide them with your confirmation number of your miles purchase.

Cost of purchasing 10,000 frequent flyer miles (includes taxes, fees)*
  • United $357.50

  • American $298.75

  • Delta $295.63

  • Northwest $305.00

*price check performed on 7/28/08

Friday, October 24, 2008

People Pushers and Diving Into the Antarctic (Friday Fun)

Have two amusing videos for you today. The first, people pushers, comes from Japan, illustrating the rush to catch the train. The second, a Lonely Planet TV video of a man truly enjoying his vacation to the Antarctic. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

TSA To Relax Liquid Ban in 2009

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) expects to relax current restrictions on carrying liquids through airport screening checkpoints within a year, said TSA chief Kip Hawley in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal.

“We are within a year of having the ability to differentiate threat liquids through the screening process,” said Hawley. Although several X-Ray machines are available to detect such liquids, the software to evaluate detected liquids is still being tested.

TSA has not said specifically how the anticipated ease of restrictions will benefit travelers. One possibility is larger volumes of liquids, such as a full water bottle, may be initially permitted through checkpoints, as long as it is scanned separately from bags. Later, the hope is passengers will not need to remove liquids from bags, a common frustration for air travelers.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Southwest Airlines: Buffalo 50% Off Sale

Southwest is running a 50% off promotion for flights to/from Buffalo, New York. Some great deals to be had from the San Francisco Bay Area:

From San Francisco: $87+ each way ($216 RT, including taxes)
HOT! From San Jose: $41+ each way ($138 RT, including taxes)
From Oakland: $70+ each way ($174 RT, including taxes)
From Sacramento $76+ each way ($196 RT, including taxes)

Book by Thursday, for travel between October 28, 2008 through February 12, 2009. Some blackout dates apply during the holidays. Use promotion code: FLYBUF if the discount is not already taken off for you.

Oakland Airport Rolling Out Free WiFi

FreeFi Networks, Inc., the new WiFi service provider at Oakland International Airport, is in the process of rolling out free WiFi service throughout the airport.

Oakland Airport spokesperson Joanne Holloway said the wireless technology is being rolled out in phases. By the end of this week, Gates 20-24 and 29-32 in Terminal 2 should be up and running.

The FreeFi Network is known for their ad-based model of WiFi, allowing users free Internet usage provided they can sit through a brief series of advertisements. Although Oakland Airport officials have not said what, if any, type of advertising will we bundled into the free service, there is a general consensus it will be unobtrusive and fairly-low key, based on feedback from other FreeFi clients.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Amazon Sweepstakes: Mini Vacation for Two to London

Enter the, "'The Promise' of London Il Divo For You" Sweepstakes for a chance to win round trip tickets to London, and a pair of tickets to attend the Il Divo concert in London. The trip takes place Spring 2009.  Included in the grand prize are two nights hotel accommodations and $500 (British Pounds) spending money. Enter by November 11th

Vacation Idea: Storm Chasing

Not for the faint-hearted, storm chasing vacations allow one to get up close and personal with severe storms, and on a "good" day, even encounter tornado's.
Tornado alley as it's known, stretches throughout much of the Midwest and west of the Appalachian mountains of the United States. Although tornadoes can occur almost anywhere in the United States, including right here in Northern California (the picture to the left was taken at Sacramento International Airport), during the early summer months, storms are particularly severe and plentiful in Tornado Alley. As such, professionals and amateurs alike gather in the "alley" awaiting the opportunity to encounter the awesome power of mother nature. Speaking from personal experience, it is a feeling unlike any other.

Forbes Traveler recently wrote on professional tour operators dedicated to those interested in partaking in storm chasing. Many of these operators are well-versed in meteorology and storm chasing, and chase storms equipped with the latest high-tech equipment allowing them to identify regions storms are most likely to break out.

Monday, October 20, 2008

United Slashes More Flights From San Jose

Considered yet another setback for South Bay flyers, United Airlines will drop flights from San Jose to Chicago-O'Hare airport effective November 2nd. This comes after the airline recently ended flights between San Jose and Washington-Dulles. Transcontinental flyers using United from the South Bay will now need to connect in either Los Angeles or Denver, both cities which have seen recent reduction in United flights already.

Airship Ventures Zeppelin Expected This Weekend

Back in June 2007 we reported on the anticipated arrival of the Airship Ventures Zeppelin to the San Francisco Bay Area. And now we hear the arrival of the "big bird" is just a few days away.

One of only three Zeppelins in the world, and the first to come to the United States, the Zeppelin is slated to fly up the coast and over the Golden Gate Bridge this weekend, around October 25th, weather permitting.

This historic flight will mark the first time in 71 years that a Zeppelin has flown in the skies over the United States. This landmark transit flight will also be dedicated to the memory of aviation adventurer Steve Fossett, who set the airship speed record in the Zeppelin -- a record that still stands today. Says Steve Fossett's widow Peggy Fossett, "I am honored that Airship Ventures would dedicate this flight to Steve's memory. He was truly proud to have been part of the Zeppelin project."

Once in the San Francisco Bay Area, the airship will offer the only passenger airship flight service in America. "Flightseeing" tours will be offered from several Bay Area locations, showcasing the San Francisco Bay/Silicon Valley, Sonoma/Napa wine regions, and Monterey/Big Sur coastline.

The airship will also be used for a variety of technological and scientific research missions.Round-trip rides from historic Moffett Field will begin in late October 2008, with flights from Oakland International and Sonoma County Airport starting in November. Tickets start at $495 per person. Packages are available for group charters, corporate events, and custom tours.

Photo above: May 2008 Maiden Flight

Source: Company Press Release

Saturday, October 18, 2008

San Francisco to Sydney $901 RT/taxes included

United Airlines is offering round trip tickets between San Francisco and Sydney for $901 round-trip, including all taxes and fees. Plenty of availability too! Valid for departures between October 20 and November 27, 2008 only. Visit

Friday, October 17, 2008

Earn 500 American Airlines Miles From Bose

Received an email today from American offering up to 500 miles for watching a demonstration of the Bose® QuietComfort® headphones.
1. Earn 150 AAdvantage miles for watching a 60-second video (you can do this now!)
2. Earn 350 AAdvantage miles for watching an in-store demonstration.

Click here to learn more and start earning miles.

How Its Made: Airline Meals (Friday Fun)

While heavily focused on airline meals in the front of the plane (business and first), this video nevertheless enlightens us on the comprehensive steps followed in order to produce a tasty and enjoyable dining experience in the air.

Want to see what meals are dished up by each of the airlines? Visit for pictures and reviews of airline food in the sky, and in the airport lounges around the world.
Price Assurance Math (468x60)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Air Canada Jazz Drops Sacramento to Vancouver Later This Month

Air Canada Jazz will drop twice-daily flights between Sacramento and Vancouver effective October 25th. Record high fuel prices and a mild recession are partially blamed for the route loss, which has operated since June 2007.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Midweek Round Up Of Airfares

Thanks to a significant drop in the price of crude oil, many airlines recently announced a drop in fuel surcharges. These charges were choking the price of an airline ticket adding $50-$250 to the price of a round trip flight. Delta, American, United, Air France and Virgin Atlantic all announced cuts in fuel surcharges. Other airlines are maintaining the heavy fee citing unpredictable short term charges in the cost of oil.

Now may be the time to capitalize on recent drops in fuel surcharges, and discounts on some routes. Here is a roundup of fares from Wednesday morning. All prices below are round trip and include all taxes and fees. Most travel dates valid through Fall 2008, some longer.

San Francisco to:
Long Beach $118 (JetBlue/B9)
Seattle $149 (Virgin America/VX and Alaska/AS)
San Diego $118 (Virgin America/VX)
San Jose, CR $513 (Continental/CO))
San Juan, PR $304 (U.S Airways/US)

Sacramento to:
Berlin , DE $765 (United/UA and Continental/CO)
Cabo San Lucas $329 (United/UA)

Santa Rosa to:
Las Vegas $179 (Horizon/QX)

Find Cheap Flights from 100+ Sites with One Click.

Options For Low Balance Frequent Flier Accounts

Perhaps you flew an airline once and never plan to again, or maybe you just don't fly that often. Those pesky frequent flier miles sitting around with only a few thousand miles may actually be worth something. Though you are probably far short of a free trip, many airlines allow you to redeem miles for other products and services, such as car rentals, magazines and gift cards. Visit your airlines frequent flier homepage to discover redemption opportunities other than flights.

Remember, most airlines require a transaction (earn or redeem miles) to your frequent flier account within a 18-24 month period, otherwise you risk loosing the account completely.

Click here to save 10% on weekend rentals

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How to Inspect Your Hotel Room for Bugs

Came across this informative post from Bug Girl on how to inspect hotel rooms for tiny critters. Deciding to post this has been bugging me because intuition tells me to stay away from cheap motels room and avoid this problem all together. But experience says otherwise. I've had a few unexpected guests pestering me during the night at mid-priced hotels in major cities, and had plenty of restful nights - alone, at lower end motels.

Have a look at what Bug Girl has to say on protecting yourself from checking into a room already occupied by little pests.

Gay Travel Expo Returns to San Francisco

The Gay Travel Expo returns to San Francisco once again. The traveling expo takes place each Fall in different cities throughout the United States and Canada. This year, it arrives in San Francisco on October 28th. You can expect between 500 and 1000 GLBT travelers and travel professionals in attendance. In years past, exhibitors included well-known hotels, airlines and tour agencies familiar to the GLBT community.

When: Monday October 28th. (Time is not stated - but it is usually in the late afternoon/evening)
Where: Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason Street
More information:, including free admission tickets.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind. -Seneca

Jet Airways Suspends San Francisco-Mumbai Flights

Jet Airways will discontinue flights between San Francisco and Mumbai effective January 13, 2009. According to airline officials, the suspension is necessary to cut down on low performing flights. You may recall Jet Airways only began flying from SFO in June.

"We are suspending the flight on a temporary basis...because of the current economic situation we had to rationalise our network and take out the low-performing flights," said Sudheer Raghavan, chief commercial officer.

Although Jet Airways is a notable International airline with 400 daily flights throughout India and the globe, the airline was a complete newcomer to the San Francisco market. Jet Airways (softly) introduced the market to direct flights to India, but failed to offer compelling reasons for passengers comfortable with the status-quo to make the switch to a relatively unknown carrier.

If Jet Airways does decide to resume flights in the San Francisco market - and I hope they do, I suggest the airline re-introduce themselves on the following key strengths:
  • Frequent flier program benefits; little, if any, communication was said about partnerships with U.S-based airlines to earn miles while flying Jet Airways. For example, Northwest and American Airlines both permit mileage accrual on some or all of Jet Airways flights.
  • Product offered; Jet Airways operates a new Boeing 777-300ER on the San Francisco route, complete with the latest technological advances that put fun back into flying, and has 10 Boeing 787 'Dreamliner' planes on order. Compare that to other airlines operating older style aircraft lacking modern day comforts, style and ammenities.
  • Brand name; while not recognized much on the West Coast, Jet Airways is the largest carrier in India and operates flights to several dozen cities throughout the world.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Virgin America Offers 'Absurdly Simply' Visa Signature Card

San Francisco-based Virgin America announced the launch of a co-branded Visa Signature card. Underwritten by Barclays US, the "Absurdly Simple" card offers guests premium services, rewards, and amenities - with no annual fee.

Customers will earn 2,500 Elevate bonus points after the first purchase, triple points on Virgin America purchases, and one point per dollar spent on everyday purchases. Additional bonuses are available on card membership anniversaries and for balance transfers.

According to the Virgin America site, card members who apply by November 30, 2008 and use the card by January 31, 2009, will receive a free one-way flight on Virgin America. And, if that was not enough to get you excited, a bonus 1,000 Elevate points are available if you pre-register for the promotion and opt to get the card.

Overall, I would recommend this card to others. In addition to the built in Visa Signature benefits, the free one-way trip, the first-use bonus points and other methods of point accrual all make this a fairly generous card to consider. Do take note that according to the t&c's, although there are no blackout dates with the free one-way ticket, it's not clear if it is capacity controlled; that is, whether you are allowed any open seat, or if the airline will limit the number of free seats on a flight.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

10% Off Air Canada Flights When Using AMEX for Payment

Visit to receive 10% off your next international flight to Europe, Asia, and South America. Must take advantage of this offer before November 15th for travel between now and December 13, 2008. Valid for select city departures, including San Francisco - and you must use American Express to purchase your ticket.

Made of Honor - Say I Do To Romance Sweepstakes

6 day trip for 2 to Scotland, including economy class airfare, hotel, airport transfers, luxury motorcoach with visits to Cawdor Castle, Glen Ord Whiskey Distillery, and Edinburgh; three 3-course dinners; and daily breakfast. Value $6,000.
Enter by October 31, 2008.

Spend five nights experiencing the highlights of Scotland, a truly captivating and romantic land. Courtesy of VisitBritain and Brendan Worldwide Vacations, the winner will explore the rugged beauty of Scotland’s glens, lochs and isles and visit the “Bonnie Banks” of Loch Lomond. View the Loch Ness, the home of the mysterious monster “Nessie”, travel to Cawdor Castle and visit the Glen Ord Whiskey Distillery.

Spend some free time in Inverness, the highland’s capital to enjoy the breathtaking scenery. Travel south toward Edinburgh, the “Prince of Cities”, your final destination, and on your way pass Balmoral estate, the Queen’s private Highland residence. Or you could win a classic pendant with an emerald cut diamond, or a seasonal bouquet each month for 12 months.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fleet Week San Francisco Has Arrived

The U.S Navy Fleet week and Blue Angels Air show returns to San Francisco once again. Events planned for the rest of the week include Parade of Fleet Week ships, ship tours, a music festival, Italian Heritage Day parade, and of course the spectacular aerial show featuring The Snowbirds and Blue Angels. Click here for a complete listing of the weeks events.
The only way of catching a train I ever discovered is to miss the train before.
-G.K. Chesterton

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

JetBlue Launches San Francisco to Long Beach Flights This Month

JetBlue will begin flying between San Francisco and its West Coast focus city - Long Beach beginning October 18th. Initially the airline will operate two daily non-stops, 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.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sun Country Declares Bankruptcy, Plans To Continue Flights

In a press release today, Sun Country airlines, facing a significant cash shortage, announced it has filed for bankruptcy. Petters Aviation, which owns all of Sun Country's voting shares, also filed.

"We were forced to take this action as a result of recent events at Petters Group Worldwide," Sun Country CEO Stan Gadek said in a prepared statement.

The airline plans to continue operating a regular flight schedule, but last week warned employees of significant layoffs or a complete shutdown by December 1st if the cash problems were not resolved.

Sun Country currently offers flights between San Francisco (SFO) and Minneapolis.

What are 'Round The World' Tickets?

By Mike Grasso

'Round The World' tickets offer internationally travelers tremendous flexibility and often big savings when visiting to several destinations. Of course, it is simple enough to purchase point-to-point tickets, say San Francisco to Tokyo, Tokyo to Delhi, Delhi to Singapore, and so forth, but such one way fares often become costly. And, if you decide you are having a grand ol' time in Delhi and want to stay a few extra days, think the airline will let you escape without paying a hefty change fee? This is where 'Round The World' tickets become your traveling companion.

Each airline alliance is different, but in general, you are permitted to fly in one direction (West or East) and visit between 3 and 15 cities around the globe within a certain window of time - usually 12 months. You have some flexibility of flying to Northward or Southward destinations as well. Total mileage caps start at 26,000 miles - meaning you can fly one direction around the globe as long as your total mileage doesn't exceed 26,000 miles. The cost? Not as bad as you might think. The One World alliance quotes $3,900 for a 3 continent trip. Star Alliance at $4069 for up to 26,000 miles.

For example, using the Star Alliance online calculator, I priced San Francisco to Atlanta to Rome to Vienna to New Delhi and back to San Francisco. The total cost was $4069 in economy. In Business the fare is slightly more - only $7,880.

A key benefit to 'Round The World' tickets though is the flexibility. Other than your initial departure from San Francisco, you often need to provide the airlines little notice, as little as 24 hours, when you are ready for the next destination.

With these tickets, remember to think big and exotic. Easter Island, Africa, Tahiti, go someplace that would otherwise cost a fortune to purchase separately.

And, as if it doesn't get any better, you can earn frequent flier miles for most of your flights. Be sure to check with your alliance for a few exceptions.

Finally, we are currently living in a time where airline fees have reached uncomfortable levels. When you get a quote for a 'Round The World' ticket, be sure all international taxes and applicable airline fuel surcharges are included.

I've provided links below to the three global alliances' 'Round The World' websites.
"Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen." – Benjamin Disraeli

Saturday, October 4, 2008

San Francisco to Rome $498 "all in" Summer 09'

Right from the Flyertalk forums comes this thread on flights from the U.S to Italy for less than $500 bucks from the West coast, and less than $300 from the East coast. The only way to make this hot deal work is to price it through a third-party side such as Priceline or Kayak, then choose AirOne and/or AirOne and United as the carrier. Initially it prices much higher, but after you make your selection, it reprices downward.

This takes a little work and patience, but in the end you wind up with a smokin' hot, unbeatable fare to Italy.

May 27-June 2, 2009 SFO-FCO (Rome) prices at $498 including all taxes and fees. Operated by United Airlines the entire route. This fare will not last long! Click here to book
A journey of a thousand miles starts in front of your feet.
-- Lao-tzu

Friday, October 3, 2008

Earn Bonus Miles At Northwest's Worldperks University

Northwest Airlines continues to offer these very brief lessons on the advantages of Worldperks, Northwest Airlines frequent flier program. If you have not done so already, I highly recommend you take these courses and earn yourself a few hundred bonus miles.

For each course, read a short description of a product or service Northwest offers, answer three (simple) questions and earn 100 Northwest Airlines Worldperks miles. Five courses are currently available. Click here to study and take your quizzes.

Pam Ann Global Alliance (Friday Fun)

Had the great pleasure of watching a live performance of Pam Ann a few years ago down in Los Angeles. She is the comedic hero to all frequent fliers. I've included a couple videos circulating the web, but must insist that you see her live if presented the opportunity. The videos simply don't capture her true on stage act. Nevertheless, funny enough for inFLIGHTout Friday Fun.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Southwest Introduces Priority Security Lanes At Select Airports

Southwest Airlines will soon introduce priority security lane access for its Business Select and Rapid Reward A-List Customers at select airports.

Later this month, the airline will implement the lanes branded “Fly By” at the following locations: Baltimore/Washington International, Dallas Love Field, Phoenix Sky Harbor International, Orange County John Wayne, Denver International, San Francisco International, and Los Angeles International. Southwest plans to add additional airports to the Fly By rollout starting in November 2008, continuing to implement the priority security lane program throughout its system on an airport by airport basis.

Southwest Customers can take advantage of Southwest’s Fly By Security Lanes by presenting an A-List identification card or by presenting a Business Select boarding pass. A-List status applies to Rapid Rewards Members who fly 16 qualifying roundtrips in 12 months, while Business Select fares are usually more costly than regular fares, but come ticket flexibility and a few other perks.

In a press release, Kevin Krone, Vice President of Marketing, Sales and Distribution said, “We believe that our Customers will appreciate the added benefit priority security lanes will provide. Expediting passengers through security is just one example of how Southwest is enhancing the Customer experience by offering added convenience for seasoned travelers.”

Earn 1000 Wyndham Rewards Points For Survey

Wyndham Rewards members can earn 1000 points for completing a short (less than five minutes) survey about the hotel's guest program. It may be a targeted offer to certain guests, but certainly worth a try. Be sure to have your Wyndham rewards account number handy.

(Update) Rules Eased for HIV-Positive Visitors to U.S

Update: Since we published this article Monday, the U.S Government announced short-term visitors can now receive a waiver from existing law banning HIV positive travelers from entering the country. This is a temporary solution until HIV is removed from a list of "communicable diseases of public health significance," which limit inbound travelers from entering the U.S. That list process is expected to take up to a year to complete.

Original Article:
Although President Bush signed a bill that would end the ban on HIV-positive travelers and immigrants coming to the U.S., the Health and Human Services Department, responsible for writing new rules allowing positive travelers into the country, has yet to move on the issue.

“We’re working hard to revise the regulation, and it’s our goal to have it completed during this administration,” said Health and Human Services spokeswoman Holly Babin.

The United States, normally regarded as a country leading the fight for equality and fairness, instead finds itself on the sidelines with a dozen or so repressive countries such as Libya, Sudan, Russia, and Saudi Arabia, by banning travel and immigration for people with HIV. All other countries in the world have no such ban.

Several house Democrats submitted a letter to Bush demanding swift action to remove the HIV travel and immigration ban. “Congress has sent a clear signal that we can’t fight discrimination and stigma aboard until we end it at home,” said Victoria Neilson, legal director of Immigration Quality. “Congress has done its part – it’s time for HHS to act.”

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

$44 & Up -- JetBlue Slashes Fall Fares; Sale Ends Tonight

Hot off the presses from TravelZoo comes $44 and up airfares (each way) from the Bay Area and throughout the United States. Pretty hot deals here! Be sure to utilize the bonus 10% off code mentioned in their post.
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National Geographic Vacation Of A Lifetime Sweepstakes

Discover the natural wonders of the Sea of Cortez on an 8 day expedition aboard the National Geographic Sea Bird from 1/24/09 - 1/31/09. Follow naturalists on hikes amid giant barrel cactuses, and kayak among playful sea lions. Witness the migration of gray whales through the inlets of Bahía Magdalena, one of their main breeding grounds.

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inFLIGHTout Travel Tip: Airline Phone Numbers

Be sure to program the phone numbers of airlines you frequently fly. In the event your flight has a last minute cancellation or significant delay, you can immediately call the airline from your cell phone for rebooking. Use this method while concurrently waiting to speak with an airport gate agent. If several people are impacted by the cancellation or delay, your wait to speak with a gate agent might be quite long.

A Downside of Cheap Fares: Flight Cuts

(Wall Street Journal)
Oakland International Airport has ridden the wave of rapidly growing discount airlines to a 58% increase in passengers over the past 10 years. And now Oakland is in the vanguard of the next giant trend in aviation.

Grounded flights.

In November, Oakland will have 28% fewer departing seats than it had a year earlier, the largest decline among the nation's 50 biggest airports, according to OAG Analytical Services, which tracks airline schedules. AMR Corp.'s American Airlines and Continental Airlines Inc. have both decided to pull out completely from Oakland; other carriers are trimming flight schedules. Read More