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Posts Tagged ‘airfares’

When A Good Air Fare Deal is Not A Good Deal

Posted by thetraveldoctor on May 16, 2012


Southern California

Out of the Window of a Southwest 737 over Southern California

You see an ad for low low airfares. You log on to the Airline web site and find that the deal you saw advertised is not what you thought. It happens more then you want to admit. So how do you really get a low fare that really is a good value? You need to do your homework and compare fares on different airlines. Bing fare search engine is a great place to start. It will give you the lowest fares to your destination on multiple airlines, but if you want to compare the results to Southwest, you will need to go on to the Southwest web site as Southwest only lists their fares on their own web site.

Remember when you compare your fares you have to take into account the “Extra Fees” imposed by the airlines. These extra fees include checked bags, on board meals, pre reserved seats and so on. Airlines make millions of dollars every year on these fees. What once was included with your ticket is no an “EXTRA” cost item. One of the few airlines that does not charge for bags or food on their aircraft is Southwest. So before you book your ticket, add up all the “Extras” and then make your decission. You will save time and money in the long run.

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Delta Now Running Chicago New York Shuttle

Posted by thetraveldoctor on September 11, 2010


Delta Regional Jet

Delta Regional Jet on Runway

Delta Airlines launched new shuttle service from Chicago O’Hare to New York’s LaGuardia airport on June 14. The shuttle service offers 11 daily roundtrips linking Chicago and New York City. The flights depart LaGuardia on the hour between 7AM and 8PM. The Chicago flights depart at 5 minutes after the hour. The new service is operated by Delta’s regional partner Shuttle America using regional jet aircraft.

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That’s The Spirit – Screw Your Customers with Carryon Fees!

Posted by thetraveldoctor on April 29, 2010


Sprit Airlines Aircraft

Sprit Airlines, The All Fee Airline!

Ok, so the airlines started the whole fee deal with charging for food on the airplanes. Then they decided to charge to check a bag. But now one airline has crossed the line. Spirit Airlines has decided that to many people are bringing carry on luggage onto the plane. So to punish these passengers, they are going to charge them up to $45 to carry on a bag. That’s right, you heard me $45 to carry on a bag. What are they smoking over at the Spirit executive offices?

Spirit Airlines really does not understand that they caused the problem of to much carry on luggage in the first place.  This is how it happened. More then a year ago, Spirit decided that checked luggage was costing the airline too much money. So they decided to start charging to check a bag. The first bag would cost $25 to check and $25 for the 2nd bag. So passengers decided to carry on their luggage rather than pay the $25 to check it. Now Spirit feels that too many people are carrying on their bags. HELLO!!!  Are you idiot’s or just plain stupid Spirit! Have you ever heard of “Cause and Effect?”  You caused the passengers to carry on their luggage by charging them $25 to check it. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure that one out Einstein!

Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that executives from American, Delta, Jet Blue, United and US Airways called to assure him that they would not follow Spirit’s lead in adopting the new carryon  charges. “we have begun to put the brakes on runaway and out-of-control airline fees,” Schumer said.

Schumer and 11 other senators have introduced legislation called the Block Airlines’ Gratuitous Fees Act (or BAG Fees Act), which would subject any fees charged for carry on baggage to the excise tax imposed on fares. A similar bill was introduced in the House.

Good for the Senators! Thanks for taking the bull by the horn. The airlines deserves what it gets!

I will tell you that I will not be flying Spirit anytime in the near future. Any airline that wants to charge me gratuitous fees will not get my business period!

Let me know how you feel about the subject.

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A Tale of Two American Airline’s Cities

Posted by thetraveldoctor on November 17, 2008


 

New American Terminal at Miami Airport

New American Terminal at Miami Airport

I am writing this on my way home from a conference in Miami FL. I am sitting in seat 28C on an American Airlines 757. I don’t know why, but American can’t seem to give me two problem free flights in a row. 

Let’s start on Saturday morning at Chicago’s O’Hare airport. I had a 9AM flight to Miami. I arrived at O’Hare at 7:20AM. I walked up to the self-service kiosk, checked my bag (for $15 –Ouch!) and was on my way to the gate. The American employees we very helpful and very pleasant.

I made it through security. Let me tell you, that is always an experience. I was behind a family of 3. They had 3 suitcases, 3 carry-on bags, a stroller and various stuff in their pockets. Well, it took them 10 minutes to get every thing on the belt and get it into the scanner. Then of course they could not get through the metal detector. They must have gone through that detector 10 times until they stopped beeping. It was a comedy of errors. I had to laugh or I would have started to cry. They need to bring the “Family Lane” to O’Hare so that people that travel a lot and know how to go through security can avoid these situations.

So I made it through security, finally! I proceed to the gate and waited to board. The boarding process went smooth, even with a full plane and we were off to Miami on time! Wow, what a great flight. I really enjoyed it, all the on board entertainment worked very well, and the seat reclined too, as little as it reclines, it’s still nice when it works. We arrived at Miami 10 minutes early and I was a happy customer. Now remember, I check my bag. I guess that was a mistake. I waited almost 40 minutes for my bag and my bag was one of the first ones to come around the belt. I guess this should have been my first clue that American at the Miami Airport has some major operational problems. I took my bag and I was off to the Hyatt Regency Miami in a cab. I actually got a cab driver that knew where he was going and got me to the hotel in record time.

It was a great weekend conference. I had hundreds of people at my workshop and panel. It was a really wonderful experience.

So it is now 5:30AM on Monday and I am on my way to the Miami Airport for my return flight home. I arrive at the American Airlines terminal and proceed to the self-service check-in. As easy as it was at O’Hare on Saturday, it was that very difficult in Miami. I had already checked in on my computer at the hotel and I had my boarding pass. So I followed the directions on the self check-in machine and I touched “Bag Check Only.” I am good at following directions. It then told me to scan my boarding pass or put in my record locator number. Well, my boarding pass would not scan, so I entered my record locator number. It took it a while but it found me. It asked me how many bags I wanted to check and I pressed 1. It then asked me for my credit card. I inserted my Amex, it didn’t like that one, it said, “Enter another Credit Card” so I entered my Visa. I guess it liked that magnetic strip, and it charged my credit card. It then told me to go to the “Checked Baggage Only” line. And then it printed another boarding pass for me. Why I don’t know. So there are signs all over that state “Look For The Baggage Only Check-in Line.” That’s great, I am looking all over the place for this Baggage line and I can’t find it. I ask one of the AA employees, where is this Baggage Only line for self-serve? She informs me that I should just get in any line, we don’t have a Baggage Only line. Now mind you, I am standing in front of this sign that is telling people to look for this Baggage Only line and this employee is telling me they don’t have a Baggage Only line. So I get in line and I wait 20 minutes to hand my bag to an agent and it is 6AM! Once I get to the agent, she could not print out my luggage tracking tag that I had already put in all the info in the check-in kiosk. Unlike the Chicago Check-in kiosk where your luggage tags are printed out at the front of the bank of kiosks. So it took 30 minutes for me to check in at a very disorganized Miami Check-in area for American. Then you have to lug your bag over to this area where another employee takes your bag. And this is out of the way. They really have to figure this baggage thing out in Miami.

Now it’s off to the security. I figured, 630AM on a Monday morning, how bad could it be. I came around the corner and noticed that the line was not that long. So that was a good sign. Little did I know that the TSA agent that was checking ID’s thought he was Columbo and was interrogating every passenger that had to pass through his post. This short line that should have been no more than 5 minutes turned into another 20-minute ordeal.

Once I got through security, and yes I was behind another family that had at least 120 pieces of stuff to put thought the belt. How do I get so lucky! All I want to do is check in, go through security and get on my airplane. Is that too much to ask?

I now hike to the new gate area at the Miami Airport. American has opened part of their new terminal. It is really very nice, but the hike to the last gate, well, it’s a REAL hike. And there are no moving sidewalks like some other new airports with long walks have. But I make it to the gate with about 35 minutes to spare. I find a nice spot to settle in to wait for boarding. Now I understand how AA wants to board. You have a group and you are to board by group. Well, it kind of didn’t happen, as the agents lost control of the entire boarding process, which in turn backed everything up. It was like watching a keystone cop movie. Instead of having each group board, they boarded the early boards and then they called group 1, then 2 minutes later they called group 1, 2 and 3. And this is on a FULL 757! On the plane, there was not enough space for the deluge of carryon bags that the $15 bag charge has caused. People standing in the aisles shoving these bags that should have never gotten past the gate agent, trying to cram them into the overhead bins. Well, we did leave 8 minutes late, because no one that was in the aisle would sit down. What a nut house!

So we finally get settled and the plane gets pushed back, taxied and we took off.  The crew was friendly and efficient, but the audio system had this terrible buzz that it was very hard to watch the video. After about 15 minutes of the buzz, it started to fade, so I was able to watch the “CBS eye on American” video entertainment on the video screen. They showed 3 sitcoms. “How I Met Your Mother” “The New Adventures of Old Christine” and “The Big Band Theory.” Now these are prime time family sitcoms right? Well, I guess American doesn’t think so. Get this, they were bleeping out 25% of the dialog. It ruined the video. I was able to read lips at times and the words they were bleeping out were, sex, screwed and full sentences. Folks, these are not programs that are on pay per view, these are prime time network sitcoms. I just don’t get it. Why would they censor these programs? It really ticked me off. I think that American needs to chill out or stop airing video on its aircraft.

 The flight itself was comfortable and the plane was clean. But if you have to fly out of Miami on American, beware! They don’t have their act together like they do at Chicago O’Hare and it could be very frustrating.

Posted in airlines, airplane, airports, Business Class, Coach, economy, Europe, first class, Hotels, Las Vegas, luggage, Mexico, news, pillows, seniors, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

American Airlines to buy up to 100 Boeing 787’s

Posted by thetraveldoctor on October 28, 2008


 

787 Dreamliner

787 Dreamliner

American Airlines announced this past week that they plan on purchasing up to 100 Boeing 787 Dreamliners at a cost of $15 billion dollars. This purchase could make American the largest operator of the new Boeing aircraft.

 

“This state-of-the-art aircraft will offer many cost and environmental benefits, particularly fuel efficiency and customer friendly attributes and comforts” said Thomas Horton, executive vice president and CFO during the airlines October 15 conference call with financial analysts.

American plans to buy 42 of the 787 Dreamliners for delivery between 2012 and 2018, with an option for 58 more for delivery between 2015 and 2020.

The first 787 flight was scheduled for August of 2007, with deliveries to begin in May of 2008. But due to delays and a strike at Boeing, the first flight is now planned for the fourth quarter of 2008 and initial deliveries slated for the third quarter of 2009.

The new 787-9 is designed to carry up to 290 passengers, with at range of up to 8,500 nautical mailes. The 787-9 is a stretch version of the 787-8 and will use 20% less fuel then current aircraft flying today.

These are some of the airlines that have ordered the 787 Dreamliner. 

  1. Qantas – 65 planes
  2. All Nippon Airways – 50 planes
  3. Air Canada – 37 planes
  4. Japan Airlines – 35 planes
  5. Etihad Airways – 35 planes
  6. LAN Airlines – 26 planes
  7. Continental – 25 planes
  8. Aeroflot – 22 planes

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What Airlines Are Charging Extra For Today

Posted by thetraveldoctor on October 5, 2008


 

O'Hare Airport on a typical day

O'Hare Airport on a typical day

Here is a rundown of what airlines are charging extra for. They have raised their fares and now they charge you extra for more and more things that use to be free.

US Airways  Charges extra for: 1st Checked Bag, 2nd Checked Bag, Advanced “Prime” Seats, Soft drinks on Board, Pollows & Blankets and Headsets.

United Airlines Charges extra for: 1st Checked Bag, 2nd Checked Bag, and Advanced “Prime” Seats.

Northwest Airlines Charges extra for: 1st Checked Bag, 2nd Checked Bag, Advanced “Prime” Seats, and headsets.

Continental Airlines Charges extra for: 1st Checked Bag, 2nd Checked Bag, and headsets.

Delta Airlines Charges extra for: 2nd Checked Bag.

American Airlines Charges extra for: 1st Checked Bag and 2nd Checked Bag.

JetBlue Charges extra for: 2nd Checked Bag, Advanced “Prime” Seats, Pollows & Blankets and Headsets.

AirTran Charges extra for:  2nd Checked Bag, and Advanced “Prime” Seats.

Frontier Airlines Charges extra for: 2nd Checked Bag.

Alaska Airlines Charges extra for: 2nd Checked Bag. 

US Airways wins the award for the most additional fees charged. I guess that is why in 2007 US Airways was ranked dead last as the worst airline for customer service by consumer reports.

Also in 2007, the Today/Zagat Airline Survey rated US Airways as the worst airline overall in the United States, ranking it 10/30 for comfort, 5/30 for food, 10/30 for service, and 15/30 for its online reservations system. On August 1, 2008, US Airways ceased providing their passengers with free drinks, including water. Passengers must now purchase bottled water or soda for $2 US, or $1 US for coffee and tea.

Posted in airlines, airplane, airports, bags, Business Class, Coach, disabilities, economy, first class, Las Vegas, luggage, Med, news, pillows, seniors, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Southwest New Boarding System Works Well

Posted by thetraveldoctor on September 26, 2008


 

Southwest gate at Louisville Airport

Southwest gate at Louisville Airport

I just returned from a business trip to Louisville Ky on Southwest. I have to say that Southwest has their act together. I love the new boarding process they have instituted. When you check in at home on the web, or at the airport you receive a boarding pass with a letter and a number. The letter is the boarding group and the number is the boarding position within that group. So if you are in group A and position 15, you will board with the first group and you will be the 15th person on the plane. It worked so well and everyone was happy. We boarded quickly and we were closed up and out of the gate and in the air in no time. The plane was full and we were on time!

 

Southwest also does not charge you to check your first or second bag. They do not have any hidden fees. What you see is what you get. I love that. Clean, efficient transportation. I wish the other airlines got it. They should all take a lesson from Southwest. Thank you Herb! You know how to run a great airline!

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Don’t Get Scammed With “You Have been Chosen to Receive A Cruise” Offer

Posted by thetraveldoctor on August 8, 2008


 

Ship and Pleasure boast in the Harbor in Seattle

Ship and Pleasure boast in the Harbor in Seattle

There is this travel scam that has been making the rounds. It works like this. You receive a post card that says ” We have been trying to get in touch with you about an outstanding travel offer. Please call this number in the next 72 hours. And the post card has logos of big time cruise lines and hotel chains.  If you call this number, you are told that you have been selected to receive a Cruise and Hotel package to the Bahamas. All you have to do is pay the tax and port charges and they will send you vouchers for this great vacation. 

 

Don’t fall for it. The “Taxes and Port Charges” cost you more then if you would buy the same package from a local travel agent. And the hotel in the Bahamas is usually a real dump. Plus, once you get these so called travel vouchers, you will have a very hard time finding a date to use them. I have heard stories of people trying to use these vouchers for over a year and they can never get a confirmed date.

So the next time someone wants to sell you a “Deal of A Lifetime Vacation” don’t believe it. Only buy your travel from travel agents that you know and trust. There are too many shady charters out there that want to take you and your money for a ride!

Posted in airlines, bags, Business Class, caribbean, Coach, Computers, cruises, Hotels, islands, Las Vegas, luggage, news, sailing, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

No Free Pillows for YOU! On Jet Blue..

Posted by thetraveldoctor on August 4, 2008


 

Jet Blue aircraft on taxi

Jet Blue aircraft on taxi

Well, here is the next thing that an airline has found to charge the traveling public for. Pillows and blankets, that’s right,  Jet Blue is selling a pillow-blanket kit for $7 on flights of 2 hours or more. What will those marketing geniuses come up with next!

Now there is an upside to this. There has been a lot of talk about how airline pillows and blankets on the aircrafts harbor all types of germs. So with this sealed pillow-blanket kit, it is a one use deal and it is made from MicronOne fabric which blocks all micro-toxins larger than one micron in size, such as dust mites, mold spores, pollen and pet dander. Oh, and you can take it home with you and bring it on your next flight.

So, if you don’t want to pay $7 for a pillow and blanket, you will have to bring your own from now on on Jet Blue. I am still waiting for the airlines to charge fifty cents to use the toilet!

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Delta goes to $50 on Second Checked Bag!!

Posted by thetraveldoctor on July 29, 2008


 

Delta aircraft taking off

Delta aircraft taking off

Delta Airlines announced today that they are increasing the fee from $25 to $50 for a second checked bag. 

I have to give credit to Delta for not charging for the first bag. American, United and US Airways are charging $15 for the first checked bag.

Delta states that the fee increase is essential to generate the necessary revenues to offset record fuel prices. What they don’t get is that people will just stop flying or cut back on how much they fly. This is not the answer, it is just a ban-aid.

I don’t know when all of this airline fee nonsence will end, but it has to end soon or soon there will only be 2 or 3 airlines left. Until then, hold on to your wallets….it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

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