Wednesday, June 30, 2010

San Francisco to Cancun $218 RT "all in"

Spotty availability on this deal...but it's definitely there. Mexicana Airlines is offering a $121 + tax fare SFO-Cancun; comes to $218 RT with taxes. Travel is valid now (w/14-day advance purchase) through May 2011. Visit to check availability, including the flexible dates calender. Note: I found fairly good availability for February (example: February 7-12, 2011).

Doubletree Serving Up Cookies on July 4th

Doubletree Hotels which has a tradition of serving up guests their famous warm chocolate chip cookies at check-in will be offering them to anyone and everyone on July 4th - Independence Day. In a press release, the company announced that anyone walking into a Doubletree location in the U.S. on July 4th (or Canadian location on July 1st for Canada Day), will receive a cookie to commemorate each country's beloved holiday.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Oakland to Albuquerque $44 Each Way

HOT! United Airlines has tickets from Oakland to Albuquerque, NM for just $44 each way + tax. Comes to $129 roundtrip - "all in." Travel is valid any day of the week through May 2011, with the best availability October onward. Typical holiday blackout dates apply. Books into "K" class. Click here to check availability using the "my dates are flexible" button.

American Airlines to Drop San Francisco - Boston Route

In a bit of a shocker, American Airlines will reportedly drop daily nonstops between San Francisco and Boston. According to the AA timetable, the effective date for this change is November 17, 2010. Currently American operates twice-daily flights, a daytime and a red-eye, between the two cities. No immediate word on why the airline is dropping the route, but certainly Virgin America entering this market early last year may have played a role in the decision.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Joie de Vivre Hotels Celebrates Pride in California

In celebration of LGBT pride month, California's largest boutique hotel collection is offering a 20% discount of best available rates at properties throughout the golden state. The discount is valid year round by entering "PRIDE" when booking your next stay at Or, if you need a meeting room or space for a group, they will contribute 10% back to the California LGBT organization of your choice.
If you haven't tried out a JDV hotel yet, definitely give them a shot. Properties are located in exciting spots throughout the state including throughout the Bay, Wine Country, and SoCal. Each hotel is a one-of-a-kind, with the California lifestyle experience - fresh, inventive, and casual, all built within.

Photo: Hotel Vitale, San Francisco.

1,000 United Miles for Each Night At Hyatt Hotels

Earn up to 1,000 United miles for each night (not stay) you spend at a Hyatt property now through September 30th. This is in addition to the 500 base miles earned per stay. Maximum 30,000 miles can be earned with this offer. Click here for details.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Win 200,000 Asia Miles from Cathay Pacific

In celebrating 20 years of non-stop service between the U.S. and Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific is offering 200,000 Asia Miles to one lucky person. To be eligible, submit a photo of your most memorable Cathay Pacific moment, such as a snapshot of your first Cathay Pacific flight, or something you saw while traveling within Asia. Click here for details and to enter.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

San Francisco to Sydney $660 RT - Tax Included

San Francisco to Sydney is down to $660 roundtrip, including all taxes and fees. Travel is on United Airlines from end of July through end of September. Click here to book.

25% Bonus on Amtrak When Paying with Mastercard

Now through July 31st, use a Mastercard for your next Amtrak purchase and earn a 25% bonus Amtrak Guest Rewards points. Plus, the bonus is on top of all other promotions currently active. Click here to log in and register.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Spirit Airlines Tasteless Oil Spill Humor?

Appearing on the website this morning are a series of ads inviting customers to visit select cities the airline serves - including Ft. Lauderdale.

Pretty tasteless considering oil has already made landfall in other parts of Florida.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Big Southwest Airlines Sale - Fares from $39

Every few months Southwest slashes prices to all the destinations they serve (and often other airlines will match these discounted fares). Today, Southwest announced such a sale - this time in celebration of their 39th Birthday. Prices have been reduced to 3-pricing tiers: $39/$79/$119 each way; The specific pricing depends on the flight distance; up to 450 miles/up to 1000 miles/and over 1000 miles respectively. According to the terms of the offer, travel is valid September 8 through November 17, excluding Fridays and Sundays. Book by June 24th.

Spirit Airlines Apologizes, Offers 5,000 Free Miles

As a result of last weeks strike and associated flight cancellations, Spirit Airlines is giving thanks to its customers by giving away 5,000 Free Spirit miles to all members. Simply fill out this form by midnight on June 30th to earn the bonus miles. Note: You must be an existing member of the frequent flyer program to qualify.

Monday, June 21, 2010

HOT! San Francisco to Honolulu $261 "all in"

American Airlines just dropped fares to a new season low - just $261 roundtrip, taxes included. Valid for travel through July. This fare is for nonstop flights, $10 bucks more for a 1-stop option. Hurry, these rock bottom fares won't last! Click here and search "my dates are flexible."

The Safety and Cleanliness of Your Hotel Room

By Mike Grasso

In the past, I have reported on bed bugs and other critters sometimes found in hotel rooms. I also re-posted a video piece where undercover video captured some of the unsanitary practices hotel maids engage in. Luckily, these unfortunate situations are more often the exception than the rule. But even at mid and high-end hotels with a good housekeeping and maintenance staff on hand, there remain a few potential safety and cleanliness issues that you the guest should be aware of. I've posted six pictures below, can you find at least one potential "hazard" in each? My responses are outlined below.

1. Sofa: The visible stains on couches are usually spot treated by hotels; deep cleaning of sofa's is infrequent. Therefore, invisible stains such as blood, urine, saliva and semen would not be seen without a black light. Try to keep a barrier (i.e. clothing) between you and the sofa.

2. Phone and clock: Does the phone work? Important to check in the event an emergency were to strike. Be sure the time is correct, particularly if you are relying on this as an alarm clock.

3. Coffee maker and cups: Ceramic coffee mugs are a nice touch at hotels, but have been identified as items insufficiently or improperly cleaned by cleaning staff. The video that previously aired caught maids simply rinsing out cups (not washing), while other maids were observed them spraying them out with glass cleaner! Lesson here: Be sure you personally wash your coffee mug.

4. Bed: One of the first activities I do once checking into my room is to pull the comforter off completely. Never (not even once) have I observed comforters being removed from rooms for cleaning. Yet these can be the primary source of undesirable filth, stains and bacteria from countless previous guests.

5. Carpet: While hotels do deep clean their carpets periodically, they tend to accumulate mold, bacteria and fungus in between cleans as a result of dirt and spills. Vacuuming alone won't do the trick. So again, best to add a barrier (socks or slippers) between the carpet and your skin.

6. Window: Some things I consider are whether it will properly open in an emergency. Does it lock properly? (Note in the picture this is a room at ground level). If I open with window, is there a screen to protect from mosquito's or other insects entering?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Free Wi-Fi Coming to San Francisco International

Joining Mineta San Jose and Oakland Airports, SFO will soon launch complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the airport. The switch from paid service, currently offered by T-Mobile, to free service, is expected September 1, 2010.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Horizon Air to Drop Sacramento to Santa Barbara Route

Horizon Airlines reservation system indicates the twice-daily service currently offered between Sacramento and Santa Barbara will terminate on August 22, 2010. Although it shows in the current schedule, tickets are no longer bookable beyond this date. This change is part of a larger package of Horizon cuts impacting other regional airports throughout the west.

United Site Now Allows Star Alliance Award Bookings

OK, at least partially. United frequent flyers will appreciate the latest Mileage Plus site update. When searching for award travel, other Star Alliance (domestic) carriers will appear in the search results. For instance, if you are trying to book an award seat from San Jose to New York, availability for United, Continental and U.S. Airways may be displayed in the results. Previously customers had to call United directly to book seats on other airlines - which is still the case for international flights.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Near Live Flight Tracking in the San Francisco Bay Area

For hours of nonstop entertainment, check out SFO's Near Live Flight Track Show where you can watch Bay Area flight traffic on a radar-like program. Originally designed as part of the noise abatement program @SFO, viewers are able to track the airline, altitude, speed, flight path, origination and destination of planes flying around the Bay. The kids will love it! Even the adults will enjoy it! Keep it mind there is a slight lag time in displaying results, so a plane you see or hear over downtown SF would be shown on the radar about ten minutes later.
Click here for more information on the Live Flight Track show. Hints: If the green airplane icon does not immediately show, refresh your page. Also, after clicking the icon and Bay Area map opens, it may take up to a minute for the planes to begin loading. So be patient. The fun is just moments away. Additional instructions can be found here.

Thumbs up to SFO for this wonderful program and resource available to the general public.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bay Area to Hawai'i for $360 RT "all in"

United, American and Delta continue to offer a $330 fare from San Francisco to Honolulu. Valid for travel August through the first week in December. For my mileage run friends, United has routings Oakland-Denver-Honolulu for just a few dollars more.

If you want something a little more relaxing than Honolulu, flights to Maui are running about the same price from Oakland - for August and September travel on United, Hawaiian and Alaska Airlines. To purchase, click here and search using the "flexible dates" button.
Summer Sale 40% off - Exp 6-20-10 (468x60)

Blog Update: "Construction in progress"
Some site updates will be happening over the next few weeks. During this time, some features may be temporarily suspended, while new ones are brought on line. Thanks for your patience. Good things to come...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Spirit Airlines Strike Is On: Flights Cancelled, Travelers Stranded

On Saturday, Florida-based Spirit Airlines cancelled flights systemwide, leaving thousands of travelers stranded. The reason: A strike called by the airlines' pilots who have long argued their pay lags their competitors, such as JetBlue and Air Tran. On the company website, the airline announced they would offer refunds to all customers who had flights cancelled Saturday, and provide an additional $100 voucher valid for future travel. But this has been little help to some as the cost to repurchase a last minute ticket on a different airline is as much as 2 to 3 times more than the Spirit ticket - leaving some stranded.
No word yet whether flights will operate Sunday.

Spirit normally flies about 150 daily flights throughout the United States - mostly east coast, and throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. The airline briefly operated flights to/from San Francisco in 2006.

Enter the Taste of Fame Sweeps from the Food Network

Register now for your chance to win a VIP trip to New York City, including roundtrip air on Southwest, 3 nights at The Alex, tours of the Food Network studios, $500 bucks cash and... a brand new Buick LaCrosse CXS. Approximate value of this package is nearly $40,000! Entries must be received by June 27, 2010.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

NASA Offering to Bring Your Face Into Space

NASA will bring your face into space during one of the next two space shuttle missions. All you have to do is upload your picture and/or name and select which of the two upcoming missions you want to be on, and...away you will go. Click here for all the details.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

San Jose Airport Community Open House

The public is invited to tour the brand new Terminal B and concourse, and the completely renovated Terminal A at Mineta San Jose Airport. Once inside, guests will be given "open house boarding passes" entitling them to learn more about the $1.3 billion dollar project, as well as the airlines and vendors serving the airport. The red-ribbon cutting takes place at 8:30 AM Saturday, June 26th, with hourly tours scheduled throughout the day Saturday and Sunday. The tours are free of charge, but you must pre-register and provide initial screening information for TSA security clearance.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Swiss Airbus 340: The Making of the San Francisco Livery

A video showing the making of the A-340 with "flower power" livery. Swiss Airlines used this plane to inaugurate the San Francisco to Zurich route June 2, 2010.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Car 'Flies' Out of Dallas Airport

As seen on CNN:
(The driver was not seriously hurt)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

San Francisco to Honolulu $351 "all in"

San Francisco to Honolulu is available for $351 roundtrip, including all taxes and fees. Valid for travel between August and November on United, Delta and Hawaiian Airlines. Click here, and search using the flexible dates function.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Free WiFi on Select U.S. Airways Flights

In announcing their roll out of WiFi across their Airbus 321 fleet, U.S. Airways is offering the service free of charge on Airbus 321 aircraft now through June 8th. Simply bring your wireless-ready device (i.e. laptop, i-phone), and connect to to Gogo Internet during your next flight. Click here for more information, and to see routes operating A321 planes.

San Francisco to Dublin for $660 "all in"

$660 roundtrip including all taxes and fees from SFO to Dublin, Ireland: Not the best fares we've seen on this route, but certainly not bad considering airfares across the board are up compared to last year at this time. Fare is available for Fall (late October) to Winter (through March) travel on U.S. Airways. Click here, and search using the flexible dates option.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Summer Season Invites New Bay Area Flights

Just in time for the busy travel season, several new routes are set for take-off at Bay Area airports.
From San Francisco, flights into Bozeman and Missoula, Montana will begin June 9th on United Express, as will flights to Anchorage on United Airlines. Delta will be the latest carrier adding new service between SFO and LAX beginning June 10th, while Hawaiian Airlines adds nonstop service between Oakland and Kahului June 5th.

Also noteworthy is Swiss Air adding service SFO to Zurich this month, Westjet to Vancouver, and Virgin America adds their first international destination to their playbook - Toronto, later in the month.