Friday, January 30, 2009

Allegiant Air Ends San Francisco Flights Today

Today Allegiant Air will discontinue its twice-weekly flight between San Francisco and Bellingham, Washington. The airline is moving operations across the Bay to Oakland International where it will resume operations Monday, February 2nd.

Bellingham is located along Interstate 5 about 30 minutes south of the Canadian border, and is an alternative to Seattle airport located to the South.

Discounted airfare as low as $28 each way up (example: March 6-March 9) up to Bellingham is available for a limited time. Visit for more information.

Earn 3,000 Priority Club Points With Netflix

If you are considering joining Netflix be sure to sign up with one of the many frequent traveler programs to earn yourself bonus points/miles. The latest offer comes from Priority Pass, offering 3,000 bonus points for signing up when you start a new Netflix account.

Last month we posted partnerships between Netflix and United, American and Delta Airlines, awarding up to 3,000 bonus miles for new Netflix subscriptions.

In general, Netflix bonuses are for first-time customers only. But word on the street is if you open a new account with a different postal and email address, and a different credit card and frequent traveler number, you might just earn those bonus miles.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Flights From San Francisco to Throughout Mexico Now on Sale

Fly San Francisco to Mexico City Non-Stop for $295 - including taxes and fees!
AeroMexico, Mexicana and U.S Airways have reduced fares for travel throughout Mexico. Fly between San Francisco and cities throughout Mexico for just $200 + tax. Included in the sale are the beautiful resort cities of Acapulco, Mazatlan, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos. and inland gems such as Mexico City, Leon/Bajio and Guadalajara.

Travel at these discounted prices are available throughout 2009 and generally have a 2-night minimum stay requirement. AeroMexico flights begin from SFO on February 12th.

Foreclosure Looms Over Bay Area Hotels

According to, two East Bay hotels have slipped into foreclosure status, resulting from a decrease in corporate travel. Default notices have been filed on the 170-room Sheraton Pleasanton and 293-room Coliseum Suites in Oakland. According to the article, hotel occupancy rates in Pleasanton are down a whopping 28% as Tri-Valley businesses such as E-Loan, Safeway, JPMorgan Chase and WaMu layoff workers and cut corporate travel budgets.

The Sheraton Pleasanton continues to operate business as usual and owners are reportedly in daily negotiations with lenders. Meanwhile, lenders on the Oakland hotel are attempting to seize the closed, fenced-off property.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Fares Drop To Orange County Ahead of Southwest & Virgin Service

By Mike Grasso

Last night, American and United Airlines dropped airfare between San Francisco and Orange County/John Wayne Airport. Both carriers now charge just $139 roundtrip "all in" (including taxes and fees), for travel between April 30 and June 10, 2009. Historically fares on this route averaged over $200 because United and American had a stronghold on this market, as the sole airlines operating flights between the two cities.

Why the sudden drop in fares? 10 new daily flights down to Orange County.
Come April 30th, Virgin America will intensify competition by operating five daily flights between SFO and Orange County. Then, Southwest starts service between the two cities on May 9th, also operating five times each day. Passenger capacity (available seats) on the ten new daily departures will increase significantly as well since both Virgin America and Southwest operate mainline aircraft which carry at least 120 passengers on each flight.

To compare, American flies smaller 44-seat regional jets and United uses a mixture of mainline and regional aircraft between the two cities. The total number of available seats will climb sharply just in time for the Summer, and with demand for air travel easing, airlines have no choice but to cut airfares.

So now is a great time to start planning that family vacation to Sunny Southern California and Disneyland. Click any of the travel search engines on the left column to begin your airfare search.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Donate Your Miles To Hospitalized Military Personnel

Looking for a great way to donate unused frequent flier miles? The Fisher House Foundation administers the "Hero Miles" program, comprised of individual airlines whose passengers donate their frequent flyer miles to assist service members, families and close friends.

Specifically, Fisher House Foundation provides free airline tickets to military men and women who are undergoing treatment at a military or VA medical center incident to their service in Iraq or Afghanistan. Family members and close friends are also eligible to for a free flight to visit the hospitalized service member.
Click here for more information on the Fisher House Foundation and to arrange a miles donation.

$10/Day Car Rentals from Alamo

(Repost) HOT OFFER!
Last week we brought you the Hertz free rental car offer where you receive a free one day car rental - few strings attached. Allegedly you had to pay a few bucks for taxes and fees, but my experience over the weekend resulted in a completely free rental.

Now Alamo has upped the ante by offering $10/day car rentals - up to four days in length, through May 31, 2009. Pickup as early as Thursday, return as late as Monday. For example, I just booked a four day rental for Honolulu, Hawaii, with a total cost of $52, compared to the previous $147 I had reserved. Best of all, like the Hertz offer, pre-payment is not required. This offer is valid in most U.S markets and it's good for both airport and in-city rentals.

Trip cancellation, emergency medical, and flight!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Win a Trip to Jamaica from United Vacations

Enter for your chance to win a Luxury Included® Vacation for two to Jamaica. One winner will receive a roundtrip flight for two to Jamaica on United Airlines, a 7-night stay at a Sandals resort, and roundtrip airport/resort transportation. Click here and enter by January 31, 2009, for your chance to win.

250 Priority Club Points for Completed Survey

From the email box this week comes an offer to earn 250 bonus Priority Club points for completing a short survey about the hotel's loyalty program. The survey takes about 2-3 minutes to complete. Offer ends February 28, 2009.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

What to Do When the Airline Changes Your Reservation

By Mike Grasso
Reader question: United called to notify me of a schedule change for a trip this Summer. It's not a significant change, but requires me to catch an earlier flight. Can they do this?

Yes they can. But you don't always have to accept their specific change.

It sounds like you planned ahead and booked a Summer trip well in advance. Good for you! Hopefully you managed to get a convenient flight at a good price.

Unfortunately, a downside to booking far in advance is the reservation can be changed, sometimes more than once, by the airline.

Here's why: Based on historical data, airlines generally set flight schedules up well in advance. But sometimes unexpected events occur - much like in our personal lives, that cause us to drift away from a set schedule. For the airlines, that was the high cost of fuel, a downturn in the economy, and utilizing much of their remaining cash reserves to stay in business. In response to these events, airlines quickly trimmed capacity throughout the United States, selectively eliminating certain flights, and flying to fewer destinations. This practice is still going on into 2009 as airlines struggle to turn a profit.

One outcome of airline cutbacks is customers holding future reservations, such as yourself, are being consolidated onto other flights. Where an airline may have previously operated six daily flights between San Francisco and Las Vegas, then decide to cut one of those flights, everyone on that cut flight to be rebooked on one of the five remaining.

Routes that have high frequency, such as San Francisco to Los Angeles, mean your departure time may change by only an hour. But if you are flying San Francisco to Ontario, where only a few flights per day operate on this route, a reduction in one flight means a schedule change to your itinerary could become quite inconvenient for you. On the plus side, airlines are pretty good about notifying affected passengers at least several weeks in advance.

What to do when your flight is eliminated and/or the schedule is changed:

More often than not, the airline will rebook you on a new flight. If you are inconvenienced by the new itinerary call the airline and negotiate something that works for you. If they rebook you on an earlier flight but the later one is more convenient, ask for it. Depending on how significant the schedule change is, you can ask for a different routing (ie: connecting through different cities), travel on a different day, or a complete refund. A rule of thumb is any schedule change more than 90 minutes from your original reservation and the airlines are willing to consider any creative changes you propose. Is it a guarantee they will make the change? No. If you have elite status will it help? Yes. Will it depend on which airline agent you speak with? Maybe.

It all starts with you. If you come across a schedule change you are not particularly fond of, draft up some proposals of how you think the airline can make it right. Then give them a call, politely explaining how the schedule change negatively impacts you, and discuss some alternatives you have come up with.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Continental Airlines 'Take Away' Commercial

This Continental Airlines ad, posted two years ago on YouTube, pokes fun at other airlines for taking away some of the basic amenities passengers are accustomed to - ones still offered at Continental.

San Jose Airport Loses 1 Million Passengers


Mineta San Jose International Airport has told San Jose city officials that passenger traffic fell by one million people in 2008. Airport officials said airline capacity reductions throughout the nation and the deep economic recession have contributed to the drop off.

The passenger traffic numbers dropped from 10.7 million in 2997 to 9.7 million in 2008. That is a 8.8 percent drop. Airport officials said December 2008 traffic fell 14 percent to 689,000, compared to 813,000 in December 2007.

That was the 15th straight month that passenger traffic had dropped compared to one year earlier, airport officials reported. Airport traffic had not been under 700,000 passengers since February, 1995.

Full story

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Southwest's 'Seattle Super Sale' Starts Today

Southwest has cut the price to fly to/from Seattle in half. Now fly for as low as $47 each way from Oakland, $50 from Sacramento and $55 from San Jose. You must purchase tickets by Thursday January 22nd for travel between February 3 and May 31st. Use promo code SEATTLE when searching for flights. Click here for more information on the Seattle Super Sale.

Free Subscription to Cruising World Magazine

Here is an opportunity to receive 18 issues of Cruising World magazine for free, no strings attached. Cruising World is the leading magazine among cruising sailors for over 30 years. In every issue, you get how-to articles, underway cruising adventures, and useful information that will improve your sailing skills and safety on the water. Explore the world's coastlines and oceans with Cruising World! Click here to register for your free subscription.

Hint:, the company that processes these free subscriptions usually delivers as promised, but I recommend not using your primary email address on the registration form to avoid possible spam in the future.


Southwest Announces Service Between SFO and Orange County

Beginning May 9th, Southwest Airlines will begin nonstop service between San Francisco and Orange County/John Wayne Airports. This added route is in addition to several nonstop flights the airline offers between Oakland, San Jose and Sacramento and Orange County.

The company says it will launch with five daily flights, with scheduled departures throughout the day. Tickets are currently available from $69 each way, based on a 21-day advance purchase.

United Airlines has previously dominated the SFO-Orange County market often charging more than $200 roundtrip on this route. 

Monday, January 19, 2009

United Offers Bonus Miles on Select Routes From San Francisco

United Airlines is offering mileage plus members bonus miles for flights to/from San Francisco and Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle and Boston now through April 30, 2009. Unlike many recent United promotions, this offer is valid for even the lower cost (booking class) ticket purchases.

Here's what you do: Register for the promotion before February 9th. Then, purchase a roundtrip ticket between the city pairs listed above. The amount of bonus miles is determined based on the booking class of your ticket purchase as shown here. This may be a targeted promotion, meaning if you did not receive an email from United about this promotion it's possible you will not receive the bonus.
“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” - Robert Louis Stevenson
American Express

Thursday, January 15, 2009

N.Y. Jet Crash Called 'Miracle on the Hudson'

Officials say all of the 155 passengers and crew members are safe
(From MSNBC)
NEW YORK - With both engines out, a cool-headed pilot maneuvered his crowded jetliner over New York City and ditched it in the frigid Hudson River on Thursday, and all 155 on board were pulled to safety as the plane slowly sank. It was, the governor said, "a miracle on the Hudson." One victim suffered two broken legs, a paramedic said, but there were no other reports of serious injuries. Read the full story.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Cathay Pacific Launches 'I Can Fly' Program For Bay Area Students

Cathay Pacific is now accepting applications for 'I Can Fly', a program that offers high school students the opportunity to step behind the scenes of commercial aviation and explore various careers in this exciting industry. The airline provides a 9-week Academy that meets once a week to help them explore various careers in aviation.

Through a series of field trips, lectures and hands-on exercises, participants will learn everything about aviation from engineering to inflight catering, and even meet real pilots and flight attendants.
The program is provided free of charge to high school students in the San Francisco Bay Area. Applications are being accepted now. for more details.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

After posting so many great travel deals over the past few months, we felt it was time to take a vacation of our own. Adios!

Oh, by the way, although there will be limited site updates over the next several days, this is a great opportunity for you to sneak a peek at the recently added travel resources located along the left column of this page. If you want information on a specific topic, head on over to the search box in the upper left hand corner, where you can search inFLIGHTout archives dating back to 2006.

Thanks for all your support to date! We'll be back soon.

Earn Bonus Points in the Q1 Starwood Promotion

From the *wood blog, be sure to register for the SPG Night After Night Q1 promotion where you can score 500 bonus Starpoints per night, and a bonus 5,000 points for every 10th night you stay.
"If you play your cards right," says *wood, "you can get up to 1,000 Starpoints per night. However, make sure you hit milestones in increments of 10 nights to maximize the benefits of this promotion." 

The promo is open to all Starwood Preferred Guest members for stays between today and April 30, 2009. 

Save on airfare, hotels, car rentals, and more!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Coupons for 2009

Here are some just released 2009 coupons valid for hotel stays between February 28 and April 31, 2009. Enjoy!

-$20 off with 3 night booking
-$30 off with 5 night booking
-$50 off with 8 night booking
-$75 off with 10 night booking

San Francisco to Vietnam $854 RT "All In"

From the FareCompare flight alerts Monday evening, Asiana Airlines dropped airfare from San Francisco to Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi to just $854 roundtrip, taxes included. Valid for Sunday through Thursday departures February 3 to May 4, 2009. This is a pretty good fare between San Francisco and Vietnam, which often sells for well over $1000. Asiana is part of the Star Alliance Network.

AirTran Courts Students With Cheap Standby Fares

(From Smarter Travel)

AirTran is back with its third year of AirTran U, a cheap standby program for college students with fares starting at $69. While the program is not new, it remains compelling and worth a mention each time AirTran renews it, as it did this January.

The premise is simple: College-age students register with the program and show up two hours before their desired flight. If a seat is available after the final boarding call, it's theirs for either $69 or $99, depending on the length of the flight. Checked bags aren't permitted due to the nature of flying standby. Read more...

Monday, January 5, 2009

HOT! $10/Day Car Rentals From Alamo

Last week we brought you the Hertz free rental car offer where you receive a free one day car rental - few strings attached. Allegedly you had to pay a few bucks for taxes and fees, but my experience over the weekend resulted in a completely free rental.

Now Alamo has upped the ante by offering $10/day car rentals - up to four days in length, through May 31, 2009. Pickup as early as Thursday, return as late as Monday. For example, I just booked a four day rental for Honolulu, Hawaii, with a total cost of $52, compared to the previous $147 I had reserved. Best of all, like the Hertz offer, pre-payment is not required. This offer is valid in most U.S markets and it's good for both airport and in-city rentals.

SFO Opens Walkway Between International and Domestic Terminals

Amidst the hustle and flow of passengers throughout San Francisco Airport the day before Christmas, San Francisco Airport officials quietly opened up a long overdue convenience for passengers connecting through the airport.

Next to Gate 75 in Terminal 3, a new walkway opened up, allowing connecting passengers the convenience of remaining within the airport, instead of taking a shuttle bus between the International and Domestic (United Airlines) terminals. Although the bus operated throughout the day, passengers had to wait 10-15 minutes at times before boarding. The new walkway is a direct passage linking the terminals with just a couple minutes walk.

Be sure to let friends and family flying through SFO know about this helpful improvement at the airport.
“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” - Maya Angelou

Saturday, January 3, 2009

San Francisco to Belfast, England $395 "all in"

10:00 PM (fare subject to change at any time)
(From Flyertalk)
San Francisco to Belfast, England for $395 roundtrip - taxes included on Continental Airlines.
Some segments may be operated by Virgin Atlantic or BMI. Available for Monday-Thursday departures in January and February. Visit or to check for availability.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Northwest WorldPerks Program Changes for 2009

In an email to subscribers, Northwest Airlines announced changes to Worldperks, the airlines frequent flyer program. Many of the changes rolling out over the next couple months are as a result of the merger between Northwest and Delta. Here are some of the key changes to the program:

First the good news: Beginning in February, Worldperks members who also have a DeltaSky miles account will be able to transfer base miles between the two accounts. Also, effective immediately, customers flying Delta-operated flights will earn you Northwest elite-qualifying miles.

And the not so good: On January 15, The airline will introduce a third mileage award level and synchronised award mileage requirements with Delta. The added level sits between the PerkSaver and PerkPass. For a standard domestic award redemption, for example, award requirements will be displayed as 12,500, 20,000 and 30,000 for one-way travel, based on a round-trip award ticket purchase. Availability will range from highly limited-capacity controlled up to unlimited availability on all flights - depending on the award tier you choose. In summary, the more points you want to spend, the more flight choices made available to you. Many industry experts feel the addition of the third tier will nearly wipe out award availability at the lowest award tiers.

The simply bad news: Northwest jumps on board with other airlines by instituting a close-in ticketing fee for award travel. Starting January 15th, the airline will charge between $75 and $150 if you decide to book any award travel within 21-days of departure date. Airlines claim award availability tends to open up near the departure date as airlines realize they cannot fill the plane with revenue passengers. Accessing this "last minute" (21-days or less) inventory will now cost you. 

These changes are in addition to previously announced 9-29% hikes in the miles required to fly certain routes that start January 15th.