1> NEW NONSTOPS TO SOUTH AMERICA. LAN Airlines will launch 4x per week nonstop flights between San Francisco and Lima, Peru on July 1. The new Boeing 767 flights will be the ONLY nonstops between SFO and South America, so this is great news for those who don’t like to connect in LA or Dallas or Miami to get there. LAN is an outstanding carrier; by far the best in South America with a fleet of new planes and an excellent lie-flat business class seat. LAN has a code share on the route with American, so AAdvantage members can earn and burn miles on the flights. Details here
2> FREE WI-FI COMING TO SFO. The rumor has been floating around for a while, but today I got confirmation from airport officials that FREE Wi-Fi is tentatively scheduled for implementation at SFO in September. The official start date should be released in coming weeks. Woo-hoo!
3> HUGE BONUSES FOR TRANSCON TRIPS. Delta started it, now American and United have joined in on the bonus bonanza for frequent travelers between SFO (or LAX) and New York-JFK. The deals vary slightly, but the gist is this: Pay full fare round trip business class or first class and you get an eye-popping 50,000-mile bonus. Discounted business class and full fare economy round trips earn a 25,000-mile bonus. The cheap seats– lowest economy fares– don’t earn any special bonus on the routes. The bonuses can be earned an unlimited number of times through June 30. KEY: You must register for this promotion. Here are the links:
DELTA (NOTE: Delta’s “premium Economy class” is only premium in the sense that it costs more. It’s not equivalent to United’s Economy Plus which offers extra legroom.)
VIRGIN AMERICA: so far, there’s been no competitive response.
4> SOUTHWEST BONUS. Rapid Rewards members get one bonus credit per flight (for a total of two) through May 26. This means you can get a free Southwest ticket after just four round trips instead of the usual eight. More expensive Business Select fares earn even more. To get the bonus you must first register and book your trip online.
5> IPAD STAYS IN YOUR BAG. Thanks for all your comments on my recent post about wanting an iPad for business travel. I’ve still not bought one, but was nearly pushed off the fence when I read that the TSA will NOT require travelers to remove iPads from carry on luggage for scanning as it does for laptops.
6> HOTEL BOOM IN NYC. If you are like me and you LOVE a brand new hotel, especially in Manhattan, you’ll love this news: Twenty-one hotels opened in Manhattan in 2009. Thirty-two new hotels will open this year. Click here to see the full list. Speaking of NYC hotels, two W Hotels in NYC (The Court and the Tuscany, both on 39th St) have been sold to a London-based outfit called St Giles Hotels.
7> UNITED+US Airways? I just can’t see a whole lot of positives when two struggling carriers combine to form a much larger struggling carrier. I was sorta hoping that United would merge with Continental, which is considered by many to be near the top of the heap of “legacy” carriers in terms of good management. Well, in any case, airline merger rumors come and go as fast as Hollywood romances, so I’ll reserve further commentary or speculation until this one gets some legs.
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