Monday, August 23, 2010

Turbulent Air News: Fare War for Hawaii, Mexicana Is Saved and a Hotel Chain Steps In On Luggage Fees

The coastline of Maui (photo by MS Taik)
First the Hawaiian fare war: I just got of the phone with Jeff Tucker of and though I have no current plans to go to Hawaii, it kinda seems silly not to when the round-trip airfare from New York City is dropping to an astonishing $459! That's the rate from United Airlines for travel Sept 1-Dec 3. Along with NYC, that sale rate is good from Miami, St. Louis, Dallas and Houston.

Since all good things come to an end, and usually do so rather abruptly, Jeff is urging travelers to book these fares quickly. There's apparently no end date on the sale, but he's guessing its going to be a quick one.

Jeff also has a premonition--and since he's usually right, I'll quote him on it--that fares from the West Coast to Hawaii are going to dip below $100 each way soon. And while inter-island airfare has been high recently (in fact, on some flights you'll pay more to fly between Kauai and Maui than you would between NYC and Oahu on the sale above), there are a couple of $34 fares out there, for the taking. These are being offered by Island Air in a deal that will likely expire by tomorrow night (so far, competing airlines aren't matching these rates).

In other good news, it seems that Mexicana will not be going belly-up after all. Its found a buyer. Well, two actually. The pilots will own 5% of the airline and the other 95% will be owned by an investment group.

And in the "what menches!" category: Intercontinental Hotels, Holiday Inn and others in the IHG group are going to be picking up your luggage fees when you stay at one of their properties. There are some catches--aren't there always?--but they don't seem too egregious. Only those who stay 2 nights or more get the luggage-fee rebate. And you're going to have to pull out a VISA card when you're paying your bill (Ask for the "Check It Free" promotion; you'll need to download forms on the website. More details are there). The give back is occurring from Sept 1-Dec. 30.

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