Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Business

Summer travel? Think beyond airfare

As travelers start thinking about winging off to summer vacations, price and flight schedules are clearly the primary factors when booking flights, and the Web has an abundance of resources to compare airfares and flight availability, including individual airline websites as well as online flight bookers, such as Expedia, Priceline, Orbitz and Kayak. But what else is important? Here are a few factors to consider.

Airline reputation: According to well-respected SkyTrax rankings, the top North American domestic carriers are Virgin America, WestJet, Alaska Airlines, Southwest Airlines and JetBlue Airways. Southwest is the largest among top-rated domestic airlines. But, its fares do not show up in searches at online travel agencies. You must find flights on Southwest.com.

Among North American carriers that fly abroad, top ratings go to Air Canada, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines.

If you want to drill down for recent data about such factors as on-time rates, lost baggage and consumer complaints among U.S. carriers, see the U.S Department of Transportation's Air Travel Consumer Report at http://tinyurl.com/dot-air. For annual rankings based on that data, assembled by academics, see the Airline Quality Rating at airlinequalityrating.com.

International carriers: Consider a foreign carrier when traveling abroad. In passenger satisfaction, foreign airlines typically thump American carriers. According to SkyTrax, the best airlines in the world are Qatar Airways, Asiana Airlines (South Korea), Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways (Hong Kong) and All Nippon Airways (Japan). No U.S. airline makes the top 20.

Legroom: You can buy more legroom on many flights, with premium economy fares offered by airlines such as United, Delta and American Airlines. But some airlines offer more personal space without additional cost. JetBlue, in particular, is known for offering significantly more legroom.

Seat choice: Check SeatGuru.com and SeatExpert.com to choose the optimal seats on a particular plane.

They might point out good seats that offer a little extra room — although that's less common now because airlines charge more for those seats — and bad seats, such as those near lavatories or rows without windows. They will allow you to compare seat widths and pitches (legroom) among airlines, which can vary a lot.

Checked bags: You'll have to pay for checked bags, each way, on many domestic flights but not on Southwest or JetBlue. That can mean a significant difference in bottom-line price if several people in your party will check bags. Meanwhile, you'll pay to carry on a bag — one that needs to fit in the overhead bin — on others, such as Spirit Airlines. Several websites offer airline bag-fee comparisons. One is FareCompare.com, at http://tinyurl.com/farecompare-bags.

Change fees: If your plans are iffy, you might consider an airline that charges a lower fee to change your flight. The best is Southwest, which charges nothing.

Internet: Wi-Fi usually carries an additional charge, often less than $10 for an average domestic flight. Wi-Fi is still relatively rare on international flights. Often a booking website will note whether your plane is likely to have Internet access.

Gadget amenities: Power ports and USB ports in seats can be helpful to recharge a computer, tablet or smartphone, which often double as personal onboard entertainment systems.

In-flight entertainment: Keeping yourself and children occupied can be key. In-seat video can help, with movies and even live television on some flights.

A site like SeatGuru.com will tell you what entertainment amenities a plane is likely to have.

Frequent-flier programs: Airline loyalty programs can be complex but lucrative, if you build enough miles or points with a single airline to get a free flight or seat upgrade. Consolidating trips onto a single airline can lead to value in later bookings.

Comments
Drugs at your doorstep: CVS will deliver prescriptions to your home

Drugs at your doorstep: CVS will deliver prescriptions to your home

CVS Health will make prescription deliveries nationwide to accommodate the heightened expectations of convenience from consumers. The nation’s second-largest drugstore chain says it also will make home deliveries of other items, like allergy medicine...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tech Data sending a record 700 employees to march in Pride Parade

Tech Data sending a record 700 employees to march in Pride Parade

Among the marching bands and twirlers at Saturday’s St. Pete Pride Parade, one major sponsor, Tech Data, is sending by far a record number of employees — more than 700 at last count — to march in Florida’s largest gay pride parade.The parade, which d...
Updated: 2 hours ago
St. Petersburg residents will see higher water, sanitation bills

St. Petersburg residents will see higher water, sanitation bills

ST. PETERSBURG — Residents can expect their water and sanitation bills to increase between $7 and $11 starting in October.That represents an average of a 7-percent increase. Customers who use an average of 4,000 gallons a month, including reclaimed w...
Published: 06/19/18
Spectrum’s new service will eventually increase the cost for TV

Spectrum’s new service will eventually increase the cost for TV

Spectrum’s new all-digital service is set to bring more high definition, faster internet speeds and expanded on-demand offerings — but it also comes with higher costs for some of its TV customers in Tampa Bay. Each TV that receives service from Spect...
Published: 06/19/18
Medical manufacturer to add 116 jobs in Pasco County expansion

Medical manufacturer to add 116 jobs in Pasco County expansion

NEW PORT RICHEY — TouchPoint Medical, an engineering and manufacturer of high-tech hospital equipment, plans to put its global headquarters into a 125,000-square-foot industrial and corporate office building in Pasco County.Tuesday morning, county co...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
Pasco Business Digest for June 22

Pasco Business Digest for June 22

Business digestBrieflyHOSPITALS RECEIVE AWARD: Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point and Medical Center of Trinity were recipients of Healthgrades 2018 Patient Safety Excellence Award, a designation that recognizes superior performance of hospitals t...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Hernando Business Digest for June 22

Business digestBrieflyHOSPITAL RECEIVES AWARD: Oak Hill Hospital in Spring Hill was the recipient of Healthgrades 2018 Patient Safety Excellence Award, a designation that recognizes superior performance of hospitals that have prevented the occurrence...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Private Florida firm buys Rent-A-Center in $1 billion deal

Private Florida firm buys Rent-A-Center in $1 billion deal

An Orlando private equity firm has purchased lease-to-own business Rent-A-Center in a deal valued at more than $1 billion.Vintage Capital Management put a bid in for the company on Friday: $15 per share, $1 per share above its previous offer. Rent-A-...
Published: 06/18/18
Report: 40 percent of Florida property will be ‘highly exposed’ to flooding

Report: 40 percent of Florida property will be ‘highly exposed’ to flooding

One of Florida’s biggest draws is also one if its biggest liabilities — its coastline. A new report projects that Florida is at the greatest risk of any state for tidal flooding caused by rising sea levels. And Tampa Bay faces some of the greatest ri...
Published: 06/18/18
Mazzaro’s gets ready to reopen

Mazzaro’s gets ready to reopen

day after an electrical fire broke out in its dry goods warehouse Friday night.Dominic Horwath, a grocery manager at Mazzaro’s on 22nd Ave. N, said staffers spent Monday and the weekend moving things into other warehouses.The damage from the fire at ...
Published: 06/18/18