Shermans Travel » Blog » Flights
It’s sad that many of us approach flying with more dread than excitement. Cramped seating, annoying fees, and extreme security measures all add up to an in-flight experience that’s less than joyful. We can’t promise that you’re next flight will be the time of your life, but the following low-cost tips can at least help to improve the experience. Read more
The FAA made smartphone users leap for joy earlier this month when they announced that electronic devices could – after years of flight attendants’ finger-wagging – be used below 10,000 feet. Now, Southwest is taking things a step further with the launch of gate-to-gate Wifi aboard all flights. Read more
They’re an essential part of every travel experience: the check-in kiosks, the security checkpoints, the duty-free shops. We’re talking, of course, about airports. And though no two airports are created equal, they’re generally viewed with wary disdain, a a cumbersome-but-necessary means of getting from point A to B. But airports don’t have to be a downer. Follow our tips, and you might just find yourself actually looking forward to the next time you fly: Read more
Forgotten to book tickets home to see the family over Thanksgiving? Or maybe you just have the sudden urge to skip town over the holidays. With this brief but beautiful deal from Virgin America, you can book First Class or Main Cabin Select seats for 50 percent off regular fares.
A quick glance at Qatar Airways’ current “Bigger World Promotion“ will tell you two things: the folks at Qatar are really excited to join up with Oneworld Alliance (which will place them alongside British Airways, Cathay Pacific, and Royal Jordanian, in addition to offering shared mileage among all the member airlines); second, the flight deals being offered right now aren’t just East Coast-focused – they’ve got love for Texas and the midwest, too. Fares like Chicago to Addis Adaba for just $934, or Houston to Hanoi for $1,002, certainly grab our attention. And in addition to the rates themselves, we’re also liking the focus on non-coastal cities – a trend we picked up on earlier this year.
In addition to these far-flung fares, we’re loving some other routes that are currently on sale, and not just from the right and left coast. For example, we priced some choice fares to the Middle East (Qatar Airways, after all, has its main hub in Doha), and here’s what we found:
As a host of many hit Food Network shows, food expert and TV personality Alton Brown has taken off in many directions – and has even earned his wings as a certified pilot! While circling across America for Alton Brown Live! The Edible Inevitable Tour, a stage show featuring his culinary science antics and quirky humor, Alton shared with us insights on traveling, food finds and flying. Read more
Yes, the inevitable has come. Almost a year after the initial announcement about American Airlines merging with US Airways – effectively creating the biggest airline in the world – followed by a setback in August when the Department of Justice blocked the merger from going forward, the deal has ultimately been given the go-ahead. Many are shocked at the thought of just three airlines (United, Delta, and the “new” American Airlines) controlling over three quarters of the entire US market. Others are focusing on what the implications are for everyday travelers like you and me.
Thanksgiving is fast approaching and, if you are thinking about a last-minute ditch-your-family getaway, but worry that holiday fares will be astronomical, a limited but rather excellent – dare we say, classy – deal from Virgin Atlantic can get you to London for a long weekend in the comfort of Upper Class.
In case you aren’t familiar with Virgin’s ultra-luxe Upper Class service, a few things you can look forward to include chauffeur transfer services; 33” wide flat beds (the longest of any airline’s business class), an onboard bar, and clubhouses with cocktail bars and spas.
Time to dust off the skis and snowboards: the 2013-14 ski season is already underway, with several resorts already open and plenty more set to do so in coming weeks – which is a promising sign for the season to come. This year, some enticing deals and passes, as well as more direct flights to resort destinations, are a great excuse for a winter weekend getaway. Here are some of the best (and budget-friendly) offers.
Alta and Snowbird, Utah: Known for epic powder and deliciously long runs, these Utah resorts are also offering out-of-state visitors a killer deal this year: half off lift tickets within 24 hours of arrival at Salt Lake City International Airport. The offer is good throughout the 2013-14 ski season, Monday through Friday, and saves $39.50. Read more
New York City and Mexico City both teem with traffic, culture, amazing food, and beautiful architecture. But for the next year, these two metropolises will have more in common. The two cities recently announced their first-ever city-to-city partnership that includes a one-year agreement aimed at boosting tourism in both destinations. The best part? As part of the agreement, Aeromexico is offering $399 round-trip flights between the two cities, including flights on the 787 Dreamliner, through March. (Book by November 22.)
Even if you can’t take advantage of the special fare, you can enjoy some of the cities’ similarities just by visiting one or the other. Here are some related places that we love both in the Big Apple and south of the border…
In Mexico City: Downtown México
Downtown México is one of several Mexico City hotels that pare part of the design-savvy Grupo Habita. This one, in the heart of the city’s historic center, occupies one of the city’s few remaining 17th century palaces, and is just a short stroll from Zócalo, the main square. Habita’s typical contemporary design blends with original features such as high ceilings and a brick faςade. The hotel has two courtyard restaurants, as well as a rooftop bar and pool.
From small mechanical issues to ill-timed blizzards, few of us have traveled in the past few years without running into some sort of mishap at the airport. Granted, running an airline is no easy chore, but the frustration felt when flights don’t take off as planned can seem all too real. During such moments, a sleek airport lounge can provide an oasis of luxury and calm in which to bide your time. But what about when things don’t go awry? How often do you need to visit an airport lounge to justify the cost of membership? And what tricks are there – if any – to gaining access without paying? Read more
A new website is adding an interesting step to the conventional flight booking process. In between searching for flights and purchasing a ticket, OptionsAway allows users to “hold” a flight for up to 21 days without paying for the ticket or putting down a deposit. If the airfare goes up, OptionsAway absorbs the difference, allowing you to pay the rate you originally found; and if it goes down, then – congratulations! – you’ve saved yourself some money, and will pay that lower price. (If it stays the same, not much is gained other than the knowledge that you picked a relatively stable airfare.)
Users choose the duration of the hold, and don’t have to commit to booking anything. There is, however, a utility fee. The longer the hold, the higher the fee: 1 day ($4), 3 days ($9), 7 days ($19), 14 days ($28), or 21 days ($36). Read more
When Hawaiian Airlines announced their new Extra Comfort seating option a few days ago, they were just the latest in a line of airlines adding options for travelers flying economy. For those of us who are fed up feeling squashed into standard economy seating, and are willing to spend a little more, the option of premium economy can offer a welcome compromise.
Starting on June 1, 2014, and available to book beginning in January, seats in the new Extra Comfort class will offer 36 inches of room (an increase of five inches), as well as priority boarding, a personal power outlet, pillow, and blanket. Customers flying on international routes will also get to take home a souvenir pillow and blanket set. Rates start at an extra $40, each way.
How does the new service stack up against some of the others we’ve seen recently?
Travelers were up in arms last week when Thailand announced plans to introduce a $16 entry tax for passengers arriving by air and staying more than three days – and a charge of 30 baht (97 cents) for travelers coming into the country from a neighboring state and staying for two days or less.
The Thailand Tourism Authority (TTA) claimed the proposed tax is needed to cover the cost of unpaid medical bills left behind by foreign travelers – although other reports mentioned the tax has been levied in the hope of attracting a ‘better’ standard of visitor, compared, presumably, to the young backpackers drawn to the country’s affordable beach destinations and buzzing nightlife.
In a statement to the press, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) President & CEO, David Scowsill called the proposed tax “one of the more egregious tourism taxes that we have seen”.
Of course, Thailand is not the only country to charge visitors a fee for arriving or departing the country. While many countries include their entry or exit taxes in the price of an airline ticket (Thailand, Ecuador, and the Dominican Republic, to name just three examples), a stubborn few still do not allow this. In the interest of you not getting caught off-guard at the airport without the means to cover an unexpected tax, here are a few entry and exit fees worth knowing about:
If this winter’s bright aurora forecast has you itching to see the northern lights, this last-minute flight and hotel deal from Icelandair might well be your ticket.
The Natura November Offer (available from November 1 through December 11) includes a roundtrip flight from cities including New York, Washington D.C., Seattle, and Boston, as well as accommodation at Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Natura, with guaranteed early check-in from 10 a. m., and a daily Scandinavian buffet breakfast.
The package requires a four-night minimum and eight-night maximum stay, and must be booked through the Icelandair website, where you can also reserve additional excursions and airport transfers.
For a four-night trip (one night is spent in the air; three at the Natura hotel) we found the following prices per person (based on double occupancy):
- From New York (JFK) $741
- From Boston $741
- From Washington Dulles $649
- From Seattle $649
- From Denver $685
- From Toronto: $943
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