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Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, October 9, 2008
Remember when we asked you guys for tips on keeping the kids in check during those long holiday flights? Well, you had a ton of great advice. We've narrowed down the best of your tips below, so read up:
1. Have a discussion on expected behavior prior to the trip, as well as a little refresher before boarding.
2. A bag stuffed with essential treats. In our case, that would be Teddy Grahams.
3. Pack plenty of books, stickers, paper, crayons, magazines, and anything else that can be read, or incorporated into an easy mess-free craft project. Remember, obviously, no scissors.
4. Fresh out of craft ideas? Here's an easy one! Bring a fine point Sharpie marker and allow your children to - just this once - add moustaches to all the faces in the in-flight magazine. Or blackened teeth. Or both! Hey, go wild (quietly, and to yourself)!
5. Three words: Portable. DVD. Player.
6. Fly a kid friendly airline like Frontier, JetBlue, or Virgin with seat-back televisions. There's almost always a channel with children's programming.
7. Request a window seat so your child can look out and lean at will without disturbing other passengers.
8. Never do early boarding. The less time on board, the better. Sitting around, twiddling thumbs (or using up all your games and activities before you even take off) while you wait for the plane to fill up will probably take longer than you think.
9. Don't hand out all the toys at once. Conserve what's out and for as long as you can. Who knows? You might not even make it through the entire bag of tricks, which can be a real bonus on the trip home.
10. For smaller children (under one year), try using a Boppy pillow on your lap, to fill that scary gap between your lap and the seat in front of you.
11. For the slightly older kids, who may potentially taunt one another: Pay them off! $5 an hour, $1, a quarter, whatever you think sounds about right. Personally, my mother would clutch her pearls at the suggestion that she pay her children to behave, but hey. I'm certainly not above it. Says the person who suggested that one, "We used this trick when going to Disneyworld, and they only lost one hour's worth of bribes." See?
12. Let them stay up a little later the night before the flight, or wake up very early the day of. Once onboard, bring blankets and pillows and let them catch up on sleep.
13. Still in the sippy cup years? When the beverage cart comes 'round your way, ask the flight attendant to fill up those sippy cups instead of plastic cups that tend to spill.
14. See other children acting up on your flight? Remember to thank your own for not doing that, and for setting a good example.
15. If all else fails, and your child cries excessively or rubs an open pudding cup into your seat mate's face or something horrible, bring along little I'm-sorry gifts to "bribe"/"win over" your fellow passengers. A $5 Starbucks card, a box of chocolates, etc.
Have a tip of your own to share? Let us know in the comments section below.
Posted by Jonathan Weinberg on Thursday, October 9, 2008
American Airlines is running a sale on flights to New York City. Save $10 on a roundtrip ticket when you book through this link on AA.com.
This deal requires a 7-day advance purchase, and a 3-day minimum stay. Travel is valid through December 10, 2008, and fares are not valid November 22, 25-26, 29-30 and December 1, 2008.
To take advantage of this deal, you must purchase your tickets by October 15th.
Categories: Domestic US Fares
Remember when we asked you guys for tips on how to travel with the kids this holiday season? Well, you had a ton of great advice. We've narrowed down the best of your tips below, so read up:
Posted by Andrea Bennett on Monday, October 6, 2008
By Andrea Bennett
Like Unicorns (or in these trying times, a bank you can trust) consolidator fares are elusive, precious items that can offer a traveler great savings. Airfarewatchdog.com has taken the time to track down the facts about these airline special offers. In the first installment, we learned they were created to ensure flights sold out, but in an era of airline consolidations and bankruptcies, these deals are getting fewer and far-between.
What's Your Best Chance of Finding the Fares?
Because consoldiators don't actually buy the seats, they're usually granted their window of opportunity early in the booking process (to fill up a limited number of seats to hedge the airline's bet on passengers) or late (to make up for the passengers the airline estimated would book, but didn't). Your travel agent can even find consolidator business class seats last minute, for up to a 50% discount.
What Do Consolidator Fares "Act" Like?
You may think that because you're getting a bargain basement price, your consolidator ticket will be nonrefundable, non-changeable, won't allow you to make advance seat assignments, won't let you earn miles - a heavily restricted "use it or lose it" ticket. That's usually not the case (and yes, you'll almost always earn your miles), but you DO need to ask your travel agent for up-front restriction information. Consolidator fares generally act like those discounted economy class tickets of the lower echelons, and carry similar restrictions. That's why some travelers are convinced they've bought consolidator fares on airline websites - but they haven't. American Airlines spokesman Ned Raynolds confirmed that the airlines aren't allowed to sell unpublished fares themselves.
The problem with bulk fares often doesn't lie with the restrictions themselves, but the capacity that the consolidator has been granted by the airline. For example, say you bought a consolidator ticket as a "T" class (generally one of the lowest of the low airfare classes). If you bought it and the airline then closes out the consolidator's "bucket," you won't be able to change it, even if the airline still has "T" class tickets of its own to sell. IF the consolidator has similarly restricted tickets like "L" or "K" class, you might be able to swap them, through your agent, but only if the consolidator's window is still open.
Similarly, say you bought a discounted "Q" class ticket directly from the airline. If you wanted to change it and that particular class was sold out, you could ask the airline to let you pay the difference and a penalty to upgrade to a full-fare, unrestricted "Y" class ticket. You won't be able to do that with a consolidator fare. The other restriction you'll find across the board: You'll never be able to upgrade your ticket using miles. The lesson: You'd better be sure that your consolidator ticket is the one you want, because you're most likely stuck with it.
What About Consolidators That Sell on the Web?
Not a good idea. Consolidators simply aren't built for customer service. As we mentioned before, through years of relationship-building, your travel agent has a much better grasp of which consolidators are good, and which ones are shady, than you do. Consolidators themselves can't really offer you any guarantees on your fare. Big consolidators have a lot of sway with the airlines because of the volume they do, so they can often help (but the reputable ones will only deal with your travel agent). If something goes wrong with a consolidator ticket you've bought through a trusted agency, the agency should absorb your loss.
According to Simon Bramley, head of pricing for Travelocity, the Travelocity Guarantee to "make things right" would function this way, buffering you from a loss if something should happen to one of the consolidator fares it offers through its site (you'll usually spot these marked as "exclusives," and all restrictions are listed before you purchase). And as always, you'll want to ensure every purchase by using a credit, not a debit card, so you can take it up with the credit card company if the deal goes south.
The inevitable truth is that you'll want to shop around. Airlines, in an effort to drive customers to their own sites, now offer low fare guarantees. That means that even if you find an "exclusive" consolidator fare online, the airline will more than likely match or beat it. Domestic consolidator fares have been all but completely squeezed out by the Internet, and because airlines are decreasing capacity (mostly domestically), you'll find even fewer for US-only flights. Rholl notes that airlines now release prices to consolidators that are exactly the same as published fares. Of course, you always have the option of searching the consolidators that sell online, and then mitigating your risk by asking your travel agent to find the fare for you. Like all fares worth finding, locating them will take a search.
Posted by George Hobica on Saturday, October 4, 2008
Especially in these tough economic times, it's more important than ever to save money on airfare. That's where Airfarewatchdog's free airfare widget and RSS feeds come in. Over 40 US Airports now use them on their Web sites to show potential passengers that there are indeed low airfares if you know how to find them.
And now, we're noticing that hotels and resorts are adding the widget to their web site's home pages. Makes sense: show potential guests low airfares to your local airport(s) and you're more likely to fill up rooms. See how the Marco Island Marriott Resort and Spa is showing guests low fares into Ft. Myers, FL.
The latest airport to get on the widget bandwagon is Spokane International.
And if you're running a convention or other meeting, why not show attendees low fares into the convention city? That's what PMA is doing. The Photo Marketing Association is holding its 2009 convention in Las Vegas, so, wisely, they're displaying the widget on their web site. Frankly, we're at a loss to understand why everyone doesn't do this! OK, if you're not using our fares to display, then use one of those other fare listing sites. Oh, right, they don't have Southwest or Allegiant fares, so not such a good idea. But they're beter than nothing!
Learn more about the widget and RSS feeds and get your very own right here.
Posted by Jonathan Weinberg on Friday, October 3, 2008
Minneapolis based Sun Country Airlines, fighting to survive a cash crunch, has warned its employees to prepare for the possibility of major layoffs, or a shutdown of the airline, as early as Dec. 1.
SunCountry is struggling to survive until the heavy winter travel season when it expects to turn a profit, but in the meantime they are taking drastic actions, including a 50 percent pay deferral for employees to improve their cash position.
SunCountry was looking for a short-term loan from its owner, Tom Petters, to address the cash shortage issue but Petters, the airline's majority shareholder, resigned as CEO of Petters Group Worldwide Monday because he is the target of a major federal fraud investigation. While this is unrelated to SunCountry's business, it looks like Mr. Petters has his hands full with "other matters", so SunCountry will have to see financing elsewhere, which is none too easy in the credit crunch the country is experiencing currently.
Will SunCountry ultimately survive? It's still too early to tell, but clearly this is an ominous sign. One thing is for sure... They certainly won't be the last airline to run into trouble in this difficult economy.
Categories: Airline Industry News
Posted by George Hobica on Wednesday, October 1, 2008
When Delta merges operations with Northwest later this year, it's unlikely that the combined airline will operate six hubs, especially since some of them are relatively close to each other.
Which ones will go? Atlanta or Memphis? Detroit, Cincinnati or Minneapolis? Will they keep Salt Lake City? Whatever happens, Norwelta will cut some routes, and there will be room for other airlines to nose into these hubs, and Southwest, not surprisingly, is the first to make a move. Beginning in March, the Dallas-based low cost carrier will begin service between Chicago Midway and MSP, which will bring low cost connecting service to cities Southwest serves from Midway. Minneapolis desperately needs another low cost airline, especially if Sun Country, which is experiencing financial difficulties, doesn't survive.
Categories: Airline Industry News
Posted by Tracy Stewart on Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Ok, so as we've established, carting the kids along on your travels can be a little bit of a headache. At least the getting-there part of the trip. There's the unavoidable sippy cup mishaps, the disapproving glares from other passengers, and -for the solo travelers - the seat kicking, and (everyone's fave) the crying. So, how can parents and passengers survive the upcoming holiday travel blitz, minus the headaches? Minus the crying? How do you keep your little angels in check on those long dull flights? What's your smooth operator approach to handling junior seat kickers? Share your parenting travel tips, tales, and advice with us below! And maybe your wise words will be of use to other folks flying with/alongside the kiddies this season.
10/7 Update: The discount coupon code has changed to ENEWS10387.
More than JetBlue can play at this ten percent promo game and now Air France has timed their own offer to take advantage of the whole Alitalia debacle. By using the ENEWS10373 coupon code when booking on the airline web site, you can shave 10% off the current October Italy Specials.
While the coupon is valid through October 21, the sale ends on October 2, so this is no time to dither, but please read the note and tiny print below before you run off. Also be sure to compare prices elsewhere before you commit to anything, because even with the discount applied these may not be the best deals available.
As we mentioned numerous times over the summer on this blog, fares to Italy have been unusually competitive this year with Alitalia cutting back and competitors like Air One, American, Eurofly, and Iberia only too happy to pick up the slack. Even as Air One shuts down their nonstop Boston-Milan route next week after less than 6 months, they continue to offer good deals through their Chicago gateway or in cooperation with United through Washington.
Coupon is valid for Air France marketed and operated flights, valid for new purchases and will not apply to existing bookings. Coupon is redeemable for tickets issued on www.airfrance.us. Coupon is valid for flights departing from the USA and arriving in Italy. Coupon is valid for departures October 1 through November 30 and with return dates October 2 through December 30, 2008. Coupon applies to reservations in Tempo (Economy Class) and is limited to one usage per customer; stock is limited.
Categories: Europe/Africa/Middle East Airfares
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