WOW Air is based in Iceland, and it flies from Boston and Baltimore-Washington airports to dozens of cities in Europe. This October first, it’s adding Paris and Amsterdam to its list of destinations, and from time to time, it offers $99 one-way fares.
You’ll have to make a stop in Reykjavik, Iceland, and this is a no-frills airline, so you’ll pay extra for seat selection, checked bags, and in-flight meals.
Then there’s Norwegian Airlines that offers discounted fares to Europe from New York, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Oakland, LA, and Vegas. The Wi-fi is free, and I priced a non-stop from Kennedy to London’s Gatwick airport and found a fare of less than $300 each way in late October. That’s cheap. But you may have to pay for luggage, using a credit card may incur a fee, and so on.
The all-business class La Compagnie flies planes with not-quite-lie-flat seats from New York to London’s Luton airport and to Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris. Fares are about $3,000 now but can go as low as $2,000 come late October.
Airlines set their schedules and the government measures the on-time performance of every flight—some 500,000 a month. But it gets more complicated—why, for example, do two different airlines flying the same routes at the same time post different flying times?
Now there’s a way find which airline will likely deliver you to your destination fastest. And which airports has the least delays.
Delta says it takes two hours and 22 minutes to fly from Atlanta to Houston. United takes 20 minutes longer. I know that because a web site called FiveThirtyEight crunches a year’s worth of stats on each airline’s performance to arrive an average flight that might bear little relation to the airline’s own, posted flying time.
FiveThirtyEight is the site helmed by Matt Silver, the statistician who made his reputation analyzing sports and political races. He’s broadened his scope, using use stats to determine flight times and average airport delays.
For example, the numbers show that departing from LAX adds five minutes to your flight time on average, while departing from San Francisco adds five minutes. Just visit this link, enter your departure and arrival cities, and you’ll find the airline that delivers the best results.
(This is a re-broadcast of a June 19, 2015, “Travel Minute.”)
A couple of weeks ago Kylie Jenner, she of the Clan Khardashian, posted a photo on Twitter of a passenger plane in the sky with white contrails behind it.
This worried Kylie Jenner greatly.
“Why,” wrote Ms. Jenner, “did I see 75 planes spraying white stuff into the sky. Who pays for this, and why is it happening? Is something being exterminated here? Is that something me? Does this have anything to do with honeybees dying off so fast? Why are some days normal with no spraying? Who’s responsible? What effect will this have on our health and our children’s health? Who the [bleep] thought this was a good idea? Am I the only one who sees this?”
What a lot of questions!
But, no, Ms. Jenner, you’re not alone—for years, conspiracy lovers have suggested the government is trying to poison us with that white stuff. But that’s a combination of water vapor in aircraft engine exhaust and low temperatures at high altitudes that creates those ice crystals. The Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, the FAA, and NOAH have all issued documents explaining the contrails.
Here’s a link to the EPA’s explanation.
Ever been on an airline flight during which the stranger in the seat next to you clips his or her toenails? Or stuffs a dirty diaper in the seatback in front of them? If not, you’re lucky. But if you want to know how bad it can get, there’s a place to find out.
A former flight attendant named Shawn-Kathleen has a web site called Rants Of A Sassy Stew in which she says things many working flight attendants would like to say For example, I didn’t know one of the more irritating questions a passenger can ask a flight attendant is, “Do you fly this route regularly?”
But it gets worse. Or better, depending on your point of view. Shawn-Kathleen decided to open this subject to the public and let all of us vent and also post photos of especially egregious example of bad or gross behavior. It’s on Facebook, and it’s called “Passenger Shaming.”
You won’t believe what you’ll find there: Airline lavatory sinks some passenger used as a toilet; bare feet stuck through the space between seats into the next row; a guy eating baked beans out of a big cooking pot he brought aboard with him.
Take a look for fun. If you can stomach it.
Asking diners to pay for their meals when making a reservation at hard-to-get-into restaurants continues to spread as restaurateurs find that’s an effective way to cut down on no-shows.
In the US, probably the best-known restaurant that does that is Trois Mec (pictured) in LA. Located in a non-descript, strip mall in an unremarkable neighborhood in Hollywood, Trois Mec is a 26-seat eatery in what used to be a pizza parlor. And you have to work hard to snare a table by calling on Friday morning two weeks before you wish to dine.
Your credit card will be charged about $100 per person when you reserve. That covers meal, tax, an 18% gratuity, but no drinks other than water. No cancelations and no refunds, though tickets are transferable.
Buying meal tickets as if they’re concert tickets is a trend begun in 2011 by Nick Kokonas, a former derivatives trader and co-owner of Chicago’s Next, where themed meals go for $300 including all drinks. (You can even buy “season tickets” at Next.)
A Michelin-starred restaurant in London called the Clove Club just became the first restaurant in that city to follow suit. And like Trois Mec, it’s a hot restaurant where getting a reservation is difficult.
I sense a trend.