U.S. Government Won't Require Bag Fee Disclosure in Airfares

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 12/11/2017, 1:00 PM

An Obama administration proposal designed to protect airline passengers from hidden fees has been discarded by the current Department of Transportation.  Under the proposed rule—released near the end of President Obama's second term—airlines, travel agents, and websites that sell tickets would be required to disclose fees for checked and carry-on bags right from the start, so that passengers woul...

An Airline Perk for Ugly Holiday Sweaters

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 12/07/2017, 5:00 PM

Alaska Airlines passengers will want to raid their closets for brightly colored, snowman-bedecked, jingle-bell-festooned sweaters on December 15. In honor of National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day, the carrier is offering early boarding to all customers who show up for flights on that date wearing "festive holiday sweaters." Alaska announced that the one-day promotion will be celebrated across the ...

Airlines Limit Smart Bags Allowed on Flights

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 12/06/2017, 3:30 PM

The supposed next big thing in luggage just hit a snag.  Several U.S. airlines have announced bans on technologically sophisticated "smart" suitcases with lithium-ion batteries that can't be removed. The high-powered batteries help make possible such wonders as suitcases with the capacity to charge cell phones, make their locations known via GPS, and even follow their owners around airports.  B...

advertisement

In Denver You Can Dine in a Former Air Traffic Control Tower

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 12/05/2017, 4:30 PM

Although Denver's old Stapleton International Airport has been closed for more than 20 years, the air traffic control tower recently reopened. There won't be any flight coordinating going on inside, however. The tower, which is the only remaining structure of the city's primary airport from 1929 to 1995, has been converted to an "eatertainment" venue by Punch Bowl Social, a Denver-based chain tha...

UPDATED: Will American Airlines' Scheduling Glitch Leave You Stranded for the Holidays?

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 12/04/2017, 12:00 AM

This post, originally published on December 1, has been updated below. American Airlines discovered earlier this week that a glitch in the internal system used by pilots to schedule vacation time had caused the accidental approval of time-off requests affecting more than 15,000 flights from December 17 to the end of the year. Unexpectedly, many flights were left with nobody to steer the plane. B...

Sacramento Skyline

Sacramento, Discovered: California's Capital Shines Bright

California’s capital city, Sacramento, has come into its own as a center for California vacations.
Mapping a trip

The Trends That Will Shape Travel in 2018

Bots and biometrics, cannabis travel, and more: We talked with experts from across the travel industry to learn what will affect your wanderings in 2018.

Blaming Trump, Another Airline Calls It Quits in Cuba

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 11/17/2017, 8:30 PM

Alaska Airlines will discontinue its service to Cuba on January 22, 2018, the carrier has announced. The reason: the Trump Administration's new rules that make it too difficult for Americans to visit the island. The tighter restrictions do away with the Obama-era "people-to-people" travel exemption. That means that Americans who want to visit Cuba must now do so with authorized tours and cruises ...

The U.S. Frequent Flyer Program with the Highest Customer Satisfaction Is...

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 11/17/2017, 12:00 AM

Measuring loyalty programs separately from overall airline satisfaction for the first time, the market research company J.D. Power devised a 1,000-point scale rating the six largest U.S. carriers on four factors: earning/redeeming rewards, program benefits, account management, and member communication. JetBlue's TrueBlue program came in first with a score of 800, narrowly beating out Alaska Ai...

Airfare is About to Rise. Here's Why

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 11/01/2017, 6:00 PM

American and Southwest airlines have both sent signals that their airfares are about to go up. Why? Simple: They're making more money, so they don't need to put flights on sale as often. The message came in the form of Q3 earnings reports, says the Chicago Tribune, in which major carriers reported a rise in "revenue per mile," which is the monetary metric that all airlines use to judge your busin...

Passenger Jets Now Fueled by Food Scraps and Vegetable Oil

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 11/01/2017, 7:00 AM

At the end of 1985's Back to the Future, Doc Brown opens his Delorean and dumps table scraps and beer into a "Mr. Fusion" tank to generate the power to whisk Marty McFly into the year 2015. Now it's 2017, and although personal fusion-powered travel is still in the distant future, the ability to fly passenger planes using food waste is here. In September, JetBlue announced a plan to purchase more ...

One More Airline Adopts Basic Economy Pricing

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 10/31/2017, 9:45 PM

Monkey see, monkey do. The biggest airlines have now instituted new, bare-bones "basic economy" fares that strip passengers of the automatic right to checked bags or seat assignments unless they pay extra charges. Now Sun Country Airlines, a long-running Minneapolis-based airline that covers the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean, has jumped on board. Its pricing structure is even more com...

More Complex Screening Begins for U.S. Passengers

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 10/25/2017, 12:00 AM

You might remember that last spring, several international airlines, mostly from predominantly Muslim countries, were banned from allowing laptops in passenger cabins. That, and the uneven application of the policy across airlines, caused a diplomatic furor, and some carriers even curtailed service to the United States. In response, the U.S. government reversed the requirement but dictated new secu...

One Key to a Successful European Vacation Is Planning Several Months Ahead

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 10/10/2017, 12:15 AM

When is it best to begin planning your trip to Europe? Though some of the experts disagree, the majority of them say just after the start of the new year, when airline tickets tend to be priced at their lowest level. The optimum advance period is 120 days (four months), which means that a smart traveler purchases those tickets in January or February for a vacation in May or June. What about a t...

Date Set for Last Virgin America Flights

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/09/2017, 7:15 PM

Your last chance to fly with Virgin America is April 24, 2018.  The award-winning and much-loved carrier was acquired by Alaska Airlines for $2.6 billion in late 2016. Alaska later announced that it would axe the Virgin America brand, albeit while adopting many of its most popular features, including distinctive mood lighting (pictured above), above-average meal options, and excellent in-flight e...

Icelandair Joins the Basic Economy Crowd

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 10/04/2017, 12:00 AM

Icelandair has joined the major U.S. airlines in rolling out a new stripped-down fare.  "Economy Light," Icelandair's version of Basic Economy, comes with zero checked baggage provisions. Passengers with Economy Light tickets may bring a single carry-on bag weighing no more than 22 pounds (10kg). Fees for changing a reservation are a steep $275, as opposed to Economy's $200. The rules of Economy ...

The Shortest Flight in the U.S.

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/29/2017, 12:30 AM

United Airlines has begun operating the shortest commercial flight in the United States.  Zipping between San Francisco and Santa Rosa in California's Sonoma County wine region three times a week, the route covers about 60 miles and stays in the air for just 16 minutes. (Factor in taxiing and such and the one-way trip takes a still-speedy 45 minutes.)  In addition to putting themselves through t...

Texting Is Now Free on Delta: Here's How It Works

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 09/27/2017, 12:00 AM

Delta Air Lines has announced that starting this weekend, passengers on 90% of its flights will be able to use the carrier's in-flight Wi-Fi network to text with people on the ground for free. The service will be text-only—no videos or photos. To use it, passengers must access the signal using the Gogo app, which you can get at airborne.gogoinflight.com. Texting will then only be permitted via Wha...

U.S. Airlines Are Making a Fortune from Checked Bag Fees

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/21/2017, 8:30 PM

Two recent government reports have underscored the huge revenue-generating power of checked bag fees at the airport. First, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study found that while unbundling airfares from services such as checking bags and priority boarding has indeed resulted in lower base fares, the new fees often more than make up the difference that customers think they're saving. ...

After the Storms: What You Need to Know If You Have Booked Travel to Impacted Regions

By Frommer's Staff

Harvey's and Irma's effects will be felt for months to come. What the airlines, cruise lines, hotel companies, and other travel industry entities are—and aren't—doing to help those who have travel plans.

United Airlines Called Out for Hurricane Irma Price Gouging

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 09/06/2017, 9:00 PM

Hurricane Irma is the most severe hurricane ever measured in the Atlantic Ocean, and millions of people are being told to get out of its way. Amid the pre-storm scramble on Wednesday, Dan Rather's News and Guts Facebook page posted a serious allegation for United Airlines (any errors were in the original post): "We are genuinely curious if anyone in South Florida or Miami has tried to book a flig...

Non-Flyers Now Allowed Into Secured Areas at Pittsburgh Airport

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/06/2017, 8:30 PM

We've got good news for airport shoppers, chaperones, and prolonged goodbye-sayers. For the first time since 9/11, an American airport is allowing people without tickets into secured areas.  The facility in question is Pittsburgh International Airport, where officials have worked with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) over the last two years to develop a program called MyPITpass, ...

Boston's Logan Airport Might Charge You to Drop Off and Pick Up Passengers

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 08/31/2017, 9:45 PM

A new fee could soon be put in place at Boston Logan International Airport—and drivers are not going to like it.  The airport has launched a study to look into charging people for bringing their private cars to the terminals in order to drop off or pick up passengers. These are ordinary drivers we're talking about, mind you—not those offering Uber or taxi services. The potential measure is onl...

Four New Cities Get $99 Flights to Iceland

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 08/30/2017, 12:00 AM

WOW Air, which has been earning its name with an aggressive expansion plan and tickets as low as $99 with advance purchase, is adding nonstop flights to Iceland from four Midwestern American cities that, until now, have not enjoyed them. This spring, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit, and St. Louis get their own routes to Reykjavik. Once there, WOW also connects to Northern Europe. WOW already flies...

Airline Releases White Noise Album of Jet-Engine Sounds to Hum You to Sleep

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 08/24/2017, 12:00 AM

Do you sleep well on a plane?  How? The seats are so cramped, and the temperature is never right, and you can't recline more than a couple centimeters, and the lack of neck support means that you either get a cramp from going chin to chest or your head continually does that thing where it nods and then involuntarily snaps up, waking you with a start. About the only thing snooze-inducing about th...