Best U.S. Airlines: 2013 Edition Unveiled By Airfarewatchdog

Eight weeks remain in 2013-including the busy holiday travel season-but apparently Airfarewatchdog has seen enough. Last week it announced its picks for the best, and worst, U.S. airlines of the year. The top three were Frontier, Virgin America and JetBlue with United ranking last.

For criteria, Airfarewatchdog looked at canceled flights, on-time arrivals, mishandled bags, denied boardings and customer satisfaction. Interestingly, top overall airline Frontier didn’t rank at the top of any individual category.The entire overall results:

  1. Frontier
  2. Virgin America
  3. JetBlue
  4. Alaska
  5. Southwest
  6. Delta
  7. AirTran
  8. US Airways
  9. American
  10. United

Pilot Fired After Rough Landing

rough landing
Arrow712/Flickr


Forget where your seat is located, how much legroom you have or the race to claim overhead storage space. These are all parts of flying that some passengers are better at coping with than others. One element of flight that all passengers share is landing. Usually, the aircraft glides in for a smooth landing or seems to hop or skip a bit as it touches down. But what if it hits the runway so hard that the plane’s nose gear collapses? That’s exactly what happened during the rough landing of a Southwest Airlines flight.

The result: Captain fired.

On Southwest Airlines flight 345 last July, a veteran captain and 13-year pilot took over the controls of the Boeing 737 as it approached the runway.Southwest policy calls for the aircraft’s main wheels under the wings to touch down first, reports Bloomberg. In this case, the front landing gear touched down first, snapped off and damaged the aircraft. Nine passengers were injured. Traffic at New York’s LaGuardia airport was disrupted for hours.

The incident is still under investigation.

NTSB: Capt. Took Command Seconds Before 'Nose' Landing

Southwest Airlines Now Has A ‘No-Show’ Policy

Southwest Airlines’ leniency with “no-shows” has been a popular attractor for many customers. The airline has long boasted that their customers get to keep the total value of their flight purchase, even when they simply don’t show up.

While the idea of not losing money in the case of an emergency might seem appealing to the masses, only a small minority of Southwest customers have been taking advantage of this deal and they’ve been doing it habitually. For that reason, Southwest will now be enforcing its own version of a “no-show” policy. Passengers will still receive the full value of their flight purchase if they cancel, but they have to cancel no later than 10 minutes before the flight takes off. This updated policy is still sensible and comparatively customer-oriented.[Thanks, USA Today]

Southwest Airlines Plane Landing Gear Failure Closes LaGuardia

Southwest Brings Free In-Flight TV To Your iPad

tv ipad inflight
Paul Ingles, Flickr

These days, most of the news coming from airlines seems to herald the start of a new fee or surcharge, so it’s both a novelty and a relief to hear about a new service that will cost absolutely nothing. Southwest Airlines announced today that it will offer free television streaming for passengers traveling with their iPads and iPhones.

The service – known as TV Flies Free – is being offered in partnership with pay TV provider DISH, and will give travelers access to live television and around 75 on-demand shows.The TV programming is transmitted to your gadgets via the plane’s in-flight Wi-Fi, but the good news is you don’t have to cough up anything for the connection (which costs $8 per day) to be able to access the TV.

Streaming will work on a range of personal devices like tablets, laptops and smart phones. There’s no need to download any apps or jump through any hoops to watch shows – programming will run on your device’s regular browser.

Since the entertainment runs over Wi-Fi and requires the use of personal electronics, you won’t be able to watch shows during takeoff and landing, but hey, it’s hard to complain about free TV. You can access the service on any of Southwest’s 400 Wi-Fi enabled planes.

Colorado Ski Resorts Offer Spring Break Deals, Special Events, Statewide

skierStill mulling over where to spend spring break, be it solo, or with friends or family? Colorado Ski Country USA resorts make it easy, with a handy online guide promoting special deals and events statewide throughout March and part of April.

In addition to loads of concerts and fun and endurance ski races at most resorts, there’s also the famed Elk Mountain Grand Traverse backcountry race from Aspen to Crested Butte, and Battle in the Bowls in Aspen Highlands. Crested Butte is also celebrating Colorado Passholder Appreciation Month through March 6; anyone holding a season pass, regardless of resort, can ski CB for $59.

Copper Mountain hosts the Copper Uncorked “working man’s wine festival” on March 10; think affordable vintages, and nontraditional pairings a la pizza, wings, and breakfast burritos. Aspen and Telluride are offering variations on “kids ski and stay free” programs, and Wolf Creek has Local Appreciation Days March 6 and 13, and April 3 and 7. Lift tickets are just $35/adult or student, $29/child/seniors. Get those plane tickets booked now!

[Photo credit: Flickr user Ben Moscona l Photography]