Tag: ATA

And The Top Performing Travel Websites Are…

Speedy Gonzales

Knowing most Yapta users prefer to book their flights direct from an airline website, we thought you’d appreciate knowing which airline sites perform best.  Compuware Gomez, which monitors website performance, conducted an exclusive 15-month study (at the request of USA TODAY) and ultimately determined that  AirTran was the best-performing (or fastest) home page, while Delta, Hawaiian and Frontier were tied for second. Delta’s website was No. 1 for performing transactions, and AirTran’s site, No. 2.

As for hotel sites, Gomez named Marriott the  the top-performing hotel booking site.

Also worth noting, among the 46 online travel agents included in the study, the fastest average home-page load of any travel website (1.231 seconds) went to…(insert drum-roll here)… Kayak.  It’s nice to know that the engine that’s powering Yapta’s flight search is the fastest on the track.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • Airfares from American Airlines are now allowed back on Orbitz as an Illinois court granted Orbitz “injunctive relief” from the airline in their ongoing disagreement over distribution costs.  And if you’re tired of following this on-again, off-again relationship – just use Yapta to search (and track) American flights and forgettaboutit.
  • Close to 35 million Americans traveled over the Memorial Day weekend according to AAA.  That’s about 100,000 travelers more than last year, which suggests a fairly busy summer season ahead.  The Air Transport Association (ATA) predicts that U.S. airlines will carry a total of 206.2 million passengers from June through August – about 3 million more passengers than during the same period last year, an increase of 1.5 percent.  Yep, we’re really feeling the bite of higher fuel and airfare prices, aren’t we?
  • Since Delta began charging fees for checked bags — $25 for the initial piece on domestic flights; $35 for a second — the airline has been offering $2-3 discounts to travelers who prepaid those fees online instead of at the airport.  Not anymore.  Starting yesterday, passengers will now pay the full price regardless of when or where they pay the fee.

Holiday Flights: Pull the Trigger & Bite the Bullet

book now

Our holiday travel advice to you:  Book Now.

Flights for the 2010 holiday travel season are already expensive – and it’s only going to get worse.  In a statement released by the Air Transport Association yesterday, it’s estimated that 24 million travelers will fly during the 12-day period surrounding Thanksgiving, with daily passenger volume up 3.5 percent over last year.  The surging demand – coupled with the fact that there’s simply fewer seats available – is making fares more expensive, and more quickly than normal.  Prices are already trending 18% higher this year compared to last year at this time.

Those who wait around until the last minute to pull the trigger on their flight arrangements, will be the ones biting a serious financial bullet.    You’ll save a lot of money simply by booking as early as possible – and then tracking your price with Yapta.  In the event that the price does drop, Yapta will let you know when you can re-book your ticket at the lower available rate and get credited for the difference.

Dispair not tracker-slackers (def. those that track pricing on multiple flights, but for whatever reason can never bring themselves to actually book a flight), there’s still hope for you:

You may still find reasonably priced flights for the Thanksgiving holiday on November 22, 23, 25 (Thanksgiving Day) and 30.  The best days to fly over the Christmas holiday are December 20, 21, 24 (Christmas Eve), 28, 29, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.   (Sunday Nov. 28th will be the busiest day during the Thanksgiving period, defined as Friday, Nov. 19th through Tuesday, Nov. 30th.  Second-busiest is expected to be Monday, Nov. 29th followed by Friday, Nov. 19th, and Wednesday, Nov. 24th.  Avoid these dates wherever possible.)

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • If the New York Jets win this year’s Super Bowl, customers of JetBlue and MasterCard will refund select one-way and roundtrip flights.  Flights must be booked Nov. 1 or 2 and must originate from LaGuardia, Newark or John F. Kennedy (JFK) airports and travel must be completed Dec. 1-31.  Considering that some online betting sites (that will remain unnamed) recently laid 7 to 1 odds that the New York Jets would win the Super Bowl, it’s a interesting gamble. (JetBlue also recently painted an Airbus A320 green in honor of the New York Jets.)
  • According to the website for U.S. News & World Report, Delta Air Lines is the worst of the major airlines based on factors like on-time arrivals, mishandled baggage, passenger bumping, and overall customer satisfaction.  Delta scored the lowest with the most delays and passenger complaints, followed by United, Alaska, and American.  Hawaiian ranked as the best, followed by AirTran.
  • The blue skies are getting greener thanks to a new inflight beverage option from American Airlines.  As of November 1, the airline will be serving Java City coffee, which is 100 percent Rainforest Alliance Certified.  In order to achieve Rainforest Alliance Certification, companies must ensure that their farming practices protect the environment, including native wildlife, while keeping local communities and workers best interests in mind.

3 Horses

According to recently released data from the U.S. DOT,  Southwest Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines carried the most passengers in 2009.  Southwest carried 101 million passengers, followed by American with 85 million and Delta with 67 million.

According to the 2009 year-end data, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport held onto its coveted title of world’s busiest airport.  Chicago’s O’Hare came in second and Los Angeles ranked third in the list of top 10 largest airports.

Also worth noting is the fact that U.S. airlines carried 5.2 percent fewer domestic passengers (618.1 million) in 2009 and 6.3 percent fewer international passengers (85.8 million) than in 2008.

If you’re a travel geek and want to see the complete air travel statistics for 2009, click here.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • US Airways passengers who check in online will now find more than a seat assignment and group number on their boarding passes.  Just in time for the spring-break travel rush, the airline has started including advertisements, weather and other tourist information on the boarding documents.  This leaves United as the last major carrier to hold out from printing the adds on customers’ boarding passes.  Anyone want to fathom a guess as to when United will fall in line?  The person closest to the actual date will get a $10 Starbucks gift card, courtesy of Yapta.
  • If you live in Seattle, this news if for you:  Alaska Airlines announced that it will allow passengers to earn and use its Mileage Plan miles on Seattle’s Kenmore Air and book Kenmore tickets through Alaska.  Mileage Plan members will earn 250 miles for each Kenmore Air flight starting April 15, with Double Miles for Kenmore flights between April 15 and May 31. Members can redeem miles for award travel starting in June, with one roundtrip award ticket on Kenmore Air between Seattle and any Washington destination or Victoria, B.C., for 10,000 miles, or between Seattle and any other Kenmore destination in British Columbia for 15,000 miles.
  • According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the airline industry globally is expected to bounce back to its pre-recession traffic levels in two or three months.   I’m hoping this news means that airlines will pull some planes out of the desert and increase capacity.

airline-carbon-footprintThree U.S. airlines and the Air Transport Association sued the U.K. government to challenge the first stage of the country’s implementation of European Union emission-trading regulations.  American Airlines, Continental Airlines and United Airlines joined the ATA in the complaint, saying the rules “violated the U.S.-EU bilateral Air Transport Agreement of April 2007 and the Kyoto Protocol.”

The EU is adding airlines to the European emissions-trading system, the world’s biggest greenhouse-gas market, in 2012 to fight climate change. The system imposes a cap on industrial emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas blamed for rising temperatures. United Nations scientists say reductions in emissions are needed to keep the planet from overheating.

By 2020, developed nations must cut emissions 25 percent to 40 percent from 1990 to “stand a chance” of keeping the global temperature within 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit of pre-industrial times, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said.  According to experts, Jet planes, which account for 5 percent of U.K. emissions, could contribute 40 percent by 2050, depending on how fast the industry grows.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • Today the ATA released data indicating that average airline ticket price fell in November compared to a year ago.  Domestic passengers payed nearly 5% less than a year ago to fly a mile.  October saw a 12.5% decline.  Year to date, domestic customers paid 12.6% less to fly a mile versus the year-ago period.  Before the smile on your face gets much wider, remember that you’re getting your ass kicked on ancillary fees.
  • The USA Today listed top 10 deals where travel providers have slashed prices, offered value-added extras, and thrown in lots of freebies for those able to take a vacation in 2010.
  • Airport security expert, Bruce Schneier, sat down for an interesting Q&A with the Wall Street Journal that addresses how travelers can “get through the (security) line quickly and fairly painlessly.”   He also explains how you could skip to the front of the line if you’re in a real hurry.   Frankly, I’m not Utopian-minded enough to believe it’s “perfectly reasonable” to ask everyone in line if you can “jump ahead.”  Ever been to Newark, Mr. Schneier?

Google Offers Free Holiday WiFi in 47 airports

Google is planning to foot the bill for WiFi at 47 of the nation’s airports for the rest of the year, beginning TueGoogle wifisday.

With some travelers spending more time on the ground in airports than on planes during the busy flying season, now seemed an especially fitting time to offer up the perk, Google said.

The list includes the international airports in Miami and Orlando, which are among the world’s 30 busiest airports, as well as five others in Florida. Travelers through smaller airports, such as Montana’s Billings and Bozeman, will also benefit.

Upon signing in, users will be asked if they want to set Google as their homepage or try the Google Chrome browser.

The company is also running a charity campaign to raise money for three nonprofit groups: Engineers without Borders, One Economy Corporation and Climate Savers Computing Initiative. When Google WiFi users first log on, the landing page will offer them the option of donating to the organizations. Google will match donations of up to $250,000 per airport.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • British police have charged a United Airlines pilot with being over the alcohol limit while on the job at London’s Heathrow Airport.  Scotland Yard say they have charged 51-year-old Erwin Vermont Washington with having too much alcohol in his system while working as a member of aviation staff.  Police and airline officials say that Washington was pulled from United Airlines Flight 949, due to fly from London’s Heathrow Airport to Chicago around noon on Monday, after a co-worker suspected him of being drunk.  The flight was canceled and the plane’s 124 passengers were put on other flights.
  • The Air Transport Association said Monday it expects a 4% decline in the number of people traveling over the Thanksgiving Day holiday, reflecting the erosion in demand with the smaller economy. But with seat-capacity cuts and steep airfare discounting across the industry, planes are likely to remain full, the trade group said.  The busiest travel days are expected to be Nov. 20, 25, 29 and 30.
  • Continental Airlines has started offering wider, lie-flat sleeper seats on long-haul international routes to catch up with some of its top rivals. British Airways and Delta Air Lines, competitors in the New York market, already offer business class lie-flat seats on many routes.  The maiden voyage of Continental’s new seats, on a Boeing 777, flew a week ago to Newark Liberty International Airport from Tokyo.
  • Air Canada announced it will now automatically notify travelers about canceled trips through e-mail and text messaging, aiming to ease airport lineups and waits for the call center.  Canada’s largest carrier will also provide details directly to consumers about rebooked flights.  During last winter’s Christmas holidays, Air Canada was flooded with complaints after being forced to cancel or delay flights due to snowstorms.