A: When to book flights is a question that torments even the most experienced of travelers. Who hasn’t sat in front of the computer wondering: Do I wait for a better deal, or is this the best I’m going to see?
There are no hard-and-fast rules for hitting the right booking window. A recent report from online travel agency CheapAir found that, historically, the lowest average fares have been available seven weeks before departure. Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC), which manages airline ticket sales for U.S. travel agencies, conducted a similar study and located the best airfares six weeks prior to flying. But that window changes dramatically depending on where you are traveling—and when.
Just in time for summer—the most popular season to visit National Parks—Delta Air Lines and United Airlines are increasing service to Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport in Montana. Delta’s seasonal non-stop service will depart from New York-LaGuardia Airport on Saturdays from June 21 to September 27. Meanwhile, United will fly out of George Bush International Airport in Houston on Saturdays and Sundays between June 28 and August 17.
Brooke Porter Katz is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.
Mumbai's international airport unveiled its new four-level Terminal 2 to the public this week, after much anticipation. The stunning airport section, originally slated to open in January, took five years to complete, and will provide relief to the millions of fliers streaming in and out of India’s busy Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.
Sprawling 42 square meters of space, the terminal was built to handle up to 40 million annual passengers and to effortlessly escort them to their departure gates via 37 travelators, 48 escalators, and 72 elevators. Outside, the 5,200-car parking area is beautifully concealed by the city’s largest open garden. While inside, travelers can spend their layovers window shopping or eagerly purchasing items throughout the 21,000 square meters of retail space—more than four times the size of the airport’s original shopping area. An art museum—India’s largest, might we add—may also be of interest, with over 6,500 artifacts to contemplate while waiting. Finally, a terminal with more to explore than the nearby bar.
Nearly 6,000 and counting. That’s the number of flights cancelled as of noon today. Already this year, there have been more than 71,000 cancellations—and we're only six weeks in. If you want to get a sense of what this means for travelers across the country, just take a look at FlightAware’s aptly named Misery Map(above), which highlights not only where the bottlenecks are worst, but also how they’re impacting the rest of the aviation system.
If you’ve got an airline ticket for the next few days—or have any important travel scheduled during this wild winter—we’ve got some advice for navigating the storms.
Tips for Travel During Stormy Weather
1. Stay informed and be the first to know. Sign up for text and email alerts about flight delays and cancellations from your airline and services such as FlightStats. And be proactive about checking their websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter handles for updates; sometimes it can take a crucial few hours for a text message to arrive. Get a sense of what’s happening with live flight-tracking service FlightAware’s cancellation page.
As T+L’s resident Japanophile, I’m always plotting my next trip to Tokyo, not only to revel in one of the world’s great food destinations, but also to discover the city’s amazing shopping scene. Luckily for me, All Nippon Airways (ANA) is participating with iconic department stores Mitsukoshi and Isetan in a Manhattan pop-up store during New York Fashion Week as part of its “Is Japan Cool?” campaign (47 Greene St.; through today, Feb.13).
It’s been a busy few weeks for Delta Airlines—and we’re not just talking about the 80’s-themed in-flight safety video. Earlier this month, the airline announced that it would be investing more than $770 million through 2016 to revamp its domestic fleet of Boeing 757-200 and 737-800, and Airbus A319 and A320. Overall, passengers can expect updated bathrooms, LED lighting, and overhead bins (increasing capacity by up to 60%)—plus power and in-seat video/satellite TV throughout. New slim-line seats with adjustable headrests will be made from lighter materials, making for a more efficient plane that uses less fuel. The pitch—or legroom—in Economy will average 31 inches, equal to most of the current configurations. The 757s and 737s will see an increase of about 10 to 20 seats in Economy (depending on the aircraft), and A319 and the A320 seats are actually increasing in width, from 17.2 inches up to 18 inches.
Who would you rather get your in-flight safety instructions from: bikini-clad supermodels or Alf? While Delta’s recent 1980’s-themed video highlighted the furry sitcom star, Air New Zealand turned to Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit models for tips on how to stay safe in the air. Filmed on the Cook Islands (which Air New Zealand has been flying to for 40 years), the “Safety in Paradise” video celebrates the Swimsuit Issue’s 50th anniversary. Chrissy Teigen, Hannah Davis, Jessica Gomes, and Ariel Meredith star—and three-time cover model Christie Brinkley makes a cameo from Los Angeles. To celebrate the launch, Air New Zealand is giving online viewers the chance to win a trip for two to the Cook Islands. To enter, visit this website.
Traveling by air can leave even the most seasoned traveler feeling helpless and trapped by the system. Between security lines and flight delays, there are many things out of our control when flying. But it doesn’t have to be a miserable experience. Smart travelers can take several steps before they fly to help solve any problems that creep up.
These five tips will make flying easier, even on the worst days:
Getting the Best Seat
A friend of mine who frequently flies between New York and Johannesburg on a South African Airways Airbus A340-600 always tries to get seat 73D. Why? It doesn't cost any more than other coach seats, but because of an emergency crew hatch on the floor there is no seat 72D. That means extra feet—not inches—of legroom.
On the heels of a long-awaited decision to loosen liquid restrictions, which went into effect only one week ago, new constrictions are already in place.
Today, the Department of Homeland Security directed that no liquids, gels, aerosols, or powders of any kind be permitted on nonstop flights between the United States and the Russian Federation. Delta is the only domestic carrier to which this applies, although international lines such as Russia’s Aeroflot and TransAero are also affected.
Early last month, Russia banned all liquids from carry-on luggage on all flights entering its two international Moscow airports. The stringent restriction is just a small part of the security operation surrounding the 2014 Winter Games, and was announced just weeks before the EU and the US loosened their liquid policies.
Amidst a heated conflict between travelers who want family-friendly zones on airplanes, and those willing to pay more for childfree cabins, Air New Zealand’s Economy SkyCouch seat is becoming a fast favorite for both sides of the debate.
The flexible seating option, which allows passengers to purchase three adjacent seats and transform them into a wide, flat sofa, has been particularly successful with families.
With a footrest that pulls out from beneath the three seats and armrests that virtually disappear, Air New Zealand has sold the Skycouch as an “ideal solution” for “a parent with two restless kids,” or the perfect play space for young children.