By Judy Newell
Mexico Travel News
Interjet debuts daily non-stop New York-Mexico City flights
Interjet, Mexico’s second largest air carrier, launched its first flight from New York JFK to Mexico City on August 2. The daily service adds a third gateway city in the United States for Interjet, which already operates out of Miami and San Antonio. It also flies to Guatemala, Havana, and San Jose, Costa Rica.
Interjet is a low-cost carrier that provides quality service. It flies a fleet of 35 new A320s, the youngest fleet in Mexico. The aircraft have one class of seating for 150 passengers. The airline serves free snacks and premium beverages during flights between Mexico City and New York.
Interjet also offers transferable tickets at little to no cost, a frequent-flyer loyalty program based on cash purchases, an in-flight entertainment program, an unrestricted 20 percent discount year-round for seniors, and special amenities for female travelers, including women-only toilets on all airplanes. There is no extra charge for passengers to select seats or check up to 110 pounds of baggage per ticket.
Baggage delivery: American Airlines gives it a try
Fliers can now pay to have their bags delivered directly to their office, home or other destination, while they head straight to a sales call or Grandma’s house.
The service, which can be purchased when booking the trip or up to two hours before the flight, costs US$29.95 to US$49.95, depending on the amount of luggage. The service is available at more than 200 US airports and some cities abroad.
If the bag’s destination is 40 miles away or less, it should get there within one to four hours, the airline says. If the address is farther away, delivery will cost a dollar more for every extra mile, and delivery time ranges from four to six hours.
American reaped more than US$2.1 billion last year from revenue streams beyond basic fares. But while passengers grumble about having to pay for pillows or a little more legroom, American’s luggage-delivery service is an extra that some travelers may be willing to pay – unless they end up losing bags.
Plane diverts to Syria, passengers asked if they could pay for fuel
An emergency layover in Syria’s war-torn capital was bad enough. Then passengers on Air France Flight 562 were asked to open their wallets to check if they had enough cash to pay for more fuel.
The plane, heading from Paris to Lebanon’s capital, diverted amid clashes near the Beirut airport on August 15. Low on fuel, it landed instead in Damascus, the capital of neighboring Syria, where a civil war is raging.
An Air France spokesman explained that the crew inquired about passenger cash only as a “precautionary measure” because of the “very unusual circumstances.” Sanctions against Syria complicated payment for extra fuel.
Air France found a way to pay for the fill-up without tapping customer pockets and apologized for the inconvenience. The plane landed safely in Beirut.
NCL now charges passengers under two
Norwegian Cruise Line no longer gives kids under two years of age a free ride. The line now charges the same cruise fare for all children, no matter how young.
All children now pay the same rate, which is typically the reduced (third or fourth) fare when traveling with two adults in the same stateroom. Previously the line (which doesn’t allow babies less than six months of age on its ships) only charged a small portion of the fare plus government taxes and fees for kids under two.
The fare hike could mean hundreds of dollars more for families. A quick price check for an October Bermuda cruise from New York City found that the third and fourth passenger charge for a 10-year old and one-year old would cost US$449 each. The taxes for the 10-year old came to US$191.75 and for the one-year old came to US$131.75. That means a family who books their one year old this week is paying US$580.75.
Norwegian’s new policy brings it in line with most other cruise lines that cater to children. Both Carnival and Royal Caribbean maintain fare policies that require the first two passengers in all cabins to pay full price, with reduced fares for third and fourth passengers in the same cabin−regardless of age.
Disney Cruise Line offers a larger price break for kids under three. The fare for all children under three years of age is 50 percent less than the cruise fare for kids aged 3-12 for third and fourth berths. However, Disney’s average price on its cruises is typically significantly higher than those for Norwegian, Royal and Carnival.
Ikea plans move into budget hotels
Ikea is looking at potential sites across Europe for hotels, the Financial Times reported.
More than 100 locations are being considered for development by the renowned Swedish company, including sites in Britain, Germany, Holland, and Poland.
The aim is to create a range of “budget design” hotels, offering a boutique experience at an affordable price. Other businesses, such as Base2Stay in London and Chic&Basic, which has properties in Madrid, Barcelona and Amsterdam, have successfully developed a similar model.
The hotels are not expected to use the Ikea name and will be run by an established hotel operator.
Deal of the Week
Thanksgiving on the Mississippi
From the moment you step aboard the Queen of the Mississippi, you will realize that this paddle wheeler is unlike any other. Her ample lounges will provide the perfect place for you to relax this Thanksgiving. You can step ashore to explore historic Natchez, Civil War era Vicksburg, and Oak Alley, one of the South’s most legendary plantations. November 17 departure from New Orleans, Louisiana; includes all meals and alcoholic drinks; from US$3,995 per person.
Judy Newell heads the travel company Perfect Journeys which specializes in custom-designed tour and cruise travel. She presents “Travel Tuesdays”, a free seminar on travel topics at La Biblioteca – the next seminar will be September 11. Topics will be announced in Que Pasa. Contact Judy by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sources: Travel Plus, Travel Weekly, USA Today, Associated Press, Cruise Critic, U.K. Telegraph, Financial Times, American Cruise Line