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How does a month of flying around Southeast Asia for under $200 sound?
That's the question we asked back in December, when it was first announced AirAsia would introduce some sort of pass for unlimited flights. Well, that passthe AirAsia ASEAN Pass, named for the Association of Southeast Asian Nationsis official and available for purchase, beginning today.
The ASEAN Pass' original promise of travel to 10 countries has been kept, and passengers may elect to fly to airports in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Burma, Laos and Brunei. The greatest variety of destinations is of course offered from AirAsia's base in Kuala Lumpur, although Bangkok also has a bunch.
Popular leisure destinations in the passes include Bali, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Langkawi, and Puerto Princesa. With just those it'd be very tempting to turn an ASEAN Pass into a "best exotic beaches of SE Asia" pass, but culture and business travelers will find plenty destinations of interest as well.
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Go and get 'em! Reservation booking has just opened up here for the semiannual NYC Restaurant Week, aka one of our favorite (and super highly recommended) city food events. NYC's Winter Restaurant Week(s) 2015 runs from February 16 to March 6.
Get over to OpenTable quickly to snap up the best and newest tables, lest you get stuck dining at some Theater District steakhouse that survives on tourists being loose with their money and not too particular about what's on their plate. The choices for winter 2015 are better than ever, with a record 340 participating eateries.
The official announcement gives a taste of what to expect:
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You know that old idiom, “everything happens in threes?” Well, it absolutely applies in the case of WiFi on cruise ships this season. At-sea connectivity is a notoriously sore spot in the cruise industry, since the standard satellite systems bring embarrassingly low bandwidth at a shamefully high cost. In most cases, we’re talking $0.75 per minute. For real.
Several years ago it was normal to be charged ~$300 just to keep up some minimal internet access for emailing and some social media-ing on a 7-day cruise, and as of 2014 not much had changed...other than the passengers’ desire for more time online at a better price.
Then along came Royal Caribbean’s “smartship” Quantum of the Seas and its lower cost, lower orbit, higher bandwidth satellite technology, includinggaspunlimited plans.
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Newport News-based budget airline PEOPLExpress flew for only three months in the middle of 2014, and was itself a re-launch of a 1980s airline. They abruptly ceased operations on September 26, and were finally evicted from Newport News Airport in late November. We booked a ticket and flew with them from Boston to Newport News and back before that untimely end, and this is the flight review we wrote at that time.
PEOPLExpress. What it sounds like: A new social media network for Adderall fans. What it is: An ‘80s-born, revived low-cost airline brand that launched direct flights between Boston’s Logan International Airport and Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport, where the company is based. In September we scored a sale fare of $39 (inclusive tax and fees) each way; the standard fee was $79.
There’s certain poignancy to connecting Boston and Williamsburg, Virginia. Boston is, after all, where the American Revolution began. (Shot heard ‘round the world, and all.) And it’s down in the so-dubbed “Historic Triangle” of Virginia, which is anchored by Williamsburg, where the war wrapped up: Specifically at neighboring Yorktown Battlefield, where we kicked British booty and finally got them to surrender. #MURRICA.
Japan has a reputation for being pricey, especially when it comes to transportation costs. But a number of "foreigner-only" discounts can help save you some cash as you scoot around the country.
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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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Black Friday is upon us, and for those who prefer to stay home and search for travel deals, the airlines have stepped up to the plate to offer a few Black Friday sales worth considering.
Expect more or at least a continuation of airfare sales on Cyber Monday but, for now, here's what airlines are offering right now:
Forget Black Friday. The best airfare deals won't be coming from the airline themselves, but via a little website named The Flight Deal.
An algorithm regularly unearths airfares you'd be tempted to consider "too good to be true," but then the TFD staff steps in to vet them and, once confirmed, posts these deals for you to jump on. Today, for example, they've highlighted $273 Seattle-Orlando, $592 Newark-Paris/Oslo, and $765 Denver-Taipei.
The Flight Deal's raison d'être is clear and squarely for the benefit of you, the cost-conscious traveler: "we will only publish fares that meet a simple criterion: 6 cents per mile." Under this rule, a nonstop roundtrip from New York to Barcelona "should never be more than $425." We've scored many, many unbelievable deals via TFD, such as New York-Vienna for ~$300, Detroit-Aruba for ~$230, and Los Angeles-Hong Kong for ~$550.
They're kind of our secret weapon; this Thanksgiving, we know for what/whom we're most thankful (hint: it's TheFlightDeal).
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It's no fun to travel around Thanksgiving. It is, however, fun to anticipate and hop on any travel deals that result from the shopping rush around Black Friday (November 28) and Cyber Monday (December 1).
We've gathered a few of the more promising deals upcoming later this week, and there's only more to be had.
If you come across any other worthwhile travel deals, please share them in the comments and we'll have a more precise list come Black Friday itself.
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Above: AirAsia's route map out of KUL
How does a month of flying around Southeast Asia for under $200 sound?
It'll soon be possible, so hopefully your answer was positive. You see, the AP reports that Malaysia-based low-cost airline AirAsia is getting ready to release an unlimited flying pass to 10 Southeast Asia destinations for only $148 (excluding airport taxes). The airline, whose slogan is "now everyone can fly," will allow travelers to use the passdubbed the "AirAsia ASEAN Pass"for one month of flights at some point in early 2015.
This comes just as ASEAN countries are making strides to "liberate the airways" in 2015, which we reported from the annual ASEAN conference earlier this year.
For travelers who've never flown AirAsia and may be skeptical: yes, this pass is suspiciously cheap, as are AirAsia's regular flight prices, but it is a reputable airline and we have flown with them several times. Who would doubt an airline that serves in-flight bubble tea and offers 19 different buy-onboard meals?
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Brazil is about to get a little early Christmas present. The country's third largest airline, Azul, started by JetBlue founder David Neeleman, has announced it will begin flying between the United States (Fort Lauderdale and Orlando) and Brazil as early as next month.
Our friends at The Flight Deal have discovered an unbeatable Azul deal for December, from Fort Lauderdale to Brazil, for $193 one-way in Economy or $510 one-way, in Business Class (reclining, not lie-flat), taxes included.
We're been a bit hesitant to promote the deal, since it's definitely going to be a headache for travelers who aren't completely confident in their ability to "hack" budget flights. In order to take full advantage of the Azul flight deals, you'll need to book through their Portuguese site, hunt-and-peck for valid dates, use a credit card with no foreign transaction fees, already have or obtain a Brazil visa ($160+ pp), be okay with arriving to an "alternative" airport, and be prepared to either pay much more for the return flight, or book a one-way home on another airline using frequent flyer miles.
Scared? Don't be. Just keep in mind that this is the infancy of budget flights between the US and Brazil, so the situation will only improve.
What to know to grab this deal:
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Around 5pm EST, their US website finally went live, advertising specials and bookable deals in US Dollars, with some flights as low as $99 and $125 one-way. Despite those unbelievable numbers, the airline is a reputable one. WOW has been flying between Iceland and Europe since 2011, and we didn't think twice to book them earlier this year for a trip to go waterfall-spotting and hot spring-soaking in Iceland.
Think fast and have your credit card ready, and here's what you need to know to score WOW Air's cheapest US deals: