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Posted by Tracy Stewart on Friday, December 16, 2011
Okay, so yes, we already featured this route for Fare of the Day back in November, but -hey- it's good enough that it warrants a repeat. And it's even a tad lower than when we last reported! So here goes:
Fly New York to Cape Town for $752 round-trip, including all taxes, on KLM. This fare is valid for travel on a handful of dates in mid to late January and even March, both perfect times to go. See our fare details for booking info.
Washington DC departures also available!
Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, December 15, 2011
Fly from Los Angeles to Mexico City for $256 round-trip, including all taxes, on Volaris.
This is all part of the current 50% off promo offer from Volaris, good for travel next fall. And if you can't wait that long, slightly higher fares are available for travel in spring, from March 28 through April 14.
Posted by Tracy Stewart on Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Fly from San Francisco to St Louis for $186 round-trip, including all taxes, on Frontier Airlines.
This fare is valid for Tuesday/Wednesday travel in January and February. Tickets require a 10-day advance purchase. Seats are limited.
For booking info, see our fare details.
Posted by Tracy Stewart on Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Beginning June 3, look for new service from AirTran to Mexico City and Cabo San Lucas from Santa Ana, as well as one additional daily roundtrip between Santa Ana and both San Francisco and Las Vegas. Fares include:
And in San Antonio, Mexican budget carrier Interjet recently launched new service to Mexico City and Toluca. Fares include:
Posted by Tracy Stewart on Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Fly from Newark to Rome for $633 round-trip, including all taxes, on TAP Portugal. This fare is valid only for travel in late January/early February. When searching Orbitz, we were able to find it by entering specific dates (Jan. 26- Feb. 3). No way will this fare stick around for long, so you'd better move fast.
See our fare details for more info.
Posted by Tracy Stewart on Monday, December 12, 2011
Interview with Captain Denny
Think that airline employees are indifferent about their jobs? Who could blame them really? They've taken pay cuts, had their pension plans fall victim to Chapter 11 filings, and suffered other setbacks. Well, you haven’t met Captain Denny Flanagan (or Captain Denny as he is known). What a different world it would be if every airline employee were like him. A celebrity among United crew and passengers, this guy talks the talk and walks the walk. Airfarewatchdog interviewed him between flights in Chicago.
Q: What is your average flight day like?
A: Well, each flight begins with the crew brief. I see this as an integral part of what I do. It is my opportunity to connect with the crew and instill within them my ethos for flying. I put my hand to my heart and thank them for the great job they do taking care of our customers. I remind them that they spend more time with our customers than any other employee group. Flight attendants are rarely thanked enough for the great job that they do, and they often seem touched to be reminded from the captain how much we appreciate what they do.
Q: There was a lot of talk with the recent merger between Continental and United that got down to the nitty gritty. Even down to the way that the airlines board pets in the cargo compartment. You have an interesting story there, tell us about it!
A: Well, I recognize that pets undergo a traumatic experience when traveling in the cargo section. So if we have time, I will go down to the ramp and take a picture of the pet and show it to their owners to let them know that they are ok. Another pilot I know takes the carry on pets for a walk around the aircraft because they have been cooped up for quite awhile.
Q: You are famous for some of the unorthodox things that you do when flying. You are a modest person, but tell us about some of those things.
A: Well, it always bothers me when I see wheelchair passengers awaiting someone to push them up the jetway. So I always take the opportunity to push them through the terminal and show them how much we appreciate them. Also, unaccompanied minors are another major concern of mine. If I have kids flying alone, I will actually call their parents to let them know the flight attendants are taking great care of them. People are often not sure what to say when they answer the phone, but I know that I would want someone to do that for my child. I hate watching parents struggle with all of their gear and waiting for their strollers to arrive. Usually my first officer or myself will go retrieve the stroller so the family can have a seamless travel experience.
Q: You have a thing with business cards. Tell us about that!
A: Quite a few pilots write thank you notes to our business travelers. Additionally I write to our pass traveling employees in first class and customers in the middle seats of coach if time permits. I select the customers in the middle seats because when the flight attendant delivers the card from the captain the people sitting on either side of them wonder who this important person must be and are more willing to share the arm rest.
Q: What do you think of the airline industry today?
A: I have tremendous hope for our business. There are so many opportunities to connect with people and make a real difference. Captain Sullenberger of US Airways who safely landed his Airbus A320 in the Hudson River truly brought home to a lot of people how much trust they can instill in pilots. He set an example showing that thinking outside of the box can lead to tremendous success. He showed pilots that we can safely land a plane in the water; we are always learning from each other. I hope that I can encourage others to follow some of the practices that I do. Traveling is an amazing experience, and we should be ambassadors for that.
Q: Let's face it. Sometimes luck just is not on the traveler's side. Do you still have the motivation and the opportunity to do some of the things you do with passengers during delays and cancellations?
A: This is the chance for the airline and crewmembers to shine. When there is a delay, whether it be due to air traffic control, maintenance or weather, there is not much we can do. However, we can take control of the situation by giving passengers as much information as possible. I always like to buy doughnuts or other treats for passengers if there is an opportunity. Sometimes, I even have a "coffee with the captain" session where I walk around the gate area serving coffee and answering questions that passengers may have. When people feel like they are being listened to and taken care of, they take the delay in stride. Luckily, my company reimburses us for these types of good deed offerings, and they actually encourage it.
Q: Why is it that when you light the fasten seat belt sign for turbulence, it can sometimes end up being very smooth? And the light just stays on for the rest of the flight?
A: Turbulence is unpredictable. We can illuminate the sign when we know that the possibility of rough air lies ahead. Sometimes we get reports from other aircraft of turbulence in the area, and other times we have to simply study the weather radar. Pilots have a trick as to how they measure turbulence. We look at our coffee cup. If it is spills out of the cup, then we know it is pretty rough and that sign needs to be illuminated. We know many people need to get up to get their bags or use the restroom, so we try to turn it off whenever it is safe to do so. To be honest though, sometimes I have forgotten to turn it off.
Q: Can electronics honestly interfere with the aircraft's navigation system?
A: Yes they can, and it is especially critical when doing an instrument landing. With low visibilities we are looking for signs of the runway like the approach lights. It is paramount that we be on course and it has been proven that carry on electronics has an effect on our instruments. On departures they are asked to be off for the climb out from the airport because there is so much traffic and again it is paramount to be on course.
Q: Why do you do what you do? Are you trying to change the airline industry for the better?
A: I strongly believe that every customer deserves a good travel experience whether they travel with me or on another carrier. They deserve a safe and comfortable ride. As pilots, we have an opportunity to improve the travel experience of our customers and if a pilot from another carrier sees me serving coffee during a delay and likes the idea, that's great. By demonstrating to flight attendants and other pilots that they can do these small things and make a big difference, perhaps it will make a change.
I am also a board director for the Captain Jason Dahl Scholarship Fund (www.dahlfund.org), which helps to fund aviation scholarships. Captain Dahl was at the controls of Flight 93 on September 11, 2001 when he tragically lost his life. Last year we gave out $15,000 to young men and women interested in an aviation career.
Posted by Tracy Stewart on Friday, December 9, 2011
It's been a busy couple of weeks for Dallas/Fort Worth, what with hometown heroes American Airlines filing for bankruptcy, followed by plans from low cost carrier Spirit to boost existing service, and now JetBlue has named Dallas/Fort Worth as its latest destination. Look for JetBlue's new nonstop service between Dallas/Fort Worth and Boston to begin May 1, with three flights daily. Dallas/Fort Worth makes for JetBlue's third destination in Texas, after Houston-Hobby and Austin.
Tickets go on sale next Tuesday, December 13, so stay tuned for an introductory sale!
Posted by Tracy Stewart on Friday, December 9, 2011
Fly from Denver to Reykjavik for $604 round-trip, nonstop, including all taxes, on Icelandair. We found the fare below for travel in mid/late May. Pretty good stuff when you consider the next lowest fare listed on Travelocity for these same dates is $1,385 round-trip with taxes, and that comes with an out-of-the-way connection in London. No thanks!
Tickets require a Saturday night stay. Available only for travel in May. For booking info, see our fare details.
By Rachael Prescott
Special to Airfarewatchdog.com
‘Tis the season of holiday travel hell – lots of people, lots of delays, and lots of stress. If you’re one of the many travelers expected to hit the skies over the next few weeks, here’s a list of some of the best free air travel apps to help you feel a little less frazzled and a little more merry. (Note – all but TripIt are available for Android and iOS devices. TripIt is only available for iOS devices.)
Kayak makes it easy to find the best flight. Just enter your destination and departure and return dates, and it provides you with options that can be sorted by airline, price, stops, and more.
TripIt uses your travel confirmation emails to create a master itinerary. It’s accessible anytime and anywhere, and is easy to share on Facebook or LinkedIn.
My TSA gives you access to the latest TSA information, from what items are permitted through security to those that could set off metal detectors. You can also check estimated wait times at security checkpoints and real-time airport statuses.
GateGuru gives you an exhaustive list of airport amenities (restaurants, stores, and services) across 125 airports. Each listing includes its location (who knew there was a fudge kiosk in Terminal C at BOS!), and sometimes photos and/or reviews.
FlightView tracks flight information (gate assignments, delays, cancellations, and more) in real-time. You can even check your flight’s progress while you’re in the air.
Do you have a favorite free air travel app not on this list? Tell us about it in the comments section below!