Tag: JFK Airport


With four major airlines looking to grab market share at three airports, New York will be one of the most competitively priced destinations in the country this year.  And of course, where there’s intense airline competition, there are sure to be happy travelers that like to fly frugal.

Southwest Airlines will begin flying out of Newark on March 27th, and the discount carrier will officially join the fray for air supremacy over the Big Apple.  Southwest and competitors Delta, Continental, American and JetBlue will be vying to steal customers from each other at New York and New Jersey airports.  They will be in a dogfight at all three international airports — Newark Liberty, La Guardia and John F. Kennedy — the nation’s most hotly contested airspace.

Passengers can expect fare wars on flights to Chicago, Phoenix, Denver and Houston – all routes that Southwest will also have out of Newark.  Southwest could become the pricing leader in New York and New Jersey because the discount carrier will now compete at two major airports in the region, Newark and La Guardia.

Southwest expects to offer 18 daily flights out of Newark by June.  Meanwhile, the airline is already offering Newark-to-Chicago fares of $88 one way this spring.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • For the third time in four years, U.S. commercial airlines have gone 12 months without a single death. For all of 2010, a year that saw more than 10 million flights and 700 million passengers, the National Transportation Safety Board recorded no major airline accidents. Yep, they’re gettin’ ya there in one piece.
  • Open Allies for AirFare Transparency – a coalition of 117 founding members & corporations, including online travel agencies Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity - launched late last week with a mission to force airlines to make fare and ancillary fees available on every distribution channel in which they operate.  Good luck with that.
  • Delta is not picking sides in the Super Bowl.  The airline has added non-stop flights from both Pittsburgh and Green Bay (and Milwaukee) to Dallas / Fort Worth.  The airline will fly three nonstop flights between Pittsburgh and Dallas around the first weekend of February.  It  will also operate special nonstop flights from Austin Straubel International Airport in Green Bay and General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee on Feb. 3, 4 and 7.  Get there if you can.  It should be a good game.

More Flight Attendant Flare-ups on the Horizon?

flight attendant

The stress on airline employees got a lot of attention this week after JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater “lost it” by cursing at a (jerk) passenger over a plane’s loudspeaker and then jumping down the emergency slide with a beer from the galley.  However, this may be just the beginning of flight attendant flare ups.  According to reports, U.S. airlines have cut jobs for two straight years and airline employment in the U.S. is now at its second lowest point in 20 years.  Meanwhile, annual passenger traffic has jumped about 65 percent during that same period.

Diminishing staff and fuller flights are adding to the stress among flight attendants, pilots and other workers – and experts think that U.S. airlines will continue to show overall declines in staffing despite some sporadic hiring.

The bottom line:  Flight attendants are over-worked, under-paid and often treated poorly by passengers.  Give em a break and be kind.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • British Airways recently announced a “London for Free“  promotion where you can book a round-trip fall airfare from the U.S. to U.K., and get up to two complimentary hotel nights at select 3-star and 4-star properties.  The airline also reduced fares from its 19 U.S. gateways. Round-trip fares are from $498 from New York (JFK or Newark), from $654 from Chicago, and from $576 from San Francisco. For the free hotel deal you need to book by midnight August 19, for travel October 21 to December 19.
  • From now until September 6, 2010, the New York Marriott East Side hotel offers a special sightseeing package. This last minute deal is perfect for guests who want to explore the best of New York City with less strain on their wallets. With the Summer in the City deal, guests receive two NYC Explorer passes and guidebooks in addition to breakfast for two. This special Midtown Manhattan hotel offer is available to guests staying at least two nights and can be reserved online at http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/nycea-new-york-marriott-east-side/.
  • Delta Air Lines has received approval to begin a $1.2bn terminal renovation project at JFK Airport in New York.  The airline will dismantle Terminal 3 to accommodate parking spaces and will operate its international traffic from Terminal 4, which will also be upgraded with nine additional gates and baggage claim space and will be linked to Terminal 2.  The project will begin in September and is expected to be complete by mid 2013.  The fund will include $900m in special-project bonds, $215m in passenger facility charges (there’s the rub) and $75m in equity from Delta.  Delta said the renovation is aimed to attract corporate passengers as it builds a major air hub in New York.

The USA Today reports that American Airlines agents who roam airport check-in lobbies with a handheld computing device can now print boarding passes.

To prevent long lines at check-in counters and self-service kiosks, the carrier began experimenting with the device — called Your Assistance Delivered Anywhere — in October at Boston Logan.  They’re now available for agents at nine airports:  Dallas/Fort Worth, Albuquerque, Boston, Chicago, New York JFK, New York LaGuardia, Miami, St. Louis and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The device can also check flight status, provide connecting information, display maps of other airports and print baggage tags for customers checking luggage.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • Continental Airlines announced that it has partnered with Stirrings, a cocktail-mixer brand, and will begin selling “specialty cocktails” on its flights.  The airline will offer a mojito and pomegranate martini.  Continental also teamed with Red Bull to offer the energy drink.  All three are offered with alcohol for $9 apiece or without for $3.  (Maybe it’s me, but an energy drink while strapped in the middle seat at 30,000 feet doesn’t sound appealing.)
  • This ABC News article outlines the 5 biggest mistakes when buying airfare.  Here’s the Cliff’s notes: (1) Buying tickets on the weekend, (2) Flying on Fridays and Saturdays, (3) Checking bags, (4) Forgetting about Facebook & Twitter, (5) Not accounting for fuel surcharges.
  • Flights resumed this week on JFK Airport’s “Bay Runway,” after a four-month closing for construction.  The $348.1 million project to widen and resurface the runway, which is the longest and busiest in the region, was completed on budget and ahead of schedule.  Some were worried about the delays this project might cause for summer travelers, but not us.
  • The Feds have proposed fines of nearly $2.5 million for safety violations against two regional air carriers that operate commuter flights for United Airlines and US Airways.  The FAA said today that it wants to fine Trans States Airlines and GoJet Airlines for violating maintenance procedures and operating nine jets on 320 flights when the planes were not in compliance with safety regulations.

exit row seat

Starting March 17, Continental Airlines will start offering coach passengers the option of paying extra to get an exit-row seat, which offers 7 to 12 inches more legroom, depending on the type of plane.  Fees will vary based on the flight, but a Houston-to-New York flight might cost $59 more for an exit-row seat.  According to the airline, passengers who belong to Continental’s frequent-flier program and fly at least 25,000 miles a year, and those traveling with them, will continue being able to select those seats at no additional cost.  Currently, United Airlines, Spirit Airlines, JetBlue, Frontier and AirTran all charge varying amounts for additional legroom.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • The New York Times’ “In Transit” blog reports that airline call centers are slower than ever due to staff cuts and increased call volumes that stem from flight cancellations.  The Times offers a few tips on how to navigate the bottle neck:  (1) have your confirmation numbers handy, (2) call from a land line if possible to avoid dropped calls, and (3) get as much information as you can about alternate routes.  (Suggestion: Use Yapta in advance of your flight to track pricing on alternate routes.  That way, you’ll have them at your fingertips when you need them.)
  • Las Vegas McCarran Airport officials are considering a plan to become the first U.S. airport to install a liquor store in the baggage-claim area.  Many airports sell liquor at bars and duty-free stores, but the proposal is aiming to capture revenue from arriving passengers who are headed into Sin City.  I love Vegas.
  • An FAA air traffic controller and supervisor were placed on administrative leave Wednesday after allowing a child to direct flights at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on Feb. 17.  The agency also suspended all unofficial visits to air traffic control towers pending an investigation of the incident. The FAA will review its policy on allowing visitors into the towers.


It’s Gonna be an Ugly Summer at JFK Airport

JFK AirportThe New York Post reports that over the next several months, air travelers can expect to wait longer — and pay more — to fly to and from JFK Airport after its main runway is shut down for extensive repairs.

The Queens air-traffic hub — already near the bottom of the barrel for on-time performance — is expected to face delays of what critics warn will be “multiple hours,” as planes are diverted to three smaller runways at the Queens facility.  And passengers will have to dig deeper to afford the higher ticket prices that the airlines will likely charge to make up for temporarily cutting about 10 percent of their flights into and out of JFK.  Adding insult to injury, the carriers are building in time to their schedules so that longer-than-normal trips won’t technically arrive “late.”

The shutdown will allow workers to tear up the 14,572-foot Bay Runway and replace its asphalt surface with more-durable concrete.  The runway — which normally handles a third of JFK’s traffic and half of all departures — will also be widened to accommodate new, extra-jumbo jets as part of the $376 million project.

Year-over-year fare increases can already be seen on some of the airport’s most popular routes, including flights to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • Speaking of JFK Airport, the AP reports that in February, a child apparently directed pilots from the air traffic control center. Audio clips from mid-February — during a week-long winter break for many New York schoolchildren — were posted online recently where a child can be heard on the tape making five transmissions to pilots preparing for takeoff.  In one exchange, the child can be heard saying, “JetBlue 171 contact departure.”  The pilot responds: “Over to departure JetBlue 171, awesome job.”  The child appears to be under an adult’s supervision, because a male voice then comes on and says with a laugh, “That’s what you get, guys, when the kids are out of school.”  In another exchange, the youngster clears another plane for takeoff, and says, “Adios, amigo.”  The pilot responds in kind.
  • Capt. “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot who deftly landed a US Airways plane in the Hudson River last year, retired today after 30 years with the airline.  His last flight was scheduled to arrive in Charlotte, N.C., from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., shortly after 3 p.m. ET today.  Meanwhile, Doreen Welsh, a flight attendant on Capt. Sully’s historic splash-landing, also retired today from US Airways after four decades of service.  Congrats to both Capt. Sully and Doreen.
  • The TSA is re-evaluating a technology that aims to take one of the biggest hassles out of airport security: removing your shoes at a checkpoint.  The USA Today reports that a dozen companies have designed shoe scanning machines, and the TSA says it plans to buy 100 of the devices by next year.  The machines, which find metal weapons and explosives in shoes, didn’t pass muster in tests three years ago.  The developers of the latest generation of the machines promise better results, and the TSA says the technology will improve security.

Shoes… er, hats off to this new technology!

paradiseIf you haven’t tracked airfare prices with Yapta.com this month, you had better do so soon.  There’s only 5 days left where you can become eligible to win a 5-night, 6-day stay at the CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa in our 9 Months of Paradise by Marriott Sweepstakes.

Each month, we’re giving away a stay in the Caribbean or Mexico courtesy of Marriott.  Entering the sweepstakes is easy.  All you have to do is use Yapta.com in October to track the price of any flight.  For every flight you enter (up to 25), you’ll receive an additional chance at winning the Grand Prize.  We’re also giving away Bose on-ear headphones and Starbucks gift cards as secondary prizes.

Don’t think you have any chance of winning?  Either did these Grand Prize Winners:

Denise Underwood (Federal Way, WA)… Won a 5-night, 6-day stay at St. Kitts Marriott Resort & The Royal Beach Casino

Laquitta Sobieski (Ocala, FL)…  Won a 5-night, 6-day stay at Curacao Marriott Beach Resort & Emerald Casino

Sharon Weinstein (Branford, CT)… Won a 5-night, 6-day stay at Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort

Will Bentley (Hammonton, NJ)… Won a 5-night, 6-day stay at JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • Southwest and AirTran each launched broad fare sales this morning, with fares dropping to as low as $25 each way on some Southwest flights. Both airlines’ sales cover flights into February, though there are the usual blackout dates around the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays.  (See the USA Today’s travel blog Today in the Sky for details.)
  • JetBlue began its new flights to Saint Lucia Monday with nonstop service to the island’s Hewanorra International Airport from the airline’s home at New York’s JFK International Airport. The airline now serves the island with nonstop flights every Monday, Thursday and Sunday, operated by its 150-seat Airbus A320 aircraft.
  • Adventures by Disney is giving away a three-night Disney Cruise to the Bahamas when you purchase a vacation on select Adventures by Disney trips to Europe, China, Australia, Costa Rica and the American Southwest. (See the LA Times’ Daily Travel & Deals blog for details.)