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These Travel News Briefs were compiled by Conde Nast Traveler
JetBlue’s expected move to charge for at least some checked bags goes into effect today. The airline is “charging, effectively, $15 for the first checked bag versus most other airlines’ fees of $25,” Barbara Peterson reports. “It’s also reducing cancellation and change fees, which surveys show are among the most detested of the myriad fees imposed by airlines. That leaves Southwest, with its ‘two bags fly free’ policy, as the lone holdout among major domestic airlines.” (Condé Nast Traveler)
While many carriers charge for checked bags now, Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines both promise to deliver luggage within 20 minutes of arrival. Those policies are two of “a few bright spots where airlines inject a bit of humanity back into our journey” these days, Scott Mayerowitz reports. (AP)
“Traveling to Greece? Here’s what you need to know.” (Condé Nast Traveler)
In-Flight Meals / Photo Gallery / Cathay Pacific / Hotels / Mandarin Oriental / First Class Travel / Hong Kong Travel / San Francisco Travel / → All Tags
Once you fly in First Class, on a long-haul international flight, it's quite difficult to return to coach on another flight having tasted what's on offer in the front of the plane. This is especially true for First passengers on Cathay Pacific, not only because the First Class seats were recently updated and remain a flyer favorite, but because the airline enjoys showing off in the in-flight dining department.
For 2015, Cathay Pacific's big treats for First Class travelers are monthly menus designed by Executive Chefs from Mandarin Oriental properties around the world. We already gave you an exclusive preview of the MO New York February meals, but now it's time for March and Mandarin Oriental San Francisco.
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You’re in First Class on Cathay Pacific. The flight is a 16-hour nonstop from New York to Hong Kong, and you’re looking forward to a little sleeping, a little working, and a little eating while watching that movie you’ve been meaning to catch. Then the flight attendant hands you a pair of soft pajamas and the in-flight meal menu, and it becomes quite clear that you’re going to enjoy this flight.
The cherry on top of the experience? 2015 is the year Cathay Pacific has dedicated to featuring unique First Class menus created by chefs from Mandarin Oriental hotel properties around the world. And, oh yes, there will be caviar.
What began as a special feature for just the London route in 2014 expands throughout 2015 to 5 more destinations. The lucky routes: Between Hong Kong and New York-JFK, Boston, San Francisco, Paris, London, and Tokyo-Haneda.
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British Airways Club World
Let’s not beat about the bush: if you’re flying long-haul, business class is best. In fact, once you’ve turned left on a plane, and tasted that delicious champagne and that (hopefully) flat bed, it will take nerves of steel to cross an ocean in any other way.
But not all business classes are created equal. Some are worth that premium price; others less so. Some are best for working; others for sleeping; and others for simply feeling glam (as you'll see below, it's a very personal choice). So because, much as we’d like to, we can’t all afford biz all of the time, we asked the frequent flyers of Jaunted (plus an extremely knowledgeable friend) two questions: which business class is your favorite, and which would you not bother with? Because, if you’re going to splurge, it’d be a shame to land up with a dud, right? #firstworldproblemsalltheway
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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:
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"OMG, you're going to have such a great time" isn't the typical response to someone saying they're about to spend over 14 hours on a plane...in Economy.
Alack and alas, we find ourselves reacting in this way when said travel involves flying Cathay Pacific.
Since Cathay Pacific is based in Hong Kong, a "Special Administrative Region" under China and only 426 square miles in size, it has no domestic flights. Every flight from Hong Kong International Airport is truly international, and thus Cathay is an airline completely equipped for long-haul travel, with a fleet of all wide-body aircraft. On top of that, Cathay only introduced their new Economy seats in 2012, so the interiors aren't as tired as you may have come to expect from long-haul aircraft.
While other airlines may offer some of these perks, it's Cathay's particular ratio of comfort to friendliness that may help travelers be least anxious about spending a 14-16 hour nonstop in coach.
How Cathay Pacific makes Economy Class special:
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Freshly opened back in June, the new International Business Lounge within the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) at Los Angeles International Airport is the result of a combined effort from Oneworld alliance partners Qantas, British Airways, and Cathay Pacific. Located on level 5, it can accommodate up to 400 people and is open from 6 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Earlier this month, we swung through to take a look around during an 8-hour layover from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.
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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.
· Cathay Pacific:
Heading to Hong Kong is about to get a little bit easier, as Cathay Pacific is preparing for some new nonstop flights to and from the nifty fifty. This time they will be departing from Boston on their way to Hong Kong, and it looks like things are scheduled to takeoff for the first time on May 3, 2015. Once the necessary government seals and stamps are in place the flights will do their thing four times per week, and the flying fun will be completed thanks to some Boeing 777-300ER—complete a true first class cabin!
· Virgin Atlantic:
Great news for those who call the Motor City home, as it looks like Virgin Atlantic is putting the pieces in place for a new route across the pond. The plan is for the carrier to do the nonstop thing between Detroit and London beginning during the summer of 2015. Obviously things can change between now and then, but it does sound like this should be a daily option.
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Hong Kong may be clear on the other side of the world from New York, but Cathay Pacific's 777-300ER airplanes can make the journey in one swift hop over the North Pole. Come next spring, they'll even be doing so often with a new nonstop route from Boston-Logan International Airport.
This will be the airline's 6th US destination (following JFK, EWR, SFO, LAX, and ORD). To celebrate, and to fill up their first month of flights with smiling faces, they've launched a deep discount airfare sale on the new route, with roundtrip tickets going for a total of $753.88. That's a whole $4 cheaper than last year's similar launch sale to Newark.
We were very pleased with our experience when Cathay Pacific debuted its Premium Economy section about two years ago, impressed by the quality and presentation of the onboard service. On a recent trip from Los Angeles to Hong Kong, we discovered that the airline has also made a commitment to an even lower class of passengers: Those of us hunkered down in the back of the plane, right by the bathrooms.
It's not uncommon for airlines to roll their eyes at their lowest-paying passengers, but with a few simple gestures, Cathay Pacific's service actually made us feel like a human being despite the fact that we were sitting in regular old economy class.
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Hong Kong gets a lot of love from us for many reasons, not least among which is its awesome airport, Chek Lap Kok. No matter how you pass through HKG, you’re likely to have a pleasant experience, but this being the home of Cathay Pacific, flying in a premium cabin or having the right status with oneworld alliance means you’re in for a real treat.
The airline lounges here are among the best in existence, and they're regularly updated with the newest lounge niceties. When we flew out of Hong Kong earlier this month, we made sure to build in enough time to explore them all. Naturally we first aimed straight for the top, with the private cabanas in the redesigned Cathay Pacific “The Wing” First Class lounge.