Tag: Northwest Airlines

delta_northwest_mergerToday Delta Air lines received government permission to operate its namesake service and its Northwest Airlines subsidiary as a single carrier.  The single operating certificate from the FAA allows Delta to put its code on Northwest flights and phase out the Northwest name.  That process will be complete in the first quarter of 2010.  For now, travelers won’t notice anything different.

Operationally, the two carriers have been kept separate while Delta sought the FAA certificate.  Delta plans to operate Northwest-coded flights until all seats and fares are consolidated in Delta’s reservations system.  Once that occurs, it will remove the distinction for passengers of purchasing on Delta or Northwest, and the Northwest Web site will be folded into Delta’s.

Employees of both carriers are wearing the same uniforms, and the two carriers frequent-flier programs have already been combined under the Delta SkyMiles brand.  Additionally, more than 80 percent of pre-merger Northwest aircraft have already been painted over with the Delta look.  I bet Delta can’t wait to paint the other 20 precent and attempt to separate themselves from the failed terrorist attack that occurred on a Northwest flight during Christmas.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • Orbitz is offering up to 50% off at hotels world-wide through its Winter Hotel Blowout sale.  For trips booked now through Feb. 14 on Orbitz.com, travelers can save up to 50% on thousands of hotels in destinations, including Mexico, Hawaii, the Caribbean and Europe.  Orbitz is Yapta’s hotel booking partner, so if you search for hotels on Yapta and want to book it – you’ll be eligible for the sale price from Orbitz.
  • Marriott is boosting its rewards program this spring with promotions that allow members to earn extra points.  Between Feb. 1 and April 30, members can earn 2,500 bonus points per stay starting with their second stay, for up to 25,000 bonus points. MegaBonus points can be earned at more than 3,100 Marriott International hotels. Travelers must register by March 31 at MarriottRewards.com/Megabonus or by calling 1-888-627-7468.
  • New York City’s Buckingham Hotel is holding a seven-day sale starting Jan. 4 and offering rates starting from $149 for stays through April 6. Visit buckinghamhotel.com/Seven_Day_Sale.

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.

Humbug: Airlines Double Holiday Surcharges

dollar plane

In early October, we noted that American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and US Airways added $10 surcharges to airfare for flights on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and for Jan. 2nd and 3rd – the busiest days for holiday travel.  Well, let’s now make that $20 each way!  Delta, American, United, US Airways and Northwest Airlines all announced that they have boosted their surcharge on some routes.

This could have a real financial impact for those traveling with large families during the holidays.  For instance, a family of five would have to add $200 to their total cost of travel.  That’s not insignificant.  In fact, it may be enough to keep some people at home this year.

What do you think?  Are these surcharges enough to sink your travel plans?  Or will you be flexible around the holidays and travel on off-peak dates?

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • Omni Hotels have launched a 72-hour sale for stays between Dec. 2 and Feb. 10, excluding New Year’s Eve.  If you book by Thursday (11/5), you can get up to 40% off a room in cities such as Austin, Chicago, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Ft. Worth, San Diego, New Orleans, San Antonio, Houston & Tucson.  Of course, the offer is subject to availability and can not be combined with other special offers.
  • Another day, another bird strike that diverts a plane.  This time it was a Delta Air Lines flight from Phoenix bound for Salt Lake City that was forced to make an early landing after it was hit by a flock of birds.  Airport authorities reported that the windshield of the plane was cracked, but nobody was injured.  According to FAA records, there have been 600 bird strikes nationwide this year and bird strikes cause 600 million dollars in damage to aircraft every year.
  • The state of Florida is suing online travel reservation companies over hotel taxes, the latest in a string of lawsuits nationwide claiming the sites owe local authorities millions of dollars.  Attorney General Bill McCollum sued Expedia and Orbitz today, claiming they failed to pay Florida the full amount of taxes collected on hotel room rentals through their sites.  Consumers are charged a rate when they book a room online, and the company later reimburses the hotels a lesser amount, allowing them to pocket service fees. The taxes are paid on that less expensive rate, prompting legal action by cities and states that claim they’re being cheated out of millions of dollars in tax dollars.

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.

Airfare War Emerges Among Popular Airlines

Ladies and gentlemen, we officially have an airfare war!  Earlier today, American Airlines countered the $25 airfare sale from Southwest Airlines (which we mentioned yesterday) by offering a $25 national 4th Quarter Sale of its own.  Jen Leo of The Los Angeles Times investigated both sales and has this comparison:airfare_wars_090203_mn

“The main difference I found when looking for flights on American is that it doesn’t spell out where you’ll find the savings. Southwest very clearly shows which destinations you could get for $25, $50, $75 or $100 each way. But when I got to the American Airlines website, I had to just type in destinations and guess.  That said, when I applied routes similar to the $25 sale on Southwest, I was able to find the same prices on American. For example, it was easy to find $25 fares between Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO). American is offering the same dates for travel — Monday through Saturday. Prices are each way based on round-trip purchase, and pre tax.”

AirTran also has one-way sale prices of $39 on short routes in an offer that ends Nov. 10th.  Meanwhile, JetBlue and Frontier Airlines are matching sale prices on competitive routes.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • US Airways will trim 1,000 jobs, or about 3.1% of its total work force and cut flights, focusing on hub cities where it stands to make a profit.  The company said today it would concentrate on four hubs – Charlotte, N.C., Philadelphia, Phoenix and the District of Columbia, as well as its hourly shuttle service between New York’s LaGuardia Airport, Boston and Washington’s Ronald Reagan airport.
  • The New York Times’ “In Transit” blog notes that you should be watching for deals to Kingston, Jamaica from JetBlue later this week when the airline begins service there on Oct. 30.
  • The federal government has grounded the two pilots who overshot a Northwest Airlines plane by 150 miles into Wisconsin last week.  The FAA has revoked the licenses of flight captain Tim Cheney of Gig Harbor Wash., and first officer Richard Cole of Salem, Ore.  They have 10 days to ask the National Transportation Safety Board for their licenses back.  And if the board says no, they can try to get new licenses in a year.

Crazy Week of Cockpit Carelessness

Less than a week after a high-profile safety mix up where a Delta plane landed on the airport taxiway at the world’s busiest airport, rather than the parallel runway – there’s been another instance of cockpit carelessness reported by The Wall Street Journal:Flown off course

“Federal officials are working to sort out whether pilots of a Northwest Airlines flight dozed off or were simply distracted Wednesday night when they fell out of contact with air-traffic controllers for more than an hour and overshot their destination by 150 miles.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating, among other things, whether the two pilots fell asleep at the controls. The pair told law-enforcement officials who interviewed them upon landing in Minneapolis — and apparently told fellow pilots later — that they had been engaged in a “heated discussion over airline policy and they lost situational awareness,” according to the NTSB.

Whatever the reason, the plane may have flown out of range of one air-traffic-control center and failed to take steps to get back on course and resume radio contact with controllers, according to industry and government officials close to the situation.

During the 78-minute radio silence, controllers became so concerned about the fate of the 149 people aboard that they asked pilots of other aircraft in the vicinity to see if they could rouse the Northwest crew, according to industry and government officials. When that failed, the Federal Aviation Administration and military official began to consider having fighter jets scrambled to intercept the twin-jet Airbus A320, these officials said.

When an aircraft fails to respond for such a long time, it is routine procedure to send fighters to try to determine the problem.”

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • The New York Times blog InTransit notes that Club Med is offering seven nights for the price of three. The Seven-Day Weekend deal starts at $799 a person and is available at any of Club Med’s all-inclusive resorts in the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Mexico and Florida.
  • A Utah congressman upset he had to go through extra screening is shown in newly released video footage going through airport security.  Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, says screeners at the Salt Lake City airport targeted him for an additional search because he refused to go through a whole-body imaging machine.  The union representing airport security workers says he was trying to kick start a confrontation.
  • Alaska Airlines began nonstop daily service today between Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.  Flights leave Seattle at 9:10 a.m. and arrive in Atlanta at 5:10 p.m. local time.  Return flights leave Atlanta at 6:10 p.m. and arrive in Seattle at 8:30 p.m.

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.