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Aloha Airlines West Coast Sale

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, June 28, 2007

Aloha Airlines is having a sale to -guess where!- Hawaii, from the west coast, good for travel August 20 through August 30.  Are the savings as tiny as the length of the sale? Let's see:

  • San Diego to Kahului, advertised as $139 each-way. Searching for August 21 through August 28, the best we saw was $214 there and $299 returning, giving us a grand total of $547 round-trip. On Orbitz, we found a lower fare of $468 round-trip, including taxes, with ATA.
  • Oakland to Honolulu, advertised as $159 each-way. Using August 21 through August 29 as our dates of travel, we found $198 outbound and $167 inbound, for a total of $384 round-trip. Again, not exactly what is advertised. By plugging these same dates on Orbitz, we were able to score a much lower fare of $310 round-trip, again with ATA.
  • Orange County to Hilo, advertised as $279 each-way. We found $279 outbound for August 24 and $279 inbound for August 30, for a total of $604 round-trip, including all taxes. We found a better fare of $512 round-trip, including taxes, on an American/ATA/Alaska Airlines share by searching the same dates on Orbitz.
  • Sacramento to Kahului, advertised as $229 each-way. We found $229 outbound for August 22 and $229 inbound for August 30, which adds up to $492 round-trip, including all taxes. Our follow-up search on Orbitz lists Aloha in first place with a fare of $518 round-trip, including taxes.
  • San Diego to Honolulu, advertised as $189 each-way. We found $261 outbound for August 21 and $285 inbound for August 25, for a total of $592 round-trip, with taxes. Orbitz lists a lower fare of $534 round-trip, shared among Hawaiian Airlines and Aloha. Or for $569, fly nonstop on Hawaiian.

Aloha's fares were beaten in almost every example we checked, making for a pretty ho-hum, nuthin-to-write-home-about sale.

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

Categories: Domestic US Fares

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USA 3000 Summer Solstice Sale

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, June 28, 2007

Did today feel especially long? More droning than most other days? Well, it was the summer solstice, a.k.a. the longest day of the year. And USA 3000  is having a Summer Solstice Sale, good for travel 'till April 10. Book by July 5, and save $20 ($10 each way) on your trip. Just enter SOLSTICE in the promo code box as you make your purchase. This sale is also good for USA 3000's new routes, set to launch this December, which include Ft Lauderdale to Pittsburgh, Melbourne to Baltimore, and Sarasota to Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit.

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

Categories: Domestic US Fares

L.A. to London with Air New Zealand Premium Economy

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, June 28, 2007

All you Los Angelinos looking out for a good deal to London, listen up. Air New Zealand is having a sale on their Pacific Premium Economy Class from Los Angeles to London, good for travel from June 29 through September 28. Premium Economy shares the same cabin as the business class folks, along with the same food, plus you'll have all that extra legroom to stretch and practice your scissor kicks or whatever it is you like to do with your extra legroom. Fares begin at $1,455, or about $1,698 with taxes. Not bad considering what it costs to fly nonstop between Los Angeles and London in coach, back where there is no room for scissor kicks. All travel must be booked by August 31, which you can do directly on airnewzealand.com.

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

Categories: Europe/Africa/Middle East Airfares

Air France Business Class Sale

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, June 28, 2007

Just now getting around to planning that August trip to Europe? Well, fares won't exactly be cheap, not this late in the game. Considering the money you'll spend just to squeeze in coach, you're not so far away from a business class fare. Might as well go Biz, right? That's the persuasive logic behind Air France's August Business Class Sale, at least. How does it compare with other Business Class fares out there? Voila!:

  • Detroit to London, advertised as $957 one-way. Checking for travel from August 1 through August 9, we had no problem finding that $957 one-way fare, which comes to $2,196 round-trip, taxes and all. We searched Orbitz for business class flights on these dates, between Detroit and London, and Air France was listed at number one with a fare of $2,207 round-trip, with taxes.
  • New York to Paris, advertised as $1,308 one-way. Using August 14 through August 22 as our dates of travel, we easily found the advertised fare of $1,308. Round-trip and with taxes, you're looking at a fare of $2,764. Plug in these dates on Orbitz, and you'll find a biz class fare of $2,176 round-trip, with taxes, on American Airlines. And better yet, all-business class newbie airline L'Avion (tel. 866/692-6759; www.us.lavion.com), which operates between Newark and Paris, has a much better fare for these dates. Round-trip, taxes and all, we found $1,693.
  • Miami to Madrid, advertised as $1,137. This fare isn't as easy to come by, but we did find it for August 9, combined with a $1,138 return fare for August 21, for a total of $2,375 round-trip, with taxes. We found a slightly lower by-a-nose fare of $2,351 round-trip with American Airlines by searching Orbitz.
  • San Francisco to Florence, advertised as $1,478. We searched for travel from August 8 through August 20 and found a total round-trip fare of $3,079, with taxes. That's far better than our $5,985 fare with British Airways in our Orbitz results for these dates.
  • Los Angeles to Vienna, advertised as $1,425. For travel from August 1 through August 16, we found a fare of $2,982 round-trip, with taxes. Our follow-up search on Orbitz also lists Air France as having the best fare, at $2,986 round-trip, with taxes.
These are some pretty terrific fares for summer business class travel, especially for the west coast departures. And the Air France web site is easy to navigate, making it a snap to locate the lowest fares on their flexible search calendar. All purchases must be made by July 13, so get a move on.

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

Categories: Europe/Africa/Middle East Airfares

Taking the Pets Along

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Can't stand the thought of leaving your pet behind while the rest of the family jets off for a week of R&R? Hey, you're not alone. Many folks, us included, may find it difficult to relax, knowing your pet is holed up in some lonesome and cramped kennel. Bringing Socks and Mr. Jingles along for the fun is easier than you think. Just consider the following:

Notify the Airline

Notify the airline as early as possible, that you plan on bringing your pet with you, whether you plan on bringing your pet into the main cabin or check it into the cargo hold, because there are space limitations.

No Pets Allowed
Some airlines, like Southwest, don’t allow pets at all. And Frontier Airlines will allow pets in the cargo hold, but not in the main cabin. So be sure and check the airline's policy before you run out and make that purchase.

Checking Your Dog as Cargo
To check-in your dog in the cargo area the kennel has to meet the following requirements: kennels with wheels, wire kennels, collapsible kennels are not allowed; kennels must have a leak proof bottom with absorbent material; there must be a one-inch spacer bar around the kennel; the door must be lockable and secure; your dog must have enough room in the kennel to stand, lie down and turn around; at least three sides of ventilation; correct labeling (live animal and directional up arrows); and must include water/feed dishes (two dishes or divided dish).

Age Restrictions (for your pet)
Your dog has to be at least eight weeks old and have the required health documentation from your veterinarian. Some states may require a health certificate for your pet.

Breed Restrictions
Some airlines will not ship certain breeds, under given conditions. For example, American Airlines warns that snub-nosed dogs (like Pugs and Shih Tzus) will not be acceptedwhen the current or forecasted temperature is above 75 degrees Fahrenheit at any location on the itinerary. This is because they are very sensitive to high temperatures.

Pet Travel during Summer or Nightime
Most airlines have an embargo on dogs in the cargo area during the summer, with varying dates depending on airline. For example, Delta’s embargo is between May 15 and September 15, and United’s is between June 1 and September 30. In addition, some airlines don’t allow dogs on nighttime flights.

Maximum Kennel Size
To bring your dog into the main cabin, the kennel must be able to fit in the area under the seat in front of you. The maximum dimensions for the kennel is 17 inches x 12 inches x 8 inches, but keep in mind that it varies, depending on the plane you’ll be on, as some aircraft have smaller areas under the seat in front of you.

Fees
Pet fees vary, depending on the airline. Delta Air Lines and Jet Blue charge $50 one-way to bring a pet into the main cabin, whereas, United Airlines charges $80 one-way. To check-in your pet into the cargo hold, it’s $75 one-way for Delta, $100 or $200 one-way for United, and $100 one-way for Frontier.


Other Pets

Some airlines only allow cats and dogs (like American Airlines), while others will allow reptiles (like Delta, as long as it’s shipped as air cargo).

Use Your Head
As a former baggage handler at a major airport, I've unloaded some unhappy animals from long international hauls. Flights that exceed 8 or 9 hours can be awfully traumatic for your pet (especially cats!), so use your best judgment. You know the temperament of your pet better than anyone, and if Mr. Jingles gets jittery in a car, think twice before flying him cargo to New Zealand. If you're vacationing for just a few days but your flight is lengthy, it could be less stressful on Mr. Jingles to be left in the care of a friend or trusted neighbor.

*And Steve, who travels quite a bit with his German Shepard, wrote in and shared some of his own excellent tips with us:

1. Do NOT tranquilize your animal. The biggest danger for pets traveling by air, especially in the cargo hold, is dehydration. Tranquilizers dehydrate animals even further, making it especially dangerous to medicate them for air travel. Many airlines will not even take a dog who they suspect has been tranquilized. Yes, the experience of air travel can be traumatic, but your animal will get over it. Better not to take the more grave risk to his/her health.

2. Buy the kind of water dish that attaches to the inside of the kennel door
and fill it with ice cubes at the airport. They'll melt slowly so your
animal can drink throughout the flight.

3. Get your animal accustomed to the kennel. If your dog/cat has never been in a kennel before, buy the appropriate one at least a month before you travel. First set out just the internal pad for your pet to use as a bed for about a week. Then put the pad in the bottom half of the kennel (if it's a large kennel) for about a week. Next, put the top of the kennel on for
another week, and finally, put the door on. By the time you travel, the pet
should regard the kennel as a safe and comfortable place of his/her own.

4. Tape a note on the top of the kennel with your pet's name, your name,
instructions and phone numbers, including your cell phone that you keep on until the last possible minute before the doors close.

5. Remove your animal's collar before locking him/her in the kennel. It can get snagged on the kennel latch or partially slip off, causing discomfort, or even choking.

6. Search online for personal stories and tips from passengers about the
specific airline you'll be using. Domestically, Continental has the best
reputation for transporting pets, and also tends to be the most expensive.
Note that even the best airlines have a statistically significant death rate
for animals. Make sure your pet is up to the task, and don't be afraid to be
insistent about his/her care.

7. Check the embargo dates for both outbound AND return flights. I got stuck once because the embargo went into effect while I was away, and I was forced to take a different airline to get back home with the dog.

8. Try as best as you can to be on the same flights as your pet.

9. If your animal is traveling via cargo, once you board, ask a member of
the flight crew to check with the ground crew that your animal is safely
onboard before the aircraft departs the gate. That way, if there is a
problem, you can get off too.

10. It's best to take nonstop flights if they're less than about 6 hours.
However, if you must change planes, ask to see your pet during the
transition. (Continental is very good about this.)

11. After you de-plane, stand at the window and watch the baggage handlers remove the kennel. If it's sitting too long in the sun or noise, talk to a supervisor and get them to move it into a cool and quiet area.

12. When traveling internationally, make sure you have all the appropriate paperwork with the proper dates. Sometimes you'll run into an issue where the health certificate needs to be no older than 10 days, but it also needs to be authenticated by the consulate of the destination country, which takes 7 days to get done, so the window of time is very small.

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

Categories: Airfare Tips

Flying with the Pets

Can't stand the thought of leaving your pet behind while the rest of the family jets off for a week of R&R? Hey, you're not alone. Many folks, us included, may find it difficult to relax, knowing your pet is holed up in some lonesome and cramped kennel. Bringing Socks and Mr. Jingles along for the fun is easier than you think. Just consider the following:

Notify the Airline
Notify the airline as early as possible, that you plan on bringing your pet with you, whether you plan on bringing your pet into the main cabin or check it into the cargo hold, because there are space limitations.
 

No Pets Allowed
Some airlines, like Southwest, don’t allow pets at all. And Frontier Airlines will allow pets in the cargo hold, but not in the main cabin. So be sure and check the airline's policy before you run out and make that purchase.

Requirements to Check-in Your Dog as Cargo
To check-in your dog in the cargo area the kennel has to meet the following requirements: kennels with wheels, wire kennels, collapsible kennels are not allowed; kennels must have a leak proof bottom with absorbent material; there must be a one-inch spacer bar around the kennel; the door must be lockable and secure; your dog must have enough room in the kennel to stand, lie down and turn around; at least three sides of ventilation; correct labeling (live animal and directional up arrows); and must include water/feed dishes (two dishes or divided dish). 

Age Restrictions (for your pet)
Your dog has to be at least eight weeks old and have the required health documentation from your veterinarian. Some states may require a health certificate for your pet.

Breed Restrictions
Some airlines will not ship certain breeds, under given conditions. For example, American Airlines warns that snub-nosed dogs (like Pugs and Shih Tzus) will not be acceptedwhen the current or forecasted temperature is above 75 degrees Fahrenheit at any location on the itinerary. This is because they are very sensitive to high temperatures.  

Pet Travel during Summer or Nightime
Most airlines have an embargo on dogs in the cargo area during the summer, with varying dates depending on airline. For example, Delta’s embargo is between May 15 and September 15, and United’s is between June 1 and September 30. In addition, some airlines don’t allow dogs on nighttime flights.
 

Maximum Kennel Size
To bring your dog into the main cabin, the kennel must be able to fit in the area under the seat in front of you. The maximum dimensions for the kennel is 17 inches x 12 inches x 8 inches, but keep in mind that it varies, depending on the plane you’ll be on, as some aircraft have smaller areas under the seat in front of you. 

Fees
Pet fees vary, depending on the airline. Delta Air Lines and Jet Blue charge $50 one-way to bring a pet into the main cabin, whereas, United Airlines charges $80 one-way. To check-in your pet into the cargo hold, it’s $75 one-way for Delta, $100 or $200 one-way for United, and $100 one-way for Frontier.  

 
Other Pets
Some airlines only allow cats and dogs (like American Airlines), while others will allow reptiles (like Delta, as long as it’s shipped as air cargo).

Use Your Head
As a former baggage handler at a major airport, I've unloaded some unhappy animals from long international hauls. Flights that exceed 8 or 9 hours can be awfully traumatic for your pet (especially cats!), so use your best judgment. You know the temperament of your pet better than anyone, and if Mr. Jingles gets jittery in a car, think twice before flying him cargo to New Zealand. If you're vacationing for just a few days but your flight is lengthy, it could be less stressful on Mr. Jingles to be left in the care of a friend or trusted neighbor.
Categories: Airfare Tips

65,000 bonus points/miles with the American Express Gold Card

Posted by George Hobica on Friday, June 22, 2007

American Express is offering up to 65,000 bonus points, which can be spent on over two dozen different airlines the same way frequent flyer points are, with a special summer bonus promotion for their Business Rewards Gold card for small businesses (and small can be just a business of one).

This will be available for a limited time.

Here is how the points stack up:

  • 25000 points for your first purchase
  • 5000 points when your spending reaches $20,000 in a calendar year
  • 20000 more points when you spend $50,000
  • 10000 points when you renew the card for the first year
  • 5000 points when you add two free cards for additional employees

Plus, the card is free for the first year. Although it costs $125 per year after that, the built in discounts, we’ve found, more than cover the cost (you get 5% off at FedEx Kinkos and Hertz, for example, and 3% off on Delta and JetBlue). Learn more and apply, but do it soon because this offer will be withdrawn sometime in July.

PS: The best thing about American Express, in our humble opinion, is the customer service. If your card is lost or stolen you can get a replacement usually in 24 hours or less, or even on the spot if you're near an American Express office. Plus there are features like return protection, which guarantees your satisfaction on most purchases even if the merchant won't stand by you; and the Purchase Protection Plan which protects many purchases from theft or damage for up to 90 days from purchase.

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

Whatlets?

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, June 21, 2007

Winglets, that’s what. And as it turns out, winglets don't have a thing to do with bbq or buffalo wings, so you can untuck that napkin from around your neck. No sir, we’re talking about Delta's decision to add blended winglets to over 60 of their aircraft. These fin-like additions to the wing will improve lift, maneuverability, and conserve fuel. That should not only bring down fares and help you save money, but it's better for the environment, so you'll be saving two greens in one. Winglets also allow flights to carry more weight, which means more cargo and more passengers.

And speaking of green, Delta launched their carbon-offset program this month. As you're surely aware, planes tend to spew quite a bit of carbon dioxide into the air, and one way to counter-balance this is by planting trees, which absorb the carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. Passengers who book their travel at delta.com now have the option of adding a contribution of $5.50 for domestic round-trips and $11 for international round-trips, all of which goes towards planting trees and carbon offset education. There's been a real buzz around sustainable travel and carbon offsets recently, and though Delta is the first airline in the U.S. to offer such a program we hope others will soon follow suit. To learn more about carbon offsets, visit conservationfund.org.

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

Categories: Airline Industry News

Fourth of July Sale from Midwest

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, June 21, 2007

Can't stand the thought of not eating hotdogs back home with the fam this 4th? Well, Midwest Airlines is having a 4th of July sale, good for outbound travel from June 26 through July 6, and for returns from June 30 through July 10, with a two night minimum stay. Is it any good? Well, before you start packing, let's have a look:

• Pittsburgh to Kansas City, advertised as $182 round-trip. Using July 2 through July 4 as our dates of travel, we found a fare of $172 round-trip, or $201 with taxes. A second search on Orbitz lists Northwest Airlines as having a slightly lower fare of $202 round-trip, followed by Midwest.

• Los Angeles to Omaha, advertised as $250 round-trip. For travel on June 30 through July 7, we found a fare of $345 round-trip, or $387 with taxes. That beats what we came up with on Orbitz: $444 round-trip, including taxes, on United.

• New York to Milwaukee, advertised as $214 round-trip. We checked for travel on June 28 through July 2 and found a fare of $288 round-trip, or $329 with taxes. Seems just a tad steep, and our follow-up search on Orbitz confirmed it. We found a lower fare of $270 round-trip, including taxes, with Continental.

• Washington D.C. to Madison, advertised as $210 round-trip. We checked for travel from July 2 through July 6 and found a fare of $218 round-trip, or $273 with taxes. These same dates on Orbitz gave us a fare of $235 round-trip, including taxes, on United.

As you can see, this sale isn't anything to get excited about. The only savings to be had are on last minute June flights and even then, the savings are slim. You can most likely find a better deal elsewhere, so we'd suggest a little shopping around.

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

Categories: Domestic US Fares

Fly to London for $99 one-way!

We just found an incredible deal on Zoom Airlines' new daily service between New York JFK and London Gatwick. From today until July 14 you can fly to London for the unprincely sum of $99 with taxes! This fare requires no minimum stay and no advance or round-trip purchase, so it's perfect for a quick jump across the pond as well as an open-ended trip around Europe. Assuming you do have to come home some time, a round-trip ticket on the same airline is still a bargain starting at $437 total, but if you decide to get a one-way ticket from London at a later date those fares start at £225 (about $447 with taxes). Other airlines selling one-way tickets with either no or at least a reasonable premium include Aer Lingus, Globespan and Condor. Any way you go, it's time to stop telling yourself you can't afford to travel abroad this summer and start packing before this fresh offer has flown the coop!

Categories: Europe/Africa/Middle East Airfares
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