leisure 04.5.05

Out of Town: Take a Seat

Do the math: Travel is up/the number of airlines is going down. Southeast is gone, USAir, ATA, and Aloha are in Chapter 11. Other carriers may stop carrying. If you're going on vacation this summer, you should book now.

If you book non-award travel, there's a law in place until November 19 of this year that if your airline goes belly up, other airlines must try to accommodate you on a space-available basis. What happens after November 19 is less clear. But in any case you should be okay for summer travel.

If you're thinking about using your miles for a trip, you should. Both the Washington Post and the NY Times have run articles in the past few months saying, about frequent flier miles, cash out and do it soon. Frequentflier.com spells it out:

With three of the Big Six airlines in or on the verge of bankruptcy, and the possibility of liquidation looming large, more than 50 million frequent flyer program members face the real possibility of losing trillions of miles worth millions of tickets.

And even if your airline stays aloft, most are cutting back on the number of seats available on a given flight.

People are listening to all this cash-out advice — award travel business class seats throughout the summer are already becoming scarce.

If and when you do book, a couple of sites worth bookmarking, in addition to Frequentflier.com:

Skytrax has a fantastic collection of info — everything from seat pitch guides to every airline, airline lounge reviews, and over 40,000 passenger reviews on just about every airline and airport around the world.

SeatGuru, does one thing, but does it perfectly. It gives you a mini-review of all the seats on your particular plane. Say you're booking a flight on American that uses a 767-300. You'd learn that by June, American is adding 8 seats onto these planes, reducing seat pitch, and jettisoning their "More Room Throughout Coach" promise. Seats 20H and J look good to you? SeatGuru tells you that they're 'poor' seats with "limited legroom and recline…These seats can get a bit cold when air gets past the door seal and the tray tables are in the arm rest slightly reducing the seat width and making the armrests immoveable."

How exactly they've collected all this information on all these planes is a mystery to us, but this obsessive attention to detail makes it a website after our own heart.
Out of Town: 14 Cool Travel Websites
Out of Town: Travel Directory
Out of Town: Travel Tips


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