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Domestic Fare of the Day: Baltimore to Las Vegas $187 round-trip, nonstop

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Friday, October 17, 2014

Still available! Fly nonstop from Baltimore to Las Vegas for $187 round-trip, including all taxes, on Southwest.

Searching Southwest.com, we found seats departing BWI on Wednesday, October 29, returning from LAS on the following Tuesday, November 4.

Other dates are also available for travel Mondays through Fridays, as well as Sundays, through November 19.

For booking info, see our Fare Details.

Neon image via Shutterstock

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

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What's New in Premium Economy?

Posted by Ed Perkins on Friday, October 17, 2014

Lufthansa is the latest major holdout to join the group of giant airlines offering premium-economy class. All newly delivered 747-8s incorporate the new cabin, with initial routes linking Frankfurt with Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington. The airline will start offering premium economy on its A380s and A340s next spring, with installation completed by the end of next year. Lufthansa's product will closely resemble that of Air France.

Lufthansa's announcement suggests an overall update of premium economy. The basic idea is simple: The gap between economy class and business class has become immense over the last decade, in both product quality and cost. Here's how:

* Among the world's major airlines, business class has become opulent beyond anyone's wildest expectations. The emerging norm is seats that convert to fully horizontal lie-flat beds for overnight flights, elaborate meal service, generous baggage allowances, and special ground facilities and services; airlines currently operating business class with seats that convert to flat beds at an angle are rushing to convert to the lie-flat design. Business class has become so lavish that many lines have completely abandoned first class.

* Economy class, on the other hand, keeps getting worse: ever-tightening legroom, narrower seats, minimal cabin service, fees for practically everything, and general cattle-car treatment.

* The difference is reflected in the fares: From Boston to London in mid-November, for example, current economy round-trip fares for nonstop flights start at $800, while business class starts at $6,000, more than seven times as much.

Enter premium economy: better than regular economy, cheaper than business class. But different airlines have implemented this idea in different ways. Most big Asian, European, and Pacific lines have opted for what I call "genuine" premium economy. Seats are 2–3 inches wider at shoulder level than seats in regular economy, meal and beverage services are better, extras do not require fees, and most lines provide preferred check-in lines. Standard layouts are 2-2-2 in 767s; 2-3-2 in A330-340s, A380 upper decks, and 787s; and 2-4-2 in 747s and 777s. Seat pitch (front-to-rear spacing of set rows) of 37–40 inches provides 6–8 inches more legroom than conventional economy. Air Canada is the only North American line to offer genuine premium economy on a few planes.

Fare differences are inconsistent, but premium is typically 60 percent to 90 percent higher than regular economy. Here are some sample round-trip fares for nonstop travel in mid-February:

* From Washington to Frankfurt on Lufthansa: $1,635 in premium compared to $1,237 in economy.

* New York to Paris on Air France: $1,479 in premium compared to $1,239 in economy.

* New York to London on British Airways: $1,526 in premium compared to $973 in economy.

* Los Angeles to Taipei on EVA: $1,608 in premium compared to $973 in economy.

No U.S. airline offers genuine premium economy; instead, many now offer what I call semi-premium economy—regular narrow economy seats with an extra 3–6 inches of legroom—at fares up to $150 or so more than regular economy. KLM also uses this system.

I know of only two airlines that offer a premium-economy approach in 757s: OpenSkies, with what seems to be above average service at good prices (although I haven't been able to try it), and Icelandair, which touts its equivalent service as a business class but is really about the same as other lines' premium economy. And the "business class" featured by the several charter-style airlines that fly across the Atlantic is actually about what other lines would call premium economy.

All this leads to three conclusions:

* Premium economy generally seems to target business travelers whose companies won't pay for business class. Prices are too stiff to appeal to all but the most affluent vacation travelers.

* But when it's on sale, as currently with Air France, premium economy can look attractive enough to tempt leisure travelers who are fed up with the miseries of regular economy. If you're interested, keep on the lookout for premium "sales."

* No U.S. airlines seem likely to switch to genuine premium economy anytime soon. But they sell it—and you can access it—on flights operated by codeshare partners.

These days, most big metasearch engines and online travel agencies provide price searches for premium economy. And airline-seating websites such as SeatGuru post seating details.

Ed Perkins on Travel is copyright (c) 2014 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

You Might Also Like:

 

 Best Airlines for Extra Legroom in Coach

 

 

 

 Routehappy Seating Report: Premium Economy

 

 

 

 Frequent-Flyer Programs for Infrequent Flyers

 

 

This article was originally published by SmarterTravel under the title Premium Economy: What's New in Airline-Seating Classification? Follow Ed Perkins on Google+ or email him at editor@smartertravel.com.

Categories: Air Travel

Int'l Fare of the Day: Houston to Istanbul $648 round-trip, nonstop

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, October 16, 2014

Fly nonstop from Houston to Istanbul for $648 round-trip, including all taxes, on Turkish Airlines.

We found seats departing IAH on Wednesday, March 5, returning from IST on the following Wednesday, March 11.

Other dates are also available for winter travel from January through March.

For booking info, see our Fare Details.

Istanbul image via Shutterstock

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

Domestic Fare of the Day: Los Angeles to New Orleans $237 round-trip

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, October 16, 2014

Fly from Los Angeles to New Orleans for $237 round-trip, including all taxes, on United.

Searching United.com, we found seats departing LAX on Wednesday, December 3, returning from MSY on Tuesday, December 9.

Other dates are also available for travel through December 16, excluding peak holiday periods.

For a complete look at current deals from all over the US and Canada, visit our New Orleans MSY fare listings.

Above image via Shutterstock

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

Thanksgiving Travel: Boston to Beijing $860 round-trip, nonstop

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, October 16, 2014

For travel over the Thanksgiving holiday, fly nonstop from Boston to Beijing for $860 round-trip, including all taxes, on Hainan.

Seen below, we found seats departing BOS on Wednesday, November 26, returning from PEK on Saturday, December 6.

Other dates are also available for travel through early December.

For booking info, see our Fare Details.

Above image via Shutterstock

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

Domestic Fare of the Day: Denver to San Juan $318 round-trip, winter travel

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, October 16, 2014

Lots of great deals to Puerto Rico today, including Denver to San Juan for $318 round-trip, including all taxes, on US Airways.

We found seats departing DEN on Wednesday, February 4, returning from SJU on the following Wednesday, February 11. Flights connect via Charlotte. 

Other dates are also available for travel throughout winter, with spring fares higher by a few just a bucks.

Have a look at our fare listings for San Juan SJU for a complete look at current deals from all over the US and Canada.

Above image via Shutterstock

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

Business Class Holiday Sale: NYC to Barcelona $1,803 nonstop

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, October 16, 2014

As part of KLM's current winter holiday Biz Class sale to Europe, fly nonstop from New York to Barcelona for $1,803 round-trip, including all taxes.

We found seats departing JFK on Sunday, December 21, returning from BCN on Thursday, January 1. 

Other cities are also on sale, though Barcelona appears to be the lowest. Sale fares are valid for travel from November 22 through November 28, and again from December 15 through January 3. Flights may be operated by Delta, Air France, KLM, or Alitalia.

Tickets must be booked by October 24.

Barcelona image via Shutterstock

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

Int'l Fare of the Day: Boston to Dublin $627 round-trip, nonstop

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, October 16, 2014

For St Patrick's Day, fly nonstop from Boston to Dublin for $627 round-trip, including all taxes, on Aer Lingus.

Depart BOS on Monday, March 16, return from DUB on the following Monday, March 23.

Other dates are also available for travel from November 8 through March 31, excluding peak holiday periods.

For booking info, see our Fare Details.

Dublin image via Shutterstock

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

Domestic Fare of the Day: San Francisco to Providence $255 round-trip

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, October 16, 2014

Fly from San Francisco to Providence for $255 round-trip, including all taxes, on US Airways.

Searching USAirways.com, we found seats departing SFO on Thursday, December 4, returning from PVD on the following Tuesday, December 9. Flights connect via Charlotte.

Other dates are also available for travel through February 11, excluding peak holiday periods.

For booking info, see our Fare Details.

Rhode Island image via Shutterstock

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

Domestic Fare of the Day: Newark to Orlando $167 round-trip, nonstop

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, October 16, 2014

From United, fly nonstop from Newark to Orlando for $167 round-trip, including all taxes.

Seen below, we found seats departing EWR on Monday, November 10, returning from MCO on Friday, November 14.

Other dates are also available for travel through November, excluding holiday travel.

For booking info, see our Fare Details.

Disney image via Shutterstock

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

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