Tag: fare sale

Feds “Fed Up” with Airline Fees


Are you fed up with airline fees?  Well you’re not alone.  The Associated Press reports that The Government Accountability Office (GAO), a government watchdog, says airline fees for checked bags and other services are complicating things for consumers trying to find the best deal on airfare.

The GAO recommended in a report released Wednesday that the government improve the disclosure of airline fees, not only by airlines, but also by travel booking services.

Besides checked bags, airlines have recently been charging for services that were traditionally included in the price of a ticket, such as seat selection, extra leg room, blankets, pillows, beverages and meals.

GAO said that if the 7.5 percent tax on airline tickets were applied to fees as well, the government could have raised $186 million last year just from checked bags.  A Congressional hearing on the subject begins on Capitol Hill this week.

Here’s some more travel news  you can use:

  • Claire Newell, a Vancouver-based travel consultant and author, offered some travel etiquette tips on NBC’s Today Show that most people have always wondered about.  While this footage is over a year old, but it’s new to me – so I’m passing it along to you.
  • The Wall Street Journal reports that the Bermuda Department of Tourism is teaming up with hotels and restaurants to offer destination-wide discounts.  Several hotel properties are offering a third night free for guests who book two nights, and others are offering a fourth night free to people who book three nights.  A group of 13 restaurants are following suit and offering buy one, get one free entrée specials.  The promotion is available for booking through Aug. 31 for travel Aug. 22 through Oct. 31.
  • Hawaiian Airlines is continuing its summer airfare specials into the fall. The airline today announced a special “Endless Summer” fare sale providing discounted roundtrip flights between Hawaii and the U.S. mainland through Mid-November.  Travel using the special roundtrip fares is good from August 3 through November 18, 2010, with the exception of the nonstop Maui-Las Vegas flight, which is October 3 through November 18, 2010.  Tickets must be purchases on hawaiianairlines.com by July 31.

Rare Summer Airfare Sales Announced

sale-tagsIt’s rare to see them, but a couple of summer airfare sales have popped up on the radar:

AirTran Airways today launched a fare sale for travel to all of its destinations between this month and November.  Passengers have to buy a ticket before Thursday to get the sale for travel from July 16 to Nov. 16.  The lowest fares are available for travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.

Hawaiian Airlines also recently announced a mid-summer airfare sale good for travel through August 22nd.  Rates from the mainland to Hawaii (Honolulu, Hilo, Kona, Kahului and Lihu’e airports) start at $398 round-trip.  Follow @HawaiianFares on Twitter for future airfare sale announcements from Hawaiian Airlines.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • According to the USAToday, less than 10% of passengers who could use Wi-Fi to log on to the web, actually do so.  The biggest issue for travelers: price.  Gogo, the biggest Wi-Fi service provider in the air with 8 big airlines as its partners, charges $4.95 to connect to the Internet on flights of up to 90 minutes. The price goes to $9.95 for flights up to 3 hours and to $12.95 on longer flights.  It now has a monthly rate of $34.95 for use on all carriers it provides service to.
  • Senators from both the Democratic and Republican parties are expressing confidence that they have enough votes to lift the ban on American travel to Cuba, overturning a U.S. policy that has been in effect for nearly half a century.  Previous efforts to have the ban lifted have died in the House or Senate as opponents argued that lifting the ban could prop up Cuba’s communist-run government.
  • The federal government has created an iPhone app called “My TSA,” which provides information on airport delays to travelers and reminds you what items are allowed in your carry-on or checked baggage.  Unfortunately, the app is only for the iPhone.  Consumers using any other devices, including Windows Mobile, BlackBerry or Android devices, will instead be directed to a mobile web site.

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/.

According to a new committee opinion issued by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, occasional air travel is safe for healthy pregnant women.  That holds true even in the last month of pregnancy, although most doctors generally prefer that women stop air travel around 36 weeks in case they go into early labor.

The ACOG recommends that soon-to-be-moms exercise “normal precautions” by drinking lots of water, getting up and walking, wearing support stockings and pregnant momkeeping your seat belt fastened while seated.  Because pregnant women are at increased risk of blood clots, these measures are “even more important.”

“If your stomach has been on a roll during pregnancy, consider taking an anti-nausea pill before getting on a plane. Also, avoid consuming foods or drinks that can cause gas because gas will expand in your stomach at high altitudes.

Some airlines require a note from a doctor if a pregnant woman wants to travel up to a month before her due date. ‘”It’s not that flying is particularly dangerous at that time,”‘ said Dr. William Barth Jr., chairman of ACOG’s Committee on Obstetric Practice. ‘”It’s that the probability of going into labor is higher,”‘ and airlines want to avoid that possibility.

If you have control over your schedule, traveling by plane in mid-pregnancy (14 to 28 weeks) is preferable because that’s when the risks of miscarriage and premature labor are lowest, according to the Mayo Clinic.”

The ACOG says that pregnant women who fly constantly (perhaps for work), are at greater risk because of the exposure to cosmic radiation. This form of radiation comes from the sun and outer space and is more intense at higher altitudes.   If you’re interested in calculating your exposure to cosmic radiation from a specific flight, visit the FAA’s website: tinyurl.com/cosmicrad.

Pregnant women who travel occasionally don’t have to worry about radiation, even if they take long trips. Even the longest international flight will expose a passenger to no more than 15 percent of the recommended annual radiation limits.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • JetBlue is offering a one-day fare sale (today only) for Halloween flights.  you can fly to any destination that JetBlue has an extra seat for, for just $31 one-way. The catch is that you have to fly after noon local time on Oct. 31, and the fare does not include your return flight.  The offer is valid on all nonstop US routes.
  • Southwest Airlines is hosting a photo contest where one Grand Prize winner will receive a pair of round-trip tickets.  From Oct. 20th to Nov. 13th, travelers can submit travel photos via the Southwest Airlines Travel Guide.  Visit http://www.southwest.com/vipcontest/ for details.
  • Los Angeles Airport is getting a face-lift.  Airport commissioners approved $1.13 billion in construction contracts to revitalize the primary entry and departure point for overseas travelers at LAX.

According to the 2010 American Express Business Travel forecast released today, airfares will go up around the globe next year as airlines pare their schedules and demand revives, but average hotel rates should fall in most regions.

American Express Business Travel said overall ticket prices will increase by up to 5 percent globally for economy class short-haul flights.  Business class long-haul fares are projected to increase by 1 to 6 percent.  In North America, ticket prices are expected to rise between 2 and 7 percent in economy class and 1 to 6 percent in business class.

But while most passengers will be paying more for airfare, the forecast said hotels will be forced to cut rates further as they try to draw more customers back.  In North America, mid-range rates are expected to fall by 1 to 4 percent.  Upper-range hotel prices in North America are projected to decline by 3 to 6 percent.

The 2010 Forecast is based on a number of sources, including the American Express Business Travel Monitor, the American Express contracted rates database, transaction reports, Smith Travel Research Global Hotel Reviews and NBTA-IHS Global Insights business travel market sizing research.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • American Airlines flight 1318 is being held at Logan International Airport this afternoon for inspection after a threatening note was found in the lavatory of the plane.  The plane, a Boeing 757, was being boarded for a 2:30 p.m. flight to Miami when a flight attendant found the threatening note.  The note is reported to have read, “Bomb on board, Boston to Miami flight.”  The people who had already begun boarding Flight 1318 were taken off the plane.  The plane was taken away from its gate and brought to a runway where it is currently being checked.
  • Southwest Airlines’s Winter Fare Sale has flights starting at $59 one way.  Flights must be purchased by Oct. 15 for travel through Feb. 11, excluding Fridays, Sundays and most holidays. A 14-day advance purchase is required.
  • The Orlando Magic and AirTran Airways announced a new, multi-year relationship in which the airline will become a “Champions of the Community” partner for the Orlando Magic’s new Amway Center.  Starting this season, AirTran will receive branding in key aspects of Magic marketing and communications, including in-arena interactive elements and signage, radio, print and Internet promotion.