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Fare of the Day: Phoenix to New York

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Phoenix to New York $200 round-trip, incl. all taxes

This fare is avalable for travel 7 days a week, with a 330 day travel period.

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

Categories: Airfare Tips


Giving the Gift of Travel

Posted by A Tam on Tuesday, May 11, 2010

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.


Company/Airline How to Purchase How To Redeem Delivery Method Expiration Restrictions
Jetblue Online Online or Phone ($15 fee) Email or In person Never Cannot use on Vacation Packages
United Online Online or Phone Mail Only Never Use for United Vacations Only
American Online Online or Phone Mail (fee) or Email Never None- use for any flight
US Air Phone Only Phone Only Mail Never None- use for any flight
Air Tran Online Online/Phone/In Person Email Never None- use for any flight
Southwest Online Online/Phone/In Person Email or Mail(fee) Never None- use for any flight
Continental Online Online Only Email 1 year None- use for any flight
Alaska Air Online or at select Stores Online Only Email or at Select Stores None None- use for any flight
Delta In person only In Person Only or Travel Agent
1 year None- use for any flight.
Travelocity Online Online Email 1 year Use for Last Minute Packages only
Categories: Airfare Tips

Alaska Web Specials

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Monday, May 10, 2010

Alaska Airlines' latest round of Web Specials start at $59 one-way. Rules and restrictions vary by route, though most are valid for travel from May 17 through June 1. Tickets require a 7-day advance purchase.

Fares include:

Portland to Sacramento $118 round-trip

Palm Springs to Seattle $268 round-trip

Dallas to Seattle $318 round-trip

Anchorage to Bethel $358 round-trip

Houston to Seattle $278 round-trip

Redmond to Vancouver $318 round-trip

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

Categories: Domestic US Fares

Fare of the Day: New York to Los Angeles

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Monday, May 10, 2010

New York to Los Angeles $41 round-trip, incl. all taxes

This is part of JetBlue's 10th Anniversary Sale, featuring one-ways for just $10! Yes, there's a catch. These $10 fares are only available for travel on May 11, and May 12, which doesn't really give you a lot of time. Still, we're sure a day trip will interest some folks out there. Oh, and fares are available for one-way purchase too.

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

Categories: Airfare Tips

Rule 240 Revisited

By George Hobica

Much has been written about something called Rule 240. Some pundits claim it’s an “urban travel legend” and no longer exists. Others disagree.

What is Rule 240? Well, back in the days when airlines were regulated by a government agency, they all had to abide by some sensible rules to protect passengers in case of, among other things, a cancellation or misconnection that was within the airline’s control. These rules were incorporated in the airlines’ contracts of carriage. Post-deregulation, these rules no longer had to be followed, but some airlines, whether formed after or before deregulation, perhaps because they were too lazy to completely rewrite their contracts, kept the same rules. Airlines formed after deregulation typically didn’t incorporate these rules into their contracts, and some have done away with them.

Anyway, Rule 240 originally stated that in the event of a cancellation or flight misconnection, the airline would have to put you on their next flight out, or, if that wasn’t “acceptable,” on the next flight out of a competing airline if that flight would get you to your destination sooner, all at no additional cost to you. If only first class was available on the other airline, then they had to upgrade you. This only applied in circumstances under the airlines’ control, such as crew failing to show up, or mechanical problems.

So does Rule 240, or something like it, still exist? Well, we searched the contracts of carriage for a bunch of big and smaller airlines to find out, and near as we can see, several airlines, such as Alaska and United, still have something they call Rule 240, and others, such as Delta, Southwest, and Virgin America, have more vague language saying that they will put you on another airline at their “sole discretion” or that they “may substitute alternate carriers.” And some airlines don’t call it Rule 240 at all, instead using a numbering system of their own invention (Alaska calls it "Rule 240AS" for example, and Continental calls it "Rule 24").

Keep in mind that airlines can change their contracts at any time, and several of the larger ones have done so in recent months. And sometimes there isn’t a flight on another airline that will get you there sooner, especially if you’re traveling from or through a so-called “fortress hub,” such as Atlanta, a Delta Airlines stronghold, or there may be no seats available on the other airline’s next flight. Also, if you're traveling on a "bulk," "consolidator," or other unpublished airfare, then all bets are off.

To address the skeptics, in the chart below we’ve done our best to interpret the airlines’ policies, and have excerpted the actual language from their current (as of May 2010) contracts of carriage, which, although we're travel journalists not lawyers, we assume are legally binding documents. Below the chart, we’ve also provided links to the contracts on the airlines’ Web sites so you can see for yourself.

We've noted whether, near as we can tell, the airline will put you in first class on its own (or another carrier's) next flight out.

Rule 240 (or something like it) by airline




First Class?

And we quote….

Air Tran



Not applicable



Yes (amazingly, yes)

“If acceptable to the passenger, [Carrier will] provide transportation on another airline's direct flight, or combination of connecting carriers … in the same or higher class [emphasis ours] of service on the passenger's ticket at no additional charge.”




“When cancellations and major delays are experienced, you will be rerouted on our next flight with available seats. If the delay or cancellation was caused by events within our control and we do not get you to your final destination on the expected arrival day, we will provide reasonable overnight accommodations, subject to availability.”


Under some circum-stances

Yes on CO only

“CO will transport the Passenger on its own flights, subject to availability, to the Destination in the same class of service, at no additional cost to the Passenger, provided that a Passenger who paid a Coach fare will only be transported on a flight in First Class or Business First Class Service subject to seat availability and if such flight will provide an earlier arrival than CO’s next flight on which coach space is available; Reroute Passengers over the lines of one or more carriers when a Change in Schedule results in the cancellation of all CO service between two cities.”






“At our sole discretion, we may arrange for your travel on another carrier or via ground transportation.”


Yes (if arrival delayed 4 hours or more)

Only on Frontier

“If the delay or misconnection is caused by Frontier, Frontier will transport the passenger without stopover on its next available flight in the same or higher booking class, at no additional cost to the passenger. If Frontier is unable to provide onward transportation that arrives within four hours of the passenger’s original itinerary, or at the passenger’s request, Frontier will arrange for the passenger’s transportation on another carrier or combination of carriers with whom Frontier has agreements for such transportation.”




“If the carrier causing such delay, or in the case of misconnection the original receiving carrier(s) is unable to provide onward transportation acceptable to the passenger, any other carrier or combination of connecting carriers, at the request of the passenger will transport the passenger … in the same class of service as the passenger's original outbound flight; or if space is available on a flight(s) of a different class of service acceptable to the passenger, such flight(s) will be used … only if it (they) will provide an earlier arrival at the passenger's destination.”




“Whenever Carrier cancels or otherwise fails to operate any scheduled flight, Carrier will, at the request of the Passenger either transport the Passenger on another of Carrier’s flights on which space is available at no additional charge or provide a full refund.”



Probably not

“At times, without prior notice to passengers, Carrier may need to substitute other…airlines…”

Spirit No No "Spirit will not reimburse customers for flights that they take on other carriers."




“If UA is unable to provide onward transportation acceptable to the passenger UA…will arrange for transportation on another carrier…with whom UA has agreements for such transportation…in the same class of service as the passenger’s outbound flight at no additional cost to the passenger.”


US Airways



“When a ticketed customer holding confirmed reservations on a flight will be delayed because of a schedule irregularity (whether a missed connection, flight cancellation, omission of a scheduled stop, substitution of equipment or a different class of service or schedule change), US Airways will rebook the customer on its next available flight to the customer’s ticketed destination without additional charge. If US Airways is unable to provide onward transportation, US Airways may attempt [emphasis ours] to rebook the customer on the next available flight of another airline with which US Airways has an agreement allowing the acceptance of each other’s tickets.”

Virgin America



“Virgin America may, without notice, substitute alternate carriers…”



Links to contracts of carriage

US Airways
Virgin America


And if you're traveling within or from any member country of the European Union, you're protected by an additional set of rights that are even stronger than those in the airlines' domestic contracts of carriage or those issued by the US government:

See: Passenger Rights in the European Union.

Read our other useful charts

In case you missed them, these consumer-oriented charts have a lot of useful information:

The flexible search chart

The ship your luggage by UPS or FedEx ground chart
(very useful comments from readers)

The don't buy insurance from your airline chart

The cash back credit card chart

The frequent flyer fee chart

The constantly updated airline baggage fee chart

and The "other" airline fee chart

Categories: Airline Industry News

Need airline or airfare advice? Bookmark this page

Here we've gathered links to some of the useful articles we've written over the years.


Getting the cheapest airfare

Everything you need to know about buying airfare in 500 words or less

Our best tips for finding low fares

How student airfares can save you money

All about fare classes

Deciphering airline fare codes

All about consolidator fares, part 1

All about consolidator fares, part 2

How code shares save you money

Flexible date airfare search: who offers what

How to use Orbitz' flexible date search

How to use Cheapair's flexible date search

How to use Travelocity's flexible date search


Airline fees

Airline baggage fee chart

Airlines that charge for advance seat selection

11 new airline fees you could see one day?

Airline fee charts

Miscellaneous airline fee chart


Airline regulations

United's Rule 240 still rules

Changes in the air for same day flight changes

Book the wrong flight? Some airlines will let you off the hook

The "flat tire rule": remnant or rescue?

8 airline regulations we need now

Rule 240, revisited


Flying in comfort

5 airlines that make it easy and cheap to upgrade your seat

Which airlines and planes offer the most legroom?

Surviving long tarmac delays

All about snagging exit row seats

Airline clubs: a refuge from the maddening crowds?

Tips for snagging a more comfortable seat


Making your gripes heard

Using Twitter to complain to airlines

Insurance matters

How "excess valuation" can protect your checked luggage

How to avoid a $100,000 airfare

All about medical evacuation coverage

Your airline wants to sell you insurance. Should you buy?

Should you buy travel insurance from your airline?


Frequent flyer miles

Preserve frequent flyer miles and get bonus miles on top

Frequent flyer fee chart

Where to sign up for airline promo code fares and other special offers

New fees make frequent flyer tickets less "free"

Why a cash back credit card might be better than collecting miles

Why shipping luggage ahead makes more cents than paying bag fees

Inheriting frequent flyer miles

Why skycaps might be your best friend at the airport

Meta search engines vs. online travel agencies

Using frequent flyer miles wisely


Avoiding problems

8 travel snafus and how travel insurance could help...or not

Leave something on the plane? Here's some advice

New to Airfarewatchdog? A users guide

How airfare alert sites compare

Avoiding lost luggage blues

Watch out skyway robberies

10 tips for avoiding delayed/cancelled flights


Passenger Rights

Flying from or within Europe? Read your rights

When your nonstop flight becomes a connecting flight

Airline passenger rights, such as they are

You've been bumped. Now what?

That "free" airline voucher could cost you



Flying with the little ones

Taking the pets for plane ride

Baby on board? Some timely tips

Advice on infant airfares

Top tips for flying with tots

Making sure your unaccompanied minor gets on the right plane


10 reasons to go right now!

10 reasons to go to Las Vegas right now!

10 reasons to visit Chicago right now!

10 reasons to visit New Orleans right now!



"Share a ride" jet charters

Bored before boarding? Some remedies

The 10 easiest airports to get to and from

Cash abroad: ATMs, currency, or travelers checks?

Q&A interview with George Hobica

Top 10 frequently asked questions





























Categories: Airfare Tips

$24 promo code on Spirit expires May 7 11.59 p.m. ET

Just enter 24OFF at when booking for travel May 13 through June 16, 2010 and you'll get $24 savings compared to booking on third party web sites. Again, this offer expires midnight tonight, but Spirit repeats this offer frequently.

Categories: Airfare Tips

Amazing Thanksgiving/Winter Fares to Barcelona & Zurich

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, May 6, 2010

Anyone willing to trade turkey for tapas this Thanksgiving? If so, we've spotted some puh-retty major fares for travel to Spain. New York to Barcelona for $270 round-trip, incl. all taxes? Ahem:

And we've found similarly low fares ($270-$411 range) throughout winter, on travel to Barcelona, as well as Zurich. Boston departures available too.

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

Categories: Europe/Africa/Middle East Airfares

OpenSkies: Free Companion Ticket from DC to Paris

Posted by A Tam on Thursday, May 6, 2010

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:

Categories: Europe/Africa/Middle East Airfares

Fare of the Day: Detroit to Las Vegas

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, May 6, 2010

Detroit to Las Vegas $178 round-trip, incl. all taxes

This is for travel over the July 4th holiday, and others are available throughout summer for about $10 more. Depart from Cincinnati, Memphis, and Minneapolis as well.

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

Categories: Airfare Tips
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