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Entries in Flights (17)

Friday
Feb082013

Thousands of Flights Grounded Ahead of Northeast Blizzard

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The 2013 winter storm expected to pound areas of the Northeast with as much as two feet of snow this weekend is snarling travel in the Northeast.

As of early Friday evening, 4,740 U.S. flights had been cancelled through Saturday, according to flight tracking service FlightAware. There are about 30,000 commercial flights per day nationwide.

That number may increase Saturday and into Sunday as the extent of the clean up is not yet known.

Operations have all but ceased at the three New York-area airports. The same is true for the New England airports, including Boston Logan. Flights may resume at the New York and New England airports by 3 p.m. Saturday.

Leading the way in cancellations is Newark airport, with 695 flight cancellations so far. United Airlines leads the way in cancellations by airline, with 475 flights scrapped for the storm.

Amtrak has announced it will suspend rail service in the Northeast as of Friday afternoon. Southbound service out of Boston will end at about 2 p.m. Northbound service from New York City will end at 1 p.m.

Greyhound has delayed and cancelled routes from as far south as New York City to as far north as Montreal, Canada. Popular discount bus company Bolt Bus has cancelled operations on Friday between Boston and New York and Boston and Philadelphia. Megabus has also cancelled many Northeast routes.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Dec292012

New Hampshire Airport Offers Holiday Travelers $12 Flights to Boston, NYC

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LEBANON, N.H.) -- Just in time for the end of the busy holiday season, Cape Air and a regional airport in New Hampshire are promoting flights to Boston and New York for $12.

In attempt to qualify for federal grant money by flying out at least 10,000 passengers this year, the airport and Cape Air, its only airline, are offering holiday travelers the last-minute steal of a deal – $12 each way.

“We’re basically sold out,” said Trish Lorino, director of marketing and public relations for Cape Air. “That’s the highest number of enplanements for Lebanon Airport in quite a long time.”

The promotion, introduced on Christmas Eve, is an attempt to reach 10,000 enplanements – a term to describe people flying out of an airport - for Lebanon Airport, a small, regional airport in the upper valley of New Hampshire. Once the airport hits the 10,000 mark, the FAA will give $1 million in grant money to help fund projects for the community airport.

“The typical projects would be safety, runway and taxiway projects, and equipment purchases,” said Rick Dyment, manager of Lebanon Airport. “We would be able to improve the city’s airport with these funds.”

With the last-minute push to entice holiday travelers, Cape Air expects to hit that 10,000 level within the next day or so.

“By us [Cape Air] lowering that fare, it was our attempt to support the airport and get them to the 10,000 enplanement level,” said Lorino. “The timing was ideal because it was a holiday week and people had flexibility and the freedom to travel.”

Prior to the economy-friendly offer, a round-trip flight from Lebanon Airport to Boston’s Logan Airport would cost travelers an average of $130. One-way flights to Westchester County Airport in White Plains, N.Y., would cost flyers $160.

The $12 fare reflects the fees and taxes on the individual flights.

Upon landing in White Plains,  passengers are offered ground transportation to 35th Street and 8th Avenue in midtown Manhattan – a service that’s included in the $12 fee. Free parking at the New Hampshire airport is also available.

“The total time from Lebanon Airport to midtown Manhattan is two and a half hours,” said Dyment.

“You can fly from Lebanon Airport to Boston in 55 minutes and then connect to other airlines in Boston.”

But the deal won’t last long. Cape Air’s offer is only good through the end of the year.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov072012

Nor'easter Forces 1,500 Flight Cancellations

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- For the second time in as many weeks, airlines are cancelling large numbers of flights. First, it was superstorm Sandy. Now, a nor'easter.

By Wednesday morning, the approaching storm caused more than 1,500 flight cancellations for Wednesday and Thursday, according to FlightAware. So far, there are 1,199 flights canceled for Wednesday and an additional 313 canceled on Thursday.

The majority of those are at the three major New York City airports: Newark, LaGuardia, and John F. Kennedy. Newark has 246 cancellations on outbound flights Wednesday and LaGuardia and JFK have 127 and 94 cancellations respectively.

There are also over 500 flights cancelled from other U.S. airports to New York City.

As has become the norm for the airlines, many are waiving change and cancellation fees. As of Wednesday morning, United Airlines, Delta, US Airways, American Airlines, JetBlue and Southwest had all updated their flexible travel policies to include considerations for the expected storm.

Some airlines were just returning to normal operations after Sandy. The superstorm resulted in the cancellation of more than 20,000 flights.

Travelers are encouraged to take advantage of flexible travel policies and reschedule flights for a later date. Those who do so early will have more choices in terms of available seats on preferred flights.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug292012

JetBlue Offers $299 Unlimited Flights for Pets

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Frequent fliers by the name of Fido, your time has come.

This fall, JetBlue will offer unlimited flights for cats and dogs accompanied by their owners for $299.

The "All Your Pet Can Jet" pass allows the purchaser to add one pet to an unlimited number of JetBlue flight bookings for travel between Sept. 7 and Dec. 31, 2012, without paying the JetBlue standard pet fee. There are no blackout dates -- good news for those traveling over the holidays.

The pass allows pets to travel everywhere the carrier flies with the exception of Jamaica, St. Lucia and Barbados.

The All Your Pet Can Jet pass went on sale Wednesday and will be on sale through Sept. 5, 2012 or "while supplies last." The carrier did not specify how many passes will be on sale.

Holding a pass does not guarantee your pet will get on the flight. The carrier allows only four pets per flight. The combined weight of the pet and carrier can't exceed 20 pounds, and the carrier must fit under the seat in front of you.

The fee for having a pet fly is typically $100 on one-way trips and $200 on roundtrip flights. Passes can't be shared among travelers, but the pass holder may take different pets on multiple flights.

Also on sale Wednesday -- for humans -- is the JetBlue Go Pack. It allows people to pay one fare -- between $699 and $2,499, plus tax -- for 10 roundtrip tickets among airports in Boston, New York, Long Beach, Calif., and San Juan, P.R.

The Go Pack is available for purchase now through Sept. 6 for travel through Dec. 19. Unlike the All Your Pet Can Jet pass, there are blackout dates -- Nov. 20-26, 2012.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Aug032012

Is an Adults-Only Flight Worth the Money?

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  What is it, exactly, that the traveling public seems to have against kids? After all, we were all kids at some point. But in the latest online, unscientific survey on whether people would pay extra for adult-only flights, one-third responded they would.

The latest stat comes from TripAdvisor UK, and was a survey of 2,000 Brits. But the results closely reflect a recent survey by ABC News (also online and unscientific). One-third said they would be willing to shell out money for a flight guaranteed to be free of children.

Kids are such a problem in flight, it seems, that an entire company has been created to help keep them quiet. NannyintheClouds.com was created to help flying parents keep their kids in check while in-flight.

But the question no one seems to be asking: Exactly how much would a person be willing to pay? How much is the guarantee worth? Now this is something airline executives would want to know. If they believed there was actually a market for this service, they would find a way to monetize it.

Only one airline, Malaysia Airlines, has a child-free seating zone, and it's just on one route, from Kuala Lumpur to London. And they don't charge for it.  Families who are traveling with children under 12 are automatically directed to seats in the lower all-economy deck.

While many appreciate a quiet flying environment, it's easy to opt for pay for kid-free flights when asked in a survey. One could bet, however, that the number of people who actually would pay for the service, if it were even offered, would come in at far less than 30 percent.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May302012

Cheapest and Most Expensive Weekends for Summer Travel

John Foxx/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Hotel prices are up.  Airfare is up.  So how can you beat higher prices and still travel this summer?

It's simple: just know when and when not to fly.

Online travel agency Travelocity analyzed two years of booking data for ABC News to find out which weekends were the cheapest -- and most expensive -- to fly.

The most expensive weekend of the summer to travel is coming up on June 1-3, likely due to Memorial Day weekend travelers who turned the extra day off into a longer vacation, said Courtney Scott, senior editor for Travelocity.

"Many travelers take advantage of their three-day Memorial Day weekend and turn it into an extended vacation, making this week into next weekend popular travel periods, which could account for a rise in fares," she said.

The average round-trip airfare for both domestic and international flights is $661 for the upcoming weekend, $63 higher than the cheapest weekend of the summer to fly: August 24-26.

That's good news for travelers who haven't booked summer vacations yet.  The weekend before Labor Day weekend, which this year falls on August 24-26, is historically the cheapest of the summer for airfare, at $598 round-trip.

"There's a dip in prices in late August as kids are busy getting ready to go back to school and many schools in the South are already in session.  Labor Day we'll see a spike in fares again as families work in one more getaway before the school season is in full swing," said Scott.

So what about those families who can't travel on August 24-26?  There are still some weekends that are better than others.  The cheapest weekend in June is 22-24 and the cheapest in July is 20-22.

Not surprisingly, the weekends sandwiching the Fourth of July -- a Wednesday this year -- are some of the priciest of the summer. 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
May072012

Unlimited Travel: Deals Too Costly for Airlines?

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- American Airlines' "unlimited" first-class travel program offered an "all-you-can-fly" lifestyle to 66 AAirpass holders, some of whom lived it up so much that American had to stop the program, igniting a rash of lawsuits. But that's not stopping other airlines from extending unlimited flying offers.

Steven Rothstein was treated like royalty after he bought unlimited first-class travel for two with American Airlines in 1987 for $250,000. But after the airline realized it was losing more than $1 million from Rothstein alone, not to mention the other 65 pass holders, the company revoked his AAirpass, spurring ongoing litigation about whether he and others abused the system or if American Airlines just made a bad business bet.

In 1990, American Airlines raised the price of an unlimited AAirpass with companion to $600,000, the Los Angeles Times reported. In 1993, it was bumped to $1.01 million. The next year, American Airlines stopped selling unlimited lifetime passes altogether.

Rothstein, 61, has accumulated more than 30 million miles. In July 2004, he flew 18 times, visiting cities as far as Nova Scotia, New York, Miami and London, "some of them several times over," the Los Angeles Times reported. The airline claims he sometimes picked out strangers at the airport and gave them surprise first-class upgrades with his companion pass, including a woman he just met in New Delhi for a trip to Chicago, valued at nearly $7,500, the newspaper reported.

A spokesman for American Airlines said the company did not cancel the AAirpass product, though it did discontinue selling the lifetime AAirpass.

American Airlines offers one AAirpass product in the market today, which provides pre-paid, unrestricted travel at a fixed rate.

"Lifetime" offers from airlines or any business are rare these days, as companies run the risk of losing money from customers, now with a life expectancy of 78.5 years in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control, who may be savvy with arbitrage opportunities. Or, customers may have to fight back for their unlimited offer, as one California Bank of America customer successfully did last month after a number of bank acquisitions took place.

Instead, airlines are offering flexible flying within a finite period of time, like months or a year.

Rick Seaney, CEO of FareCompare.com, said there have been offers in the past that were "somewhat unlimited" in nature.

"These programs were not large enough to make much of a dent when stacked up against rising fuel costs," Seaney said. "Couple that with fewer folks at the airlines and they likely got the chop along with a pack of other programs."

JetBlue has offered "Go Pack" packages between specific locations, such as Los Angeles and San Francisco, for 10, 20 or 30 one-way trips unil May 23. Those packages range from $899 to $2099 plus tax. JetBlue is also offering a "Go Pack" for 10 trips between Boston and Washington, D.C. until June 27 for $699 plus taxes.

JetBlue has offered unlimited flying deals for the past three years in the fall -- when the travel season tends to die down -- the "BluePass" last year in Boston and Long Beach and its predecessor, the more liberal "All You Can Jet" pass, which offered unlimited travel among its destinations for about a month. A company spokeswoman said JetBlue cannot comment on future plans, which is considered illegal price signaling.

Alaska Airlines Air Pass program is another "flexible" flying deal which is designed for passengers originating travel outside the U.S. to budget their trip to see multiple destinations.

It's "a popular program for overseas travelers connecting in the U.S. and wanting to see several destinations," said an airline spokeswoman. The prices vary by market or "zone," as described in an Alaska Airlines brochure.

The program is often used by overseas tour companies who market tours to the U.S. and the advance fares allow them to offer a price, and market the tours.

"Individual travelers also use the fares to make it easy to visit multiple destinations in the U.S. as the Air Pass coupons allow more flexibility than published air fares," Marianne Lindsey, an Alaska Airlines spokeswoman, said.

Reservations are required on a predetermined routing, there are some blackout dates, and the travel must be booked ahead of time.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr272012

Coming Soon: Just Tweet ‘Buy’ to Purchase Flight

TweetAFlight(NEW YORK) -- Ever see an airline sale advertised on Twitter? Tweeting about last-minute deals is a great way for airlines to move unsold seats. Here’s a recent deal tweeted by an airline:

“Boston to Dallas flights from $99 one-way!”

Well that sounds pretty good. What happens next? By clicking on the link, you are taken to a page that allows you to buy the airfare on jetblue.com, of course.

But maybe something happens along the way. The page takes more than a second to load and you get distracted. You get caught up writing an email to your boss and forget about the sale. You remember and go back, but the seats are gone. Or, you get on the correct page and it’s not immediately clear how to purchase. And you never do buy those $99 tickets to Dallas.

You’re not alone. Nearly 40 percent of potential buyers get lost in the conversion from Twitter to website, said Steven Frischling, founder of the Travel Strategist, which specializes in the research, development and implementation of social media strategy for airline, aerospace and travel companies.

So what’s the solution? It may be TweetAFlight.

TweetAFlight, Frischling said, allows consumers to simply tweet the word “buy” in response to a tweeted airline sale and the transaction is complete.

That may be good news for those among us who are easily distracted -- which, if you use Twitter, you are. The average attention span of a Twitter user is 2.8 seconds, said Frischling.

How does it work? The technology of TweetAFlight relies on not only Twitter, but Chirpify and PayPal to complete the transaction.  Potential buyers must have accounts with both. Then:

  1. See an airline tweet a route and sale fare.
  2. Tweet “Buy.”
  3. An email is sent to the purchaser using the address provided to Chirpify. An additional confirmation is sent by PayPal to confirm the transaction.

Done.

TweetAFlight, according to Frischling, is getting close to becoming a traveler’s reality. The technology is well in place, and he says  the company is in the final stages of talks with two major airlines. He estimates consumers will be using TweetAFlight this summer.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb282012

Airlines Raise Fares: Four Ways to Beat Higher Prices

Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Airlines raised fares last week for the third time this year.

The price hike, $4 to $10 on most round-trip flights, was led by United and quickly matched by many other carriers.  The lower fare hike applies to shorter routes, the higher to longer routes.

While not every fare hike sticks -- airlines tried to raise fares 22 times last year and succeeded only nine times -- there’s not much that can be done to keep airlines from trying.  They raise fares because they’re secure in their belief that people will still fly despite fare hikes.  But when faced with a plethora of unsold seats, airlines drop prices.

In the meantime, people still need to take their business trips, vacations and visit family and friends.  So, here are four strategies you can use to get the best possible airfare:

1. It’s not so much when you book as when you fly.

For as long as there have been travel experts sharing travel tips, you’ve heard that booking early is the key to getting a great deal.  A  recent study found the best time to buy is six weeks in advance.  And while booking as soon as you know your plans is important, how far in advance you book may not be as important as when you fly.  Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays tend to be the least-traveled days of the week and are therefore the cheapest days to book.  Even incorporating just one of these days into your flight plans brings down the cost of the trip.

2. Nearby airports are your friend.

Sometimes referred to as “alternate airports,” they are a reasonable drive from your preferred airport.  Now, reasonable means different things to different people, so know exactly how far the alternate airport is from your destination and the costs associated with getting there (gas for rental car, charter bus, public transportation, etc.).

3. Connections are almost always cheaper.

No one wants to hear it, but connecting flights are often far cheaper than direct flights.  Why?  Because they’re less desirable.  But proceed with caution here -- unless the money saved is significant, it may not be worth your while.  Every flight you add to your itinerary increases the odds of something going wrong -- delays, lost bags, etc.

4. Early-morning flights are often less expensive.


Again, this has to do with the desirability of the flight.  If it leaves at 6 a.m., you have to be there by 5 a.m. at the latest.  Say you’re a 45-minute drive from the airport, you need to leave home by 4 a.m. if you need time to park.  That means you’re up at 3:30 if it’s just you and far earlier if you have kids to get ready.  So a 6 a.m. flight very quickly becomes a 3 a.m. wake-up call.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb142012

Join the Mile-High Club at a Bargain Price

Comstock/Thinkstock(CINCINNATI) -- Flamingo Air is in the business of offering sightseeing tours, but it’s probably safe to say that many of its customers never snap a pic, tweet their plans or even get a good look at the sights. And hopefully, they never post their photos on Facebook after their tour.

That’s because the Cincinnati-based airline isn’t offering your run-of-the-mill-see-the-sights-of-Cincinnati-from-the-air flight. No, no, no. Nearly half of Flamingo Air’s business, according to ABC affiliate station WCPO, comes from people looking to join the so-called “Mile High Club.”  Anyone can join, as long as they have a free hour and $425.

“I have had a high heel in my ear once, been shot in the back of the head with a champagne cork, and thank God we wear headsets,” Dave MacDonald, co-president of Flamingo Air and pilot of many of the flights, told WCPO.  The airline tries to play up romance during the flights by supplying champagne and chocolates, but what goes on behind the pilot’s curtain is none of his business.

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Guys, if you’re hoping for a flight on Flamingo as a last-minute Valentine’s Day gift, you may be in luck: Co-president (and MacDonald’s wife) Sharon McGee estimates 90 percent of the flights are booked by women. It’s unclear if McGee and MacDonald are members themselves.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio