Posts Tagged ‘airline travel’

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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Continental Airlines’ New FareLock Lets Customers Hold Reservations for Up to 7 Days

December 14, 2010

Continental Airlines has introduced FareLock, an option that offers customers the opportunity to hold reservations and lock-in ticket prices for 72 hours or seven days with no commitment to purchase a ticket. The new feature, offered for a fee on certain domestic and international itineraries, gives customers additional flexibility to plan their travels and avoid the risk of price increases or sold-out flights.

Customers may choose FareLock when booking reservations at continental.com and opt for a 72-hour or a seven-day hold. They may return to complete the transaction at any time between purchasing the lock and its expiration, or they may choose an auto-ticketing feature which tickets at the end of the lock period. FareLock fees, beginning at $5 for a 72-hour hold and $9 for a seven-day hold, will vary based on a number of factors such as the itinerary, number of days to departure, number of passengers on the reservation, and the length of the hold.

“FareLock is an innovative option for customers who need extra time to plan their travel before purchasing a ticket,” said Chris Amenechi, managing director of merchandising. “This new option is another way that Continental is giving our customers more choices and more control over their travel experience.”

The carrier will continue to offer its 24-hour flexible booking policy that allows reservation changes and cancellations with full refund without a fee within 24 hours of booking online or through the call centers. For customers choosing FareLock, the 24-hour flexible booking policy remains in effect upon ticketing, although the FareLock fee is non-refundable.

More information about FareLock is available at continental.com.

About Continental Airlines

Continental Airlines is a wholly owned subsidiary of United Continental Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: UAL). Continental, together with Continental Express and Continental Connection, has more than 2,400 daily departures throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia, serving 142 domestic and 131 international destinations. Continental is a member of Star Alliance, which overall offers 21,000 daily flights to 1,160 airports in 181 countries. Continental has hubs serving Cleveland, Guam, Houston and New York/Newark Liberty, and together with its regional partners, carries approximately 63 million passengers per year.

United Continental Holdings, Inc. became the holding company for both United and Continental upon close of the merger transaction. The two airlines will operate separately as they begin to integrate key customer services, marketing activities and airport processes. For more company information, go to continental.com and follow on Twitter and Facebook.

SOURCE United Continental Holdings, Inc.