Guest Post by Chris Carruth
- Etihad Airways, the laudable upstart carrier out of Abu Dhabi, has been voted World’s Leading Airline, World’s Leading First Class, and World’s Leading Airline to the Middle East by the World Travel Awards. While that’s certainly commendable, it’s likely that Etihad’s recent partnership with Germany’s AirBerlin is more germane to the UsingMiles audience. This new partnership means that Etihad will now service over 239 destinations across 77 countries; they’ve got a bright future and are setting up an excellent route structure.
- IcelandAir will be starting year-round service from Denver to Reykjavik this May. The airline will offer non-stop flights on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. If you’ve never been to Iceland, it’s certainly worth the trip alone, yet many a savvy traveler will view this new route as a potential stop-over on the way to the U.K. or other Western European nations. That aside, IcelandAir’s extended service is important as it introduces another carrier, and destination, into the current climate – more flights, more options, better for the consumer. IcelandAir is offering up various promotional fares and excursions around Reykjavik in honor of their new services. Fares from Denver to Reykjavik are ~$500 (round-trip), while fares between Denver and Western European cities, with a single stopover in Iceland, start at $730.
- Philly, the next great art city?: On May 19th, 2012, the Barnes Museum will be open to the public and hundreds of previously hidden away art works will be on display; collections include work by Renior, Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso, Degas, van Gogh and other masters. If you time your trip right, you can catch the current van Gogh “Up Close” exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art which is running from February through May 12th. And, if you do make the pilgrimage, don’t miss out on the nearby Rodin Museum or the Institute of Contemporary Art. Seems like Philly transition away from brother love in favor of artistic amour.
- Hawai’ian Islands: Competition for transportation to the land of luau’s and hula-hands heats up. Hawai’ian Airlines recently announced an increase in service to and from Kahului Maui. Such a move will force their main competitor, Alaskan Airlines, to jockey for better pricing position. If you’re interested in inter-island travel, it’s worthwhile to pay attention to how routes and fares shake out in the ensuing months. Additional flights to Kona, Hilo and Kauai are being planned as well. Did we mention that service between L.A. and Maui will be restarted with a temporary flight season expected to end in late August? Based upon demand, this route could return full-time.Meanwhile, flights from the West Coast to various Hawaiian cities continue to be affordable, particularly during Spring break, although these deals are time sensitive and will be ending soon. As evidenced here, various carries are competing for your business which translates to price wars in which the consumer could win. For East Coasters, keep in mind that starting this June, JetBlue will be offering service from JFK’s new terminal 5 straight to Honolulu – lots of miles to earn on that route – and bring a pillow, that’s a long flight. Finally, if you’re planning on being in the 50th state in the next few months, you’ll have an excellent opportunity to volunteer with NOAA’s Hawai’ian Islands Humpback Whale watch – meet locals, have fun, and be fascinated.
What are you waiting for? Book a flight now.