Tag: Continental Airlines

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?

Your Holiday Travel Checklist

The New York Times has published a “holiday travel checklist” that will help ensure you’re prepared for the worst as you head to the airport.  Here’s the Cliffs Notes:clipboard

1. Map out Plan B. Figure out your next best flight options in case your plane is delayed or canceled.

2. Load up your cellphone with emergency numbers, including the airline reservation line or the number for the frequent flier representative if you are a member.

3. Add the numbers of some major hotel chains, like Starwood or Marriott, with airport locations – just in case you get stuck.

4. Set up a flight alert for yourself and anyone who may need to know your whereabouts – like those who are picking you up at the airport.  Most airlines offer alerts that let passengers know if a gate or flight time has changed via e-mail or text message.

5. Pack smart. If you can limit your luggage to a carry-on, you can avoid the scrum at baggage claim and easily move between flights if your itinerary is wrecked by delays.  If you must check luggage, you can save $5 on baggage fees with most airlines by prepaying online.

6. Know your rights. This is critical during busy travel periods when flights are often overbooked and confusion reigns. Travelers can receive up to $400 if they are involuntarily bumped and rebooked on another flight within 2 hours after their original domestic flight time and within 4 hours for international flights. They are eligible for up to $800 in cash if they are not rerouted by then.

7. Check in ahead of time online.

8. Reserve a parking spot at off-airport lots and avoid the holiday parking crush.

9. Know your airport.  If your flight is delayed, you may end up spending a lot of time there.  Does it have Wi-fi?  And more importantly, where’s the bar?

10. Be polite.  It’s the holidays for crying out loud.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • Now that Continental Airlines is part of the Star Alliance, there are more ways than ever for Continental frequent fliers to “earn and burn” miles.  That’s because Continental now has 25 airline partners — up from 10 in the SkyTeam alliance it left in October.  Continental’s OnePass frequent fliers are able to rack up mileage points on all those new partners, as well as cash in mileage points for tickets on them.  Read on…
  • Southwest Airlines today announced that it will add 65 roundtrip flights and eliminate 24 roundtrip flights for a net gain of 41 roundtrip flights.  The schedule reflects seasonal travel patterns. The schedule includes fares and flight information for previously announced service to Southwest’s newest market, Panama City Beach, Fla., starting May 23. It also includes previously announced service of seven daily flights to and from Denver. Southwest has added two additional daily flights to the previously announced service, for a total of nine new flights to and from Denver beginning May 9.
  • The Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that airline fees topped $2 billion in the third quarter, up 36% from the same period of 2008.  Baggage fees carried the load.  Delta led the pack in baggage, collecting $129.5 million in the third quarter.  Last year, Delta offered to carry one checked bag for free but charged $50 to check a second bag.  But in November 2008 the airline switched to the same structure as Northwest and others: $15 for the first bag each way, and $25 for the second bag.  Since then, the fees have been raised $5 unless you pre-pay online.

Spirit Airlines Cashes in at Tiger Woods’ Expense

SPIRIT-AIRLINES-TIGER-WOODS-ADSpirit Airlines is attempting to cash in on the media frenzy surrounding Tiger Woods by running a 10-second online ad promoting its “Eye of the Tiger Sale” – which features a tiger that crashes an SUV into a fire hydrant.

It seems a little disconcerting (and tasteless) that an airline would be touting a fare sale with the depiction of a crash scene.  However, the ads are drawing some attention online and from a number of media outlets, including The Huffington Post, the Orlando Sentinel and E! Online – so perhaps it’s “mission accomplished” by the airline?

The USA Today reports that, “this is certainly not the first time Spirit has courted controversy with its advertisements.  Just last week, a Spirit press release touted a ‘We’re no Virgin’ fare sale, clearly aimed at rival Virgin America’s new service from Spirit’s Ft. Lauderdale base.”

And in case you’re wondering, the Eye of the Tiger Sale is offering fares from $9 each way.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • The first plane designed to fly day and night without fuel, the Solar Impulse HB-SIA, lifted off for the first time today in Switzerland.  Test pilot Markus Scherdel flew 350 meters down an icy runway at an altitude of one meter in a flight lasting 28 seconds.  The Impulse is as wide as a Boeing 747, but weighs only about 1.7 tons.  The 12,000 solar cells mounted on the wing are designed to provide renewal solar power to the plane’s 4 electric motors.
  • With wintry conditions expected throughout Southeast Texas this weekend, Continental Airlines is offering passengers the chance to change flight reservations at no charge.  Passengers with reservations to or from George Bush Intercontinental Airport on Dec. 4 and Dec. 5 will be allowed to make the penalty-free switch provided the rescheduled travel begins by Dec. 20.  Refunds may also be requested for canceled flights.
  • Just in time for the holiday season, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, an official sponsor of Cirque du Soleil touring shows, today announced exclusive discounts for Wintuk — the seasonal family show performing in New York — as well as stays at its Wyndham hotels in the city.  Wyndham is celebrating the return of the winter adventure to Manhattan with a double discount: 30% off the regular ticket price of any Wintuk show and a special 15% discount when booking at its participating NYC hotels.

BTW – If you’re planning to stay at a NYC hotel (or any hotel) you should be tracking prices with Yapta before you book.  That way you’ll know when prices drop and you can save big!

Airlines Launch “Cyber Monday” Fare Sales

Cyber MondayA handful of the major airlines are using “Cyber Monday” to offer deeply discounted airfare prices to travelers.  United Airlines, JetBlue, and Virgin America have all just announced special one-day prices, with all of them practically giving flights away to select destinations starting at $39 each way.

JetBlue has limited its discount travel window to Dec. 1-17 in an effort to fill all the empty seats that fly between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The Daily Travel & Deal blog from the LA Times provides a more detailed analysis of this particular offer.

United’s sale is for travel in the contiguous U.S. and Canada from Jan. 5-Feb. 11.  Travel to and from Hawaii is Jan. 11-Feb. 11.   A 3-night, Friday night or Saturday night minimum stay is required for travel within the contiguous 48 United States and to Hawaii.   No minimum night stay is required for travel to Canada.

Virgin America’s sale is the broadest, with the promotion lasting until Dec. 8 and travel permitted Dec. 3- May 23.  However, certain peak travel days around the winter holidays are blacked out.

Hopefully we’ll see competing airlines match prices on overlapping routes.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • Continental Airlines said today that credit and debit cards will be accepted for purchases onboard most its aircraft starting Tuesday. Flight attendants will use hand-held devices to process the card payments for purchases of alcoholic beverages and headsets.  The airline said that the new cashless system will be available on all Continental mainline flights, except for service to and from China.
  • Yapta’s hotel booking partner Orbitz.com, recently announced it has enhanced its Low Price Guarantee, giving customers ironclad confidence they’re getting the lowest possible hotel prices. Under the new program, customers who find their prepaid hotel room available for a lower price on any site, including Orbitz, can receive a refund for the difference and a $50 discount on a future hotel or vacation package booking. Plus, Orbitz now allows customers to submit a claim right up to the time of the property’s cancellation deadline.
  • In celebration of its new blog, CheapOair is launching a “@CheapOair 12 Days of Travel” contest where travel-minded Tweeps can win daily holiday gifts including travel and retail gift certificates, and a grand prize on day 12 for free round trip airline tickets within the domestic U.S.  The 12 day contest starts today and ends on Fri., Dec. 11th.  For this contest, followers of the CheapOair Twitter account will be asked to “re-tweet” that day’s message or go to the CheapOair travel blog to find that day’s message to “re-tweet”.  For more information, visit http://contests.cheapoair.com/.

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.

Should Airlines Offer Adult-Only Flights?

kid flightsAfter Southwest Airlines kicked a cranky 2-year old and his mother off a flight last week, there seems to be growing support for adult-only flights.  As a parent of two kids under the age of five, I’ve learned to tolerate the ruckus that kids can make on planes and sympathize with the parents doing all they can to calm their little bundles of joy.  However, according to a recent survey conducted by MSNBC, I may be in the vast minority.  A full 76% of those polled support Southwest’s decision to give mom and child the boot.   The survey was also flush with interesting comments – including talk of adult-only flights.

I suppose if pets can have their own exclusive flights, it only makes sense that there should be adult-only flights as well, right?  Perhaps that would better serve those passengers less tolerant of kids – and prevent parents from suffering the embarrassment of a rowdy child.

Would you pay a little extra for a flight with no kids?  Got an opinion?  Post it here.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • Northwest Airlines Flight 195 out of Minneapolis was apparently “attacked” by Pigeons Saturday afternoon while taking off for Las Vegas.   The pilot announced the bird strike about 15 minutes into the flight and decided to return to MSP because of suspected engine damage. The plane landed safely and there were no injuries in the incident. The passengers experienced a two-hour delay due to the attack.
  • As of last week, both Continental Airlines and Air China have agreed to share frequent flier points so that travelers may earn miles easier.  Now, Air China PhoenixMiles members will earn Status Mileage on all scheduled flights run by Continental. They can also redeem Award Travel for any round-trip flights and Award Upgrades involving Continental.  Continental OnePass members can also accrue EQM and EQP on flights, and redeem Award Travel and Upgrades for round-trips with Air China.
  • Virgin Atlantic today introduced a new iPhone app that’s designed to help travelers overcome their fear of flying.   The “Flying Without Fear” app contains a personal introduction by Sir Richard Branson, a video-based in-flight explanation from start to finish of a flight, relaxation exercises and fear therapy, a fear attack button for emergencies with breathing exercises and quick tips – among other features.  As a bonus, users of the app are offered 2,000 points when joining Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club.  The app is available for $4.99.
  • JetBlue, the largest domestic carrier serving Boston,  has become the official airline of Boston College Athletics.  According to a press release, JetBlue’s sponsorship of the Eagles (financial terms not disclosed) includes fixed and electronic signage in Boston College athletic facilities including Alumni Stadium, home of Boston College football and Conte Forum, home of Boston College basketball and hockey. Additional sponsorship elements include on-field, on-court and on-ice promotions; a comprehensive online marketing program featuring rotating web banners and fixed advertising positions on bceagles.com; a branded email promotional campaign; and print advertisements in Boston College Athletic publications and in-game program guides.

FAA Pondering Fines for US Airways & United

Earlier today the FAA proposed levying multimillion-dollar fines against United Airlines and US Airways for safety violations, including flying a plane after mechanics stuffed shop towels into an engine.

The agency is proposing to slap US Airways with a $5.4 million fine for operating 8 planes that conducted 1,647 flights from October 2008 to January 2009 that were in violation of safety or maintenance rules.  United may get hit wshamwow-snuggie-slanketith a $3.8 million fine for operating a Boeing 737 on more than 200 flights with shop towels covering openings near where oil collects in the bottom of the engine instead of using protective caps required by the carrier’s maintenance procedures.

According to FAA rules, the airlines have 30 days to plead their case before the agency can impose the fines.  Perhaps United should it explain that it wasn’t actually a towel, but a Sham-wow.  I think they’ll see the genius in that.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • Reuters is reporting that there’s been an industry-wide increase of domestic air fares.  The fare increase, initiated on Tuesday by American Airlines, represents a boost in round-trip ticket prices by as much as $16 for a large number of U.S. city pairs.  The increase saw matches from Continental Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and US Airways.
  • The L.A. Times’ Daily Travel & Deal Blog notes that Southwest Airlines, Virgin America and JetBlue are all offering $44 fares on flights within California and to Las Vegas (from California).  Check out their blog for details on each of these sales.
  • The New York Times blog In Transit notes that, “When shopping for airfare, it’s easy to overlook smaller, unfamiliar carriers. But those so-called B airlines may offer the best deal.”  One such “B airline” is a new one from Richard Branson’s Virgin Blue Group called, V Australia.  They’re now competing with United and Qantas by offering non-stop flights to destinations down under.
  • Nashville International Airport Police had to shackle an unruly passenger by the wrists and ankles to get him off a Delta airliner after it made an unscheduled landing there on Tuesday.  According to witnesses, the man would not allow the person sitting next to him to leave her seat to use the restroom.  So, the next time you’re torn between choosing a window seat and an isle seat, think of this dude’s mug-shot and choose the isle.  I’d gladly take the beverage cart in the elbow a 1000 times  before asking this guy for permission to go to the john.