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Heatmap shows states where gas is most (red) and least (green) expensive (Source: Gasbuddy)

Are you a holiday travel pro?

Now that your turkey coma has worn off, it’s time to gather ’round the fire (or the laptop) and start planning for the Christmas/New Year’s period, which you can bet is going to be one of the busiest in recent memory. How do we know this? Because the holiday travel season usually mimics the peak summer travel […]

JetBlue hopes to be able to sell these Singapore Air seats as its very own with a proposed code share agreement (Photo:  Chris McGinnis)

Big airfare sale – Asia, Hawaii, India, Africa

Airlines are rolling out excellent Black Friday airfare sales — here are a few that caught my eyes today. To get the deal you must book your trip today through Monday night. What’s most remarkable about this sale is the length of the travel period– basically the first half of next year.  Cathay Pacific: Cathay’s sale […]

The proposed SpaceLiner would be more than 12 times faster than Concorde. (Image: Institute of Space Systems)

What’s faster: Hypersonic or supersonic?

Back when their airline was flying Concorde SSTs, some British Airways executives used to refer to a trip on that plane as “riding the rocket.” And indeed, when the engines really kicked in during takeoff, you could feel the G forces pressing you back into your seat. But now researchers in Germany are exploring advanced […]

InterContinental's new EVEN hotel in New York has mood lighting in guest rooms. (Image: InterContiental Hotels Group)

Brand new hotels: NYC, Denver, Chicago, Minneapolis & more

In U.S. hotel news, InterContinental Hotels Group has cut the ribbon on a pair of new hotels from its newest brands in Manhattan; Hyatt opens a dual-branded hotel in the heart of Denver as well as new properties in New Orleans and near Miami’s airport; Marriott adds a big extended-stay option in Chicago’s Loop along with an […]

The Hilton Dallas Lincoln Centre Hotel. (Image: Hilton)

Another week, another new hotel fee

Major players in the hotel industry have been following the lead of the airlines in creating new kinds of fees that their customers must pay, above and beyond the nightly room rate. And now Hilton is experimenting with a significant expansion of its existing cancellation fee policy. It used to be that hotel guests with […]

Air Canada Express' larger regional jets, like this Embraet 190, have both economy and business class seating. (Image: Air Canada)

Air Canada plans big transborder expansion

In one of its biggest route announcements in years, Air Canada said it will add a dozen transborder routes to the U.S. in spring of 2016. Some routes will be new, while others will be resumptions of routes that the carrier abandoned over the past several years. The routes will offer a variety of services […]

Busiest holiday travel season since 2007 coming soon!  (Chris McGinnis)

Paying more pays off during holiday peak

During the peak holiday travel season, everyone’s looking for a deal or a steal. But the truth of the matter is that bargains are nearly impossible to find during the busy Thanksgiving and Christmas season. And if you snag what you think is a great deal, you might end up “getting what you pay for.” As […]

The new SkyTeam loun ge at Hong Kong's airport is anything but dark. (Image: SkyTeam)

Lovely new lounges; Seattle, Orlando, Hong Kong

Delta plans a second Sky Club to serve its growing Seattle operations; a new independent lounge opens its doors at Orlando International; and the SkyTeam global alliance cuts the ribbon on a new Hong Kong facility. Delta unveiled plans to develop a second Sky Club lounge at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, with opening tentatively set for […]

Virgin America’s in-flight teammates debut the chic new pump onboard flights as of this fall. The pump is also available to the public exclusively on (Virgin)

Largest plane + Puzzling pic + New United Club + Hyatt, Marriott sales + More

TravelSkills’ 10 most popular posts over the last week (descending order): 1 Big bird! World’s largest passenger plane unveiled 2 Gotta see this> First look: Newest United Club & concourse [photos] 3 We all saw it coming American AAdvantage switches to spending-based program 4 On the fence? Time to jump off Time is right for a new credit card. Why? […]

The new Westin at Denver's airport is a short walk from the terminal. (Image: Jim Glab)

First look: Westin at Denver International Airport (photos)

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock cut the ribbon this week on the striking, wing-shaped Westin Denver International Airport Hotel, the first of a new wave of premium on-site lodging options in the works at key U.S. airports. The 519-room, 35-suite Westin is only about 30 yards from the south doors of the  airport’s Jeppesen Terminal, an […]

United's gone Euro with its new coffee choice. (Image: United)

United upgrades inflight coffee

Business travelers love their coffee, so United Airlines executives knew they had a difficult choice to make when they decided to conduct a re-evaluation of the carrier’s in-flight java. The winner, United said this week, is illy (yes, they spell it with a lower case i), which will be phased in starting next month on […]

Economy class on an Emirates A380 (Chris McGinnis)

World’s largest passenger plane unveiled

Airlines that fly Airbus’ giant double-decker A380 generally install between 400 and 500 seats on the plane in a three-class configuration. But now Emirates has unveiled a 617-passenger version, which will make it the world’s largest commercial aircraft in terms of passenger capacity. Emirates made the big reveal at the Dubai Airshow this week. It […]

Artist's rendering of the AS2 in flight. (Image: Aerion Corp.)

Supersonic flights making a comeback

It will be 12 years as of next week since the last Concorde supersonic transport made its final commercial flight, but now it looks like faster-than-sound travel could be making a comeback in a few years — for business travelers who can afford it. Flexjet, a leading provider of fractional ownership and leasing programs for […]

Entry to the new United Club at SFO (Chris McGinnis)

First look: Newest United Club & concourse [photos]

There’s a lot happening at United’s sprawling Terminal 3 at San Francisco International Airport this week. First off, the airport unveiled its big bright Terminal 3 East Concourse, which connects the recently renovated T3E space with the rest of the terminal. Until this week, passengers walked to T3E via a narrow corridor fronted by a big construction wall. The […]

Delta will add Denver service from LAX next spring. (Image: Jim Glab)

Routes: New Denver-SFO + LAX flights, Spirit at LAX, AA at Phoenix + more

In domestic route news, Virgin America announces a new U.S. destination; Delta will enter a major market from Los Angeles; Spirit adds several new routes from LAX; American targets regional growth at Phoenix; and Alaska adds another spoke at its Seattle hub. The next dot to be added to Virgin America’s route map is Denver. […]

American will overhaul its AAdvantage program next year. (Image: American)

American AAdvantage switches to spending-based program

A lot of people have been speculating that when American Airlines finally got around to revising its AAdvantage program after dealing with other merger-related priorities, it would follow the lead of Delta, United and Southwest by switching from a distance-based to a spending-based system. And now American has an answer to those speculators: You were […]

Delta's Comfort+ seating is getting a separate fare category. (Image: Delta)

Delta’s Comfort+ seats for sale

Delta’s year-old Comfort+ seating — which many SkyMiles Medallions have come to expect as an automatic free perk with extra legroom, priority boarding and free drinks — is going through some changes. Starting next spring, those seats will have their own pricing in Delta’s website fare searches, so they can be purchased in advance — and that […]

One of Marriott's newest, largest hotels is on sale today only! Marriott Marquis Washington DC

Marriott, Starwood will merge

We’ve seen plenty of rumor and speculation in recent months about what would happen to  Starwood Hotels & Resorts since its board of directors decided to look for ways to maximize shareholder value. First there was talk of a merger with InterContinental Hotels Group. Then just last month, Hyatt was said to have its eye […]

Chris's soothing seatmate Lillian  (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

Soothing words + Surge pricing + A new plane + 500 easy HHonors points + Verizon

TravelSkills’ 10 most popular posts over the last week (descending order): 1 Headed home? Worst airlines/airports/flights for Thanksgiving travel 2 Room for more: Routes: Delta mini-hub? + Alaska Air in Calif + Spirit in Seattle + More 3 Have some fun! Name that airport! [Quiz] Almost 4,000 airport geeks have taken our quiz- have you? The most MIS-identified airport […]

Airberlin will add A330 service to three U.S. cities in 2016. (Image: Airberlin)

New routes for Airberlin, Delta, China Eastern; more AA, BA 787s scheduled

Topping the list of international route news this week is Airberlin’s plan to add a trio of new U.S. gateways. Also, Delta will fly to Iceland from a second U.S. city next year; China Eastern adds a new U.S. city and a new in-flight amenity; and British Airways and American will put 787s onto new […]

Verizon introduced a daily flat rate for international travelers. (Image: Spanish Virtually/Flickr)

Verizon’s new plan for international travelers

If Verizon is your smartphone carrier and you travel the world a lot, you have a new option called TravelPass. Priced at $2 a day per line in Mexico and Canada and $10 a day in 65 other countries, the new plan lets you “take your domestic talk, text and data allowances with you,” Verizon […]

A sign on ATL's T-gates concourse announcing the new United Club (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

2 new United Clubs open ATL SFO

Today United opened a brand new United Club at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. On Wednesday, the long awaited new United Club will open near the new Terminal 3 E boarding area at San Francisco International.  We’ve not seen either club yet, but will take a sneak peek of the SFO Club on Monday, so stay […]

Is Delta creating a mini-hub at Mineta San Jose? (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

Routes: Delta mini-hub? + Alaska Air in Calif + Spirit in Seattle + More

In domestic route news, Alaska is growing at Orange County Airport; Delta starts a non-hub route in the West; Spirit Airlines adds a new city to its network; Southwest eyes new service at Minneapolis/St. Paul; and American will add a Memphis route. Delta doesn’t often schedule new service on non-hub routes, especially in the domestic […]

No more expensive cell phone data connections required with Google Maps (Image: Google)

How to save money using Google Maps overseas

When you’re on the road in a rental car, do you rely on a mapping app on your phone to get you where you’re going, and to find the things you need along the way? Those apps are great — until you lose your Internet connection. Now Google Maps says it has solved that problem […]

Name that airport! [Quiz]

Are you an Airport Master? Take a our quick and fun 10-question airport quiz! If you can’t see the Airport Quiz image on this page title, or click here to take the quiz. Have fun!

United controls almost three-fourths of the takeoff/landing slots at Newark Liberty International Airport. (Image: new York/New Jersey Port Authority)

Feds: United monopolizing Newark

This all sounds like Tony Soprano trying to defend his New Jersey turf from rival gangs and the prying eyes of federal investigators. Just sayin’…. United and Delta last summer announced plans to swap takeoff/landing slots in the New York market, with Delta giving up 24 slots at Newark Airport to United in exchange for 24 […]

Parents who don't control unruly kids are high on the list of bad behaviors (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

Air travel: It’s great, except for the other passengers

The U.S. airline trade group Airlines for America is predicting that the crowds of air travelers during the Thanksgiving period this month will be the biggest in eight years. So if you’re planning a trip on those busy days, better steel yourself for some unpleasant in-flight experiences on a fully packed aircraft. A new survey […]

Air New Zealand flies a 777-300 like this on its LAX-AKL run (Photo: Air New Zealand)

Trans-Pacific fare war in the wings?

The non-stop market between the U.S. and new Zealand is getting more crowded following American Airlines’ announcement this week that it will begin Los Angeles-Auckland service in June 2016. Last month, United Airlines — a Star Alliance partner of Air New Zealand — said it will start San Francisco-Auckland non-stops in July 2016. And Air […]

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 11.23.05 AM

Worst airlines/airports/flights for Thanksgiving travel

Travel over Thanksgiving can be the best of times. But it can also be the worst of times, and the determining factor is usually the weather. When weather cooperates, airlines and passengers seem to have the holiday travel drill down pretty well. It’s crowded, but we all get there, eventually, without too many delays…if the […]

The huge SLS Las Vegas is joining Starwood's Preferred Guest program. (Image: Starwood)

New hotels: Starwood in Vegas, SF + Hyatt in Houston + NYC, Austin, more

In U.S. hotel developments, Hyatt has a new location in Houston; one of San Francisco’s top properties finished a major renovation; Manhattan gets a new independent hotel; Starwood adds a big Las Vegas affiliate and opens a pair of new Alofts; and Marriott expands its Autograph Collection. Starwood Preferred Guest members headed to Las Vegas […]

Inflight wi-fi is getter faster...but very slowly (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

Fast inflight wi-fi progressing slowly

  Last week the New York Times asked TravelSkills editor Chris McGinnis for his opinions and advice about the state of in-flight wi-fi for a story that appeared in its print and online versions. The NYT reporter asked: Is connectivity/speed about to get better on flights? If so, good enough to meet the public’s demands/expectations? […]

Researchers suggest ways to avoid Uber's surge pricing. (Image: Uber app)

5 ways to avoid surge pricing from Uber & Lyft

As a business person you believe in the laws of supply and demand, right? But you might find them a little hard to swallow when they work against you — like when you hail an Uber ride from a location with high demand and limited drivers available. Because that’s when Uber’s irritating surge pricing kicks […]

Check out the lei market at HNL airport- best selection! (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

Fare war + Food + NYC access + Members only discount + Reader survey!

TravelSkills’ 10 most popular posts over the last week (descending order): 1 Let’s go to the islands! Hawaii fare war erupts + Earn Virgin points at Airbnb Our post about the fare war to Hawaii brought on by Virgin’s entry to the market ended up as our most popular post of the year. Average fares from the […]

Ride-sharing airport pick-ups in Chicago will be allowed starting later this month. (Image: Jim Glab)

Uber/Lyft: Airport pick-ups start in Chicago; new airport fee in D.C.

Ride-sharing operators like Uber and Lyft will soon be able to pick up passengers at Chicago’s two airports, but they’re facing a new fee for Washington D.C. airport rides. In Chicago, the city’s Department of Aviation has released new rules for ride-sharing app pickups at O’Hare and Midway airports and at the McCormick Place convention […]

Chris in a window seat at the Ritz-Carlton overlooking typhoon swept Hong Kong (Photo: B Dean)

Take the TravelSkills Reader Survey!

As the year draws to a close, we’d like to thank you for your support and attention!  TravelSkills has been getting bigger and better all year, adding helpful new content and also bringing on a lot of new readers (now more than 100,000 per month!). Looking into 2016, it’s time for us to approach potential […]

Smaller airlines are concerned that they can't gain access to New York's airports. (Image: Jim Glab)

Airlines want better access to New York

Although smaller, low-cost airlines in the U.S. have been growing much faster than their giant rivals, they have been mostly stymied in their desire to gain access to the nation’s biggest air travel market: New York. So they’re pushing for a change in the rules. Five airlines — Virgin America, Spirit, Frontier, Alaska and Allegiant […]

I have used credit card bonuses to help finance two recent personal trips like this one to Culebra in Puerto Rico (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

How to get a “free” trip home for the holidays

One of the most frequent questions I get is “what’s the best credit card right now?” And my most frequent answer is: There is no such thing as a “best” credit card. However, there is probably a best credit card for YOU. And it’s always a great idea to pay attention to sign up bonuses […]

(Image: Emirates/YouTube)

Look out the window- There’s a man on the wing!

The Emirates A380 and the Jetman Dubai duo recently took to the skies of Dubai for an extraordinary flightconducted over the Palm Jumeirah and Dubai skyline with Burj Khalifa in the background. While the formation flight looked effortless on film, Emirates says that painstaking planning and meticulous collaboration with an intense focus on safety drove […]

American will use a 787 on its new LAX-Tokyo Haneda route. (Image: American)

Routes: AA to Tokyo + WOW to west coast + Air Canada, Lufthansa, Alaska

International route news this week includes American revealing its plans for new Los Angeles-Tokyo flights, an Icelandic budget airline expanding to San Francisco and Los Angeles, Air Canada adding new long-haul destinations, Emirates casting its eye at an available U.S. gateway and Alaska starting service to Costa Rica. American Airlines has set February 11 as […]