Subscribe to RSS

Leisure back to homepage

Higher Prices for Air Travel this Holiday Season Higher Prices for Air Travel this Holiday Season

December 5, 2012 – Trying to find good prices on airfare for the upcoming holiday season has become more and more difficult as fuel prices increase and airlines attempt to add fare hikes. On Saturday, US Airways launched a broad based increased of $10 one-way on their airfares.

Insiders said that fare increase is the most aggressive one they have seen thus far in 2012. Analysts suggest that passengers looking for airfares on US Airways should wait a few days, as they believe few people will accept the fare hike the airline made and they might have to cancel the increase.

The other airlines thus far have not joined US Airways, which is not a good sign the increase in prices will succeed. If no other airline matches the increase, the flights for the airline will be at the end of the line when doing comparison shopping and that will make the airline rollback its increase to remain competitive. The process could take as long as three business days.

The latest fare increase was the 15th one attempted in 2012. Seven of the 15 have stuck. Last year there were much more airfare increases attempted, with 22 in all for 2011. Nine of the 22 attempted last year were successful.

Last Friday, Southwest matched some of their airfares on some Florida routes. The hike in price was one with a more regional affect and is not considered as one of the official price hikes.

Nevertheless, without the latest increase, fliers this holiday are likely to spend more than they did last year to return home for the holiday.

The average airfare across the nation is $469, which is 4% more than the same time a year ago. If the airfare were purchased in October, you would have saved an average of $39.

Analysts’ warned that airfares would increase more and more as the holidays near. Many of them recommended flying prior to December 10, with the lowest fares on December 17, 18, 25 and 31. In addition, flights that are booked for the early morning or very late at night are usually less costly.

Singapore Airlines Negotiating Sale of stake in Virgin Atlantic Singapore Airlines Negotiating Sale of stake in Virgin Atlantic

December 3, 2012 - On Monday, Singapore Airlines announced it was in negotiations to sell its Virgin Atlantic stake. If the sale takes place, air travel in Europe and Asia could be changed. The airline announced it was having discussions with parties that were interested in the stake Singapore has in VA.

However, it cautioned that the ongoing negotiations might not lead to any deal. Singapore Airlines has owned a 49% share in Virgin Atlantic for 13 years, while the controlling interest has been held by Richard Branson the British entrepreneur.

The possible suitors for the stake were not listed by Singapore Airlines, but media reports have suggested that Delta Airlines is taking part in the negotiations. A spokesperson for the airline, based in the U.S., declined to make a comment on Monday and a Virgin Atlantic representative referred all questions to Singapore Airlines.

If Singapore Airlines divests, it would be just the latest round of shuffling in the airline industry, which has become commonplace of late. Carriers have been turning to consolidation recently as fuel costs continue to rise and weak demand is affecting profitability.

The last expansion for Delta was in 2008 when it merged with Northwest Airlines. That consolidation was difficult, with cultural differences, passenger expectation problems and computer system problems.

However, tying in with Virgin could prove to have many strategic benefits for Delta, the United States’ second largest carrier, including space that is coveted at Heathrow International Airport in London, and more access to Asian and European markets.

It also could be a good deal for Virgin, which is being squeezed more and more by competitors that offer deep discounts. The airline also does not have a partnership with a major airline and that is something that Delta could provide.

Best Independent Travel Sites Ranked Best Independent Travel Sites Ranked

December 1, 2012 - Travelers in the U.S. are very price sensitive and tend to be the most satisfied with travel sites online that are offering what we perceive to be the best prices.

A new report provided by J.D. Power and Associates was released Friday that rates the different travel websites in the net. Over 2,000 consumers, who purchased a hotel room, plane ticket, vacation plan or rental car on a website that was third-party, were surveyed during the past year.

Many factors affected the travelers overall satisfaction, but 75% of consumer said that price was their primary reason for purchasing. The researchers said that price impacts greatly in the overall experience on the web when making travel purchases.

Participants rated Booking.com, Priceline.com, Hotwire.com, Orbitz.com and Hotels.com as above average sites for travel. The same participants rated Expedia.com, Travelocity.com, CheapOair.com, CheapTickets.com and Travel.Yahoo.com all below average.

Even though many people in the U.S. might not be familiar with Booking.com, it is the largest online booking site for hotels in the world for number of nights sold. Priceline and Hotwire offer different means of purchasing of hotel room nights without knowing the hotel (Hotwire) or bidding on an airline ticket (Priceline).

The survey also broke down the data into the type of booking such as hotel, flight and vacation package along with the purchasers’ age. People who opted for vacation packages online tended to be the most satisfied group, followed by those renting cars, hotels, and airlines flights.

In age groups, the most satisfied group was aged 45-54 and those 55 or older were the least satisfied of the group.

Many of the travelers said that they were happy with how the travel packages turned out, the explanations on the websites were clear, there were no hidden costs and the places that the vacation offered were very good quality for the money.

Skyfall starring Daniel Craig Impresses Moviegoers Skyfall starring Daniel Craig Impresses Moviegoers

November 13, 2012- Most likely no one is surprised that Skyfall, the newest James Bond movie topped the box office in North America this weekend, but many eyebrows will be raised when people hear how high the box office numbers for the movie were. Since October 26, the movie has earned an incredible $518.5 million worldwide and this weekend in its North American debut, earned over $89.8 million.

This is the third Bond movie that Daniel Craig has starred in. His last was four years ago titled Quantum of Solace. That edition of Bond was considered by many to be a disappointment, yet Skyfall turned out to be great return to form for Bond movies.

Sony Pictures’ worldwide distribution president Rory Bruer said the company has been bullish on the film, but did not think it would have the impressive numbers its has seen thus far.

To be able to put Skyfall’s achievement into context, the second place movie this week in the U.S. market earned just $33 million and Flight, the new thriller by Denzel Washington only earned $15.1 million. For the makers of Flight it seems like a disappointment. They had hoped that the buzz surrounding a possible Oscar would help draw in more crowds as Washington’s performance has been critically acclaimed.

Skyfall has Bond returning to Britain to take on another nemesis played this time by Javier Bardem. Bardem plays a former British agent who wants to eliminate both Bond and his boss M.

The worldwide take for Skyfall has already surpassed that of Quantum of Solace, which totaled $407 million and on Monday should surpass the international total for Craig’s other Bond installment Casino Royale, which took in $432 million.

The $89.8 debut topped that of the $67 million by Solace and the $40.8 million of Casino Royale.

Global Airlines to collect over $36 Billion this year in Fees Global Airlines to collect over $36 Billion this year in Fees

November 1, 2012 - A new report says that airlines across the globe will earn over $36.1 billion in “extra” revenues this year from the different fees now charged that include fees for boarding early, enjoying more legroom and checking a bag.

An estimate was released this week on the ancillary revenues earned by airlines for 2012. It calculated that the total represented an increase of 11.3% from the amount collected in 2011, which was $32.5 billion. The 11.3% increase was down from the astronomical 44% jumped from 2010 to 2011.

Most travelers are probably going to view the figures negatively. On spokesperson from a watchdog site for airfares on the Internet said that many travelers probably felt sorry for the airlines when they were losing money. However, now that the profits are back, there will be fewer people who are sympathetic.

The biggest increases in fees earned were not surprisingly from airlines that are fee-dependent such as AirAsia, easyJet and Spirit. These carriers, referred to in the recent release of data as the Ancillary Revenue Champions, will take in over $5.6 billion in fees this year, an increase of 30.5% over last year. The Low Cost Carriers, those like Southwest, GOL and JetBlue, will take in about $5.4 billion, an increase of 12.8% from last year.

Yet, those numbers are short compared to the Major Carriers in the U.S. category. The recently released report says that only six airlines – U.S. Airways, United, Delta, Hawaiian, American and Alaska will take in more than $12.4 billion, a drop of 0.8% from last year, but is considered more than 35% of the total global ancillary income.

One needs to remember that the figures just released do not equal the entire out of pocket expense for the passenger. They include revenues that are earned by airlines for selling miles to the credit card companies and other partners wanting to link to the airline’s loyalty plan. For the major airlines in the list, those revenues are thought to be more than $6 billion or more than 50% of the total for the group.

 

Bollywood’s King of Romance passed away Bollywood’s King of Romance passed away

October 21, 2012 – Yash Raj Chopra, veteran filmmaker, passed away on Sunday at Mumbai Lilavati Hospital as when admitted for Dengue infections. He was admitted on October 13th for treatment and was placed in ICU. He is survived by wife Pamela Chopra and two sons – Aditya Chopra and Uday Chopra.

He celebrated his 80th birthday on September 27th and announced that his last film Jab Tak Hai Jaan starring Sharukh Khan, Anushka Sharma, Katrina Kaif would be releasing on November 13th , 2012 on Diwali and he would retiring from his career.

Yash Chopra has once said that his five decades of film career was all started when he came to Mumbai with only Rs. 200/- in his pocket and a big dream of becoming a director. He initially started as an assistant director with his brother B.R. Chopra and made films.

His first film Waqt(1965) was a super duper blockbuster film which fetched him his first Filmfare Award. Later he created movies such as Deewar, Silsila, Kabhie Kabhie which were all super hits. Through his film genre initially started with action, gradually his genre changed to romance and he sculptured an iconic name for himself in this industry as “King of Romance”. His extravagant style of film making and magnificent music always touched hearts.

I&B Minister, Ambika Soni, in her condolence message said, “Today Indian cinema has lost one of its iconic personalities and a creative genius. Through films, Yashji connected generations together. His idea of portraying love as the essence of life and relationships will fondly be remembered by all movie lovers. His untimely death is a void which will be difficult to fill.”

Headlines

Genocide Trial in Guatemalan Suspended Genocide Trial in Guatemalan Suspended
One Suspect in Boston Killed, one on the run One Suspect in Boston Killed, one on the run
Musharraf Flees as Bail is Revoked Musharraf Flees as Bail is Revoked
Some Say New Immigration Bill too Stringent Some Say New Immigration Bill too Stringent
read more