Archive for the ‘airline travel’ Category

Comedian Harrison Greenbaum explains REAL ID in 60 Seconds

February 25, 2020
USTOA-RealID-Harrison Greenbaum e2

USTOA partnered with comedian Harrison Greenbaum, who hilariously attempts to explain REAL ID in a 60 second video. Travelers can watch (and learn) by visiting youtube.com/USTOA.

NEW YORK –With an October 1, 2020 deadline looming for travelers to possess a REAL ID compliant travel document, the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) has compiled a simple tool kit for travelers and travel advisors.

Many states in the U.S. have only recently began issuing compliant licenses and state identification cards, which means that travelers may still hold a non-REAL ID compliant license that will not suffice for domestic air travel. Most recently, the Department of Homeland Security has made the decision to allow electronic submissions of the documents that are required to obtain a REAL ID, a positive step ahead of the deadline.

To lighten the mood and creatively share this information, USTOA partnered with comedian Harrison Greenbaum, who hilariously attempts to explain REAL ID in a 60 second video. Travelers can watch (and learn) by visiting youtube.com/USTOA.

“Travelers can also learn more about REAL ID by visiting the USTOA Travel Blog, which is constantly being updated with stories and tips from industry professionals,” said Terry Dale, president and CEO of USTOA. “Plus, with everything from passport and visa advice, to packing secrets and trip inspiration, it’s a helpful resource to stay up to date and continue learning.”

Read the USTOA Travel Blog at ustoa.com/blog.

Representing nearly $19 billion in revenue, the member companies of U.S. Tour Operators Association provide tours, packages and custom arrangements that allow 9.8 million travelers annually unparalleled access, insider knowledge, peace-of-mind, value and freedom to enjoy destinations and experiences across the entire globe. Each member company has met the travel industry’s highest standards, including participation in the USTOA’s Travelers Assistance Program, which protects consumer payments up to $1 million if the company goes out of business.  As a voice for the tour operator industry for more than 40 years, USTOA also provides education and assistance for consumers and travel agents.

For more information on USTOA, visit www.ustoa.com, call 212-599-6599, or email information@ustoa.com.

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Countdown is On When REAL ID Will Be Required to Travel by Airplane

November 27, 2019
Flying into West Palm Beach, Florida

The countdown is on when air travelers will be required to have REAL ID – an enhanced drivers’ license, passport or military ID – in order to get on an airplane. The deadline for REAL ID enforcement is October 1, 2020 © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The countdown is on when air travelers will be required to have REAL ID – an enhanced drivers’ license, passport or military ID – in order to get on an airplane. The deadline for REAL ID enforcement is October 1, 2020.

According to the US Travel Association, 99 million Americans are likely without any form of REAL ID. Anyone who shows up at the airport next October 1 without the correct ID risks being turned away from getting on a plane.

U.S. Travel leaders fear that individuals who only travel occasionally, such as to visit family over the holidays, are most likely to be affected.

“Significant lack of awareness is one of the challenges we face as the REAL ID enforcement deadline approaches next year,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “We are concerned not only about the post-deadline effects for major travel times like Thanksgiving, but also about the significant crunch at state DMVs throughout next year as people scramble to obtain their REAL ID.”

The message that must be repeated to get people #RealIDready, Dow said. “At a minimum, check for the star that appears in the top right-hand corner of most REAL IDs—but ideally, contact your DMV directly to find out if you’re compliant.

“The holidays are a time when less-frequent flyers might be thinking about air travel, and there is always ample news coverage of holiday travel projections and conditions at U.S. airports,” Dow said. “The next two months are going to be critical for closing the REAL ID awareness.

Over the course of the year, people who need to renew their licenses should make sure it is upgraded to be REAL ID compliant. Also take into account the time-lag to renew a passport, which can take six weeks (and many foreign countries require at least one month extra time before expiration).

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2018’s Best & Worst Frequent Flyer Programs – WalletHub Study

January 18, 2018
AZ-Flagstaff_100315_04e2(c) Karen Rubin

WalletHub released its report on 2018’s Best Frequent Flyer Programs, which ranks the 10 largest domestic airlines © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

With U.S. airlines expected to carry more than 600 million passengers on domestic flights this year and credit card debt levels exploding, you can expect airfare savings to be increasingly important in the months ahead.

To help travelers make the best decisions for their wallets, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2018’s Best Frequent Flyer Programs, which ranks the 10 largest domestic airlines based on 23 key metrics, ranging from the value of a point/mile to blackout dates for rewards flights.

WalletHub’s report also features a custom calculator that allows users to personalize the results based on their own budgets.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Delta SkyMiles is the best frequent flyer program for the third straight year.
  • The average airline rewards program gives frequent flyers 12% off their airline spending. And they’re all free to join.
  • Hawaiian Airlines offers the most rewards value to frequent flyers ($19.95 per $100 spent), with Alaska Airlines coming in a close second ($19.87 per $100 spent).
  • Four of the 10 largest airlines are offering more rewards in 2018 than in 2017, sweetening the pot by an average of 20%.
  • Delta Air Lines and JetBlue Airways are the only two major airlines whose miles do not expire because of inactivity.
  • The Frontier Airlines Credit Card and the Lufthansa Credit Card are 2018’s best airline credit cards, according to WalletHub’s editors.

For the full report, including the custom calculator, visit:
https://wallethub.com/edu/best-frequent-flyer-program/25943/

 

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WalletHub Study: 2016 Best & Worst Airlines

May 21, 2016
AZ-Flagstaff_100315_04e2(c) Karen Rubin

Flying American Airlines into Flagstaff, Arizona © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

WalletHub has just announced its list of 2016’s Best & Worst Airlines in order to help consumers prepare for the busy summer travel season.

“Everyone can compare airlines based on price, but it’s much more difficult to weigh your options when it comes to other aspects of the air travel experience. WalletHub’s report therefore focuses on quantifying those aspects – delays, baggage issues, pet care, passenger comfort and more – in order to help travelers make more-informed decisions.”
Among the highlights:

  • Best & Worst Overall: Virgin America (soon to be part of Alaska Airlines) and JetBlue top the list of 2016’s best airlines, while United, American and ExpressJet are the worst.
  • Most & Least Reliable: Delta is the best airline for avoiding cancelations, delays and mishandled luggage, while ExpressJet and Envoy Air are the worst.
  • Most & Least Comfortable: JetBlue offers the most comfortable in-flight experience, while Spirit and Frontier are the least comfortable.

For the full list of 2016’s Best & Worst Airlines, visit:
http://www.wallethub.com/edu/best-airlines/20916/

For CardHub’s report on 2016’s Best & Worst Frequent Flyer Programs, visit:
http://www.cardhub.com/edu/best-frequent-flyer-program/

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Ultimate Luxury Holiday Gift of Travel: Magellan Jets 25 Hour Card

December 15, 2015

How’s this for thinking out of the box for a luxury holiday gift to help fulfill some bucket list or New Year’s resolution for the ultimate in travel: Magellan Jets’ 25 Hour Jet Card.

The Magellan Jets 25 Hour card affords card-holders guaranteed availability within 8 hours, fixed fuel rates, no repositioning fees, guaranteed WiFi, and exclusive travel benefit packages for the whole family. Choose from 10 aircraft types from the light cabin Hawker 400XP to the luxurious large cabin G450.

The 25 Hour Card starts at $100,000, based on aircraft type.

Magellan Jets is a leader in private jet travel with over 30 years of aviation experience. With a wide variety of membership programs as well as point-to-point charter services, clients are advised on the best option for their specific needs. Benefits of a membership include no repositioning charges, guaranteed aircraft availability with as little as eight hours’ notice, inclusive gourmet catering, and V.I.P. ground transportation. Magellan Jets’ Flight Support department is available 24/7 to provide services such as weather tracking, itinerary changes, and personalized in-flight entertainment. Magellan Jets has operations worldwide and offers flights in the Continental U.S., the Caribbean, Bermuda, Mexico, and Europe.

Magellan Jets, 2 Heritage Dr. Suite 301, Quincy, MA 02171. 877-550-JETS, www.magellanjets.com.

 

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Norwegian Air Moves to Institute New Cockpit Policy, in Wake of Germanwings Tragedy

April 2, 2015

In the wake of the Germanwings tragedy, Norwegian has decided to change its cockpit procedures so that two crew members always are present in the cockpit.

“Norwegian has been looking into changing its cockpit procedures for a while,” the company said. “However, in light of the tragic Germanwings accident, we are speeding up the process so that two crew members always are present in the cockpit. This means that if one of the pilots leaves the cockpit, one crew member must replace him/her during this time. Our passengers’ and crew’s safety always comes first, which is why we have decided to change our procedures, in line with US regulations.”
Today, there are no European regulatory requirements stating that two crew members must be in the cockpit at all times.

The new procedures will be implemented as soon as Norwegian has received an approval from the Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority.

Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA, commercially branded “Norwegian”, is a low-cost airline listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange. Norwegian is the second largest airline in Scandinavia and third largest low cost carrier in Europe. The company reported its highest ever passenger figures in a single year with almost 24 million passengers in 2014.

Norwegian has a route portfolio that stretches across Europe into North Africa and the Middle East, as well as long-haul flights to the US and Southeast Asia. The company has a total of 424 routes to 130 destinations and employs approximately 4,500 people in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, UK, Spain and Thailand.

The company has 258 undelivered aircraft on firm order. Norwegian was founded in 1993 and its headquarter is in Fornebu, Norway.

Norwegian offers better leg room than most competitors, in-flight WiFi on short haul, world-class punctuality and a fleet of 96 aircraft with an average age of only four years. In 2013 and 2014, Norwegian was voted Europe’s best low-cost carrier of the year by the renowned SkyTrax World Airline Awards. In 2014, Norwegian also won three prizes at the prestigious Passenger Choice Awards for Best Airline in Europe, Best Inflight Connectivity & Communications and Best Single Achievement in Passenger Experience for its moving map on the 787 Dreamliners. In addition, Norwegian was awarded Europe’s best low-cost airline by AirlineRatings.com for the second year running.

 

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JetBlue to Offer ‘Mint Experience’ Flying from JFK to Barbados

March 19, 2015

Beginning November 7, JetBlue will offer its popular “Mint experience” from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Barbados (BGI), one of the top Caribbean routes for the airline. Travelers from the Eastern region of the U.S. will have a premium travel option at an affordable fare with Mint, giving jetsetters a new reason to head to the sun-drenched island.

Between November 7, 2015 and April 30, 2016, JetBlue will operate one roundtrip on Saturdays to Bridgetown, Barbados. And between December 19, 2015 and January 4, 2016 the airline will operate one roundtrip flight daily for the busy holiday travel season.

“This is an amazing win for the island of Barbados,” said Petra Roach BTMI, Director, USA. “Barbados has a long history with luxury airline offerings.  We were the only leisure destination to host Concorde service from London for many years and now to be the first home of JetBlue’s Mint service outside of the US is a reflection of the strength of our burgeoning partnership and JetBlue’s continued support of Barbados as a destination. We are thrilled to be a part of this new way to fly with JetBlue where the customers’ premium vacation experience starts the moment they step onto the plane.

Available for booking on JetBlue.com today, roundtrip flights from JFK to Bridgetown are:

 

JFK-BGI                                9:20 a.m. departure, 3:02 p.m. arrival

BGI-JFK                                4:15 p.m. departure, 8:30 p.m. arrival

Since launching on transcontinental routes in June 2014, Mint has quickly become recognized for its whole new take on flying, which includes private suites, the widest seat and longest fully-flat bed in the U.S. domestic market, tapas-style dining, custom amenity kits and 15-inch flat screen televisions with free entertainment. With Mint service to the Caribbean, JetBlue will become the only U.S. carrier to operate regularly scheduled service with lie-flat seating to the region.

Barbados is one of the most popular Caribbean travel routes on JetBlue’s growing route map, and one of more than 80 destinations throughout the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin America. With incredible on-island musical performances, epicurean driven festivals, and motor sport tournaments, 2015 marks the perfect year to travel to Barbados immerse oneself in the distinctive culture and one-of-a-kind events the island has to offer.

JetBlue’s Mint experience to the islands will add a Caribbean twist to some customer favorites, including the tapas-style menu curated by New York City restaurant Saxon+Parole, organic desserts by Blue Marble Ice Cream, a sweet treat from Mah-ze-Dahr Bakery, and customized amenity kits from Birchbox.

“Ever since we launched Mint, customers have been asking us where we will take it next,” said Marty St George, executive vice president commercial and planning, JetBlue. “We re-invented transcontinental flying with Mint, and we anticipate demand for an enhanced product will be equally strong for these Caribbean destinations.”

The A321 Customer Experience

JetBlue offers Mint on its new Airbus A321 aircraft, which features a completely redesigned onboard experience throughout the entire cabin.

“Mint is a remarkable new way to fly, but true to our mission of inspiring humanity, we’ve also taken the same thoughtful approach throughout the aircraft,” said Joanna Geraghty, executive vice president customer experience, JetBlue. “Our completely redesigned A321 interior offers the best experience to Caribbean-bound customers no matter where you’re seated.”

While the Mint experience has set new premium standards, the core experience leads other airlines’ offerings as well. Features of the A321 core interior include 10-inch television screens offering free entertainment, comfortable seats with the most legroom in coach** and power outlets accessible to all customers. JetBlue’s popular marketplace, a self-serve station full of snacks, sodas and water for customers to enjoy at their convenience, is also available throughout the flight.

Extend the Experience With a JetBlue Getaways Vacation Package: Customers looking for the complete package can book Mint seats in conjunction with hotel, car rental and other amenities and activities through JetBlue Getaways. JetBlue Getaways packages to both Barbados  offer access to the very best resorts and island experiences with the convenience of one booking process. Call 1-800-JETBLUE to book.

Barbados, an Authentic Caribbean Experience

The island of Barbados an authentic Caribbean experience with its exceptionally rich culture and history rooted in remarkable landscapes.  Rated as one of the world’s sexiest beaches in 2008 by Concierge.com; Barbados’ Crane Beach in St. Philip stands as a premier destination for travelers.  Barbados is also the first Zagat-rated Caribbean island and is known as the culinary capital of the Caribbean.

Accommodations range from picturesque plantation houses and villas, to quaint bed and breakfasts and award-winning, five-star resorts. Grantley Adams International Airport offers even more non-stop and direct service from a growing number of U.S., making Barbados the true gateway to the Eastern Caribbean.

Barbados was voted eighth in the World by Trip Advisor’s “2008 Travelers’ Choice Destination Awards” in its Top 100 Destinations category.

For more information on travel to Barbados, visit http://www.visitbarbados.org, follow on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/VisitBarbados, via Twitter @Barbados.

Jetblue: New York’s Hometown Airline

JetBlue is New York’s “Hometown Airline” and a leading carrier in Boston, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Los Angeles (Long Beach), Orlando, and San Juan. JetBlue carries more than 30 million customers a year to 87 cities in the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin America with an average of 825 daily flights. Upcoming destinations include: Cleveland on April 30; Reno-Tahoe, Nev. on May 28; and Grenada on June 11, 2015 (subject to receipt of government operating authority). For more information visit JetBlue.com.

 

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CheapAir Study Points to Best Time to Purchase Flight to Get Best Fare

February 13, 2015
A study by CheapAir found that the best time to buy airline tickets to Europe to get the best fare is 276 days in advance © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

A study by CheapAir found that the best time to buy airline tickets to Europe to get the best fare is 276 days in advance © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

CALABASAS, Calif. — Air travelers are always asking, “When is the best time to book my flight to…”? After analyzing 1.5 billion air fares, CheapAir.com has determined that in 2014 the best domestic fares were found booking, on average, 47 days in advance, while international fares should be purchased further ahead.

This was based on a review of almost 5 million trips, covering 15,000 markets, watching fares booked between 1 and 320 days in advance.

“When you buy your flight makes a huge difference,” said CheapAir CEO Jeff Klee, who noted that the study found that the price of an average trip changes 70 times during the period it’s available for sale. “No one wants to find that the person sitting next to them on a flight paid $100 less for their ticket. We spend a lot of time collecting and analyzing fare data so our customers can make more informed decisions.”

In fact, the study found that the average savings that could be achieved from buying on the “best” day versus buying on the “worst” was $201 per ticket.

Analysis of the data revealed a general pattern that, beginning when flights open for sale 11 months in advance, fares tend to drop slowly but steadily until reaching a low point somewhere between 27 days and 114 days out. CheapAir calls that three month window, between one and four months in advance, the ‘prime booking window.’ “Way more often than not, the best fare for a domestic trip will be offered at some point during that window,” Klee said.

Not surprisingly, the study revealed that travelers should make sure to buy their ticket at least 14 days in advance, or pay an average of $111 more. That amount jumps to $174 more if you buy within 7 days.

But it also revealed that buying a ticket too early, can be costly, too. Tickets tend to be about $50 more expensive than their eventual low point when flights first open for sale.

The study found different dynamics exist for domestic and international flights, concluding that for international flights it is generally best to book earlier than the recommended window for domestic. The best time to buy cheap airline tickets to Latin America, for instance, averaged out to 96 days in advance. To Europe it was 276 days – that’s about 9 months!  Mexico was close at 251 days and Asia was even more extreme at 318 days.

Of course, airlines are constantly monitoring booking trends and have their own yield algorithms that tell them when to drop prices.

The CheapAir.com blog offers more details on the study and when to buy airline tickets.

For travel advice, deals and inspiration connect with CheapAir on FacebookCheapAir on Google+ and CheapAir on Twitter.

 

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5 Best Airports to Get Stuck At

February 3, 2015
Flying into West Palm Beach, Florida, considered one of the best airports to spend time © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Flying into West Palm Beach, Florida, considered one of the best airports to spend time © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Tens of thousands of travelers are discovering that flying can involve a lot of waiting at airports.

Select airports throughout the country are incorporating a multitude of options into their facilities such as world-class dining, kid-friendly play areas, and special features to ensure their travelers depart to destinations happily.

Amenities such as free Wi-Fi, 24 hour restaurant options, and availability of comfortable furniture are no longer a luxury but a necessity.

MissTravel.com, the dating destination site, polled 52,347 individuals to find out where their favorite U.S. airports were. Members were asked to rank airports in major cities based on The 4 C’s: comfort, convenience, customer service, and cleanliness. The top five favorite U.S. airports of MissTravel site users are listed below (in no particular order).

2014’s Best Airports: Based on Travel Preferences of 52,347 American Individuals

PDX: Portland, Oregon

SAV: Savannah, Georgia

SFO: San Francisco, California

PBI: West Palm Beach, Florida

PHL: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Portland has a reputation for hipsters and their airport is certainly trendy. Shopping options like Nike, Kiehl’s and Brookstone allow passengers to kill time while waiting for their flight. If shopping isn’t an option, free WiFi is given to all travelers upon arrival.

While visiting Savannah, travelers are transported in time to a historic southern street, complete with benches, a mock square, and a large clock under gorgeous glass ceilings.

The San Francisco airport also offers passengers free WiFi and is strewn with modern shops and elegant dining options. This airport has a completely modern aesthetic, even the bathrooms appear as if they are made of faux wood.

Visiting Florida? PBI remains the easiest Floridian airport to navigate because it is more compact than others in the area. Bonus points, there is a putting green for golf lovers, just past security!

If you are traveling through the Philadelphia airport, be sure to pack your workout clothes. Philly’s “Just Plane Fun” fitness area has elliptical machines and stationary bikes for the traveler who is trying to remain active.

“Today, airports are stepping up their game to attract new travelers or create loyal customers,” explains CEO and Founder of MissTravel, Brandon Wade. “The airports on this list are innovators due to their building design, customer service, and first-class amenities. Other airports should follow suit, or they could quickly lose clientele.”

 

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JetBlue Launches Nonstop Flights From New York’s JFK to Reno-Tahoe on May 28

January 22, 2015
JetBlue Airways is giving New Yorkers a direct connection to the blue waters of Lake Tahoe, with its new direct flight from JFK to Reno-Tahoe International Airport © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

JetBlue Airways is giving New Yorkers a direct connection to the blue waters of Lake Tahoe, with its new direct flight from JFK to Reno-Tahoe International Airport © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

New York is getting direct service into Reno-Tahoe International Airport, making it more convenient than ever to enjoy Reno, Lake Tahoe, Truckee, Eastern Sierra Mountains and Yosemite and such top-notch mountain resorts as Heavenly, Northstar, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows and the spectacular blue waters of Lake Tahoe.

JetBlue Airways, New York’s Hometown Airline™, just announced it will be the only airline to offer nonstop service between Nevada’s Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO) and the U.S. East Coast as it launches service from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) on May 28, 2015.

Reno-Tahoe will be the airline’s 89th destination and is among a number of new JetBlue routes in the West.

“A nonstop link between Reno-Tahoe International Airport and New York City is long overdue. We’re eager to bring the JetBlue Experience to Reno-Tahoe so customers can enjoy our superior customer offering that includes the most legroom in coach, personal screens in every seat with live TV, unlimited snacks and soft drinks, and great service offered by JetBlue’s award-winning crewmembers,” said James Hnat, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Government Affairs, JetBlue.

“Landing non-stop daily service on an incredible airline like JetBlue is an example of what this region can do when it works together for a common goal,” Marilyn Mora, President/CEO of the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority, said. “We are bringing the Biggest Little City and the Big Apple together. We are bringing JetBlue to the blue waters of Lake Tahoe.  It’s a great day for the Reno-Tahoe region.”

As New York’s Hometown Airline™, customers from Reno-Tahoe will be able to easily connect to JetBlue’s large network at its own Terminal 5 at JFK, including access to the largest network to the Caribbean. With Reno-Tahoe, JetBlue will offer nonstop routes to 66 destinations across the U.S., Caribbean and Latin America.

 

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