Tag: Frontier Airlines

Flying Coach Is About To Get a Little More Cramped

small airplane seats

If you think flying coach sucks is a cramped and claustrophobic experience, then you’re going to hate what’s coming in the months ahead.  An increasing number of airlines are starting to install more paid-legroom seats on their planes (because people buy them), eating into the legroom of the standard coach seat – which we all know is already limited.

Airlines such as JetBlue, American, United, Frontier, and Spirit are introducing a new class of roomier seats with names such as Economy Plus (United) and Classic Plus (Frontier) that offer passengers more space to spread out but at a higher price tag.  To make room on the plane for these pricier seats, the standard coach experience gets a little more cramped.

In the past, the economy section on an average long-haul plane represented about 90% of the seats, with first-class seats making up the balance.  Today, 10% to 30% of the spots on a major airline are extra-roomy economy seats. To make room for the new seats, airlines have eliminated 10 to 40 standard economy seats per plane.  On some airlines, many of the remaining economy seats got pushed closer together.

Get ready to love thy neighbor.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • There could be changes on the horizon for how you buy an airplane ticket online. Starting next year, a group of airline carriers agreed to start using a new system that could lead to personalized pricing for flyers.  Airlines will begin asking customers for more personal information, travel history, frequent flyer membership and credit card use.  Using this detailed information, they will then produce a customized ticket price.
  • The Chicago Tribune warns, “Procrastinators beware: Don’t put off booking holiday airline travel this year, unless you want to pay more and get stuck in a middle seat in coach.  Holiday ticket prices will generally rise from here. Count on paying $3 more per seat for every day you put off booking.”
  • ABC News revealed that many of the country’s busiest airports also rank at the top for TSA employees fired for theft.  Sixteen of the top 20 airports for theft firings are also in the top 20 airports in terms of passengers passing through.

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.

AA Flight Attendants Vote to Strike

AA Strike

American Airlines flight attendants authorized their union leaders today to call a strike against the second-largest U.S. carrier if they are freed from further negotiations.  According to the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, about 97 percent of those voting cast ballots to support a walkout.

The vote is a signal to American’s management that the attendants will push toward a strike unless contract issues including compensation and retiree benefits are resolved.  A walkout can’t occur until the union and American complete several additional steps required under a federal law governing airline labor talks.

Contract discussions resumed yesterday, about a month after the National Mediation Board ordered the two sides back to the bargaining table.  Flight attendants had asked the board to find talks at an impasse and trigger a 30-day cooling off period that must come before a strike.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • Alaska Airlines is offering passengers free wireless Internet through July 31 as the airline launches Wi-Fi service today on six Boeing 737-800s.  Through an airline agreement with Visa, passengers can sign up to use the service free by entering the promotional code ALASKAVISA on the login screen. See www.alaskaair.comfor details.  After July 31, cost on flights within the continental United States will be $4.95 per flight for flights up to 1.5 hours; $9.95 for laptops and $7.95 for mobile devices for flights of 1.5-3 hours; and $12.95 for laptops and $7.95 for mobile access for flights longer than three hours.
  • Spirit Airlines is warning employees that the airline might have to “shut down operations permanently” if its pilots union goes on strike, as it is threatening to do as early as June 12, adding more tension to what could become a high-stakes showdown.  Spirit considers ultra-low fares to be its brand, using ancillary revenue and industry-leading low unit costs to help fuel its profits.  But the leader of the Spirit union says pilots want a new contract that brings them closer to parity with pay at carriers such as JetBlue and AirTran, which is 20% to 30% higher.
  • Frontier Airlines said it is ending its frequent-flyer partnership with AirTran Airways as of July 16.  The partnership, launched in November 2006, allowed passengers on one of the two airlines to use their miles to fly on the other.  No specific reason for ending the partnership was given.  However, Denver-hubbed Frontier is in the process of merging with Milwaukee-based Midwest Airlines, which has a history of fierce competition with Orlando, Fla.-based AirTran.

Could be a Crazy Weekend for JetBlue Customers

jetblue2Traveling on JetBlue this weekend could get messy.  The airline is transferring to a new reservation system.  Passengers will be unable to check flight status, check in at jetblue.com or make changes to an existing itinerary online for 24 hours beginning at noon on Friday (1/29).  They also won’t be able to book travel at all.   In addition to those inconveniences, JetBlue is warnings of longer lines at airports and is urging passengers to arrive early.

The airline says it is ready for potential delays and slip-ups after preparing two years for the switch.  However, other airlines have attempted to switch reservation systems in recent years with less-than-stellar results, including widespread delays, baggage problems and help center backups.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • American Airlines is currently conducting an airfare sale – offering one-way fares as low as $49.  Book by February 9, for travel dates until the end of May.
  • Frontier Airlines announced a “Cinco de Flyo” sale, with fares to five Mexico destinations starting at $124 each way. Sale-priced tickets must be purchased by 9:59 p.m. MST on Jan. 29, 2010, for travel through March 7, 2010.  The airline has also put travel to/from the “Northern Rockies” (Billings, Boise, Bozeman and Spokane) on sale as well.
  • Travel website Kayak.com has a hidden easter egg reference to ABC’s TV drama Lost.  Search Kayak for flights from Sydney’s SYD airport to Los Angeles’s LAX and you’ll see that Oceanic Flight 815 — the very one that crashed on the mysterious island in the first episode of Lost — is one of your options.  Lost fans will see that airfare and fees = 4 8 15 16 23 42.

Snowed In? Shuffle Your Flight Plans for Free

Frosty planeThousands of airline passengers in the United States and overseas are still stranded after this weekend’s snowstorm on the East Coast, and more storms are heading for the Midwest in the coming weekend.  Several airlines are offering travelers heading to or from parts of the country affected by winter storms the ability to change their flight plans without being charged a fee.  Here’s a snapshot of what each of the major carriers are doing to help you:

American Airlines says they are following their storm policy. People flying in and out of Wisconsin today through December 24th, are able to change their flights without a fee or penalty.  The best way to do so, is to call American’s Reservation Services at 1-800-433-7300.  That line is open 24/7.

Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines are allowing passengers with tickets from Dec. 22 to 27 to make free changes.

United Airlines is encouraging customers who are flying to, from or through the Midwest between Dec. 22 and 27 to change their flight itineraries and travel early.

Midwest Airlines and Frontier Airlines are allowing any passengers with tickets through Milwaukee for Dec. 22 to 25 to rebook for free.

AirTran Airways is allowing passengers traveling to or from Mitchell, Chicago Midway Airport and a few other Midwest cities who have Dec. 24 or 25 tickets to change their booking for free.

The New York Times addresses some of the questions travelers may have about their flights.  If you’re reading this post from an airport gate somewhere, you’ll appreciate this article.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • An American Airlines flight carrying 154 people skidded across a Jamaican runway in “heavy rain”, bouncing across the tarmac and injuring more than 40 people before it stopped just short of the Caribbean Sea, officials and witnesses said.  The impact cracked open the fuselage, crushed the left landing gear and separated both engines from the Boeing 737-800.  Approximately 44 people were taken to hospitals with broken bones and back pains and four were seriously hurt, airport and Jamaican government officials said.  (American Airlines said two people were admitted to the hospital and nobody suffered life-threatening injuries.)  I live in Seattle and know “heavy rain” – but authorities said that the rain in Jamaica has been so heavy that it washed away a 7-year old girl on Tuesday, leading to bus crash in which two people died.  How can anyone be expected to land a passenger plane in those types of conditions?
  • ABC News has spotlighted another potential security gaff by the TSA.  With the approval of the TSA the Sig Sauer gun company has released specific information about the model of pistol that Federal Air Marshals will soon be carrying – data that both current and former Air Marshals say puts the Marshals and air passengers at risk.  The disclosure comes on the heels of a massive security breach in which the TSA published online an improperly redacted manual that revealed sensitive information about air passenger screening.
  • There was a surprise wedding at Corpus Christi International Airport earlier this week.  Robyn Moore said she greeted her boyfriend, William Acosta, Monday at the airport with a camera and a wedding party ready to make good on the marriage license they filled out last week.  Oh the irony.  All those airplanes around and still no place to escape to, eh Will?

Xmas sale 3In an unexpected move, American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Airlines, Northwest Airlines, US Airways, Frontier Airlines, AirTran Airways and Midwest Airlines are waiving their holiday advance-purchase requirements – dropping some ticket prices by as much as 79%

Take for example an American flight between Dallas and New York: On Wednesday, it sold for $1,858 roundtrip. A day later, the price had been slashed 79% to $388 roundtrip.  Delta’s Atlanta to Seattle no-advance purchase airfares were priced at $1,198 before diving some 78% to as low as $258 roundtrip.

Still, there are requirements around the no-advance-purchase requirements.  The sales are date-specific for the lowest fares and tiered on peak travel dates.  Here’s a breakdown:

Tier 1 is the cheapest and available on Dec. 16, 17 and 25, and Jan. 1 and 4.

Tier 2 fares are about 30% higher than the lowest and available only on Dec. 18, 20, 21, 24, 30 and 31. That Dallas to New York flight, for instance, is $478 those days.

Tier 3 tacks on another 25% to the price with travel dates restricted to Dec. 19, 22, 23, 26, 28 and 29. For the Dallas to New York travel, the ticket price is $100 higher than tier 2.

Tier 4 fares have not been included in the holiday airfare sale and are more expensive.  These fares – as expected – cover Dec. 27 and Jan. 2 and 3.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • Britain’s High Court delivered an early Christmas present to 1 million travelers today by granting British Airways an emergency injunction to stop a 12-day strike by its cabin crews.  The strike, which had been due to begin on Tuesday, would likely have canceled 7,000 flights during the peak holiday travel season.  So, if you were worried that your flight would be canceled – you can breath a sigh of relief.
  • Today, AirTran kicked off a daily, non-stop flight to Nassau, Bahamas from Atlanta, the airline’s biggest hub.  The Bahamas flight is the newest expansion to AirTran’s Caribbean route map.  Flights to Cancun and San Juan launched earlier this year.  Introductory fares are $79 each way from Atlanta, $99 from Baltimore and $44 from Orlando.