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Continental BusinessFirst sale to Europe

Posted by George Hobica on Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Continental has some great fares in their comfy BusinessFirst cabin to Europe for holiday travel (guess this is when the suits don't fly, so they have to fill those seats). Most of the deals are from Newark, with a few from Houston as well.

Travel outbound Nov. 18-24, 2007 and return Nov. 22-24, 2007 or Nov. 27-28, 2007.

For an additional $100 each way, fares are available for:
Travel outbound Dec. 17, 2007 - Jan. 4, 2008 and return Dec. 22, 2007 - Jan. 9, 2008.

Considering that you'll pay a lot for mere economy travel during these peak periods, it may end up costing not much more to fly in comfort.

Newark to London, for example, is $560 each way over Thanksgiving and $660 each way for travel over the winter holidays, plus tax.

Maybe we're going blind researching all these fares, but we didn't see a last day to purchase listed on Continental's site.

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

Categories: Europe/Africa/Middle East Airfares

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Take the Plane to the Train to Brussels

Here's a somewhat unusual arrangement offered by Air France who will fly you to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport and then whisk you downtown Brussels in little over an hour by high-speed train to the Midi-Zuid railway station.

With its built-in airport transfer and check-in time, this itinerary compares favorably to a non-stop flight in total travel time. The savings are only about $35 plus the price of that Brussels airport transfer you won't need, but as a bonus you get to see France whiz by at the speed of a very fast locomotive.

Along with other fares we have posted to Brussels, this one is currently available for $475 from both Newark and New York JFK
for travel starting late October. You may be able to get it from other Air France gateways or find code-share connections from many other cities, but before you rush off to this storied land of beer and chocolate and fries do as your mother told you and finish your sprouts!
Categories: Europe/Africa/Middle East Airfares

Horizon Air cancels flights due to airplane safety concerns

Posted by George Hobica on Wednesday, September 12, 2007

If you're booked on a Horizon Airlines flight (some are codeshared with Alaska), you might want to read this article from Aviation.com.

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

Categories: Airline Industry News

Bored before Boarding?

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Okay, so security was a breeze, and now you’re at the gate, with 2 hours to spare. Whatever will you do to pass the time? Oh sure, you could befriend that gentleman in the SARS mask, or aimlessly loaf around the news stand, but have you even thought to glance at that airport map? You may be surprised at what new-fangled amenities and features are right under your nose.

Calm those Nerves
Those passing through the McNamara Terminal of Detroit Metropolitan Airport need not be frightened. You are not boarding a flying saucer, and no one slipped anything funny in your drink. What you’re experiencing is the new synchronized light and sound show, stretched along the 685 ft long tunnel. And we imagine you’ll be so relaxed by the time you reach the other end, you’ll have forgotten all about how lousy that last flight was.

Know what else is guaranteed to sooth your nerves? Fish! No, not eating them. Watching them. And at San Francisco International, you’ll find a top-notch aquarium stocked with creatures from coral reefs and the Amazon.


Are we there yet? Are we there yet?
Wondering how you’ll get the kids to sleep after take-off? Tucker them out! Chicago O’Hare Airport has an indoor “Kids on the Fly” playground with a cockpit, air traffic control tower, and a ticket counter at the departure level of Terminal 2. Also, Munich International Airport houses Kinderland—a place where the kids can enjoy arts and crafts, a climbing tower, games, and other such attractions. Plus, for a minimal fee, they offer childcare.

What You Eat in Vegas, Stays in Vegas
Eat one too many fatty fried doodads from the buffet? You’ll find a 24-hour gym in the Las Vegas McCarran Airport, which includes a steam room, sauna, and massage therapists. It’s free for members, otherwise a day pass will cost you $10.

The Great Outdoors
Can’t stand another second under those fluorescent lights? North Carolina’s Charlotte-Douglas Airport holds a tree-lined atrium where travelers can sit in wooden rocking chairs while enjoying the sun. Although it’s indoors, the large windows let in lots of sunlight. Or if you’re in Honolulu Airport, slide on your Foster Grants and stroll through the beautifully landscaped Asian gardens. You’ll also find outdoor waiting areas in Palm Springs International, and Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City.


Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific

When strategic splashes of water just won’t do the trick, it’s time to hit the showers. Passengers at Melbourne Airport in Australia can freshen up with a free shower in Terminal 2. And in Amsterdam’s Schiphol, showers are available for connecting and departing passengers, for a fee of 12.50 Euros.

Ditch the Airport

Of course, it’s probably not so wise to leave the airport if you’ve got an hour-long layover, but for those with plenty of time to kill may as well do so in town. Zurich Airport is a 10-15 minute train ride away from downtown Zurich, as is Hartsfield International in Atlanta and Reagan National in D.C.


Shop, Drop, and Roll
Dubai International Airport houses one of the largest and most popular duty free shopping centers in the world, carrying over 35,000 product lines. We aren’t talking salt-water taffy and camel magnets here. Dubai Duty Free is for the serious shopper. And for high-rolling raffle fanatics, there’s the ongoing Finest Surprise Contest where $139 buys you a 1 in 1,000 chance to win a bourgie new car. Other duty-free faves include Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, London Heathrow, and of course, Charles de Gaulle in Paris.



Splash-n-Dash
Why not squeeze in a few laps before that 10-hour homeward haul. If you happen to be in Singapore’s Changi Airport, look for the swimming pool and jacuzzi in Terminal 1. $10 gets you in, and includes access to showers, a towel, and a free drink.


Museum Quality

The Amsterdam Schiphol Airport partnered with the Rijksmuseum to create a first-class airport art museum. This isn’t the sort of yawn-inducing stuff you’d saw back in your room at the Ramada, no siree. Schiphol holds a permanent collection of works by Dutch masters and a temporary exhibition, which changes throughout the year.


Score!
Incheon International Airport may be known as Seoul’s smaller, alternative airport, but is certainly top choice among sports fans. Bored golfers can drop by the Incheon Golf Club for a 330-yard driving range, as well as game of billiards.

Sleep it Off
Let’s face it. There’s simply no configuration of slumping and tilting that will ever get you to sleep in that chair. If you really need to nap, and you happen to be in London Gatwick, Heathrow, or (soon to come) Amsterdam Schiphol, keep your eyes peeled for Yotel. Based on Japanese capsule hotels, Yotel cabins come complete with beds, showers, television, internet access and other basics. Not to mention the peace of mind in knowing that no one can see you drooling in your sleep.

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

Categories: Airline Industry News

US Air charges (again) $100 when a fare goes down after purchase

Posted by George Hobica on Tuesday, September 11, 2007

We've been advocating the policy that some airlines follow to refund the fare difference if a fare goes down in price from the time you buy it to the time you fly. You have to keep your same flight or at least the same travel dates and class of service to qualify for a refund, but some airlines will refund the entire difference without a fee, and others charge a fee of up to $100 on a domestic fare. US Airways has flip flopped over the years on this, charging the fee one month, and not charging it the next.

In July, US Air flipped again, and now they charge $100, often wiping out any savings. So currently, the only major airlines that will give you a voucher for the entire difference are United, Southwest, Alaska, and JetBlue.

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

Categories: Airline Industry News

Major Deals to Asia Minor and Eastern Europe

Delta is currently offering some unbeatable fares for non-stop travel from New York JFK to the far side of Europe and in some cases undercutting the competition's already notable sale fares by at least a few dollars. Except for a single September departure to Istanbul, these fares are available from the end of October, some only on one or two days while others are much easier to come by.

Sample fares

Athens $620   
Istanbul  
$620
Bucharest $590   Kiev $610
Budapest $570   Moscow $560

Categories: Europe/Africa/Middle East Airfares

Bumping 101

Posted by George Hobica on Saturday, September 8, 2007

Surely you've seen them before. Surrounded by grease-blotted Sbarro boxes and empty soda cans, these unfortunate folks have been booted from their overbooked flight, left with no choice but to make camp on the airport floor and wait. Think it can't happen to you? Don't be so certain. Overbooking flights has become standard practice these days among the most airlines, and your chances of being booted are higher than ever. But before you resign yourself to a spot on the floor, Airfarewatchdog.com offers this advice:

What you're owed

 For starters, if you're involuntarily bumped off your flight and the airline can't get you to your destination within an hour of the original arrival time, federal law requires that you be paid the equivalent of your one-way fare up to $200 or $400, depending on the length of the delay.  

According to David Stempler of the Air Travelers Association, passengers should insist on a check instead of a travel voucher since they come with restrictions and can be difficult to redeem.  

What to do if you're bumped

Instead of waiting in line with other disgruntled bumpees for a gate agent, try sneaking off to call the airline 800 number directly (or call while you're waiting in line). Speaking immediately to an agent on the phone can help you skirt any airport computer systems that give priority to frequent fliers or those who paid top dollar for their fare. So it's a good idea to call in for first crack at seats.

How not to get bumped

 One way to avoid getting bumped altogether is to fly JetBlue Airways, which refuses to overbook and consequently has the best track bumping record among all major US carriers, followed by Airtran. And flying to or within the Hawaiian Islands should be a breeze, since both Hawaiian and Aloha Airlines always score in the top five carriers with the least involuntary denied boardings. And if you really can't afford to take any chances, you should know that Atlantic Southeast Airlines, Comair, and Delta Airlines consistently score the worst. You can find these and other rankings on the Department of Transportation website at http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov.

And you should also know that the folks in the cheap seats have lower priority on some airlines than the ones who paid full fare. If you're a very frequent flyer at the highest tier of your airline's program and/or paid a full fare (or are a business or first class passenger) you're more likely to get on board than the poor chap who paid next to nothing for his coach ticket.

Of course, the easiest thing you can do to prevent getting bumped is arrive early. On overbooked flights, the last passengers to check in are among the first to get kicked off. And for those days when time is most definitely not on your side, call the airline in advance to let them know you'll be late and reserve a seat on the next flight.  

Exceptions to the rules


There are, however, a few exceptions to the bumping rule, in which case you may find yourself out of luck. For example, if the airline must substitute a smaller plane for the one it originally planned to use, the carrier isn't required to compensate people who are bumped as a result. Compensation also does not apply to charter flights, or scheduled flights with 60 or fewer passengers. Also remember that these rules vary for international flights, even if they're on US-based carriers. Not sure where you stand with your airline? Check their contract of carriage. In fact, it's a good idea to print this out and have it with you for reference incase of such an emergency. Sure, it may sound unnecessarily nerdy now, but hey, it just may save you from sleeping on a row of chairs next to Gate 43A.

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

Categories: Airfare Tips

Top 10 Easiest Airports to Get To

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Friday, September 7, 2007

Some airports, like Denver's, aren't known for easy and cheap public transportation to the city center. But, in Airfarewatchdog.com's experience, these 10 U.S. airports make it easy to skip cab lines, traffic and high fares.

  • Boston Logan: The Silver Line Rapid Transit Bus Service (SL1) will take you from Boston's Logan Airport straight to South Station, which is Boston's central transportation hub. There are also shuttle buses to/from the Blue Line subway train to each airport terminal.

  • Washington Reagan National: The Washington D.C. Metrorail stops at the B and C terminals in this airport. From Terminal A, you can take a short bus ride to Terminal B or C to get on the train.

  • San Francisco International: Hop on the Airtran at any terminal, for no cost, and get off at the Garage G/BART station stop. From there you can access the Bay Area Rapid Transit (San Francisco's train system).

  • New York John F. Kennedy: You can get on the Airtrain for $5 at each terminal, and access the New York City Transit Authority subway or the Long Island Railroad. Get off at Airtrain's Howard Beach exit for transfer to the A subway train, or at Jamaica Station for transfer to the E, J and Z subway trains and the Long Island Railroad.

  • Minneapolis-St.Paul International: The light rail trains stop at the Lindbergh terminal, then proceeds to key locations such as the Mall of America and downtown Minneapolis. From the Humphrey terminal, there is a shuttle bus to the Lindbergh terminal. However, the airport hopes to have light rail service to both terminals by Autumn 2007.

  • Chicago O'Hare: The Airport Transit System (ATS) is a free train that connects all terminals to a Metra subway/train station. You can take the Metra to numerous locations in downtown Chicago.

  • Philadelphia International: The SEPTA (Philadelphia's public transit system) connects directly to all terminals in this airport. You can hop on to the R1 high-speed rail line, which goes straight into downtown Philadelphia and other transportation hubs.

  • Portland International: Portland's MAX light rail stops at the airport's central baggage claim. It's the last stop on the red line, which goes to downtown Portland and the City Center.


  • Baltimore/Washington International: A free shuttle will take you from the terminals to the BWI Rail Station. From there, you can take the Maryland Rail Commuter Service (MARC) to either Penn Station in Baltimore or Union Station in Washington D.C.

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

Categories: Airfarewatchdog News

Horizon & Alaska Deals

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Friday, September 7, 2007

Folks heading down to Cal-i-forn-i-a from Boise and Spokane, and vice versa, should check out this sale from Horizon Air. Sample fares include:






Meanwhile, partner Alaska Airlines is offering 20% off travel between select cities along the west coast, for travel September 25 through November 15. All you have to do is type in the following jibberjabbery code when you purchase your ticket online at alaskaair.com: ECO5307

Easy enough, don’t you think? Round-trip sample fares include:











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

Categories: Domestic US Fares

Germany Summarized for Fall and Winter

With all this talk of great fares to Britain, let's not forget that the competition is still going strong to Germany too.

If those United-Lufthansa code-share fares to Frankfurt we've mentioned before are getting too expensive or proving too tricky to find (and they can be a bit elusive), head straight for Singapore Airlines and book an easy seat with no advance purchase requirement on their non-stop flights from New York to Frankfurt. From Chicago and Los Angeles, Air India once again gets you there faster for less.

Of course, Frankfurt is not the only game in town, or the only town in Germany. LTU is having an open house at their Düsseldorf
hub and you're invited! They can whisk you away non-stop from either coast, as well as Miami, Fort Myers and Las Vegas.

If you're looking for both brains and beauty at bargain rates, Berlin is probably your best bet, although fares to Continental's low-cost continental home, Cologne, have also been knocked down to size again, and the best deal of all continues to be the little-known daily Emirates service from New York to Hamburg.

Then again, if your big belly is begging for beer and bratwurst by the barrel, the good brew is always on tap in Munich and never more so than during Oktoberfest. Like any smart hostess, Lufthansa started mailing out invitations months ago so the best fares are long gone, but it's not too late to heed the call of Bavaria beckoning on a budget.


Fare Summary
Some fares updated Sept. 10
Please note that this is merely a sampling of fares highlighted in the article. We publish many other fares to Germany, some even lower than these.
  Early Fall Late Fall*
Baltimore
Berlin $535


Boston Berlin $530


Boston Frankfurt $470
   
Boston Munich $555
   
Chicago
Frankfurt $600

$540
Fort Myers Düsseldorf $645
Houston Cologne

$525
Las Vegas Düsseldorf $560
Los Angeles Düsseldorf $610
Los Angeles Frankfurt $610

$610
Los Angeles Munich $684


Miami Düsseldorf $610 $590
Miami Munich $610

New York JFK Berlin $575

$460
New York JFK Düsseldorf $580   $460
New York JFK Frankfurt $550   $450
New York JFK Hamburg $505   $415
Newark Berlin     $460
Newark Cologne

$460
Newark Frankfurt $520


Newark Munich $560

 
Washington Munich

$525
* Generally starting last week of October or first week of November.
Categories: Europe/Africa/Middle East Airfares
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