Even though some airlines are showing big profits, the worldwide economic slump is taking its toll:
Images of American’s new 777-300ER layout strongly suggest that line will go to ultra-narrow 10-across seats in economy. That's bad news for consumers. So far, American isn’t saying more.
Europe: Low-Cost Carriers
Two small European airlines—SpanAir and Air Alps—are folding. Although it’s not likely that many North Americans will be affected, this is a sign of the times. Beyond the two giants, EasyJet and RyanAir, Europe has close to two dozen small low-fare airlines fighting over what seems to be, at best, a static market, and more are likely to fold or merge. If you’re looking for a cheap intra-Europe flight this summer, stick with the biggies if you can.
Possible U.S. Mergers
The industry continues to buzz about mergers among U.S. airlines. Among the possible combinations under active consideration on Wall Street: Delta acquires American, US Airways acquires American, and Delta acquires US Airways. At this point nobody knows how it will all finally end, but one conclusion is clear: Any of those acquisitions will be bad for consumers....read more»
Enter Priority Club Rewards Cruises' "Million Points" sweepstakes by April 30 for a chance to win the grand prize: 500,000 Priority Club points, plus a $2,000 voucher to be used toward any available cruise booked through Priority Club Cruises. Five runner-up winners will each receive 100,000 Priority Club points.
To enter, type your name, zip code, and email address in the form on the sweepstakes landing page. By participating, you're agreeing to receive Deal Emails from Priority Club Rewards Cruises, but you can unsubscribe after the sweepstakes ends....read more»
If your answer to the question "how do you sleep at night?" is "atop a pile of money" (as Rainer Wolfcastle once said), then the Royal Penthouse Suite at the Hotel President Wilson is the room for you. Ranked by CNN in 2011 as the world's most expensive hotel suite, one night at this hotel costs around $65,000 per night. You could buy somewhere to sleep forever (a whole house!) for that kind of money, but it wouldn't be as nearly as nice as this suite.
Your Geneva penthouse takes up the entire eighth floor and features 12 rooms, 12 bathrooms, billiards, a grand piano, your own personal fitness center, a private elevator, terrace, and amazing views of Lake Geneva and Mont Blanc.
Don't worry, the suite also has bulletproof doors and windows to protect you from the haters....read more»
What Is It: Go Caddy water bottle holder.
Price and Where to Buy: $19.99-$24.99 at BVT Products.
Pros: OK, I'll admit it. I hate carrying a water bottle when traveling, and I'm always afraid to throw it in my bag in case it leaks all over my camera or other electronics. That's why I always try to bring a bag that has an external water bottle holder or side pocket that I can stick drinks in. The Go Caddy does keep your drink hands-free, and has an included drink cooler sleeve (which seems way too small for the 1.5 liter bottle the main pocket is designed to carry). Plus, the bag's carrying strap extends so that you can wear it as a cross-body bag for safety or comfort.
Cons: This bag is the on-the-shoulder equivalent of the fanny pack. It basically displays all of your valuables and tourist trappings (like maps) out in the open for easy mugging. There is a velcro pocket that could hold a small digital camera, passport, or cash, but it is on the side and still easily accessible. The Go Caddy is marketed as uni-sex, but it would definitely take a secure man to pull this man-bag off. There's also really no way to look like a local when sporting this. The final blow: The Go Caddy's microfiber material smells terrible when it's first taken out of the packaging. It's a smell that stays with you, unlike your valuables if you keep them in the bag's outside elastic pocket....read more»
Remember Toonces the Driving Cat? Meet his cousin Ripples—the cat who (tried to) take over the cockpit on a recent Air Canada flight....read more»
Fairy tales come to life at Neuschwanstein Castle. This Bavarian castle may look familiar to you—it's the inspiration for Disney's Sleeping Beauty castle.
Neuschwanstein was built for King Ludwig II in the 1860s and '70s and is set amidst an isolated backdrop of alpine lakes and forests. You can tour the fantastically designed and well-preserved castle from the inside, or simply admire the exterior and grounds.
While at Neuschwanstein, brave the truly terrifying Marienbrucke bridge, a precarious-looking bridge that crosses over a steep gorge. You'll be rewarded with amazing views of the castle, if you can bear to open your eyes. If you're still in the castle mood, the nearby Hohenschwangau, where King Ludwig II grew up, is also worth a look....read more»
Credit cards have become the quickest route to outsized caches of frequent flyer miles, with incentives occasionally reaching 100,000 miles and above.
But there are other ways of squeezing extra value from credit cards that have nothing to do with loyalty points. Cash back, for instance, which may be a better deal than points if you do the math and keep the lure of travel from infecting your return-on-investment calculations. But that's a story for another time.
The Department of Transportation's (DOT) new airfare advertising rules, which took effect last week, added some much-needed transparency to the airfare booking process. Now, the price you see on an airline's website is the price you're going to pay. It's a big win for consumers (despite what Spirit says).
But the rules haven't fixed everything.
Booking a flight online can still be a murky process—especially if your airline of choice is pulling the ol' bait and switch. American appears to be doing just that by enticing travelers with low departure fares and then walloping them with return fares that are sometimes more than 10 times as expensive as the cost of the first leg....read more»
If you want to attend the London Olympics, July 26 through August 13, be prepared to pay a lot of money. A whole lot of money:
- CoSport, the official ticket outlet for the U.S. and Canada (along with a few other countries) is currently selling two-day ticket packages, with one or two admissions each day, that range from just under $2,000 per person for relatively unpopular events to well over $5,000. That's just the tickets (plus use of CoSport's hospitality center for each day).
- Tour operators are charging unbelievable prices for hotel packages. Roadtrips, one of the country's largest event-tour operators, lists upscale four-night hotel packages starting at $4,695 per person at the Corus Hyde Park. That's a whopping $2,348 per night— for a room that usually goes for a bit over $300 a night, and not including any tickets. Yes, Roadtrips also provides a lot of hand-holding and local transportation, but that's still a stiff price.
- Ludus offers some less rarefied prices, but they're still stiff, starting at $1,099 per room per night in a two-star hotel, also with lots of hand-holding but not including tickets.
Hotel-only rates are up, also. For a typical night during the Olympics, the least expensive rate Hotels.com lists for a double room somewhere in the city is $190 per night with a shared bathroom, and that's at hotels in remote corners of London. The least expensive rate in the central area is $219 per night in a tatty hotel close to Paddington (TripAdvisor rating of two out of five circles). For anything less, you have to head for venues as remote as Heathrow Airport and Croydon....read more»
If it was a good deal (or a notably bad one) from an airline, hotel, or car rental loyalty program, you can read all about it here, and plan your travel accordingly....read more»