Routes: SFO, LAX, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Miami, Newark, JFK

United is boosting capacity on its new route from SFO to Auckland. (Image:

United is boosting capacity on its new route from SFO to Auckland. (Image: Aucklandnz.com)

In the latest international route news, United boosts capacity on a new transpacific route out of San Francisco but drops a transatlantic route; a Chinese carrier starts new flights to Los Angeles; Chicago O’Hare gets a new route to Taiwan; low-cost Icelandic carrier WOW adds another U.S. gateway; KLM revives Miami flights; and Delta resumes service to a Canadian destination.

United Airlines just started its San Francisco-Auckland service in early July (after a 13-year hiatus), but now the New Zealand Herald reports that the airline is increasing capacity on the route. It said United has boosted flight frequencies between SFO-Auckland from five a week to daily service, and has also switched out the 787-8 it was using on the route to a larger 777. SFO-AKL fares are currently in the $1,000 roundtrip range, but occasionally dip slightly below that.

Across the Atlantic, meanwhile, United plans to drop its current service linking Newark with Belfast, Northern Ireland effective January 9. Why? Because the subsidy paid to United over the last three years ran out. The cancellation has caused much consternation as it was the only nonstop link between Northern Ireland and the US.

At Los Angeles International, Chinese carrier Sichuan Airlines is due to start new service on December 6 to Jinan, with continuing same-plane service to Chengdu. The carrier will use an Airbus A330-200 for the service, which will operate twice a week, according to Routesonline.com. News of the new route comes just a couple of weeks after Sichuan Airlines, with little fanfare, kicked off its first U.S. route; in mid-October it started flying, also twice a week with an A330, from LAX to Hangzhou with continuing service to Chengdu.

EVA's "Hello Kitty" 777-300ER now flies between Houton and Taipei. (Image: EVA)

One of EVA’s  777-300ERs  has “Hello, Kitty” livery. (Image: EVA)

Taiwan’s EVA Air last week started flying between Taipei and Chicago O’Hare, operating four flights a week with a 777-300ER. EVA offers extensive connections beyond Taipei to other Asian destinations, including 27 cities in mainland China. EVA also flies to New York, San Francisco, Houston, Los Angeles, Seattle, Toronto and Vancouver.

Wow Air, Iceland’s fast-growing low-cost airline, will add yet another U.S. gateway on June 17, when it begins service from Pittsburgh International to its hub at Reykjavik’s Keflavik Airport with an Airbus A321. The carrier will offer fares starting as low as $99 each way to Iceland, with connecting service starting at $149 each way to European destinations including Paris, London, Frankfurt and others – plus add-on ancillary fees, of course.

WOW Air

Wow Air will use a narrow-body for new Pittsburgh service. (Photo: WOW Air)

KLM, which dropped service to Miami in 2011, started it up again last week. The Dutch airline is offering three flights a week (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays) from Miami to Amsterdam Schiphol using an Airbus A330-200. The seasonal service will continue through June 2017.

Delta Air Lines will revive service from its New York JFK hub to Halifax, Nova Scotia, effective January 9. The carrier said it will use a 76-seat CRJ-900 on the route, offering first class, Comfort+ and regular economy seating.

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Best/worst days, airports & airlines for Thanksgiving

Turkey

Carving out some time for Thanksgiving travel this year? I’m not! (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

The crazy Thanksgiving peak travel week is almost upon us; it can be a great time for reuniting with family and friends back home, but it can also be a time of travel trauma when you’re actually trying to get there.

Overall, travelers, the airlines and airports seem to have gotten the Thanksgiving travel drill down in recent years. When everyone plays by the rules and the weather cooperates, everything goes pretty smoothly and there’s a collective sigh of relief and a “well that was not so bad after all” when it’s all over. Hopefully that will happen again this year.

Did you think Thanksgiving travel was crowded and hectic last year? Well, in 2016, according to the airline trade organization Airlines for America (A4A), you can expect to see 55,000 more passengers per day than you did during last year’s Thanksgiving holiday period. “Highly affordable air fare is driving that increase,” A4A said. Airlines have bumped up capacity to handle the extra loads.

U.S. airlines expect to carry an average of 2.27 million passengers a day during the Thanksgiving period, which A4A defines as the 12 days from Friday, November 18 through Tuesday, November 29. Thanksgiving is Thursday, November 24. The group said it expects the busiest travel days to be – in descending order – Sunday the 27th, Monday the 28th, and Wednesday the 23rd, with the lightest travel, as usual, on Thanksgiving Day itself.

But the travel search engine Skyscanner looked at its data and came to a different conclusion: It predicts the busiest day for air travel will be Saturday, November 19, “with travelers taking advantage of the short workweek to get away for a longer period of time,” said Randi Wolfson, the company’s communications chief for the Americas.

And where will it be the busiest on that day? Skyscanner predicts that passenger traffic will hit levels three times or more above average at New York LaGuardia; Washington Reagan National; and Orange County, California’s John Wayne Airport. Traffic is expected to be twice the usual level or more at both Chicago airports, all three Bay Area airports, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, New York JFK, Newark, Philadelphia, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Los Angeles International and Burbank.

Chart: Milecards.com

Chart: Milecards.com

Another take on holiday travel trauma comes from Milecards.com, which conducted a study of airline cancellation rates over the holidays during the past six years at the nation’s 50 busiest airports.

Its main conclusion? “If you have only one holiday to choose for a flight home, make it Thanksgiving” instead of Christmas, Milecards said. Why? Because the flight cancellation rate around the late December holidays is five times greater than at Thanksgiving – 2.1 percent of all flights vs. 0.4 percent. The days when your flight is most likely to be canceled are December 26 and 27, the company said, while the best odds for avoiding a cancellation are on December 23 and 24.

Chart: Milecards.com

With a hub at New York’s JFK, which has been hit by snowstorms during recent holidays, JetBlue takes a hit. Chart: Milecards.com

The worst holiday-period cancellation rate is at Newark Liberty International – almost three times the national average, and it’s worse around Christmas than Thanksgiving, with a cancellation rate of almost 6 percent. Airports with the lowest cancellation rates around the holidays are Honolulu, Oakland and Seattle, while the lowest rates for major connecting hubs are at Salt Lake City and Denver.

Milescards found that cancellation rates are much higher for shorter flights, such as San Francisco-Sacramento, than for longer flights such as transcons.

You can see several charts here documenting the findings of Milecards.com’s holiday flight cancellation study.

I’m staying put in San Francisco for Thanksgiving this year, with our feast just a short drive away. What about you? Will you brave the skies this year? 

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Deal Alert: Transcon fares plummet in December

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

Low fares but high hotel prices in NYC this December (Image: Jim Glab)

Looking for a nice, easy trip during one of the slowest travel periods of the year? Maybe you are taking a mileage run? Then take a look at these fares for transcontinental trips (East, West coasts & Florida) during the first two weeks of December. 

Starting on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (Nov 29) and running up until the Christmas holiday peak, fares are just $267 round trip on all carriers flying between San Francisco and New York City.

Fares are slightly higher at around $285 round trip between Los Angeles LAX and New York City, too. Any time I see a California-New York nonstops drop below $300 I know I’ve got a great deal on my hands.

And it’s not just California– lowest fares are running at about $282 between Seattle and New York, too on Delta, Alaska and JetBlue.

Google flights for trips Dec 5-Dec 12

Google Flights for SFO-JFK trips Dec 5-Dec 12

Caveat: Early December may be a cheap time to fly to NYC, but it’s not a cheap time to stay in a hotel there… those first few weeks of December when the first flurries fall and 5th Avenue gets all decked out in holiday splendor are super expensive at hotels. On early December weekends it’s tough to find a decent hotel for less than $500 per night. But everyone has a friend with a sofa-bed in NYC to stay with, right? 🙂

And for New Yorkers headed west, December is a fabulous and festive time to be in Wine Country. And in LA and SoCal, you can still go to the beach.

Delta SkyClub

Fly California to Atlanta to see Delta’s new Sky Club on Concourse B for less than $300 round trip (Photo: Chris Rank, Rank Studios)

SFO-Atlanta is super cheap in December, too. I’m looking at just $248 round trip on United’s ATL-SFO nonstops. Delta’s are higher, but still a bargain at about $313. If you are willing to chance it with Frontier on ATL-SFO, you can go for $197 roundtrip, but you’ll pay dearly for extras like checked bags.

And hold on… are you ready for it? You can fly nonstop between LAX and Atlanta during December for just $192 roundtrip on American! Delta is slightly higher at around $260 round trip.

screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-4-07-59-pm

Super low fares on ATL-LAX in December! Source: Google Flights

From LAX there’s even more! Check Google flights on LAX-Ft Lauderdale or LAX-Orlando and you’ll find roundtrip fares in the $200 (or less!) range. Vamos! 

NOTE: These fares are available on Google Flights Wednesday, Nov 2 and subject to change.

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British Airways adds yet another Bay Area nonstop

British Airways B777

British Airways will fly nonstop between Oakland and London-Gatwick using a Boeing 777-200ER (Photo: British Airways)

Brexit does not seem to be having much impact on British Airways’ plans for the burgeoning San Francisco Bay Area.

Today the airline announced that it will add a nonstop flight from Oakland to London-Gatwick on March 28, 2017. This is this is in addition to its recently deployed daily 787 Dreamliner nonstop between San Jose International and Heathrow, as well as its two dailies between SFO and Heathrow using an Airbus A380 or Boeing 777.

This means that you can now fly BA to London from all three Bay Area airports- no other carrier offers that. It also means that British Airways will be flying about 1,250 seats per day, each way, between the San Francisco Bay Area and London.

The new OAK-LGW flights will operate four days a week using a Boeing 777-200ER that seats 275 passengers: 203 in economy,  24 in premium economy and  48 in business class. (That’s a lot of room for upgrades or award flights!) The new flights will allow BA to tap into the populous and wealthy East Bay suburbs full of travelers who don’t (or won’t) cross the Bay for a flight out of congested SFO.

Gatwick Airport (LGW) is 28 miles south of central London but still convenient and even preferred by many travelers. Why? Because the easy 30-minute, approximately $25 Gatwick Express train can whisk you from the airport to Victoria Station in the heart of the city every 15 minutes. London’s Heathrow Express, while speedier, drops you off at Paddington Station, which may not be as convenient. On the flip side, those traveling into Oakland from London can now get to downtown San Francisco via a new BART spur that connects the the airport to the city in about 30 minutes for about $10 each way.

London's three primary airports. The Gatwick Express train connects the airport with Victoria Station (Image: Visit London)

London’s three primary airports. The Gatwick Express train connects the airport with Victoria Station (Image: Visit London)

This surprise move by BA comes on the heels of Norwegian Air’s introduction of Oakland-Gatwick nonstops last May.

To celebrate this announcement, British Airways has launched special fares for travel from March 28 to May 12 at about $600 roundtrip per person in economy and $1,115 in premium economy.  Business class fares run about $3,600. These fares include taxes, fees and charges.

These sale fares are higher than Norwegian Air base fares (which can run as low at $400 round trip), but keep in mind that Norwegian is a bit more fee-happy than British Airways. For example, you’ll pay $65 each way ($130 round trip) to check a bag on Norwegian Air for the flight to Gatwick– if you fly beyond Gatwick, you’ll pay a whopping $130 each way ($260 round trip) for that checked bag. British Airways does not charge a fee for the first checked bag for economy class passengers.  Both carriers charge fees for booking specific seats ahead of time. Norwegian Air flies a new Boeing 787 Dreamliner on the route that has economy and premium economy seats, but no business class.

BA Club World (business class) travelers flying out of Oakland receive up to five days of free parking in OAK’s Premier Lot, an added value of $190. Also, an airport spokesperson told TravelSkills that British Airways and MAG, which manages Oakland’s new airport lounge, are working out an agreement to provide BA customers with complimentary access to a new Escape lounge located in Terminal 1 near BA gates. But at this time, no agreement has been reached. One-time passes to the lounge (opening in mid-November) go for $45.

Don’t miss! Trip Report: British Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner business class San Jose-London

British Airways B777-200ER

Seatguru layout of British Airways B777-200ER (Image: Seatguru)

 Don’t miss! Trip Report: Oakland to London on Norwegian Air (kinda)

British Airways is a member of the Oneworld alliance.

The year-round, 4x per week OAK-LGW flights will depart Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. BA will use Gatwick’s South Terminal where it moves into new digs in January– improvements include a brand new business class lounge, and upgraded check in area, and easier access to the Gatwick Express. (Currently, BA operates out of Gatwick’s North Terminal.)

BA seems to be on something of a roll recently. In addition to the new Oakland flight, British Airways has announced new nonstops to Ft Lauderdale and New Orleans from London in the last month.

Would you fly British Airways between Oakland and London? Why or why not? Why do you think BA is making this move? Please leave your comments below. 

–Chris McGinnis


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Routes: Delta, ANA, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, JetBlue, Alaska

Delta and ANA have shifted routes from Narita to Tokyo's close-in Haneda Airport. (Image: Haneda Airport)

Delta and ANA have shifted routes from Narita to Tokyo’s close-in Haneda Airport. (Image: Haneda Airport)

In international route news, Delta shifts a pair of Tokyo routes to a new airport and ANA does the same; Delta and Virgin Atlantic expand code-sharing to India with Jet Airways, and Delta drops a couple of Italy routes; British Airways adds a U.S. gateway – but not from Heathrow; JetBlue sets the launch dates for its new Havana service; and Alaska postpones the start of its new Cuba route.

New rights to fly to/from Tokyo’s close-in Haneda Airport took effect over the past weekend, resulting in some route changes at Delta and at Japan’s All Nippon Airways. Delta has started its new nonstops from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Tokyo Haneda, which replaces its MSP-Narita service; Delta also shifted its Los Angeles-Tokyo flights from Narita to Haneda (and earlier this month, Delta dropped its New York JFK-Narita route as well). Delta still flies to Narita from Seattle, Portland, Detroit and Atlanta.

ANA, meanwhile, has shifted its New York JFK and Chicago O’Hare routes from Tokyo Narita to Haneda.

Delta's code-sharing with India's Jet Airways is expanding to London and to Virgin Atlantic. (Image: delta)

Delta’s code-sharing with India’s Jet Airways is expanding to London and to Virgin Atlantic. (Image: Delta)

Across the Atlantic, Delta and partner Virgin Atlantic announced an expansion of Delta’s code-sharing partnership with India’s Jet Airways, which is currently available for connections to India via Paris and Amsterdam. Starting November 2, passengers on Delta and Virgin Atlantic flights into London Heathrow will be able to connect onto Delta code-shares operated by Jet Airways to Mumbai and Delhi, and beyond to 20 domestic destinations in India.

In other transatlantic news, for 2017 Delta will no longer offer summer seasonal service from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Rome or from New York JFK to Pisa; both routes had been planned to launch May 25. And to South America, Delta has just switched aircraft on its Atlanta-Buenos Aires route from a 767 to an A330-300, providing a 20 percent increase in the number of seats it flies.

British Airways next summer will add a new Florida route. The carrier said that starting July 6, it will fly to Ft. Lauderdale four days a week during summer and three days a week the rest of the year. But it will fly the route out of London Gatwick, not Heathrow. BA will use a 777-200 on the route, which will be its fourth into Florida.

Havana

Refrigerator magnets from a recent trip to Havana (Chris McGinnis)

JetBlue is the latest U.S. carrier to announce the starting dates for new service into Havana. JetBlue, which won rights for three routes into the Cuban capital, said it will begin daily roundtrips out of its New York JFK base on November 28; daily flights from Orlando on November 29; and daily service out of Ft. Lauderdale starting November 30 (increasing to twice a day December 1)

Alaska Airlines, meanwhile, has pushed back the start of its single new Havana route. The carrier had planned to start Los Angeles-Havana service on November 29, but now won’t begin flying the route until January 5.

Don’t miss out on these popular TravelSkills posts:

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Most popular: Longest flight + California airlines + Best credit card + New lounge + Qantas

Chris McGinnis

Chris excited and looking fresh before this week’s 17-hour flight from SFO to Singapore- and back in just 4 days (Photo: Charles Schuler)

TravelSkills’ 10 most popular posts over the last week (descending order):

17 moments in 17 hours on Singapore Airlines Airbus A350Weekend Edition

Singapore Air opens up about longest nonstop

Routes: United at San Jose + Delta, JetBlue, American, Virgin America

Trip Report: The long flight home SIN-SFO

JetSuiteX

The JetSuiteX Terminal at Concord, CA, east of SF- a nice break from the craziness at OAK or SFO! (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

Big news at two small California airlines

First look: LAX’s fancy new Terminal 6 (photos)

9 key phrases every traveler should know

How to choose the best travel credit card

National pop up lounge

National is installing free popup lounges with wifi like this one at Washington Dulles (Photo: Jeff Pearce)

Airports: Screening upgrades, Oakland lounge, National Car pop-ups + more

10 A new look & feel for Qantas

What do flight attendants love most about SFO? A fun new promotional video from San Francisco International Airport, introduced by Tony Bennett, offers personal accounts from flight attendants representing a number of airlines about the interesting things to see and do at the airport. See video What do you love most about SFO? Leave your comments below.

Links to stories from other sources that we thought you’d like to read:

US State Department orders departure of family members at Istanbul consulate

DOT: Average U.S. air fares down almost 10 percent year over year

Got 2.5 million SkyMiles to burn? You can fly Delta Private Jets

(Image: Delta News Hub)

Use your SkyMiles for a ride on a private jet? Yep. (Image: Delta News Hub)

Southwest eyes new fees, but not for bags or ticket changes

JetBlue introduces fancy new amenity kits for Mint cabin passengers

Air India re-routes its SFO-DEL nonstop

Air India's first flight from New Delhi arrived at SFO before dawn. (Image: Peter Biaggi)

Air India’s flight path has changed (Image: Peter Biaggi)

Lowest airfares since 2009

Latest on Alaska-Virgin deal: Close, but still, no cigar

Delta app enhancement lets users follow their checked bags

Want to find your Uber rating? Here’s how

United introduces improved earbuds for economy passengers

AA/BA partner Iberia will get on board with premium economy seating next year

U.K. government backs plan to build a third runway at London Heathrow

Austrian Airlines promises instant replies to customer queries via Facebook Messenger

14 new Boeing 747-8 aircraft ordered, but you’ll never get to fly on one

(Photo: Brandon Farris)

Does that flagged winglet look familiar? (Photo: Brandon Farris)

Alaska Airlines reveals new military inspired special livery

This week Alaska Airlines revealed a new paint job, or livery, on a new 737-900ER. At first glance, that American flag wingtip may look like a move to integrate Virgin America design elements (see its flagged winglet here)  into the look of Alaska Airlines, but it’s part of a new initiative called “Alaska Airlines Salutes,” to support and honor those who serve. The design features an Alaska Airlines Salutes medallion and a fallen soldier badge, with the Battlefield Cross to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. The plane also features five rings surrounding the engine, representative of the five branches of the United States military, and American flag winglets.

Don’t miss out on these popular TravelSkills posts:

Kicking support animals off planes | Shocked passenger refuses to pay $3 for water | Marriott-Starwood: Higher prices, better rewards | The 10,000 points question! | Eye-catching maps explain state of the world | Test your planespotting skills!

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Airports: Screening upgrades, Oakland lounge, National Car pop-ups + more

National pop up lounge

National is installing free popup lounges with wifi like this one at Washington Dulles (Photo: Jeff Pearce)

In airport news this week, new technology could soon be coming to TSA’s carry-on bag screenings; Oakland Airport gets its first premium lounge; National Car is opening “pop-up” airport lounges for Emerald Club members; San Jose introduces robots; and better Wi-Fi is coming to Boston Logan.

Starting next week, members of National Car Rental’s Emerald Club will have a new lounge option at five major airports. The rental firm said it will bring back free “pop-up” lounges for Emerald Club members at Boston Logan, Chicago O’Hare, Sacramento, St. Louis and Washington Dulles. They’ll remain in place through April, then move to other airports for the summer, National said. All will be located post-security in one terminal per airport; they’ll be open 24 hours, but only staffed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Users will get free Wi-Fi, charging stations, and access to tablets and TVs for checking flight status, sports, news and weather information.

For years, the Transportation Security Administration has relied on traditional x-ray technology to see inside travelers’ carry-on bags – not always with great results. But those machines could be replaced soon with a more effective technology, according to a report from Bloomberg News. It said that the CT scanners currently in use behind the scenes to inspect passengers’ checked bags could be adapted to serve the same purpose for carry-on bag scans. “Instead of the two views of a bag generated by the current machines, CT scanners shoot hundreds of images with an X-ray camera spinning around the conveyor belt to provide screeners with three-dimensional views,” Bloomberg noted. Among the benefits of using that technology for carry-ons: Passengers would no longer have to remove liquids and laptops from their bags.

A new pay-per-use Escape Lounge opens at Oakland in November. (Image: MAG)

A new pay-per-use Escape Lounge opens at Oakland in November. (Image: MAG)

A mid-November opening is expected for the first premium passenger lounge at Oakland International. Operated by the U.S. division of Britain’s Manchester Airport Group (MAG), the Escape Lounge will be available to all travelers on a pay-per-use basis, for a fee of $45 on site or $40 if booked in advance. The 2,700 square foot facility can accommodate 50 travelers, and will have separate zones for relaxing, dining/drinking and work. Food will be supervised by Oakland chef Chris Pastena, whose restaurants include Calavera, Lungomare and Chop Bar. Admission fees cover food, drinks and Wi-Fi. MAG also operates an Escape Lounge at Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, and it just opened one at Connecticut’s Bradley International Airport.

San Jose International's new robots Norma, Amelia, and Piper (Image: San Jose International)

San Jose International’s new robots Norma, Amelia, and Piper (Image: San Jose International)

Mineta San Jose International has rolled out – literally – a trio of friendly robots to help travelers find their way around the facility, giving directions to gates, shops and restaurants. Users can even take a selfie with the devices, which are equipped with 32-inch touch screens and were developed by a South Korean firm called Future Robot. You’ll find them at Gates 11, 21 and 25. Information can be displayed in six languages.

The board of directors at Massport, which oversees Boston Logan Airport, has voted to revise its contract with Boingo, the provider of the airport’s free Wi-Fi service. Massport said a new pilot program starting this month in Terminal E will increase the allowable free Wi-Fi session time limit from 45 minutes to four hours, and will also boost connection speeds. In addition, users will see a new single-click link to the Wi-Fi without ads. The pilot program will run through March. Massport said passengers at Logan currently make 24,000 Wi-Fi connections per day, with an average session time of 88 minutes.

Don’t miss out on these popular TravelSkills posts:

Kicking support animals off planes | Shocked passenger refuses to pay $3 for water | Marriott-Starwood: Higher prices, better rewards | The 10,000 points question! | Eye-catching maps explain state of the world | Test your planespotting skills!

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Trip Report: The long flight home SIN-SFO

Singapore Airlines map

Photo of the inflight map of the northerly course of our SIN-SFO flight on Singapore Airlines (Chris McGinnis)

(INFLIGHT SIN>SFO) Well, that was a quick trip! If you’ve been following TravelSkills this week, you know that I jumped on Singapore Airlines’ new nonstop A350 flight from San Francisco to Singapore on Sunday. (Read part 1: Southbound SFO>SIN post)

Here it is on Thursday morning, and I’m northbound,somewhere out over the big dark Pacific Ocean, on the return flight (SQ 32). Our flight started out over the South China Sea, then passed between the Philippines and Taiwan, continuing up along the east coast of Japan. Then it was out over the Northern Pacific, where we skirted past the Aleutian Trench on course to arriving at SFO.

I love a good exotic flight board and the one a Singapore Changi does not disappoint! (Chris McGinnis)

I love a good exotic flight board and the one a Singapore Changi does not disappoint! (Chris McGinnis)

We departed Singapore at 9:25 am on Thursday, and we’ll arrive in San Francisco at 8:40 am on the same day– after flying for about 14 hours. Crazy to think that we’ll arrive before we left. Tailwinds have been kind to our flight, cutting about two hours off our flight time. The southbound journey on Sunday-Monday took 16 hours and 11 minutes, departing noon Sunday, and arriving at around 7 pm on Monday evening.

On this return flight, I was able to watch one movie– Captain Fantastic– highly recommended, a tear jerker but I’m always easily brought to tears on planes for some reason. You? I was also able to get some work done on the laptop, sleep for about four hours, enjoy two gorgeously presented meals (see below) and write this post.

Inflight wi-fi from Panasonic has been extremely fast and reliable on this flight (less so on the way down)– I’m amazed that I can upload photos and post this from the plane. Crazy! I purchased a 24-hour in-flight wi-fi pass for $22— very much worth it to me.

Hainanese pork chop with fried rice (Photo Chris McGinnis)

Hainanese pork chop with fried rice (Photo Chris McGinnis)

As usual, for meals, I tried to go native and order Asian/Singaporean dishes. For dinner, I chose the Hainanese pork chop with fried rice. It was good, but a little tough. Breakfast was far better- I opted for the oriental dim sum and loved every bite.

Four choices for breakfast in Singapore Airlines business class- I went native! (Chris McGinnis)

Four choices for breakfast in Singapore Airlines business class- I went native! (Chris McGinnis)

Breakfast onboard Singapore Airlines SQ32 somewhere over the northern Pacific (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

Breakfast onboard Singapore Airlines SQ32 somewhere over the northern Pacific (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

This has been a quick trip– just two quick days in Singapore and three very bumpy nights of not-enough-sleep. I’m surprised I have the will and wherewithal to write this! Hope you’ve enjoyed my reports.

I’ll close with one more unusual photo from this trip: A word of warning about some monkey business going on outside my window at the Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa Resort on Singapore’s southern coastline.

Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa

A warning about monkeys at the lovely beachside Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa resort (Chris McGinnis)

(Read part 1: Southbound SFO>SIN post)

–Chris McGinnis

Don’t miss out on these popular TravelSkills posts:

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Routes: United at San Jose + Delta, JetBlue, American, Virgin America

United will fly E175s from San Jose to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. (Image: United)

United will fly E175s from San Jose to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. (Image: United)

In domestic route developments, United will offer special service out of San Jose for a big convention in January; Delta adds an Austin route and expands in the Twin Cities; JetBlue is about to jump into the fray on one of the northeast’s busiest routes; American exits three Philadelphia markets; and Virgin America will operate a pair of seasonal services out of New York City.

With a nod to the big temporary demand coming out of Silicon Valley, United Airlines plans to operate a virtual shuttle service for techies going to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next January. According to Airlineroute.net, United Express/SkyWest will offer seven daily roundtrips between SJC and Las Vegas from January 4 through January 9 only, using Embraer 175s. The temporary United service will offer an alternative to Southwest’s heavy schedule in the SJC-LAS market.

Austin Bergstrom Airport will get new Delta service to Raleigh-Durham. (Im,age: City of Austin)

Austin Bergstrom Airport will get new Delta service to Raleigh-Durham. (Image: City of Austin)

Delta has set a March 9 starting date for new daily service linking Austin, Texas with its growing Raleigh-Durham base. The carrier said Austin is the “largest unserved non-stop market” from RDU. The flights will be operated by Delta Connection/GoJet with a 76-seat, two-class CRJ-900.

Meanwhile, Delta also announced some additional service out of its Minneapolis-St. Paul hub next year. A key development for SkyMiles summer vacationers: Delta’s winter seasonal service from MSP to Honolulu, which begins on October 29, will now continue operating continuously through Labor Day 2017 instead of stopping in April as previously planned. Also coming from Delta at MSP next summer: The addition of a third daily flight to San Jose, a sixth to Phoenix, and a second to Richmond.

JetBlue will use E190s for its new LaGuardia_Boston flights. (Image: JetBlue)

JetBlue will use E190s for its new LaGuardia-Boston flights. (Image: JetBlue)

October 31 is the launch date for JetBlue’s entry into the busy New York LaGuardia-Boston market, which is dominated by the Delta and American shuttle operations. JetBlue plans to offer six daily roundtrips between LGA and BOS, using E190 aircraft with 100 seats, including 16 in JetBlue’s Even More Space section and 84 in regular economy. The entry into the LaGuardia market will make JetBlue the only airline serving Boston from all three New York-area airports. In another part of the country, JetBlue recently started daily service between New Orleans and Ft. Lauderdale, in competition with Southwest and Spirit.

As part of an ongoing rethinking of the Philadelphia hub it inherited from US Airways, American Airlines plans to end service next February in three regional markets. Getting the axe are AA’s three daily CRJ200 fights between PHL and Newark, along with its twice-daily service from Philadelphia to Binghamton., N.Y. and Elmira, N.Y.

Virgin America said this week it plans to bring back service next month in two seasonal markets out of New York JFK. On November 1, it will begin daily non-stops between JFK and Ft. Lauderdale, and on November 19, it will begin service between JFK and Palm Springs, California.

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