Want to purchase a travel certificate for that special someone who loves to travel or perhaps send an annoying relative, spouse or roommate on a long trip somewhere far away? We’ve compiled a list of airlines and online agencies that offer gift certificates or gift cards. For the most part, you can simply purchase them online. The exceptions are US Air and Delta. You have to purchase those at the airport or over the phone. Since most cards can be ordered online they can be delivered via email or sent by mail to the recipient for a fee. The only certificates that we found with expiration dates were sold by Travelocity, Delta, and Continental. Those specific certificates must be used within a year. The rest do not expire (at least not until the airline selling them does). See below for other restrictions as these can vary from one company to another.
The all business class carrier OpenSkies has a buy-one-get-one-free offer on its Washington D.C.-Paris route. Also, by using coupon code IADMAY10 you’ll get an additional 20% off. This combined offer is valid only for May travel. We have found biz seats as low as $1200 per person. (See below). The biz beds can be had for ~$1900 per person. You must follow this link in order to book. Remember to enter the coupon code. This deal is good for travel as soon as this weekend, and is about on par (or maybe even less) than what you might pay for a last minute economy class ticket
The fare below is for 2 people, traveling May 9-May13th:
Expedia is currently offering up to $400 off any flight + hotel package to the Bahamas.
West Coast (Washington, Oregon, California) to Freeport, Bahamas can be found in the low $300’s by using promo code BAH400. This includes your flight and accommodation for 4 nights and taxes. Offer expires tomorrow. Blackout dates include: March 19, 2010 through April 10, 2010. Travel through Dec 22nd.
Use BAH300 for states excluding Washington, Oregon, California
Use BAH200 for Florida
There doesn’t seem to be a single supplement, so it is more advantageous to book one person at a time for maximum savings. You’ll also get more than one room. For example: price for a one person booking is $700 minus the $400 coupon for a grand total of $300. If you book two people together, it’s $1400 minus the $400 for a grand total of $1000. So if you make two separate bookings you’ll only pay $300 X 2 or $600. We should note, too, that for a while at least the BAH400 code worked for the less expensive packages from Florida, essentially giving you a totally free vacation for some travel dates and lengths of stay.
If you think baggage fees on domestic US flights are high, you might be surprised what some international airlines are charging these days. Some airlines charge by the pound (or kilogram) after your bag weighs over a certain limit, and the fees can be quite high. For example, flying on Cathay Pacific from non-Americas destinations, you'll pay 1.5% of the adult economy class fare for each 2.2 lbs (1 kg) that a third checked bag weighs. If the fare is $2000, you'll pay $30 per kg, so if your third bag weighs 22 lbs (10 kg) it will cost $300 each way!
In light of the tragic earthquake that struck Haiti on Tuesday, a few airlines are asking for donations to aid in the recovery effort. This is not only a great way to help out, but you'll also get a few miles in return, which by the way will keep your account active and prevent your miles from expiring. American and Spirit are giving some miles in return for cash donations. Below is a list of links to airlines that are currently accepting donations. Most hotel programs also accept donations in the form of points, so you might want to check those out as well.
Cash for Miles.
Sprit Airlines- Minimum $5 get 5000 miles in return – Choose to Donate to Yele, Unicef, or American Red Cross
Are you planning a trip around the world? Maybe you need to visit a client in London, Hong Kong, and a few other places. If one of these is true, you might want to take a look at booking a Round The World ticket. While at first glance it might seem fairly expensive, but if you do the math and break it down you will understand why they are typically a very good value when planning a trip to multiple continents and countries. It will yield significant savings especially when traveling to places where Round Trip tickets are expensive. Some examples include: Africa, Islands in the middle of an ocean (Easter Island, Mauritius), and places in central Asia like Nepal. For the most adventurous travelers, there are travelers who have used RTW tickets to go to Arbil Iraq in the Kurdistan region of the country.
Types of RTW tickets.
All 3 major airline alliances offer a RTW product. Star Alliance and Skyteam both offer mileage based RTW tickets.This means you can fly up to 26,000, 29,000, 34,000 or 39,000 miles. The price of the ticket will depend on not only on which class of travel you fly but also which level you decide to buy with 26,000 being the lowest. To get the most out of the ticket, you'll likely want to get as close as you can to the maximum mileage limit.
The other option is offered by the OneWorld Alliance. Their product is based on segments. You can fly up to 16 segments on your trip. Any connections you need to make will also count toward the 16 flights. If you want to maximize using a OneWorld ticket, you'll probably want to consider taking non-stop flights and longer flights. Remember mileage flown doesn't matter here, you just can't fly more than 16 flights.
This is probably the one most important question. Tickets like this can start as low as around $3,000 for coach class and go up to nearly $18,000 for First Class. The cost really depends on which class you are traveling on, how many miles flown (For Skyteam & Star Alliance), and where you start. Where you start can be a big determinate of how much you pay. If you start in certain countries it will be significantly cheaper than starting lets say in the United States, which is one of the most expensive places to start a RTW trip. You can save $2,000 or more! A 6 continent trip on OneWorld starting in the United Kingdom costs around $3,000 (at current exchange rates) compared to $5,400 if started from the United States. Do your research, as it might still be cheaper to buy a Round Trip ticket to and from your starting point.
If you're thinking about a RTW trip and have a slightly more flexible budget, you might want to consider flying in premium classes (Business, First). Not only is it more comfortable (especially on long flights), but also the savings are pretty steep. A roundtrip business class ticket from San Francisco to London starts at about $3500. Compare this to flying around the world in Business starting at just $5000-$6000. Again, while the price seems high you have to think about it in terms of value per flight and number of places you are able to visit.
Booking a RTW ticket is easier now than it has been in the past. You can book directly from the alliance you plan on traveling with. Star Alliance and OneWorld both have booking tools online where you can plan and book your trip all online.Sky Team has yet to launch an online booking tool, but given that the other 2 alliances have done so already it would not be surprising to see one in the near future. If you don't feel comfortable doing the booking all on your own there are agencies like Air Treks that specialize in RTW bookings who can help you plan your trip.
Your plane tickets to grandma's house for the holidays just got a bit more expensive.As if peak holiday fares aren't expensive enough, Delta, American, United, and US have added $10 per ticket on peak travel days. This will apply for most fares for travel on Nov 29th(Sunday after Thanksgiving), Jan 2nd and Jan 3rd.Most of you will be complaining of course, but the airlines are still cash strapped as mentioned in this blog post last week.There are ways to avoid the baggage fees, but no real way to avoid this surcharge unless you don't fly on peak days. As long as airlines continue to lose money, we'll see more tactics like this. The most likely new fee? Charging for advance seat assignments, a move already taken by several discount airlines and most recently by British Airways.
Going overseas for your next vacation? Well you just might want to check those baggage fees before you head out the door. Ever since airlines started charging for bags they did not implement them for international flights and applied them instead just on domestic flights. However this is no longer true. Is this the end of free baggage allowances? Not necessarily as airlines are adding them only to certain international routes or some just charging only for the second bag. It could be a mix of both of those too. Confusing right? For the most part, airlines are currently starting small and primarily only charging for European bound flights. However, with the current volatile state of the airline industry and their need for more cash it would not be surprising if it expanded to all routes.
Keep in mind that you might incur a $5 surcharge if you pay at the airport. So remember to pay online the night before your flight if you want to save a few bucks.Also to note, if you are traveling on a domestic flight with a connection to an international flight you will only pay the fee it costs to check in your bag to your final destination. Example: Flying from Seattle to London with a connection in Minneapolis, you will only pay one fee- the amount it costs to check in your bag to London.This is assuming that you made the booking all in one reservation and not on separate tickets. When traveling on multiple airlines you will typically pay only the fee charged by the first airline you will be flying on.
Below is a general list of baggage fees. For more information we have conveniently linked the pages of the baggage guidelines for all major US carriers that fly internationally.
Chartering a private jet not only costs a lot of money, it also burns a lot of fuel and emits a lot of CO2 into the atmosphere. According to a report out by the Institute for Policy Studies, just one hour on a private charter plane will burn equivalent to one year's worth of gasoline to power your car. Think about all the CO2 emissions that is pumped into the air!
Ever since the backlash of the auto executives flying charters to Washington and as the current recession grew deeper, companies were obviously looking for more financially feasible ways to fly their executives from point A to point B. While executives and the wealthy could and have reverted to flying commercial first class, driving, or any other form of transportation there is a new alternative that is available, that will not break the bank. It is also considered to be somewhat more environmentally conscious at the same time. This new alternative is known as Jet-Sharing. Many programs that have sprung up to hopefully lure customers back to private charter travel. The basic model of these jet sharing is to utilize more seats on scheduled charter planes. Instead of chartering an entire plane for 2 people you can share the cost plane with other people who are traveling to the same destination at the same time. The goal is to lower costs, reduce redundant flights in turn saving fuel and emitting less CO2 into the atmosphere. By jet sharing you'll still have the amenities of flying a charter jet (avoiding big airports and major delays) but also at the same time be conscious about cost and the impact your flight might have on the environment. You might want to think of charter jet sharing as an airline for the elite.
How jet sharing works:
You can go to a website like GreenJets, Jet It Together, or CoGoJets and search for already proposed flights or create your own. Currently on the Jet It Together website there is a proposed flight from Las Vegas to Dallas. On the proposal page it shows that 1 person has confirmed a seat. The cost of chartering the entire plane for the flight costs $7080 and has a total of 7 seats. The hope is that at least 4 seats will be filled and the price per person is $1700 for this particular flight. If the plane is full, then the price per person will obviously be less. So if you can get 6 other people on the plane then it'll be about $1000 per person. It is pretty much the same concept for CoGoJets.
Green Jets also is quite similar to Jet It Together, but if you plan on multiple flights a year you can pay an annual membership fee, which will provide you access to a lower cost per flight.According to their website, with a membership a flight from New York to Florida will cost about $1100 versus a pay per flight basis quote of about $2100.
What do you think? Is sharing a jet really the best way for executives and the wealthy to fly around? Is it really a more eco-friendly way to fly if you can afford the luxury of a private charter?
Just booked a non-refundable fare and immediately realize you booked the wrong dates or the wrong city? Or simply decide that you don't want to attend Aunt Freda's annual bingo marathon after all? Depending on the airline or online travel agency you bought from, you might be able to cancel and get a full refund if you do so within a certain time. But it might take some work and some airfare vendors are more frustrating to deal with than others.
In general, if the airline you are booked with has a no-penalty cancellation policy you must cancel within 24 hours of purchase, or else regular change fees will apply. Many major U.S. based carriers offer a 24-hour grace period and let you get a refund for no fee. The only exceptions are American Airlines and Air Tran. Continental and Northwest/Delta make it super easy to cancel fee-free with just a few mouse clicks. If your ticket is not on either of those airlines you will have to be patient and spend some time on the phone.
If you've bought from an online travel site such as Expedia or Priceline, you'll have to be even more patient. Last week we received an email from a reader about her experience trying to cancel a ticket booked on Priceline, and in short she wasn't able to reach a representative in time and was stuck with a ticket she no longer needed. Under Priceline's rules, if you phone them by 11:30 p.m. ET on the day that you book, you can get a full refund. But as our reader discovered, it's easier said than done. If you can't get through by phone send them an email or better yet you might have luck calling the airline directly to see if they can do anything.
Another option is to put your fare on a "courtesy hold". American and US Air offer a 24-hour hold, and although this is allows you to double check your reservation, if the fare goes up meantime you'll have to pay the higher price.
Here are the refund policies for some major U.S. based carriers and online travel agencies: