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Fare of the Day: Minneapolis to Phoenix $190 RT incl. all taxes

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Friday, April 29, 2011

Fly from Minneapolis to Phoenix for $190 round-trip, including all taxes, on Southwest. This fare is available for travel 7 days a week. Nonstop flights may be available on select dates. No minimum stay required.

For booking details, see our Fare Details page.

Southwest has lowered fares along many routes to/from Minneapolis in a move against Sun Country, including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Dallas, Boston, New York, Washington DC, Orlando, and Ft Myers. No advance purchase required!


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


Vision Airway's Get Away Sale

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fly for $39 one-way, or $78 round-trip, as part of the current Get Away Sale from Vision Airlines. This offer is good for travel through July 30. No minimum stay required.

Routes include:

Atlanta to Ft Walton Beach $78 round-trip, nonstop

Louisville to Ft Walton Beach $78 round-trip, nonstop

Baton Rouge to Ft Walton Beach $78 round-trip, nonstop

Asheville to Ft Walton Beach $78 round-trip, nonstop

Greenville to Ft Walton Beach $78 round-trip, nonstop

Knoxville to Ft Walton Beach $78 round-trip, nonstop

Huntsville to Ft Walton Beach $78 round-trip, nonstop

Chattanooga to Ft Walton Beach $78 round-trip, nonstop

Savannah to Ft Walton Beach $78 round-trip, nonstop

Shreveport to Ft Walton Beach $78 round-trip, nonstop

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

Fare of the Day: Boston to Newark $39 RT incl. all taxes

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fly from Boston to Newark for $39 round-trip, nonstop, including all taxes! Not so long ago, Continental was the only option along this route, and a fare this low would have been unthinkable. Enter JetBlue with their intro fares and -today only- their Boston-Newark Cloud Nine Sale. Fares are $9 each way, before taxes, for travel between May 4 and June 15. Valid for travel every day of the week except Fridays and Sundays.

See our Fare Details for booking info.


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

Enhancing Airline Passenger Protections

Posted by George Hobica on Wednesday, April 27, 2011

By George Hobica

If you follow this sort of thing, you've already heard that the US Department of Transportation has promulgated a new set of regulations to protect airline travelers and airfare consumers. We've just finished reading all 97 pages of DTOS59-09-F-10089, or "Enhancing Airline Passenger Protections II" as it's officially known, so let us break it all down for you.

The new rules fall into two categories: those designed to address sensational headline-grabbing issues that will affect a relatively small percentage of the flying public; and those that address problems that you don't normally see discussed on the evening news.

First, the headline-grabbers: a refund of checked bag fees if the bag is lost by the airline, all fees posted on a page linked from the airline's website home page, and tarmac delay rules applied to international flights.

Refund of bag fees if luggage is lost

Airline passengers hate fees, gets lots of complaints about them, and the media love to write about them, but nothing is more galling than paying a fee for a service that you don't get, so this is an absolute no brainer. If you send something by FedEx and if it's lost or even if it arrives past the promised delivery time, you get a refund no questions asked, so why should airlines be any different? But on a percentage basis, relatively few passengers experience having a checked bag totally lost. Many more pay fees for bags that are simply delayed, and often these delays stretch on for days. Airfarewatchdog is disappointed that the rule doesn't include delayed bags, but this is better than nothing.

Full disclosure of all fees on websites

Although airline fees have been big news (and big money makers), they still take many passengers by surprise, so this makes perfect sense. To quote the document, "The Rule requires that each covered U.S. and foreign carrier disclose applicable baggage fees on e-ticket confirmations; post notice of any increases in baggage fees on its home page and maintain any such notice for at least 3 months after the increase; and provide a link from its home page to a page that contains a full disclosure of all baggage and other optional fees for services that passengers may be charged by the airline."

In fact, most airlines do post fees, but you have to dig around their websites for them, because bag fees are in one place, frequent flyer ticketing fees in another, pet fees in yet another and so on. Even Europe's fee-happy discount airline Ryanair has had link from its home page to its entire list of fees for as long as we can remember.  Time for other airlines to do the same.

Tarmac delay rule extended to international flights

Other than rising airfares, nothing gets a spot on the evening news faster than a nightmarish tarmac delay story. Even so, just a miniscule percentage of passengers ever experience epic confinements, such as the infamous overnight ordeals over the past few years at New York's JFK airport. Even so, this is a good idea and overdue (previous regulations covered tarmac delays only on domestic flights). Airlines and airports are getting their act together and developing strategies to offload those passengers who wish to return to the terminal in the event of long tarmac delays. The airlines hate this rule, but let's remember that it does not require a flight to be cancelled, or even that the plane has to return to the terminal--just that the airline has to let passengers get off the plane if they wish. So if the airline can send a vehicle or stairway to the plane on the tarmac and let passengers off, the rest of the passengers can sit there until forever (or until the crew "times out," whichever comes first).

Then there are some new regulations concerning airline issues that don't make as much news, issues that, frankly, don't get much media attention and that Airfarewatchdog doesn't hear that much griping about. But many airfare consumers will appreciate them nonetheless:

Prompt notification of delays

This rule requires airlines to promptly notify consumers of delays of over 30 minutes, as well as cancellations and diversions.  This notification must take place in the boarding gate area, on a carrier’s telephone reservation system and on its website.

Involuntary bumping payment increased

The good news is that a relative few passengers are involuntarily bumped each year (about 65,000 in 2010), so, like the tarmac delay rule, this will apply to a small percentage of travelers. If you're bumped from your flight, current rules require a payment of being $400 and $800, depending on the length of delay in getting you to your destination. The new rules require a payment of between $650 and $1300. Airlines are required to adjust his amount in line with inflation every two years. And they're required to verbally inform you that you can receive this payment by cash or check (no more trying to stick you with a travel voucher). But, even the new maximum won't compensate someone who missed a $10,000 cruise, or forfeited a $5000 vacation and missed two days of work plus other expenses. We would rather have seen some mechanism for passengers who incur enormous financial loss because of a bump situation to get compensated on a case-by-case basis, but that will probably never happen.

Taxes to be included in all advertised fares

Most consumers already realize that airlines and other travel vendors don't advertise all the taxes in their fares, whether these appear in the newspaper, online, or in emails, and it is admittedly annoying, although the media don't make a big deal of this practice when they cover the industry. But we question why the D.O.T. is singling out just the airlines. What about cruise lines, hotels, and rental car agencies?  Airlines are going to have a lot of fun dealing with this new rule, in part because some tax-included fares vary depending on how many connections a particular flight makes (a nonstop New York to LA fare will have one tax-included fare, one making two connections will have additional airport taxes).

No more opt-out fees

Another provision, which we agree with wholeheartedly, requires that any add-ons, such as travel insurance, be "opt in" rather than "opt out" (too many airlines require you to uncheck a box on their websites in order to eliminate certain fees. Travel insurance is a particularly obnoxious opt-out fee that you often have to uncheck before making a final purchase.

24-hour fare holds, without payment

Another new rule will require all airlines to allow consumers to hold a fare for 24 hours so they can make a final decision or shop around. In fact, most US-based airlines already allow holds, but (except for American) require payment to do so, and as long as the hold period doesn't conflict with advance purchase fare rules (in other words, if the fare requires a seven day advance purchase and you hold it seven days before the flight, you can't get the same fare 24 hours later, or six days before departure). Only JetBlue and Airtran, of the larger carriers, don't already allow 24-hour fare holds or any kind (JetBlue claims it doesn't offer one because it doesn't overbook flights, and if too many passengers hold reservations that they end up cancelling it plays havoc with a no-bumping business model).

Airfare consumers and airline passengers will like everything about these D.O.T. new rules, unless, of course, the airlines end up raising fares in order to comply with them. And indeed, as the D.O.T.  readily admits, these rules will cost the airlines money to implement.  It's important to note that these rules are not yet in effect: they'll kick in 120 days after being published in the Federal Register, and we wouldn't be surprised to see the airlines fight some of them.

So this is a good start, but read other regulations we'd like to see.

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

Fare of the Day: Nashville to Boston $138 RT incl. all taxes

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fly from Nashville to Boston for $138 round-trip, including all taxes, on US Airways. This fare is valid for travel Mondays through Thursdays, as well as Saturdays, through May 25. Tickets require a 14-day advance purchase. No minimum stay.

Available on Travelocity, though you'll have an easier time finding available dates on For more info, see our Fare Details page.


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

Web Specials from Alaska Airlines

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Alaska Airlines has released their latest batch of Web Specials. Rules and restrictions vary by route, though most are valid for travel from June 3 through June 15. Seats are limited and may not be available on all flights or all days. Some markets may not operate daily service. All fares require immediate purchase.

Visit for more info. Fares include:

Edmonton to Seattle $326 round-trip

Calgary to Ketchikan $504 round-trip

Anchorage to Juneau $278 round-trip

Anchorage to Nome $358 round-trip

Barrow to Fairbanks $418 round-trip


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

Fare of the Day: Philadelphia to Bermuda $332 RT inc. all taxes

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fly from Philly to Bermuda for $332 round-trip, nonstop, including all taxes, on US Airways. This fare is valid any day through May 24, followed by Tuesdays/Wednesdays through November, covering all of the high season. Tickets require a 10-day advance purchase. Seats are limited!

For booking info, see our Fare Details.

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

7-Day Click 'n Save Sale from Southwest

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Southwest's latest 7-day Click 'n Save Sale is valid for travel every day of the week except Fridays and Sunday, through June 29. Tickets require a 14-day advance purchase. No minimum stay requirements. Avoid blackout dates on May 26, May 30, and May 31. 

Tickets must be booked by 11:59pm PT, May 2. Fares include:

Minneapolis to Denver $204 round-trip

Phoenix to Las Vegas $148 round-trip

Los Angeles to Las Vegas $128 round-trip

Seattle to Denver $244 round-trip

Tucson to Los Angeles $220 round-trip

Nashville to Detroit $240 round-trip

Pittsburgh to Boston $98 round-trip

Raleigh to Boston $128 round-trip

Columbus to Chicago $148 round-trip

St Louis to Kansas City $148 round-trip

Salt Lake City to Seattle $204 round-trip 

San Diego to Phoenix $148 round-trip

Chicago to Charleston $280 round-trip

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

Fare of the Day: Los Angeles to Atlantic City $216 RT including all taxes

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Monday, April 25, 2011

Fly from Los Angeles to Atlantic City for $216 round-trip, including all taxes, on Spirit Airlines. Pretty amazing stuff, considering what other coast-to-coast fares are going for these days. This fare is valid for travel 7 days a week, on select dates in April and May. Tickets require a 7-day advance purchase.

This fare includes Spirit's $16 "Passenger Usage Fee" which can be avoided only if you book at the airport. See our fare details for booking info.

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

Making Sense of Airport Codes

Posted by Ramsey Qubein on Monday, April 25, 2011

By Ramsey Qubein

Unsure of the airport code for your next destination? Wondering why Orlando's airport code is MCO or Kansas City's is MCI. Be careful not to confuse the two or your Disney-bound family may have to settle for barbecue instead.

What's the story behind these three letter codes? Well, they are decided by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to simplify and standardize the network of airports across the globe.

Some are easy to decipher, as they use the first three letters of the city or a combination of letters are an obvious abbreviation (such as OAK for Oakland). Others refer to the airport's official name like JFK for New York's John F. Kennedy International, originally known as Idlewild; CDG for Paris' Charles de Gaulle International. Some are less obvious, such as MCO for Orlando International Airport, formerly known as McCoy Air Force Base. Kansas City's MCI comes from its originally intended name of Mid-Continent International Airport.

Cincinnati's, CVG, which refers to its geographical location in Covington, Kentucky (just across the state line from downtown Cincinnati) and Maui's Kahului International Airport's OGG code named for aviator Captain Bertram Hogg, become clear only to those who dig a bit deeper to discover the origins of the code.

Have you noticed that there are no IATA commercial airport codes that begin with N or K or W? This is because codes beginning with K and W are reserved for use by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to be used as four letter identifiers for radio and TV stations across the country. Codes beginning with N are reserved for use by the Navy. is a handy site to find any airport's three letter code.

This all makes for fun trivia, but it also confuses people when making airline reservations. What if you're trying to book a ticket and want to check fares to a city that has more than one airport, such as Chicago or the New York City area? Some web sites allow you to search an entire metro area with one abbreviated code, but others make you check airport by airport if there is more than one in that area. To make your search easier, there is a set of universally recognized identifying codes used to refer to an entire airfare market with one search. These are not official IATA codes and are not used by airlines, but can help you when looking for the cheapest ticket to your destination.

Here's a list of the most commonly used codes. Not all web sites accept them, but those that do (like Orbitz and ITA Software) make the travel booking process a lot easier. Try them out for yourself…you may just find a cheaper fare with a combination of airports than you might have otherwise.

BJS Beijing, China
BUE Buenos Aires, Argentina
CHI Chicago, USA
LON London, United Kingdom
MIL Milan, Italy
MOW Moscow, Russia
NYC New York, USA
OSA Osaka, Japan
PAR Paris, France
RIO Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
SAO Sao Paulo, Brazil
SHA Shanghai, China
STO Stockholm, Sweden
TYO Tokyo, Japan
WAS Washington, DC, USA
YMQ Montreal, Canada
YTO Toronto, Canada

Each code searches all of the metro airports in that area. Remember that not all web sites accept these codes, but it can make the airline booking process a lot easier when you start with these comprehensive codes.

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