Holidays gift wrap a boon for the airlines

airplane

Airfarewatchdog.com, a resource for consumer travelers seeking airfare deals and expert money-saving tips, just released the results of a poll of more than 1,300 travelers, asking them if they will be flying for this holiday season. Almost half (46%) plan to take to the skies—up 53% from 2016 and almost double from 2015.

US airline trade organization, Airlines for America, concurs. According to their data, during the 21-day holiday travel period starting Dec. 16, 45.2 million travelers will fly on U.S.-based airlines, prompting airlines to add extra flights or bigger planes to serve the travel surge.

In a report from the Chicago Tribune, Airlines for America predicts that the busiest airports during the holiday period should be Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

To accommodate the increased demand, airlines are expected to add 99,000 extra seats a day during the holiday season, a 3.9 percent increase. Read the full story here.

Top 10 Campgrounds for Fall Foliage

Red, gold, amber and green — It’s time to wave fall’s foliage flag! The official start of fall and the harbinger of shorter days is a great motivator to get outside and take in the scenic beauty of this special time of year.

What are the best spots for autumnal appreciation? We caught up with Hipcamp —a startup that creates new places to stay in nature by unlocking access to beautiful private lands, such as nature preserves, farms, and ranches, to get their top picks in America. If you want to see ALL of their select regions for fall camping, check out their interactive map here.

Top 5 Regions for Fall Foliage Campouts

#1. THE FINGER LAKES
Shiitake Mushroom Camp: New York shiitake mushroom camp
A pristine stream, a working mushroom farm, and fall leaves.

Sanctuary in the Woods: New York
Choose a cozy teepee or a double-bed platform.

#2. THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS
Beechwood Cabin Tent 
Sleep in a protected enclosure with a tin roof and canvas tent.

Earthseed: Smoky Mt. Sanctuary
Enjoy a 12-foot-high tent and a babbling creek.

adirondacks#3. THE ADIRONDACK MOUNTAINS
Adirondack Little Star: New York
Elevated camping in a covered cabin!

Adirondack Glamping: New York
Peep the leaves from the opening in this sturdy and comfortable tent.

#4. THE BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS
Crow Creek Farm: North Carolina
Enjoy a breakfast of fresh eggs from the farm’s chickens.

Apple Orchard Tent Camping: North Carolina
Camp on a grassy knoll overlooking gorgeous yellow leaves.

onion river#5. THE GREEN MOUNTAINS
Onion River Campground: Vermont
In the fall, these green mountains dazzle in shades of yellow and orange.

Hidden Meadow Tent Site: Vermont
Wander over a bridge to your own private campsite.

Did you know…Inflight wifi could be a $130B market by 2035?

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

In a report by Tnooz.com, the London School of Economics conducted a study that values the ancillary revenue contribution to airlines from Inflight Connectivity (IFC), as well as breaking down estimates of the types of ancillary opportunities in the IFC market and their relative contributions to airline revenue.inflight wifi LSE studyThe report explains that the study made a strong business case for the future of Inflight Connectivity (IFC), predicting a market worth $130 billion by 2035, and contributing $30 billion to airline revenue. LSE predicts a dramatic rise over the next seventeen years as the technology and its applications scale to meet market potential.

LSE expects an increase of 2,005% in airline IFC revenue per passenger from $0.23 in 2018 to $4.00 by 2035. Read the full story here.

Did you know…Plans are underway to develop battery powered planes?

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

easyjet

There was a time when consumers scoffed at the idea of electric-powered cars. Today, even experts like Total SA, one of the world’s largest oil producers, is predicting that EVs may constitute almost a third of new-car sales by the end of the next decade. So, why not a battery-powered airplane?

According to a Financial Times report, UK budget airline EasyJet has taken a step towards a future without jet fuel with plans to help develop a battery-powered plane. The group said on Wednesday that it had partnered with US aircraft designer Wright Electric to develop an electric aircraft for flights under two hours.

Read the full story here: http://ht.ly/N10530fwfr2.

Business Traveller Magazine and frequent flyers weigh in with top tips for better air travel

If you’re a frequent business traveler, odds are you and your colleagues compete for bragging rights when it comes to getting the best perks and deals to make life in the air a more pleasurable experience. We tapped some seasoned business travelers who are also elite airline loyalty program members to draw out their proven schemes and best practices for flying better.

“I’m a big fan of the stopover. There are about a dozen airlines that now do it covering Asia, parts of Europe, and the Middle East. So, if you’re traveling the globe, what a great way to actually add a couple of days on your trip and see a part of the word you might not have seen before.”

— Ross Atkinson, Chief Marketing and Product Officer, Business Traveller Magazine

WATCH our video interview with Ross Atkinson, Business Traveller Magazine

Dave Poplin is a sales executive with an international technology company. He flies every three weeks, on average, and holds Platinum-level status on Delta Airlines.

According to Poplin, there is no reason for a Platinum or higher level Delta flyer to ever pay for a Delta Comfort Seat. “Once you book coach you will get an upgrade to Delta Comfort the next day for free.  But, be careful on what Comfort seats are available, there can be some risk that you go from an aisle in coach to a middle seat in Comfort. Look at the seat maps, if there are a lot of First Class open, then Comfort customers will get moved up and open aisle seats again.”

“Remember, Comfort gets free movies and drinks. Aside from meals being included on a 2+ hour flight in First Class, there is really no difference between Comfort and First Class, especially on Delta.”

gregg ellman

Gregg Ellman

Gregg Ellman, co-owner of Ellman Photography, does about 35-40 roundtrips per year as a freelance photographer and journalist. With over two million flying miles, he’s a Platinum Pro level member of American Airlines Advantage loyalty program.

“When your flight is canceled or delayed, etc., the worst thing you can do is stand in line.  Call the airlines directly and use your status to your advantage.  If the person you have on the phone is not helpful, asked to speak to their manager. It works almost every time.”

Ellman says his American Airlines executive card is worth every penny.  “Along with the monthly miles, you get 10,000 yearly qualifying miles and your yearly
membership to the admirals club is included.”

Another tip, book the earliest flight possible, which avoids young kids and makes boarding much quicker. “Since I travel with a lot of camera gear, hassle-free boarding is a big deal,” adds Ellman.

jennifer flowers frequent flyer

Jennifer Flowers, found & CEO of Accreditation Guru, Inc.

Jennifer Flowers is the CEO of Accreditation Guru, Inc., a consultancy that works with non-profits across the country. Averaging two plane trips per month, Jennifer is a Delta SkyMiles Platinum Medallion member.

“I have both business and personal Delta American Express cards in order to maximize miles earned. Also, because of the amount of travel and other business expenses that are charged against my Delta AmEx, I am able to earn a Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) Waiver (MQDs are a way for Delta to ensure that Elite members have spent a minimum amount of money with the airline, as well as flying a certain number of miles or segments).”

Flowers joined the Delta Sky Club as a way to enjoy the amenities offered (wifi, food and drink selections, comfortable waiting areas, etc.) and ease the stress of frequent travel. “In the past year, I visited Delta Sky Clubs around the country at least 35 times. With the discounted rate of $29 for an access pass that is available through my Platinum Delta AmEx card (as opposed to $59 regular price of a single visit pass), my annual pass has allowed me to save more than 50% off of what the reduced rate access passes would have cost.”