As people begin to plan for holiday travel, it can be helpful to know the latest news in the industry as well as when might be the best time to book their trip. According to Expedia’s 2023 Air Travel Hacks Report, the best time to book a domestic flight for the lowest airfare is one month before departure. For international flights, the best time to book travel is around six months before they fly to save an average of 10% compared to those that book at the last minute.
Another tip in the report is to choose flights that depart before 3pm since you have a 50% better chance of avoiding cancellations. World Nomads’ latest pulse poll, which recently surveyed the top stressors on the minds of travelers, showed that delays and cancellations were the most annoying part of travel this year. Of those polled, 28% also cited long lines and 26% said getting stuck in heavy traffic on the way to the airport as major stressors. The survey revealed that 76% claim to be “early birds” to the airport, which means access to new and existing airline lounges is more important than ever.
No matter where you plan to go this fall, this is some of the latest airline news to keep top of mind.
United and Jaguar offer 1st-ever electric airport transfers
Chicago O’Hare will be the first airport for a new partnership between United Airlines and Jaguar as they introduce a gate-to-gate airport transfer service powered by an all-electric fleet. While many airlines offer this type of service to their highest elite-status passengers on tight connections, United will use the 2023 Jaguar I-PACE HSE, the first all-electric performance SUV from the British car maker. This eco-friendly luxury vehicle sets it apart from the competition. Other United hubs like Denver, Houston, Newark/New York, Washington D.C, San Francisco and Los Angeles, will have this Premier status-member benefit service in place for its busiest flyers by the end of the year.
It expects to transfer more than 1,000 customers using the SUVs on an estimated 60 trips per day. These cars, which retail for a starting price of $71,300, are an auto fan’s dream with all-wheel drive performance from twin Jaguar-designed concentric motors that can reach a combined 394 horsepower and 512 lb-ft of torque reaching up to 60 mph acceleration in 4.5 seconds. As part of a special promotion for those that fall in love with the car, United MileagePlus members can earn 50,000 miles between now and the end of the year if they buy or lease a new Jaguar car.
United unveils grab-and-go lounge concept in Denver
This weekend is the official opening of United Club Fly, a grab-and-go concept near the United Express gates of Concourse B at Denver International Airport. The lounge is more of a marketplace, open to United Club members and passengers with eligible access, with complimentary barista coffee, snacks and drinks. Passengers scan through entry gates and walk through a ski chalet-designed space with refrigerators stocked with soft drinks, juices, smoothies, sandwiches, salads, fruit and wraps. Other options include yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, chips, cookies and cereal. Visitors can help themselves to as much of the complimentary offering as they like to enjoy on their next flight. If the concept proves successful, the airline hopes to roll it out in other airports, which boosts the value in access to United’s network of lounges.
Veggie diners now have more options on Alaska Airlines
In the airline’s latest menu revamp, the oneworld alliance-member carrier now has more vegetarian options on its flights. Its fall menu also specializes in more options for vegan and gluten-free diners. This includes dishes like the Brusselin’ Vegan Salad, a partnership with Seattle-based gourmet salad company, Evergreens. Other passengers are not forgotten. New to the fall lineup is the West Coast Muffuletta, the classic New Orleans sandwich with cheese, avocado, ham, prosciutto and Soppressata on a sesame-crusted ciabatta roll. Alaska is the only network airline in the country to offer fresh meals on flights as short as 550 miles. Passengers in first class can pre-order their meals from a menu that features more than half of its meals made from gluten-free ingredients.
Bonus SkyMiles and Starbucks Stars in new partnership
Delta and Starbucks are cementing their ties beyond serving Starbucks coffee on flights and in lounges. The new partnership allows members to link their accounts so that they can earn one SkyMile for every dollar spent at Starbucks. Any time you make an eligible Starbucks purchase on the same day you have a Delta flight, you will earn double Stars. If you link your accounts between now and the end of the year, earn 500 SkyMiles. When you make a Starbucks purchase in that same time frame, you will also receive 150 bonus Stars.
Delta offering free WiFi to Medallion members
In a trial run, as the airline prepares to offer free inflight internet to all customers, Delta is making WiFi complimentary to its Medallion elite members. This will be available on most domestic flights as part of a test on the bandwidth. It is sure to make traveling a bit more productive for many travelers this fall.
Copa Airlines adds retro livery to celebrate 75th anniversary
Unveiled in the airline’s Panama City hub, the retro aircraft shows off the design the carrier used in the early 1990s. Copa Airlines is celebrating 75 years of operation, and the Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft. It was painted at the Copa Airlines Maintenance Center by more than 30 staff representing aviation painters, designers and engineers. It took more than 2,500 hours of work in 15 days to complete.
Delta SkyMiles Experiences returns for member redemptions
Another option for redeeming SkyMiles has returned after a two-year break. Delta SkyMiles Experiences allows members the chance to use their miles to bid on exclusive experiences that are difficult to replicate elsewhere. These include things like walking the red carpet at The Country Music Awards, celebrity chef kitchen tours and high-end meals at well-known restaurants like Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry, and backstage passes to music concerts, and even on-field player meet and greets at sporting events. Other activities include things like meet-and-greets with athletes at sporting events and European hotel vacations.
United serves Impossible Foods on flights
Vegetarians rejoice! A new breakfast sandwich from Impossible Foods is on the for-purchase menu ($8) on many United flights in economy class. The plant-based sausage patty is the same one found on the menu at Starbucks and Jamba among other outlets. This is the first economy class option using Impossible Foods items although both Delta and United serve its plant-based meals in the premium cabin on select flights.
KLM reveals 103rd collector’s house on airline’s birthday
A long-standing tradition for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is revealing a Delftware miniature house to honor its 103rd birthday since its founding making it the longest continually operating airline in the world. Unusual for this year’s new house is in special location: the Ecury family home on Aruba (now part of the National Archaeological Museum of Aruba). KLM began flying to the island almost 90 years ago when it made Aruba its operational hub for scheduled Caribbean flights (the first flight landed on Aruba a century ago next year). Since then, it has operated scheduled flights between Amsterdam and Aruba since 1974. The souvenir house is a complimentary gift to each World Business Class passenger on long-haul flights, a tradition that dates back to the 1950s. A new house is unveiled each year on its birthday Oct. 7.