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In the spirit of New Years' Resolutions, we're choosing to be filled with love and light when it comes to airlines. So instead of focusing on the terrible TSA theater, the crappy meals served in-flight, the nickel-and-diming onboard, the exasperated attitudes at the gate or the rampant idiocy in the baggage claim, we're focusing on airlines and flight attendants doing it right. Below, Charyn Pfeuffer, rejoins the Jaunted crew with a seating snafu on Alaska Airlines that went terribly...right.
As a frequent traveler who has often logged 100 flights per year, I've jaunted far and wide and have seen the world’s best sights and attended once-in-a-lifetime events. No matter where I’ve stayed, how I traveled or whom I’ve met, I’ve learned the secret to travel success is to be gracious. In other words, don’t be a jerk.
A simple “please” and “thank you” goes a long way – in every culture I’ve encountered. Such deference served me well last week when I found myself in a bit of a travel snag.
A few of my girlfriends and I made plans to take a dear friend with cancer to Los Angeles for an extra special getaway. We booked flights on Alaska Airlines. Two first class tickets – one for our friend Mary, one for her mother; the rest of us booked tickets in coach.
Due to an emergency, Mary’s mother couldn’t make it. We didn’t want Mary to fly by herself in first class, but a quick call to Alaska Airlines told us it would cost $450 to transfer one of the coach tickets to the paid-for first class seat. FOUR-HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS! Nearly double the cost of the initial ticket. Stunned by sticker shock, we didn’t know what to do.
So, I decided to reach out to Alaska Airlines via Twitter.
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There’s a couple of asterisks on the terms and conditions page, but for the most part it seems pretty straightforward. It’s all to show off their love to their Mileage Plan members, so be sure to sign up and enter your digits prior to checking in for your flight.
It's that time of the year again, the time when the year just plain ends. Alas, we can't just let 2014 go that easily, especially since travelers spent it both up in the air and up in arms over a crazy range of topics. Now we take a brief look back at the best and worst of 2014 with the Jaunted Travel Awards,or as we fondly refer to themThe Jauntys.
Plenty of airlines showed off their stuff in 2014, but when we go through the archives and review all that happened during the year one carrier stands out to us. That’s why our pick for airline of the year is Alaska Airlines.
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Instead of a cosmetic rebrand, Alaska Airlines is investing millions to update their entire in-flight experience with huge benefits for the economy traveler.
Alaska Beyond begins rolling out across Alaska Airlines' 737 fleet from today through 2015, and it consists of several updates:
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Airlines go through a lot of stuff each and every year, so it’s nice to see when they’re able to recycle some stuff instead of sending it off to the landfill. Alaska Airlines is one such carrier, as they’ve been sending their seat covers elsewhere for a chance at a new life.
The discarded leather material finds its way to the creative folks over at Mariclaro and, from there, your seat becomes a bag, an accessory, and a number of other things—and all from sustainable materials. The different style of bags—from messenger to attaché case—use airport codes for their names, so you can choose from options like the JFK or the SEA.
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Up in the air dining just got a little bit better aboard Alaska Airlines, as the carrier has called on a local celebrity chef for their newest in-flight menu.
Tom Douglas is well known in the Seattle area for restaurants like Etta’s, Lola, and our favorite of his restaurant empire—the pizza joint known as Serious Pie. He's also the winner of James Beard awards and is on the radio on a regular basis. It was only a matter of time before he was approached to translate his flavors for 35,000 feet.
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Enough already! Talk of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals ends today...at least until next year.
If you're hoping for a travel deal during this high shopping season, then Cyber Monday is the better bet as airlines tend to do much of their business on the internet these days.
As always, pay attention to the fine print before clicking to purchase, and remember that more sales are due to arrive after the New Year, when travel once again calms down between the holidays and Spring Break.
Cyber Monday airfare sales:
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Sometimes it’s hard to stay on top of all the new route announcements that come our way, so we’ve complied a little bit of a rundown below. As long as you can afford the fares, this should definitely help add to your passport stamp collection.
Good news for those trying to get to—or from—the Sunshine State, as Lufthansa is getting ready to make Tampa one of its newest nonstop destinations. The flights are scheduled to begin on September 25 of next year, so you have quite some time to get the funds in place. Things will begin by heading back and forth four times each and every week, but then things will bump up to five times per week when the weather gets warmer. It’ll be Airbus A340s doing the flying, but just note one thing—this will be one of the first flights operated by the carrier’s new low cost carrier arm.
Want to go to Finland? Finnair can take your there from all kinds of different destinations, but beginning next year Chicago becomes a new option. The plan is to start the flights beginning in June of next year, as it’ll be a seasonal affair between Chicago-O’Hare and Helsinki. Airbus A330s will do the back and forth thing, and it sounds like the flights will operate thrice weekly. Just be sure not to miss your flight, as things will end for the year on October 17.
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Just one more day until the little (and not so little) ghosts and goblins come out to play for Halloween and, if you haven't gotten your costume ready to roll this year, you'd better get on it.
Obviously it takes a little more than a trip to Target and some wacky makeup to dress up an airplane, so special airplane paint jobs tooling around tarmacs really make a big splash at this time of the year:
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We’re not quite ready to name a Jaunty winner for biggest mover and shaker of the airline industry for 2014 just yet, but Alaska Airlines seems to be making a case for the title each and every week. This time they’re introducing further technology at their destinations, specifically a way to check-in for flights with just your finger.
Alaska Airlines is checking out how to use fingerprints for your reservation, calling it “e-thumb” technology. It’s not just to get on the plane either, as if things go well they’ll put biometrics to use to credit cards for stuff like onboard purchases. Right now the testing seems limited to using the technology—and your thumb—to gain access to the airline lounge.
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Have plans for tomorrow? If not, try to make your way out to Seattle, as Alaska Airlines is hosting a scavenger hunt in and around the city. We would probably play along just for some airline swag or a t-shirt, but what they’re handing out to the winner is even better. To celebrate their order of a whole bunch of brand new Boeing 737-900ERs they are offering up a chance to drive one—at least in the simulator.
The airline will be revealing clues on both Instagram and Twitter beginning at 6am—local time—this Friday. Your job will be to use the hints to find spots in and around Seattle, and if you’re the first to arrive at each location you might just score some time in the Boeing 737 flight simulator.
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Los Cabos' battered airport is seen behind the wingtip of an Alaska Airlines relief flight
UPDATE, 9.24.14: The airport is now scheduled to reopen on October 8. That could change but we'll keep you updated if we hear otherwise.
The fallout from Hurricane Odile continues, now one week after the category 3 storm lashed the Baja Peninsula and stranded nearly 40,000 tourists. Although relief flights operated by governments and even by airlines have been successful in evacuating the stranded, the major airport for the regionLos Cabos International Airport (SJD)remains closed to regularly scheduled service and, as of Friday, the Directorate General of Civil Aeronautics suspended relief operations in order to begin airport repairs.
The latest word on a reopening date for SJD comes from the airport's operator, Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico, who are now planning to welcome limited flights no earlier than September 26. The danger lies not in the actual flying to/from or landing at the airport since the runways and taxiways themselves were not damaged. It's the airport buildings serving passengersTerminal 1 with a collapsed roof and Terminal 2 with structural damage, both a general messwhich delay the resumption of flights.