Saturday, December 27, 2008

$225.54 fare becomes $601.64

While pricing a Chicago to London flight in April the base fare grew almost $400.00. Courtesy of Air Canada here are the details below. Oh and what is with the fuel surcharge of $225.00? Aren't we experiencing a five year low in oil prices?

Passenger Type
Base Fare 241.97
Departing Flight - Tourist discount options - available only for Air Canada operated flights (including Jazz)
discount star image No Aeroplan Miles -12.30
Returning Flight - Tourist discount options - available only for Air Canada operated flights (including Jazz)
discount star image No Aeroplan Miles -12.30
Fuel Surcharge YQ 225.54
Taxes, Fees and Charges
Canada Airport Improvement Fee SQ 13.12
U.S.A Transportation Tax US 31.00
U.S Agriculture Fee XA 5.04
U.S Passenger Facility Charge XF 4.53
U.S. Federal Customs Fee YC 5.54
U.K. Passenger Service Charge UB 29.46
Canada Goods and Services Tax (GST/HST #10009-2287) XG 0.66
U.K. Air Passenger Duty GB 59.82
September 11 Security Fee AY 2.52
U.S.A Immigration User Fee XY 7.05
Total airfare and taxes before options (per passenger) 601.64
Number Of Passengers 1
Converted Total - US dollars - for information only $601.64
Grand Total - Canadian dollars $733.46

Monday, December 15, 2008

St Louis Casino Day Trips

A day trip to the Ameristar Casino in St. Charles is a great idea. It is a perfect way of getting away and beating the winter blues. Currently we are sponsoring three trips scheduled for January and February 2009.

Also we added reviews to all of the St. Louis area casinos. First up, Harrahs. And frankly we don't mix words about it. Our entry is titled, "Harrahs St louis....where old slot machines go to retire."

Check out our website for more information.

Ginger Creek Foundation Charitable Cruise Blog

We recently started a new blog dedicated to the April 26, 2009 charitable cruise with proceeds benefiting the Ginger Creek Foundation. Click on headline for a look.

Cruising for charity is a great way for non profit organizations to raise money to further their activities.

From our website

Why Use a Cruise to Raise Funds For Your Organization?

A BenefitCruise is a new & novel approach to raising funds.

A BenefitCruise enables your group or organization to raise substantial charity money.

A BenefitCruise takes less time and effort to organize than a traditional fund-raiser.

A BenefitCruise work is done by Planet Travel - booking reservations, answering questions, setting up
special requests, accepting payments to delivering documents.

A BenefitCruise offers activities for all age groups and interests - from Kid Camps for ages 2-17 to sports, gaming, special lectures and seminars, watching first run movies or just relaxing pool side.

A BenefitCruise participant enjoys a vacation yet feels great about supporting a worthwhile cause.

A BenefitCruise can bring more community recognition to your organization and charity.

A BenefitCruise gives you access to potential new contributors since friends and families tend to vacation together.

A BenefitCruise can earn free trips to be used by special VIP guest, raffled or auctioned off to create more charity dollars that add to your total Fund-raising.

A BenefitCruise will be featured on all of Planet Travels' web sites as an open invitation for others to join your cruise.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

"The cheapest coach fares on many routes are half the price of a few months ago...."

From the USA Today: "The weak economy may be bringing sky-high airfares down to earth.

With passenger demand for flights dropping, many airlines in recent weeks have instituted fare sales, and competitors have matched the lower prices."

Included is a chart of some popular routes and the now plunging airfares.

As one comment notes:

"Well, well, ticket demand is going down...maybe those a**-holes running the airlines will finally figure out that screwing their customers over time and time again with bag fees, pillow fees and other "add-on" garbage fees is starting to come around and bite them in the butt."

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lots of cruise bargains through end of the year

"Though other areas of travel - casino gambling, transatlantic flights - may have taken a bigger hit from the current economic slowdown, there's no doubt that cruises have also been heavily affected. The drop in cruise bookings has been so pronounced that cruise discounting today is more frequent than in recent memory. Not only the popularly priced lines (like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, MSC), but the more elegant lines one step up (like Holland America, Princess, Celebrity) have begun discounting their rates with a vengeance."

From Arthur Frommer's November 2, 2008 syndicated column.

Cruising is good living. Our most relaxing vacations have always been cruising. Prices are better than we have seen in six years. Planning a vacation next year? Looking for real value?
Consider a cruise.

A great place to shop for cruise deals is our web site

Friday, November 14, 2008

One final question about airline fees

From the Consumerists comments about the Greg Dean United gouging fees story:

"Ironic part, though, these airlines keep installing idiotic and pointless fees in an effort to make more money, and yet they constantly fail to be profitable. You would think that with this kind of gouging, they could make money flying the damn planes.

Which begs the questions, where does all this fee money go? It doesn't go to the pilots, stewardesses or mechanics, who have had their pay slashed to ribbons in the past few decades. It doesn't go to the planes, which are old and usually in bad repair. It doesn't go to the gas, which is cheap. It doesn't go to the stockholders, because the stock is shit. I wonder what happens to it all."

Airlines as a whole have only made money in two years since 2002. The business model old or new just doesn't seem to working.

Well a difference in opinion about airline fees United adds $800 in fees to a $560 trip

We caught this USA Today article that reports a survey a majority of passengers are willing to accept cheap fares with a la cart fees. More than half of US air travelers now prefer buying the cheapest available ticket, then paying fees for "extras" such as food and drink, preferred seating and checking bags.

Perhaps something is skewed in the survey methodology. Just ask Greg Dean who has sworn off United Airlines because the amount of a la cart fees for his Austin to Sacramento flights.
From the Consumerist: We have a feeling this is going to happen with increasing frequency as airlines continue to bleed once-loyal customers for extra revenue: Greg Dean, the cartoonist behind Real Life Comics, has had enough of United gouging him.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Airline Checked Baggage Fees....Well Maybe It Wasn't Such A Great Idea After All

From the Wall Street Journal news that not only is United Airlines dropping a planned second check bag fee ($50.00) but is actually discounting the first checked bag fee in the next three months. United's change of heart comes in the wake of Delta Airline's announcement that they were going to impose a first checked bag fee just three days ago. Meanwhile Southwest Airlines announced that they not only are increasing capacity, but also increased the number of passengers flown in October. Guess which airline has shunned the increased fee mania prevalent in the other U.S. airlines?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Disney theme park bookings down

Disney had positioned itself for the upcoming recession by value pricing some vacations. However, as a reflection of worsening economy it reported today declined bookings for its theme parks. Click on the above link to read the entire story from Yahoo Finance.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Delta adds $15 Check Baggage Fee

Delta Air Lines Inc., the world's biggest carrier, said Wednesday it will impose a $15 fee to check a first bag for customers flying within the U.S.

The carrier also said it is cutting certain other fees as it aligns its policies with those of Northwest Airlines, which it acquired last week.

Link from the International Herald Tribune

Monday, November 03, 2008

Our new site features casino day trips to St Louis from Springfield, Illinois

Simple and easy to use our latest web site features upcoming day trips to the casinos in St Louis. Featuring our first trip next week, Tuesday, November 11, 2008. A last minute try out as we sense a need in the market for a cheap quick getaway. Most trips feature lunch or cash refunds. We will be listing more trips later as we update our contracts.

Every group member gets a free copy of our Insider Gambling Guide.

Join us and good luck.

$13.00 fares to Europe!!!!

According to published reports Ryanair plans to offer deeply discounted transatlantic flights in 2009. Purchase early and the savings are substantial. Just $13.00.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

With oil prices down, why aren't airfares?

From CNN a not so convincing argument why air prices continue to be sky high.

$13.52 a night rooms at Binion's Gambling Hall

Deals like this just don't get any better. Here is the result of an actual search for room rates at Binion's Gambling Hall and Hotel from our Las Vegas Connection website. Dates were picked at random. Just clicked on the hotel link from the site, chose Binion's, and look what we found. $13.52 a night room rates. Who cares if it is not on the strip. The upside of the downturn in Las Vegas: Great room rates.

Of course all rates are subject to availability, but this is great time to visit Las Vegas at a lengendary downtown casino.

Binion's Gambling Hall and Hotel

128 EAST FREMONT STREET Las Vegas, NV 89101

Fremont Street/Downtown Las Vegas Area

2-5 30 Reviews

Room Rates from $13.52 Nov 16 - Nov 18

Change dates, rooms, or travelers

Check-in time: 3:00pm

Check-out time: 12:00pm

Select your room type and continue below.

Nightly rates are based upon 2 adults in the room and may not include Taxes & Fees unless otherwise noted.

Room Types Sun
Nov 16
Nov 17
Avg. Nightly Rate*
Amazing Race to Savings - Save 35%Details
Book your Binion's stay now and save up to 35% on your hotel room rates.
$27.04 $3.93 $27.04

Review your total price and continue

“Well, I’d rather lose my money here than on Wall Street.”

An upbeat article about the down turn in Las Vegas.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Bradley Theory. Why the current Las Vegas business model is not working

Declines in Las Vegas casino business is based on its current business model according to Sherman Bradley. Or why should I travel, to Las Vegas, saving me a lot of money, when I can gamble close to home when gambling is no longer the focus of the casino? How to rescue Las Vegas. Return to the business model that earned them billions of dollars.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Let's check in and see how the airlines are doing

UAL, which has led the way in increasing fees and decreasing capacity, continues to sinks. The numbers don't look so good. Is yet another bankruptcy on the horizon?

While Southwest expands slowly and cautiously.

And the global financial crisis is not just affecting American flag carriers.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Will fares go so high that only the rich can fly?

This USA article discusses the sharp rise in airfare this year. The law of unintended consequences rears its ugly head with the fact that if airfares continue to rise, only the rich will be able to afford them. With less passengers flying, the airlines will not be able to cover their costs, despite the increased fare. With less revenue...less passengers paying higher fares do not necessarily translate into more revenue...the airlines will lose even more money. Read how the traditionally higher paying fare customers, the business travelers, are adapting to the higher fares by cutting back on their travel. By the way, how is it that Southwest, now the largest domestic carrier in the United States, able to weather this temporary higher fuel costs storm and remain profitable? Is it better management? Better business model? Are the nickel and dime fees now the vogue for the legacy airlines driving more passengers to Southwest instead of raising revenue for themselves? Remember Southwest has determinately abstained from adding fees to its fares. Instead they have used their "fees don't fly with us" policy as their new marketing slogan with great success. From the Southwest website, " We despise fees as much as the other airlines seem to love them. So we'll just keep taking care of you, rather than charging fees for the stuff that should come with your fare in the first place. We believe in not asking you to pull out your wallet every few minutes."

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Las Vegas might somehow be perceived to have lost its buzz.

Down and out in Las Vegas. The good-time capital of the US has hit a losing streak. Guy Adams, from the UK Independent, reports on an epidemic of bankruptcies, foreclosures and mass lay-offs

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Tracking Air Fares: Elaborate Algorithms Predict Ticket Prices

Common wisdom is wrong ... and other insights from the founder of Farecast.

Check the article for more airfare travel tips.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Like I said, you can't fix stupid

Joe Brancatelli predicts that American Airline's new checked bag policy, will end up costing more money than it makes.

Guide to extra fees charged by airlines

Our featured travel search engine, Kayak, has just created a handy little airline fee table to help you figure out the true cost of your airline ticket. This is very important. Because the airlines have chosen to low ball the fare that you see on the list of fare results search, fully realizing that once you are committed to that purchase it, they can then add a whole "Heinz 57" list to fees and charges to the ticketed passengers. For example, an American Airline fare of $303.00 is not really $303.00 because of the $15.00 checked bag fee. And considering what has to be a rather unpleasant situation as fellow passengers vie for overhead luggage space because no one wanted to pay the extra $15.00 fee and delaying you flight because they had to hand check the baggage that won't fit. But more on the stupidity of the checked bag fee later.

Friday, May 23, 2008

"It was asinine, and the reaction in house and out shows just how ill-conceived it was."

More about the American Airline's $15.00 check bag fee from Joe Sharkey including an assertion that the imposition of the fee was a last minute impulsive decision made just before a shareholder's meeting.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

“seems really, dare I say it, stupid,”

American Airlines new $15.00 checked bag fee has caught the media's attention. This New York Times article predicts, and we believe rightly so, "it is also likely to make the fight for already-tight space on planes more fierce, as passengers try to stuff more carry-on luggage into overhead bins."

Or as one reader comments "it's not the fee that bothers me. ... It's the free-for-all fight that's going to break out when people start bringing on huge carry-on bags."

It is important to note that Southwest does not have plans to follow American's check bag fee.

Southwest’s Linda Rutherford comments "punitive fees don’t fly with us, so what you heard are just rumors. We are NOT thinking of gouging our Customers with such a fee to check a bag.”

Monday, May 05, 2008

Checking in our favorite destination finds things are not doing so well

Is it possible? Once considered recession proof, Las Vegas, finds that it is not immune to the problems in the economy. According to Newsweek....the economy of which was once thought to be impervious to the economic swings suffered by the rest of the country. Not anymore. According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), Las Vegas has seen gambling revenues fall only once since 1970: in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terror attacks they dropped 1 percent in 2002 from 2001. So far this year they've fallen 4 percent, the number of conventions held has dropped 10.4 percent, and average daily room rates were off 3.8 percent in the first two months of 2008, according to the most recent data available. Visitor volume was up 1.2 percent through February, but market analysts say that's because of the extra day provided by this being a leap year; March's figures will likely put the year-to-date numbers in negative territory. Read more by clicking the above link.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

“I hate you, and I tell everybody I hate you,” he says. “You could not pay me to get on your airline if I didn’t have to...."

True customer loyalty is defined by long-term trust that a company anticipates a customer’s needs, says James T. Kane in this New York Time's Travel Bug column. “The airlines keep trying to change your behavior rather than changing theirs,” he said. “When an airline makes a big mistake, they want to give me more miles. They don’t understand: I really don’t want to get on your plane under the conditions you’re subjecting me to. Give me good service instead.”