advertisement

United Airlines: Dulles to Dubai, Nonstop

It seems like not a day goes by that we don't read some blurb about Dubai, chronicling their latest wacky mega-skyscraper or sailboat shaped dinglehopper with indoor ski slope, Cristal wading pool, and 24-hour chinchilla Whac-a-Mole arcade. Or something. But it's been a while since we've seen a decent fare to Dubai. And now, in honor of their new nonstop Washington Dulles to Dubai service starting October 26, United Airlines (tel. 800-241-6522; www.united.com) is having a little Discover Dubai Sale. Round-trip fares include:

This sale is good for departures between October 26 and December 11, and December 25 through December 31, with a 30 day maximum stay. All fares must be booked by August 12.

For the complete list, visit our Dubai fares page.

Sales to Rome for Fall

With sky-high summer fares on their way out, are you finally considering that trip to Europe for fall? American Airlines (tel. 800/433-7300; www.aa.com) is having a sale, good for travel Mondays through Thursdays, September 2 through October 9, from select US cities.

And we've found even lower fares for late October, November travel too, so be sure to visit our Rome-Fiumicino City Page for a complete round-up of fares.

Hawaii on Sale for Late Summer Through Fall

We've seen quite a few sales to Hawaii spring up in time for fall. First up, the American Airlines (tel. 800/433-7300; www.aa.com) Hawaii sale is valid for departures August 19 through November 16, for Sunday through Friday travel. All travel must be complete by November 19, and tickets must be purchased 21 prior to departure. Got all that? Good. There's no expiration date given for this sale, so first come, first serve. Round-trip fares include:

Delta's sale to Hawaii is good for travel through November 19, and all purchases must be complete by August 22. Fares include:

Delta Ups Baggage Fees, Downs the Value of Your Miles

Delta (tel. 800/221-1212; www.delta.com), soon to be the world's largest airline (after it merges with Northwest) has once again increased baggage fees for domestic flights. Although the first checked bag is still free, a second will now cost $50 up from the previous $25 (that's assuming that it's not overweigh or oversized, in which case additional fees kick in). In addition, a third checked bag now costs $125 up from $80 and a bag weighing 51 to 70 pounds will cost an additional $90, up from $80. Delta claims that less than a fifth of its passengers check a second bag on domestic flights.

We're assuming that when the merger takes place, these higher Delta fees will supplant Northwest's baggage fees. For more information on baggage fees, check out our handy chart of baggage fees.

Delta has also announced a new frequent flyer mile chart, but is this a good news/bad news story?

Seems Delta is now charging up to 60,000 miles round-trip for a domestic coach frequent flyer ticket, but spending those miles will get you the "last seat on the plane" free of capacity controls. The airline also has the standard 25,000 mile award level and a new 40,000 mile award level. This seems like another way of squeezing more miles out of its frequent flyer members.

First class domestic will cost between 45,000 and 100,000 miles round-trip. These mileage levels apply to the 48 states plus Alaska, and Canada. Hawaii will cost you between 45,000 and 90,000 miles for coach and between 75,000 and 180,000 miles in premium cabins. Sounds like frequent flyer mileage inflation to us. Speaking of inflation, check out American's new higher mileage requirements.

Kayak & Sidestep to Stop Listing AA Fares

Well, it looks like it really might happen: American will pull their fares from Kayak.com (and sister site Sidestep.com), as Sean O'Neill reports on BudgetTravel.com.

Why is this happening? Kayak's CEO claims that, "American asked us to suppress search results from competing websites as a condition to displaying their fares. This is simply not something that Kayak will do. Imagine Sony telling Best Buy that they couldn't sell Panasonic?"

Shades of Southwest pulling out of Travelocity.com oh so many years ago?

Is this a sign of things to come? As we've pointed out before, American already offers big discounts to those signing up for its DealFinder service, whose fares are only available on AA.com. These days, airline travel sites sell more than airfares. They also sell merchandise, hotels, rental cars, and package deals. And they market their frequent flyer programs and other products. So doesn't it make sense to lure consumers to their own sites, rather than going through middlemen (online travel agencies) to whom they also have to pay commissions?

Rule 240 Revisited

Much has been written in the past few months about something called Rule 240. Some pundits, such as Joe Brancatelli, writing on Portfolio.com claim it's an "urban travel legend" and no longer exists. Others, such as Today Show travel guru Peter Greenberg, insist that it is real. Well, back in the days when airlines were regulated by a government agency, they all had to abide by some sensible rules to protect passengers in case of, among other things, a cancellation or misconnection that was within the airline's control. These rules were incorporated in the airlines' contracts of carriage. Post-deregulation, these rules no longer had to be followed, but some airlines, whether formed after or before deregulation, perhaps because they were too lazy to completely rewrite their contracts, kept the same rules. Airlines formed after deregulation typically didn't incorporate these rules into their contracts, and some have done away with them.

Anyway, Rule 240 originally stated that in the event of a cancellation or flight misconnection, the airline would have to put you on their next flight out, or, if that wasn't "acceptable," on the next flight out of a competing airline if that flight would get you to your destination sooner, all at no additional cost to you. If only first class was available on the other airline, then they had to upgrade you. This only applied in circumstances under the airlines' control, such as crew failing to show up, or mechanical problems.

So does Rule 240, or something like it, still exist? We searched the contracts of carriage of airlines big and small, and whipped up a Rule 240 chart that you should most certainly read over for yourself. Who knows? It just might save you from sleeping on an airport floor one of these old days.

Additional Reporting by Tracy W. Stewart

George Hobica is a syndicated travel journalist and blogger whose website, www.airfarewatchdog.com, tracks unadvertised airfare wars and fare sales, including the most helpful and always updated Top 50 Airfares.

Talk with fellow Frommer's readers on our Air Travel Message Boards today.