The holiday season is not just for shopping, but also travelling, so I want to pass on some recent news about airlines and airline travel tips. First the good: Delta Airlines has a new feature that allows you to track your bags so you know where they are even if they get lost. Delta now includes a tracking chip in the luggage tags they put on your bags, and you can follow your bags progress thru GPS tracking with the Delta app. Other airlines are expected to follow suit in the years to come.
Now the bad. You are probably familiar with ultra-low cost airlines like Spirit that give you really low airfares, but charge you for going to the bathroom. (OK, I’m exaggerating there, but barely.) I discovered for myself that if you do use their add-on fees for checked baggage, choosing a seat so the family can sit together, and even carry-ons, and you will pay at least as much as a non-budget airline. Well now United airlines has gone one worse by introducing a new class of travel they call “basic economy” but the rest of us will call something much worse. This new service promises United’s lowest fares, but be forewarned that you give up:
- The capability to upgrade.
- Earning reward “segments” in their loyalty program.
- The right to select your seats, so your family may not sit together.
You will board last. And worst of all – you may not use the overhead bins! No I’m not making that one up; you can take a carry-on, but must put it under your seat. This is another example why whenever possible, I fly non-American airlines.
Speaking of foreign airlines and airline travel tips, a friend has been researching airfares between the US and Europe and alerted me to a relatively new budget airline called Norwegian Air. It has budget fares, but also has been getting good reviews. A nice plus is that it flies the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner on many international flights. It also flies within Europe and to the Caribbean.
He also recommended these websites for people who want more than just the usual flight/hotel booking sites:
- https://www.rome2rio.com/ – Also searches buses, trains, and ferries in addition to the usual flights, including add-ons after your flight.
- http://travelisfree.com/ – Get unconventional insights and tips for discount traveling.
- http://www.momondo.com/ – A refreshing change of pace from the usual travel comparison websites.