Shermanstravel Blog

Flights

Flickr Matthew Clark

Temperatures aren’t the only things dropping in fall and winter: Airlines are lowering their fares, too. If you plan on traveling in the coming months, snag one of these six deals before they’re gone — two expire today.

1. Japan: 20% off plus a free stopover
Take your pick of six Japanese cities and get a complimentary stopover in Hong Kong when booking roundtrip flights from the U.S. on Cathay Pacific. Even better, in this Japan Fare Sale, rates with this first-rated airline has already been cut by 20 percent. $1,122 gets you flights from New York City’s JFK to Hong Kong, Hong Kong to Okinawa, then Okinawa back to JFK. The same set-up between LAX, Hong Kong, and Osaka will cost you around $1,021. The offer is good for travel through December 9 and must be booked by September 30.

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sfo terminal 3

Airport terminals around the globe are stepping things up a notch with high-tech designs, indoor art museums, and speedier ways through passport control. Here are seven new(ish) airport terminals we love flying in and out of:

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airplane - seats - Angelo DeSantis - 620

Just how much do people hate the dreaded middle seat on airplanes? So much so that 56 percent of Americans say they’d rather brave traffic jams, according to one survey. That same percentage would prefer going on a blind date over spending a couple of hours cozying between strangers — and as much as 9 percent of Americans simply refuse to get on a flight longer than two hours if they’d be stuck in the middle.

We get it. There’s limited legroom and blocked access to the aisle without the support of the window. Still, there are a few attractive perks of the middle seat that have us reconsidering:

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mh-airlines

Coincidence can be cruel, and in the case of Malaysia Airlines, it really couldn’t get much crueler. After losing Flight 370 in the Indian Ocean earlier this year, the flag carrier of Malaysia saw another of its jets (MH17) shot down over the volatile border region between Ukraine and Russia. The second incident could have happened to any airline flying over the space at the wrong time, but the jury of public opinion has delivered a verdict: Malaysia Airlines is now on the blacklist of most travelers.

Now, the company is being forced to slash 6,000 of its 20,000 employees, having been losing around $1.6 million per day, and will also need to cut routes along the way. By all accounts, Malaysia Airlines is in crisis mode.

The silver lining to Malaysia Airline’s recent misfortunes is that it has left prices low, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. Read more

Reykjavík

If you’re traveling internationally or even just across the country, chances are you’ll have a layover somewhere during your journey. Rather than waiting for hours inside the airport, why not take advantage of your location and head into the city? You’ve already paid to get there, after all. Whether you’ve landed in Honolulu or London, Beijing or Reykjavík, these cities are easy to visit from the airport, even if you just have a few hours.

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park-hyatt-maldivesIt’s fairly easy to make travel happen — be it a business trip, a jaunt to see a family member, or a bona fide vacation — when you’ve spare cash laying around. It’s a little tougher when you don’t, but loyalty programs and the ability to collect miles and points have made it possible to enjoy a bit of travel-related adventure, if you’re willing to have patience and put in the effort. Understanding and managing miles and points across various platforms, services, and credit cards is no easy task, but here are a few tips on making the most of those unused travel currencies. Read more

charleston, sc - flickr-pfarrell95 - 620

If there’s one responsible thing you do over Labor Day weekend, let it be solidifying your Thanksgiving plans. We know it’s difficult to think ahead to the next big holiday while you’re still working on taking advantage of the current one, but we hear from our friends at Hipmunk that airfare is expected to rise significantly after the holiday. If you don’t already have a destination in mind, consider some of our favorites for Thanksgiving.

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airplane view - Karl Baron - 620

Outside of the U.S., there are literally thousands of airlines, some catering to multi-million dollar business travelers, others just to families, and some target the ultimate budget traveler. It’s the last one that we’re more interested in, especially for short international flights and travel during holidays and peak seasons, when airfares on traditional airlines tend to soar. Low-budget carriers usually take a no-frills approach, but then, who really needs frills on a short flight?

You probably already look to the likes of Southwest, JetBlue, and maybe even Spirit here in the States — but if you ever find yourself in need of a cheap flight anywhere else in the world, these are the names you want to know.

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curacao - curacao tourist board

Autumn is an underrated time to be in the Caribbean, including Curaçao. During this shoulder season, the Dutch island’s 35 beaches are rarely crowded, hotel rates are unbeatably low and, most importantly, the weather is divine. Whether you’re strolling cobblestone streets in the capital city, admiring an ancient fort, or diving in one of the world’s best spots, there’s an activity for every interest.

Even better news: As part of a Dare to Explore promotion, a curated collection of hotels are slashing their rates this fall, by as much as 50 percent. To be booked through various vendors like Costco Travel and Funjet Vacations, are good for travel between September 15 and December 15 — and need to be booked by September 15.

Here’s a sampling:

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britishairwaysMany of us have had this experience: You see a good fare for a flight you want to book, but first, you need to talk to friends or family, or maybe book the days off work. A day or two later, when you return to the booking site to complete your reservation, the flight has jumped in price and you are left kicking yourself for not having just booked when you first saw it.

Last week, a new holding fee service was announced by British Airways that should help avoid this very situation. The new fee allows customers up to 72 hours of consideration time before deciding whether or not to go ahead to book a flight. You pay $5 per person to put a hold on a short-haul flight or $10 for long-haul, then, if you do go ahead and book, the fee is refunded. Read more

spirit airlines - spirit airlines

We’ve written extensively about Spirit Airlines, the no-frills carrier known for rock-bottom base fares and hefty fees for pretty much anything beyond one’s airplane seat. It’s most loved by those who travel simply and look for the cheapest way to get from point A to point B — and loathed by those who expect a certain standard of services.

To help travelers better understand the brand and why it operates the way it does, Spirit Airlines CEO Ben Baldanza recently took on the harsh critics of Reddit in an Ask Me Anything online interview, in which the website’s users asked the CEO questions about the airline, the travel industry, and more. Here are what we think are some of the most important takeaways you should know:

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airberlin_business_classLast week, airberlin began offering an auction for business class upgrades on long-haul flights. The feature is being dubbed “airberlin exquisite,” and it’ll allow those who already have a confirmed economy seat to bid on a business class upgrade up until 72 hours prior to takeoff. At this point, the notion of bidding for an unsold business class seat isn’t new. Here’s how this budget airline is handling it…

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delta studio

Are the days of being subjected to pre-selected movies in those tiny overhead screens on airplanes truly coming to an end? Within the past few months, several airlines have rolled out a bevy of new inflight-entertainment options. Many of these options are low-cost or completely free, leaving room in your budget to spring for an inflight beer.

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eva air - business class - lie flat beds - christine wei - 620

Last week, I flew 30 hours halfway around the world and back, just to spend 61 hours in Asia. Considering that I had to report back to the office the morning after the trip, it seemed like a great time to cash in all of my EVA Air miles and upgrade myself to business class from premium economy.

It was glorious.

I know I probably won’t be experiencing business class again anytime soon, but there’s no harm in dreaming. Whether you’re already scrounging together your points or just like to fantasize, here are five things I really loved:

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Switzerland, ZurichSwiss Air Lines is offering some good fares to a number of European cities for the fall and winter, but you will have to make your mind up quickly as the sale ends at midnight tonight. If you’re wondering whether you’re ready to make a spontaneous booking, take a look at our handy checklist. Otherwise, you can book through our Travel Search tool, or visit the airline’s web site directly.

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