Travel News: American Airlines joins Basic Economy Fares

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American Airlines To Introduce Basic Economy Fares In Late February

American Airlines is now finally introducing Basic Economy fares that have been available for purchase on Delta and United for quite some time. Let’s breakdown the restrictions between the three airlines:

American Airlines
– Basic Economy fares don’t come with carry on luggage, just one personal item onboard
– overhead bins for luggage will be off-limits
– not eligible for upgrades
– no flight changes or refunds
– no standby option
– Seats assigned only at check-in; you have to pay a fee to pre-select a seat.
– You will be in the last group to board the plane unless you’re a member of elite status.
– Only available in select markets
– Note that you early earn half elite qualifying miles and half segment for Basic Economy flights.
– American Airlines and Oneworld elite members and those carrying certain AA affiliated credit cards can have carry-on and have their usual checked luggage allowance even on the Basic Economy fares.

United
•    Automated seat assignments will be given at check-in, and passengers acknowledge at the point of a multi-seat purchase that seating together is not guaranteed.
•    Carry-on bags are limited to one personal item, unless the customer is a MileagePlus® Premier® member, primary card member of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card, or Star AllianceTM Gold member.
•    There will be no voluntary ticket changes except as stated in the United 24-hour flexible booking policy.
•    MileagePlus program members will earn redeemable award miles; however they will not earn Premier qualifying credit (miles, segments, or dollars), no lifetime miles, and no contribution to four segment minimum.
•    Customers will not be eligible for Economy Plus® or premium cabin upgrades.
•    Customers will board in the last boarding group (currently Group 5) unless a MileagePlus Premier member, primary cardmember of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card, or Star Alliance Gold member.
•    Not able to combine with regular Economy fares or partner carriers. Interlinetravel is not permitted.

Delta
– no seat assignment until after check-in
– not eligible for same-day changes or ticket refunds
– board in the last zone
– not eligible for paid or complimentary upgrades
– not eligible for standby option or preferred seats

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Hong Kong Ready to Welcome the Year of the Rooster

Hong Kong is getting set to celebrate Chinese New Year, the city’s biggest and most colourful festival. From Jan. 22 to Feb. 12, the city will be adorned with shock-red banners and lanterns, and traditional performances of the New Year’s symbol, this year the rooster, will be everywhere. And then, on the big night itself there’s the much-anticipated Night Parade, featuring spectacular floats and world-class performers, followed by one of the world’s most spectacular fireworks displays. Hong Kong is deeply traditional, so it comes as no surprise that the city’s New Year celebrations are like no other. Preparing for and celebrating Chinese New Year is especially rich with ancient rituals and customs. During Chinese New Year, locals gather in temples to give thanks for the past year and pray for good fortune for the new one. Food is an essential part of any celebration in Hong Kong, and Chinese New Year is no exception. Traditional foods carry special meanings and are believed to bring “prosperity,” “good business,” “luck” and “reunion.”

Seabourn Ovation Cruise Ship Opens for Bookings

Now that Seabourn Encore’s christening has taken place, Seabourn has opened bookings for sister ship Seabourn Ovation, which debuts spring 2018. The 600-passenger luxury cruise ship will spend its maiden season in Europe. Beginning May 2018, Seabourn Ovation will make its way from Venice through the Adriatic and Mediterranean Sea, around Spain and Portugal and up the coast of Europe. The new ship will spend the summer exploring Northern Europe, including the Baltic Sea, UK and Scandinavia before heading back to the Mediterranean and Adriatic. Itinerary highlights include several seven-day Baltic cruises, which feature three-day visits to St. Petersburg, Russia. Ovation will be nearly identical to sister Encore, with private balconies in every cabin, design elements by Adam D. Tihany and the line’s high space-to-passenger ratio and intuitive service.

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Viking’s Ocean Fleet To Double In 2017 To Four Near-Identical Sister Ships

Viking Ocean Cruises is vastly widening deployment, including new Caribbean sailings from Miami, the Panama Canal, a first venture into Alaska and destinations in Asia and Australia/New Zealand. New routes include ‘Turquoise Seas of the Western Caribbean,’ an eight-day Miami round-trip on Viking Sky that will operate November 2017 to February 2018. Among the five ports are Key West, Cozumel and Belize. Inclusive pricing for veranda staterooms starts at $2,999 per person. Viking Sky also will offer ‘Panama & Central America,’ round-trip Miami, in November-December this year and January 2018. The 15-day itinerary includes the Panama Canal and stops at Costa Rica, Colombia, Honduras and Belize, among other destinations. Pricing starts at $5,499. Viking Sky will reposition to Europe on a crossing from Miami to Barcelona, a 14-day voyage March 3, 2018. Viking Spirit will operate ‘Passage to India,’ a Piraeus-Mumbai sailing on Aug. 18, 2018. This 21-day itinerary will call at destinations in six countries including Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Oman. Call your agent at Willamette Intl Travel to find the right cruise for you, 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com. 

Airline Launches Women-Only Seating Area To Stamp Out Groping

Air India is to designate a row of seats for lone female travelers after reports of groping incidents on flights. Starting January 18, the third row of six seats in economy will be reserved for women traveling alone. The move was sparked by two recent incidents. In one, a woman said she was molested by a male passenger on a Mumbai-Newark flight on December 21. Two weeks later a female flight attendant complained a passenger had ‘touched her inappropriately’. A middle-aged man was arrested for the latter incident. The airline told the Times of India “In-flight misbehavior is on the rise in recent times. Our pilots adopt zero tolerance for offenses like sexual harassment and hand over offenders to law enforcing agencies on landing.”

Delta To Fly Seattle To Kauai

Delta Air Lines is adding a daily nonstop flight between the Hawaiian island of Kauai and Seattle, one of seven new flights from the Atlanta-based airline’s hub in the Pacific Northwest. The flight between Lihue Airport on Kauai and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport will launch on Dec. 21, 2017 the last of the seven new flights, the airline said. The flight connecting Lihue and Seattle will use Boeing 757 aircraft and will add 63,510 air seats a year to Kauai. The route will generated an estimated $77.9 million in direct visitor spending for Kauai and some $9.1 million in tax revenue for the state, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Delta will begin launching the six other new Seattle flights on March 9 with a daily nonstop to Milwaukee, followed by flights to Eugene starting April 1; Nashville on May 26; Raleigh on June 8; Austin on June 12; and Redmond on June 12.

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Universal Orlando Gets A New Ride

Universal Orlando Resort announced that its newest ride, “Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon,” will officially have its grand opening on April 6. The attraction will give guests the ultimate “Tonight Show” experience as they get up close and personal with the show’s most hilarious segments before taking off on a wild and action-packed race through New York City against Jimmy Fallon himself. To celebrate the attraction’s Grand Opening, “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” will take the show on the road with tapings from Universal Orlando Resort from April 3 through 6. Additional details on celebrity guests and how to become a part of the show audience will be released over time. As they experience the attraction, guests will make their way through Studio 6B to board the world’s first-ever flying theater, which seats up to 72 audience members, for the race of a lifetime.

JetBlue Becomes Only Airline With Free, High-Speed Wi-Fi At Every Seat

The airline that changed in-flight entertainment forever when it first put live television at every seat, has announced its latest onboard enhancement: always-free and speedy Wi-Fi connectivity on every aircraft from the departure gate to the arrival gate. JetBlue’s Fly-Fi keeps customers connected with an Internet experience similar to what they have at home, including the ability to stream video and use multiple devices at once. The service enables JetBlue to deliver Amazon Video streaming entertainment to customers onboard to their personal devices, as well as web surfing and chatting on favorite messaging apps. First introduced in December 2013 on a single aircraft, JetBlue has expanded Fly-Fi, recently completing installation on its entire fleet of 227 Airbus A320s, A321s and Embraer 190s. During this time, Fly-Fi has become one of JetBlue’s most popular features, joining other customer-favorites like free DIRECTV at every seat, all-you-can-eat name-brand snacks, and the most legroom in coach. JetBlue is the first in the U.S. to offer gate-to-gate internet connectivity on every aircraft. Gate-to-gate Fly-Fi eliminates the need to wait until reaching cruising altitude to get connected. Instead, customers can email, surf, stream, tweet and shop from the moment they board until they reach the arrival gate.

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