Norwegian breaks record with 5 hour, 13 minute flight from New York to London

Norwegian – a low-cast carrier which is gaining notoriety with its low pricing, great service, and interesting direct routes – set a record on Monday for the fastest subsonic commercial transatlantic flight ever.

The flight, which departing from New York’s JFK Airport and landed at London Gatwick, clocked in at 5 hours and 13 minutes, beating the previous record of 5 hours and 16 minutes.

This falls shorts of the fastest transatlantic flight ever, which occurred on February 7, 1996 on a Concorde, clocking in at 2 hours and 55 minutes.

United’s Basic Economy: Charging $25 one-way to earn miles towards Premier status

I am not a fan of the new “Basic Economy” option being offered by United, Delta, and American Airlines. Though it’s being presented a way for fliers to save money (Delta, for example, advertises it as Basic Economy: Save with a Low Fare) my guess, and experience so far, is that fares for economy will remain the same, but with consumers paying extra for experiences they once took for granted.

This happened to me yesterday when I was booking my flights to Charleston for the Great American Eclipse. I found a relatively good fare from CHS to SFO for around $180 after taxes. I found this fare on Google Flights, but when I went to book it on United, it let me know that it was Basic Economy. With Basic Economy, I’d be without the following options:

  • Possibility to upgrade my seat
  • Selecting a seat before boarding
  • Earning PQM (Premier qualifying miles which go towards United Premier status)
  • Bringing aboard a  full-sized carry-on bag

The full list of what you’re giving up by taking a Basic Economy flight on United can be found HERE.

Although I am not sure how pricing works for other routes, I was given a $25 one-way option ($50 round-trip) to switch my ticket to regular Economy, bringing the total up to $205. Begrudgingly, I accepted this option; by earning miles on this particular flight, I will secure Premier Silver status on United until 2019.

For whatever it’s worth, Delta’s options are not much better – they charged me $20 to go from Basic Economy to Main Cabin for my flight from SFO to CHS, for basically the same benefits. I paid this too, mostly because I wanted to selected a seat before boarding and don’t want to risk being in the middle.

I believe that Basic Economy is a race to the bottom for American airlines, which already lag so far behind many foreign airlines in service. But, unfortunately, I also believe this is a change that will stay, that other airlines (Alaska, Southwest) will follow suit, and also that airlines may begin offering basic fares in business class (which, depending how it’s implemented, I could see myself getting behind).

 

New York Trip Deal: $394 round-trip from JFK to Barcelona, Spain on Finnair

Finnair, a member of the oneworld alliance, is putting flights from New York City to Barcelona, Spain on sale with limited availability in November.  Flights start at $394 after taxes. There are also other flights in the $400+ range available from September, using a combination of TAP Portugal, Iberia, and Norwegian.

To find this deal, use Google Flights and search for flights between JFK and BCN.

Giving away a free United Club one-time pass

Somehow, I have a United one-time Club pass that is expiring on March 31, 2017 which I won’t be able to use.

As a gift to my beloved readers, I’ve decided to give away the pass!  Since it expires in 8 days, it would be perfect for someone  who has a United flight planned before the end of March.  I’m told I can just take a picture of the pass and that United will accept that (depending on when your flight is, though, I can mail it as well).

The rules are pretty simple: I’ll be posting this story onto my Facebook page, Josh Trips. If you’re interested, leave a comment letting me know, and tomorrow night I’ll pull a name out of a hat from those interested.

May the odds be ever in your favor!

Toronto Trip Deal: $249 round-trip from YYZ to Phoenix, Arizona on WestJet

WestJet, a Canadian airline that has code-share agreements with both Delta and American, is putting flights from Toronto, Canada to Phoenix, Arizona on sale. Flights start at $249 round-trip, after taxes, with dates found from April through June 2017.

To find this deal, use Google Flights and search for flights between YYZ and PHX.

Emirates CEO: U.S. travel bookings fell by 35% after first travel ban

There was a significant impact on travel booked to the U.S. after the country’s president proposed a travel ban from citizens of 7 majority-Muslim countries from visiting the U.S.

“The first U.S. travel order saw the booking velocity fall by 35% overnight. The effect it had was instantaneous,” Tim Clark, Emirates CEO claims.

The new travel ban proposed by the country has offered some clarity to cautious passengers, with Clark saying there has been a positive movement towards more U.S. bookings. However, Clark went on to say that he is uncertain about when (or if) bookings will return to their previous levels.

Chicago Trip Deal: $337 round-trip from ORD to Medellín, Colombia on Copa Airlines

If you’re in Chicago and looking for a last minute deal to Colombia, you’re in luck!

Copa Airlines, a member of the Star Alliance, is putting flights from Chicago, IL to Medellín, Colombia on sale. Flights are generally in the $400-range until at least October 2017, although I was able to find a $337 after taxes deal from February 5-13, 2017.

Medellín is one of the best cities to work remotely from in the world, and one of the most beautiful places I’ve visited.

To find this deal, use Google Flights and search for flights between ORD and MDE.