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Atlanta's airport will stand by its smoking lounges. (Image: Grant Frederiksen/Flickr)

Extinguish airport smoking for good?

Fewer and fewer U.S. airports still offer special lounges where smokers can light up in a controlled environment, but Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International has apparently decided to stick with them in spite of a specific request from the U.S. Surgeon general. According to Atlanta’s WXIA TV News, Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy recently said in a […]

Delta's Sky Club at SFO during week of May 18 (Image: Chris McGinnis)

Delta Sky Club SFO + Amex Centurion Lounge MIA

It sounds like progress toward completion of Delta’s new Sky Club at SFO has stalled. When the project began, Delta expected the new airside club would open in May, but this week the carrier revealed to TravelSkills that it “won’t open before August.” From the inside of Delta’s Boarding Area C in Terminal 1, you can’t […]

No worries about seat pitch in this design. (Image: Mercedes-Benz)

Mercedes & Lufthansa team up on dreamy VIP plane

Aircraft cabins tend to be pretty boring, design-wise — basically, windows and seats in a row, whether it’s a commercial airliner or a private jet. But creative stylists at Mercedes-Benz have teamed up with a Lufthansa subsidiary to create a new kind of interior design for the “VIP cabin.” The designs are for short- and […]

JetBlue will add several Florida routes this fall. (Image: Jim Glab)

New routes: JetBlue + United + Delta + SAS + Air Canada + Southwest

As stated in our recent post Airfare war in the wings, airlines are adding capacity all over the place- which could lead to a bloodbath when demand slackens in the fall.  For example, JetBlue is adding Florida flights to both the north and south; United plans a pair of new Denver routes; Delta and SAS expand […]

This hotel complex in Mecca will have 10,000 rooms. (Image: Dar Group)

The largest hotel you’ll likely never stay in

Most of the world’s largest hotels are in Las Vegas; the Venetian/Palazzo complex has more than 7,000 rooms, giving it the number one spot worldwide. But a new property is going up in Saudi Arabia that will move the title there. A mixed-use complex being built at Abraj Kudai in Mecca will include 10,000 hotel […]

Will extra airline capacity lead to fare wars this summer? (Image: Jim Glab)

Airfare war in the wings?

Airline stocks sold off sharply this week as Wall Street got some jitters about the industry’s ability to maintain its high levels of profitability. The fears may have been caused in large part by an interview that American Airlines CEO Doug Parker gave to Bloomberg News in which he said his company will “compete aggressively” […]

Busted by United's baggage police at SFO (Chris McGinnis)

Another carry-on crackdown coming?

U.S. airlines don’t always follow the lead of their foreign counterparts, but if they decide to adopt a newly announced policy from Air Canada, it could spell trouble for passengers who rely on overstuffed carry-ons to avoid checked baggage fees. The Canadian carrier said on its website this week that it plans to start using what […]

Are Delta and other airlines driving customers to their own websites by blocking third-party access to fares and schedules? (Image: Delta)

Delta accused of blocking key data

The Travel Technology Association (TTA), a group that represents online travel agencies and airfare metasearch sites, has issued a scathing report charging major airlines with blocking some of its members from access to fare and schedule information, a practice that the group said prevents comparison shopping and costs consumers billions of dollars. The group’s report […]

Deltaline makes yet another cameo in Deltas latest safety video

Selected highlights of Delta’s clever new safety video

As the peak summer travel season roars in, airlines are updating their inflight safety videos. The videos now seems to be as much a PR tool as they are a tool to keep passengers safe. Last week, we saw Air New Zealand reveal a sexy, surfing themed video. This week, Delta introduced a clever new […]

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First look: Inside SFO’s brand new control tower (photos)

This week San Francisco International Airport turns over its fabulous new control tower to the Federal Aviation Administration. But before doing so, the airport gave TravelSkills an exclusive early tour. The FAA will spend a year outfitting the voluptuous, flared cylinder with its systems, testing them and then training controllers. The new tower is expected to be operational by […]

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Delta experiments with boarding & aromatherapy

Delta is experimenting with a new boarding process in Atlanta that looks a lot like the process United implemented a few years ago. It’s also apparently adding an olfactory element to the jetway.  While pundits joke that United execs wear WWDD wristbands when it comes to decision making (“What Would Delta Do”) it now seems that Delta […]

Starwood's keyless room entry app is just the beginning for hotel technology. (Image: Starwood)

Starwood’s cool new tech touches

Hotels have made major strides in bringing new technology to their booking and check-in activities, and are now rolling out smartphone apps that serve as room keys. But there’s a lot more guest tech on the horizon, and Starwood Hotels shared some of the possibilities with TravelSkills today. Much of the innovation is being tested in […]

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Virgin Atlantic’s playful LAX lounge (more photos)

This week Virgin Atlantic revealed more photos of it’s brand new $2.5 million Clubhouse at Los Angeles International Airport Terminal 2. Here’s a closer look at the fun space that seems to us like a cross between a lounge and a colorful kiddie playroom. What do you think? Please leave your comments below.   Related: […]

Oakland Airport is getting more new service from Southwest, including Atlanta. (Image: Oakland Airport)

Southwest adds Oakland-Atlanta, other nonstops

NOTE: Be sure to click here to see all recent TravelSkills posts about: Delta’s first class fare sale + Aircraft size and flight delays + First class summer fare sales+ Chris’s summer travel outlook + United’s plans for LAX overhaul + Hertz’s fleet renewal  The latest route announcements from Southwest Airlines, starting this fall, include new service between […]

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Trip Report: A new kind of travel package

I’ve been to Barcelona four times. And every time I’ve walked around and peered at the sand-castle-like exterior of the unusually gorgeous Sagrada Familia cathedral designed by Antoni Gaudi. But I’ve never been inside. Why? Because the queue to get in has always been too long, snaking around the building, full of fanny-packing, sandal-and-socks wearing, camera-toting tourists fresh […]

San Francisco Marriott at Union Square. (Image: Marriott)

More power in your pocket at Marriott

NOTE: Be sure to click here to see all recent TravelSkills posts about: Delta’s first class fare sale + Aircraft size and flight delays + First class summer fare sales+ Chris’s summer travel outlook + United’s plans for LAX overhaul + Hertz’s fleet renewal  Members of Marriott Rewards will be able to request special services and amenities at […]

Frontier's CEO is gone as consumer complaints skyrocket. (Image: Jim Glab)

Frontier’s CEO dismissed as complaints soar

NOTE: Be sure to click here to see all recent TravelSkills posts about: Delta’s first class fare sale  + Chinese tourists on notice + Fast trains in Spain + United’s 787 Dreamliner plans + New Oneworld lounge at LAX + Explosive growth at ultra-low-cost Frontier Airlines — including lots of new routes out of Atlanta  this […]

The former Dallas Statler Hilton. (Image: Hilton)

Hottest new hotels in New York, Dallas, Chicago

NOTE: Be sure to click here to see all recent TravelSkills posts about: Delta’s future + Aircraft size and flight delays + First class summer fare sales+ Chris’s summer travel outlook + United’s plans for LAX overhaul + Hertz’s fleet renewal  Marriott opens its new EDITION hotel in New York City this month, the old Statler Hilton […]

Southwest again ranked first in award seat availability. (Image: Jim Glab)

Getting easier to redeem awards?

NOTE: Be sure to click here to see all recent TravelSkills posts about: Delta’s first class sale + Chinese tourists on notice + Fast trains in Spain + United’s 787 Dreamliner plans + New Oneworld lounge at LAX + “Frequent flier program members may be surprised to hear this, but airlines as a group have become […]

Can you help United find security vulnerabilities in its systems? (Image: Hyatt)

United offers one million miles to hackers

NOTE: Be sure to click here to see all recent TravelSkills posts about: Delta’s first class sale + Aircraft size and flight delays + First class summer fare sales+ Chris’s summer travel outlook + United’s plans for LAX overhaul + Hertz’s fleet renewal  Last month, United Airlines banned security researcher Chris Roberts from flying on the carrier after […]

Delta's flying the big gay flag with first class discounts in June

You don’t have to be gay to fly first class

Delta is showing its true colors today by offering big discounts on first class fares to big gay pride celebrations throughout June, which is gay pride month. What’s nice about this is that you don’t have to be gay to take advantage of the deal. From Delta’s website: Take advantage of First Class savings when you travel to […]

Will Delta eventually get the Boeing Dreamliner? (Image: Boeing)

What the near future holds for Delta

Delta CEO Richard Anderson recently sat down with AP travel reporter Scott Mayerowitz for a wide ranging interview that’s a great read for TravelSkills readers, many of whom use the airline frequently.  Some highlights: >Despite a very heavy summer travel season ahead, Anderson is confident that Delta’s operational stats will be off the charts– he’s […]

Big airlines' hub scheduling practices could delay regional flights. (Image: Jim Glab)

Size makes a difference with flight delays

United and American in recent months have been rearranging their mainline schedules at some major hubs into clusters (or “banks”) of arrivals and departures at certain times of the day instead of spreading them out evenly, and a new study says this process could make it more difficult for regional carriers to operate on time. The […]

New quilted seat covers for Delta's first class flyers (Photo: Delta)

First class airfare sale for summer

As the summer rolls in, business travel demand wanes and leisure travel demand booms. That means the inventory of available seats at the front of the plane expands since most vacationers don’t think they can afford first class. But with airlines putting first and business class seats on sale, the gap between coach and first class […]

Click image to watch TravelSkills editor Chris McGinnis talk about saving money on summer travel

Biggest summer travel season ever?

Planning on hitting the roads or skies this summer for business or vacation trips? It could be the busiest summer ever according to TravelSkills editor Chris McGinnis.  Take a look at this video produced by TravelSkills partner Best Western for a look inside Chris’s office in San Francisco, and also inside his crystal ball when […]

Rendering of the terrace at the new United Club atop LAX's Terminal 7. (Image: United)

United’s big plans for LAX (Photos)

As part of an ongoing systemwide overhaul of United Airlines’ airport facilities, company executives hosted Los Angeles city officials this week to outline their plans for a $573 million renovation of the carrier’s public spaces at Los Angeles International Airport. The two-year project will take in everything from a new ticketing lobby with new self-tagging […]

View of the Eiffel Tower from suite at the Shangri-La Paris (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

World’s biggest boondoggle?

NOTE: Be sure to click here to see all recent TravelSkills posts about: United’s brand new website breaks out + Chinese tourists on notice + Fast trains in Spain + United’s 787 Dreamliner plans + New Oneworld lounge at LAX + A business trip of staggering proportions is making news, and it should come as no surprise […]

The 2015 Porsche Macan Turbo joins Hertz's Dream Car Collection (Image: Porsche)

Hertz’s big new fleet: 235,000 cool cars

NOTE: Be sure to click here to see all recent TravelSkills posts about: United’s brand new website breaks out + Chinese tourists on notice + Fast trains in Spain + United’s 787 Dreamliner plans + New Oneworld lounge at LAX + Hertz Corp. said it is undertaking a “significant refresh” of the U.S. fleets of its three […]

Site explains three-letter codes (Image: Airport Codes)

FAT FUK & FAR: Decoding airport codes

NOTE: Be sure to click here to see all recent TravelSkills posts about: New United website + Premium economy on Lufthansa + Chinese tourists on notice + Fast trains in Spain + United’s 787 Dreamliner plans + New Oneworld lounge at LAX +  Why is Chicago O’Hare’s three-letter airport code ORD? Why isn’t it OHA or […]

Rendering of United's new Terminal C North at Houston Bush Intercontinental. (Image: United)

United’s shiny new terminal in Houston

NOTE: Be sure to click here to see all recent TravelSkills posts about: United’s brand new website breaks out + Chinese tourists on notice + Fast trains in Spain + United’s 787 Dreamliner plans + New Oneworld lounge at LAX + Global Entry at Oakland  A groundbreaking ceremony was held this week at Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport […]

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Airbnb just won’t quit

NOTE: Be sure to click here to see all recent TravelSkills posts about: Big changes on United.com website + Chinese tourists on notice + Fast trains in Spain + United’s 787 Dreamliner plans + New Oneworld lounge at LAX + Global Entry at Oakland    Nothing seems to stop Airbnb, the sharing-economy behemoth that has steamrolled […]

United's new flight search shows upgrade availability. (Image: United)

Big changes at United.com

NOTE: Be sure to click here to see all recent TravelSkills posts about: Premium economy on Lufthansa + Chinese tourists on notice + Fast trains in Spain + United’s 787 Dreamliner plans + New Oneworld lounge at LAX + Global Entry at Oakland  Want to be among the first to check out the overhauled version of […]

See that nice wide console between each premium economy seat? (Image: Lufthansa)

Premium economy at economy prices this summer on Lufthansa

Today Lufthansa announced that it’s new premium economy seat is now installed on 50% of it’s global fleet- that’s 53 planes including all its Airbus A380s and Boeing 747-8s. What’s so great about Lufthansa’s premium economy seat? >It’s not business class, which means your company is more likely to pay for it. >Premium economy is not […]

An Air China 747 landing at LAX (Photo: Aero Icarus / Flickr)

Ugly Chinese worse than ugly Americans?

Remember when Americans had to be so careful about appearing to the “the ugly American” abroad? Well, according to NPR and other sources, that boorish baton has been passed along to the Chinese who now rank as the world’s ugliest tourists. (And I think that maybe the ugly German and ugly Russian tourist held that baton intermittently […]

Spain's Renfe AVE high speed train preparing to depart Madrid Atocha (Chris McGinnis)

Speeding across the plains of Spain on a train

This week TravelSkills editor Chris McGinnis is in Spain and will be posting various dispatches from the trip in addition to our regular news and tips. First up: Riding Spain’s high-speed AVE train between Madrid and Barcelona. The three-hour trip from Madrid to Barcelona begins at Madrid’s Atocha Station and ends at Barcelona-Sants station. Both […]

You'll be able to spot United's new 787 by the serrated edge of its jet engines. (Photo: United Airlines)

Where will United fly its 787 Dreamliners?

This week United revealed more about how its new 787s will be deployed in light of its recent fleet reconfiguration: United: New Boeing 787-9 deliveries to fly out of Houston Intercontinental (IAH) Between now and March 2016, we expect to take delivery of nine Boeing 787-9s, and we plan to use these aircraft on routes out […]

Bar at the expanded Oneworld Business Lounge at LAX. (Image: Qantas)

Bigger, better Oneworld lounge at LAX (photos)

NOTE: Be sure to click here to see all recent TravelSkills posts about: Economy class meals rated + New rules for travel to Cuba + Star Alliance adds fast lanes to security + New international air routes + Gogo speeds up Wi-Fi + Trip Report: Cathay Pacific 777 Qantas, Cathay Pacific and British Airways have finished […]