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With summer officially in swing, we no longer feel the need to hide our rosé
drinking problem obsession. (Even though it's possible to drink rosé all year long, the blush pink wine is typically meant for summertime.)
While rosé is popular at restaurants and bars all over right now, we were quite surprised when we found a Cotes de Provence Rosé on the business class wine list aboard Air France, as usually airlines just offer white or red, but never in between. Paired with the rich butter cookies, it made for an excellent pre-meal treat. (However, if you're looking for rosé champagne, you'll have to fly Qatar business class for that.)
We'll have more on the rest of business class meal, and the flight, later this week but for now, sip on these travel news tidbits compiled by Conde Nast Traveler:
Using in-flight WiFi is one of our favorite modern technological advancements. Because of it, we no longer lose a day of work when flying to a business meeting. We can also respond to email and handle any crises before we land. Social media junkies also get to keep their friends and "followers" informed of what they're doing in flight. And you can communicate with whoever is on the ground to pick you up from the airport (like we did yesterday when we texted our mom in-flight about the arrival time).
But there is just one tip you need to remember about WiFi if you are flying on American, United, Virgin America, US Airways, Delta, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, or Japan Airlines, all of which use Gogo — buy before you fly.
Purchasing an all-day pass for in-flight WiFi from Gogo's website only costs $16. Once you're in the air, the price jumps to $39, which is a completely offensive mark-up. We've heard numerous travelers complain about this and we always stress to them, "Buy it online before your flight." We've actually bought our passes while we were on the plane, waiting for the boarding process to finish.
On flights shorter than six hours, there are cheaper options for one-hour passes, as well as smartphone pricing options, but those too are inflated. Buying before flying will cost you $5 for the one-hour pass and $8 for a 24-hour smartphone pass.
Fortunately most airlines, like Virgin America and Delta, offer the option of an all-day WiFi pass at the time of booking your tickets. And that pass is the usual $16. So you can select it at the time of booking. But if you forget, do not get on that plane without buying your WiFi first.
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Let me preface this review by saying that, these days, when an airline gets my family and I safely to our destination, it was a successful flight and I’m deeply grateful. Get me there on time to boot and bonus points ensue.
But, we do have the choice about which airlines to fly and one can’t help comparing the amenities that are offered and extra fees that are charged when spending hundreds of dollars (or valuable airline miles) on flights.
That said, we flew United Flight 1251 to Montego Bay from Chicago O’Hare April 4 - which arrived safely and on time so the major tenets of a good flight were, indeed, accomplished - and the WiFi wasn’t working, the crew ran out of immigration forms, there were no free snacks (no surprise here), and the ones they were selling ones were rather overpriced (Pringles for $3.99, for example).
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What a week for Southwest Airlines! Yesterday, the only other airline than Southwest who doesn't charge a fee for your first checked bagJetBlueannounced that they would indeed begin charging fees on checked bags.
Bummer for JetBlue, as the change will be introduced at some point in 2015 along with new airfare tiers of service, but a boon for Southwest, who now claims the title of "the only airline where bags fly free."
Still, JetBlue flyers have no need to panic just yet. The baggage fees haven't yet been detailed with pricing (although industry standard is $25 for the first bag), the new fare tiers haven't been announced, and none of these changes will happen until some point in 2015.
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A new baggage feeyes another onewill hurt holiday season travelers this year, but only if you're flying notoriously fee-happy Spirit Airlines.
If you've booked or will book a flight on the budget airline after August 19. 2014 for travel between December 18, 2014 and January 5, 2015, be prepared to tack on $2 to each paid checked bag fee. They're calling it the "Temporary Holiday Bag Price Change," but we think it only hints at a proper permanent hike to come.
With the new $2 fee, carry-on bags (remember, Spirit charges for both carry-on and checked bags) will cost $37 each if purchased during booking, $47 during online check-in, $52 at the airport before security, and $102 at the gate. The first checked bag is actually a slightly better deal, charged at $32 each if purchased during booking, $42 during online check-in, $47 at the airport before security, and $102 at the gate. Overweight, oversize, extra bags, and their "$9 club" fees all differ, so check out their site for more, but remember to add the extra $2 on to each price.
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Australia may be home to the "Best Job in the World," but with the ups come the downs, and Oz now also offers positions for what seems like the worst job in the world: "Cabin Baggage Officer" for Jetstar.
Working for an airline may be a dream job to some, but you'll want to steer clear of starting this low on the ladder; Cabin Baggage Officer is a brand new position designed to enforce carry-on luggage rules and charge any applicable fees directly to the passengers, at a point when travelers think they're already good to go. Our friends at Australian Business Traveller elucidate the Officer's responsibilities:
Just when it seems like airlines are only imposing new fees to negatively impact passengers, British Airways has gone and introduced a fee which actually helps. Starting now, travelers searching airfares on British Airways for travel on BA or Iberia may pay $5/£5/€5 for short-haul or $10/£10/€10 long-haul per person to place a reservation on hold for a period of 72 hours before deciding whether or not to purchase.
Alliance partner American Airlines offers a similar option, allowing customers to place an itinerary on hold for 24 hours, for free; BA's charging for the privilege may set a precedent for the future of this service.
While on hold, the flight price is guaranteed not to increase, but it can decrease (yay).
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As you know because you've been following along, the new TSA fees that we've been trashing since 2010 went into effect earlier this month. They had been jammed up for years by airlines - more on that below - but the administration finally managed to get them passed. The old caps, which had been set at $2.50 per flight segment with a $10 roof for a four-flight round trip, were abolished.
Would you believe that TSA may have taken advantage of the new situation to collect fees even higher than what Congress allowed? That's the argument being made by airlines, who are now suing the security agency. Game on.
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There's no shortage of domestic and international travel politics stories floating around. There's the potential for a new Cold War because of the MH17 downing. There's the 24 hour FAA ban on flights into Tel Aviv. There's even the ongoing nonsense about how airport security officials are threatening to confiscate electronics that run out of battery power during trans-Atlantic flights, which is something that happens literally all the time.
But this story about hiking airline security fees is - rightly - driving people absolutely out of their minds. We flagged this for you last month as a heads up, but we've actually been tracking these legislative efforts since 2010. The Obama administration has tried to raise the fees that travelers pay for security through the normal budget process, outside the normal budget process, and probably at least once via occult wizardry. Every time it was justified as a way to make people travel more, which is not a very good argument because it's not how supply and demand works.
Another day, another new fee for the airline industry and its passengers. The biggest surprise? The airlines have nothing to do with it.
In December, Congress approved an increase in the TSA fees applied to passenger airline tickets, raising the charge to a flat rate of $5.60 each way, up from the previous $2.50 each way for a nonstop one-way flight or $5 for trips that included a layover. The TSA has already said that it will try to add an additional $5.60 for segments that include a layover longer than four hours, most likely assuming that people with such wait times will exit and reenter the secure areas.
If you haven't heard, the Department of Transportation announced a proposal yesterday that would require airlines to be more upfront about the extra costs associated with purchasing a ticket, such as baggage and seat assignment fees. The idea is for these costs to be listed alongside the price of the ticket throughout the various purchasing outlets instead of at the last minute in order to give customers a more complete picture when comparing costs between airlines.
This is great news for us consumers, as we've all no doubt been there done that when it comes to being lured in by a low price, only to realize it would actually cost $50-$100 more after such aforementioned fees. And while one would think this would be a pretty reasonable request, the airline industry doesn't like it one bit.
Baggage Fees / Airline Fees / Frontier / Airline News / LCCs / Baggage / Luggage / Carry-on Baggage Fees / → All Tags
Baggage fees turn six years old this July. That's no cause for celebration, but travelers have gradually grown accustomed to forking over an extra $25+ to stow bags in a plane's hold. The real indignation comes of what will be the fourth anniversary of carry-on baggage fees, initiated in August 2010 by Spirit Airlines.
Spirit now charges passengers $35+ for a carry-on bag, and their success has inspired another American airline to join in the collection of these extra dollars. Frontier has just announced the start of carry-on baggage fees, beginning with tickets purchased on or after today.
To put the evil of carry-on baggage fees into perspective, not even the infamous nickel-and-dimers of Ryanair have attempted them yet.