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Fare of the Day: Denver to Jacksonville $211 RT including all taxes

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Friday, March 30, 2012

Fly from Denver to Jacksonville, Florida for $211 round-trip, including all taxes, on United Airlines.

This fare is valid for travel any day of the week, with a 330-day travel period. Tickets require a 14-day advance purchase.

For booking info, see our fare details.

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

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WHEN PILOTS ATTACK: Mayhem in the cockpit

Posted by George Hobica on Thursday, March 29, 2012

THOUSANDS of airplanes take off and touch down every day without incident, but every now and then – as we were so vividly reminded this week with the story of the JetBlue pilot and his midair meltdown – things can go spectacularly wrong, and sometimes, it's the guys up at the front of the plane, the ones you trust the most, who are to blame. Aviation history is full of stories of captains going cuckoo at the controls – let's just say, flyer beware.

2008: Crew of an Air Canada Boeing 767 had to forcibly subdue the second-in-command on a flight from Toronto to London's Heathrow, after mildly unusual behavior turned into a full-stage freakout. The captain reported that his first officer had appeared tired at first; then, somewhere out over the Atlantic, his condition deteriorated to the point where his presence in the cockpit became a safety threat. Crew sustained injuries as they battled with their belligerent colleague, forcing the plane to land in Shannon, Ireland, where the co-pilot was admitted to an area hospital for a nice, long rest.

1999: There's still no agreement between the United States and Egyptian governments as to why EgyptAir Flight 990 went down in the Atlantic Ocean on its way from New York to Cairo. It is, however, widely believed that Relief First Officer Gameel Al-Batouti, on his own in the cockpit while the captain took a bathroom break,  idled the engines, nosed the plane down, said a prayer – translated as "I rely on God" – and waited. With the plane in mid-dive, the captain fought his way back to the cockpit in an attempt to avert catastrophe, shouting at Al-Batouti as he struggled with the controls. He was too late – the plane hit the water roughly 200 miles from Nantucket Island; all 217 people on board were killed.

1997: SilkAir's Flight 185 from Jakarta, Indonesia was supposed to be a short, easy hop of less than 2 hours, on the company's newest aircraft, a sparkling 737. What could possibly go wrong? Nothing, really – except that on this December day, the man at the controls was one Tsu Way Ming. To say that Tsu was practically buried in problems is understating matters – a troubled past, a spotty flying record that lead to a shameful demotion at work, millions of dollars in gambling debts were just some of the many things on Tsu's mind that day when he showed up for work. Authorities disagree *officially", anyway) on exactly why, mid-flight, the data recorder was manually shut off and then, moments later, the plane took a nosedive into an Indonesian river. What is known, however, is that all 103 people on board were killed.

1994: It's not every day a pilot gets to bring his family to work, and Pilot Yaroslav Kudrinsky was understandably pleased to have his children on board Aeroflot Flight 593 from Moscow to Hong Kong back in 1994. In turn, his children were excited for the opportunity to hang out in the cockpit. Kudrinsky did more than hand out the usual wing pin, allowing his 12 year-old daughter and 16 year-old son to take the controls. Kudrinsky had the plane on autopilot at the time, of course; this was fine, until 16 year-old Eldar inadvertently caused an override of the autopilot system. This could have been corrected quite easily, had the flight crew noticed in time. They didn't. Investigators reported later that their corrective actions had in fact contributed to the crash, which killed all 75 occupants on board.


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To learn more, visit George Hobica's profile on Google+

Fare of the Day: New York to Berlin $680 RT including all taxes

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Fly from New York to Berlin for $680 round-trip, including all taxes, on Delta/Air France.

We found this fare to be available throughout peak summer, from June through August and even into September. If summer fares to Europe drop any lower than this, it would sure be a surprise, so pounce now. For booking info, see our fare details.

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

American Sale to Central America & Panama

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Wednesday, March 28, 2012

American Airlines is offering discounted fares to Central America and Panama, valid for travel Monday through Thursday, departing between April 15 and May 26. All travel must be complete by May 31.

All tickets must be booked by 11:59pm CT, April 2. Tickets require a Saturday night stay, with an allowed maximum stay of 90-days.

Fares include:

Baltimore to Belize City $607 round-trip, including all taxes

Baltimore to Guatemala City $539 round-trip, including all taxes

Boston to Belize City $600 round-trip, including all taxes

Boston to Guatemala City $490 round-trip, including all taxes

Miami to Panama City $379 round-trip, including all taxes

Miami to Guatemala City $399 round-trip, including all taxes

Miami to San Pedro Sula $326 round-trip, including all taxes

Miami to Tegucigalpa $446 round-trip, including all taxes

Miami to Belize City $490 round-trip, including all taxes

New York to Belize City $562 round-trip, including all taxes

New York to Guatemala City $445 round-trip, including all taxes

New York to Panama City $500 round-trip, including all taxes

For a complete list of current deals, visit our fare pages for Belize City, Guatemala City, Panama City, Tegucigalpa, and San Salvador.

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

Flight Deals from Alaska Airlines

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Alaska Airlines has released their latest batch of Flight Deals. Valid travel dates vary by route, so check our fare details for more info. Seats are limited and may not be available on all flights or all days. Some markets may not operate daily service.

Fares include:

Los Angeles to Seattle $189 round-trip, nonstop, including all taxes

Los Angeles to Victoria $371 round-trip, including all taxes

Los Angeles to Ixtapa $421 round-trip, nonstop, including all taxes

Chicago to Vancouver $497 round-trip, nonstop, including all taxes

Portland to Medford $138 round-trip, nonstop, including all taxes

Yakutat to Anchorage $204 round-trip, nonstop, including all taxes

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

Fare of the Day: Philadelphia to San Diego $205 RT including all taxes

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fly from Philadelphia to San Diego for $205 round-trip, including all taxes, on Delta Air Lines.

This fare is valid for travel on select dates from April through November. Seats are scarce and are not available on all dates, on all flights.

For booking info, see our fare details.

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

1-Day Sale to/from Denver, Tucson, Phoenix, & Salt Lake City

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Another one from Southwest: Today only, save on flights to Denver, Tucson, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City. This offer is good for travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, from April 17 through May 23.

Tickets require a 14-day advance purchase. Offer not available to/from Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Ft. Myers, FL; Greenville/Spartanburg, SC; Long Island, NY; Jackson, MS; Midland/Odessa, TX; Panama City Beach, FL; Providence, RI; West Palm Beach, FL.

All tickets must be purchased by 11:59pm PT, March 27. Fares include:

Baltimore to Denver $292 round-trip, including all taxes

Jacksonville to Denver $316 round-trip, including all taxes

Boise to Denver $202 round-trip, including all taxes

Burbank to Denver $222 round-trip, including all taxes

Detroit to Denver $244 round-trip, including all taxes

Indianapolis to Denver $234 round-trip, including all taxes

Corpus Christi to Denver $324 round-trip, including all taxes

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

Fare of the Day: Boston, MA to Ponta Delgada, Portugal - Azores $328

Posted by Ricky Radka on Monday, March 26, 2012

Fare of the Day: Boston, MA (BOS) to Ponta Delgada, Portugal (PDL) $329 RT, non-stop including all taxes on SATA International.

Travel non-stop to the Azores at this great price. Only available for travel on Tuesdays and Fridays in early April. We found this price for travel on April 3, 6, 10, 13, and 17. So you must be flexible with your dates to get this fare. Must depart before April 6th. Found via Orbitz.

To learn more, visit Ricky Radka's profile on Google+

Categories: Airfare Tips

Fare of the Day: New York to San Francisco $279 RT, nonstop, including all taxes

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Friday, March 23, 2012

Fly from New York to San Francisco for $279 round-trip, nonstop, including all taxes, on Delta Air Lines.

This fare is valid for travel on any day of the week, through November 2. Seats are limited and not available on all dates. Tickets require a 21-day advance purchase.

For booking info, see our fare details.

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

Confessions of an Airport Shuttle Driver

Posted by George Hobica on Friday, March 23, 2012

Ever wonder about the person driving you between the airport and your hotel, rental car or other destination? Airfarewatchdog.com did, so we rode around with a driver for a couple of hours and peppered him with questions. You'd think it would be a pretty routine job, but maybe not.

Q. How long have you been doing this?

A. I have been doing this for eighteen years. But not everyone makes this a career. For me, this is a second job in addition to working as a real estate sales person. Others that I know do this as their only job, but they are still in school or never went to college and use this as a job to make money on their minimal educational background.

Q. How much do you get paid?

A. We make a minimum wage salary since we are allowed to earn tips. But it is amazing how many people do not give drivers a tip! True, there are some drivers that I know that make little effort to help travelers with their bags. But there are others who really make an effort to assist travelers. It seems that people think that our services are part of the hotel. While we do less work than the bellman that brings bags to your room, we also have fewer opportunities to assist travelers and rely just as much on tips.

Q. Has this always been your job?

A. No, I had retired, but had to go back to work because my pension got cut. I actually like it though. It keeps me busy, and I get to meet so many interesting people.

Q. Do travelers make conversation with you?

A. Some do. You can kind of tell from the moment they get on... Some of them do not even make eye contact you or even say hello as if we are a machine and do not exist. Others are polite. As drivers, we are used to it though. We know everyone has a story. You may have just come back from a tough meeting where you lost a client. I have even driven people who just got fired. So I get it; no one is ever rude. They may just kind of stare blankly into space. They are tired and want to get to the hotel. I still try to make conversation though. I like to know where they came from, where they are going, you know, their story. Maybe what they need is a little friendly human interaction from a stranger. I see it as a chance to make everyone smile.

Q. Have you ever been in an accident with guests on board?

A. I personally have not, but I know another driver who has. I felt really bad for him. He was at the end of a really tough shift that had him working all night and the early morning airport runs. He rear-ended another driver because he dozed off and ended up losing his job. It can happen to the best of us. I think he was just really tired because he worked two jobs, one during the day and the other driving the shuttle at night.

Q. Is there a type of traveler who is nicer to you than others?

A. It all depends. Families always appreciate when we help them with their gear since their hands are full. Airline crew are pretty good about it too; most of them tip us, which is funny since they sometimes get a reputation among us drivers for being cheap. We see a lot of them repeatedly so we become friends. Heck, we see a lot of business travelers over and over again too. Seeing the same people over again gives us a sense of camaraderie that is unusual in this job.

Q. Do you only do airport runs?

A. Mostly, but sometimes we take passengers to restaurants or shops within a two-mile vicinity of the hotel. Often, the same traveler who decided not to tip from the airport depends on me to pick up their drunk self from the bar down the street. We see some interesting stuff from people falling asleep on the bus to crew members that may have partied a bit too hard. We do remember faces! But 95% of my trips are to and from the airport.

Q. Why are people allowed to stand on your bus when the rule in this state is that people must be wearing a seatbelt?

A. Technically, for their wellbeing, they should not be standing, but we are classified like a bus so they are permitted to stand as long as they remain behind the yellow line. But I have had many a traveler fall down or topple onto another passenger. I have brought this up numerous times with my manager at the hotel, but they simply shrug saying they know the safety hazards but people just want to get to the hotel fast. And they are right. If the county allows it, then so do we.

Q. Why are there so many older shuttle drivers?

A. Two reasons. Some of us have to do it because we need the money. Our pensions are gone or we made some financial mistakes. Others do it because they like the constant interaction and variety it provides with people. This job is probably the best in terms of variety in that we see different people every few minutes and can engage with them. Few jobs for people our age do that.

Q. Why do some shuttle drivers assist with luggage and others do not?

A. Plain and simple: They are lazy. They are probably too tired or have been burned too many times by cheap travelers who do not bother to shell out a buck. Other times, if there is just one person on the curb who looks ready to hop on, it makes no sense to unbuckle your seatbelt and hop out. By the time you are at the steps to greet them, they are already firmly in their seat. We are here to offer a service. Some people use it, and some people do not. Like bellmen at the hotel, we are totally okay with that. Although a kind word always goes a long way.

Also in this series:

To learn more, visit George Hobica's profile on Google+

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