Austin to Quito, Ecuador, Round-Trip for $350. Continue to the Galapagos Islands!

Galapagos Airport Arrival
Galapagos Airport Arrival

Scott’s Cheap Fares reports airfares as low as $350 round-trip from Austin to Quito, Ecuador. Quito is one of the two gateways to the Galapagos Islands (the other is Guayaquil, Ecudaor). Several airlines from from Quito and Guayaquil to the Galapagos for reasonable airfares, or even airline frequent-flyer miles.

Check Google Flights for airfares on American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue and United.

Last month I flew American Airlines from Austin to Guayaquil for 17,500 frequent-flyer miles in Economy. Airfare for a flight on LATAM from Guayaquil to the major Galapagos airport was about $200. The entire trip back, from Galapagos to Austin, was just 30,000 AA miles in First Class.

You do not need to spend a lot of money to see the Galapagos. During my 5 nights there, I spent less than $1000 for hotels+tours+dining.

Dallas to Dublin for $465 Round-Trip

Scotts Cheap Flights LogoAer Lingus, Delta, Air France, Lufthansa, Air Canada, and United are offering some low airfares from DFW (and other American cities) to Dublin, Ireland. A variety of date pairs (with varying airfares) have been found from March to June, and August through December.

This discovery from Scott’s Cheap Fares.

Dallas to Prague Just $525 Round-Trip on United, etc.

Scotts Cheap Flights LogoScott’s Cheap Flights has found Fall 2018 fares of $525 from DFW to Prague. The dates found are September through December, excluding holidays.

Search Google Flights for these fares on United Airlines, Air Canada, Swiss, Lufthansa and Eurowings.

Momondo may return even lower fares.

Houston to East Asia Just $1299 Round-Trip in Premium Economy

Hong Kong Skyline
Hong Kong Skyline

At a price that is normally a bargain in regular Economy, Singapore Airlines is offering flights from Houston to several cities in East Asia in PREMIUM Economy. Destinations include Bangkok, Cebu, Phuket, Bali, Phnom Penh, Manila, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

Premium Economy gets you more legroom and an overall better experience in the air than regular Economy, with foot and leg rests, power at your seat and a 13-inch in-flight entertainment screen.

Or, add a thousand dollars and fly in Business Class round-trip…it’s a long flight, however you go.

Many date pairs are open, for most of 2018.

See the details in Travel Codex.

Free Environmental Science and Sustainability Events in Austin

The University of Texas continues its series of free events relating to the environment. Here is the schedule for the remainder of this week:

Tuesday, February 20
DeFord Lecture Series
Brady Foreman, Western Washington University
Brady Foreman will be giving a lecture on stratigraphy and sedimentology of siliciclastic systems, stable isotope geochemistry at this week’s DeFord Lecture Series. Cookies and coffee will be provided around 3:30 PM.
Jackson Geological Sciences Building (JGB) Room 2.324 @ 4:00 – 5:00 pm

Thursday, February 22
 
DeFord Speaker Series
Katherine Stack Morgan will be discussing “Exploring the evolution of an ancient lake basin on Mars with the Curiosity rover “–all about sedimentary geology, stratigraphy, martian sedimentary deposits, Orbital image-based geologic mapping, and Mars-Earth analogs.
Jackson Geological Sciences Building (JGB) Room 2.324 @ 4:00 – 5:00pm
UT Energy Symposium 
Rohit Chandra, Kennedy School at Harvard
This week at the UT Energy Symposium, Rohit Chandra will give a talk titled “Coal in India: History and Persistence.”
Rohit Chandra is a doctoral student at the Harvard Kennedy School, studying energy policy and economic history. His dissertation is a political and economic history of the Indian coal industry from 1960-2015. In the past, he has worked with the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, Center for Advanced Study of India in Philadelphia, and Brookings India. Abstract: Like many other countries, India’s industrial base and electricity system has been built largely on the back of coal-based power generation. Since nationalization in the early 1970s, Coal India (CIL) has weathered many political and economic obstacles in trying to deliver on the nation’s coal demands. In all the recent euphoria about renewable energy, the deep historical connections between the Indian state and the coal industry seem to be unacknowledged. Both financially, and politically, the Indian state is deeply invested in coal and coal-based power generation. This is likely to make the transition to renewable energy gradual, not precipitous, as many have been predicting. In this talk, Rohit will give a brief historical sketch of the Indian coal industry, and then discuss some of the reasons why coal and its downstream use in power and other industries is likely to persist in India for the foreseeable future.
The UT Energy Symposium meets every Thursday during the long semesters. Come early to attend a networking session before the talk: refreshments will be served at 4:45 p.m. in the POB Connector Lobby outside the auditorium.
Peter O’Donnell Jr. Building (POB) Room 2.302 @ 5:00 – 6:15 pm

Friday, February 23
UTIG Seminar Series
Doug Brinkerhoff, University of Montana

“Ice and mud: how sediment dynamics drive periodicity in tidewater glaciers”

Abstract: Many tidewater glaciers in Alaska, such as Hubbard, Taku, and Yahtse, are growing despite a warming atmosphere and ocean. At the same time, close neighbors such as Columbia glacier are undergoing dramatic retreats, which cannot be accounted for by climate change. What drives this apparent disparity in glacier behavior? A hypothesized process known as the tidewater glacier cycle provides an explanation: movement of sediment by subglacial streams produces a shoal at the glacier front, decreasing the amount of iceberg calving and allowing the glacier to advance over several hundred years. Eventually the glacier becomes overextended, floats, and quickly retreats to its initial shape. In this talk, I will show (with the help of computer model) that simple interactions of ice, water, and erosion can produce tidewater glacier cycles like the ones that are observed in coastal Alaska, and that these cycles occur even in a static climate and persist with warming. I argue that these cycles drive natural shifts in marine habitat and the fjord landscape at large and must be accounted for in interpretations of glaciers as climate proxies.
Pickle Research Center (ROC) Room 1.603 @ 10:30 – 11:30 am

Austin to Singapore $585 Round-Trip on United Airlines

Scotts Cheap Flights LogoScott’s Cheap Flights has found a great deal on United Airlines for flights from Austin to Singapore. These routes have one (LAX) or two (DEN, SFO) stops, with total travel time about 24 hours.

Enter date pairs on Google Flights to find current very good prices. Try Momondo for the very best prices.

United will offer Economy Plus (more legroom) for an additional $275 each way. A better option, if you want it both ways, may be to purchase the 1-year subscription for $499+.

Facebook Pushing VPN App to Gather Even More Information About Users

Facebook is now recommending that folks use its free Onavo VPN app for security and privacy.

As it turns out, this VPN tells Facebook every website, every web page, you visit, every app that you use. That gives FB a lot more information about you, even more than they already have.
References:
https://gizmodo.com/do-not-i-repeat-do-not-download-onavo-facebook-s-vam-1822937825
https://techcrunch.com/2018/02/12/facebook-starts-pushing-its-data-tracking-onavo-vpn-within-its-main-mobile-app/
https://www.wired.com/story/facebook-onavo-protect-vpn-privacy/

San Antonio to Washington, D.C. Just $105+ on American Airlines

Thrifty Traveler LogoThrifty Traveler, then All the Flight Deals, noticed some very low airfares on American / Air Canada from San Antonio to Washington DC. San Antonio’s airport is on the north side of the city, which is located 80 miles south of Austin.

Various dates in February through June.

These airfares include free carry-on and advance seat assignment, not the unpleasant Basic Economy.

See the information here and here.

Southwest Airlines News

Southwest Airlines PlaneSouthwest is a quirky airline, with a single cabin, no reserved seats and a strange-yet-sensible boarding lineup system. Also, you can cancel a booking without penalty, and checked bags fly free. [see their website for deets and limitations] And, of course, the Companion Pass is wonderful!

Southwest doesn’t open up its calendar for ticket sales 330 days into the future, like most airlines. Instead, every month or two SWA will activate several more weeks. They just did that, so you can now purchase tickets for dates up to October 1, 2018. That is good news.

Now for some bad news: The price of drinks purchased onboard is going up. Regular beers and wine will be $6, premium beers and liquor will be $7, starting March 1. I don’t know if this will affect their free-booze policy that is in effect January 1, February 14, March 17, June 18, Fathers Day, July 4, September 20, October 31 and Thanksgiving.

 

A Day in the Life of a Flight Attendant

Aircraft at the AirportThis is a very good article about the life of an airline flight attendant. In this case the gentleman who was shadowed works for United Airlines.

One thing to note is that FAs don’t get paid anything until the doors of the aircraft are closed. All that smiling at you as you board and de-board the plane are “free” to the airline.

http://www.businessinsider.com/flight-attendant-united-airlines-day-in-the-life-2018-2