FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Julia Jacobo
Friday, May 10, 2013
The Airlines want you flying upfront during summertime.
Just as the swallows fly to Capistrano in the summer, airlines have traditionally unleashed their best upfront deals during this time. The fact is that during summer months, airlines have too many business class seats (businessmen like to go to the beach with their families) and too few leisure seats in their inventory. To entice leisure travelers to move up to more spacious business and premium economy classes, the airlines up the ante on their sale fares in Business and Premium Economy to free up inventory in the back.
It’s a form of supply-demand prices that the airlines have calculated to a decimal point. The data holds a history of seats that never sell out, and the ultimate goal is to sell every last one.
“An empty seat is like yesterday’s newspaper,” said Nick Fleetwood, managing agent at CookTravel.net. “You might as well wrap fish in it.”
However, demand for seats is up. “The stock market and housing prices are rising, and people feel richer,” Fleetwood said. “Airlines have cut capacity on summer seats, making them more expensive.”
In the past, Business Class summer deals were phenomenal —up to 60 percent off regular fares. In 2002, you could book a roundtrip flight from Los Angeles to Paris for $2,100. In 2005, Boston to Zurich would cost about $2,500, and a Continental Airlines Business Class sale would afford prices like $1,600 roundtrip Newark to Belfast and $2,000 roundtrip Houston to London, says Business Travel Columnist Joe Brancatelli in The Business Journal.
But airlines are taking the stingier route these days.
Los Angeles to Paris roundtrip is nearly double the 2002 price at $3,977, Boston to Zurich roundtrip is $3,000, and since Continental merged with United Airlines, it is now charging $2,790 for Newark to Belfast and $3,480 for Houston to London roundtrip.
What’s the explanation behind the present-day, not-so-compelling fares? Summer hasn’t changed, and neither have the habits of leisure and business travelers. But, jet-fuel prices have risen sharply, and airlines have trimmed capacity to Europe. Also, the industry standard today for Business-Class flat beds are much larger than the reclining seats seen a decade ago.
“Strategies for lowering Business Class airfares to Europe are more difficult. But, airlines are still anxious to discount their published fares,” said Katrina Roberts, a travel agent at CookTravel.net. “It’s just a little harder this summer.”
Roberts, who specializes in travel to Asia, Australia and New Zealand, continued to say, “Asia is a different story. Airlines are more willing to experiment with sale fares.”
The good news is that summer deals still exist. The bad (but not-so-terrible) news is that more of the deals have migrated to premium economy, and some travelers have to buy a tour to qualify for the net fares. Airlines still want to entice people to pay a little more to fly up-front, in the emerging “fourth class,” in order to free up space in the back. The fourth class offers good value for your fare dollar.
And the newest fare development is quite an anomaly: the First Class summer sale. Lufthansa has added an array of discounted fares in First Class, which is not easy feat, considering the airline has more long-haul aircraft equipment with First-Class cabins than any other in the world.
“We have too many empty seats, and there is a market out there [for discounted First Class],” Lufthansa’s Manager of Pricing Coordination Carsten Woldt told Brancatelli. “Will seasonal discounts double our sales? Obviously not. It’s a niche market. The trick is to get you interested.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Julia Jacobo
Thursday, April 25, 2013
New York, NY–This may be the worst week for air passengers in more than a decade.
The Department of Transportation is considering lifting the rule that says passengers can’t be kept confined on aircrafts delayed on the tarmac for a prolonged period of time, and United Airlines and U.S. Airways have both increased their fees to change non-refundable flights—to $200! That’s more than the cost of some one-way fares! It’s only a matter of time until the rest of the airlines follow suit.
“So not only do passengers have to deal with a wide range of delays, many will do so sitting in an assigned, enclosed space for much longer than they intended/paid for,” said Julia Jacobo, vice president of CookTravel.net. “Get ready to see a lot of disgruntled people in airports.”
The FAA responding to a motion by two airline associations to waive the rule for at least 90 days or until the FAA furlough ends. They argue that, in the wake of the FAA furlough sequester madness, the delays will make it difficult to comply with the rule, which will result in penalties and fines.
However, the DOT has flexible provisions regarding air traffic control, safety or security-imposed delays, and it has the discretion on whether or not to impose to fines.
After the rule was installed in 2010, tarmac delays went from affecting up to 250,000 passengers annually down to just 5,000, according to Flyersrights.org.
Any party that would like to share its views to the DOT may do so by 5 p.m. tomorrow at www.regulations.gov docket DOT-OST-2013-0084.
“The public is not going to put up with this,” Jacobo said. “There are a lot of voters out there.”
“It seems as if air travelers just can’t catch a break.”
For more on how this week is negatively affecting air travelers, read Christopher Elliot’s article.
To monitor airport delays across the country, visit the FAA.
Founded in 1974, CookTravel.net specializes in international first and business class flights. We have offices in Manhattan, Southampton, East Hampton and Greenport. For more information visit http://www.cooktravel.net. To request a quote call 800-435-8776.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Julia Jacobo
Phone: (212) 201-1827
Friday, April 19, 2013
New York, NY–It looks as if airport shortcuts are here to stay.
Word is spreading fast among travelers — simply scan a finger print, and viola! You’re approved to return to the country. Global Entry allows qualified United States citizens returning from an international trip to check in customs via a kiosk rather than waiting in line with the masses, which, notoriously, can take hours. So far, kiosks are located at 30 large U.S. airports as well as airports in Canada and Ireland that have U.S. Customs pre-clearing lines.
The program passengers are probably more familiar with is the TSA PreCheck program, which serves as an “E-ZPass” in airport security, enabling qualified travelers to keep their shoes on their feet, keep their laptops packed and keep out of the path of slower, more frustrated (and less fortunate) travelers.
But how do you qualify?
For those not lucky enough to attain premier frequent flier status, enrollment into trusted traveler networks, like Global Entry, must suffice. Once the application, which has a $100 fee, has been approved, the passenger heads to the nearest customs center for a personal interview and fingerprint recording. Enrollment centers are located at major international airports, select urban locations and officers in northern and southern borders.
Global Entry previously received 15,000 applications per month, but that number has since increased to 50,000 applications per month. Currently, about 1.5 million U.S. citizens have Global Entry clearance.
The TSA is working to expand eligibility for its PreCheck program, which at present time only applies to frequent fliers and trusted travelers, such as children under age 12 and seniors older than 75.
It used to be that expedited service at airports was reserved solely for the most frequent of fliers and government officials.
“In the future, government goals should include consolidating trusted traveler networks into one recognizable program and increasing efforts to recruit eligible passengers. Until then, long airport lines will remain an ominous reality,” said Carlos Armasan, Cook Travel employee.
Founded in 1974, CookTravel.net specializes in international first and business class flights. We have offices in Manhattan, Southampton, East Hampton and Greenport. For more information visit www.cooktravel.net. To request a quote call 800 435-8776.
It’s a little disconcerting—the variety of kinds of people you spot hustling and bustling through an airport. However, when the most dreaded and inconvenient process of the travel experience approaches, the TSA security screening, passengers fall into one of five categories, and they all share a common goal: get to the departure gate. According to Christopher Elliot, these are the five that whether you’re a seasoned traveler or not, you’ve likely met in airport security.
1. The get-alongs: most passengers fall under this category. All these people want is to expedite the screening process with a hassle-free proceeding. These are the passengers with nothing to hide, so they figure they’ll just comply with whatever the people in the blue uniforms are telling them to do. They “know” that the TSA’s job is to keep everyone safe, so obediently, without complaint, they step into the full-body scanner and agree to the pat-down.
2. The elites: a small number of passengers and crew members receive screening privileges—a coveted line titled “TSA Pre-check” that doesn’t require shoes to be removed or a full-body scan. Dignitaries, pilots and crewmembers fall under the category, as well as those with “TSA Pre-check” credentials. The justification for this is that frequent fliers give airlines so much business, or paid the government to perform a background check, so they deserve an expedited and less-invasive screening.
3. The dissidents: This is the small group of passengers that opts out of full-body scanners, subjecting them to a prison-style pat-down instead, which they are fully aware of. Despite this knowledge, these people also know that this process eats up a lot of valuable scanner time, and are willing to deal with a little inconvenience to make that point: that the government has no business in asking them to submit to a scan.
4. The victims: This group doesn’t it know yet, but they’re about to make headlines. These are the people who are unfortunate enough to encounter a misunderstanding or cruel TSA agent who causes the screening to go horribly wrong. What about the 90-something-year-old, cancer-stricken woman in a wheelchair was forced to allow the TSA to search her diaper? HER DIAPER?!
5. The ignorant: These are the dummies. They pack revolvers, souvenir hand grenades and machetes in their carry-ons and act surprised and bewildered when they’re stopped at security. You’d think it’d be common knowledge not to bring items of such nature, but too many too. A vast majority of the incidents are simply careless mistakes, but a handful are done intentionally as well. On that note, one in a billion are done with the intention of bringing down a plane. Guarantee, however, that the TSA will not treat it lightly.
By: JULIA JACOBO
In a world of cutbacks, spending thousands on a First Class or Business Class flight may seem wasteful and unnecessary. Still, nothing beats arriving to your destination refreshed and well-rested, and nothing ruins a vacation or business trip than jet lag. These five tips from Fodor’s Travel Blog will help make economy class just a little bit more tolerable.
Five Ways To Make Economy Feel Like First Class:
1. Natural Selection–Check in on the airline’s Web site as early as possible to swap seats or confirm the ones you already chose. Aim for window seats away from toilets and galleys, and you should gravitate toward the closest you can get to the front of the plane. The less heads you see in front of you, the more you’ll feel like you’re in First or Business Class.
2. Keep Calm And Carry On–For the personal item you bring on board, choose a small bag that won’t take up all the space of the seat in front of you. The larger the bag, the less legroom you’ll have.
3. Hold Everything–Business and First Class travelers are treated to all kinds of goodies to make the flights more comfortable. Plan ahead and do the same. Upon landing, it makes a world of difference when you’re prepared with a toothbrush and mouthwash, at the very least.
4. Head Over Headphones–Space is limited when you’re sharing one cabin with hundreds of strangers. A pair of noise cancelling headphones are well worth the pricey price-tag if they can transform you into your own little cocoon. And the best part? You can use them over and over again.
5. Knock Yourself Out–On longer flights, the best way to arrive looking refreshed is to get some shut-eye. Anything from a travel pillow, cashmere shawl, eye mask and mild sleeping pill can help you fall asleep. Sure, it’s hard to sleep up-right, but even an awkward slumber makes for a quicker flight.
13 Ways to Save on Your European Vacation
Traveling to Europe isn’t cheap—with the Euro conversion rate and the outrageous prices on anything from airfare to dining. Luckily, these 13 tips from the Huffington Post’s Tom Meyers will help you enjoy your vacation without emptying your wallet!
1. Book “open jaw” tickets. People often book round-trip flight to, let’s say, Paris, when really, they’re beginning they’re trip in Paris and ending it in Rome. The extra trip from Rome to Paris just to make your flight is an expense of both money and time. Look into “open jaw” tickets that allow you to fly into one city and depart from another. These are often around the same price as the round-trip fare.
2. Get a “free” flight when you sign up for a new credit card. Credit card companies often offer tens of thousands of frequent flier miles as an incentive to sign up. Although spending requirements are implemented to earn the miles, you can wind up with enough miles to travel to Europe with the right timing. Keep in mind, however, that taxes are not included and usually vary by airline.
Click here for a list of popular credit cards and their sign-up offers.
3. Avoid peak travel dates. The peak travel dates for Europe are typically early May to mid September. This time period coincides with warmer weather and summer vacations for school-aged children.
Aim for hopping the pond around early May or late September (or early October) when travel is not only less expensive but will be less stressful with fewer tourists.
4. Pack lightly. In case you haven’t traveled in a while, airlines have been slashing luggage allotments throughout the last decade. Do yourself (and your back) a favor, and stick to checking one bag. Checking one bag 50-pound bag will set you back $50. Checking in a second bag will cost an additional $100.
5. Take public transportation in from the airport, whenever possible. Europe is known for its efficient public transportation system, and most European airports are well-connected to the city centers. Remember to do some research before landing. The tourist information counter at the airport will also be able to help.
6. Buying a rail pass? Don’t forget point-to-point tickets. Although Americans love Eurail passes, they’re not necessarily a great deal. Compare point-to-point ticket prices on various rail sites because purchasing. On most, you can book and print tickets using your home computer.
For example. the official site of the German railway, Bahn.de, probably sells tickets from Berlin to Munich cheaper than what you would end up paying through a U.S.-based rail agent or for a rail pass.
Check out this list of national rail sites:
Czech Republic: www.cd.cz
Dutch Railways: www.ns.nl
Great Britain: www.nationalrail.co.uk
7. Buy your high-speed and long-distance rail tickets in advance. To compete with with Europe’s low-cost airlines, railways offer some great deals for those who book in advance. Whenever possible, book your long-distance rail tickets early, generally following the “three-month rule.”
For example, on the high-speed train from Florence to Rome, the “base fare” for same-day tickets is €43, but the Trenitalia web site lists seats two months in advance at the “Super Economy” rate for €19!
8. Traveling by high-speed train in France? Check out Ouigo! The SNCF (the French national railways) will start service on a low-cost high-speed rail service called Ouigo in April 2013. Rates will start as low as €10 from the Paris region to southeast France (with more routes scheduled). If you’re traveling to France, it will be worth your while to visit the SNCF Web site (and keep it in French) and on Ouigo.
9. How much will that rental car really cost? You may think you’ve found a deal while searching for a car rental in Europe, but don’t forget that you’re only factoring in the base cost. Don’t forget to calculate costs for tolls, parking, insurance and gas (which, if you think is getting expensive in the U.S., wait until you cross the pond).
10.Book your preferred hotels early. If you have a favorite hotel in mind for your vacation, don’t put off booking it. Popular hotels can even fill up 2 months in advanced during the summer’s peak dates.
11. Flexible and adventurous? Wait to book until the last minute. This is the one time when it can actually pay to procrastinate. Hotels with availability will often cut rates drastically in the days leading up to check-in to fill vacancies. The iPhone and Android app HotelTonight specializes in same-day bookings.
But this strategy doesn’t come without its risks. Peak season in Paris may be limited in last-minute vacancies, and this clearly isn’t the way to go for those who have a preferred hotel in mind or for those who like to have everything set prior to leaving. Do some research, and if you see that things are starting to fill up early, don’t hesitate to book.
12. Consider apartment rentals, but be aware of the risks. On popular apartment rental sites like Airbnb and HomeAway, you can score an apartment in London, New Yotk City and other expensive cities for about the same price as a hotel. For families and long-term stays, the included kitchen is a huge perk, as it eliminates the need to eat out for every meal.
13. Factor in the extra hotel charges. Don’t forget that the price you see may not include extras such as Wi-Fi, breakfast and parking when comparing hotel rates.
10. Rule 240. It sounds like something from “X-Files,” but really it’s simple: If the airline can’t get you where you’re going on time, the airline MUST put you on a competitor’s flight if it will get you there faster. The airlines won’t always (in fact, will rarely) tell you this up front, so be sure you remind them when you’re delayed. (The exception is if the delay is beyond the airline’s control, such as with a storm.) Check out aviation.com for more information.
–Tribune news reports