Monthly Archives: November 2008

What to Do If You Have a Flight Scheduled to Mumbai

A quick note about what airlines are doing if you have a flight scheduled to Mumbai:

US carriers have resumed flights to Mumbai, but all are offering to re-accomodate if you have a flight in the next week or so.

Continental:  If you have travel between now and December 2nd, you can change the flight to depart any date before December 9th without incurring a fee.

Delta:  If you have travel scheduled between now and December 3rd, you can change the flight to depart by December 10th as long as you re-book by December 3rd.

American: If you have travel scheduled between now and December 4th, you can change you flight to depart any time before December 4th without a fee.

British Airways:  If you have a flight before December 3rd, you can rebook to a different city in India or change your flight date (they don’t have a restriction on when you can change the date of the ticket).

Air India:  You can change the date of travel to Mumbai without penalty.

Interesting that US carriers have such tight restrictions, but if their restrictions don’t meet your needs, I would certainly speak with a supervisor to see if they can be a bit flexible with your flight dates or cities (even if that means putting you on a partner airline).

OTR in the News

Quick Self-Serving Note:  Online Travel Review is quoted in the Wall Street Journal yesterday (here – bottom story) talking about the airline industry reaction to the attacks in Mumbai.

A Word of Thanks: A Spirit Airlines Review

As we head into Thanksgiving, I thought I would share a kind word about Spirit Airlines.  Spirit is the most maligned US carrier, with people frequently complaining about their service, their gruff CEO, their lack of customer care, their baggage fees, their planes, their routes, their this, their that.  Boo hoo, I say.

I flew Spirit 2 days ago (a $21 ticket in their “Big Front Seat” section), and let me say this: Spirit puts out a perfectly fine product.  The Big Front Seat is a bargain in most cases (and oddly enough, is sometimes cheaper than their coach product).  Roughly the width and pitch of domestic business class on every other airline, it’s cheaper than just about every other airline – a round trip ticket from New York to Ft. Lauderdale will set you back about $500.  Continental charges about $900 for roughly the same thing.  No, you won’t get food on the flight.  But I’ve never understood why people whined incessantly when there was food, and now complain when there isn’t.

Three times a week they offer ridiculous sale fares, with flights frequently around $50 round trip.  Yes, availability is limited (what do you expect for $50?), but I check all the time and I almost always manage to find those cheap fares available.  Sure, you have to pay $3 for water.  Big deal, considering it cost you more to take a taxi to the airport than it did to fly to Nassau.

When I flew Ryanair I found the same situation:  people’s complaints never ended, but the reality was this:  it was 95% the same as every other flight I’ve ever taken.  Except it was about 1/10th the price, and I had to buy a soda.

Spirit flies new planes to a bunch of warm weather destinations for very little money (if you catch a sale).  I think it’s time we all stopped complaining about it and take a moment at Thanksgiving to be thankful that I can fly from Detroit to Los Angeles for $29.  Save your complaining for every other airline that charges $279 for that route and makes you pay for your meal.

British Airways Offers $1996 Club World Tickets to London (and $3996 First Class Tickets)

British Airways is offering Club World tickets to London from New York for just $1996 round trip (plus about $250 in various taxes) if you book by December 1st for travel through March 22. Though it’s twice the price, the $3996 sale they’re offering on First Class tickets is actually a bigger deal, as I’m not sure I ever remember BA discounting First Class to that level. Of course, if you’re paying $4000 for a flight to London, I’m not sure the savings matters all that much to you.

Travelocity Will Soon Let You Compare Fares AND Fees All at Once

You may find it a bit annoying after you buy a ticket that once you figure in the various fees for checked bags, etc, your fare is actually far more than you thought. Well, Sabre, the travel agency technology company (known as a GDS, or Global Distribution System), has an answer with their new Attribute-Based Shopping tool. This will allow travel agencies (both online and offline) to allow a passenger to see a list of fees associated with a ticket, and choose which will apply to them. That will allow them to compare the real cost of each ticket.

What does this mean for you? Travelocity will have this tool implemented in 2009 (assuming all goes according to plan). This is actually a pretty tricky thing to handle on the back end, so they may actually have a competitive advantage while other sites catch up.

(Editor’s Note: Reader Mike points out correctly that this is likely a pre-cursor to American offering an Air Canada-like menu pricing structure, where the passenger picks out the services she wants. This new tool will allow for that…)

Frontier to Charge $75 for Same Day Standby (That’s an Improvement…)

Frontier Airlines announced that it will now charge $75 for same-day confirmed standby. This is an improvement over the old system, where you paid the difference in fare (ie, the Southwest Airlines policy), which was typically more than $75. Though it’s worse than the system most airlines used to have where you could just fly standby for free. If you’re a Frontier flyer, this is probably good news for you.

3 Night Air/Hotel Package to Hawaii: $349

Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays is offering a great deal we haven’t seen in ages: $349 gets you 3 nights in a hotel in Oahu plus a flight from San Francisco (January 12-26). Other islands are available as well, including Maui from $399.

Thanks, Frommers)

Delta Prepares to Shrink Further in 2009

Despite the recent announcements for new international routes, Delta is saying that 2009 is going to see a further decrease in passenger demand. They made a regulatory filing on Friday that suggests they will cut international and domestic capacity next year in expectation that customers will further curtail flying. Assuming they can get capacity out of the market, it’s not the end of the world for the airlines. Taking capacity out of the market cuts costs (obviously), but also allows them to keep fares up (a good thing). Expect similar announcements from the others soon.

Hold Off on that Crazy 150% Delta Bonus Promotion

Ugh…Sometimes when things seem too good to be true:

That Delta promo I mentioned last week where you earned a 150% bonus for partner activity is now showing up as not available.  (Flyertalk has a thread here).  The long and short is that depending on whom you speak to at Delta, either there is a technical glitch that is being worked on (I hope) or that they’ve decided Starwood transfers are not eligible, despite what it said in the Terms & Conditions (I hope not).  I’ll keep you posted as we learn more.

(Thanks – I guess – to View from the Wing)

US Airways Puts Elderly Tampa Passenger on Flight to Puerto Rico

An elderly passenger flying back from visiting an assisted living home in upstate New York did not get the living assistance she needed after a US Ariways flight attendant put her on a flight to San Juan. Which would’ve been fine, but she lives in Tampa. US Airways can’t explain exactly how that happened, but they put the woman up in a hotel and flew her first class back to Tampa.