Monthly Archives: January 2009

Subscribe to OTR on Twitter – Great Airfare Deals Posted All Day

Online Travel Review has joined 2007 and launched a Twitter page that just features great airfare deals posted all day. I don’t bother posting all of the fake airfare deals you see everywhere else (flights from $79!!!!!) – just the really, really good stuff (Orlando to Bogota, $49). Visit and get great airfare deals all day on Twitter.

Continental to Leave SkyTeam on October 24th

Continental sent an email to frequent flyers last night letting them know that the airline will be leaving the SkyTeam alliance on October 24th.  Theoretically they’ll be joining Star Alliance the next day (or so).  I know that a lot of Continental flyers pooh-poohed SkyTeam (and are pretty excited about flying on Singapore in Star Alliance), but I found partner awards to be pretty readily available, with good coverage to most places.  You won’t please everyone all the time, but between Air France, KLM, and Alitalia (of all things) you could nearly always get an award seat to Europe.  Of course there were holes (hm….how do you get to Sydney?  where are the lie-flat beds in business class?) but it was completely functional.  And you’re goin to miss the upgrades on Northwest that seemed to always be available.  That said, Lufthansa has a great product to Europe, and ANA & Singapore offer fantastic products to Asia.  Seems like a win/win for Continental frequent flyers (once CO and United work out the upgrade situation).

JetBlue to Re-Launch LAX Service

Remember when JetBlue announced new service to LAX last year, then pulled it before they ever flew?  Well, they’re back.  The airline will launch 2 daily flights to JFK and 2 daily flights to Boston beginning next June.  Virgin America is really getting attacked on all fronts (Southwest on the west coast, JetBlue transcon).  Two flights a day won’t exactly put them out of business, but Virgin America doesn’t need additional competition.

Your Tax Dollars at Work: Rental Car Companies Seek TARP Bailout Money

Is it me, or is this not quite right:  The rental car industry is seeking TARP bailout money from the government to help finance the purchase of new cars for their fleets.  The rental car industry has been struggling as businesses cut back on travel, and to save costs they’ve been putting off buying new cars (typically cars stayed in the fleet for 9 months; now it’s more like a year).  The logic goes that if the government gives money to the rental car companies, they can use the money to buy cars from the struggling auto manufacturers.  OK.

Let me get this straight:  the car companies want the government to give them money so they can buy cars from the car companies, which will help prop up both the failing rental car companies and the failing auto manufacturers.  I’m pretty much a leftwing nutcase, but even this smells funny to me.  Why are our tax dollars being used to buy rental cars exactly?  Am I missing something?  This is crazy, isn’t it?

Spirit Pilots: We Hate the Alcohol Ads and the the Dirty Fare Sales

Spirit’s pilots put out a press release complaining about Spirit’s decision to put alcohol advertising on flight attendants’ aprons.  Says the release, “To ask safety professionals to advertise alcohol on a plane is not only offensive but degrading…”

But the really funny part of the release is where they complain about Spirit’s rather, um, ribald names for their fare sales:

“Spirit Airlines has become known for its odious advertisements, including the infamous MILF: Many Islands, Low Fares campaign. The “MILF” campaign was originally introduced in 2007 and was publicly ridiculed for its vulgar reference. The company claimed that it was unaware that MILF could be an off-color term for an attractive mother. Despite this backlash, or perhaps because of the media storm it created, Spirit Airlines brought back the campaign earlier this month. Other campaigns have been just as distasteful, such as the “We’re having a threesome” or the “We’re proud of our DDs” e-mails.”

What I love about that is that they spent an entire paragraph spelling out what they found offensive.  I was actually wondering if Spirit had put this release out themselves (perhaps to promote the

Airfares to

sale they have going on now).  It’s all very odd.

The OTR on Bloomberg Radio Today at 1:10pm

A bit of self-serving promotion:  I’ll be on Bloomberg Radio (1130 on the AM dial in New York, or online) at 1:10pm Eastern time today (Thursday).

The Now-Famous Virgin Complaint Letter: “It’s in Custard, Richard. Custard.”

Uh, every single person I know has sent this to me, so I’m not sure if that means you have seen it too, or if I should post it here as well.  I’m going with the latter:

A guy wrote a very funny letter to Richard Branson (complete with photos), after he was appalled by the food served on his Mumbai-London flight on Virgin.  I would argue there is no actual way to tell good Indian food from bad Indian food, but that’s neither here nor there.  Enjoy.

If You Book a Seat for Your Wedding Dress, Please Use “Miss Extra Seat” As the Name

A couple of bizarre little tidbits from Ryanair’s website about carry on luggage that I thought you might find helpful:

– If your wedding dress is too large to fit in the overhead bins, “you should make a booking online for 2 seats and then enter the passenger name for the additional wedding dress seat as Miss EXTRA SEAT.”  They do not mention if on the trip back from your wedding you should make a reservation for Mrs. EXTRA SEAT.

– You cannot bring your lawnmower on board, nor can you check it.  I don’t know how you’re supposed to get it to Frankfurt-Hahn.

– You may carry your loved one’s ashes on board the plane with you.  As the website notes, “Please ensure that the urn/casket has a secure screw top/lid” unless your loved one’s final wish is to be spread around the cabin of a Ryanair 737.

Just a few helpful tidbits. (Thanks, Dad, for the head’s up!)

British Airways to Offer Email & Text on Its A318s Between London City and JFK

With its launch in September, British Airways will offer email and text messaging on its A318 aircraft flying between London City and JFK.  According to BA, this will be the first in-flight communication services on transatlantic flights.  OK.  Voice calls won’t be available initially, as that will drive people crazy, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see it rolled out later.

Converted 747 Opens as Hostel in Stockholm

An entrepreneur in Stockholm has converted an old Singapore Airlines 747 into the Jumbo Hostel, a 25-room, 85-bed guesthouse located at Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport.  Dorm beds start at around $40, with the honeymoon suite in the cockpit going for about $400. One small drawback:  except for the honeymoon suite, everyone has to share the plane’s 9 bathrooms.

Oh – you can go visit even if you’re not staying there.

I’d like to beg our Swedish friend of the OTR Marcus to drag himself up there and take some pictures for us.