U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster's proposed new Transparent Airfares Act of 2014 should really be called the Obfuscated Airfares Act of 2014. While claiming to offer consumers "better information," the bill's provisions would actually make matters worse. It would roll back the Department of Transportation's (DOT) requirement that airlines post all-up prices that include fees and taxes, and again allow airlines to feature ridiculously low-ball fares with an asterisk noting, "each way based on round-trip purchase, not including fees, surcharges, and taxes."
Proponents of the bill—clearly parroting words supplied by airline lobbyists—claim that consumers want to know how much of the airfare they pay consists of taxes and fees. Actually, Rep Shuster, they don't. What they want to know is how much a trip will really cost, not some phony figure designed to make them think an airline is almost giving away tickets. If they really want to know the details about taxes and fees, they can easily look at the "terms and conditions" pull-down display. ... read more»
Airlines for America (A4A), the trade group representing U.S. airlines, this week released its forecast for Spring 2014 flights.
For April and May, A4A is projecting that air travel will increase to its highest level in six years. During the two-month period, U.S. airlines will carry 129.5 million passengers, a record 17.1 million of whom will be flying internationally.
These robust numbers, A4A would have us believe, are a good thing. And for the airlines and their investors, they are. ... read more»
In a surprise announcement, Virgin America made a very public bid for the two gates at Dallas Love Field that American must divest as part of the agreement with the Department of Justice allowing its merger with US Airways.
To date, the only other contender for the Love Field gates was Delta, which has been leasing the gates from American. So confident was Delta in its prospects for purchasing the gates outright that it had already begun selling seats for future flights from Love Field to New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Minneapolis, and Detroit. ... read more»
When Delta went public with its plans to introduce an all-new SkyMiles program in 2015, it skimped on details in one crucial area: awards.
The earning side of the new program was described in minute detail. But on the equally important subject of the new SkyMiles award chart, the airline revealed only two facts, and made one promise. The first fact was that a restricted roundtrip domestic coach award ticket would still be priced at 25,000 miles. The second fact was that the new award chart would have five tiers, as opposed to the current chart's three tiers. And the promise: Lower-tier award seats will be more readily accessible. In the company's words, "SkyMiles members will benefit from more tickets requiring fewer miles." ... read more»
(Photo: Quechua Women in Sacsayhuaman via Shutterstock)
There's no need to make it all the way to Machu Picchu to see great Incan monuments; they're readily accessible in Cusco too, and what a site to behold! Once a capital of the Incan Empire, Cusco still reigns supreme with majestic ruins, including the precolonial sites Qorikancha, Saqsayhuaman, and Qenko. ... read more»
A temporary phone/tablet protector that's 100 percent water, dirt, sand, and snow proof. ... read more»
You probably won't get an inflight upgrade, but maybe the crew will forget to charge you for your cocktail. Maybe they'll reseat you if the child behind you is wailing. Regardless, being nice is its own reward. Airfarewatchdog's George Hobica lists 12 tips on how to get the cabin crew to be sweet on you. ... read more»
Hotel Wi-Fi has become a hot-button issue among travelers, as Internet access has risen to the top of travelers' must-have lists and hotels have adjusted (or not) to those expectations.
But the expectation goes beyond simple access; hotel guests want access that is fast and reliable. Downloading email is necessary, but hardly sufficient. We want to seamlessly stream the latest episode of "House of Cards" on Netflix. We want our Pandora music channels to be the soundtrack of our lives, whether at home or on the road. Dial-up download speeds won't cut it. ... read more»
The perfect combination of a packing cube and compression bag. ... read more»
A study from CheapAir.com aims to answer that instrumental trip-planning question: How far in advance should I book my flight?
Number crunchers from CheapAir.com, an airfare booking site, monitored 4,191,533 trips last year to find a solution. They looked at fare fluctuations from 320 days to one day in advance of departure to determine how far ahead of time travelers should book plane tickets. All in all, the folks at CheapAir.com analyzed the booking data from roughly 1.3 billion airfares.
According to the results of the study, the best time to book a domestic flight is 54 days (or seven and a half weeks) in advance. For international flights, CheapAir.com generally advises travelers to buy earlier rather than later, but prime booking dates vary by destination. ... read more»