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Fare of the Day: Boston to San Diego $142 RT

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Friday, November 19, 2010

Fly from Boston to San Diego for $142 round-trip, including all taxes! This fare is available for travel on select dates in December, January, and February. Valid for travel all days of the week. Requires a 10-day advance purchase.

But please remember, this fare will not be available for peak holiday travel.

This is an amazing coast-to-coast fare, and we've found similar fares from Boston to Long Beach.

For more, please visit our Boston area fares page.

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

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Fare of the Day: Portland OR to Washington DC $158 RT

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fly from Portland OR to Washington DC for $158 round-trip, including all taxes. An excellent coast-to-coast deal, this fare is down by about $200 since yesterday. Valid for travel 7 days a week when available, for travel from late November through May. Though keep in mind, that excludes peak holiday travel. No minimum stay required!

Found via Orbitz. Also on Travelocity.

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

Air Canada's webSavers

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, November 18, 2010

Air Canada's current WebSavers feature travel between select cities in the US and Canada. Rules and restrictions will vary by route. Check fare details for travel dates and expiration.

Fares are priced in CAD$, and include:

Edmonton to Las Vegas $318 round-trip

Fredericton to Ft Lauderdale $278 round-trip

Halifax to Orlando $278 round-trip

Ottawa to Orlando $150 round-trip

Quebec City to Sarasota $278 round-trip

Montreal to Miami $198 round-trip

Vancouver to Kahului-Maui $438 round-trip

Calgary to Edmonton $150 round-trip

Toronto to Miami $150 round-trip

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

Categories: Domestic Canadian Fares

Fare of the Day: Milwaukee to San Francisco $157 RT

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Take a breather from that harsh Wisconsin winter with a little trip to San Fran. We've found Milwaukee to San Francisco for $157 round-trip, including all taxes.

This fare is valid for travel 7 days a week, with a 330 day travel period (if you'd prefer to visit in spring or summer!). No minimum stay required. Seats are limited. Not available during peak holidays.

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

Fare of the Day: Boston to Phoenix $179 RT nonstop

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fly from Boston to Phoenix for $179 round-trip, nonstop, including all taxes, with JetBlue.

This fare is valid for travel Monday through Thursday & Saturday, through December 18. Fares require a 14-day advance purchase, and seats are limited.

Fares will be higher for peak holiday travel. Found via JetBlue.com.

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

Fare of the Day: Miami to Madrid, Spain $480 RT nonstop, Thanksgiving Travel!

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Monday, November 15, 2010

Family schmamily. If you're in south Florida for the Thanksgiving holiday, you might consider swapping the turkey for tapas by way of a little trip to Madrid, Spain. Fly from Miami for $480 round-trip, including all taxes. And did we mention this is nonstop? Even better!

Of course if you can't swing a trip over Thanksgiving, it's no biggie! We've found this fare to be valid for travel on select dates through February.

Found via Orbitz.com. More about this fare here.

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

Slopes Sale from Alaska Airlines

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Monday, November 15, 2010

Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air will soon begin seasonal service to popular ski destinations, Sun Valley and Mammoth Lakes. Look for service to start December 16, nonstop between Sun Valley and Seattle/Los Angeles, and between Mammoth and Los Angeles/San Jose.

Discounted flights are valid for travel 7-days a week (when available) with a 330-day travel period, and require a 14-day advance purchase. Fares will be higher for peak holiday travel.

Los Angeles to Sun Valley $198 nonstop, round-trip

Seattle to Sun Valley $198 nonstop, round-trip

Los Angeles to Mammoth Lakes $118 nonstop, round-trip

Portland to Mammoth Lakes $218 round-trip

San Jose to Mammoth Lakes $118 nonstop, round-trip

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

What's it like being an airline gate agent? A passenger's day behind the podium

By Ramsey Qubein, Airfarewatchdog.com

Spending a day dealing with hundreds of airline passengers and piles of oversized carryon bags is not most people's idea of fun. And while I'm no glutton for punishment, I jumped at the chance to learn what takes place on the other side of the counter as a Delta Air Lines gate agent at the world's busiest airport, Atlanta Hartsfield. With 300,000 annual miles and over four million lifetime miles on Delta, I know the airline well. This experience, however, was an eye opener.

Lower fares mean the airlines try to get by with fewer gate staff, which puts pressure on one person to perform many tasks. Gate agents are tasked with driving the Jetway, opening the door, arranging for wheelchairs and unaccompanied minors, directing passengers to connecting gates, clearing standbys, checking the new crew, boarding new passengers, gate checking bags, closing the door, and pulling the Jetway all within about an hour per flight.

In between, they must answer endless questions. I was shocked when people approached my clearly marked gate to ask if this was the gate for some other city. Or asked me to look up their gate rather than check the information screens a few feet away.

I was asked where the restrooms might be, how to get to the escalator, where to find an electrical outlet, and what time boarding would begin all day even though signs are plastered all over the airport.

My day began at 6 a.m. with a flight to Denver. My role: scan boarding passes. Sounds easy? Au contraire. That bar code is hard to scan properly especially when rushing. An insistent clock ticks away as departure time creeps up. Get the flight out late, and management holds you accountable.

With the last passenger boarded and final carryon bag gate checked (overhead space fills up fast), we were ready to close the door. But wait…there was one more passenger on board than seats. I hadn't scanned one boarding pass properly. Now, we were in trouble. Five minutes to go, one gate-checked bag to offload, and the seconds were ticking fast. With one minute to spare, we closed the door.

You can be as efficient as possible, but one mistake causes the house of cards to crumble. I learned from my mistake, but had little time to pout. Another plane was pulling in; the Jetway was in place and door opened. We started all over again. No bathroom or coffee break.

Remembering the codes and computer keystrokes for changing seats, clearing standbys and upgrades (a process rigorously controlled by the computer with little room for chicanery), clearing seats from late-connecting passengers or those who no-showed, and printing boarding passes all at the same time was quite a feat.  

A few things I learned:

1. Hollywood loves to portray gate agents who tap away endlessly into a computer with a blank stare. Yet, there is a reason for all that endless tapping. Most airlines use archaic codes to perform even simple tasks. Changing seats requires entering a series of seemingly random symbols. Lesson learned: try to ask an agent when they're not busy if you want to change seats.

2. Crowding the boarding door area 20 minutes before boarding begins or standing in the way when one's boarding zone has not been called only inhibits efficient boarding for the gate agent and the passengers. People get anxious and worry about finding space for cabin bags. However, this delays boarding and leads gate agents to become more anxious as the clocks tick down. This may lead to more bags being gate checked in order not to delay the flight. Passengers should remain seated or clearly out of the way of the Jetway door to allow a constant flow of boarding passengers. In the end, it helps everyone. Many airlines are placing kiosks in boarding areas so that people can reprint boarding passes or change seats without seeing a gate agent. Use these machines when possible to free up gate agent time to handle more complicated passenger requests.


3. Flights are very full these days. In the winter, don't place large jackets in an overhead bin upon boarding. It makes the bins look full, which adds to the stress of cabin crew and gate agents who have to check bags. Instead, wait until boarding is almost complete; then place (or stuff) jackets over existing bags. 

4.The later in the day you travel, the less friendly the skies get. The morning folks were cheerful and responsive to my greetings. Later, people became more stressed and angry as delays began to rack up. If you can, travel in the morning since the evening takes the brunt of the day's irregular operations.


5. People were happy to gate check bags if I asked them nicely. I turned it into a positive reminding them they wouldn't have to lug their bag through the airport. They can head straight to baggage claim worry-free. Offer your bag to the gate agent if you're willing to collect it at baggage claim. You bypass bag fees and heavy lifting, and help the flight depart on time.
When a gate agent is staring at a screen when no one is there, they are not checking email. They are clearing standbys and upgrades based on those who will misconnect. Your seat request card is being cleared slowly. Don't approach the counter every ten minutes. The gate agent wants to get the flight out on time and will insure you have your confirmed seat soon.


6. When an agent seems short on information during a delay, they're not being coy. They are awaiting more information from operations. Airlines work with numerous departments to secure a new aircraft, change baggage, adjust catering, secure a new gate, handle inbound connecting passengers, and locate a new gate for the next arriving flight. When operations called my gate during a mechanical delay with an update, my head was swirling. Passengers thought we were twiddling our thumbs, but a half-dozen people were working hard behind the scenes to get them on their way. The gate agent is just the messenger.

I learned a lot about humanity that Sunday: how rude people can be to complete strangers; how lazy people can be without utilizing information around them; how hilarious people can be with their assumptions and “know-it-all” attitudes. More than one person handed me their boarding pass with their teeth because their hands were full. Others jabbered into cell phones without even acknowledging me. One even yelled at me to pick up his child's toy!

There were nice people too. Those that thanked me, wished me a nice day, and even said I had a nice smile! In my one-day experience, I encountered two medical emergencies, one soiled seat, one mechanical delay, four upset customers (who arrived off a delayed flight and proclaimed "I will never fly this airline again," a phrase gate agents know all too well), and two unfriendly Detroit flight attendants who accosted the agent for not opening the door fast enough.

Gate agents are busy, but even a simple smile can make their day. Remember they are working under pressure, and one gate delay could lead to punishment. Still, the agents I worked with love their job and genuinely exhibit that towards customers. Help them do their job efficiently, and, in the end you're doing the entire plane a favor by helping everyone depart on time.

Fare of the Day: New York to Salt Lake City $191 RT, Travel this Weekend!

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Friday, November 12, 2010

Available for travel this very weekend, fly from New York to Salt Lake City, for $191 round-trip, including all taxes. Can't get away so soon? No problemo. This fare is available for travel on almost any weekend over the next 330 days. Dates are scarce in March and June. Fare requires a Saturday night stay.

Fares may be higher during peak holiday travel periods. 

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

Fare of the Day: Newark to Naples $383 RT

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fly from Newark to Naples, Italy for $383 round-trip, including all taxes on United/Air One.

This fare is available through March 23, valid for travel on Tuesdays, with Wednesday/Thursday fares averaging about $30 more. The catch? This deal includes a 10 hour layover in Milan on the return trip, though we can think of worse places to spend 10 hours.

Found via Vayama.com.

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

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