Austin to Hawaii on Delta for $395 / $465 Round-Trip

Maui, Hawaii
Maui, Hawai’i has posted about a good airfare from Austin to Hawaii on Delta. The round-trip airfare in Basic Economy is $395, in Regular Economy about $465. The available destinations are Honolulu and Maui.

Routing includes a change of planes at LAX.

The fares are available for travel in April, May, September and October.

See the deets on EscapeATX here.

It will be interesting to see what happens to airfares to Hawai’i when Southwest Airlines begins their long-awaited service this year or next.

Google Flights Getting Even Better

Google LogoMuch to the (probable) dismay of online travel agencies like Hipmunk and Expedia, Google has a feature called Google Flights that shows airline schedules and prices in an easy-to-use format.

Recently, Google Flights has been gaining additional capabilities that make it even more useful to travelers. For example, the site gives an idea of how much legroom a flight has by showing “seat pitch”, like 28″ or 31″ (larger numbers are better). You can also see if a flight offers wi-fi, if seats have power ports, and if there are extra fees for things like seat selection and overhead-bin usage.

Recent additions include price tracking and suggestions for the best days to purchase a ticket (based upon historical price trends).

Note that Google Flights does not show the schedules for every carrier, Southwest Airlines being a notable example.


Status on Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines PlaneThis TravelCodex post, the last of a series, tells all about the two elite status levels on Southwest Airlines. They are called A-List and A-List Preferred.

In may not seem obvious that Southwest would have status levels, since all the seats are in one cabin and any passenger can take any un-occupied seat. The primary benefit of status is early boarding.

To me, the best “status” on Southwest is the Companion Pass. The blog post tells a bit about the Companion Pass, and has a link to a more thorough description of what it is and how to get it.

WSJ: Yes, You Can Visit Cuba On Your Own

The Jan. 13, 2018, issue of theĀ  Wall Street Journal has an article describing a recent visit to Cuba by two friends. They went on their own, not as part of a group tour. A sidebar to the article tells how anyone can do the same.

According to the sidebar, the rules still permit Americans to visit Cuba in “support of the Cuban people” without special authorization. Just go online to purchase an airline ticket from American, jetBlue, Southwest or Delta, and select that reason when the website prompts you. A visa will be needed, and you can purchase that for $50 at the airport ticket counter.

When you arrive in Cuba, you must not patronize any business related to the Cuban military. The list of businesses (some hotels, etc.), tourist agencies, marinas, stores and products (including Carney and Varadero rums) to avoid can be found on the State Department’s website.

According to the sidebar in the Wall St. Journal article, you must keep evidence of your interactions with Cubans for five years. Such interactions should be meaningful, which may spur Cuba toward democratic government. Such evidence can be receipts and selfies with locals. Staying in private residences (casas particulares), eating in private restaurants (paradares), and visiting galleries and community projects are recommended.

The United States has an embassy in Havana, although with reduced staff due to mysterious illnesses among staff (perhaps due to some sort of sonic activity). Airbnb continues to operate in Cuba, as do US airlines.

If self-directed travel doesn’t sound appealing, you can do as many Americans have by taking a cruise that stops in several Cuban port cities.

A Plethora of Cheap Trans-Atlantic Airfares

The travel blogs are noting lots of very inexpensive airfares from the United States to various European cities.

Austin to London Great Circle Map
Austin to London Great Circle Map, 4915 miles

Scott’s Cheap Flights has an email out this afternoon with flights to Spain (Alicante, Barcelona, Bilbao, Ibiza, Madrid, Mallorca, Santa Cruz Palma, Santiago de Compostela, Tenerife and Valencia) in the $400s round-trip. The airlines with these low fares include American and United, and probably Delta. Austin is not among the listed departure cities, but Atlanta is and you can take Southwest non-stop from Austin to Atlanta (2 daily flights each way). Secret Flying notes that you can fly out of Houston on American.

Icelandair flies from DFW to Iceland and then on to various continental European cities for $300+ r/t (but remember all the fees for “extras”). Million Mile Secrets has a good write-up on this deal. One Mile at a Time notes that Icelandair will even begin flying to Kansas City starting in May! When researching a flight from JFK to LHR recently, I noticed that trip-cancellation insurance added only 2% to the ticket price on Icelandair…that seems like a pretty good deal.

When it comes to inexpensive flying to Europe, these are truly “the good old days.”

Today is a Perfect Day to Start Earning Your Southwest Airlines Companion Pass

Southwest Airlines is alone among airlines in offering a 2-year companion-flies-free unlimited flights option. To earn it, you merely need to earn 110,000 Rapid Rewards points in a single calendar year. What better way to start than on January 1?

Southwest Airlines Plus The best way to get your 110,000 Rapid Rewards points is by getting two Southwest credit cards when each has a bonus of at least 50,000 points. That bonus is currently available if you use a referral link, else the bonus is only 40,000 points.

I do not have a referral link, but you can find several in this Doctor of Credit blog post.

If you earn the Companion Pass any time in 2018, it will be valid for calendar 2018 and 2019.

With the CP, you can pay for your ticket with cash or Rapid Rewards points, and your designated companion pays $5.60 to travel with you. There are no blackout dates or other restrictions…if there is an empty seat when you book, your companion can accompany you.

It’s an amazing deal, and I don’t know how long it will last so it’s best to get your CP now.

How to Find Cheapest Airfares? Here Is a Surprising Answer

Momondo Logo
Momondo Logo

We all would like to save money when buying an airline ticket. This blog post at One Mile at a Time has a good way to do so…check before purchasing elsewhere.

One issue with Momondo is that sometimes the fares found there can’t actually be booked, especially with one of their Italian travel agencies, but the site is usually reliable.

Momondo is one of the few websites that lists Southwest Airlines flights, as well as other non-alliance airlines like Norwegian.

Checking with Momondo is easy and fast, so it’s well worth a look as you book your next trip.

USA to Beijing Just $380+ Round-Trip on Delta

Delta Airlines Logo
Delta Airlines Logo

Delta Airlines is offering some dramatically low airfares from several U.S. cities to Beijing, China…just $380+ r/t. Depart from LAX, SFO, San Diego, Chicago, Boston, NYC, Seattle…all cities that can be reached by a positioning flight on Southwest Airlines from Austin.

See this God Save The Points blog post for the deets.

Fly January to April, 2018. Pay a couple hundred dollars more for Premium Economy, which features more legroom.