TravelSkills Picks

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Stepping off the plane like a president

Air stairs, bridges, jetways & buses used to load & unload passengers<p>Have you ever watched the president step on or off Air Force One, waving and walking up or down a special set of portable stairs? It's a grand entry or exit, and not just reserved for presidents.<p>Most of us are accustomed to …

Flying

How to cut airport waits with the miraculous Mobile Passport

Free app helps travelers speed through airport immigration<p>The relatively new Mobile Passport app could be the key for avoiding delays at US airports this summer...<p>There's nothing worse that enduring a 15-hour slog home from an international trip only to be met with a long line at US Customs and …

Flying

Routes: Air China drops SJC + Less United Polaris + Air India faster + More Palm Springs

This week's most important air route developments<p>In route news, San Jose is losing non-stops to Shanghai; United will put a new Polaris-equipped 777-300ER onto its Mumbai route from Newark (but will take the plane off three San Francisco routes), and Air India cuts an hour off its Delhi-SFO flight; …

Palm Springs

Meet the new JetBlue plane you never heard of

Airbus changes jet's name to A220-300<p>No. 13<p>JetBlue just placed a big order for a fleet of new planes whose name you probably won’t recognize. The company said it has ordered 60 new Airbus A220-300s, with an option for 60 more.<p>Since Airbus model numbers all start with a “3” – the A319, A320, A321, …

Aviation

Hawaiian Airlines credit card gets a makeover

Earnings enhanced for airlines, gas, groceries purchases<p>There is a lot of enhancing going on this year when it comes to credit cards, and the latest one to get a makeover is (and it's a mouthful) the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard.<p>If you like to take off to Hawaii frequently, then you …

Hawaiian Airlines

Southwest Airlines will stop serving peanuts in August

“Peanut airline” to drop storied snack for allergic fliers<p>On Southwest Airlines, peanuts will no longer be available beginning on August 1.<p>In just a few weeks, a familiar snack that has been a part of Southwest Airlines since its earliest days will disappear: the carrier will stop serving peanuts …

Southwest Airlines

Routes: Alaska at SJC, Southwest at OAK, Hawaiian, Delta, United, China Southern, China Airlines, Ph

This week's most important air route developments<p>In route news this week, San Jose-area travelers get a new transcontinental option to New York City; Southwest opens new markets at Oakland; Hawaiian responds to new competition at Sacramento; Delta adds an Airbus A350 route out of Los Angeles; China …

Flying

See this: Delta's 777-200 overhaul is nice! (PHOTOS)

Why Delta's refurbished 777 is nicer than the competition<p>Delta Air Lines just rolled out its first overhauled Boeing 777-200, which is going onto the Detroit-Beijing route every other day this month. The daily flight will alternate with a new Delta A350, which already includes many of the features …

In-flight Entertainment

Airport news: New Delta Sky Club + San Diego expands + Orlando, LaGuardia, Denver, Vancouver

What's happening out at the airport? Lots!<p>Delta's new Sky Club opens in D.C; Facial recognition comes to San Diego and San Jose; Orlando International commits to using facial recognition for all passengers; new app makes it easier to report concerns at Denver airport, and New York Governor signs …

Flying

Hotels: Sonoma, Hawaii, Santa Barbara, Philadelphia, Toronto

A roundup of the latest, greatest hotel openings and news<p>In hotel news, Sonoma County welcomes a new Marriott all-suite property in Healdsburg; Hawaii’s Big Island has a new Westin resort; a Santa Barbara classic reopens; Renaissance Hotels comes to central Philadelphia; and Kimpton gets a new …

Hospitality

Routes: United drops/adds Singapore + BA exits Oakland + More EVA, Southwest, United + more

In airline route news, British Airways is giving up on its Oakland-London Gatwick service next year; SFO gets a third daily nonstop to Singapore; EVA adds more flights from San Francisco to Taiwan; Southwest will expand operations at Dallas Love Field; JetBlue increases Cuba options; United boosts …

Flying

Well-Traveled Executive: Lynne Biggar, CMO at Visa

Our series of interviews with high profile frequent travelers<p><i>This is the second in a new series I'm calling The Well-Traveled Executive. With it, I hope to draw on the experience and wisdom of high-profile road warriors. Do you know an exec I should interview? Email me: chris@travelskills.com</i><p><i>For</i> …

Credit Cards

Boeing reveals plans for a super-fast passenger plane

New York to Tokyo in two hours? Are you kidding me?<p>If you think the British Airways and Air France Concorde supersonic transports were fast, just wait. A new concept aircraft revealed by Boeing this week would leave the Concorde in its dust.<p>Boeing calls it the first passenger-carrying hypersonic …

Aviation

Frequent flyers, flight crews at increased risk for cancer

Exposure to ionizing radiation, upset circadian rhythms are culprits<p>Could frequent air travel expose you to a higher risk for cancer? A new study suggests that could be the case for flight attendants, and the same factors could be at work on very frequent business travelers.<p>Published in the journal …

Cancer

All-you-can-fly Surf Air hit with lawsuit, tax liens

Survival of innovative airline is in question<p>California-based Surf Air, which offers membership-based, all-you-can-fly pricing in small planes, is facing a big lawsuit and government tax liens, prompting one South Bay local newspaper to ask in a headline, "Will Surf Air soon stop flying?"<p>In the Bay …

California

Uber, Lyft fees to increase at SFO in July

Curbside charge rises to $5, cheaper garage fee introduced<p>FILE-- A new ride-sharing pick up and drop off area on the top floor of the central parking garage at SFO. Curbside pick-ups and drop-offs for Uber, Lyft and Wingz rides at San Francisco International Airport will cost more starting Sunday, …

Transportation

How to tip with confidence in 50 countries [MAP]

Avoid looking like a cheapskate or dumb American overseas<p>On my first trip to Australia in 1987, a taxi driver growled and tossed back a tip I offered him as I got out of his car. In Japan a few years later, a waiter chased me out of a restaurant to return the small tip I'd left on a table for him-- …

Luggage

More hotels offering summer discounts

Still time to get a summer season deal<p>Haven't booked your summer vacation hotels yet? Even though a blockbuster summer season is expected, some chains are still offering some nice incentives to fill up those last available rooms.<p>This week InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) this week introduced a …

How Alexa is talking its way into travelers' lives

Echo devices taking commands in hotels, cars<p>I was an early adopter of Amazon's Alexa, and it has insinuated itself into my household very quickly. It's our go-to for morning headlines from NPR, weekend music (playing on Sonos), questions about the weather in places we'll soon visit, kitchen timers, …

Alaska Airlines' novel approach to SFO flight delays

Free shuttle bus transfers between Bay Area airports<p>Fresh off its completed merger with Virgin America, Alaska Airlines is utilizing a new strategy to steer clear of weather issues at San Francisco International Airport by rerouting some flights to Oakland International and Mineta San Jose …

Airports: Houston Polaris Lounge + Tear down Newark? + Speedy Seattle + more

What's happening out at the airport? Lots!<p>In the latest airport news, United’s Polaris Lounge at Houston Bush Intercontinental will open soon; Seattle wins the top spot in a new ranking of airport Wi-Fi speeds; Newark Liberty International could be totally rebuilt; travelers can try out a new …

Routes: United's new seat, Delta transpac, TAP at SFO, Alaska, United + more

This week's most important air route developments<p>In route news this week, United is introducing a new premium economy seat earlier than expected; Delta revamps its transpacific markets; Portugal’s TAP might come to San Francisco; Alaska adds a West Coast route; United starts flying its newest 737 …

Dreamy: Chicago Loop to O'Hare in just 12 minutes

Elon Musk's Boring Company awarded airport tunnel contract<p>Looking for a faster way to move people between downtown and O'Hare Airport, the City of Chicago has settled on a winning bidder among four competitors looking for the lucrative contract.<p>The winner is Elon Musk's Boring Company. The name …

How to sail through peak-season airport crowds

6 ways to avoid pain on your way to the plane<p>The peak summer travel season starts this Friday, June 15. Are you prepared? From what I'm hearing, airports across the country are already packed to the gills with hot sweaty tourists and frustrated frequent flyers.<p>If you'd like to sail through the …

Another new nonstop to Europe for SFO?

TAP Air Portugal rumored to start new Lisbon nonstops<p>It sounds like San Francisco will snag yet another nonstop flight to a European capital next year. In this case, TAP Air Portugal could be adding new nonstops to Lisbon, Portugal in 2019.<p>While a TAP spokesperson was unable to confirm that the …

A big, new Centurion Lounge for LAX

American Express adds 12th airport lounge<p>American Express is anticipating a 2019 opening for the next in its growing network of premium airport lounges, this one at Los Angeles International.<p>The company announced this week that the LAX Centurion Lounge will be in the post-security portion of the …

United's new helicopter transfers to Manhattan

The 10-minute ride could cost you thousands, though<p>Flying United into Newark and you can’t be bothered sitting in traffic on your way into Manhattan? Well, you could take the train to Penn Station. Or you could try a new option that United quietly introduced a few weeks ago. But it’ll cost you.<p>The …

It’s status matching time at Southwest Airlines

Here's a quick way to A-Plus elite status<p>Are you a frequent flyer who’s been thinking about shifting your loyalty to another airline? If Southwest is on your radar, now is a great time to do it. Elite benefits definitely come in handy during peak summer travel season!<p>Southwest is currently offering …

Figuring out the new Google Flights

Search giant's switch is a head scratcher, but still a solid choice<p><i>Last fall, the popular Google Flights fare search tool received a long-anticipated facelift. The world's largest search engine - and an excellent portal for finding cheap flights - implemented a new interface, adding a few visual</i> …