Holiday Travel Gets Even Pricier
Flying on peak travel dates has always cost more, but this year it’s more expensive than ever, thanks to $10 surcharges several carriers are levying each way on certain dates.
Peak travel surcharge dates, according the fare monitoring site FareCompare.com, are Nov. 29 and 30, Dec. 19, 26 and 27, Jan 2 and 3, March 14, 20, 21 and 28, April 11 and May 28. American Airlines introduced the surcharge, US Airways followed and several others matched. (Source: FareCompare.com.)
Budding Corporate Travel Demand Sparks Airline Optimism
Corporate travel demand is improving, according to executives of the major legacy airlines.
They say corporate clients are taking to the skies in greater numbers, companies are easing restrictions and travelers in some cases are booking closer in to travel dates and increasingly selecting full fares.
"A lot of our corporate accounts are starting to hit the road again," said Delta Air Lines President Ed Bastian, adding that corporate fliers are "starting to move up the price point." Analysts sounded a similar theme throughout the industry's earnings calls. "There is evidence of improving travel demand, including from corporations," said Kevin Crissey of UBS. "All of the companies that have reported have cited this to one extent or another." Source: BTN Online
New Air-Traffic-Control Systems Offer Improved Communications Air-traffic controllers in the U.S., Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand now have modern satellite-based systems that operate over oceans.
With frequent automatic position reporting from airplanes and email-like communications between pilots and controllers, these new systems are designed to fill the kind of communication void that occurred after Air France Flight 447 crashed in the Atlantic Ocean last June.
The new systems offer many other benefits as well. The FAA’s NextGen program is aiming at extending these satellite benefits over land as well as over oceans, replacing the current ground-based communication system. (Source: The Wall Street Journal)
United Offers One-Year, $249 Baggage Fee
United Airlines has put a new twist on baggage fees with Premier Baggage, charging customers a flat price that allows them to check two standard bags at no additional cost every time they fly on a United or United Express operated flight in a year. Customers can purchase a subscription for an introductory price of $249, entitling them to check two standard bags on United and United Express operated flights domestically and internationally, where applicable, rather than paying to check bags each trip.
The annual subscription also covers the standard checked baggage charge for up to eight companions traveling under the same confirmation number as the subscriber.
Mileage Plus Premier members are exempt from first and second bag fees on standard bags. (Source: United press release).
Track Flights on Your iPhone
FlightAware, which has more than two million monthly users using it for flight tracking, has released an application for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch.
Users can download the free app from the Apple App Store, allowing them to track the real-time status and position of airline and private flights in the United States on their iPhones. (Source: FlightAware press release).
High-Speed Rail Could Ease Air Gridlock
A Brookings Institution study finds that air corridors of 500 miles or less between metropolitan hubs —distances at which trains can compete with planes—are the source of an increasing number of air delays. One reason for the congestion — no alternative transportation.
The delays can be so onerous that they discourage some would be travelers, who opt to stay home. The government is investing billions to improve rail options in some of these markets, but it will be years before they’re ready for consumers to ride. (Sources: Brookings Institution press release).