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Faster, easier re-entry to US via foreign pre-clearance facilities like this in Ireland (Dublin Airport)

Nice! 10 more airports to get U.S. customs pre-clearance

The US Department of Homeland Security says that it hopes to add new pre-clearance operations to ten foreign airports in Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom. Pre-clearance is the process by which CBP Officers stationed abroad screen passengers heading to the U.S. before they leave a foreign port. […]

The Alaska-Delta rivalry at Seattle is generating lots of new passengers. (Image: Jim Glab)

Airlines playing games on West Coast

Just as Delta has been adding a number of new routes at Seattle-Tacoma in a tit-for-tat rivalry with its erstwhile “partner” Alaska Airlines, it has adopted the same tactic following Southwest Airlines’ announcement that it will begin service this fall from Oakland to Delta’s Atlanta hub. Less than two weeks after Southwest said it will […]

A guest room at the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris. (Image: Four Seasons)

Most expensive hotels: Can you afford them?

The most striking thing about a new list of the world’s most expensive hotels — based on a global survey by — is that none of the properties in the Top 10 could be considered a business hotel. And only three of the Top 20 are in the United States. But that includes the […]

The sale of Aer Lingus could shake up the transatlantic travel market. (Image: Aer Lingus)

Changes coming to Ireland’s Aer Lingus

Ireland’s parliament has voted to approve the sale of the government’s 25 percent stake in Aer Lingus to British Airways parent International Airlines Group (IAG), removing the main obstacle to the sale and setting the stage for a shakeup of transatlantic travel. But at least it sounds like those big green planes will be around […]

Artist's rendering of O'Hare's big new consolidated rental car facility. (Image: Chicago Dept. of Aviation)

O’Hare’s big new construction project

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other city officials gathered at O’Hare Airport last week to break ground on the facility’s biggest new construction project in years: a consolidated rental car facility. The $782 million project includes not only the 4.5 million square foot building — on the northeast side of the airport property near the […]

A Hainan Airlines 787 like this one is coming to San Jose. (Image: Simon Auger/Flickr)

Lots of new airline routes rolling out

In route news, both San Jose and Houston will get new transpacific routes in the next few weeks; JetBlue blows into Lake Tahoe; United kicks off a new U.K. service from Newark; and Orlando and New Orleans will see new Latin American routes. China’s Hainan Airlines is set to launch its newest U.S. route on […]

Outdoor terrace at the Peninsula New York. (Image: Peninsula Hotels)

Earn thousands of airline miles for hotel stays

If you don’t mind booking through third-party websites, you can rack up thousands of airline miles on select carriers when you stay at major hotels. We first reported on two of these sites — Rocketmiles and PointsHound — two years ago, and now The New York Times has provided an update. The Times report notes […]

Nordic Choice's Comfort Hotel in Malmo, Sweden. (Image: Nordic Choice)

Hotel chains with fastest wi-fi ranked

A new study from the website finds that the lodging chain with the overall best Wi-Fi quality in guest rooms is not a U.S. company but a Scandinavian group. The site examined Wi-Fi quality at 50 hotel chains worldwide and rated Nordic Choice in the number one spot. Nordic Choice has scores of hotels […]

A United 747-400 enroute to Osaka (Photo: InSapphoWeTrust / Flickr)

3 easy ways to snag 50,000 miles this month

There are currently three ways to snag a cool 50,000 bonus miles for credit card sign ups. But you need to act fast because at least one of them disappears next week. Don’t miss out!  Going, going…almost gone (on June 2):  The United Explorer Card is perfect for those who don’t fly or spend enough to earn elite status– that’s […]

Toronto's new downtown-airport rail link takes 25 minutes. (Image: Union Pearson Express)

Toronto opens airport-downtown rail link

Travelers to Toronto will have a new option for getting to and from Toronto Pearson International Airport starting June 6; that’s the starting date for passenger service on the Union Pearson Express. The new rail link runs from Union Station in downtown Toronto to Terminal 1 at the airport via intermediate stops at the Bloor […]

Surprise hot samosas on Aer Lingus (Chris McGinnis)

Trip Report: Aer Lingus business class meals best in class

Back in March, Aer Lingus invited TravelSkills along for the maiden voyage of a big green A330 outfitted with its new lie-flat business class seat and enhanced service. In our first Trip Report you find all you need to know about the hard product— what the best seats are, inflight entertainment, sleep quality, etc. But […]

SkyTeam lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 4 (Photo: SkyTeam)

Delta swapping terminals at Heathrow

To the surprise and consternation of Delta regulars at London Heathrow, Delta recently re-shuffled its flights between Terminal 3 and Terminal 4, affecting access to Virgin Atlantic’s Clubhouse lounge.  The goal of the recent reshuffling was to co-locate as many Delta and Virgin Atlantic flights as possible, but flights to Atlanta and Seattle have moved from Virgin’s […]

Airports are Uber's final frontier for passenger pick=-ups. (Image: Uber)

Uber progresses, one airport at a time

How do Uber drivers pick up their passengers at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport? Very carefully, as the old gag says. That’s because it is still illegal for them to take on customers at Atlanta’s airport — and many other U.S. airports — and they risk getting a ticket if they are too open about it. […]

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 […]


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 […]