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“Did you know…Delta’s new sub-economy fare means no more seat selection?”

Delta recently unveiled a new sub-economy bare-to-the-bone ticket option that’s gotten the attention of travel industry consumer advocates, like the Points Guy.

According to a recent story in the Chicago Tribune, If you like sitting in middle seats and having your travel party split up, you’ll love Delta Air Lines’ new “Basic Economy” class.

Delta Airlines logo

Delta Airlines

The Delta website describes some of the sacrificial features of the new low, low fares:

“We’re able to keep these fares low by limiting certain benefits found in other Delta Economy class fares. For example, Basic Economy fares are non refundable and no cancellations or changes may be made once the ticket is purchased. However, this fare is eligible for Risk Free Cancel and our Same-day Travel Changes programs.

Advance seat selection is not available with Basic Economy fares. Seat assignments will be auto-assigned for Basic Economy fare holders during check in.”

ExpertFlyer weighs in:

“As a company that exists largely to enable travelers to get the seat they want on an aircraft, we believe, for value travelers, the new “E-class” will be a way to save a few dollars, but for those who value more than just the cheapest ticket possible — like sitting with traveling companions — in this case, it’s a matter of bad money driving out good. We saw a similar situation with AA a number of years ago when they offered their “More room thru Coach” program, but it didn’t catch on as not enough travelers valued comfort over price. That said, since this is a legitimate way to pay less for less features, instead of paying more for more features, it will appeal to a subset of travelers. The interesting thing to see is if other carriers jump on the sub-economy bandwagon.”

– Chris Lopinto, President and Co-founder, ExpertFlyer

“Did you know…5 things Not to do on airplanes?”

(CNN Travel – “Out of the Office”)

Things you shouldn't do on a plane

Don't do this on a plane! Photo: ThinkStock

Every time you get on an airplane, it’s a crap shoot. No, I’m not talking about safety but rather the person you’ll be sitting next to. All walks of life end up flying at one point or another. Maybe you’re stuck sitting next to someone who doesn’t quite understand that his actions impact others around him. Or maybe YOU are that person.

For that reason, I thought it would be fun to go through the top five things you really shouldn’t do on an airplane. Read more about the five things you should not do on airplanes

“Did you know…There’s money in non-social travel?”


Empty Seat Option

Anti-Social Seating on Air AsiaX

While KLM and Malaysia Airlines are offering passengers options to pick their seatmates through social network profiles, AirAsia X, in a contrarian move, is giving economy passengers the chance to guarantee that they will sit alone, stretched out across three seats.

The low cost carrier, with routes across Asia, Australia and Europe, introduced an Empty Seat Option in January in partnership with Optiontown, a Massachusetts-based revenue management specialist. Read more about Air AsiaX’s EmptySeat Option.


Ask the pilot series – part 4 of 6: Pilot shortages

Expert Flyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

Expert Flyer is featuring a special six-part Hot Topic series called, “Ask the Pilot.”  Our expert, Patrick Smith, is an aviator and the author of’s popular ASK THE PILOT air travel column.  He also hosts the ASK THE PILOT resource site: Please enjoy this fourth installment of our series.

(Part 4 of 6)

Otto the Auto Pilot pictured from the movie "Airplane"

Is there really a shortage of pilots?

It’s been reported that some airlines have  cancelled  routes due to the lack of pilots to fly their planes.  In general, is there a shortage of pilots in the industry?  Why?

We often hear of the looming “pilot shortage.”  In fact there will never be a shortage of pilots, per se.  However, there is indeed may be a shortage of applicants who possess the level of qualifications traditionally sought after.  And at least in North America, this crisis, for lack of a better term, exists almost exclusively at the regional level.  It’s a problem not for United, American, Delta, et al., but for their code-share partners and subsidiaries.

If the applicant pool is not being adequately replenished, we need look no further than the $20,000 or less opening salary offered by most regionals.  In decades past, flying for a regional was considered a temporary apprenticeship, a stepping-stone before moving on to a more rewarding career at a major.  That progression, never a sure thing, is today even more of a gamble.  A position at a regional is looked upon not so much a means to an end, but as career in and of itself.  And not a very profitable one.  Although a senior RJ captain can earn close to six-figures, the prospect of investing tens of thousands of dollars for the necessary licenses, only to languor for several years earning poverty level wages, has dissuaded many from a career in aviation. Continue reading →

“Did you know…Business travelers face a changing landscape?”

Business travelers face a changing landscape

As a frequent flier, Bryndon Bay knows how the little things can improve a business trip. Take premium seating on regional jets. “It makes a huge difference,” said the president of Mel Bay Publications, a Pacific, Mo.-based music publishing company. Premium seating offers

Web tools for the flexible flier
(“You’re the Boss,” NY Times Blog)

I’m one of those people who can get a little carried away when trying to find a slightly better or cheaper flight or hotel for a business trip. Kayak is my obsessive tool of choice