Monday, September 26, 2016

Alaska, Virgin America agree to extend merger review period

Alaska Air Group and Virgin America have agreed to delay their proposed merger to give the U.S. Department of Justice more time to evaluate the planned transaction.

Think paying to reserve your airline seat is bad? How about paying … to complain?

Passengers of some British airlines could find themselves having to pay if they complain about delays and lost luggage under new procedures being adopted by the British aviation industry.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Marriott-Starwood merger complete; loyalty members to receive reciprocal benefits

The purchase of Starwood Hotels by Marriott International, announced in Nov. 2015 and approved by shareholders earlier this year, was completed Fri., Sept. 23. The entity, which became the world's largest hotel company, moved quickly to decide that members of each entities’ loyalty program would receive reciprocal benefits.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Alaska Airlines announces annual PFD sale for Alaska residents

Seattle-based Alaska Airlines has announced its annual Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) sale, offering bargains for travel within, or to and from, the 49th state for Alaska residents.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Brief hiatus

TheTravelPro is traveling and will not publish again (barring breaking, urgent travel news) until Monday, Sept. 26.

Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.



Photos by Carl Dombek
Click on photos to view larger images

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Virgin Australia to begin LAX-Melbourne, Perth-Abu Dhabi non-stops

Virgin Australia have announced plans to launch nonstop service connecting Melbourne and Los Angeles, and Perth and Abu Dhabi in early and mid-2017, respectively.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

US airlines rake in highest amount of ancillary revenue -- report

The three major U.S. airlines led the pack in the amount of revenue derived from the sale of so-called ancillary services, according to a report detailing the ancillary revenue earned in 2015 by 67 of the world's airlines.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Luxury St. Lucia resort offers sales through early 2017

The upmarket Landings Resort and Spa on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia has announced two new sales that makes luxury accommodations available at a 50 percent discount for stays through Boxing Day 2016 and a 25 percent discount through Jan. 3, 2017.

OPINION: Criticism of American Airlines unwarranted

There are a great many legitimate reasons to criticize today's airlines, both individually and collectively. However, refusing to show a movie about a plane crash on their flights is not one of them.

MIA adds more international routes

Miami International Airport (MIA) continues to expand the number of routes to destinations outside the U.S. with the addition of more flights from MIA to Santo Domingo’s Las Américas International Airport (SDQ), Dominican Republic.

Friday, September 16, 2016

KLM to suspend service to Cairo in Jan. ‘17

Citing economic reasons, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has decided to temporarily suspend flights to Cairo effective Jan. 8, 2017.

Luxury Belize resort offers pre-opening special

A new upmarket resort opening on Belize’s Placencia Peninsula in Jan. 2017 is offering special rates for guests who want an early preview of the property.

Airline fares decline in August CPI

Airline fares continued to decline in August on the heels of a significant dip in July, according to the latest Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Airport food and drink continue to move upmarket

Travelers of a certain age will remember the time when pretty much every concession stand at any given airport was run by the same company. Cartoonist Matt Groening drew a “Life in Hell” comic in 1987 titled “Akbar and Jeff’s Airport Snack Bar,” lampooning that reality with the tag line, “When you’re stuck at the airport, you’re stuck with us.” Happily, that is no longer the case.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Central Oregon resort offers unique ‘stay and play’ package

As previously discussed on TheTravelPro, upmarket travelers are ever-more demanding, expecting yesterday’s perks to become today’s standard features. Higher-end properties are responding by developing new ways to lure present and future guests, and one resort in central Oregon appears to top the leaderboard where creativity is concerned.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Martinhal opens upmarket family property in downtown Lisbon

Travelers planning to visit Portugal with their kids or grandkids but who demand more than the average “family-type” accommodations will want to know about a new, upmarket family property located in the Portuguese capital.

Norwegian cruise ship becomes more eco-friendly

Norwegian Cruise Line has completed retrofitting the Norwegian Jewel with state-of-the-art equipment that will significantly reduce the amount of air pollutants the ship emits.

San Francisco Hilton debuts lounge with a view

The Hilton San Francisco Union Square has opened a new viewing lounge that capitalizes on views of the famous City by the Bay. The Cityscape San Francisco Lounge on the hotel’s 46th floor welcomed its first guests starting at 5 p.m. Sept. 12.

New device helps passengers sleep better in flight

For many of us who don’t always fly First or Business class, one of the challenges of long airplane flights is sleeping comfortably. Now, a version of a device that has been available for automobiles may help meet that challenge.

Monday, September 12, 2016

ANA adding two US flights to Haneda

Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) will add two non-stop flights from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and New York’s John F. Kennedy International (JFK) to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport (HND) starting Oct. 30.

Friday, September 9, 2016

FAA advises against in-flight use of Samsung Galaxy 7 Note

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued its guidance amid concerns about the safety of the Samsung Galaxy 7 Note.

TheTravelPro guide now available as an e-book

The first of what I hope will be many of TheTravelPro's guides is now available on Kindle.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Using third-party travel sites wisely

Expedia experience provides a cautionary tale 


Like many travelers, I use sites like Expedia, TripAdvisor, Hotels.com and others as handy tools to see what flights, hotels and other facilities are available on certain dates, then book directly with the airline or hotel. Recently, however, I booked a hotel directly through Expedia. It did not end well.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Scheduled Cuba flights resume from MIA

Scheduled Cuba flights returned to Miami International Airport Sept. 7 after a lengthy hiatus due to the trade embargo imposed in 1960.

Five-star Portuguese resort offers fall, winter specials

If you are planning a fall or winter getaway that truly gets you away, the five-star Martinhal Sagres Beach Resort in Portugal may be precisely what you’re seeking.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Emirates to launch A380 service from DXB to Christchurch

U.A.E.-based Emirates airline will soon begin operating the world’s largest passenger plane between Dubai and Christchurch, New Zealand, making it the first airline to offer regular, scheduled A380 services to and from Christchurch.

Japanese company launches ‘SushiUniversity’ for overseas visitors

A Japanese company dedicated to supporting people’s enthusiasm for travel has launched a unique service to help non-Japanese speaking tourists who want to experience traditional Edomae-style sushi in the Tokyo area.

Friday, September 2, 2016

American to begin first non-stop flights connecting PHX and Santa Fe

American Airlines will launch new daily service connecting Phoenix, Arizona and Santa Fe, New Mexico starting Dec. 15, making it the first carrier to offer non-stop service connecting the city pair.

MIA adds new routes to Germany, Suriname and the Bahamas

The beginning of September also brought the beginning of three new international routes to Miami International Airport (MIA).

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Upmarket Vail hotel offers autumn deal

The European-themed Sonnenalp Hotel in Vail, Colo., is offering guests the opportunity to experience its hospitality this fall at a bargain rate.

Delta rebounds from August cancellations

Carrier boasts strong operational performance 


Hot on the heels of two days of cancelled flights in early August, Atlanta-headquartered Delta Air Lines is reporting a new record for uninterrupted flights.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Operator offers tours of Catholic Cuba

While restrictions on Americans traveling to Cuba have eased somewhat since President Obama unveiled a plan to reestablish relations with Cuba in 2014, travel must still be under the umbrella of “people-to-people” activities. In keeping with that approach, tour operator Regina Tours will host tours in 2017 focusing on the facets of Catholicism on the island nation and many Catholics who live or have lived there.

DOT selects US airlines to serve Havana

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) on Aug. 31 finalized its selection of eight U.S. airlines to begin scheduled flights to Havana, Cuba’s José Martí International Airport (HAV) as early as this fall.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

New facilities make MIA more dog-friendly

If you travel with your pet or a service animal and your travels will take you through Miami International Airport (MIA), those travels just got easier for you and your furry companion.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Dubai hotel offers bargains for upcoming religious holiday

Dubai’s upmarket AVANI Deira hotel is offering special rates for the upcoming Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha.

Friday, August 26, 2016

SURVEY: Road warriors would extend business trips for leisure, given the right incentives

A new survey shows that three out of four U.S. business travelers would prolong a work-related trip by adding some leisure days if a hotel offered a discount or additional nights to encourage staying on.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Consumer Reports rates travel booking sites

Vaunted consumer publication Consumer Reports recently researched nine different booking websites to determine which offered the cheapest non-stop air fares and found that all sites are not created equal.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Montŕeal: Hell hath no fury…

As the creator and one-time host of a radio travel feature called The Offbeat Destination of the Week, I had to visit the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery during a recent visit to Montŕeal, Quebec.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

St. Lucia resort offers special end-of-summer rates

Looking for that perfect end-of-summer getaway? Or perhaps you’re planning a couple’s escape once kids are back in school. The upmarket Landings Resort and Spa on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia is offering luxury accommodations at a 50 percent discount for stays through mid-December.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Southwest, jetBlue offer best value for reward seats – study

Low-cost carriers Southwest Airlines and jetBlue continue to offer U.S. passengers the lowest average prices when purchasing reward seats with accrued miles, according to analysis of a report issued Aug. 22.

Friday, August 19, 2016

ANA launches next phase of 'Tastes of Japan'

Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) will launch the next phase of its “Tastes of Japan” campaign in September to highlight the cuisine of three more of the country’s prefectures.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

New website rewards business travelers who can be flexible

If you own or work for a small or medium-sized business that allows its travelers some flexibility, a web site set to launch next month could prove profitable to both the company and you, the traveler.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Eastern Safaris launches Balloons over Atacama

Provides unique view of earth’s driest location


A company called Eastern Safaris has launched a new hot air balloon experience that will give passengers a unique view of Chile’s Atacama Desert, regarded as earth’s driest non-polar location.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Airline fares dip in July CPI

Airline fares decreased significantly in July, more than offsetting the rise seen in June, according to the latest Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Indonesia regains top aviation safety rating

Indonesia’s aviation safety rating has been upgraded to Category 1 after an assessment by the Federal Aviation Administration showed the country’s civil aviation authority to be in compliance with standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The add-ons travelers want most

A just-released survey of nearly 10,000 Americans shows that travelers are more willing to pay to stay connected while traveling than for any other travel amenity or ancillary service.

Friday, August 12, 2016

VANCOUVER, B.C.: Vij’s Rangoli

In the mood for a change of scene, I decided to head to Vancouver, B.C., and have lunch at a place I’d been hearing about for a couple of years. I didn’t make it to the place I was seeking, but stumbled upon another establishment that made me glad I’d missed my original mark.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Air China to hold weekend ‘flash sale’ with bargain fares from the West Coast

Air China will be putting economy seats on sale for the weekend of Aug. 12 through 14, with special deals from two of its West Coast gateways.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Dubai plane crash survivor double-lucky

A man who survived the crash-landing of Emirates flight 521 in Dubai Aug. 3 recently learned he has a second reason to be thankful.

Five-star Palace Hotel Tokyo introduces ‘Revitalizing Tokyo’ package

As it approaches its fifth anniversary, the upmarket Palace Hotel Tokyo is introducing what it is calling “a new stay experience that indulges the need for personal time.”