Travel + Leisure's features director, Nilou Motamed, breaks down taxes, fees, and surcharges some airlines are burying in the cost of plane tickets purchased through rewards programs.
If you're ever among the last to board a flight, as I often am, you're familiar with the sight of baby strollers, sometimes a dozen or more, parked in the jetway near the aircraft door. Long a tradition with family travelers, "gate-checking" strollers is commonplace on most airlines. Passengers often prefer to keep infants in their strollers until they enter the plane, leave the carriers with a crew member to be stored just before departure, and then brought back out onto the next jetway after arrival. But don't count on doing that with many types of strollers anymore if you're flying on American Airlines. Starting today, a new AA rule stipulates that "all strollers that are large, non-collapsible or over 20 lbs." must be checked at the ticket counter.
That zany four-pack Phil, Stu, Alan, Doug and their fifth wheel Mr. Chow are back with another mind-blowing bender—this time in Thailand—as The Hangover Part II hits silver screens today across the U.S. While no one may ever match the debauchery of their first go-around in Las Vegas, on a smaller level (I’ve never commandeered a cop car or abducted Mike Tyson’s tiger) I can relate to this buffoonish bunch.
Once on a 14-hour, cross-continental schlep from Salt Lake City to Brisbane, Australia, things got a bit foggy. When I peeled my eyelids open in the morning, I was met by a nausea only achievable when quaffing strong cocktails 3,000-feet above ground. On another trip, I found myself leaning against a pillar at the Acropolis in the sweltering European heat after indulging in copious amounts of Ouzo on the last leg of a connecting flight to Athens the previous night. Not even a Greek deity could have curbed that queasiness.
The plight of the red-eye flier is common. Who can resist settling in for a pre-trip potation? Luckily for travelers everywhere, the choice between in-flight inebriation and next-day functionality may be over.
USA Today | The busy summer travel season is not even upon us yet and Delta Air Lines and its major SkyTeam partners—Air France, KLM and Alitalia—announced trans-Atlantic capacity cuts today for this fall.
Capacity will decline by 7% to 9% over the same time period in 2010, according to these airlines, which operate with antitrust immunity in the trans-Atlantic market, allowing them to legally coordinate schedules and collude on prices.
The airlines say that the capacity cuts are due to "fluctuations in seasonal demand," but it is also likely that the airline industry is bracing for a decline in international travel after the usually busy summer vacation season due to the inflated price of oil, which has been hovering in the $100 per barrel range for some time.
OpenSkies, the all business-class airline that flies to Paris, is celebrating the first anniversary of its Washington, D.C. route with a sale. Fly to Paris and back in a cushy business seat for just $701, each way, based on roundtrip purchase. Book before May 20 for travel between May 16 and July 9.
OpenSkies flights carry just 84 passengers at a time, in comfortable seating (with not just personal entertainment systems and lots of legroom, but electrical outlets as well), and gourmet in-flight dining complete with wine and Champagne. This kind of civilized treatment makes it hard to return to economy.
Book before Friday midnight by visiting FlyOpenSkies.com, or call (866) 581-3596.
Ann Shields is Online Senior Editor at Travel + Leisure.
Sometimes an airline does things right. Not often, true, but every once in a great while. Those of you who read this blog regularly know that I rarely have anything good to say about the airline industry. New regulations announced this month by the Department of Transportation are just the latest evidence that the airlines aren't able to offer good customer service on their own, and have to rely on the government to step in and force them to be good corporate citizens. But here's a quick little story that shows maybe, just maybe, things are improving and that at least one airline is doing things better.
It has been 12 years since the air-passenger rights movement first got off the ground, but now it's positively soaring, thanks to a new set of consumer protections announced today by the Department of Transportation. Among other things, provisions in the new rule would close a loophole that exempted international flights from the tarmac delay limits enacted last year; require airlines to prominently list all fees a passenger might face on a flight; increase maximum compensation paid to involuntarily bumped passengers from a range of $400-$800 to $650-$1,300; allow passengers to cancel or change a reservation within 24 hours with no penalty (if the reservation is made at least a week before departure); and force airlines to refund baggage fees when they lose a customer's luggage. Most of the provisions will go into effect 120 days after publication in the Federal Register.
SFO's long-awaited Terminal 2 opened last week after a $383 million upgrade and renovation. Designed by global architecture powerhouse Gensler, the new terminal is home to American Airlines and Virgin America and is remarkable for its strong public art program and commitment to sustainability (it's anticipated to achieve LEED Gold Certification). It's also the first airport dining program in the country to have a 'slow food' food court: they recruited and prioritized vendors, like the Plant Cafe Organic, Pinkberry, and Lark Creek Grill, that offer healthy food from local, organic sources. Find more info here.
Jaime Gross is Travel + Leisure's San Francisco correspondent.
Image courtesy of Gensler. Photographer: Bruce Damonte
We don't know if this new in-flight safety video from Air New Zealand featuring eccentric weightloss personality Richard Simmons is brilliant. Or brilliantly bad. But it is entertaining.
Follow the high-kicking spandex-clad crew as they do The Pony and The Duck while stowing carry-ons and reaching for oxygen masks. It's not quite Sweatin' to the Oldies, but it does earn beaucoup points on our '80s kitsch-o-meter.
Last year Delta introduced the option for folks to purchase tickets through an app built into their Facebook page. This year, it's taking it a step further, and letting users access its boarding passes without ever leaving Facebook. (The same 24 hours pre-flight time limit that's used on the official Delta site still applies.)
What else can you do?
- Check flight status.
- View trip details.
- View what in-flight amenities will be available for your specific flight.
- Share your flight information with your Facebook contacts.
Pretty cool stuff. (And further proof that Facebook is soon destined to be your one stop spot for, well, everything.)
Joshua Pramis is an online associate editor and resident tech guru at Travel + Leisure. Follow him on Twitter: @joshuapramis