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Here Are American's Fancy New Plane Seats

Posted by Caroline Costello on Friday, April 25, 2014

Can the cramped, dismal interior of a legacy aircraft ever pass for a well-appointed hotel suite? American thinks so.

The airline is retrofitting its fleet of 47 Boeing 777-200ER jets this year, removing first class and rolling out a two-class cabin experience. There will be an economy section (with some roomier Main Cabin Extra seats) and a business class—a deluxe business class where duvet-swaddled passengers are referred to as "guests" and seats are called "beds."

Like a hotel suite. A very costly and tiny hotel suite that flies in the sky and probably smells if it's anywhere near the bathroom.

According to Marisa Garcia of Skift, who talked to representatives from American at Aircraft Interiors Expo this week, "As they describe the design details of their cabins, we notice the subtle choice of vocabulary. They're not business-class seats but business-class 'suites' with Suite ID panels instead of seat numbers on the side where 'guests' can request privacy by lighting up their 'Do Not Disturb' signs."

Here's the best part of the patented bed-seat. The 6-foot by 4.5-inch thing converts into a fully lie-flat bed. Check it out.

Each seat is an aisle seat and a window seat. It's the best of both worlds. The seats are either forward or rear facing. A representative from the airline told Skift that the seat backs are akin to a "headboard at a fine hotel." Again with the hotel analogy.

There are lots of gadgets and gizmos, including USB ports, power outlets, a 17-inch touchscreen monitor, amenity kits, and Bose noise-canceling headphones for use in flight.

Below is the "lobby" walk-up bar. Passengers are welcome to stroll up to the bar and help themselves to some refreshments. No, not you sir. Business-class passengers only!

What do you think? Is this how a sky hotel should be? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.

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This article was originally published by SmarterTravel under the title Here Are American's Fancy New 'Hotel Suite' Plane Seats.

Follow Caroline Costello on Google+ or email her at editor@smartertravel.com.

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Domestic Fare of the Day: Austin to Las Vegas $138 round-trip, nonstop

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, April 24, 2014

Fly nonstop from Austin to Las Vegas for $138 round-trip, including all taxes, on Allegiant.

Searching AllegiantAir.com, we were able to find seats departing AUS on Monday, September 8, returning from LAS on Friday, September 12. Other dates are also available for travel in fall, with slightly higher fares ($158) available for spring/summer.

Visit our Las Vegas LAS fare page for a complete look at current deals.

To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

Domestic Fare of the Day: Denver to Memphis $218 round-trip, 10% off promo

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, April 24, 2014

From the current 10% off promo from Frontier: fly from Denver to Memphis for $218 round-trip, including all taxes.

We found seats departing DEN on Tuesday, September 9, returning from MEM on the following Tuesday, September 16. Other dates are also available for travel in spring, summer, and fall.

Frontier's promo offer expires tonight at 11:59pm, ET. For booking info, see our Fare Details.

To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

Australia Sale from Air New Zealand

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, April 24, 2014

Air New Zealand has lowered fares to Australian cities. Featured destinations include Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Cairns, Adelaide, and Perth.

Travel is valid from July 24 through September 17, November 1-30, and again from February 1 through March 31.

All tickets must be booked by May 6.

Fares include:

Los Angeles to Adelaide $,1,379 round-trip, including all taxes

San Francisco to Adelaide $1,379 round-trip, including all taxes

Los Angeles to Brisbane $1,296 round-trip, including all taxes

San Francisco to Brisbane $1,296 round-trip, including all taxes

Los Angeles to Cairns $1,390 round-trip, including all taxes

Los Angeles to Melbourne $1,273 round-trip, including all taxes

San Francisco to Melbourne $1,273 round-trip, including all taxes

Los Angeles to Sydney $1,290 round-trip, including all taxes

San Francisco to Sydney $1,290 round-trip, including all taxes

Above image via Shutterstock

To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

Int'l Fare of the Day: Toronto to London $826 round-trip, nonstop, in June

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, April 24, 2014

From Air Transat, travel from Toronto to London Gatwick for CAD$826 (or $750 USD) round-trip, nonstop, including all taxes.

We found seats departing YYZ on Tuesday, June 3, returning from LGW on Tuesday, June 10.

A few other dates are also available for late spring travel, with lower fares for travel beginning in mid-September.

For a look at other UK finds, visit our fare page for London LHR.

To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

Domestic Fare of the Day: NYC to Dallas $210 round-trip, nonstop

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, April 24, 2014

Fly nonstop from New York to Dallas for $210 round-trip, including all taxes, on Delta Air Lines.

We found seats departing LGA on Tuesday, September 2, and returning from DFW on Sunday, September 7. Other dates are also available starting from early September and on through fall/winter.

For booking info, see our Fare Details.

To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

Low Fares from Florida to Scandinavia for Late Spring/Fall/Winter

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, April 24, 2014

All those super low fares from Florida to Scandinavia are holding steady! As seen below, we found seats for travel in late May from Ft Lauderdale FLL to Oslo OSL for $441 round-trip, including all taxes, on Norwegian. For booking info, see our Fare Details.

Also from Norwegian, Ft Lauderdale to Copenhagen CPH, Denmark is nearly as low at $525 round-trip, nonstop, for dates in late spring.

For travel later in fall, Delta/KLM is offering fares to Bergen BGO, Norway for $491 round-trip, though connecting via JFK and Amsterdam for most itineraries.

And from Orlando MCO, nonstop fares to Oslo are $525 round-trip, including all taxes, for travel next fall/winter.

For a complete look at recent finds from all over the US, see our fare pages for Oslo OSL, Bergen BGO, Copenhagen CPH, and Stockholm ARN.

To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

Domestic Fare of the Day: Los Angeles to Honolulu $324 round-trip, nonstop

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Fly nonstop from Los Angeles to Honolulu for $324 round-trip, including all taxes, on Allegiant.

As seen by the image below, we found seats departing LAX on Monday, September 8, and returning from HNL on Sunday, September 14. Other dates are also available for travel in late summer/fall. Please note that Allegiant fares purchased by credit card rather than debit card will be slightly higher.

For booking info, see our Fare Details.

To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Alaska

By David Landsel of Airfarewatchdog

Alaska is big. Extreme weather is kind of its thing. The state is full of bears, moose and other animals you really don't want to tangle with. It's no accident there are reality shows dedicated to highlighting just how dangerous/remote/weird Alaska can be. No wonder so many travelers prefer to let a middleman sort things out. Whether a cheap cruise or an expensive fishing trip, if you want to have your hand held -- or if you just feel like blowing a bunch of cash -- operators are standing by. It doesn't have to be like that, though. Anyone with a bit of common sense (and maybe a bit of water-resistant gear) can easily cobble together a great introductory visit to the 49th state on their own. Here's how you do it.

First, fly to Anchorage.



More than half of Alaska's population can be found in or around this surprisingly normal city. Anchorage is an easy flight from major gateways in the West and a not-terrible connection from many other major population centers in what Alaskans refer to as "the lower 48." (For a list of the lowest fares available to ANC right now, click here.) Upon landing, pick up a rental car at the airport and point it towards your hotel, just as you would anywhere else. There's no truly great place to stay in Anchorage; go with what gives you the best value for your money. For example, a handful of new-ish properties in the Midtown area (the SpringHill Suites, located on scenic University Lake, is fine) offer free wireless internet, parking and breakfast, plus larger rooms and suites -- perfect for families.

Good. Now, stay.



Alaskans who do not live there are fond of saying (over and over again!) that Anchorage is just thirty minutes from Alaska. Dumb joke, yes, but also a statement of fact -- the array of adventure on the city's doorstep is mind-blowing. Not that you even need to leave town to get your nature on -- cyclists will see plenty of wildlife on the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, a paved, 11-mile stretch leading out of the center of town and down along Turnagain Arm, the giant body of water that stops the city in its tracks on three sides. Rent some wheels (Trek Store -- in Midtown, next to the Embassy Suites -- is the real deal) and go. For more adventurous types, Flattop Mountain (elev. 3,510 feet) is a popular spot for a bit of exercise. Here, you're basically rock scrambling by the end; winds can whip up so fast on the treeless peak, you may have to squat to keep from being blown over. When all's said and done, you might feel a little like Shackleton, but to many Alaskans, this 1.5-mile climb is a mere stroll in Central Park.

Now, go hike a glacier.



Feeling like a big man or lady? As previously stated, Flattop's nothing. To really up your street cred, go for a glacier hike. Nothing fancy required -- just get out of bed, grab a coffee at one of Anchorage's many fine caffeine dispensaries (SteamDot Coffee and Side Street Espresso are best, while we're on the subject) and drive out north (two hrs.) along the Glenn Highway, past the town of Palmer, toward Matanuska Glacier. Some people drive to the beach in the summer, Alaskans go hang out on glaciers. All you need is the proper footwear and the admission fee (it's up to $20 per person nowadays, still worth it) and you're set. For a more in-depth experience, outfitters near the glacier will get you all geared up with crampons, helmet and trekking pole, but it's not essential. For an even softer adventure, head south of town (2.5 hrs) to Kenai Fjords National Park, where Exit Glacier can be viewed via a tame, one-mile loop from the visitors center.

Next, see the rainforest.



What better way to follow up a glacier hike with a day in the rainforest? In winter, the town of Girdwood, a little over half an hour from Anchorage, is ski central; in summer, you come for the outstanding hiking. A five-mile loop through Winner Creek Gorge takes you into coastal rainforest that'll have you feeling as if you've stepped into a more temperate Jurassic Park, but with bears instead of dinosaurs. Some hikers prefer to go the guided route, and that's fine -- for $69, guides from The Ascending Path will take you out on a fun, two to three hour excursion.

Now, go rafting. Or floating.


Ever been floating? Not in your pool, but on a raft, down a river? It's the ultimate lazy man's adventure, but you've already hiked on a glacier and through a rainforest, so go ahead, take the day off. Two-hour tours ($59) down the Upper Kenai River with Alaska River Trips are the sort of thing anyone could handle, while the more adventurous and easily bored should definitely look into NOVA's challenging Six Mile Creek whitewater trip in the Chugach National Forest. The half-day trip down Class 1V-V rapids (that's some serious rapids) costs $99-$149 depending on the tour. Not only is it a great trip, the guides do all the thinking for you, providing any necessary gear and guidance. Bonus: On a warm day, you can go swimming before and after. Both of these excursions are, once again, a reasonable drive out of Anchorage.

Finally, make sure to hit Prince William Sound.



You know those pictures of everyone out on the deck of a ship, gawking at glaciers? (Like the one above?) And you think to yourself, oh, my, that would be nice, to just cruise past a bunch of glaciers? Here's a tip: To get to the really good stuff, you've got to get off the big boat and on to a little one. So why not just book the little one yourself? One of the better glacier viewing cruises you can do in Alaska is the one through Prince William Sound. Phillips Cruises & Tours operates out of the weird little town of Whittier, about an hour and a half from Anchorage. Two cruises are offered, one at $99 and one at $149; the latter takes in no less than 26 glaciers during the five-hour sailing. Either way, you're getting face time with one of the most incredible bits of real estate in what you've already gathered is a pretty incredible state. Lunch is included.

Remember to make time for the city itself.



There are plenty of things to do in Anchorage that don't involve nature -- it's a real city, one that can be a lot of fun, particularly in summer, when festivals and farmers markets crowd the calendar. Eating and drinking here can be a lot of fun as well -- if you can, get down to the mostly tourist-free (for now) Midnight Sun Brewing Co. for solid beers and beer-appropriate eats. See-worthy attractions are a little scarce, but the Anchorage Museum, with its David Chipperfield-designed expansion, a large collection of Alaskan art and artifacts, the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center and a great planetarium shouldn't keep you away from the great outdoors for too long, but this is definitely worth a visit if time allows.

For a list of the lowest fares available to Alaska, see our fare pages for Anchorage ANC, Fairbanks FAI, Juneau JNU, Kodiak ADQ, and Sitka SIT.

Other stories you might like:

14 Things You Need to Know Before Driving California's Big Sur

24 Ways to Have the Best 24 Hours Ever - in Los Angeles

Got a Little Free Time This Spring? Maybe Go Check Out Pittsburgh (Yes, Really)


All photos courtesy of Travel Alaska and the Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Int'l Fare of the Day: Chicago to Budapest $700 round-trip, incl. all taxes

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Fly from Chicago to Budapest for $700 round-trip, including all taxes, on Lufthansa.

As see below, we found seats on Lufthansa.com departing ORD on Thursday, January 29, and returning from BUD on Friday, February 2. Other dates are also available for winter travel, January through March.

Slightly higher fares are available for travel in fall. For booking info, see our Fare Details.

To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

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