I don’t have to tell you about the difficult situation in Cairo and other areas of Egypt; it’s all over the news.
If you have family or friends there in need of assistance, please go to Travel.State.Gov, which is the U.S. State Department’s website – and see further contact information below.
The U.S. government has begun flying travelers out of Cairo today, January 31 – see these FAQ’s for more on these emergency flights. You must let the embassy know you want a place on these flights, which for now, have been departing from Cairo International Airport’s HAJ Terminal 4. Priority is given to those with medical problems.
Contact the U.S. State Dept.
Here is how to get in touch with U.S. government officials monitoring the situation in Egypt:
Travelers in Egypt
Contact or go in person to the U.S. Embassy in Cairo (if it seems safe to get there):
The Embassy of the United States of America – Cairo
5 Tawfik Diab Street
Garden City, Cairo
Telephone: (20-2) 2797 3300, Fax: (20-2) 2797 3200
From Travel.State.Gov: U.S. citizens in Egypt are encouraged to enroll in the Smart Travelers Enrollment Program (STEP) at the following website: https://travelregistration.state.gov. U.S. citizens without internet access may enroll directly at the U.S. Embassy. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency.
The pilots who fly the planes for Spirit Airlines have gone on strike, and the carrier has canceled all flights for June 12 and June 13. It is not clear yet if more cancelations are coming.
Initially, when the airline strike was looming, a Spirit spokeswoman indicated to us that the low cost carrier would keep flying, but at the moment, that’s not the case.
If you were scheduled to fly today, you have a 3 options:
- 1. You can receive a credit for the full amount of your flight (valid for a year) plus a $100 “future flight credit”
2. You can receive a full refund by calling 1-800-772-7117
3. If you made your reservations before May 11 and purchased the airline’s insurance, call Travel Guard at 1-866-877-3191
The above information is on the Spirit Airline website, and it only refers to today’s flights; however, in an interview with the Wall St. Journal today, Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza indicated “his goal is to get the airline flying again as soon as possible, but he said he couldn’t say at this point what will happen.”
Keep checking back with Spirit Airlines.
Shepard Smith of Fox News introduced me as the CEO of FareCompare – he then helpfully explained that FareCompare.com is the ” place where we go to sort of look at what everything’s costing”.
Everything airfare, that is.
And as I told Shep in our live interview yesterday, we are definitely seeing airfare prices trending downward to the New Orleans area – recently, airline ticket prices were down about 20%, whereas they are up about 20% everywhere else (compared to last year’s historic lows).
Shepard Smith says he’s hearing from people in Destin and Panama Beach who depend on tourism, saying “We’re hurting”. I believe it, and depending on the fluid situation with that gulf oil spill, we could see more discounting on the way.
Look here for the interview or just click on the picture above (it’s not very long).
I decided to take a look at that terrible oil spill in the gulf, and see how it’s affecting airline ticket prices.
So far – and you’ll see this clearly on the airfare price charts I created – it hasn’t had much affect on flights to New Orleans (but you sure can see how much prices have risen since last year).
Later this week, I plan to investigate other gulf cities, and the airline ticket pricing situation there – and see if we’re starting to see some real change.
If any of you have (or had) plans to visit the region – perhaps a vacation on the beach in Panama City, Florida – let us know if you’re going ahead with your plans, or if you are starting to think about looking elsewhere.
Just a brief heads up:
As you know, these are tough times in Greece – and massive shutdowns are occurring, including at the Athens airport – and even tourist attractions like the Acropolis.
I have some updated information for you and links on where to get more – in a new report called, “Attention: Passengers Traveling to Athens, Greece”.
I know – it seems like we put those terrible days behind us, but Mother Nature has a habit of turning our expectations on end, doesn’t she?
In other words, the ash is back.
To a much lesser extent, to be sure, but it was out there today, and airports in Ireland and Britain had to cancel some flights.
I’ve got more on this ongoing phenomenon – plus tips on dealing with canceled or delayed flight due to ash, snow, thunderstorms or even your own late start.
Going to Europe this summer? Be sure to take a look.
United CEO Glenn Tilton and Continental CEO Jeff Smisek – the latter will run the new “world’s largest airline” which will go by the name “United” – told analysts and media this morning that this is “a merger of equals” and went on the paint a rosy scenario that will conclude with an okay from Dept. of Justice.
As for equality, the execs said, United is strong where Continental is weak, and Continental is strong where United is weak.
As for airfare prices, both men called the merger “profoundly pro-competitive” and said airfare increases were not built into their estimates of the benefits of synergies; Smisek added, “When I lie awake at night worrying about the competition, I don’t worry about United” because of the lack of route overlap.
The execs however also noted that the new United will be responsive to market demand as always, and will price their product “appropriately”. Smisek noted, “This is a brutally competitive industry” but told his audience that airlines don’t set airfares – the market place does.
Smisek admitted the merger will create some pain: although Houston (Continental’s headquarters) will be “the largest hub of the world’s largest airline” and there won’t be widespread layoffs, some people will lose their jobs in both Houston and Chicago (United’s headquarters) as they eliminate duplicative functions but they said they will try to manage the process at least partly through attrition and voluntary severance.
There was some banter with reporters about an earlier United suitor; yes, said UA’s Tilton, talks with US Airways were “very serious”, though at one point Continental’s Smisek joked that his carrier ultimately had an edge because, “I’m prettier.” A reporter later suggested, when a movie version of the merger is made, Smisek’s role could be played by Jennifer Aniston.
UPDATE: Sorry, webcast should be on site soon – investors, media gets first listen.
Yes, the merger is official.
And be sure to catch all the details on this morning’s webcast which starts at 8:30am EDT - see United CEO Glen Tilton and Continental CEO Jeff Smisek talk about their new agreement. Again, as of this moment, the webcast* begins in less than a half-an-hour.
And throughout the day, I’ll be on a variety of news programs, offering my views on the merger.
*The webcast can be viewed at this link: http://www.unitedcontinentalmerger.com/ and it can also be accessed via either airline’s website.