A flurry of reports this week reveals just how bad things are for the shrinking U.S. airline industry. Not since 9/11 have there been so few planes in the sky, which means we leisure travelers are in stiff competition for fewer seats, and likely paying more, on average, to fly.
Rick Seaney, the CEO of FareCompare.com, thinks the best of the fall sales are over. With airlines cutting capacity, and having sold many fall seats during the recent promotions, planes will be crowded. [AP/Yahoo News]
Has the recession forced you to sell your Gulfstream? If you love to fly private, but the current economic crisis is cramping your jet-set lifestyle, there’s a unique new option in the skies. The Greenjets shared-ride service lets you buy a seat on a private jet at a fraction of the cost normally associated with such a luxury. Flights from New York to Florida are as low as $1,100 each way, a bargain compared to owning or renting your own plane—and you avoid the lines and regular security headaches at the airport. Not to mention the added good karma you get from reducing the number of jets in the air when you “jetpool,” if you will.
Good news, because West Coast airfares from New York City on Virgin America airlines (voted “Best Domestic Airline” in T+L’s 2009 World’s Best Awards) just dropped to $109 each way. Offers are good to these West Coast cities, and more:
*Las Vegas *Los Angeles *Orange County *San Diego *San Francisco *Seattle
The $109 fare is available for travel on Monday-Thursday and Saturdays between Aug. 28-Nov.18, Dec. 2-16 and Jan. 6- Feb. 10 (Friday and Sunday flights cost an extra $25). Tickets are on sale through September 8, but book quickly as certain flights may sell out.
Attention would-be jetsetters, adventurers, vagabonds, and nomads: It’s time to call in that month-long sabbatical you've been due at work!
JetBlue has just announced an unprecedented deal aimed at people with a serious case of wanderlust. Through August 21, the airline is selling a month-long “All-You-Can-Jet” pass for $599 that offers travelers unlimited flights between September 8 and October 8, 2009 to any of the airline’s 56 destinations.
So many great Caribbean resorts are offering hard-to-believe values right now, but your first thought is often "Yeah, but the airfare'll be deadly." Ha! Jump on this and you can have a very affordable vacation indeed.
Air Jamaica is running an amazingly cheap but amazingly brief sale on airfare to Kingston. Book on or before August 4 (this Tuesday), for travel anytime between August 18—November 17, and you can fly roundtrip for prices that start at $128. Here are some sample roundtrip fares:
The first pets-only airline, Pet Airways—which takes off this month from five U.S. cities: L.A., Chicago, New York, D. C., and Denver—now tops the list of pet travel perks.
A safe and comfortable alternative to commercial lines’ cargo class, Pet Airways aims to ease both animal and owner stress alike, with an online flight tracking and individual carriers secured in temperature-controlled cabins. Doting attendants check up on “Pawsengers” every 15 minutes and walk them upon landing (unfortunately, there’s no in-flight snack service—vet’s orders).
Flights can be booked through the Pet Airway’s website which crashed when it opened for reservations in April. But your furry four-legged friends will have to wait in line. The airline is booked solid throughout the summer. Bone voyage!
Lisa Cheng is an assistant research editor at Travel + Leisure.
Looking for an exotic vacation that's also within reach? It’s likely you haven’t considered the United Arab Emirates, a country known to be the epitome of over-the-top luxury and conspicuous consumption. But with the debut of the country’s first low-cost airline, flydubai, (launching this week) and two new boutique hotels, there’s plenty of proof that the UAE—and Dubai in particular—are ready to welcome a new type of visitor: the budget traveler.
On a recent trip, I was desperate to upgrade to premium economy on a Virgin Atlantic (VA) flight from New York City to London. But since I had bought the lowest class fare available (N Class), I wasn’t allowed to use points to do so. Who knew?According to the VA reservationist, the airline states this rule clearly under “fare restrictions” on my ticket. (Oops, I missed that one. Next time, I’ll make sure to read the fine print.)
In order to upgrade, I was told I’d have to pay upwards of $1,000. I called the airline every day for two weeks leading up to my flight, hoping that the rule would miraculously change. But on the day of my trip, I was still stuck in economy.
On January 7, a Continental 737 took a two-hour test flight from Houston, burning a 50-50 blend of petroleum-based jet fuel and an oil made from algae and a scrubby weed. Similar tests have been conducted in New Zealand and England, and another is planned in Japan later this month.
The tests, sponsored by Boeing, were initiated in response to rising petroleum prices, but also address aviation industry goals to reduce carbon emissions before a 2012 European Union deadline.
Though current aircraft design requires some petroleum in the fuel blend to ensure that engine seals work properly, the most efficient and beneficial mix of bio- to fossil fuel has not yet been determined. Chemists continue to experiment with the blend and with the plant feedstocks being used in the biofuel portion in hopes of reducing the greenhouse gases created by flight and a Boeing spokesperson hopes that biofuels play a "significant part of the commercial fuel supply by 2015."