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March 19, 2012 | By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
Low-cost airlines that cut out many of the extras might not be expected to get high marks for service - just as fast food is unlikely to win culinary awards. But J.D. Power & Associates' 2012 Customer Service Champions did not include long-established carriers such as Delta Air Lines, United Airlines or American Airlines among the 50 companies from various industries that won the distinction this year based on value, service and other measures. Instead, the report listed low-cost carriers Southwest Airlines, JetBlue Airways and San Francisco upstart Virgin America as the only airlines to win the award.
March 9, 2012 | By Chris Erskine, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
United and Delta are the latest airlines to replace or upgrade bins to hold more luggage, the Associated Press reports. Expanding bins is a smart way for airlines to set themselves apart, says Henry Harteveldt, who leads airline and travel analysis at Atmosphere Research Group, a market research firm. “Especially if they cater to the business traveler, they're hoping it will give them a small but noticeable competitive advantage” . . . . The Los Angeles Clippers have announced a new partnership with Virgin America . . . .   Brian Head Resort, three hours northeast of Las Vegas in southern Utah, has extended its season a week, to April 15. Look for 25% off spring break lodging and lift ticket deals  here . . . . Yosemite National Park says that Big Oak Flat Road (Highway 120 within the park)
March 9, 2012 | By Shan Li
American Express cardholders who use Twitter can now tweet their way to discounts. The company said that U.S. cardholders can sync up their AmEx cards to Twitter to receive paperless, exclusive coupons to participating retailers such as Best Buy and Zappos by tweeting "special offer" hashtags. When the Twittering cardholder goes shopping at that merchant, the discount is credited to the linked-up account in a few days. "American Express is turning Twitter content into commerce by connecting cardmembers to merchants and delivering real world value to both," Ed Gilligan, American Express' vice chairman, said in a statement.  At launch, participating merchants include, Best Buy, the Cheesecake Factory, Dell, H&M, McDonald's, TicketMaster and Virgin America.
February 27, 2012 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
With major airlines raising prices three times since the beginning of the year, shopping for bargain air fares will be more critical than ever. Flash sales feature limited dates but they do offer good savings for a quick getaway or weeklong vacation. Here are two sales that end tonight (Monday) from Virgin America and Spirit Airlines. Virgin America: Cheapest fares for this sale are for travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from Thursday to March 14. During that period, one-way prices from Los Angeles start at $69 to San Francisco, $89 to Seattle, $109 to Dallas-Fort Worth and Chicago, $119 to New York City andWashington, D.C. Sale prices are higher but still discounted for travel March 15 through June 7. Read the fine print for restrictions by destination.
January 31, 2012 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
Groupon Getaways has a deal for travelers in Los Angeles and San Francisco who are bound for Chicago: $39 will get you $100 toward round-trip airfare and free in-flight Wi-Fi on Virgin America . The deal is good only for travel to and from the Windy City by the end of March. Here's how it works: Once you pay $39 via the Groupon sale page, you apply $100 to a single round-trip airfare from L.A. or San Francisco to Chicago -- a savings of $61. The ticket must be purchased from Virgin America at least three days prior to travel by 9:59 p.m. PST Feb. 29; travel must be completed by March 31. Take a minute to read the terms and conditions of the deal on Groupon before you make a purchase.
January 17, 2012 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
Virgin America announced Tuesday that it would begin flying three daily nonstop flights between Los Angeles and Philadelphia in April -- bringing more options to fly on the airline deemed best in the U.S. by Conde Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure readers.  Flights between Los Angeles and Philadelphia international airports begin April 4. Tickets are on sale now and cost $129 each way, excluding tax and fees. To get that fare, reservations must be made by 9:59 p.m. PST Friday for travel between April 4 and June 15, with some blackout dates.
January 13, 2012 | Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
Even by the standards of today's economy, Virgin America's financial health seems pretty weak: While enjoying a hip, high-tech reputation, the San Francisco airline has reported only one profitable three-month period since it launched nearly five years ago. If the airline's executives are worried, they aren't showing it. In fact, they continue to hire at a brisk pace - 500 workers last year - and, at a time when other airlines are cutting back,...
October 21, 2011 | By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
The U.S. airline industry has been on a hiring trend lately, but don't expect that to continue too much longer. For the ninth straight month, the airline industry added full-time employees in August, with employment numbers up 2.8% from the same month last year, according to the U.S. Transportation Department's Bureau of Transportation Statistics. In August, commercial passenger airlines employed 388,523 full-time workers in the U.S., up 10,688 workers from August 2010, according to the bureau.
September 14, 2011 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
Hacker Fares sound downright illegal but they're not. Kayak recently coined the term that pops up in its  airline searches along with "nonstops," "1 stop," etc., when you go airfare shopping at the online travel website. Basically, Hacker Fares allow you to book two one-way flights with separate airlines and separate tickets. (Don't confuse this with code sharing, which involves flying on different airlines through inter-airline agreements.) The point, of course, is to save money.
September 4, 2011
THE BEST WAY TO BOSTON From LAX, American, United, JetBlue and Virgin America offer nonstop service to Boston. American and Southwest offer direct service (stop, no change of plane), and AirTran, United, Southwest, American, US Airways, Continental, JetBlue and Delta offer connecting service (change of plane). Restricted round-trip fares begin at $378. Massachusetts' Berkshire Hills are a three- to four-hour drive from Boston or New York City. WHERE TO STAY Near Steepletop: Inn at Green River, 9 Nobletown Road, Hillsdale, N.Y.; (518)
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