Sunday, November 30, 2008
The international bank crisis swept like a flood over Iceland in the beginning of October. It left behind three ship-wrecked banks, a slaughtered currency and a nation on the brink of bankruptcy.
It should therefore not surprise anyone that when on a journalistic trip to Reykjavik, we were asked to pay for our hotel room beforehand.
THE ICELANDIC krone had fallen dramatically just in the days prior to our landing at Keflavik airport. But what was due to lack of faith in the Icelandic economy, had an inadvertent consequence for travelers: The normally sky-high priced island was now dirt-cheap.
In the middle of October, 100 Icelandic kroner was down to 2.74 kroner, according to the Bank of Norway’s rates – down 60 per cent from the beginning of May. To use a well-known example: You can buy half a litre of lager for 500 Icelandic kroner in the bars in Reykjavik. This now corresponds to 15 Norwegian. A three-course meal at Reykjavik’s best restaurant costs a few hundred per person.
LITTLE WONDER the airline company, Icelandair has used the opportunity to offer cheap tickets to a «very inexpensive» country, and the Icelandic Tourist Board points out on their website that the island never has been cheaper.
Even though the banking business has suffered ship-wreck and Icelandic authorities are negotiating an international crisis loan, the volcanic island with just under 300,000 inhabitants is still worth a visit.
RENT A CAR and drive to Thingvellir, the seat of the country’s parliament from 930 to 1798, and today one of the country’s four national parks. Thingvellir lies in a valley between the European and American continental plates, and you thereby also cross continents when you cross the Unesco-protected valley.
Getting into London from Luton Airport is relatively straightforward. Trains are always cheaper the further in advance you book. A few weeks ahead, you can get a single ticket for around €14, or €25.60 for a return, to London St Pancras International (you can book tickets on www.thetrainline.co.uk). Or you can get a cheap coach, such as easy- Bus, which can drop you off at various points in central London. Prices are cheapest if you book in advance, starting at as little as €3 one-way (www.easybus.co.uk).
London offers some of the best theatre in the world and I can't recommend taking in a show enough. A lot of the big hitters, such as Les Miserables, don't have any trouble filling their seats night after night, so cheap tickets can be hard to come by. However, if you are open-minded about what you see, you should be able to get a good deal. Lastminute.com is a good site for checking out offers and ticket availability. If you do spot cheap tickets, contact the venue directly to avoid commission charges.
There is so much to do in London. I'd recommend bypassing the West End and heading east to Shoreditch. This area is home to the funky, young things, with buzzing bars, vibrant Brick Lane with its fantastic curry houses, and a huge array of quirky vintage shops. Pop into the White Cube gallery.
Procrastinators take heart - you have two more days to shop for airfare deals this Thanksgiving on most airlines. Holiday shoppers still looking for the best deal can quickly and easily shop more than 500 carriers, including Southwest Airlines at FareCompare.com ( http://www.farecompare.com/wintersale08).
FareCompare.com CEO Rick Seaney, a recognized airline industry consumer advocate says, "If you thought you couldn't fly family home for the holidays, think again. Prices have dropped sharply for holiday flights in the past few weeks. This season, last minute empty seats equal discounts, like the three-day winter sale Southwest announced today ( http://www.farecompare.com/wintersale08)."
Though there will be fewer seats from most of the busiest airports across the US ( http://www.farecompare.com/holiday08), recent airfare sales may make holiday travel possible for late shoppers. Last minute shoppers will find that FareCompare.com is an easy-to-use, one-stop shopping site that combines speedy searches with informative video tips and tools to help travelers get the best deals, every time they fly.
Just two shopping days left to get the best-priced airline tickets this Thanksgiving. Shopping at least 14 days before departure usually results in cheap tickets. After that, shoppers will find that coach airfares double or triple. If you've waited this long, search flights now.
Fly on Thanksgiving Day and save. Few travelers know that flying on the holiday is a great way to save - with the added bonus of shorter lines and fewer airport hassles.
Leave in the morning; arrive in time for Thanksgiving dinner. Early morning flights are traditionally the least expensive. Fly early on Thanksgiving Day and arrive in plenty of time for Thanksgiving dinner!
FareCompare.com is an independent airfare travel shopping site with tools to help consumers find cheap flights first. Providing data and analysis on airline industry trends, fees, regulations, fuel surcharges and more, FareCompare.com is committed to the education of the air traveling public - so they will make the best airfare purchasing decisions, every time they choose to fly. To get year-by-year graphs, video and holiday travel news assets, visit FareCompare.com/holiday08.
There are many methods for getting cheap tickets for a concert will also work for finding cheap tickets to other events . There are also many ticket brokers online that purchase tickets at group rates and then sell them individually as cheap tickets. Venues sometimes offer discounts if you buy from their web site rather than in person or on the phone. You can also find cheap tickets for concerts and events by going to a barter web site where people who cannot attend an event or concert post their cheap tickets for sale to try to get some of their money back.
If there is an event that you want to go to but cannot find tickets. Most ticket brokers have tickets available for almost any event but you will definitely pay a premium and sometimes tickets can be twice as much. So you have to search and compare ticket prices before getting them. There are cheap tickets available at Oasistickets (http://www.oasistickets.com )
For more information on obtaining concert, sports and theatre tickets, visit:
Historically when demand dwindles, airlines offer new flights and cheap tickets to lure travelers from competitors. But this time, with a number of seats going empty as the economy sours, airlines continue to pare flights from networks that by the end of the year will already have shrunk in number of seats more than 10%, compared with last year.
Airline executives, burned by the volatility of energy prices in recent years, say they refuse to believe that the drop in oil prices is permanent. The frail economy that pushes oil prices lower is also what keeps demand for air travel weak.
"There is a long-term question mark over fuel prices just as there is a long-term question mark over demand," says Tammy Romo, vice president of financial planning at Southwest Airlines Co., the low-fare pioneer that in past downturns led the charge to add routes and aircraft as competitors pulled back. "There is a need for the industry to continue to show discipline."
For an industry long criticized for overcapacity, the cuts are expected to help airlines maintain a rare balance between supply and demand and post a modest profit next year, even as other consumer industries suffer. Almost as if by accident -- the cuts came well before the severity of the downturn was apparent -- carriers are now poised to weather the turmoil better than at any other time in the industry's recent history.
While the downturn could still hold surprises, "the combination of significant capacity reductions and declines in fuel prices far outweigh potential demand declines," wrote Gary Chase, an airline analyst at Barclays Capital, in a research report on Tuesday. In a separate report, analysts at Merrill Lynch on Wednesday predicted an industrywide profit of $2 billion next year, up from a previously projected loss of $4 billion.
NOTE: In an completely unscientific test of each site's prices, I ran a search for a round trip ticket from Los Angeles to Omaha departing on November 15th and returning on the 22nd. I'll end each site's description below with the result.
Kayak is a travel search aggregator, scouring over 140 sites to bring you the cheapest fares it can find. The results are nicely sorted by price, and once the search is complete, you can tweak and filter the results to find the perfect ticket for your needs. Kayak supports email alerts, can search nearby airports, and the Buzz feature is great if you're looking to take a spur-of-the-minute vacation on the cheap. Like most travel sites, Kayak also covers hotels, cruises, and rental cars. My Flight: $207.
Yapta—aka Your Amazing Personal Travel Assistant—is an airline search engine with an emphasis on tracking airline prices before and after you purchase your tickets. Before your purchase, Yapta will track a flight and alert you when it falls below your desired price (a feature available on most of the sites featured here). After your purchase, Yapta will continue tracking the ticket price. If it drops, the site will send an alert if you're eligible for a refund or travel credit. If you're a big Yapta fan, you can even integrate it in your browser with the previously mentioned Yapta Firefox extension or Internet Explorer plug-in. My Flight: $206.50.
Live Search Farecast
Live Search Farecast is another airline ticket search aggregator similar to Kayak. Farecast sets itself apart by offering price predictions that suggest whether now is the right time to buy your ticket—or whether you should wait. It does this by tracking and analyzing fare histories. Earlier this year, Farecast was purchased by Microsoft, who slapped the Live Search moniker on the front end. My Flight: $216.
Priceline has long been a favorite of bargain hunters and William Shatner fans alike. Priceline made its name with its Name Your Own Price system, and while the Name Your Own Price option is still available, it's been significantly de-emphasized on the site. If you're looking to really low and you don't mind bidding blindly (when you name your price, you don't get to choose departure/arrival times or number of stops, for example), NYOP is a good way to go. Otherwise, Priceline's default search engine still has a lot to offer. My Flight: $206.
Sidestep is yet another search aggregator that you may find oddly familiar if you're a Kayak user. That's because Sidestep was purchased by Kayak a year ago this December. In fact, from what I can tell, SideStep's search results are the same as what you can get from Kayak—it even sports the same Buzz feature—so it's really just a matter of choosing which one you like the look and feel of more. My Flight: $207.
Also check these website:
Believe it or not, there really is a best day of the week to make your best deal on an airline ticket, and it’s neither Monday nor Friday. It’s Wednesday! And there’s even a best time on Wednesday to buy that ticket.
Why Wednesday? Thank the small, upstart airlines. In the airline business, fare wars are started by the weakest competitors, and the big guys tend to be the ones to raise fares. And all of that tends to happen on Fridays.
So how did Wednesday become the ideal day to strike a deal?
Let’s say Airline A decides to raise fares. It usually does so at a late hour on a Friday night. By Saturday, Airline A’s major competitors will probably match that fare increase.
Warning: Book your tickets over a weekend, and you might spend a whole lot more than you should.
But what if the major competitors don’t match the higher fares? Then the instigator of the fare increase drops its fares back down late on Sunday night or on Monday morning. If you already paid a higher fare, you still may be out of luck.
Why? Because although you might still qualify for a lower fare and a ticket exchange, that terrible $100 change fee could wipe out your savings!
Here’s another example. Let’s say upstart Airline B decides to begin a fare war. Again, it happens late on a Friday night. Usually, some (but not all) of the majors will match that fare on routes where they compete with Airline B.
Does that mean you should still book tickets over the weekend? Absolutely not.
Remember, I said some, but not all, of the majors will match that fare. By late Monday, depending on how that new fare is doing in the marketplace, Airline C might jump into the battle and offer an even lower fare, so look for all the other airlines to rush to match that one - usually by Tuesday - and the war is on. Prices might go even lower on Wednesday. And that’s when you strike.
When booking through an agent, always specify you want the "lowest possible fare," as there may be specials which do not fall under "economy" or "APEX." Moreover, not every agent--even with the budget specialists listed below--will be equally competent or motivated to find the cheapest ticket. They may not know about a great deal the next cubicle has been selling all week, or the commission may not merit bothering much.
Likewise, buying a ticket on the Internet is not the same as getting the cheapest price. As with any travel agent, you may be offered the lowest price, an average price, or a test price. You still have to make comparisons and move boldly when a deal presents itself. A good strategy is to book the best-value, fully-refundable fare early, then continue looking for something better to pop up.
You may find an attractive price on the main leg, but a high one on the connect. Try reversing the search, or book one leg at a time. Allow at least three hours between flights for international departures/changeovers.
Often the best deals are offered directly by airline websites. In some cases you sign-up with the airline and they notify you via email of hugely-restricted but incredibly cheap specials a few days before the flight. These include American, United, Continental, Northwest, Southwest (the U.S. low-fare and efficiency leader), U.S. Airways, TWA, Delta, Alaska, Canadian, Carnival, and Cathay Pacific (which periodically auctions--with minimum bid--several hundred seats on New York and Los Angeles to Hong Kong runs.)
Large Internet Travel Sites
All listings are the result of experience, general budget travel knowledge, or research. The only contract is between author and reader.
Student and Budget Specialists
While a few tickets require student or youth status, most do not. The following serve customers requiring cheap fares, and have access to discounted tickets. To be certain of any true low-market price you must make at least a few inquiries.
Domestic Bucket Shops
Air Brokers International
323 Geary, Suite 411, San Francisco, CA 94102 tel. 800-883-3273 fax: 415-397-4767. Sells around-the-world and circle-Pacific tickets. airbrokers.com
2790 Broadway, Suite 100, New York, NY 10025 tel. 212-864-2000 or 800-326-2009. Air Hitch provides one-way rides across the Atlantic for $169 from the East Coast, $269 from the West Coast, and $229 from in-between.
Cheap Tickets, Inc.
1247 3rd Avenue, New York, NY 10021 tel. 212-570-1179 Also has offices in L.A., San Francisco, and Honolulu. National tel. is 800-377-1000 (español: 800-991-6199) and fax 800-454-2555. Formerly a U.S. domestic specialist, Cheap Tickets now sells international tickets. cheaptickets.com
Friday, November 28, 2008
HostelsClub.com Presents an Excellent Deal for Students: Dollar for Euro Campaign Enables Americans to Visit Europe
Friday, September 19, 2008
CheapTickets was founded in 1986 in Honolulu, Hawaii by Michael and Sandra Hartley when inter-island carrier Mid Pacific Air gave 3,000 tickets to Hartley's employer at the time, advertising firm Regency Media, as payment for its services at the time Regency closed its Honolulu branch. The tickets were advertised via newspaper classified ads and sold out in two weeks. The company grew into an airline ticket consolidator, acquiring seats from airlines at rates low enough to allow the company to resell them at fares lower than the airline's normal published airfares.
It opened its first call center in Honolulu in 1987, and would later open call centers in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Lakeport, California, Los Angeles, California, and Tampa, Florida. It launched its web site in 1997, becoming a pioneer in Internet travel sales. The company operated brick and mortar agency locations in Hawaii, California, New York, and Washington which were closed by the end of 2001, by which time they accounted for just 2% of the company's business.
The company was acquired in 2000 by Cendant. In July 2006, it was part of the sale of Travelport to the Blackstone Group, part of a division known as the Travel Distribution Services Division and later spun off as Orbitz Worldwide.
- ^ a b Torres-Kitamura, Maria (September 1996). "Up, up and away." (Reprint), Hawaii Business. Retrieved on 2006-12-20.
- ^ Staff writer (2001-06-05). "Business Briefs", Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved on 2006-12-20.
- ^ Lynch, Russ (2001-08-13). "Cheap Tickets bought out", Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved on 2006-12-20.
- ^ Lynch, Russ (2001-08-02). "Cheap Tickets’ profits plunge 76 percent", Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved on 2006-12-20.
- ^ Gelsi, Steve (2007-05-10). "Orbitz files second IPO, eyes $750 mln", MarketWatch. Retrieved on 2007-10-22.
Max Deale writes in the voice of the snake oil salesman and reading Sold Out... So What! my inner monologue reflexively channeled Hayes Barnard. Sold Out... So What! drips with exclamation points, big money declarations, personal testimonial and guarantees up the wazoo. But in a world where good old fashioned puffery has given away to the complex con-game of the multi-million dollar ad campaign, and everyone too slick and focus-grouped to dare appear the braggart, Deale's quaint man on a soapbox spiel has a disarming charm; And if you can cut through it, a few handy tips for ticket buyers.
Deale's tactics aren't revolutionary. Waiting for the day of the show to buy tickets off Craig's List or Ebay is pretty underwhelming even among the ranks of homespun wisdom. But like the wheel or gravity, the genius of discovery is lost in the retelling. It's that none of Deale's strategies challenge common sense that makes me buy into his hype. I won't do him the disservice of listing them, but each is intuitive and actionable, and if by no means full proof, with little effort, each should work. For now.
The ease and simplicity of Sold Out... So What! is also its downfall. I may be too courteous to compress Deale's 90 pages into 900 words, retag it John Morgan's Badass Tacks to Circumvent Scalpers and Upgrade Your Seats, but in a world where intellectual property is a dying concept, someone will. And it won't take a lick of effort. Because, aside from some anecdotal padding, every tool, tactic and idea put forth by Deale comprises about two pages of content. And once the cat's out of the bag, and 17 wiki's contain derivatives of Deale's double-dealing, stadium and brokers will adapt and the party's over.
AirAsia has been voted as the “Best Budget Airline in Asia” for the third year in a row in a recent poll conducted by SmartTravelAsia.com. The ‘2008 Best in Travel Poll’ solicits votes from visitors to the website and readers’ choices regarding their favourite travel brands.
Ten regional low-cost carriers were finalists in the poll, and AirAsia received 30 per cent of the votes – the highest of any airline in the competition. In fact, the category winner beat its closest rival by a 12 per cent margin. Jetstar Asia was the second-place vote winner.
The category “Best Budget Airline in Asia” was first introduced in the awards in 2006, and AirAsia has been the top vote-getter since that time.
In its review of the awards, SmartTravelAsia.com stated: “The Best Budget Airline in Asia poll is a broad measure of the newer airlines’ ability to deliver not just low prices and cheap tickets, but also reliable schedules, decent service - and the occasional smile. Route network and access play a major role.”
The chief executive officer of the AirAsia Group, Dato’ Sri Tony Fernandes commented: “It is a great honour for us to receive this accolade, as it reflects on our commitment in providing guests with the best services. We strive hard to ensure that our guests derive utmost satisfaction when flying AirAsia, and being chosen as the Best Budget Airline will only make us strive even harder to deliver better services.”
VietNamNet Bridge - Low prices (and not so low prices), high discomfort seem to be the motto of no-frills airlines whose ticket prices start ticking upwards the minute you spot them.
As tourists flock to shopping havens like Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and Bali during this promotional season, no-frills airlines in Ho Chi Minh City are offering too-good-to-believe discounts to these destinations.
More often than not, the discounts are too good to be true.
Our intended destination is Singapore, so we browse Tiger Airways’ website and are delighted to find a two-way fare of around $230. When we phone the agency, however, the price has somehow climbed to $310.
“Fees are $10 and $20 for baggage, and …” the woman goes on and on.
We call another Tiger Airways agency, only to be warned: “Prices change every minute. If you do not book in an hour, you will be sorry”.
Having no choice at hand, we rush to its office on Le Thanh Ton Street as fast as we could, and… you guessed it… the fare is now $360.
“You want to buy or not. Prices will continue to rise”. Another warning is issued.
Disappointed, we change our itinerary to Malaysia and a telephone check to an Air Asia agent confirms the fare at $192 on the condition that “you must come here in one hour”.
Profusely sweating and heavily panting, we reach the office on Ham Nghi Street, and are shocked to hear that the charge has skyrocketed 31 percent to $252.
“You are 5 minutes late”, the agent coldly explains.
Running against time to get cheap tickets is only the beginning of the race.
You also must have the stamina to fight for the best seats since discount ticket holders are not allotted seat numbers and must find them on their own.
The resulting free-for-all is an unruly scene as hundreds jostle against each another the minute stewardess motions us to enter.
“Faster, dad” a boy about 10 years old shouts as he elbows his way through for a seat next to the window.
As the plane lands we can see from above an airfield packed with Air Asia aircraft. A Malaysian passenger next to me explains it is not an international airstrip but a special one reserved for low-cost airlines.
Thankful that our ordeal has come to an end, we embark.
AirAsia has been named Best Budget Airline in Asia for the third consecutive year in the annual SmartTravelAsia.com poll, beating out Jetstar Asia and Nok Air.
“The poll is a broad measure of the newer airlines' ability to deliver not just low prices and cheap tickets, but also reliable schedules, decent service - and the occasional smile,” says SmartTravelAsia.com.
With 30 percent of the votes, AirAsia maintained a strong lead, with Jetstar Asia next with 22.5 percent of the vote and Thai Airways' Nok Air with 8.4 , reports ETravel Blackboard.
Rounding out the top five were Tiger Airways and Cebu Pacific. The other airlines in the 10 finalists were Virgin Blue, Air Deccan, SpiceJet, Viva Macau and Hong Kong Express.
Indisputably top of their list as the first choice, is Singapore Changi Airport, which secured a solid 33 percent of the vote to propel it upwards from second in 2007 (then with 16.8 percent of the votes). Clearly, the shopping facilities, greenery, and colour – as well as the addition of gleaming Terminal 3 – have made Changi a formidable competitor.
In the Best Airports Worldwide survey, Hong Kong International Airport fell from first to second position.
Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok secured 14.6 percent of the vote (a drop from 22.4 percent in 2007). Hong Kong airport (which ranked first in 2006) was comfortably clear of third-ranked rival, Suvarnabhumi Airport Bangkok, a vast improvement on the old Don Muang Airport. Suvarnabhumi picked up a solid 10.5 percent of the votes indicating it has sorted out much of its earlier teething issues. It improved by one position over 2007.
Heather Johnson of Brooklyn Park adheres to an entertainment and eating-out budget of no more than $100 per month for her family, and uses her connections to stretch those dollars further. For example, she's purchased cheap tickets to places such as the Minnesota Zoo through work and her insurance company, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. Be sure you know about discounts offered through your employer.
Reader Sören Erickson's tip is to work where you'd spend all of your money anyway. Erickson worked at a bar during his years at Minnesota State University.
"It pays well, work is often fun, on your off days you'll likely get a deal from friendly bartenders, and it will minimize how much money you spend at the bar since you'll have to work nights," wrote the 31-year-old Farmington resident on my blog: www.startribune.com/kablog.
Be careful. Without discipline, this strategy will backfire and you'll spend your entire paycheck before you get home.
Finally, if you feel peer pressure to spend money and want to cut back without missing out, consider having a frank conversation with your social circle about setting a spending limit.
You could also try what 29-year-old Katie Wenigmann calls an "ATM diet," where you take a certain amount of cash out at the beginning of the week and it has to last until the next week no matter what.
For Wenigmann, who brings a bag lunch and cooks at home all week to afford eating out on the weekends and wishes her indebted friends would do the same, setting a spending limit or starting a group ATM diet might help her good habits rub off on her good friends.
Who says that cheap plane tickets are a thing of the past? How would you like to go skiing in Utah this winter for less than $150 round trip from the East coast, including all taxes? Rather visit a warmer place? How about a ticket to Hawaii for less than $300?
Yes, these are real prices, but you might need to do some homework to get them. Airlines now publish low fares less frequently and often pull them off the market within hours.
We've all heard travel experts warning that air fares have nowhere else to go but up, mainly because of record-high jet-fuel prices, as well as predictions that the era of affordable air travel is over.
TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: The survey by SurveiOne research institution showed in flying, the cheaper ticket price has been the main consideration for Indonesian passengers.
The SurveyOne’s researcher, Anang Ghazali, mentioned 42.9 percent respondents chose a cheaper ticket price as their main reason while 27.70 percent considered good service, 9 percent the security aspect, 4.50 percent for comfort, and 2.6 percent for the airlines’ reputation.
The survey was conducted together with the survey for consumer behavior and expenses in various categories. It included 1,400 respondents in four cities: Jakarta, Surabaya, Medan, and Makassar.
“It began in the middle of last year,” said Anang yesterday.
The survey also covered the most favorite airlines. Anang said Lion Air is used the most (31.5 percent), followed by Garuda Indonesia (27.9 percent), Adam Air (13.3 percent), Merpati Nusantara Airlines (9.7 percent), Air Asia (4.2 percent).
Out of the five airlines, Garuda Indonesia is the only airline that does not offer cheap prices as they have full service. Lion Air plans to give full service next June.
The survey report is almost the same as the report by the National Airline Company Association (INACA). They said domestic passengers in 2006 used Lion Air (25 percent), Garuda Indonesia (20 percent), Adam Air (14 percent), Batavia Air (11 percent), and Sriwijaya Air (9 percent).
The market for airlines in Indonesia is growing rapidly as the low cost carriers started in 2001. The number of customers continuously increases.
According to the Directorate General for Air Transportation, the number of domestic passengers in 2007 increased 15.14 percent to 36.13 million passengers; to 34.01 million passengers in 2006, 28.8 million in 2005, 23.76 million in 2004, from 19.18 million in 2003.
Meanwhile, the number of passengers for the international route in 2007 increased by 9.25 percent to 13.93 million passengers; to 12.75 million passengers in 2006, 11.57 million in 2005, 11.8 million in 2004, from 10.7 million in 2003.
Tickets across the country have been renamed in what has been described by rail bosses as a simplification of the system.
But rail companies have been criticised for taking the opportunity to bring in even tighter restrictions on when cut-price fares are available.
East Midlands Trains, which is based in Derby, used to offer a discounted fare on the 9.04am Derby to London service but that is not available any more.
And people travelling from Birmingham to Derby on Cross Country Trains can no longer use a cheap day-return ticket during afternoon rush-hour.
George Hogg, 21, of Jessop Street, Ripley, travelled from London to Derby yesterday and said: "I did notice an increase in the price of my ticket.
"I do think it's quite typical of the rail companies but some advance tickets still cost less than £5, which is amazing."
Also at Derby train station was James Preston, 61, of Moor Rise, Holbrook, who said: "If you want to go somewhere, you've got no option but to pay."
Andrew Dyson, director of Platform Five publishing in Sheffield – which publishes Railways UK magazine – has investigated the price rises.
He said: "None of the fares have actually gone up but some restrictions on cheap tickets are tighter, so fares have risen by the back door.
"With East Midlands Trains, there doesn't seem to be much to benefit customers, although the odd change does."
The changes, which were introduced last week by the Association of Train Operating Companies, mean that tickets for on-the-day travel are now split into two categories.
Open tickets are replaced by "anytime" fares and both cheap day and saver returns have become "off-peak" tickets.
The move follows the first phase in May, when a whole range of options for single train journeys were replaced by "advanced" tickets.
David Mapp, commercial director of Association of Train Operating Companies, said: "Passengers told us they want a simpler fares system and we are responding."
If rising flight prices and environmental concerns are keeping you at home, check out Search Green Travel before you hang up your traveling shoes.
As co-founders the the eco travel blog Go Green Travel Green, we launched Search Green Travel as a free tool that helps users find cheap flights and save the environment at the same time.
With the hype about carbon footprints and increasing concern global warming, we wanted to create an easy way for travelers to reduce their environmental impact. And we know that in the today's economy, travelers can't afford to spend more. So Search Green Travel is a simple way for travelers to be greener -- and save money.
Here's how it works. You use Search Green Travel exactly as you would any other travel search engine. Each time you search for cheap plane tickets, hotels, or rental cars, money is generated through advertisements. Go Green Travel Green receives a share of advertising revenue, then we donate 50% of profits to charities. And it doesn't cost you anything.
We donate to small but effective non-profit environmental organizations with annual expenses of less than $3.5 million. Charities we currently support include EcoLogic Development Fund, Global Green USA, Seacology, Alliance for Global Justice, and Fauna & Flora International.
The mission of Search Green Travel, currently in beta testing, is to give back to the environment, one airfare search at a time.
The tool uses a popular travel search engine, which searches hundreds of sites to find the best prices on airfare, hotels, and rental cars.
Not everyone can afford a hybrid car or an ecotour in the Amazon. That’s why we focus on simple steps anyone can take to travel greener. We're turning something travelers do every day -- look for cheap tickets -- into support for sustainability and conservation.
We’ve been developing this tool for some time, and we’re excited to finally launch it. It’s still in beta testing, so we welcome feedback from fellow eco-conscious folks. What do you think? Is it something you’ll use? How can we improve it?
- Elizabeth and Kimberly
Search Green Travel
No matter if your traveling to Australia or looking for tickets to the Super Bowl we can help you save money on tickets. We have developed an in house strategy and incorporated it into a worldwide ticket portal in which you automaticall get taken to the cheapest tickets available for the event specified.
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Thursday, July 31, 2008
The best bargains tend to be found midweek and come with restrictions. American’s sale doesn’t include the Thanksgiving holiday period, Nov. 22 to 30, for example, and it requires a two-day minimum stay. Air France is limiting its deals to departures between Sept. 1 and Oct. 29 with a Saturday night stay requirement. The JetBlue deals require a seven-day advance purchase and must be booked by Aug. 6. Travel to the Northeast and Florida must take place between Sept. 3 and Dec. 17, while travel to the Caribbean, Mexico and Western states must be between Aug. 11 and Nov. 1. Although these may not be rock-bottom deals, the sales are significantly better than some of the lofty prices travelers have been facing this summer. They also may be a signal that consumers have reached a limit in terms of how much they’re willing to pay in price hikes.
“I think the writing’s on the wall that the economy is pretty soft.” said Tom Parsons, chief executive of Bestfares.com, a discount travel Web site that tracks airfare changes. “And travel is a very discretionary item.”
Despite capacity cuts, Mr. Parsons said he expected to see more deals to leisure destinations like the Caribbean, Mexico and Florida after Aug. 15, when children begin to go back to school and family travel starts to wane. “As we go into the fall,” he said, “airlines will be begging for people to get on the planes.” He is especially keeping his eye on Southwest Airlines, which he says hasn’t had a systemwide sale since Memorial Day weekend and is ready for one.
American Airlines and its regional affiliate, American Eagle, have been offering some surprisingly low fares to the Caribbean, the Bahamas, Mexico and Bermuda in a sale that ends on Thursday. The deals, which are good for travel between Sept. 2 and Dec. 10, include round-trip tickets as low as $152 from Miami to Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago; $178 from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Kingston, Jamaica; and $246 from New York to Bermuda, not including taxes and fees.
On Monday, JetBlue announced its annual fall sale, with one-way fares as low as $79 between Austin, Tex., and Fort Lauderdale; $109 between Boston and Chicago; and $169 between Long Beach, Calif., and Washington. Most of the sales, though, are out of Kennedy Airport in New York, including one-way fares from $149 to Denver; $155 to Cancún; $59 to Charlotte, N.C.; and $159 to Las Vegas.
Also, just last week, Air France extended the book-by date of a late-summer and early-fall sale to Europe to Aug. 5. Round-trip fares include New York to Paris from $628, Philadelphia to Madrid from $706 and Boston to Prague from $720, including fuel surcharges, but not taxes and security fees.
SEVERAL travel sites have recently made upgrades to help put flights in context of the overall flying experience. Travelocity has been working on color-coding for nonstop (green) flights and connecting (red) flights. It also offers “fare notes” in the margins of search results announcing changes or highlighting particulars of a flight — like United’s new fee for a second checked bag or Delta’s free curbside check-in — to help travelers make informed decisions.
In a new Traveler Update section, Orbitz provides maps that show flight delays for individual airports, the pace of highway traffic near major airports and average wait times at airport security checkpoints. And Itasoftware.com has long let travelers view flights graphically to see which ones have stopovers and points out long layovers or tight connections in a “warnings” column.
Travelers already cross-reference airfare searches with information from sites like www.tsa.gov for security checkpoint wait times and Flightstats.com, which lets travelers compare the timeliness record for particular flights. But InsideTrip is the first site to find a way to pull all this data together and present it in a comprehensive way.
Enter InsideTrip.com, a new travel site scheduled to arrive in test form on Tuesday. Headed up by Dave Pelter, a 17-year veteran of the travel industry who most recently had a hand in inventive sites like Farecast.com and Yapta.com, InsideTrip.com promises to take airfare searches to a new level.
For each search, InsideTrip provides not just fares but also evaluations of what Mr. Pelter calls 12 “pain points.” These include the amount of legroom in a cabin, how often the flight is on time, the aircraft type (larger jets get higher ratings), how crowded a specific flight typically is and if you can walk to your connection. It even considers how long it usually takes to get through the security checkpoint nearest the gate.
Each flight is given an overall trip quality rating, which is displayed on the right side of the search results as a score out of 100. There are also Consumer Reports-style symbols rating speed, comfort and ease in five levels, from poor to excellent.
For example, a recent test search on InsideTrip.com for round-trip flights from New York to Denver pulled up a list by price. The cheapest option — a $310 flight on American Airlines that took more than six hours each way, including a change of planes in the massive Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport — had a trip quality score of 62. Speed and comfort were rated “very good,” and ease of travel as “good.”
The top pick, highlighted by a purple flowerlike symbol, was a nonstop flight on Frontier Airlines for just $12 more that offered more legroom, less travel time and had a better lost-bags rating. Its overall trip quality score was 89, with “excellent” speed and comfort marks and “very good” ease of travel.
Monday, July 7, 2008
Friday, July 4, 2008
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Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Here's a travel tip for the summer season: You may want to stay home.
Soaring jet fuel will cost the industry an extra $24 billion, and passengers will be feeling the pain as airlines impose a wave of extra costs to meet their bills. The red ink is also flowing due to an aging fleet, far-flung and unprofitable flight schedules, and low-cost competitors.
Consider shrinking your height (so you won't be charged extra for more legroom). Don't carry any luggage, surfboards or golf bags (all of them, even the first bag, will likely cost extra). Prices will continue climbing while travel options shrink. Bankruptcy looms for operations that can't tap into cash reserves, borrow against jets or slash employee rolls. The difference this time is oil prices. Filling a 20-gallon tank with $4 per gallon gas for a family trip is one thing. But consider the thousands of gallons of jet fuel needed for a cross-country flight. Airline travel definitely isn't going away. Officials are confident that air travel will rebound.
Tumi is in the midst of a makeover.
With over 50 retail stores around the world, Tumi is one of the leading brands in the luggage industry known for its muted all-black style and zipper-to-zipper lifetime warranty.
Enter David Chu, the executive creative director of Tumi, who has embarked on an ambitious brand expansion and revamp that looks to change everything we think and do with our Tumi.
The results of
"A new retail concept has been introduced," says
After watching luggage brands such as Coach and Louis Vuitton explode in popularity under the creative direction of designers like Marc Jacobs, an obvious parallel, perhaps even a formula, emerges: "Louis Vuitton evolved from a travel company to one of lifestyle and fashion accessory. When traveling abroad he stresses that people should "pack well, with products that work well and look elegant. How you travel is a reflection of your personality."
For extended trips, it's the Townhouse Langham Wheeled Duffel.
The quandary: how to pack seven outfits in one carry-on bag for a weeklong summer vacation.
Not with a slew of new products made to streamline your packing and help avoid those pesky checked-bag charges.
1. Examine your luggage.
Weighing in at just 7 pounds 6 ounces, this rolling luggage — shaped asymmetrically, more like a big backpack on wheels — is a soft option and squeezes easily into small spaces.
2. Plan your wardrobe wisely.
"Be mindful, and pack with a purpose," said Kelly Vrtis, travel specialist for the Container Store. Choose neutral bottoms and brightly colored tops when planning your wardrobe."
Vrtis suggests choosing shoes in the same color family and wearing your heavier shoes on the plane. If working out or lots of walking will be on the vacation agenda, wear the athletic shoes on the plane and pack the strappy sandals and flip-flops.
Michele Marini Pittenger, president of the Travel Goods Association, suggests writing down a wardrobe list before you pack.
3. Pack strategically.
Pack toiletries on top of and around them, then add the clothing last. 4. Include some space-savers.
Coming to the rescue of space-strapped fliers, Eagle Creek's line of packing solutions includes cubes, tubes and bags designed to simplify the packing process. Popular items include the Pack-It, a compact case for stacked shirts. A card insert that shows step-by-step folding techniques doubles as a packing board, and the Pack-It's compact shape — like an envelope that unfolds at all corners — reduces wrinkles.
"The Pack-It makes it a lot easier to pack and easier to go through security because you can take each item out quickly," Vrtis said.
Witco, the South India based premium retail chain of stores for luggage and travel accessories, has repositioned itself from ‘The Luggage Expert’ to ‘Travel in Style’. Witco has charted out an aggressive plan to become a national player and open 50 stores across the country in the next 2-3 years with an estimated investment of Rs 40 crore.
Witco has recently launched its third store in Bangalore. The retail chain claims to enjoy 60 per cent market share in Chennai and has a strong presence with 12 multi-brand outlets in South India.
Elaborating on the company’s expansion plans, VP Harris, Managing Director, Witco India, said, “With the growing Indian economy and an increased propensity to spend, preference of an urban traveller has become more luxurious and sophisticated. The scene in luggage retail industry has become greener, which ensures substantial yield to our investment.”
Harris added, “Innovation has been the key in shaping the global luggage industry into a lifestyle segment. Demand for high quality luggage and accessories has been stimulated with the introduction of wheeled and lightweight products, casual luggage lines, the emerging need for lifestyle products such as backpacks, sports bags and computer cases.”
Witco (India) Pvt Ltd was founded in 1951 by the late MPC Mohamed with a vision to be the country’s leading retailer in travel requisites in the premium segment. Witco has established itself as a multi-brand retail chain with expertise in travel luggage needs and accessories. It has 11 outlets in South India – Chennai and Bangalore.CAROLA LONG writes:
Lumpen rucksacks, gym bags and boring black nylon cases offer further proof that the golden age of travel is about as "over" as a pair of kitten heels. However, while cheap functionality might still prevail when it comes to luggage, among style- conscious travellers there is a growing interest in finding cases and accessories that combine efficiency with aesthetics.
The chic globetrotter's primary strategy in fusing fashion and function is to switch to hand luggage. Jon Crossick, the retail director of 51 Degrees North – the travel concession at Harrods – says that carry-on sales "have gone through the roof... our top-selling pieces are all carry-on, and people tend to choose the biggest case they can." He attributes the escalation to the relaxation of the hand-baggage rules – British Airways now allows a case and a handbag, though some other airlines still limit passengers to just one case – fears about lost belongings, and the fact that some budget airlines have introduced charges for checked-in luggage.
Chic trolleys include Anya Hindmarch's grey croc-print and YSL's black Edition 24, while Orla Kiely's car-print leather case for Tripp is a more quirky retro style.
Good, affordable fabric trolleys include Puma's sleek Urban Mobility case, and Bric's turquoise version. Crossick has noticed two distinct trends in terms of look: lightweight cases in polycarbonate, and more retro shapes and materials. At Prada, there have been "brisk sales" in leather suitcases, a revival of traditional structured cases and a trend for matching luggage sets. For example, Globetrotter Orient sells really well."
Victoria Abbott is fashion adviser at John Lewis, where the personal shopping service offers packing and holiday-wardrobe advice.
Folding Ray-Bans or Persol sunglasses, and folding Pretty Ballerinas pumps also save space.
* How to pack
Place a suit jacket, button-side up, at the base of the case, place other items on top, then fold the top of the jacket over the other clothes again, like a sandwich, folding the arms back over the jacket. T-shirts etc should be tightly rolled not folded, and shoes always go against the hard back of the case. A trolley or trunk-style case is best for keeping clothes neat. * Beauty essentials
John Lewis does clear plastic make-up bags that meet EU travel regulations for liquids, and miniature products.