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Entries in Airplanes (10)

Friday
Feb082013

Tips for Saving Money on Airfare

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Looking for a deal on airfare?

A lot of people are wondering what the potential merger between American and US Airways would mean for their pocketbook. With this in mind, here are some tips on booking airfare you can follow that could save you money.

1. Book in Pairs 

When booking for a family or group, booking in pairs can help you avoid higher prices that many airlines charge for the convenience of sitting together.

2. Buy Your Tickets on Tuesday Afternoon

It turns out that airlines typically release their sale fares on Tuesdays at 3 p.m., making it a good time to secure those deals before they expire or are gobbled up by other sale-searching travelers.

3. Shop Around on Websites

When searching for the best prices on airfare, it is a good idea to look at multiple websites.  Hipmunk.com has an “agony tab” that combines price, duration and number of stops so you can determine how painful your upcoming trip will be.  Sign up at Yapta.com and it will send you alerts if the rate falls before you book.

4. Book Directly with the Airline

Airlines often pay a $10 to $15 commission on flights that are booked through a discount site.  Because of this, airlines often encourage customers to book through their official websites by offering incentives like promo codes and deals posted on their Twitter and Facebook accounts.  Most airlines don’t publicize this, but many will give you a refund if the price of your flight goes down after booking. You just have to call them.

5. Be Flexible with Your Dates

Being flexible with your travel dates and searching nearby airports could save you lots of money.  Choosing a flight out of an airport near your first choice for a day earlier or later could help keep more money in your wallet.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov092012

Discount Airline CEO Pondering 'Standing Room Only' Flights

John Foxx/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Ryanair, a no-frills airline based in Ireland that has already made headlines for contemplating pay toilets for its flights, has a new idea for the cost-conscious flier: standing room only flights.

According to the U.K. Telegraph, RyanAir CEO Micahel O'Leary says he could get flights down to a few bucks if he makes the plan a reality.

"If there ever was a crash on an aircraft, God forbid, a seatbelt won’t save you," he told the paper.

O'Leary commented, "The problem with aviation is that for 50 years it's been populated by people who think it's this wondrous sexual experience; that it's like James Bond and wonderful and we'll all be flying first class when really it's just a bloody bus with wings.  Most people just want to get from A to B.  You don't want to pay £500 for a flight."

The CEO explained the cheap flight plan wouldn't be dangerous.

"We're not talking about areas of huge turbulence around Europe," he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep262012

Airline Adds ‘No Kids’ Section

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- What do airlines -- and travelers, for that matter -- have against kids?  From in-flight nannies to possible fees for sitting together, it seems as if the airline industry is bent on making it harder for kids to fly.

Now, another Asian carrier has decided to add a no-kids section to its flights.  Low-cost airline AirAsia will ban children under 12 in rows 7-14, the rows directly behind the airline’s premium flat bed seats, “because we know that sometimes all you need is some peace and quiet for a more pleasant journey with us.”

According to the carrier’s website, no travelers with a person under 12 in their group will be able to book those seats.  Travelers without kids who wish to reserve the kid-free seats can do so at no extra cost on the carrier’s website.

The new section is called Quiet Zone.  According to AirAsia, it offers:

  • Minimal noise with less disturbance.
  • Seats near the front of the aircraft.
  • Ambiance with soft lighting.

Quiet Zone is bookable for travel February 2013 and on.  Passengers holding tickets for travel in February and beyond can reserve their seats now.

The airline’s seat map shows three spots on the aircraft reserved for baby bassinets.  One of those is immediately in front of the premium flat bed seats.

Malaysia airlines has reportedly banned kids in first class for years, thought there’s never been official word from the airline on the matter.  The airline did, however, recently create an adults-only seating section on the upper deck of aircraft on its London-Kuala Lumpur route.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug072012

Party’s Over for Entertaining on Corporate Jets, Says IRS

John Foxx/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Internal Revenue Service’s rules about corporate jets and non-business use, disallowing tax deductions for entertainment, are “overly burdensome,” said the National Business Aviation Association.

Scott O’Brien, senior manager of finance and tax policy of the National Business Aviation Association, said the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 introduced the rule but it wasn’t finalized until last week.

The IRS defines non-business use of aircraft as entertainment use, and though the rules are complicated, that can include transporting guests on an aircraft that is actually being used for business purposes.

“They can have you unfairly skew disallowance in the way they have you calculate this,” O’Brien said.

“If you have one entertainment-use flight with a lot of individuals, the way they look at it is the proportion of business to entertainment flights,” he said.

That would be a large disallowed deduction, “so the way the IRS set this all up is really unfair,” he added.

O’Brien said the National Business Aviation Association made about 10 suggestions which the IRS ignored, including a “primary purpose test.”

“If you have an airplane already flying on a business trip and it just so happens that some individuals come along for non-entertainment purpose, it’s not like it costs more for non-business passengers,” he said.  ”We felt like that goal was consistent with what Congress wanted in the law.”

“We think that the intent is to disallow the cost of entertainment for that flight, not for the full year,” O’Brien said.

Because the policy has already been in place for a number of years, O’Brien said he did not anticipate it would affect the aviation industry or individual businesses.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul312012

Air Travelers Prefer Relaxation to Work on Flights

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- A lot of people don’t like to leave business projects up in the air, so they’ll try to catch up on work while flying.

But that’s not how most airline passengers spend their time during trips, according to Chicago ground transportation company GO Airport Express.

In a survey of 640 people nationwide, 32 percent of travelers said their top activity on flights is reading for fun, and 14 percent of respondents say they enjoy sleeping.

Twelve percent will use their time flipping through business books and similar publications.  One in ten actually get down to doing work.

Surprisingly, only seven percent occupy themselves with in-flight movies.  Playing computer games, engaging strangers in conversation or doing nothing at all tied at two percent each.

Relaxing and pursuing leisure activities is clearly more important to airline passengers than doing work but GO Airport Express predicts that could flip as low-cost or free in-flight WiFi is offered by more carriers.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May162012

Virgin Atlantic Allows In-Flight Phone Calls

Virgin Atlantic(NEW YORK) -- The debate over using cellphones in flight is about to ignite once again.  But this time, it's not about safety.

Virgin Atlantic announced it will become the first British airline to provide passengers with a service to make and receive phone calls in the air.  The service is available on the Airbus A330-300s, the airline's new aircraft.  It's aimed at business travelers, but is available throughout the aircraft in all cabins.

The service, called AeroMobile, is available for customers with O2 and Vodafone network providers only.

The service "is intended for use in exceptional situations, when passengers need to send an SMS, make a quick call, or access an email on a Blackberry," said the airline.  It is also limited to six users at one time.

What's not clear is what constitutes an "exceptional circumstance."  Also, what exactly is a "quick" call?

And if more than six people need to make a "quick call" under "exceptional circumstances," who decides which six people get to do so?

While Virgin Atlantic may indeed be the first airline to offer this service, passengers have already demonstrated that it is possible to make in-flight calls from their cellphones without special technology.  Last week, the CEO of a company that developed an app that uses VoIP was escorted off a Delta flight for making a call in-flight.

And while most passengers haven't gone so far as to actually attempt a call, many are guilty of leaving their phone on during flight, whether intentionally or not.  In a recent Airfarewatchdog poll, 24 percent of respondents said they didn't always comply after the cabin door has been closed and a flight attendant has asked for electronic devices to be turned off.

The Federal Aviation Administration was reportedly taking a "fresh look" at its gadget policy in March and said, "As with any regulation, safety is always our top priority, and no changes will be made until we are certain they will not impact safety and security.  For some time, the FAA's rules have permitted an airline to allow passenger use of PEDs if the airline demonstrates the devices will not interfere with aircraft avionics.  The FAA is exploring ways to bring together all of the key stakeholders involved, but, ultimately, testing is the responsibility of each airline."

At the time, John Nance, aviation consultant and retired commercial airline pilot, said to ABC News: "There's absolutely no evidence that any electronics aboard airlines interfere or have interfered in any way."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan182012

Four US Airport Terminals Among Frommers' 10 Worst in the World

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Weary travelers stuck at New York's JFK airport or Chicago's Midway airport may be all too familiar with the drab surroundings and sketchy service during a delayed layover.

In what may be affirmation for some frequent fliers, Frommers.com has included four U.S. hubs in its list of the 10 worst airport terminals.

The list included the 10 best and worst terminals, basing the ranking on cleanliness, services, on-time departures, navigation and ease of travel to and from a city's center.

New York JFK's terminal 3, now used for Delta flights, was ranked as the worst in the world.  However, Delta said a renovation project to be completed by 2013 will transform the terminal into a modern facility.

"Terminal 3 is known for endless immigration lines in a dank basement, an utter lack of food and shopping options, three crowded and confusing entry points, and hallways that could have been designed by M.C Escher for vomiting international travelers out onto an underground sidewalk with no cabs available," Frommers.com said.  "There's also a sense that the cleaning crew gave up in despair a while ago."

While four of the 10 worst terminals are in the U.S., only one American terminal made it to the top 10 list of the best terminals: Jetblue Airway's Terminal 5 in New York's JFK Airport, which was number five.

The best airport terminal is Hajj Terminal at King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.  It is only open during the six-week Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Muslims traditionally must travel to Mecca at least once in their lifetime.

Here is Frommers.com's list of the 10 worst airport terminals in the world:

1. New York JFK Airport Terminal 3
2. Manila, Philippines Airport Terminal 1
3. Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport Terminal B/C
4. Nairobi, Kenya Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
5. Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport, Terminal 3
6. Amman, Jordan Queen Alia Airport
7. New York LaGuardia Airport Terminal 5
8. Terminal B at Newark Liberty International Airport
9. Paris' Beauvais Airport
10. Chicago Midway Airport

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Sep032011

New Airplane Boarding Strategy Increases Efficiency, Test Finds

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The final boarding call for anxious fliers may arrive sooner than expected thanks to a new boarding strategy.

A new test shows there’s a faster more efficient way to board planes than the conventional method.

BBC News reports that the latest theory, called the Steffen Method, fills the plane from the outside in—boarding passengers in all the windows first, then the middle seats and finally the aisle seats—resulting in a 40 percent gain in efficiency.

This practical method avoids the problematic blocking of seats and aisles in the boarding process, reducing passenger wait time.

The theory is named after American astrophysicist Jason Steffen who devised the theory in 2008 after getting stuck in an unnecessarily long line at the departure gate.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Aug272011

Hurricane Irene Causes Flight Cancellations, Train Disruptions

William Thomas Cain/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- As Hurricane Irene slammed into North Carolina this morning, commuters and travelers across the country are feeling its impact.

More than 8,300 commercial airline flights have already been canceled this weekend, and that number is expected to rise, according to the website Flightware.com.

All airports in the New York area—Newark, John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia—will stop accepting domestic and international arrival flights at noon Saturday.

Public transportation in New York City will stop running at noon, and airport officials do not want arriving passengers to be stranded at the airports.

Sam Schwartz, former commissioner for New York City's Department of Transportation said it will take eight hours to get all the trains and buses tucked safely away.

Philadelphia International Airport will shut down Saturday at 6 p.m.

Most airlines are now giving out travel waivers, meaning they will not charge any fees for flight changes.

But in many cases, you have to book your next flight within a short window.

In the central terminal at LaGuardia Airport, several passengers are stranded in the food court, trying to plot their next move. Many airport shops and restaurants may close at noon.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said it is ready for potential disruptions.

"Additional staff and contractor employees will be assisting customers as needed in every area of airport operations," said the Port Authority, and they will "stock hundreds of cases of bottled water, diapers, cots, blankets and pillows to provide to stranded passengers if necessary.

Under terms of the agency's concession contracts, at least one food vendor in every passenger terminal must remain open 24 hours so that food is available at any time of day or night."

Despite the fact that thousands of flights have been canceled, the departures area at LaGuardia was packed at 6 a.m. Saturday with people trying to get home before they get stranded.

Flights will continue to take off as weather permits.

Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority told ABC News Friday morning about 100 out of 400 flights have been canceled Saturday at RDU and it anticipates further disruptions for flights along the East Coast through Monday, Aug. 29.

How quickly airports can function after Irene will depend on more than clear skies. If the public transportation in New York is not running, many airport personnel may not be able to get to work.

President Obama cut his vacation short by one day, conferencing with his emergency response team, and warned citizens of the dangers of Hurricane Irene.

"I cannot stress this highly enough: If you are in the projected path of this hurricane, you have to take precautions now. Don't wait. Don't delay," Obama warned Friday morning from Martha's Vineyard, urging citizens to visit ready.gov if they are unsure how to prepare.

Amtrak canceled most trains traveling south of Washington, D.C. for Saturday and Sunday.

The railroad announced at 5:40 p.m. Friday it is canceling more East Coast trains with service reductions beginning on today and will not operate trains in the Northeast on Sunday.

Amtrak may make additional announcements as the storm travels north.

Most cruises set sail on weekends, so the ships that had already departed were clear of the storm by the time it made landfall, said Paul Motter, editor of CruiseMates.com.

However, all the major cruise lines have altered their schedules to some degree.

As of 10 a.m. Saturday, Carnival Cruise Lines announced changes to cruises departing this weekend to the Bahamas and Key West, updating guests and suggesting they continue checking the company website.

Carnival Pride has been directed by the U.S. Coast Guard to arrive early from the previous cruise and proceed to a secure, alternate location until the storm passes.

Celebrity Cruises Celebrity Summit did not depart Kings Wharf, Bermuda, Thursday at 6 p.m. Instead, the ship will remain in Bermuda until 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26. As of Friday morning, the cruise line anticipates the ship will arrive in Bayonne, New Jersey, on Aug. 29.

Holland America HAL's Veendam which left August 21 for a seven-day Bermuda Cruise, departed Bermuda at 5:00pm on Thursday, Aug. 25, and is scheduled to arrive in New York one day early on Saturday, ahead of the storm's anticipated arrival, as of 10 p.m. PDT Thursday.

Norwegian Cruise Line announced changes to the schedules of the Norwegian Jewel on Friday at 2 p.m. and asked travelers to check the companies website.

Royal Caribbean's "Explorer of the Seas" will depart Cape Liberty, Bayonne, N.J., on Saturday at 4 p.m., one hour earlier than originally scheduled.

On Friday at noon, it also cancelled the "Majesty of the Seas" call to CocoCay on Saturday and the "Monarch of the Seas" call to CocoCay on Sunday.

The safest location for a ship during a hurricane is at sea, well away from the storm. A ship should never be in port when a storm hits, because the vessel can be dashed against the pier and sustain damage, he said.

The biggest challenge comes when a hurricane makes landfall the same day that the ship is scheduled to be in its U.S. home port, Motter said. Cruise lines will usually opt to keep ships out to sea until "the coast is clear." The passengers get an extra day of "fun," although the seas may be rougher than usual.

Motter said the worst part of a hurricane during a cruise may be the airline reservation chaos passengers face when they disembark a day later than planned.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jul202011

American Airlines Places Biggest Jet Order Ever

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(FORT WORTH, Texas) -- American Airlines announced Wednesday it's expanding its fleet, buying a slew of new airplanes in what the company says is "the largest aircraft order in aviation history."

Starting in 2013, the carrier plans to buy at least 460 aircraft -- 200 from the Boeing 737 family and 260 from the Airbus A320 family.  These new, narrowbody airplanes will get better mileage and will save American Airlines in fuel and operating costs.

These new additions, the carrier says, "are expected to pave the way for American to have the youngest and most fuel-efficient fleet among its U.S. airline peers in approximately five years."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio