Alaska Airlines has added a “Peace of Mind’ cancellation and fee waiver policy to help travelers worried about what might happen next with the coronavirus.
The peace of mind waiver doesn’t apply to flights you may have booked months ago, only for new bookings.
But if you book a flight prior to March 12 and then decide by that date to change or cancel your trip, this might help. If you decide to cancel, Alaska is offering full travel credit for a flight up to one year from the issuance of your credit. Although fare differences when you rebook will appy.
JetBlue announced a similar program earlier in the week:
“Due to evolving coronavirus concerns, we are suspending change and cancel fees for all new flight bookings made between February 27, 2020 and March 11, 2020 for travel through June 1, 2020,” JetBlue says.
The airline notes that there are no current travel restrictions to the locations they fly. But it seems travelers have jitters and airline bookings are down everywhere. So JetBlue, Alaska and likely others shortly – will be taking action to reassure travelers and encourage them to continue getting on planes.
How are coronavirus concerns affecting your travel plans?
In New York, JetBlue moved all of its LaGuardia Airport flights to Terminal A – the historic Marine Air Terminal – in December 2017.
18 flights a day now operate out of this space, which offers passengers a private-terminal feel, a Mamava nursing pod, a CIBO Express Market with plenty of New York-themed souvenirs and Salotto, a farm to table Italian restaurant created by the airport hospitality company, OTG.
To celebrate the first year of operations at the LGA’s Marine Air Terminal, JetBlue and OTG hosted a terminal tour and tasting lunch at Salotto.
Here are some snaps from the day.
Passengers enter the Marine Air Terminal at LaGuardia through the historic rotunda and pass under “Flight,” a circular Works Progress Administration (WPA) mural by artist James Brooks that was completed in 1942, covered over in the 1950s, but restored in 1980.
Check-in and the security checkpoint areas are just beyond the rotunda.
A CIBO Express market with plenty of grab-n-go items and New York- themed souvenirs is on the short ramp leading up to the gate areas.
Lounge seating, the 4-gate hold area and OTG’s farm to table Italian restaurant, Salotto, are at the top of the ramp.
In addition to an extensive list of cocktails (starting with an aperol spritz; end with an espresso martini), Salotto’s menu offers a wide range of appetizers (try ricotta toast or the meatballs), sandwiches and more than a dozen varieties of good-sized Neopolitan-style, fresh-made pizzas that range in price from $9 to $16.
Alaska Airlines and JetBlue have come out on top of this year’s J.D. Power and Associates 2012 North America Airline Satisfaction Study, which was released today.
The highly regarded study found that after two years of consecutive industry improvements, overall passenger satisfaction has declined slightly (to 681 index points on a 1,000-point scale—down from 683 in 2011) and that “attributes pertaining to a carrier’s process and people, rather than price, are more highly correlated with passengers’ intentions to fly with an airline again in the future.”
Travelers reported increased satisfaction with so-called low-cost carriers for the third consecutive year (up 3 index points from 2011 to a 754 average), but satisfaction with traditional carriers was down (the decline was 4 points, to 647).
“Passengers want it all,” Stuart Greif, J.D. Power’s vice president and general manager of the global travel and hospitality practice, said in a statement. “The airline industry is caught between trying to satisfy customers who demand low prices, high-quality service and comfort, and contending with the economic challenges of profitably operating an airline.”
In the traditional network carrier rankings, Alaska Airlines ranks highest overall for the fifth consecutive year, performing well in four of the seven factors: boarding/deplaning/baggage; flight crew; check-in; and reservation. Air Canada was just just 1 index point behind Alaska Airlines in this segment, with high rankings in the cost and fees, in-flight services and aircraft factors.
Delta Air Lines moved up two rank positions to third and was the only traditional carrier to improve from 2011, by 9 index points.
In the low-cost carrier rankings, JetBlue Airways ranked highest for a seventh consecutive year, performing well in the in-flight services and aircraft categories. JetBlue was followed closely by Southwest, which performed well in four factors: cost and fees; boarding/deplaning/baggage; check-in; and reservation. Neither airline charges a fee (yet) for a passenger’s first checked bag.
The study measures overall customer satisfaction based on performance in seven factors (in order of importance): cost and fees; in-flight services; boarding/deplaning/baggage; flight crew; aircraft; check-in; and reservation.
JetBlue and PBS kids have rolled out a fun literacy program that will not only entertain kids, but help keep the cabin noise level in check.
The program has several elements, but here at StuckatTheAirport.com we’re most pleased to learn that kids on JetBlue flights this summer will receive a free activity kit with reading games, including this fun word find exercise.
Kids and their parents can also download a reading activity kit, create a summer reading list, log reading minutes and do other activities. And for every reader that registers on SoarwithReading.com, JetBlue will make a book donation to a child through First Book, up to 10,000 books.
Soar with Reading will also be giving $10,000 worth of children’s books to one community’s library. Another library will receive $2,500 worth of books and five other libraries will receive $500 worth of books, courtesy of Random House Children’s Books and JetBlue. You can nominate a library and, as a reward, be entered to win a vacation package to the Bahamas.
Heading to college or sending a kid off to school?
Once tuition, room, and board bills are paid, there may not be much cash left over for actually traveling between home and the college campus. But, as I write in my Well Mannered Traveler column on MSNBC.com today, some airlines offer a little help.
Lufthansa, Air Tran, United, JetBlue and American offer some sort of perks for students.
Here are some of the more popular travel discounts:
AirTran Airways has a discount standby program not just for college students, but for anyone 18 to 22 years old. (College student or not: on your 23rd birthday, you age-out of the program.) AirTran U lets young people fly standby for $69 on short segment flights and $99 on long-haul segments. There are some blackout dates and a variety of restrictions, but during 2008, more than 83,000 young people took advantage of the program.
Lufthansa’s GenerationFly program offers any U.S. college student with a valid .edu email address discounted fares to Germany and most every destination the airline flies. As a nice bonus, part-time students, teachers, and faculty members are also eligible to participate in the program.
Several other programs have special airline offers for students as well.
The discounts promised by the Student Advantage Card (about $20/year) include a 10% discount on American Airline flights. And on its Web site, American Airlines offer discounts on vacation packages to students at about two dozen participating universities.
JetBlue offers an 11% discount to students who have an ISIC card (International Student Identity Card), which costs $22 a year. Holders of that card can also book special discounted fares with STA Travel, one of the major discount student travel agencies, which offers tickets that allow changes for just $50.
And, while United Airlines United Airlines doesn’t offer any special discounts for college-age students, the carrier’s College Plus program gives students enrolled in both the College Plus program and the Mileage Plus frequent flier program a graduation present of 10,000 bonus miles.
The deals for student travelers don’t end at the airport. Amtrak and Greyhound and even some hotels also offer discounts to students who have either the ISIC or Student Advantage card.