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Delta

baggage claim 1Lost luggage. The very idea can haunt you while you fly. Who hasn’t stepped up to the baggage carousel and felt that nagging sense of dread?  And if your bag doesn’t turn up, your vacation is off to a very stressful start.

While losing your luggage can be just a matter of bad luck – just three out of every 1,000 bags are lost, with a 98 percent return rate – there are some preventable measures you can take that will help your bags meet you when you land. Here are some ideas, along with a couple of extra tips for securing what’s flying with you.

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AirplaneFor many, the idea of a vacation for the sake of a vacation is simply not realistic. With the combined costs of flight, lodging, food, drinks, and maybe a souvenir or two to take home, the impracticality can soon outweigh the fantasy. But with a little careful planning, jetting around the world can be more affordable than you might think. Here, we break down the process of finding flights so cheap, you’ll be handing out Top Gun high-fives to strangers in the street. Read more

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Fitting our 40” legs into a 32” Delta seat is like trying to cram an extra day’s worth of clothes into an already-stuffed suitcase. The result is an uncomfortable, jumbled mess, and something will inevitably be sticking out. However, due to our stubborn refusal to pay an extra $100 for Economy-Plus seating, we’ve had to learn the subtle art of airplane seat-hacking. Here are a few legroom hacks guaranteed to secure more space while you’re cruising at high altitude:

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New Flights to the CaribbeanTiming, as they say, is everything. It’s true of romance, successfully poaching eggs and, of course, booking travel. That’s why it’s important to know that it’s currently shoulder season in the Caribbean. The interim period between peak winter and low summer travel months, shoulder season is the perfect time to visit the region without counting dollars or dodging crowds.

Better still, a number of major carriers are celebrating new routes to hot Caribbean locales with killer fares. From unstoppable rates to Colombia’s sexy seaside city, to the first-ever direct flights to Martinique, here are the season’s best new ways to save. Read more

American AirlinesAmerican Airlines has revealed details of the cabin interiors for some of the 460 new planes currently on order, and boy do they look snazzy. It seems AA is finally on track to catch up with the rest of the U.S. domestic carriers with seatback entertainment screens in every seat, in-flight Wi-Fi fleetwide, and power outlets and USB ports at every seat.

The new fleet will also feature more Main Cabin Extra seating – with extra legroom and priority boarding – which American began introducing earlier this year. In a first for domestic carriers, jets flying AA’s transcontinental routes will allow for three classes of seating and lie-flat seats in Business and First Classes. The new planes are set to roll out starting next summer.

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New United flights to CaribbeanWith temperatures soaring across most of the country, it’s hard for some of us to think about baking in the Caribbean sun. However, cold weather will be here before you know it, and with it a slew of new flights from the East Coast and Midwest to take advantage of tropical destinations.

Booking now for new JetBlue service from D.C. to San Juan (daily) and JFK to Samana, Dominican Republic (twice weekly) will score you big savings. Launching August 23, one-way fares on the San Juan route will be as low as $129 for travel through November 14 if you book by July 13; this will be the only non-stop flight between the U.S. capital and the Puerto Rican capital. Similarly, book by this Friday to secure one-way fares to Samana starting at $169 for flights from the November 14 launch date through February 9.

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DeltaFor many Caribbean destinations, spring is the perfect time to visit – the high season crowds start to depart and hotel prices begin to dip, yet the weather remains balmy and hurricane season is still just a blip on the horizon. A boon of new routes this year from the East Coast will get you to that sunny vacation even faster.

Launched March 2, Delta now takes New Yorkers from Laguardia to Nassau, Bahamas. JetBlue has three new routes with deals to match:

  • Newark to San Juan, PR: starts April 25, from $163 one-way
  • Fort Lauderdale to Kingston, Jamaica: starts April 30, from $107 one-way
  • West Palm Beach to San Juan, PR: starts May 15, from $113 one-way

Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates and travel deals on flights.

January 1stmarked the launch of a new European Union law requiring carbon emission offset payments for all flights in and out of Europe. Not popularly received by airlines outside of Europe, who’ve expressed resistance to the additional charges (a handful of major Chinese airlines said they wouldn’t pay the fees, and were threatened with a ban from European airports), European-based airlines held similar sentiments, complaining that the carbon fee and cap requirements were asking too much too soon. U.S. airlines were likewise opposed, but since boycotting lucrative European markets simply isn’t an option, they’ve opted to implement fare hikes to cover the carbon cost – all in all, ticket prices for travel to, from, and within European markets are shaping up to average an increase of an estimated 3 percent. Read more

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Recently rated the most tech-friendly airline, Delta Airlines continued its tech trend by installing six cameras in a suitcase to show us exactly what journey our luggage goes on when we check it. Although the video leaves some to be desired (no TSA screening area photography allowed, for example, and the outdoor shots are at night), it’s no doubt interesting to see the journey that the bag makes, especially as it rides through a maze of conveyer belts reminiscent of the airport scenes in Toy Story 2 (which turn out to be pretty accurately portrayed, animated dolls aside).

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PCWorld recently published a list of the “Top 20 Airports for Tech Travelers,” marking the first time such a comprehensive analysis of domestic airport and airline technology has been published. Research for the piece involved canvassing the 40 busiest U.S. airports and a staggering 3,300 gates to identify the industry’s ultimate tech-friendly winners (and losers). Rankings were based on accessibility to electrical outlets, USB ports, and charging stations, as well as on airport Wi-Fi quality and cell reception. PCWorld also looked at individual domestic airlines for their own tech-friendly rankings, based on technological offerings at their gates, in their planes, and on their websites. Read more

JetBlueOn November 17, JetBlue threw two parties. The first was at JFK’s Terminal 5, just before 9am, with cupcakes, coffee, smoothies, and a three-man steel band. The second was six hours later in Liberia, Costa Rica, marking the airline’s inaugural flight to the capital of the Guanacaste province, JetBlue’s second Costa Rican destination and 68th overall. That party was co-hosted by the Costa Rican minister of tourism, and started with water cannons over the A320’s fuselage, followed by three men on a marimba, a woman feistily playing a donkey jaw, and six youthful dancers in national dress, featuring lots of flouncy skirts and sashes. To promote the new four-times-weekly flight, the only non-stop to Costa Rica from JFK, one-way fares through February 15 are $119 for tickets bought by November 30, and surfboard surcharges are waived through December 17. (Catching wind of JetBlue’s plans, Continental launched its own daily directs from Newark one week before, but without the donkey-jaw, dancing, or promotions.)

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Sorry, underage drinkers: Air travelers will have to leave their fake IDs at home starting early next year, as the TSA plans to introduce 30 document-scanning systems that will make it easier for screeners to spot fraudulent documents.

TSA employees at select U.S. airport checkpoints will use the machines to verify boarding passes and passenger IDs, such as driver’s licenses. TSA Administrator John Pistole said that the move was all about “facilitating risk-based security, while making the process more effective,” according to Bloomberg.

The announcement comes after an incident in June in which a Nigerian man passed through a checkpoint at JFK Airport in New York and took a Virgin America flight to Los Angeles using another passenger’s boarding pass.

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We missed this memo yesterday, but apparently August 2, 2011 was Wi-Fi Day, so dubbed because the date’s digits (8/02/11) make up the standard IEEE code for Wi-Fi connections: 802.11.

Even if that number is foreign to you (guilty as charged), we’ve rounded up some in-the-sky Wi-Fi news in belated honor of the holiday, which we can only presume the rest of the world celebrated February 8, 2011.

Free Delta Wi-Fi Code: Score free in-flight Wi-Fi on Delta all month long with code DIETCOKEGOGO (a one-time, 24-hour connection usually costs $12.95). The airline uses Gogo for cruising altitude connections, so rumor has it that the code could work on other Gogo-enabled planes. We haven’t flown anywhere in the last three days, so report back if you’ve tested this out.

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Tequila AviónFancy a pre-flight tipple? Throughout the summer, select Delta Sky Clubs are hosting tastings featuring Tequila Avión – a new edition to the airline’s airport lounge menu – in creative cocktails designed by expert mixologists. Sample city-specific libations like the Flying Watermelon (tequila, watermelon juice, lime juice, agave nectar, and basil) or the Tailwind (tequila, lime juice, cucumber, and mint). Watch for the free cocktails at happy hours at select Sky Clubs in Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York (at JFK and Laguardia); swing by on Thursdays from 5-7 pm, except at LAX where tastings run from 7-9pm.

Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates and travel deals on flights.

Here’s a sliver of good news for Japan tourism: United announced today that it will resume twice-weekly flights to Sendai, Japan – the city closest to the March 11 earthquake’s epicenter – beginning October 2; it’s the first foreign airline to touch down regularly at the airport since it reopened April 13.

Visitor numbers fell by 73 percent immediately after the 8.9-magnitude earthquake devastated the country, fueled a tsunami, and set off a nuclear crisis, according to the Japan Times, but United’s restart of Sendai flights is one of a handful of signs that travelers are warming up to the idea of returning to the country.

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