Archive for the Aviation Category
Several months ago, in a related article, I made mention of two start up air carriers for the US market. Since then, both EOS Airlines and Maxjet Airways have taken flight and are successfully serving their passengers and making plans for future expansion. Beyond these two carriers, additional carriers are waiting to take their first flights. Lets take a look at some leading contenders.
Fly First Class This Florida based air carrier is planning to use Wilmington, NC as its base. With flights to Bermuda and London planned, the airline true to its name will offer only one level of service, first class. Expected first flight is sometime during the second quarter of 2006.
Primaris Airlines Already FAA approved and the owner of a single Boeing 757 aircraft which they currently are leasing to another carrier, Primaris placed an order in January 2005 for Boeings new Dreamliner aircraft, also known as the 787. Before the first of these particular aircraft arrive in 2008, Primaris reportedly will be leasing three additional 757 aircraft and begin scheduled service between New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco by the middle of 2006.
Virgin America Pending government approval, Virgin America will fly upwards of 105 Airbus aircraft. Based in San Francisco, the Richard Branson inspired airline must overcome some hurdles first including convincing the US government that the airline is, indeed, mostly US owned.
Other start up carriers which are also being watched include: Blackstar Airlines, USA Jet Airlines, and Baltia Air Lines. All start ups must secure key funding, receive various federal and local governmental approvals, organize a management team, and commence hiring well before the first flight is made. It is this particular process that shakes out all the pretenders leaving behind carriers committed to making a go of it.
Off-site airport parking is a boon for travelers. Often they prove to be cheaper than parking lots run by airports and online discounts and other conveniences make the option even more attractive.
Satellite parking lots face competition and so it is easy for those in the know to save big.
Here are a few insights:
1. Keep a tab on offers. As the race for success becomes intense, all sites run attractive offers giving away coupons or web only deals. Many offer an e-coupon that entitles the user to a day’s free parking at selected parking lots. This means a saving of US$ 18. Other offers give away a day if you park for two days or 50% off on the first days parking fee.
2. If you are a frequent user of parking lots check for offers where a parking operator with a major presence near airports you use offers a 50% discount if you purchase a certain number of parking vouchers online or on the phone using your credit card.
3. Many parking sites have a different rate for different parking positions. Check on the kinds of parking and rate differences. You could save up to $ 55 for a seven day parking.
4. Ask for rates depending on the length of stay. Rates vary so if you are going to need parking for a week then you could get a higher discount than the daily rate on offer.
5. Many run a frequent user program where repeat customers are offered many facilities. This is similar to frequent flier programs.
6. Find out if the lots you use offer special discounts to members of AARP, AAA, or other such organizations. In fact, AA members save between 10-20% on parking. Some sites even offer the service of picking up and dropping your car from the airport terminal.
7. Do your research well compare providers, the rates on offer, as well as facilities at the place you need to park. If you are clever you can get more for less.
8. Before you travel use the internet to check on daily and weekly parking offers. There are free days, discounted weekly rates, and guaranteed rates on offer at various times. You can avail the offer by making a booking online or printing out the page with a code and presenting it to the cashier at the parking lot.
9. Keep track of promotions especially during holiday seasons. Many lots accept coupons and give away discounts offered by consumer products
10. Often pre-booking parking can get you a saving of even 60% and more.
11. Hotels often offer parking specials, so make use of the extra facility being offered by the hotel you plan to stay in.
12. Some travel agents who book flight tickets offer advice or coupons for parking at the point of exit and entry. Ask you agent when you book your flight.
Off site parking is not just fast and convenient it can be a saving too.
Airlines know the price of getting a new customer. And they know that it’s a whole lot easier and less expensive to keep the customers that they already have. For this reason, airlines started frequent flyer programs. These programs reward you the more you fly.
Frequent flyer programs let you to receive certain travel benefits based on the number of miles (or sporadically the number of trips) you fly on a specific airline. Standard awards include a free ticket or a free upgrade from coach to first class.
Some airlines also offer elite programs that provide check-in and boarding priorities, and affinity credit cards which earn mileage credits when you use them for purchases.
In order to earn these benefits you must become a member of that airline’s program; this can often be done through a travel agency.
There isn’t a how many programs you can join. But before you decide which program to join, you should compare different programs carefully.
Every airline program carries conditions and limitations. So you should be careful to read the promotional material and the all the fine print. Here are a few things you should take a look at:
- The rate at which credits are earned, minimum credits earned per flight
- If you are more interested in free tickets for yourself, or companion tickets, or upgrades
- How much credit you need for the awards you’re interested in
- What are the deadlines for accumulated credits?
- Does the airline serve the cities you’re traveling to, and if it has tie-ins or other airlines and to car rental companies and hotels you would use.
- If awards can be transferred to someone else or just members only
Also, airlines reserve the right to make changes at any time. More often than not, without notice. This can include changes to the conditions and limits on the awards earned.
You should also be keeping track of the mileage youve earned and check it against the statement the airline mails to you.
Its not uncommon that airlines add new routes after you join the program.You might be able credits on that route but not use awards there.
Another important not that you should be aware of is that airlines usually restrict the transfer of mileage earnings. Most often being the sail or attempted sale of credits or awards youve earned and want to sell. You should never try this as the airlines have caught on to these schemes and actively persue it.