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Security Fees May Rise – You Cool with This? Angry? Resigned?

February 27, 2009 | Posted in: Airfare News,Passengers,Security | 4 comments

CNN has pointed out that the “security fee” of $2.50 per flight leg – with a maximum of $5 total per flight – will go up in 2012 if President Obama’s proposed budget goes forward.

No one’s saying how much it would go up, though.

Now, $2.50 isn’t much – they could double it, and it still wouldn’t be much. Or are you feeling nickel-and-dimed to death?

On the other hand, the fee has remained the same since it was first imposed – back in 2002. Thoughts?

United – Latest Airline to Go “Cashless” in Cabin

February 27, 2009 | Posted in: Ask Rick,United | 1 comment

Starting March 23, United will start accepting credit and debit cards for snacks and anything else you want to buy onboard.

This is for flights within the U.S., and flights to/from Canada, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Elsewhere, they’ll take cash or credit.

Cash-free is becoming all the rage – American is also switching to credit – joining Southwest, Frontier, JetBlue, AirTran, Midwest, Virgin America and Alaska.

Remember if you have a youngster traveling solo, make sure you pack some food for them.

And watch for more airlines to start parking in the no-cash zone.

Pay Toilets on Planes, Other Outrageous Comments from Ryanair’s CEO

February 27, 2009 | Posted in: Airline News,Ask Rick | 12 comments

Everyone is jumping on the latest outrageous comment from Ryanair’s always quotable CEO, Michael O’Leary. Here it is:

“One thing we have looked at in the past and are looking at again is the possibility of maybe putting a coin slot on the toilet door…”

His suggested price for pay toilets on planes? About a pound, or $1.42 for those of us in the states. Needless to say, I wasn’t surprised when ABC news came to me for a quote, and here’s what I said:

“I thought the nuclear option for air travel during the fuel crisis in 2008 was weighing each person as they boarded a flight – I was wrong. One can only hope O’Leary, who has been known to tweak a few journalists’ noses, had his tongue in his cheek.” - Rick Seaney, FareCompare

Tweak is right. I thought you might enjoy seeing a few of O’Leary’s other quotes – and here are some of the ones I can actually print.

“I swore when I hadn’t two shillings to rub together that if I ever got rich I wouldn’t give a f*** what people wrote about me in newspapers.” –Michael O’Leary

“I want to stuff it to BA.” –Michael O’Leary

“I’m probably just an obnoxious little bollocks. Who cares? The purpose is not to be loved. The purpose is to have the passengers on board.” –Michael O’Leary

Meanwhile, if O’Leary is serious about pay toilets – I suggest you stay away from the coffee and other drinks on board (and no, they’re not free either).

Thank-You Gifts from Southwest (and the Crime that uncovered them)

February 26, 2009 | Posted in: Ask Rick,Southwest | 0 comments

File this under, “Great Idea”.

Southwest apparently sets aside free tickets to be used as “thanks-you’s” to passengers who assist crew members by helping out with sick or injured passengers. Nice.

Unfortunately, probably most of us only learned of this as the result of a crime: two people (including a former Southwest administrative assistant) were sentenced to 2-and-a-half years last May for wire fraud in connection with a conspiracy to sell these tickets at a discount — and now ten others have been indicted on similar charges.

Don’t mess with Southwest. And – nice gesture, Southwest.

There are Cheap Flights to Orlando – And Deals for Hotels and More

February 26, 2009 | Posted in: Airline News,Destinations,Southwest | 0 comments

How does this sound? Stay in a hotel two nights, get the third night free.

Obviously, Orlando wants your business – and Florida’s Orlando County Convention and Visitors Bureaus has compiled a list of scores of offers like that – plus lists of free transportation, and free activities including art shows and fiestas – and of course, you can get into Disney World for free on your birthday.

Save even more: combine these offers with some of the latest cheap airfare sales from Southwest and AirTran.

Amazing, huh? That despite the economy, this could be one of your cheapest air travel vacations ever.

Could Cuba Travel Restrictions be Eased Soon?

February 26, 2009 | Posted in: Destinations | 17 comments

Do you have an urge to fly into Jose Marti International?

You just might be able to, soon – well, maybe. The situation: a little item in upcoming legislation expected to be signed soon, would allow Cuban-Americans more leeway in travel to Cuba to visit relatives – they could go more often, and spend more money.

And according to Associated Press analysts, “the move is probably a precursor to efforts later this year to ease a long-standing embargo and broader travel restrictions to Cuba.”

So what do you think – would you like to visit?

A hat tip to our friends at Jaunted for the heads up.

Attn. American Flight Attendants: More Furloughs Coming

February 26, 2009 | Posted in: Airline News,Flight Attendants | 0 comments

More furloughs coming for American Airlines flight attendants – unless there are enough volunteers for early retirement.

If there are no volunteers, says the Dallas Morning News, more than 400 flight attendants will have to go. An American spokesperson said, this is not a result of the carrier cutting jobs or capacity – it’s because there was lower than normal attrition of late.

Flight attendants will hear about their fate beginning April 1st. An appropriate date, I suppose…

Airfare Sales — Not quite an Apocalypse Now

February 25, 2009 | Posted in: Airfare News,Airline News,Southwest | 2 comments

As I reviewed Tuesdays airfare filing activity, a vivid image popped into my head: it was Robert Duvall in a large Air Calvary Stetson, with helicopters beating and flak all around, saying:

“I love the smell of an airfare sale in the morning!”

Yes, what is not to love! Both Southwest and AirTran (unbeknownst to each other) launched simultaneous airfare sales yesterday (Tuesday) for travel into the summer and beyond (AirTran’s sale actually goes into November).

Your favorite flights are now on sale and the one thing you can depend on with airlines in this recession — no one is going to be undercut. All day long, the legacy airlines have been firing out waves of matching airfares.

Here are the highlights from Tuesday’s 10am, 12:30pm and 8pm airfare domestic airfare distributions:

United Airlines

  • Matched 7,000 city pairs with new lows (AirTran Airfare Sale) at 10:00am and 12:30pm
  • Raised prices on Canadian cities they jockey for position (be careful out there, prices to Canada have been swinging $200 up and down for the past week, don’t get caught on that high side)

Airfare Sales — Not quite an Apocalypse Now

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