Changes are coming to a couple of miles programs which will make some flyers smile while others may angrily denounce the changes on social media (wait, that’s already happening – see below).
How to find the best miles program for you
Miles No Longer Expire on JetBlue
JetBlue has just announced there will no longer be an expiration date on TrueBlue miles. As the carrier notes on its website, “The points you earn are yours to keep. No expiration. Period.”
The new policy was greeted with rapturous tweets. “Amazing news!” gushed one flyer, while others pointed out that the airline is on something of a roll.
It is indeed. In May, J.D. Power and Associates named JetBlue the number one low-cost carrier in the U.S., an honor it has earned for the past nine years. This week, the American Customer Satisfaction Index also ranked the New York-based airline number one among all U.S. airlines. The least-satisfying airline was United, and the changes just announced for its MileagePlus program probably aren’t going to help it rise in those ratings anytime soon.
Add to your miles with airport parking? ...
A 15-year-old girl attired in what appears to be dark leggings and a tank top covered by a big, long-sleeved flannel shirt (see the photo) said a TSA officer shamed her this week by urging her to, “Cover yourself!”
The girl’s outraged father, founder of Boing Boing, has since sent the story on its way to viral-dom.
5 easy ways to get thrown off a plane
Secret Dress Code for TSA, Airlines?
So what’s it all mean? Maybe nothing more than one TSA agent who had a bad day or dislikes the way kids dress or – who knows? FareCompare contacted TSA spokesman Nico Melendez for more information and he told us, “We regret that this passenger had an unpleasant experience and are in the process of thoroughly reviewing the circumstances.”
Yes but is there a secret dress code passengers don’t know about?
If so, it’s super-secret. There is nothing on the TSA site about clothing and as far as airline rules go, most only mention shoes – all passengers must wear them. One exception is Virgin America which notes humorously (maybe) that all of its ...
Some good news and bad news for the airlines in the latest edition of the respected American Customer Satisfaction Index. U.S. carriers are improving, say passengers, with an overall score 3% better than 2012′s ranking. Now if only they could catch up with McDonald’s.
Travel Quiz – how smart are you?
Airlines: Better than Cable (barely)
Unfortunately, that meant airlines had a ranking of just 69 out of 100, which put the industry well below satisfaction levels for Domino’s Pizza, McDonald’s, Taco Bell or even the U.S. Postal Service, health insurance and cell phone service. In fact, airlines as a whole ranked below every other industry with two exceptions: Cable or subscription TV and internet service. It tied for satisfaction levels with social media.
What Passengers Liked and Hated
There is a little more good news to report. Passengers say airlines do a good job of being on-time and they appreciate that it’s easy to make reservations and easy to check-in for a flight. What were the airlines worst at? According to the report, the comfort of the seats on today’s airlines is “awful.”
Happier Passengers ...
If you haven’t flown since last year’s vacation, there are changes you need to know about. They could save you money and they will save you time and aggravation.
5 summer travel problems (and quick fixes)
Airport security remains strict; you cannot carry more than 3.4 ounces of liquids through security checkpoints and most of us still have to remove jackets and shoes (the TSA website has a complete list of prohibited items), but some things are different.
Knife ban relaxed: Despite a lot of publicity, the TSA ultimately decided not to relax its knife ban to the extent of allowing small, pen knives on planes so be sure you do not carry any knives in pockets (it’s more common than you might think).
So-called naked photo machines gone: Those body scanners that showed a fair amount of anatomical detail are no longer in use in the nation’s airports. However, other scanners remain and you may be selected for this screening (the alternative is an enhanced pat-down).
Crowds: Forecasts say there will be a modest increase in the number of people flying this summer but ...
This week: Tales of ‘inconvenience’ – or the stuff of nightmares?
Thirst fee: More than 100 people on Tiger Airways were stuck on the plane at Melbourne for nearly three hours. Did they get any freebies for the inconvenience? They did not. Water was available but only for passengers who paid for it.
Flooded airport: Incessant heavy rains in New Delhi caused what airport authorities called “inconvenience” for passengers, but only if you consider it inconvenient to wade through knee deep water.
Asylum diversion: It’s now believed an apparent terrorist incident on the EgyptAir flight diverted to Scotland over the weekend was actually a ploy by five asylum-seeking Syrians. Authorities are still investigating but it’s pretty rare for a bad guy to leave a threatening note in which he helpfully jots down his seat number.
Powered by WPeMatico
An annoying trend continues: The latest member of the Rising Fees Club is ultra-discounter Allegiant Air.
See Allegiant passengers burst into song
Change Fee Rises to $150 Round-trip
The Las Vegas-based carrier is raising its change fee – the penalty you pay to cancel a flight or make any changes to a ticket – from $50 to $75 - or $150 round-trip. Until recently, that’s what the old boys network of airlines had been charging until American, Delta, United and US Airways all raised their change fees – to an even $200.
Allegiant charges for carry-on bags, too
Shorter Cancelation Period
There are more changes in stores for Allegiant flyers, though. The airline has had a fairly generous policy that allowed changes to be made to flights right up until 24 hours before departure, but beginning this fall, no changes will be allowed during the entire week before departure unless you pay the change fee – or pay for the airline’s Tripflex travel insurance.
Both these changes go into effect Oct. 30.
Singing a Different Song
Would those passenger stuck on Allegiant earlier this week still be singing “I Believe I ...
You might think it’d be impossible to add more seats to a plane, but that would be underestimating the airlines. As the Associated Press reports, American Airlines – now in the process of merging with US Airways – says via regulatory filings that it “expects to add more seats to some of its planes.”
What to Know about the American Merger
Adding More Seats to Cramped Cabins
For passengers in coach, this is not good news. But flyers should be used to this.
As FareCompare reported more than a year ago, Southwest began adding another six seats per plane – though the discount carrier claimed it wasn’t sacrificing passenger space because the new seats were thinner. Spirit Airlines, meanwhile, gets more seats per plane than most mainly thanks to what we’ve called its knee-crunching seat pitch of just 28 inches. The industry standard for seat pitch – the space between the back of your seat and the one in front of you – is roughly 31 inches. And yes, even a couple of inches does make a difference.
Legroom on Planes – The Real Story
Are Meal Changes Next?
If you’re looking for cheap flights to fun cities this summer, consider an off-peak destination.
What is Off-Peak?
Let’s compare some terms: Peak season is the time of year when a destination is most popular. A good example is the Rocky Mountains in winter with all its world-class ski resorts. Off-peak for these mountains is summer or fall (there’s still plenty of great skiing in the spring). So you won’t be playing in the snow in summer - there’s still plenty to do and see, and your airfare is significantly cheaper.
Best Off-Peak Cities and Attractions
Here are a few suggestions on where to go and what to see, but feel free to tell us what we’ve missed.
Click the city name to get started finding a cheap flight.
Florida: Yes, it’s hot but that’s why you’ll head for the beach in Ft. Lauderdale, Miami or Pensacola. Amusement parks can be humid this time of year (and lines will be very long) but the state boasts more than 1,000 miles of coastline so take advantage of it. There will be plenty of room for you and your towel.
Phoenix: Yes, sometimes you can ...
French air traffic controllers have gone on strike – a strike that may continue continue into Thursday – and this has disrupted travel at some of France’s busiest airports.
Canceled, delayed flights and your rights
Major Airports in France Hit
According to the BBC, airports including “Charles de Gaulle, Orly, Lyon, Nice, Marseille, Toulouse and Bordeaux were all said to have been affected”. French authorities say this has meant as many as 1,800 flights were canceled on both Tuesday and today (Wed., June 12) and while they expect the situation will “stabilize” by Thursday, there could be a spillover effect as airlines play catch-up, trying to get delayed passengers where they need to go as they move ahead with the day’s regularly scheduled flights.
Even during a strike, this bag won’t get lost
Flights throughout Europe Affected
Fortunately, many airlines were proactive in warning travelers about the strike. Still – no surprise here – it’s created a lot of problems for many European flyers. See for yourself on FlightStats map of Europe’s airports – it’s a sea of red dots with nearly two dozen cities reporting “excessive” delays.
Veteran flyers have long advocated using carry-on bags, not so much because it’s cheaper (no checked-baggage fees), but because a bag that travels with you in the cabin cannot get lost. But what if your checked-bag couldn’t get lost either? That’s the concept behind Bag2Go.
Maybe we should amend that slightly - Bag2Go may go astray, but you’ll always know where it is.
Right bags vs. wrong bags
Bag Features GPS
The prototype from Airbus (the aircraft manufacturer) is called Bag2Go. It’s a hard-shell suitcase that includes what Gadget Review calls, “multiple redundancies” such as bar codes for you (and the airport) to scan, an RFID chip built into the bag for identification purposes and to link it to airport/airline bag tracking systems plus GPS so you know where the bag is during every step of its journey.
How it Works
According to a demonstration video by Design Q, the owner of the bag registers it online, then uses an app to scan the bag which can then be located at the touch of a screen. There are also instant notifications if the bag has been opened ...