Allegiant Air Offers Two-For-One Deal To Telluride Ski Resort

penniesBay Area- and Arizona-based snow lovers, rejoice! Allegiant Air, in collaboration with the Telluride Montrose Regional Air Organization, Telluride Ski Resort and Crested Butte Mountain Resort, is offering non-stop, two-for-one airline tickets. Travelers can fly to Montrose Regional Airport (70 miles from Telluride; Colorado Mountain Express is the local shuttle), via either Oakland International or Phoenix-Mesa airports.

Deals of this type are unheard of when it comes to premier ski destinations; as a former Telluride resident, I can attest to that. Even better, Allegiant is offering one-way fare from Phoenix starting as low as $46.99 one way ($93.98 round trip; flight times vary). Flights from Oakland start at $49.99 one way ($99.98 round trip, ditto), all winter long.

The Montrose flights began December 15, and conclude April 3, and are based upon availability. Tickets must be purchased by February 28, 2013, for the two-for-one offer, for use by April 3, 2013. For a complete flight schedule, click here.

But wait: there’s more! Telluride Ski Resort and Crested Butte Mountain Resort have launched an Ultimate 6 Pass, a 6-day pass good for three days of skiing and riding at each resort. That means you can use the centrally located Montrose airport for travel arrangements, and hit two of the Rockies’ most epic mountains in one vacation.

[Photo credit: Flickr user r-z]

Survey Suggests American Airlines Has Rudest Employees Among Domestic Carriers

flight attendantAccording to a recent Airfarewatchdog study, a preponderance of surveyed travelers think that of domestic air carriers, American Airlines has the “rudest employees.” United was a close runner-up, followed by Delta.

Ranking last (which in this case, means winner) is a four-way tie, between Alaska, JetBlue, Frontier and Virgin America. Hmm. Seems budget airlines know how to bring it.

Here’s the full list polled in alphabetical order:

AirTran 4%
Alaska 2%
Allegiant 3%
American 25%
Delta 18%
Frontier 2%
JetBlue 2%
Spirit 10%
Southwest 6%
United 21%
US Airways 12%
Virgin America 2%

Our friends at Airfarewatchdog run these unofficial consumer surveys every now and then and this is a great snapshot of the general consumer psyche. Bear in mind though, this data is unsubstantiated and unverified, so take it with a grain of salt. In our experience, most of the airline employees regardless of the airline are pretty darn chipper.

[Photo credit: Flickr user Fabird Blue]

Losing My Ryanair Virginity

The views are free.

The views are free.

Ryanair, Easy Jet, German Wings and other discount airlines have changed how Europeans travel, but until last week, I’d yet to fly on a budget European airline and had no idea what to expect. After booking a ticket from Bari, Italy, to Kos in Greece several weeks ago on Ryanair, my expectations were very modest based upon a very annoying booking process and a series of warning emails I received about baggage and boarding procedures.

But my interactions with live Ryanair staff were pleasant and the flight itself was smooth sailing. Here are some observations and tips for flying on Ryanair.

Don’t use Google Chrome. After clicking through what seemed like a thousand pages offering me everything from rental …

Condor airline to offer service from Frankfurt to Seattle

German budget airlines Condor is set to open a route between Frankfurt and SeattleCondor, a German based budget airline, has announced that it will begin offering service between Frankfurt and Seattle starting in June, with twice weekly flights that will give travelers more affordable options for visiting Europe this year. The new service is expected to begin on June 23, with flights taking place on Monday and Thursday of each week, running through October. This new route is in addition to Condor’s other North American flights, which which includes regular service to Las Vegas and Fort Lauderdale in the U.S., as well as Calgary, Vancouver, and Whitehorse in Canada.

The addition of Condor to the Seattle-Tacoma (Sea-Tac) airport brings a 23% overall increase in seat capacity between that region and Europe. That boost will come just in time for the summer and fall travel season, which is expected to be a busy one once again this year. In the summer of 2010, airlines operating between Sea-Tac and Europe filled 90% of their seats, and traffic is only expected to grow in 2011.

Condor is well known for offering very affordable flights throughout Europe and for running unique promotions. For instance, they’ll regularly offer cheap airfares from German airports to a surprise destination that isn’t revealed until after travelers book their flight. Those flights can cost as little as 49 euros ($66) each way for cities in Europe or 199 euros ($268) both directions for destinations further abroad. As for flights between Seattle and Frankfurt, bookings in July are currently running about $1200, which is roughly $450 cheaper than flying the same route with Lufthansa.

Right now, there are no plans to continue operations after October, but that could change in 2012 as Condor continues to upgrade and expand its international fleet to cover more destinations and carry more passengers. Either way, it is nice to have more options for air travel, and competition is certainly a good thing for consumers.

[Photo credit: Makaristos via WikiMedia]


Budget Travel Tips for Europe

budget-friendly travel europePractical, how-to budget travel advice is indispensible. There’s something particularly valuable about travel advice that opposes the emphasis on expensive hotels and other forms of high-end consumption that characterizes the contemporary travel media, perhaps especially in regions like Europe where costs are generally quite high.

Budget-friendly travel in Europe is no impossible dream, and the following sites are good for inspiring shoestring feats, assessing likely costs, and, above all else, disproving the idea that you have to spend hundreds of dollars a day to see Europe well. For some ideas about where to travel affordably in Europe, check out last week’s ten budget-friendly European destinations post.

1. Less Than a Shoestring. Though no longer publishing on a regular basis, the archives of this blog are astoundingly helpful in their low-budget audacity. Particularly useful for anyone scared off at the thought of Europe’s cost index are the blog’s “Baring my Budget” posts, which run through budgets for various short trips in great detail: three nights in Malta for €50 (currently $66); five days in London for £85 (currently $133); four nights in Venice for €91 (currently $120), all departing from Berlin. Costs breakdowns are provided in these “Baring my Budget” posts, as are the freebies encountered along the way. The mention of freebies is particularly helpful, as it reveals how often tourist information, maps, museum admission, and various cultural performances can be accessed free of charge. Though this series ran over two years ago, it is still very relevant.

2. EuroCheapo. Disclosure: I worked as an editor at EuroCheapo for almost three years and continue to do occasional freelance projects for the site. Phew. Glad I got that out of the way. Personal loyalty aside, EuroCheapo really is an enormously helpful resource. It is first and foremost as a hotel review site with useful descriptions of hotels written by trained hotel reviewers. EuroCheapo also edits a great blog full of essential budget-oriented tips penned by correspondents on the ground.

3. Guardian’s budget travel section. To be fair, the Guardian’s budget travel section is good for destinations around the world, though the density of articles on the UK, France, Italy, Spain, and other European countries is impressive. Recent articles that showcase well the newspaper’s creatively open approach to the subject of budget travel include Susan Greenwood’s budget Stockholm journey story, indebted to insider tips provided by a local blogger; a piece on backpacking in the Crimea by Maxton Walker; and Benji Lanyado’s TwiTrips series, for which the author receives tips via Twitter about the city he’s visiting and then liveblogs his discoveries. The most recent TwiTrip series installment sees Lanyado visiting Liverpool.4. Flycheapo. This site felt buzzing and electrified back when Europe’s low-cost airlines were announcing new routes weekly. With all the route cut-backs and cancellations of the last few years, the site sees far fewer regular updates. Nonetheless, Flycheapo is still an essential place to look for route information for inexpensive flights around Europe. The site provides new route news snippets, a route index, an airline index, and a route search, all of which are helpful for figuring out potential itineraries for low-cost air journeys across Europe.

5. Deutsche Bahn. Indispensible for figuring out train itineraries, Bahn.de features Europe-wide train schedules in enthralling detail. Bahn.de is also a much cheaper place for purchasing advance train fares than US-based agents. A very helpful run-down of how much cheaper these fares can be as well as information on how to access Deutsche Bahn sales personnel in English can be found in two posts by the editors of hidden europe magazine, here and here.

(Image: Flickr / vxla)