Southwest Airlines has announced its expanded schedule for summer 2015, one that will feature up to a whopping 3,800 departures each weekday.
For perspective, the low-cost carrier and subsidiary AirTran Airways combine to operate roughly 3,650 flights per day at their peaks.
“Our June and July schedule is the biggest in our history with as many as 3,800 flights a day,” said Southwest’s vice president of network planning and performance Andrew Watterson (h/t Terry Maxon of the Dallas Morning News).
“What we’re announcing today is an additional investment in many of our long-time communities. We’re connecting our customers to what’s important to them–more seats at our low fares, our great customer service and policies, and better schedules through nonstop options.”
Southwest lead network planner Bill Owen explained how the airline will be able to offer so many flights this summer in a recent blog post:
“We achieve this through a small increase in our scheduled flying fleet, by the lower good-weather summer flying times, and a slight lengthening of our operating day—meaning we’ll start the day a little earlier and end it a little later.”
Southwest already operates more flights than any other carrier, and that will likely continue as AirTran becomes fully integrated by the start of 2015.
In addition to offering more flights than the competition, Southwest will add service in more than 80 round-trip markets as well as 13 new seasonal weekday markets next summer.
What’s more, nonstop service between New Orleans and Oakland will return almost a decade after being eliminated as a result of 2005′s Hurricane Katrina.
Read more travel news at www.TravelPulse.com
All Nippon Airways (ANA) have each announced plans to offer nonstop service between Houston and new destinations.
In a press release, ANA confirmed plans to connect Tokyo and Houston with nonstop service beginning in the spring of 2015.
The flight will operate between George Bush Inercontinental Aiport in Houston and Tokyo’s Narita International Airport.
“Houston’s dynamic economy and diverse population continue to strengthen its position on the world stage,” said Houston Mayor Annise Parker. “All Nippon Airways’ commitment is an example of Houston’s enhanced status as a gateway city and a key player in the global marketplace.”
Meanwhile, Southwest filed applications with the U.S. Department of Transportation on Thursday in search of approval to serve half of a dozen destinations in Latin America with daily nonstop service from Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport.
After receiving government approval, Southwest will offer nonstop options between Houston and Cancun, Mexico; Mexico City, Mexico; Puerta Vallarta, Mexico; San Jose del Cabo/Los Cabos, Mexico; San Jose, Costa Rica and Belize City, Belize.
The added nonstop service is dependent upon the completion of a $156 million international concourse construction at Hobby, according to the company’s press release.
The project will add five new gates to allow for service to the aforementioned destinations.
“We’re building our first-ever international terminal project to give Houstonians, visitors to Houston, and our connecting Customers exceptional value and legendary Customer Service in international markets for which there is great demand,” said Southwest Airlines chairman, president and CEO Gary Kelly in a statement.
The recent announcements are undoubtedly great news for travelers. But they also point to the tremendous growth of Houston in terms of a destination and source of travelers.
Both announcements come amid booming international air travel in Houston.
Read more travel news at www.TravelPulse.com
The study, which utilized comprehensive ticket data and a number of credible sources within the industry, was produced by Expedia, Inc and the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC), who partnered in order to dive deeper into the data and provide a clearer outlook.
The 24-page study covers several topics, including the best time to purchase plane tickets and what customers might expect to pay, but presents only a handful of key takeaways.
Among those conclusions, the study suggests air travelers book domestic travel at least two months in advance in order to secure the best deal. Likewise, the study suggests that international travel be booked six months ahead of time.
The study also points out that trends show that the gap in cost between premium and economy airfare is shrinking. Good news for air travelers considering business class in 2015.
“The combination of increased demand met by with increased capacity, coupled with lower fuel prices means one thing: it’s good to be a traveler in 2015,” said Greg Schulze, senior vice president, global tour & transport, Expedia, Inc, in a statement.
“Our intent is that travel hacks coming straight from the Expedia air team, like booking your hotel and flight together as a package to save money, will help make sure travelers know when to book, how to buy and where to go,” Schulze added.
Meanwhile, ARC’s managing director of enterprise information management Chuck Thackston said the organization was “delighted to collaborate with Expedia on this important study.”
“Though several of the results in this detailed study confirmed ARC’s earlier findings, Expedia went deeper with their own expertise and data to produce a well-rounded document,” Thackston added.
There’s no question that the study’s findings are extremely encouraging. With prices seemingly coming down and supply and demand both on the rise, there’s never been a better time to fly.
Click here to view the complete study courtesy of Expedia, Inc and ARC. Read more travel news at www.TravelPulse.com
Air France today cut the ribbon on its new, fully renovated lounge at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, a space reserved exclusively for passengers traveling in La Première and Business classes, respectively, and Flying Blue Elite Plus members.
It’s just another example of the ‘club wars,’ as airlines ante up on their lounges for high-end customers.
“On our legendary New York-Paris route, our passengers are already enjoying our latest long-haul cabin classes which are gradually equipping our Boeing 777 and our superjumbo the A380,” Frédéric Gagey, Chairman and CEO of Air France, said in a statement. “Today’s inauguration of this beautiful new lounge completes our offer for our Premium customers and is part of our strategy to upgrade all our products and service, both on the ground and on-board.”
The new light-filled lounge provides a relaxing environment with white and wood tones enhanced by touches of red, Air France’s signature color. A large mezzanine offers an expansive view of the runways. The curved architectural lines are signed by design and branding agency, Brandimage.
On arriving in the lounge, customers can obtain all the information they need about their trip from Air France agents at the reception desk.
Two buffets featuring hot and cold snacks, as well as a wide range of Champagne, French wines and other alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
Air France is also boasting both a relaxation area and an area where customers can work, including free Wi-Fi.
Read more travel news at www.TravelPulse.com
According to the Telegraph’s Natalie Paris, British Airways has teamed up with train companies Heathrow Express and First Great Western to offer single bookings that will combine air and rail travel, making international journeys more convenient for customers in Wales and western England.
The combined ticket for air and rail travel means that passengers who miss their flight will be provided a seat on the next available flight. And if the next available flight is on the following day, travelers will be provided overnight accommodation.
“This partnership removes a layer of hassle for customers and affords them extra protection against possible problems,” said Keith Greenfield, managing director of Heathrow Express.
The tickets will be available to book through travel agents beginning on Dec. 5.
British Airways head of UK&I sales and marketing Stephen Humphreys says the combined ticket “is a great new way for our customers living in Wales and the West Country to get on track right from the start to enjoy a terrific trip with British Airways.”
“Our partnership with First Great Western and Heathrow Express will make flying more accessible and convenient for customers travelling from regions in the UK without local airports,” Humphreys added.
The combined tickets will apply to nearly a dozen First Great Western stations, including Oxford, Cardiff, Swansea and St. Austell.
As Humphreys points out, the new single ticket option will make international travel much easier for those in regions outside of the U.K.’s major cities. But in addition to convenience, the combined ticket will provide peace of mind for travelers. Read more travel news at www.TravelPulse.com
The Atlanta-based carrier said it is looking to “redefine and differentiate” its product offerings with a new classification of seating that goes into effect on March 1. It is not known if this also means an adjustment in ticket fares.
The new seating arrangements will be known as Delta One, First Class and Delta Comfort+, which offer premium amenities, while Main Cabin and Basic Economy service will offer value options.
“We’re providing Delta customers with a thoughtful, well-defined spectrum of options as they make decisions about travel,” Glen Hauenstein, Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer for Delta, said in a statement. “Whether a customer prioritizes the perks of Delta One or the value of Basic Economy, every seat comes with impeccable service and unmatched reliability.”
The airline said in a release that “providing an easy-to-recognize range of products and a high level of service is the latest step in Delta’s strategy to offer differentiated experiences to customers seeking to tailor travel to their specific needs.”
Starting March 1, 2015, Delta customers can choose between:
• Delta One, formerly BusinessElite, which will be offered on long-haul international routes as well as between New York-JFK and Los Angeles or San Francisco;
• First Class, which will be offered on short-haul international and domestic routes;
• Delta Comfort+, which offers an upgraded experience on all two-cabin aircraft around the world;
• Main Cabin, provided everywhere Delta flies offering a high standard of customer service;
• And Basic Economy, which will offer Main Cabin service with fewer flexibility options.
Newly designed Delta One, First Class and Delta Comfort+ seat covers will be installed on aircraft through mid-2015. Customers can learn more about Delta’s branded products at www.delta.com/firstlook Read more travel news at www.TravelPulse.com
JetSmarter, the unique mobile app for booking private jets, will officially be offering free empty leg flights to the entire nation on Christmas Day (December 25th) and New Year’s Eve (December 31st)!
As a result of 10,000 participants using the hashtag #TisTheSeasonToFly since December 1st, any traveler who downloads or has previously downloaded the JetSmarter app will be able to charter a private jet for free in seconds.
Additional information about this promotion can be found here
Why it Rates: In a clear Illustration that Los Cabos is truly back in business in the aftermath of Hurricane Odile, Delta and Spirit will add a slate of new flights for the 2014/2015 winter season. In other good news for the destination, tourism officials say 10,000 of the destination’s 14,000 rooms are expected to be opened. Looking even further ahead, the Ritz-Carlton Reserve, JW Marriott, Thompson Cabo San Lucas and Park Hyatt all plan to add properties in Los Cabos within the next two and a half years. – Claudette Covey, TravelPulse Mexico editor
The Los Cabos Tourism Board is pleased to announce a series of new flight options available from top U.S. gateways for the 2014/2015-winter travel season. Adding to the long list of existing flight options available to Cabo from the U.S., the destination is preparing to welcome more flights from cities such as New York, Seattle, San Diego, Washington D.C., Houston and Baltimore.
Beginning on Dec. 20, Delta Airlines will launch a weekly nonstop flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) on Saturdays to the Los Cabos International Airport in San Jose del Cabo (SJD). Two additional Delta flights were announced by Delta to Los Cabos from the West Coast destinations of Seattle and San Diego expected to operate on the first months of 2015. Delta also announced they will increase their frequencies from Salt Lake City, Atlanta and Minnesota.
In 2015, Los Cabos will welcome a new Spirit Airlines flight from Houston, scheduled to commence service as of May 7, operating twice weekly and increasing to four times per week on June 11.
“The launch of Delta’s new nonstop flight from New York City/JFK this month is a milestone for the destination and opens up an key market for us on the East Coast of the United States; accessibility is key,” said Ruben Reachi, Secretary of Tourism for Baja California Sur. “Many people associate Los Cabos with the West Coast and while that is still our top market, we are excited to offer new, direct flights from important East Coast cities such as New York, Washington D.C and Baltimore. Our goal is to continue to increase the flight options available and open even more gateways to Los Cabos across the U.S. within the coming years.”
For more travel news visit www.travelpulse.com
For the domestic airline industry, today’s historic news that the U.S. is looking to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba and end a 50-year embargo of the country represents something that is a rarity in the travel sector in this day and age.
A new market.
A new market that could be a boon, given the mystery of the Caribbean’s largest country.
We’ve penetrated the Iron Curtain, sent travelers deep into the Amazon, put a man in space and had him live there for months on end.
But for many Americans, Cuba might as well be the moon. Two generations have passed since the U.S. severed ties with Cuba in 1961 and prohibited travel to the country. Now the airlines have a chance to relive the rich aviation history between the two countries that formerly was dominated in the 1930s through the 1950s by Eastern Airlines and Pan Am – two airlines that don’t even exist anymore.
“We look forward to the day — hopefully soon — when all Americans have the opportunity to travel to Cuba,” Orbitz CEO Barney Harford said in a statement. “There are numerous economic, social and cultural benefits that will flow from free and open access and our customers are eager to visit Cuba.”
Currently, such major airlines as Virgin Atlantic, LAN and Copa – all foreign, of course – service Havana.
So who is poised in the U.S. to take advantage?
In no particular order, start with the airlines who, believe it or not, do have a presence in Havana. American Airlines, Delta and JetBlue currently run charters (or have recently) to Cuba for such things as approved cultural exchange trips.
American would be an obvious choice given its hub in Miami and proximity to Cuba. It still runs charters to Cuba out of Miami and Tampa.
Delta ran charters from 2011-2012, and a spokesman told the Associated Press that “having served there through our charter operations, the groundwork has been laid for us to possibly serve the market if an opportunity becomes available.”
JetBlue just began its latest service to the Caribbean, nonstop flights out of JFK to Curacao. Its inroads into the region, and its current charter business, make it a favorite to try to land a route to Cuba.
But they certainly won’t be the only airlines to think about Cuba as an emerging market. One huge factor in all of this is not just U.S-to-Cuba direct, but the chance to engage more business in foreign markets for travelers who wish to visit Cuba but are limited in airline selection because of the current embargo.
For more travel news visit www.travelpulse.com
As part of this longer term partnership, KLM travelers will be able to search for a place to stay on Airbnb through the KLM website along with their flight booking when searching under the Destinations tab. KLM’s inspiring travel guide shows accommodations in over 600 destinations around the world. Early next year, unique places to stay will also be available on the homepage of KLM’s website.
To kick off the partnership, KLM and Airbnb created a KLM aircraft apartment at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. Three lucky winners had a chance to stay at the KLM airplane apartment: a family from Rotterdam with four-year-old twin boys who got to experience the inside of a real airplane for the first time; a couple from Rome celebrated the husband’s birthday by cooking in the airplane galley; and two young ladies from Jamaica and the United States respectively, happily reunited in Amsterdam after being too busy to meet for years. Click here, to see a video documenting their time in the airline apartment.
Although this apartment was available for a limited time, there are over one million other Airbnb listings to choose from in nearly every country KLM travels to.
To learn more about the partnership, visit the KLM Airbnb campaign site.
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