Tag: in-flight WiFi

You Like $45 Baggage Fees So Much, You May Get More

baggage

Florida-based Spirit Airlines was roundly criticized in August 2010 when it announced that it was going to be the first – and so far only – airline to charge passengers up to $45 in fees to stow carry-on luggage in overhead compartments.  A pair of federal lawmakers even threatened to impose a tax on all airline revenue generated by such fees, a penalty that has yet to be adopted.

But the Los Angeles Times is reporting that an industry consultant on airline revenue has declared Spirit’s carry-on baggage fee a “major success”.  In the 12-month period after Spirit launched the fee, the airline flew 24.5% more passengers compared with the same period in 2009.  And it’s estimated that the airline will earn $50 million in revenue from carry-on bag fees this year.

No doubt such numbers look enticing to executives at other airlines – and while there’s rampant speculation that baggage fees will rise across the board – msnbc.com reports that there’d be an uproar in Washington, D.C.” if that happened.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • Ever wonder what your luggage experiences after you hand it over to the airline?  Delta Airlines was curious too, so they drilled out a bunch of holes in a box, stuffed it full of video cameras, and sent it on a flight from Atlanta to New York after hitting all the record buttons.  Give it a watch.  It’s pretty cool.
  • Here’s an interesting flight safety factoid that will ease your mind:  According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the number of deaths in airline accidents globally is at the lowest level since 2006, the first year for which the IATA reported data in that category.  Through November, 486 people had died in air crashes, compared with the previous low of 502 in 2008.  By these numbers, you’re far safer 30,000 feet above the ground than you are in your car.
  • And yet another interesting factoid that will make you scratch your head:  According to SplatF, of the 355 million people who have flown on planes equipped with Gogo’s inflight Wi-Fi since 2008, only 15 million sessions have been logged, which means that only 4% of people are going online.  To put that in perspective, that’s about 2 – 10 people on average who pay for online access during each Wi-Fi enabled flight.  So why the low uptake?  Some think it’s the Wi-Fi quality.

What Bin Laden’s Death Means for Travelers

The U.S. State Department issued a worldwide travel warning after President Obama announced Sunday night that American forces killed terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. It says there is an increased risk for anti-American violence and is encouraging anyone who is traveling abroad to sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program .
The free program provides travelers with current information about the country they’re visiting, including warnings about long-term conditions that make a country dangerous and alerts about short-term conditions that pose risks to Americans traveling overseas. The information you provide about your trip when you enroll also will allow the State Department to better assist you in case of an emergency. To learn more about the type of assistance you can receive, see What the State Department Can and Can’t Do in a Crisis
Travel Alerts

The U.S. State Department issued a worldwide travel warning after President Obama announced Sunday night that American forces killed terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.  It says there is an increased risk for anti-American violence and is encouraging anyone who is traveling abroad to sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.

The free program provides travelers with current information about the country they’re visiting, including warnings about long-term conditions that make a country dangerous and alerts about short-term conditions that pose risks to Americans traveling overseas.  The information you provide about your trip when you enroll also will allow the State Department to better assist you in case of an emergency.  To learn more about the type of assistance you can receive, see What the State Department Can and Can’t Do in a Crisis.

While the U.S. State Department warn travelers of the “enhanced potential for anti-American violence”, this doesn’t mean you’ll see stricter security at the airport.  The Department of Homeland Security remains at a heightened state of vigilance, but does not intend to issue an alert at this time.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • American Airlines is readying pay-per view video rentals that, rather than being shown on an in-seat monitor, will be streamed over WiFi to your iPad, iPhone or other gadget during the flight. The new system – which will be managed by Aircell, which already operates in-flight WiFi on select AA aircraft – will allow the airline to offer significantly more content than is currently available for in-flight entertainment, including movies and TV shows.  Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but AA says such a service could cost $3 to $5 for a movie and $1 to $3 to view a TV episode.
  • The Fareologists at Bing Travel today issued their forecast for the 2011 summer travel season, predicting airfare and hotel costs will continue to swell. Compared with last year, airfare is expected to be up 15 percent, with tickets averaging $561, up from $485 last summer. Summer hotel costs will rise by more than 7 percent, with average costs at $242, versus $227 last year.
  • If you’re traveling this summer, don’t expect to have better luck finding discounted hotel rooms.  Demand for hotel rooms has been growing over the last year and will be 2.5% higher this summer than last summer, according to Smith Travel Research, a hospitality consulting firm in Tennessee.  The growing demand will push room rates to an average of $103 per night this summer, up 4.1% from last summer, according to Smith Travel’s latest forecast.  This is just another reason why you should be subscribed to our deals newsletter.  It’s usually stacked with hotel deals.

Free WiFi From Google on Virgin America Flights

Google announced on their blog today that they’re partnering with Virgin America to provide free WiFi on every Virgin America flight between November 10, 2009 and January 15, 2010.

“Whether it’s using Gmail to confirm an airport pick up time with your brother, doing some last minute gift shopping for your niece on Google Product Search or searching Google.com for a good sweet potato pie recipe before touchdown — we hope this makes it a bit easier to stay connected with family and friends while you’re up in the air.

You can find out more about our partnership, where Virgin America flies and how the in-flight WiFi service works at www.freeholidaywifi.com.”

Virgin America currently serves 10 major markets, including San Francisco (SFO), Boston (BOS), Ft. Lauderdale (FLL), Las Vegas (LAS), Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK), Orange County (SNA), San Diego (SAN), Seattle (SEA), Washington-Dulles (IAD).

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • The Detroit Free Press reports that Northwest Airlines is changing nearly all of its current flight numbers this week – so be sure to confirm your Northwest Airlines flight number before heading to the airport.  The changes are due to the takeover by Delta Air Lines and go into effect Saturday (10/26) for international flights and Sunday, Nov. 1st for domestic flights.
  • AirTran Airways is expanding its mobile device options for customers to help manage their air travel. The expanded mobile Web services will allow flyers to book flights and change or cancel travel plans using their mobile devices, according to an AirTran release. The new services complement existing ones offered by AirTran, including being able to view flight status and check in for flights.
  • JetBlue said today that its expanding its service at Boston’s Logan International Airport.  The New York-based carrier said that five daily nonstop flights from Boston to Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport will begin on March 1, 2010.
  • There was an interesting debate carried out in a recent edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in which Kate Hanni, the Executive Director of FlyersRights.org, and James May, President and CEO of the ATA, offered their perpsective on the proposed legislation for a  “Passenger Bill of Rights”.   Give it a read and comment here to let us know which side of the debate you fall on.
  • If you’re interested in capturing information on hotels in nearly any city or town in the United States , visit Yapta’s new hotel browse pages.  You’ll find background on hotels from Abbeville, AL to Worland, WY.