By Harriet Baskas
May 26, 2019
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If most of your summer vacation days are already spoken for, there’s no reason to put off planning something special for the winter. Need ideas? Start with these recent airline announcements about new routes and added service.

Fewer Fees, More Routes From American Airlines

Good news for summer travelers: as of May 21, American Airlines is no longer charging passengers the $150 oversize bag fee for music equipment and common sports gear such as surfboards, skateboards and skis weighing up to 50 pounds.

Instead, the airline says, it will now treat these items as standard checked bags, and the good news is that those rates begin at “just” $30.

Not everything will fly at this lower rate, though; hang gliders, scuba tanks, kite/windsurfing items and some other equipment that requires special handling will still incur that $150 fee.

You might consider putting the savings on checked bag fees towards a trip to some of the new destinations American Airlines will service next winter in Mexico, Hawaii and the Caribbean.

While American already operates 85 flights to 22 Mexican cities, it is adding daily service between Phoenix (PHX) and Chihuahua (CUU) starting Dec. 18, as well as Tuesday and Saturday service between Dallas Forth Worth (DFW) and both Acapulco (ACA) and Huatulco (HUX).

On Dec. 19, the Fort Worth-based carrier will begin a seasonal nonstop flight between Chicago O’Hare Airport (ORD) and Honolulu (HNL) and, on Dec. 22, American will become the first U.S. carrier to service St. Vincent and Grenadines (SVD) in the Caribbean, with a year-round Saturday flight that originates in Miami. Find details about these flights and American’s additional winter service to the Caribbean here.

Delta Making It Easier to Walk on “bob” and Linking Boston and Miami

On Nov. 10, Delta Air Lines will begin offering a daily nonstop flight between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Omaha's Eppley Airfield (OMA).

No need to go on (and on) about the activities the City of Angels offers travelers from Nebraska and the Midwest, but there are also plenty of reasons to head to Omaha on this new flight from California.

Besides being hometown to Berkshire Hathaway and other major companies, Omaha boasts attractions that include the 130-acre Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium; the Jocelyn Art Museum; the Durham Museum, which showcases the rich history of the region; and the 3,000-foot Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge, known to fans as “Bob,” that spans the Missouri River and connects Nebraska to Iowa.

On Dec. 21, Delta Air Lines will expand its already robust offerings from Boston’s Logan International Airport (BOS) with twice daily service to Miami International Airport (MIA) and add daily frequencies on its flights from BOS to other Florida cities, including Orlando (MCO), Fort Myers (RSW), West Palm Beach (PBI) and Fort Lauderdale (FLL). Find more details on these and other added Delta service from Boston here.

Cute Alert: Eva Air’s Hello Kitty Jet Coming to San Francisco

Fans of Hello Kitty will be pleased to know that EVA Air’s adorable Hello Kitty Hand-in-Hand Jet will soon be part of the airline’s San Francisco schedule, with two flights a flight a week between SFO and Taipei, Taiwan starting on Oct. 27. The specially painted plane will fly on Saturdays and alternate between Tuesdays and Thursdays for the second weekly flight until Dec. 1 when it will increase service to three days a week.

New ways to get to Tokyo

Here are a dozen new reasons to start planning a trip to Japan, Travel + Leisure's 2018 Destination of the Year

The Department of Transportation has given four U.S. airlines preliminary go-ahead for 12 new flights from to Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport (HND), which is much closer to central Tokyo than Narita International Airport (NRT).

American Airlines plans daily flights to HND from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), with service to begin in 2020. Delta Air Lines, which already flies to Haneda from Los Angeles and Minneapolis/St. Paul, is in line to add flights to HND from Seattle (SEA), Detroit (DTW), Atlanta (ATL), Portland (PDX) and Honolulu (HNL).

United Airlines has tentative approval for four daily nonstop flights to HND from Newark (EWR), Chicago (ORD), Washington Dulles (IAD) and Los Angeles (LAX). And Hawaiian Airlines plans Haneda service from Honolulu.

The airlines say these flights, if approved as expected, should begin before the start of the 2020 Olympic Summer Games, to be played in Tokyo.

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