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Should You Buy 3 Coach Seats Instead of One Business Class Seat?

September 17, 2007 | Posted in: Airline News,Ask Rick,Travel Tips | 4 comments

I have heard a number of international travelers kick around the idea of buying three coach seats next to each other instead of buying one business class seat.

The thought behind this is that they will have plenty of room to stretch out, and they will still save a substantial amount of money (the cost of one business class ticket can easily be double that of three coach tickets).

OK, at first sight, this might sound like a great idea, and people have pulled it off successfully (check out this NY Times article to get the lowdown on a success story).

Should You Buy 3 Coach Seats Instead of One Business Class Seat?

Go All-In With Delta’s In-Flight Poker

September 17, 2007 | Posted in: Airline News,Ask Rick | 0 comments

Watching movies and listening to music are no longer the only ways to get your entertainment fix while in the air. Virgin America allows you to send messages to other passengers, live TV is slowly becoming more popular on planes, in-flight high-speed Internet is being considered by most major airlines, and now Delta allows you to play some heads-up Texas Hold ‘em against your fellow passengers. Yep, you can raise that bluffer in 15B and toy with those amateurs in the row behind you.

If poker isn’t your thing, you can choose from up to 11 other interactive games (visit Delta On Demand for the full list). Unfortunately, not everyone gets to take advantage of the fun. Games are generally available on non-stop flights that are heading across the country. Your best chance to play is if you’re departing from JFK and flying to LA, San Diego, San Francisco, or Seattle.

I love that airlines are trying to make things a little more fun for travelers on long flights, and I hope that everybody will be able to take advantage of the entertainment at some point. I wonder though, with the ability to text or “ping” anyone on the flight if the airlines will charge for spam filters and call blockers …

United Airlines Files Huge International Airfare Sale

September 15, 2007 | Posted in: Airfare News,Airline News | 0 comments

The number of airfares changed is so large, I don’t know where to start.

Europe, South America, Mexico, Russia, Asia, you name it its lower.

Travel is for low season (winter), in some markets travel is good all the way into March, to here is one of those rare chances to lock in at a good price.

The FareCompare.com airfare email alert system sent out tens of thousands of alerts, so next time don’t find this info in a blog post, sign up, you won’t regret it.

Try out our destination maps, you can select a date range and the airline and see whats up out of your favorite departure city.

A good choice forUnited Airlines airline ticket prices around the world is Denver (give it a whirl).

Cheap AirFares: Is Price the ONLY Thing???

September 14, 2007 | Posted in: Airline News,Ask Rick | 66 comments

Got a very interesting comment in response to my recent blog post on flight delays, and I thought Id share it with you:

Hank says,

Folks, I work for a major airline, and I chuckle when you say that you will pay more for more legroom, better food, wider seats, etc. A few years ago, we invited our Platinum and Gold Medallion passengers to a luncheon to garner their suggestions as to how we can improve our customer service.

They suggested these same things, plus better airport lounges, better onboard entertainment systems, faster check-in procedures, improvements to frequent flier programs, and so on. My airline spent millions based on these suggestions only to learn that the customer will only follow the lowest priced ticket. So based on our experience – yes, you would certainly like for us to provide all of these things to you; BUT, you will fly AirTran if they have a cheaper ticket.

Hank, you have a point, but I also have to say, as a “Whistle Blower” you left a serious cookie crumb to your airline identity. Hmm, Medallion…Could that possibly be Delta? And surely many of us know that AirTran is one of the competitive thorns in Deltas side.

That said, I have to agree that your comments were well-taken; you only have to look at all those small-town stores that had to shut down because customers flocked to the uber-cheap Wal-Mart. Its not always convenient to shop Wal-Mart; most of the stores are on the outskirts of town, but no one seems to mind, as long as the price is right!

So where does that leave us? Is PRICE the only thing? Could airlines add some comfortable touches without raising prices, and create new brand loyalty? Will we have to pay for every bit of customer-service?

I’d like to hear from readers: is price all you care about? This question fascinates me, because I get so many conflicting responses, I’d love to get a big discussion going on this.

On-Time Departures (14-Sept): PR Tricks and Holiday Tips

September 14, 2007 | Posted in: Airline News | 0 comments

Here is what some of my favorite travel writers and websites were talking about this week:

On-Time Departures (14-Sept): PR Tricks and Holiday Tips

Geek Data – Turkey Day Travel Insider Info

September 13, 2007 | Posted in: Airfare News,Holiday Travel,Travel Tips | 5 comments

turkey

For most Americans, going home for Thanksgiving is a given. You don’t go to Aspen. You don’t go to Tahiti. You go home, wherever home may be.

And thats why Thanksgiving is the busiest travel period of the year. And why the absolute busiest travel days of any year are the Wednesday before, and the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

Warning Massive Crowds Ahead

Crowds ahead? Oh, yes. And I’m not just talking about the mobs at the airport. The planes will be packed.

Given this summers record-breaking passenger numbers and the well-documented flight-delay follies, we at FareCompare thought it would be interesting to look at flight schedules and compare Thanksgiving 2006 with whats ahead for us later in November.

Fewer Seats = More Trouble

Heres what we learned and can pretty accurately predict:

  • Several major airlines have greatly reduced the number of seats
  • Occupancy is likely to be near 100% if demand is the same or more than 2006
  • Bad weather could throw hundreds of schedules into complete disarray

Take a look at the chart below which shows the decrease/increase in the number of seats flown on the 2 peak days last Thanksgiving (2006) vs. this year (hint – the ones at the top avoid if possible):

thanksgiving.jpg

Yes, some of the smaller airlines are adding seats; but the Bigger Boys of the airline industry have greatly reduced the number of seats they are flying this year compared to last. It is unlikely that demand has gone down for these coveted travel days so look for higher prices (if you can actually find a seat).

Geek Data – Turkey Day Travel Insider Info

Just Because You Bought an Airline Ticket, Doesn’t Mean It’s Yours

September 13, 2007 | Posted in: Airline News,Ask Rick | 16 comments

orangutan

Since I started taking questions on the comments of my Ask Rick post, some really interesting travel and airline issues have come up. The one I’d like to focus on today will touch a nerve for a lot of travelers I bet, because it highlights one of those airline policies that, to many, seems to defy logic.

Barbara writes:
My husband and I purchased airline tickets for ourselves as well as one for my stepson. My stepson was not able to make the planned trip. Because he was not checked in, the airline sold his ticket (that WE paid for) to someone else. How can an airline do that? Aren’t we entitled to something if we pay for it even if we don’t use it?

Barbara, in most cases in life, when you buy something it’s yours whether you use it or not. However, that’s not necessarily the case with the airlines. When you purchase a non-refundable ticket, it is governed by the exchange and cancellation rules of the airfare. Ironically these rules are in the category called “PENALITIES”.

Just Because You Bought an Airline Ticket, Doesn’t Mean It’s Yours

Geek Data – Shows The Cheapest Day to Travel

September 13, 2007 | Posted in: Airfare News,Airline News,Travel Tips | 10 comments

Total of Number of Seats In the Air With or Without Passengers

Seats Flown

I was on Skype chatting with our CTO (Graeme Wallace) tonight, playing with the world wide flight schedules and we uncovered something quite unexpected.

Delta and US Airways significantly drop the number of seats in the air (flown) (with or without passengers in them) on Tuesdays.

All of the airlines drop the number of seats flown on Saturday (which was pretty common knowledge)

What this means for air travelers is pretty simple — as I have noted on several occasions — the cheapest airfares are for travel on:

  • Tuesday
  • Wednesday
  • Saturday

This little nugget about the drop in seats flown on Tuesdays, seals the deal for me on which is the absolute cheapest day to travel.

The logic is pretty simple, supply of seats is lower on Tuesday and Saturday. Airlines use supply and demand as the major factor on deciding to release the cheapest seats — assuming the demand is about the same Tuesdays and Wednesdays (possibly even relatively on Saturday), Wednesday has the most supply.

So there you have it, at least on Delta and US Airways (on average across the nation) the absolute cheapest day to travel (based on supply of seats flown and having the cheapest published airfares) within the U.S. is — WEDNESDAY.

I posted the data in the screen shot above with a graph, it might be of interest to some to see how many more seats Southwest Airlines flies in the U.S. compared to the legacy airlines.

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