Posts Tagged ‘airline travel’

AAA Advises to ‘Buckle Up: Thanksgiving Travel to Rebound Almost to Pre-Pandemic Levels’

November 17, 2021
Airports and roads may seem jam-packed this year as AAA predicts 53.4 million people to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, up 13% from 2020. This brings travel volumes within 5% of pre-pandemic levels in 2019, with air travel almost completely recovering from its dramatic fall during the pandemic, up 80% over last year. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Airports and roads may seem jam-packed this year as AAA predicts 53.4 million people to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, up 13% from 2020. This brings travel volumes within 5% of pre-pandemic levels in 2019, with air travel almost completely recovering from its dramatic fall during the pandemic, up 80% over last year. As restrictions continue to lift and consumer confidence builds, AAA urges travelers to be proactive when making their travel plans this holiday season.

“This Thanksgiving, travel will look a lot different than last year,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel. “Now that the borders are open and new health and safety guidelines are in place, travel is once again high on the list for Americans who are ready to reunite with their loved ones for the holiday.”

With 6.4 million more people traveling this Thanksgiving coupled with the recent opening of the U.S. borders to fully vaccinated international travelers—people should prepare for roads and airports to be noticeably more crowded.

2021 Thanksgiving Holiday Travelers
TotalAutomobileAirOther (Bus, Train, Cruise)
2021 Forecast53.4M48.3M4.2M1M
2020 Actual47.1M44.5M2.3M281,000
2019 Actual56M49.9M4.6M1.5M
Change YOY 2019 to 2021−5%−3%−9%−31%
Change YOY 2020 to 2021+13%+8%+80%+262%

“International travel re-opening will allow people to reconnect with friends and family and explore new places, while also giving a much-needed boost to the economy,” continued Twidale. “But it also means airports will be busier than we’ve seen, so travelers must plan for long lines and extra time for TSA checks.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released its recommendations for holiday gatherings and related travel, saying that the best way to minimize COVID-19 risk is to get vaccinated if you’re eligible. However, everyone’s situation is unique and therefore, AAA urges anyone considering gathering or traveling for Thanksgiving to consult CDC guidance before finalizing holiday plans.

Navigating the New Travel Landscape

This year’s forecast marks the highest single-year increase in Thanksgiving travelers since 2005, bringing travel volumes close to pre-pandemic levels in 2019. Despite gas costing over a dollar more per gallon than this time last year, 90% of people plan to travel by car as their preferred mode of travel. Although the car is still the most popular choice for travelers, a greater share will opt to travel by air and other modes such as bus, train or cruise this year. Whether you plan to do so by car or plane, it’s important to know how to navigate the new travel landscape to avoid unnecessary stress and challenges on the way to your Thanksgiving destination.

Be Proactive. Book flights, car rentals, accommodations and other activities as early as possible. Prices are not going down and are still somewhat impacted by the limited capacity of flights and staffing challenges faced by many industries. Consider working with a travel advisor who can make any last-minute changes to travel plans, explore travel insurance options and help plan a trip that meets your needs and comfort level this holiday season.

Air—Even with air travel seeing a boost this year, AAA finds that the average lowest airfare is 27.3% less than last year coming in at $132. Tuesday and Wednesday are still the most expensive and heaviest travel days with Monday being the lightest and least expensive. Those wanting to book last-minute travel will find the best fares about two weeks prior to Thanksgiving but keep in mind availability may be limited.

Hotels—Mid-range hotel rates have increased about 39%, with average nightly rates ranging between $137 and $172 for AAA Approved Hotels.

Car Rentals—Daily car rental rates have increased 4% compared to last Thanksgiving at $98. Over the summer, consumers experienced high costs and limited availability of rental cars in some markets, due to the semi-conductor chip shortage impacting automakers. While this shortage has subsided, it is possible it could return as the holidays near.

Be Patient. The roads and airports will be busy so plan ahead.

Arrive at the airport early so you’ll have plenty of time to get through longer TSA lines and other travel checkpoints. For domestic travel, AAA suggests 2 hours ahead of departure time and 3 hours for international.

Consider booking a flight during non-peak travel periods to cut down on wait times.

Hit the road when there’s less traffic and allow for extra time when traveling to your destination.

Be Prepared. For the 48.3 million Americans hitting the road, make sure you and your vehicle are ready for the trip ahead as AAA expects to respond to over 400,000 for help over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. If your vehicle has been sitting idle, AAA suggests getting an inspection to check key components like the battery, fuel system, tires, brakes and fluid levels. These systems are particularly vulnerable to deteriorating if a vehicle sits too long without proper care or maintenance.

Be Protected—Both You and Your Trip.  If you plan to travel during the holidays, it’s essential to do so safely and understand how to protect yourself, your loved ones and your investment while traveling. Also, as travel restrictions remain in flux, it’s essential to know requirements and recommendations based on your vaccination status, where you’re traveling from and your destination. AAA’s COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map and TripTik.AAA.com are also helpful resources travelers may use for free to understand closures, recommendations and requirements when traveling in the U.S.

Travel insurance—AAA highly recommends travel insurance to cover unexpected delays or trip interruptions. It is best to consult the expertise of a travel advisor who can guide you on the coverage options available for your specific trip, including if your destination requires visitors to carry travel insurance.

Clean accommodations—When booking a place to stay, look for accommodations that prioritize cleanliness and have implemented additional housekeeping standards since the start of the pandemic. Earlier this year, as part of its Diamond designation, AAA enhanced its housekeeping evaluation to include objective, scientific validation of the cleanliness of common surfaces throughout hotels. Hotels that meet these new standards are now recognized as Inspected Clean and a current listing can be found here.

Safe travel = smart travel—Everything from airports to restaurants to attractions will be busier this Thanksgiving, which means more people congregating. Masks are still required for everyone on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. The CDC also recommends everyone wear a mask indoors in public if they are in an area of substantial or high transmission.

Domestic and international travel guidelines—As of November 8, the U.S. opened its borders to fully vaccinated travelers. The CDC has updated its guidance to reflect these changes. When traveling within the U.S., fully vaccinated travelers do not need a negative viral test or to self-quarantine. For international travel, refer to the CDC for specific guidelines.

Travelers Headed to Big Cities and Beaches This Thanksgiving

AAA Travel continues to see a strong recovery that began over the summer and will continue into the holiday season. AAA booking data reveals that big cities and tropical destinations are topping travelers’ list this Thanksgiving both domestically and abroad:

2021 Top Thanksgiving Destinations
U.S DestinationsInternational Destinations
Orlando, FLCancun, Mexico
Anaheim, CAMontego Bay, Jamaica
Dallas/Ft. Worth, TXAruba
Phoenix, AZLos Cabos, Mexico
Honolulu, HINassau, Bahamas
Kahului, Maui, HISt. Lucia, West Indies
Atlanta, GADublin, Ireland
Tampa, FL(tie) Tel Aviv, Israel and Calgary, Canada
Ft. Lauderdale, FLParis, France

Roads Will Be Bustling

INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the worst congestion heading into the holiday weekend as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers. Major metro areas across the U.S. could see more than double the delays versus typical drive times, with drivers in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and New York City likely to experience more than three times the delays.

“Thanksgiving is one of the busiest holidays for road trips and this year will be no different even during the pandemic,” says Bob Pishue, Transportation Analyst, INRIX. “Drivers around major metros must be prepared for significant delays, especially Wednesday afternoon. Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic.”

Worst Corridors and Times to Travel
Metro AreaCorridorPeak Congestion% Over Normal
AtlantaI-85 S, Clairmont Rd to MLK DrWed, 1:30 – 3:30PM340%
BostonI-93 N, Quincy Market to MA-28Wed, 1:00 – 3:00PM240%
ChicagoI-290 W, Morgan St to Wolfe RdWed, 2:45 – 4:45PM329%
DetroitI-96 W, 6 Mile Rd to Walled LakeWed, 2:00 – 4:00PM211%
HoustonI-10 W, Sjolander Rd to TX-330Wed, 3:15 – 5:15PM344%
Los AngelesI-5 S, Colorado St to Florence AveWed, 3:45 – 5:45PM385%
New YorkI-495 E, Borden Ave to Little Neck PkwyWed, 2:30 – 4:30PM482%
San FranciscoI-80 E, I-580 to San Pablo Dam RdWed, 4:00 – 6:00PM278%
SeattleI-5 S, WA-18 to WA-7Wed, 4:00 – 6:00PM257%
Washington DCI-95 S, I-395 to VA-123Wed, 2:00 – 4:00PM230%
Source: INRIX
Daily Worst and Best Times to Travel
DayWorst TimeBest Time
Wednesday12:00 – 8:00PMAfter 9:00PM
Thursday12:00 – 3:00PMBefore 11:00AM
Friday1:00 – 4:00PMBefore 11:00AM
Saturday2:00 – 7:00PMBefore 12:00PM
Sunday1:00 – 7:00PMBefore 12:00PM
Source: INRIX

Expected Number May Change

AAA notes that the actual number of holiday travelers could fluctuate as we approach Thanksgiving. If there is an increase in reported COVID-19 cases, some people may decide to stay home, while others may note the progress in vaccinations and make last-minute decisions to travel. AAA recommends working with a travel advisor who can help you plan a vacation that meets your needs and comfort level this holiday season. To get started and to learn more, visit AAA.com/Travel.

AAA provides more than 62 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 30 motor clubs and nearly 1,000 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

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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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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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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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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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Passenger Group Calls on Airlines to Disclose Routes That Fly Over Conflict Zones

July 31, 2014

Following the missile strike that downed MH-17 as it flew over eastern Ukraine, FlyersRights.org, the largest US-based airline passenger organization, has called on all airlines to provide passengers on international flights with detailed route maps on their web sites, so passengers can decide whether to take such flights for themselves.

“Airlines should no longer be able hide behind weak and ambiguous international regulation and confidential warnings that are not shared with passengers,” Paul Hudson, the group’s president and longtime member of the FAA and TSA advisory committees on aviation safety and security stated.

“After the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, it came to light that governments and airlines had received specific warnings of a likely bombing, but chose to hide this knowledge from passengers and flight crews, those actually at risk. Now it has been revealed that some airlines were flying over eastern Ukraine despite danger warnings that were not shared with passengers.”

“Today despite known dangers and the MH 17 shoot down, passengers are not being informed of dangerous flights over or near numerous conflict zones with missile systems capable of shooting down commercial airliners at over 30,000 feet. Such areas in addition to Ukraine and Russia, include Syria, Iraq, Egypt-Sinai, Israel-Gaza, the China Sea, North Korea, Pakistan-Afghanistan. Other conflict areas are known to have anti-aircraft weapons capable of downing low flying aircraft including Libya, Yemen, and Mali.”

“An emergency meeting of the UN International Civil Aeronautics Organization (ICAO) is being held to discuss the situation, but passenger representatives have unfortunately again been excluded from meetings between airlines and regulators, as they were previously after the mysterious disappearance of another Malaysian airliner over the Indian Ocean.”

See: flyersrights.org

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AirBerlin Offers Fare Sale through July 31; Rates from $698

July 19, 2013

AirBerlin is holding an early booking sale through July 31, 2013 with fares starting at $698 to premier European cities from US gateways in New York, Miami and Chicago © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

AirBerlin is holding an early booking sale through July 31, 2013 with fares starting at $698 to premier European cities from US gateways in New York, Miami and Chicago © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

AirBerlin is holding an early booking sale through July 31, 2013 with fares starting at $698 to premier European cities such as Gothenburg, Krakow, Oslo, Stockholm and Warsaw for travel from October 15, 2013 through March 31, 2014. AirBerlin can get you there with convenient connections from AirBerlin’s U.S. gateways Chicago, Miami and New York via its international hubs in Berlin and Dusseldorf.

Fall and winter are special seasons in Europe and as the summer crowds disperse, let AirBerlin take you to the perfect destination to enjoy seasonal festivities. There are numerous festivals during the fall and winter months that will entice you to visit Poland and the Nordic regions to explore cultural highlights and enjoy culinary delights.

Travelers can easily connect to AirBerlin’s U.S. gateways from an additional 59 cities from all over the United States with its oneworld® partner, American Airlines.

(Fares quoted are sample fares based on round trip travel including taxes and surcharges and prices vary depending on dates of travel and final destinations. Other service charges may apply such as online booking fees. Certain blackout periods apply.)

To book visit www.AirBerlin.com, contact the reservations center at 866-266-5588 or call your travel agent.

AirBerlin is one of Europe’s leading airlines and flies to 150 destinations in 40 countries. The second largest airline in Germany, AirBerlin carried more than 33 million passengers in 2012. AirBerlin offers a global route network through its strategic partnership with Etihad Airways, which has a 29.21% share in AirBerlin, and through membership of the oneworld airline alliance. The airline with the award-winning service operates codeshare flights worldwide with 14 airlines. The fleet has an average age of five years and is among the most modern and eco-efficient in Europe.

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Proposed Aviation Tax Increases Harmful to Travel Industry, Consumers, Says ASTA

July 22, 2011

ASTA is warning that increasing taxes on air travel "catastrophic for an industry already struggling to recover from the recent recession which saw millions of Americans curtail their travel." © 2011 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The American Society of Travel Agents is calling upon the federal lawmakers to look elsewhere for money to close the budget deficit, saying that increasing aviation taxes would only serve to hurt the U.S. transportation industry and the consumers who rely on it.

“To place additional taxes on airline travel might assist with closing the budget gap in the short run, but such actions will no doubt have unintended, long-term negative consequences as consumers already faced with tight budgets cut back on air travel or eliminate it altogether,” said Tony Gonchar, ASTA CEO. “The results could be catastrophic for an industry already struggling to recover from the recent recession which saw millions of Americans curtail their travel.

“It won’t be just the airlines that feel the resulting pain, but travel agencies who sell air, hotels and resorts, cruise lines and car rental companies to name a few. The resulting loss of jobs would only serve to compound our current economic troubles, rather than alleviate them,” Gonchar added.

According to a release recently issued by the Air Transport Association of America, the industry’s non-income tax burden has grown from $3.7 billion in 1993 to approximately $17 billion today. In 2010, U.S. airlines and their passengers contributed $3.4 billion in taxes and fees to the Department of Homeland Security, including $2 billion in taxes and fees to the Transportation Security Administration – a 50 percent increase from the amount collected in 2002. Taxes on ARC-settled air fares sold by travel agents increased from 9.7 percent in 2001 to 16.63 percent in 2010.

The mission of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) is to facilitate the business of selling travel through effective representation, shared knowledge and the enhancement of professionalism. ASTA seeks a retail travel marketplace that is profitable and growing and a rewarding field in which to work, invest and do business.

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