Airport -  Busy check-in area (Photo: San Francisco International Airport)

The U.S. Air Transport Association (ATA) released a statement predicting a slight rise in summer air passenger traffic. According to Reuters, the bulk of that growth will come from international routes, with U.S. domestic air travel numbers remaining similar to last year.

The ATA also mentions that summer fuel prices will likely be 20 percent higher year-over-year compared to last summer. I'm seeing a pattern starting to form here—more travelers, higher fuel prices—that doesn't bode well for last-minute airfare bookers.

Are you planning to travel this summer? Will you be staying in the U.S. or taking an international trip? And maybe most importantly, have you already booked?...read more»

<strong>Alicante, Spain</strong>

Located along the eastern coast in the Costa Blanca region, <a href="http://www.alicanteturismo.com/index.asp?ididioma=2&idioma=en" target="_blank">Alicante</a> is one of Spain's oldest cities, with a history dating back more than 3,000 years. The old town is where you will find most of the city's historic monuments, but don't miss the Santa Barbara Castle, one of Spain's biggest medieval fortresses, perched high above the city on Mount Benacantil.

(Photo: iStockphoto/Aleksey Trefilov)

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re still contemplating a summer trip across the Pond. Dreams of basking under the Mediterranean sun are still viable, but from the looks of our fare benchmarking, it will cost you.

We’ve been tracking peak-season rates on many popular European routes for August travel for several months now, and depending on your route, prices are either holding steady, which is good, or are drastically spiking. Here is the latest snapshot of some routes we’ve been tracking....read more»

Airport - Departure screen full of canceled flights (Photo: iStockPhoto/Simon Smith)

Most of the volcano ash travel coverage I've read lately has focused on the short term, addressing concerns of travel within the coming week or weeks. But this Associated Press article takes a slightly longer view of the issue, and looks at the summer forecast.

While there's no telling when the volcano will spew more ash (cue "cloud of uncertainty" puns), or how major the North Atlantic and trans-Atlantic air travel disruptions will be, it seems likely that this is an issue that will plague summer travelers. According to the article, experts agree that "the continent must be braced indefinitely for rapid shutdowns of air services as computerized projections try to pinpoint where the ash clouds will float next at the whim of shifting winds."...read more»

(Photo: Southwest)

I know many of you like to keep tabs on new cities served by JetBlue and Southwest, so here's one for you. Southwest has announced that it intends to serve two new destinations in South Carolina starting next year: Charleston (CHS) and Greenville-Spartanburg (GSP).

Details beyond that are slim at this point. But it's still big news. Southwest will be the first low-cost carrier to serve Charleston (the city is pretty excited about the news), while at GSP, Southwest will join Allegiant to become the second low-cost carrier at the airport.

So what city do you want to get new airline service next?...read more»

Air: Man with no legroom (Photo: iStockphoto/Gene Chutka)

Earlier this month, Carl Unger asked for your opinion about reclining on airplanes. The response was huge (nearly 600 of you weighed in), and while reading the comments, I came across a bunch of great suggestions for reclining in a way that is polite, not too space invasive, and that avoids sudden-recline drink spills, laptop smashes, and the like.

So here they are: Our readers' rules for reclining. Thanks to everyone who contributed ideas!

  • Ask the person behind you before reclining. According to readers, most people who ask before reclining almost always get "yes" for an answer, and since you've made the effort to be polite, you're less likely to endure "accidental" seat kicking from behind during the flight.
  • If you don't ask, at least make eye contact with the person behind you so they have some warning you're going to move the seat toward them....read more»
Tokyo at night (Photo: Jeremy Hoare/Life File)

Sure, the flight is still long, but thanks to the recent Japan-U.S. open skies agreement, you may soon be able to get to downtown Tokyo a little faster. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has granted three carriers new routes between U.S. departure cities and Tokyo's Haneda Airport.

Back in February, Carl Unger covered news of the battle heating up for the four slots into Haneda available for the first time to U.S. carriers. Until now, U.S. carriers have had access only to Tokyo Narita Airport, 45 miles outside downtown. At about 15 miles from downtown Tokyo, Haneda is a more convenient option for many travelers. According to Terry Maxon at the Dallas Morning News, the new flights will start after the airport's fourth runway comes into service in October, but before the DOT's required start date of January 29, 2011....read more»

Baggage Weight Limit (Photo: iStockphoto/YingYang)

As far as I can tell, packing light is both an art and a mindset. You need an almost spiritual non-attachment to things (and by things, I mostly mean shoes for every eventuality). You must be prepared to wash clothes regularly while on the road, and to pack items that dry fast. And it helps to be an origami master of folding, or at least to have a vacuum bag or two.

Today, I'm looking to those of you who take light packing to a whole new level. You know who you are: Brave souls who head to Europe for two weeks with only a carry-on, weekend warriors who take little more than an extra sweater and a toothbrush, intrepid travelers who somehow manage to pack light but be ready for everything vacation throws at you.

How do you do it? What's your secret to packing really light?

Not a super-light packer? Neither am I. But I'd still love to hear about your personal best, the lightest you've ever packed....read more»

South Africa's coastal landscape (Photo: Keith Levit/Index Open)

Though JetBlue planes only fly as far afield as the Caribbean and Latin America, the airline has been busy expanding into the international travel space. In the past two years, JetBlue has created worldwide route partnerships with Aer Lingus, Lufthansa, American, and now, South African Airways (SAA).

With this newest partnership, passengers will be able to book a single itinerary using both carriers between the U.S. and southern Africa starting May 12. Domestic JetBlue service will route through JFK to connect to SAA's 40-city network....read more»

British Airways aircrafts at the gate  (Photo: British Airways)

Unite—British Airways' cabin crew union—has announced the dates of its next strikes. During May and June, the cabin crew will walk out for four separate five-day strikes.

The strike dates are:

  • May 18 through 22
  • May 24 through 28
  • May 30 through June 3
  • June 5 through June 9

News of these strikes comes a month after reports of progress towards a resolution. The BBC covers details of the events leading up to this latest strike announcement....read more»

Easy to get to and built to handle huge numbers of  sun-and-fun seekers, <a href="http://www.thebeachloversbeach.com/ " target="_blank">Panama City</a> is likely the most popular spring break destination in the U.S. Sample fares for travel to Panama City from Chicago in March start around $278, plus taxes, on <a href="http://www.continental.com" target="_blank">Continental</a>. 

(Photo: Visit Florida)

The Sunshine State is gearing up for the busy summer tourism season, and, despite the growing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, tourism boards across Florida are reminding travelers that its coastline is still open for business. Speculation about possible devastation has caused travelers to cancel trips to Florida, though oil has yet to hit any of the state's beaches. ...read more»

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