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Jacksonville Airport Donates Shrubs for Hungry Zoo Animals

March 31, 2010 | Posted in: Airfare News,Pets | 0 comments

jacksonville airport zoo animals

Here’s an airport story you don’t see every day.

It seems the facility in Jacksonville, Florida has a lot of left over greenery – including tree clippings, shrubs and such – from their regular gardening maintenance.

At the same time, the Jacksonville Zoo was looking for more “natural vegetation” to perk up the diets of their big mammals.

Light bulbs go off – and, voila – a partnership is born.

Now the giraffes, elephants, okapis and big apes are happily eating their greens – allowing mothers to point to them as fine role models for their candy-swilling tots.

I love a happy ending, don’t you? Hat tip to Harriet Baskas at Stuck at the Airport.

Rick on TV: When to Get Cheap Airfare, TSA Scans and Row 13

Thought I’d share a segment I did this week for WFAA’s “Good Morning Texas” – it’s a mixed bag of tips and tricks and maybe you’ll find it helpful.

Don’t worry, it lasts less than 5 minutes:

Airline Passengers: Our Unsung Security Heroes

passenger airline security heroes

This “heroism” idea occurred to me after reading yet another tale of a passenger creating a disturbance aboard a plane.

In this case, a United Airlines flight was heading from San Francisco to Washington Monday – until the captain detoured to Omaha after a woman allegedly screaming about terrorists pushed her way to the front of the plane.

She was quickly subdued by two passengers.

Everything changed for travelers after 9/11 – passivity, it seems, is no longer an option for many who bravely act as a sort of “last line of defense” for their aircraft’s security – and their own – without being asked, without any drama, and without any expectation of thanks.

We saw it with the alleged Christmas Day bombing attempt when a handful of passengers literally helped to save the day – we saw it on this week’s United flight – and I’m sure we’ll see it again and again.

In the meantime, to all those selfless passengers – thank you.

Save the Endangered Airplane Animals – Frontier’s Wildlife

March 31, 2010 | Posted in: ABC Column,Airfare News,Airline News,Pets | 2 comments

In my latest weekly column for ABCNews.com, I tackle the weighty issue of what might happen to Frontier Airlines animals if owner Republic decides to revamp branding.

I’m talking about those wildlife photos that grace the tails of Frontier’s aircraft: you know, Larry the Lynx, Rudy the Raccoon, Grizwald the Bear and more (yes, those are their names – it says so right on Frontier’s website).

If you read the column, here are a few things you’ll learn:

  • Qantas’ kangaroo once had wings
  • Three “animals” made the list of Top Advertising Icons of the Century: Tony the Tiger, the Energizer Bunny, and Elsie the Cow
  • A film parody shows “Hitler” ranting in support of Frontier’s wildlife: “Griz is going to tear someone a new one!”

Here’s how I end the column:

“For Flip and his associates, I hope it all works out. Otherwise, they’ll be headed to the Old Icons Retirement Home, where they can sit on the porch with Speedy Alka-Seltzer, the Frito Bandito, Mr. Whipple, and the Taco Bell Chihuahua – and reminisce about the days gone by.” –Rick Seaney, ABCNews.com, 3-31-10

Cheap Tickets to Warren Buffet’s Shindig? Yes

March 31, 2010 | Posted in: Airfare News,Deals,Pricing Activity | 0 comments

cheap tickets warren buffet

I was mentioned in a recent Bloomberg news article – which began by noting that a nonstop airline ticket from New York to Paris on the first weekend in May actually cost less than a nonstop to Omaha, Nebraska – the scene of Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder meeting.

You know, the event that some refer to as Warren Buffet’s “Woodstock for Capitalists”.

However, the picture the reporter painted was a little dark for me – so I’m going to give some advice:  if any of you financial wizards out there still want to go, but worry about the cost – here’s one of my Top Five Secrets to Finding Cheap Airfare:

Don’t fly nonstop.

Yes, even corporate titans might want to follow this rule because if you can endure even a single stop,  the hefty $1,422 economy nonstop fare cited in the article can easily turn into a very cheap one-stop flight from NY to Omaha for just $263 roundtrip total. And I just found that flight this morning (and the one below) on FareCompare’s When-to-Fly Flight Finder.

You say you must fly nonstop? Okay, here’s a cheap nonstop, NY to Omaha, for just $402 total.

In the article, I point out that when seats are selling out, prices go up – but apparently they didn’t all sell out; and the article does note that fares can and do change – boy, do they ever! And I’ll add that shopping starting on Tuesday afternoon is a smart thing to do – in fact, it’s one of my Cheap Airfare Secrets (because Tuesdays are when you often see a flurry of sales).

Of course, a lot of this will be moot for some BuffetFest participants – those arriving on their private jets.


Relax, Celebrities: Your Secret is Safe with American Airlines

March 30, 2010 | Posted in: Airfare News,Airline News,News,Passengers | 5 comments

celebrities secret american airlines

I saw a story today about actor Jim Belushi’s alleged “in-flight altercation” with an American Airlines flight attendant, but I think the real story is the discretion and good sense of the airline so as not to add to the drama – or acknowledge a celebrity customer.

The whole thing supposedly started, says TMZ, when a flight attendant tried to wake Belushi up as his LA to Las Vegas flight was coming in for a landing. Per the tabloid, the actor supposedly made a scene and Vegas cops were called but there were no arrests or anything like that.

And American, per another media outlet, wasn’t commenting because its “passenger privacy policy” prohibits that. In fact, they don’t even acknowledge Belushi was on that flight (nor will the carrier say if Sandra Bullock took an AA flight from Austin to LA this week, as some sites reported).

I suspect most airlines are similarly discreet – and that’s a good thing. Although it begs the question: how did TMZ hear about it?

Strike: British Airways has $250-an-hour Flight Attendants?

March 30, 2010 | Posted in: Airfare News,Europe,Flight Attendants,News,Pilots | 4 comments

british airways flight attendants

Guess who might be offering you a Diet Coke on your next British Airways flight? A pilot. Maybe.

While the strike continues (the latest segment ends tonight), the union representing striking cabin crew members accuses British Airways of using some of its pilots to fill in – and the union claims these subs get their regular salary which works out to about $250 an hour. Regular flight attendants with five years experience, says the union, make about $25 an hour.

Understandably, the union delights in pointing out the irony: the carrier is trying to save money by imposing a pay freeze on its cabin crews. All British Airways will say is, a “number of crew [are] reporting for duty”.

Meanwhile, both sides say they are open to further talks, but that’s sort of up in the air at this point (sorry).

I will note that British Airways is doing an excellent job at keeping its customers informed of all developments during this difficult time – its website is constantly updated with information about flights and options for fliers.

Latest Trend for Cheap Flights: Airfare Sale Extensions

trend cheap flights airfare sale extensions

This week, we’re seeing something a little bit different in the course of airfare sales: instead of an airline inaugurating a brand new sale with accompanying media splash, a number of them are very quietly simply extending existing sales.

For example: American had a great U.S. cities sale that was supposed to have expired last week – now, it’s been extended through April 1.

Virgin America has extended its sale, not once but twice – and now you can take advantage of their specials that begin at $49+ one-way through April 5.

We’re seeing the same thing with Delta’s very good prices to Europe for travel in April, May and June (I only wish these fares were good for later in the summer, as well) – the sales been extended through April 5.

Be sure to keep up with our Deals Blog – and we’ll keep you up on these latest trends.

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