Airlines

Celebrating route launches to London, Paris, Hong Kong and other cool places

Airports and airlines around the country hosted celebrations on Sunday for the launch of several new routes.

Dallas-Fort Worth International celebrated the inaugural Air France flight to Paris Charles de Gaulle.

The flight will operate up to five time a week on the Airbus A330 aircraft.

At Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, the party was to welcome American Airlines’ first nonstop flight to Phoenix from London.

In Washington State, United Airlines began flying daily nonstops between Paine Field (PAE) in Everett and both San Francisco and Denver.

And on Sunday, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) celebrated two new routes.

Japan Airline (JAL) started flying from SEA to Tokyo’s Narita Airport and Cathay Pacific began flying between SEA and Hong Kong.

The festivities for Cathay’s Pacific flight included a Lion Dance, a special cake and the ceremonial cutting of a roast pig, which is a symbol of good luck and prosperity.

Free stuff from airlines? Look for it on the ground

Courtesy UW Digital Collections

Don’t throw out – or delete – your airline boarding pass once you tough down.

Here’s a story I recently put together for CNBC about all the hidden perks airline – and railroad – boarding passes can provide.

Bonuses for air travelers include everything from free ski lift tickets, to complimentary wine tastings and discounts on meals, ground transportation and adventures.

Some of the deals below are offered for limited times or only during certain seasons. Others can be used multiple times. Read the program details and, of course, don’t be too quick to delete your boarding pass image from your phone or crumple up that paper pass after your trip.

Ski free

Skiers can score a free lift ticket and, in some cases, free or discounted gear rental by showing an Alaska Airlines boarding pass at a dozen ski resorts in Alaska, California, Canada, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Utah. Most of the deals invite travelers to hit the slopes on the days they arrive or depart and can represent a savings of up to $200.

At some resorts, such as Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows in North Lake Tahoe, California, guests who show a same-day boarding pass from any commercial airline receive a complimentary lift ticket for the day they arrive.

Sip and ship wine for free

In Oregon, Washington, Idaho and parts of California, an Alaska Airlines boarding pass is a win-win for fans of wine.

Through the airline’s “Wine Flies Free” program, members of the airline’s Mileage Plan frequent flyer plan may check a case (12 bottles) of wine for free when flying domestically on Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air and SkyWest flights from 29 west coast cities, including San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and Boise, ID.

In the wine regions of both Oregon and Washington, hundreds of participating wineries also offer complimentary tastings to anyone showing an in-bound Alaska Airlines boarding pass and proof of Mileage Plan membership.

And as part of Washington’s Taste and Tote program with Alaska, the drop-off fee will be waived for one-way Hertz rental cars picked up in Yakima, Pasco/Tri-Cities or Walla Walla and returned at one of the other two cities in the program.

Boarding pass deals from international carriers

Turkish Airlines passengers with layovers of between six and 24 hours in Istanbul can show their boarding passes at the Hotel Desk and join a free highlight tour of the city.

Korean Air’s Excellent Boarding Pass program offers a full week of perks in Korea to passengers who hold onto their international boarding pass from an overseas region. Passengers traveling from Korea to an international destination can take advantage of boarding pass offers for a full month.

In Korea, the perks include discounts on everything from meals, attractions and cultural performances to cell phone rentals, rail tickets and medical services. Worldwide, the perks range from discounts at outlet malls in the United States and 30 percent off single visits to the aquarium, zoo and other attractions in Sydney, Australia. 

Singapore Airlines’ Boarding Pass Privileges program offers Singapore Airlines and SilkAir passengers a full month of discounts on hotel stays, car rentals, meals, purchases and attractions, including the Gardens by Bay, the Singapore Flyer, and the Singapore Zoo. Deals are updated every six months and include discounts on shopping, dining and spa services inside Changi Airport as well.

The Magic Boarding Pass program from Asiana Airlines offers passengers discounts on tours, transportation, hotels, restaurants, shopping, theater and attractions around the world for up to a month after a flight. In Korea, the perks include discounts at Seoul’s Lotte World Aquarium and JeJu’s Teddy Bear Museum. In the U.S., Asiana Airlines passengers get a discount when riding the Hawaii’s Waikiki Trolley. And in Rome, pass holders gets a free gift with purchase at the Hard Rock Café.

Train travelers get boarding pass perks too

The boarding pass perks aren’t limited to air travelers. Amtrak and Eurostar riders get bonuses too.

In California, Amtrak has a discount offer on Disneyland Resort theme park tickets for passengers with reservations on the Pacific Surfliner. Many transit providers along the route also provide free bus or shuttle rides to passengers who show their Pacific Surfliner ticket. Train passengers may also purchase discounted day passes for the Los Angeles Metro and San Diego MTS buses and trolleys in the Surfliner’s Café Car.

A “Car Free” promotion in Santa Barbara  offers discounts on tours, attractions and meals to Amtrak ticket holders as well.

And Eurostar boarding passes entitle passengers to 2-for-1 tickets on entry and special paid exhibitions at museums in destination cities including London, Brussels, Paris and Lille, France.

Have you found a hidden perk in your boarding pass? Let us know!

Airlines offering change fee waivers due to wildfires

Airlines are offering change fee waivers and refunds in response to the California wildfires.

Some airlines are also helping out with emergency relief efforts for those affected by the fires.

See the links and tweets below for specific dates and details of the alerts airlines have posted.

 

Wildfires seen from space. Courtesy NASA

American Airlines  – The travel alert posted on November 11 offers change fee waivers for passengers booked travel to, through or from Burbank, California (BUR), Los Angeles, California (LAX), Oakland, California (OAK), Sacramento, California (SMF) and San Francisco, California (SFO) through November 13, 2018. Waiver is available for rebooked flights through November 18, 2018.

American will also give you 10 miles for every dollar you donate to the American Red Cross on donations of $25 or more.

Here’s the latest information from Hawaiian Airlines:

JetBlue is offering to waive change/cancel fees and fare differences for customers traveling through Tuesday, November 12, to/from the Burbank (BUR), Los Angeles (LAX), Oakland (OAK), Sacramento (SMF) and San Francisco (SFO).

The wildfire travel advisory for Southwest Airlines currently applies to flights booked through November 16 to, through or from Burbank (BUR), Los Angeles (LAX), Oakland (OAK), Sacramento (SMF), San Francisco (SFO) and San Jose (SJC).

“Customers who are holding reservations on the abovementioned dates, and want to alter their travel plans may rebook in the original class of service or travel standby (within 14 days of their original date of travel between the original city-pairs and in accordance with our accommodation procedures) without paying any additional charge,” Southwest says on its website.

Here’s the most recent information on wildfire waivers from United Airlines:

Airlines are likely to update their policies regarding waivers and refunds as the fires continue.

If you’ve got travel planned to or through California, be sure to check your airline’s website or social media channels for the latest information.

And stay safe!

Airlines offer change fee waivers as Hurricane Michael roars in

 

 

 

Many airlines are offering waivers on change fees for passengers with booked flights to, through or from cities likely to be hit by Hurricane Michael.

Full refunds are available from some carriers as well.

 

This Weather Channel map should travelers make many travelers sit up and take notice.  Airlines certainly are.

Here’s a link to travel advisories from American Airlines and JetBlue and Tweets from some other airlines that have issued weather alerts.

If you’re getting on a plane soon, check with your airline for cancellations and complimentary changes you might be allowed to (or need to) make as this storm does its thing.

Airlines growing their own food? It’s a thing.

Airlines growing their own food? It’s a thing. Korean Air recently invited me to visit the company’s ranch in South Korea where they farm livestock,  chicken, veggies, fruit and bottle their own water to serve to passengers.

Other airlines have farming projects underway as well.

I have story – with lots of photos- from my farm visit on USA TODAY’s Today in the Sky. Here are some highlights of the story.

Back in 1972, when beef was in short supply in South Korea, the then chairman of Korea Air’s parent group bought a 3,700 acre ranch on South Korea’s Jeju Island.

Imported Angus cattle got things started, but now the herd is about 2,200 Korean native cattle known as Hanwoo.

Meat from these animals, and from the farm’s flock of approximately 6000 free-range chickens, is sent to Korean Air’s flight catering kitchens in Seoul for use in meals served to first and business-class passengers.

In addition to raising cows and chickens, the ranch also produces fruit, vegetables – and bottled water – for Korean Air passengers.

The water bottling plant at the ranch has been operating for 35 years and there they make and fill cups and bottles of the airline’s branded ‘Hanjin Jeju Pure Water.’  The water is pumped from 1,070 feet underground and filtered through layers of the island’s volcanic rock.

Other airlines explore agriculture

In 2015 JetBlue debuted a large milk-crate garden outside Terminal 5 at New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport. Potatoes, vegetables and herbs grown there are donated to local food banks.

Japan Air Lines is creating a ‘you-pick’ agritourism attraction on land near Tokyo’s Narita International Airport that is scheduled to open in 2020. The carrier hopes to add food grown on that farm to in-flight and lounge menus.

And Emirates is having the world’s largest vertical farming facility built near the Dubai airport.  At full production, the daily harvest from the the 130,000-square foot facility should be about three tons of pesticide-free leafy greens that will be used in many of the meals Emirates Flight Catering prepares for 105 airlines and 25 airport lounges.