Get upgraded to first class for free – Airplane tip

Work for a company that will only reimburse coach fares? Book a full-fare economy class ticket with a Y booking code.

Commonly referred to as “Y-up” tickets, travelers with a Y booking code may request complimentary upgrade to first class seating. Airlines created the Y booking code to get around tighter corporate travel policies, while still catering to their most lucrative passenger segment.

Keep maps and tickets – Souvenir tip

As an undergrad traveling around Europe, I didn’t have a lot of money to spend on souvenirs, but I still wanted a memento from every city and town that I visited. Though I couldn’t afford, say, a miniature plastic Eiffel Tower, I did stumble upon the perfect souvenir for anyone looking to save money: transit maps and tickets.

By keeping tickets, I not only had a physical keepsake of my trip, but I also had a great way of documenting exactly what I did and when. And by keeping maps, I could literally retrace my steps at any time.

Southwest and Virgin celebrate Thanksgiving with sales

Here are two more things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving – Southwest Airlines and Virgin America. Both carriers have announced Thanksgiving sales to celebrate the holiday.

Sample one-way fares in Southwest’s seven-day sale include: Austin to Houston for $59, Baltimore to Chicago for $97, Chicago to Las Vegas for $148, Denver to Milwaukee for $96, Fort Lauderdale to Long Island for $103, LA to Oakland for $59, Orlando to Nashville for $94, and Portland to Spokane for $58.

Fares start at $47 (and go up to about $159) each way plus tax. The tickets must be purchased by November 30 and are good for travel through February 9. A 14-day advance purchase is required, travel is valid every day except Fridays and Sundays, and there are a few blackout dates.

Tickets for Virgin’s sale must be purchased by December 2 and are valid for travel December 3 to 17. One-way fares range from $59 to $249 and include LA to Seattle for $79, LA to New York for $169, and Las Vegas to New York for $249.

Happy Birthday Gadling! Enter to win FREE TICKETS to anywhere Virgin America flies!

Part of our role as travel bloggers is covering all of the new, hip happenings in the travel industry, and as a result, we’ve worked closely with Virgin America over the last few years. We have similar histories in a way, both of us in our infancy, both working hard as hell to earn respect and clout in our industries. And its been a wild ride.

We were right there to witness the madness of the Entourage JFK-LAS inaugural, the mad dash from a Champagne soaked hangar in New York to the peak of the Tropicana casino in Vegas. Armed with cameras in hand during the Victoria’s Secret in-air fashion show from New York to Los Angeles. Taking shots at the bar at the Los Angeles – Seattle launch party. And maybe, just maybe, already wearing board shorts anticipating the Ft. Lauderdale launch. What can we say? It’s been great growing up together.

And now it’s time to extend our fortunes to you. In honor of our 5th birthday this month, Virgin America and Gadling are teaming up to give away two pair of round trip tickets anywhere that the airline flies. Want to take advantage of the award-winning RED system to flirt with the hottie from row 6? Now’s your chance. Finally want to see what it’s like to fly inside of a purple mood-lit plane? You could do it for free. We’ll even throw in free GoGo wireless credit so you can brag to your friends while you’re in the sky.

It’s a small way of saying “thanks” to all of the readers that have stuck around with us for these past five years, watching us grow, evolve and mature. Gadling wouldn’t be what we are today without you guys, and we can’t thank you enough for your support. Bookmark us, come back often and enter below.

  • To enter for your chance to win a pair of round trip tickets on Virgin America, leave a comment below. It can say anything, but we would prefer nice things for our birthday.
  • You may only enter this specific giveaway once. If you enter this specific giveaway more than once you’ll be automatically disqualified, etc. (Yes, we have robots that thoroughly check to ensure fairness.)
  • If you enter more than once, only activate one comment. This is pretty self explanatory. Just be careful and you’ll be fine.
  • Contest is open to anyone in the 50 States, 18 or older. Passes are not eligible for upgrades or premium seats. Flights must be booked no later than twenty one (21) days prior to travel. Please remember that the seats being offered through these passes are limited; thus, you should try to book as far out as possible so we can accommodate your flight request. Blackout dates: (2009: 11/25-11/30, 12/18-12/27/ 2010: 1/2-1/3, 2/12, 2/15, 5/28, 5/31, 7/2, 7/5, 9/3, 9/6, 11/24, 11/27 – 11/29, 12/17, 12/18, 12/23 – 12/26)
  • Winner will be chosen randomly. Two winners will get two round trip tickets to anywhere Virgin America flies. Tickets are valid through January 1, 2011. Approximate value is $599 per pair. You can only win once.
  • Entries can be submitted until Friday Saturday, October 17th, 5PM ET. Good luck!
  • Full rules can be found here.

Plan your Great American Beer Festival experience online

The Great American Beer Festival, one of the largest beer fests in the US, is just six days away. The three-day event known as the Olympics of beer is sold out, but if you are one of the lucky 50,000 or so who will be in attendance when it takes place in Denver next week, now is the time to plan your perfect GABF experience.

The GABF is more than just an excuse to drink beer (lots and lots of beer – nearly 2,000 beers will be available for sampling), it’s a chance to learn more about beer than you ever thought possible, meet the brewers of your favorites, and try brews not available in your local area.

In addition to the basic beer tasting, there are several special events going on at the festival. At the Beer and Food Pavilion, local chefs will be working with brewers to pair beer with food. Attendees can learn how to pair the two at home and taste samples. At the You Be the Judge booth, drinkers can learn the secrets of judging beer and taste several brews alongside an official judge. There’s also a Great American Beer Fest bookstore, lectures from the brewers, and a Designated Driver Lounge where DDs can sample craft-brewed root beers and soda and receive a free massage.

With so much going on, coming up with a strategy to make the most of each four-hour session can be daunting. The Great American Beer Festival website is here to help though. They’ve created an interactive networking website where attendees can talk about their favorite beers, arrange for beer trades, and discuss the best ways to plan their GABF experience. Veterans of the event offer advice to newbies like: eat beforehand (the high altitude can increase the effects of the beer), make a “pretzel necklace” to munch on as you taste so you don’t have to waste time waiting in the food line, costumes are not uncommon, and whatever you do, don’t drop your tasting glass.

The website also hosts a map of each brewery’s location so you can plan your route through the convention hall. Some GABF experts recommend you not try to do too much – chose your top 10-15 breweries and plan a strategy to visit them in the order of importance. Others suggest choosing the beers you want to taste according to style, maybe concentrating on IPAs or porters, or by geographical location of the brewery. And some attendees prefer to just bounce from booth to booth, sneaking in for a sample at whichever one has the shortest line. You can pick a plan of attack based on your preferences, but if you’re serious about tasting beer, you’ll need some kind of strategy to make the most of your limited time.

If you weren’t lucky enough to snag tickets this year, mark your calendar for June 2010. That’s when tickets for next year’s GABF, to be held September 16-18, go on sale.