02/6/12

American Airlines ceases JFK-Tokyo Route

American changes Japan Routes

American Airlines announced it will cease operations from New Yorks JFK airport to Tokyo’s Narita (NRT) airport.  American will resume travel into Tokyo’s Haneda Airport in June but will still have ticketing agreements with Japan Airlines between JFK and NRT Narita.  American had previously suspended service into Haneda (HND) due to the tsunami and earthquakes last year.

American Airlines recently filed for Chapter 11 and is working toward consolidating and realigning the airline to provide better service and cut costs.

 

02/5/12

Norovirus strikes again on Cruise Ship

The Norovirus has struck the Princess Cruise Lines

The Norovirus is to blame as more than 100 people to include crew, were struck with illness aboard the Ruby Red.  This is not the first illness to strike the Princess Cruise Lines as passengers aboard the Crown Princess also reported close to 100 cases.

The Norovirus can cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and cramping and according to Princess Cruise Lines, the two reports are not related. Currently the cabins and all public areas are being disinfected according to standard proceedures.

Learn more about this story from the Associated Press here.

02/4/12

FAA gets $64 BILLION dollar budget for next 4 years

Flying Friendlier Skies

 

FAA $64 Billion Dollar Budget

The FAA budget for the next four years has been approved for an astounding $64 Billion dollars. Although there are a number of FAA employees and operational costs for the Office of the FAA, the money is slated for an upgrade to the failing and antiquated trafficking system that handles flights across the US.

The upgrades and software integration should alleviate some of the common over-crowding in the sky and manage the on-time capabilities for flights, but only insofar as what is controlled by the FAA and air traffic controllers and not specifically by the airlines.

Improvements to airports and runways are typically handled by the Passenger Facility Fees collected depending on the airport you travel through and do not exceed $5.00 per location so those types of upgrades will still be handled by the individual airports and will not see funding from this budget.  John Croft expands on this in his article here.

With this kind of boost to the budget, the FAA will be working fast to get these upgrades installed which may create some delays and overall passenger discomfort depending on the work required and how each phase of the upgrades is handled.

02/3/12

TSA keeps loose change adding up to five figures

Spare some change Buddy?

 

Spare Change adds to TSA budget

Spare change left behind by travelers  in airport security bins adds up to hundreds of thousands of dollars of extra money.

So you’re in a hurry to get through airport security and get to your gate for that flight that’s just about to board, so instead of scooping up that change you have in the bin, you leave it behind.  Well, you’re not alone and in some major airports that change adds up to some pretty impressive numbers.

Found Money Windfall for TSA

 

According to an online article for NBC San Diego, a number of airports saw a five -figure amount left over the course of a year.

  • JFK New York’s International Airport   $46,918.06
  • LAX  California’s International Airport  $19,110.83
  • ATL Georgia’s International Airport  $16,523.83
  • SFO California’s International Airport $ 15,908.02
  • MIA Florida’s International Airport $15,844.83

You might be wondering where the money goes, well it all goes into the operational budget for TSA and is typically used for general maintenance or upkeep.

In this economic crunch time it’s a wonder that anyone would leave any money behind, but if it’s just a few cents it might not be worth your time and effort to collect it.  With this attitude the money left behind will continue to help TSA budgets, but they can’t count on the amount so they will continue to use it as long as we the travelers continue to leave it for them.

02/2/12

Delta Airlines 1 Day Atlanta or Detroit Sale

Delta's 1 Day Sale

Delta’s 1 Day Sale

Delta has a new sale going on to certain US cities but you have to purchase TODAY Feburary 2, or you won’t get the sale prices.

Here’s the low-down on what you need to know

  • Travel is from Atlanta, GA or Detroit, MI and select cities
  • Fare prices are EACH WAY based on a Roundtrip
  • Ticket must be purchased by February 2,  2012
  • Travel must be completed by May 16, 2012
  • 10 day advance purchase
  • Saturday night stay over
  • Blackout dates : April 4, April 11

Check out more cities and fares here.

For more sales and offers check the Cheap Flights page.

02/1/12

DOT New Goverment Regulations require all fees shown on tickets

New consumer protection from hidden airline fees

 

On January 26th, the Department of Transportation has enacted a new safety measure for airline consumers to protect them against “hidden fees” and taxes that often aren’t disclosed until the “purchase” button is pushed.  Now, when a flight is booked, the DOT mandate requires airlines to disclose the total cost.  An additional rule requires the airline to allow refunds and changes on non-refundable tickets for up to 24 hours for purchased tickets without a penalty as long as there are at least 7 days before the actual flight.

 

Spirit Fined

Spirit Airlines has recently been fined for not disclosing the total amount of ticket prices and has also added a warning sign to their online booking site that expresses the company’s distain for the new rules.  In addition they are now charging and additional $2 for each ticket and telling passengers it is for the “Department of Transportation Unintended Consequences Fee.” 

Spirit Airline’s obvious displeasure over the fining and the fees is also

gathering a number of angry responses from consumers.  A visit to the Spirit Airlines website now shows the popup has been toned down and appears on their heading instead and states “New Government Regulations require us to HIDE taxes in your fares.”  The wording implies the Government wrong-doing, when in fact the fees have always been present, just not shown.

This policy is causing waves and several airlines have been caught up in fines for not disclosing the full amount of the ticket – read about it here.  The cost to the additional fees charged by Spirit Airlines may become an industry standard but the ruling of this law may be in jeapordy as Rob Lovitt reports on Overhead Bin.

The FAA today received word they were granted the $63 billion dollar FAA budget that will give the agency the funds needed to update the failing airline traffic control system and maintain federal regulations. Joan Lowy has a great article listed here.

This year is proving to be an interesting year for the airline industry and there is no telling what will happen.  Stay informed and check out TravelNewsYouCanUse for more information.

02/1/12

Citibank taxes Airline Miles

How “Free” are your miles?

 

Citibank has recently sent out a new tax form for American Airline Frequent Flyer members who started accounts and were given miles as incentive.  The 1099 form was sent out and immediatly raised concerns for travelers.  Ben Mutzabaugh has an article about the issue here.

The miles were given as a “reward” for setting up an account and considered “money” for nothing, putting it into the catagory of taxable income.  Citibank has rated the miles with a value of 2.5 cents a mile which equals about $625 for the 25,000 miles it offered when opening an account.

IRS confusion over Citibank AA Frequent Flyer Miles

 

The IRS can’t seem to figure out the rules on this one either.  The confusion compounds when considering that Citibank considers the miles worth 2.5 cents but likely purchased them for much less.  Also, the incentive miles gained though purchases are not considered “income” by Citibank so why is one set of miles taxable and the other is not? 

David Lazarus of the LA Times has a great article detailing more of the issue and his contact with the IRS, be sure to read his article here.

02/1/12

The Rumor Mill – Delta to Acquire American Airlines? Or Maybe US Air?

Rumors of possible airline consolidation

 

Delta Airlines Merger

The travel industry is a-buzz with the rumors that a potential takeover might occur as Delta looks at American Airlines.  Delta is the second largest airline after previously taking over the failing Northwest airlines in 2008 and now it looks as if they have taken an interest in American Airlines.

On November 29th of 2011 American Airlines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy due in part to a loss of business travelers and Union negotiations.  The filing did not affect travelers but has put a strain on the daily business of one of the third largest US carrier.  The recent announcement that American Airlines plans to lay off and cut pensions will affect more than 81,000 workers world wide.

 

Monopoly?  Or is this the trend toward a global airline?

 

The possibility of a merger between Delta and American has some opposition as the merger will undeniably result in less opportunity, less competition, and higher prices for travelers.  Similarly a merger between Delta and US Airways would spell disaster for competition in the Northeast and many other locations where both airlines are currently competing for air dominance.

These rumors are still just that – rumors.  Delta has not made a formal statement about its future plans to acquire either airline, but the possibility that federal regulators would allow a merger is still on the table.

If you’re interested in learning more about these rumors and what the industry is saying then check out this article from MPR here and for more information on the American Airlines bankruptcy then read this great article from The Star-Telegram here. For information on the possible merger between US Air and Delta check this article here from Tulsa World News.

01/31/12

Mobile World Congress 2012 Barcelona Spain

Mobile World Congress 2012 Barcelona Spain  27 February – 1 March

 

World Mobile Congress 2012

This year’s Mobile World Congress will be one of the largest exhibition conferences this year.  With a chance to look at the newest in innovation for mobile phones an communications the opportunities to network and gain advantage in this field are immense.

If you haven’t purchased your airline tickets yet or set up your hotel reservations, time is running out.  At this time the congress has secured a majority of the open hotel rooms available and trying to find one on your own isn’t going to happen.  Outside travel agencies will receive a big goose egg when looking for hotel availability, but if you’re still looking for accommodations then you’ll need to check this link here.

The Mobile World Congress will include an exhibition, conferences, networking, training, and presentations of world brand products.  The event is not to be missed.  If you are looking for more information on this event be sure to check out the website to find the events you wish to attend.