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IATA Reports Drop in Global Air Travel

November 28, 2008 | Posted in: Airline News | 0 comments

A recent report from IATA (International Air Transport Association) shows that global air travel dipped roughly 2.9% in September as compared to August. This is seen by many as an early sign that global economic conditions are taking their toll (and will continue to take their toll) on the airline industry across the board.

According to the report, African carriers saw the sharpest decline (down 7.8%) with Asian-Pacific carriers witnessing a drop-off of 6.8%. While a decline in demand and the resulting drop in overall air travel doesn’t come as a shock with the current state of the global economy, the pace at which the drop has occurred and the scale on which it has occurred has surprised members of the IATA:

"Says, Giovanni Bisignani, director general, and CEO, IATA, ‘The deterioration in traffic is alarmingly fast-paced and widespread. We have not seen such a decline in passenger traffic since SARS in 2003.’" (from the Financial Express )

If the trend continues, Bisignani believes that the loss of revenue for member airlines in 2008 will surpass their initial predictions of close to $5.2 billion.

In order to combat the wane in demand, international carriers have taken similar steps to those we’ve seen domestically including holiday/winter airfare sales and reduced prices on longer flights. It remains to be seen if these appeals and others to consumers will help reverse the trend and put more travelers back in the skies in markets across the globe over the next several months.

Happy Thanksgiving

November 26, 2008 | Posted in: Uncategorized | 1 comment

Wherever you are, we wish you the very best!

Happy Thanksgiving from your friends at FareCompare.com

Virgin America Eyes New Cities

November 26, 2008 | Posted in: Airline News | 0 comments

Last week, we covered some of the problems Virgin America has had getting things started in Chicago. Flight dates were initially pushed back, and many have wondered if the carrier has any real future in the Windy City. However, the Chicago issues have not necessarily dampened Virgin America’s desire to expand into other markets, and this could occur without the airline expanding its fleet (for a couple of years, at least).

A plan that would increase utilization of the current fleet without increasing inventory over the next two years is geared towards allowing Virgin America to step-up its presence on the East Coast (Boston, Miami, and Atlanta are being discussed), and move into the middle of the country. The airline is confident that the Chicago issues will be resolved soon, and they’re also setting their sights further south:

“Austin [Texas] is a nice fit for us…” (Virgin America President and CEO David Cush, from Aviation Week)

Virgin America continues to pride itself on an air travel experience that isn’t matched by the legacy carriers. Perhaps more importantly to travelers in Virgin America’s potential new markets, though, is the fact that new airlines and new routes at your home airport can often lead to lower airfare.

US Airways Gets First Non-Stop Route between Akron and DC

November 26, 2008 | Posted in: US Airways | 0 comments

Business travelers in Northern Ohio received some good news yesterday. The Department of Transportation has awarded US Airways two slots to fly between Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Washington, DC and Akron-Canton Airport (CAK). With the new slots, US Airways will be able to offer one daily non-stop flight between the cities.

Gaining non-stop access to DCA will help both US Airways and Akron-Canton Airport appeal to business travelers in the area who haven’t always had the most convenient time flying to the nation’s capital. While this may not be big news outside of parts of Ohio, it is an interesting story. Slots at Reagan haven’t been the easiest to come by in the past (especially ones with flights connecting non-stop to smaller markets); a point that isn’t lost on the folks at CAK:

“This is a historic day for the Akron-Canton Airport and the region as we were in desperate need of an easier way to get to Washington, D.C.,” said Rick McQueen, President & CEO.” (from PR Newswire)

US Airways’ new service begins in January of 2009.

My Latest ABCNews.com Column: The Cheap Ticket Formula

November 26, 2008 | Posted in: ABC Column | 2 comments

I predict a lot of “pricing chaos” for the airlines in 2009.

I talk about this in my weekly column for ABCNews.com — and provide several rules of thumb to help most travelers get a better deal. Number one is, use FareCompare.com — we have the latest fares, first. Here are some more rules:

  • Don’t Procrastinate – Start shopping for airline tickets about four months before departure — this is when airlines begin actively managing and releasing cheaper seats and you’ll also be more likely to catch a system-wide airfare sale
  • Travel the Cheapest Days — Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday
  • Travel the Cheapest Times of Day — First flights out, after lunch and dinner, and last flights out
  • Shop Online Monday Afternoon Through Thursday — Sales are typically launched and matched by other airlines early in the week, and expire on Friday
  • Consider Connecting Flights — Airlines charge a premium for coveted non-stops
  • Turn Business Trips into Weekend Getaways — Stay a Saturday night, and typically you can get two tickets for the weekend for less than one last-minute business ticket
  • Be Flexible – This is especially true for international travel with its defined pricing seasons — time it right, and you can save $400 by leaving 24 hours before or after the day you’d planned to take off

See the rest of my column right here.

Obese Luggage? Or Out-of-Wack Airline Scales?

November 25, 2008 | Posted in: Airline News | 0 comments

The New York Post reports that American Airlines has been cited by the Dept. of Consumer Affairs for using some inaccurate baggage scales at its check-in counters at JFK.

The agency did not say if these wrongly calibrated scales worked in favor of the airlines or passengers — but, if they worked against bag owners, that could be costly.

“If airlines are going to start charging travelers left and right for their luggage, their scales had better be perfect. We’re shutting down any airline luggage scale that doesn’t get it right.” –Jonathan Mintz, Dept. of Consumer Affairs (from the New York Post)

American Airlines responded that, it spends tens of thousands of dollars each year on scale calibration.

According to the Post, if you see a bright red “condemned” sticker on a scale, just be sure it doesn’t show your luggage as “overweight”.

United Airlines — Official Airline of White House Turkey?

November 25, 2008 | Posted in: Holiday Travel,United | 0 comments

Sometimes, it pays to be a turkey.

Like, the White House Turkey (actually, it’s turkeys — there are always two of them). After the President pardons them — they get to fly to Disneyland on United — in first class.

In fact, the birds and their entourage will take over the entire first class cabin — we should be so lucky.? So what are the birds going to do in Disneyland? Reporter Terry Maxon speculates that “The turkeys will be on display at Disneyland until, I presume, they pass away of excessive weight.”

Congratulations to United — yes, I suppose some honors are more, uh, dignified than others, but you take what you can get.

If Only Cars Could Fly: Next Time, Automakers to DRIVE to DC

November 25, 2008 | Posted in: Airline News,News | 1 comment

You know how much flak the heads of Detroit’s automakers got last week when they flew their private jets to Washington — to ask for a bailout.

Now, there is talk that they are going to go to D.C. for round-two – in a caravan of cars — fuel efficient cars.

I want to say to those execs, you know, there is a middle ground: instead of choosing between private luxury aircraft and automobiles — just check with FareCompare.com — for the best deals on the commercial airlines. Unfortunately, they didn?t ask me.

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