I went on line to check out a company called Relay Rides. It’s situated just off the airport, at the San Francisco Westin hotel, which right away saved me money because I didn’t have to pay those steep fees for renting at an airport.
Relay Rides rents out cars owned by other drivers. They can leave their cars with Relay—thereby parking at the airport for free—and Relay offers them for rent at bargain prices to guys like me. Relay shares the revenue with the car owner. Relay covers the owner’s car with a million-dollar policy and checks out a renter’s driving history.
For the consumer, photos of cars available for rent may be viewed along with prices on line at RelayRides.com. Pick a car, Relay Rides vets you, and in a few hours lets you know if you have a deal. I got a Toyota Prius with 99,000 miles on it for five days for a measly $120. Total. That’s more than 50% less than what I would have paid at the airport.
I know Thanksgiving is about the pilgrims and Indians. And, if you’re lucky, gathering around the table with family and friends. But looking at it from a travel viewpoint, here are a few things I’m thankful for this year.
I’m thankful American Airlines isn’t following Delta and United’s lead to base the number of miles you fly on the price of your airline ticket. I’m betting that will change eventually, but for now, thanks, American.
I’m thankful most Marriott properties will begin offering free Wi-Fi next year to the 47 million members of its frequent-guest program. I just wish they wouldn’t restrict higher-speed Wi-fi to its Gold and Platinum members.
I’m grateful that Uber was invented and has spread around the globe. And AirBnB, too. I know there are some legal hurdles to both models, but those disruptive technologies have certainly benefited travelers.
I’m glad that we’ve gone so many years now with no fatalities as far as US airlines go. In fact, I find it quite incredible, and I hope we continue to beat the odds.
And I want to take a moment to thank the stations that broadcast my “Travel Minute” and my weekend travel show and listeners and advertisers who support RMW.
Thanksgiving best, from me and my team to you and yours.
Few things irritate hotel guests more than having to pay a daily fee for Wi-fi.Here’s welcome news from a surprising quarter. Emirates, the Dubai-based airline that seems to be taking over the world, announced that it will offer free Wi-fi on all its flights effective immediately.
Well, almost free. The first 10 megabytes will be on the house, the next 600 will cost $1. Keep in mind, this includes Wi-fi while crossing oceans, a perk most US airlines don’t offer at any price.
Not all of Emirates’ planes are quite ready to go, but most are, and the airline says its goal is to offer unlimited free Wi-fi to all passengers in the future. Emirates says it spends about $20 million a year on Wi-fi equipment and service, and that last month about 3,500 passengers a day used on-board Wi-fi, with each passenger using an average of 28 megabytes.
The most number of Emirates passengers using Wi-fi at once on a single flight was aboard a giant A380—which can carry more than 800 passengers—when 153 passengers were connected. The airline experienced a 200% jump in Wi-fi usage last month when it offered free Wi-fi to mark the Eid holidays.
Let’s see if the competition meets the Emirates challenge.
Instead of awarding miles based solely on the number of miles you fly, your miles will be based on your ticket price. Under Delta’s scheme, if you’re not an elite flyer, you’ll earn five miles for every dollar you spend—not including government fees and taxes. If you’re silver, you’ll earn seven miles per dollar spent, eight miles for gold, nine for platinum, and 11 for diamond medallion.
This clips the wings of mileage mavens who search for long flights with low fares in order to collect miles cheaply. United Airlines is doing the same this coming spring. American, however, is busy merging with US Airways, and is staying with the traditional model. But I bet sometime next year, it’ll follow Delta and United’s lead.
In announcing the new rules, Delta sent out an email with the headline, “When everyone is an elite flyer, no one is.” Sort of reminds me of that classic line from George Orwell’s novel, Animal Farm: “All animals are created equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
Let the countdown begin. This coming Sunday will be the busiest day of the year in the airline business, and everyone who is flying anywhere for Thanksgiving will be in a big hurry. Here’s how to be above the crowd.
If you’re catching one of the first flights of the day, good for you. If you’re not, do that next year.
Get to the airport two hours early—not one. Print out your that boarding pass ahead of time. If there’s a long line for checking luggage inside the terminal, pay the extra couple of bucks to check your luggage with a skycap outside.
If you haven’t registered for TSA pre-check, do it so you’re set for future flights. Better yet, pay a few bucks more to get Global Entry that will allow you easy access when returning to the US from overseas. Global Entry folks get to use a fingerprint reader machine and bypass immigration lines.
Stay cool. That’s the most important piece of advice I can give you. Make the journey be part of the trip. Take it easy, be gracious. As the sergeant on “Hill Street Blues” used to say, “We’re all in this together.”