Good morning from the Business Class Lounge at Doha Airport! The big news here is that the three major carriers to the US – Qatar Airlines, Emirates, and Etihad, with approximately 15 flights a day in and out of the US have had to change their Cabin crew and Pilot rosters after the ban by the Trump administration. These three airlines employ flight personnel from over 50 countries, which also consists of nationals from the banned countries. These crew members who have been flying in and out of the US are now banned from performing their duties on flights into the US. Speaking with Qatar Airways cabin crew, none of them seemed to care about the ban, and even remarked that there were other countries they could still enjoy!
Three of my last five international flights landed early, in fact the last one landed one hour and fifteen minutes early! It was a Qatar Airways 16 hour flight that ended up as a 14 hour 45 minute flight, (almost) flying over the North Pole and experiencing some pretty heavy tail winds. And, then what always happens, happened. We had no gate available, and had to ‘hold’ on the apron for almost an hour for a gate to be available. The non-availability of gates for the passengers to disembark is getting more and more common when a flight arrives early or even late. When a flight departs at its scheduled time, it is assigned a gate at its arrival airport. Since gates are limited, especially at busy international airports, an aircraft must be in and out within its allocated time. An early arrival or delayed departure would probably end up as a big problem. Ever wondered why your connecting flight would not even wait ten minutes for you? It would cost the airline more in fees paid for extra time at the gate than it would take for them to get you on another flight.
Will the deadly attack in Istanbul, Turkey, leaving 39 dead and several injured put a dent on tourism into Turkey and affect Turkish Airlines as well? As the dead were mostly tourists, the attacker did not differentiate between locals and foreigners, and seemed to target a location that served both. Terrorist attacks and explosions in Turkey are not rare, and I was in Turkey in early 2016 when an explosion disrupted Istanbul two hours before my flight to the US departed. The airport was sealed to prevent anyone getting in and out, and I was fortunate to be inside the airport. At the time of writing, the US State Department has not made any changes to the previous travel warning issued in October 2016 which stated that US citizens should not travel to certain areas in Turkey.
Turkish Airways is one of the best in the world, with an exceptional Business Class service that outclasses First Class on most other airlines. I experienced their service on the long flight from Istanbul to Los Angeles, and was pampered with their food service served on a trolley, menu selection for your choice of bedding, a tea and coffee service fit for royalty, and friendly cabin crew that would go overboard to make you comfortable. It would be a shame to see this airline go down with less passengers flying into Turkey or transiting through there to Asia or Africa.
Once again, our web robots found flights from Los Angeles to various cities in Thailand for $397. The deals are from November 21 to mid December. The price includes tax, and is for a round trip ticket.
There are many that will be travelling during Thanksgiving. Here are a few thoughts on Thanksgiving travel from me, and it is not too early to plan.
Some people have asked me what the best day would be to travel during Thanksgiving. The day with the least air travel is the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, but the airports will still be packed and you need to get there well ahead of time as drop off access roads and TSA lines will be long.
TIP – When traffic into the terminal gets jammed, get dropped off at the ‘Arrival’ level and take the elevator up. It will save you a lot of time, and stress.
Consider Lyft or Uber to get you to the airport, and your friend or family member will not have to inch their way in heavy traffic to
drop you off. Even getting dropped off at a location close to the airport and taking a Lyft or Uber from there will cause less stress for the person dropping you off.
There are no cheap tickets during Thanksgiving, and every flight will be full, and possibly overbooked. Check in early and get to the gate early to minimize your chances of getting offloaded. Most times, it is the passengers that get to the gate last that get taken off. Be careful of falling for ‘voluntary bumping’ for financial compensation, as every flight will be fully booked or overbooked. Once you are off your flight you might not get on one again!
As ticket prices are sky high during Thanksgiving, think about using your airline miles, if you have any. While I would not recommend using miles for travel within the US, this might be the one time you want to do so, after checking the price.
Almost every year, I have flown internationally on Thanksgiving Day or the day after. Most people do not fly on these days and I have found that flying Business Class using airline miles is wide open. Right now, One World and Star Alliance are showing a lot of destinations open if you are using airline miles.
We were one of the first travel blogs that came out with the news about the hazards of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. The United States was all quiet, while three Australian airlines banned the phone more than one month ago. Since then the phone started heating up and catching fire on plane travelling within the US.
Effective yesterday, at noon, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone is now banned on flights. This means that the Note 7 is a forbidden hazardous material, which the punishment can result in heavy fines and even imprisonment if brought on board an aircraft.
Last week, Serendipity’Ntravel spoke with one of our readers – a Flight Attendant on Alaska Airlines. The FA advised us that Alaska started carrying a fire containment bag on their aircraft. In case of a phone catching fire, a crew member puts on special gloves and loads the device into a fire containment bag and seals the flap. The fire is extinguished in the sealed bag due to the lack of oxygen. Unlike previous fires occurring on aircraft, there will be less or no smoke, less damage, and no need for emergency evacuation like the last fire on the Southwest flight on October 5.
Pictured below is what a heat containment bag looks like.
Our web crawlers found this ERROR FARE a few minutes ago. Los Angeles – Panama – Los Angeles for $149!! Notice that the return flight has a “zero” fare? Go to Orbitz and type in the dates we have listed or try different dates!! This is a great deal if you can get the dates you want. THE ERROR FARE COULD BE GONE AT ANY TIME!
$257 TICKET TO CUBA AND BACK! From San Francisco, Houston, Chicago, and New York on Delta. Just got this information by doing some good travel hacking! Available in December and January – great months for travelling due to vacation. For several decades Cuba was not accessible for American tourists, and now the embargo has been lifted. It would be a good time to visit before thousands of tourists start pouring in spoil everything and also increase prices! This deal will be gone as soon as word gets out on the internet travel sites.
WASHINGTON DC – CHILE – WASHINGTON DC FOR ONLY $386. LOOKS LIKE AN ERROR ON COPA AIRLINES!!! Just checked by making a mock reservation for December 30 – January 10, and it went through. Never seen this price from DC before, and makes sense to even fly a couple of hours to DC to connect.
Other dates of availability:
November 2nd to 11th
November 9th to 18th
November 10th to 20th
November 12th to 22nd
Novembe 27th to December 6th
December 30th to January 10th
January 6th to 17th