Archive for February, 2011

Flight Tip #1 – Search Multiple Airports

When purchasing airline tickets, be sure to check the neighboring airports for cheaper flights.  Many cities have multiple airports within the city vicinity. Airport pairs are common such as (Miami and Ft.Lauderdale), (Orlando and Tampa), (San Fran and Oakland) or (JFK and La Guardia).  You could save hundreds of dollars by using some of the following tips:

Check flight prices In and Out of all airports within your destination.  Here are some examples where selecting an alternate airport may save you some loot:

  1. Disney World: When flying to Disney World, most people just check Orlando International Airport (MCO), but Tampa (TPA) is also a good option.  Orlando (MCO) to Disney World is 22 miles or an approximate 35 minute car ride.  Compare that to the trip from Tampa (TPA) to Disney World at 79 miles or an approximate 90 minute car ride and it sounds like Orlando is a clear winner.  But what if the flights were $100’s cheaper.* Tampa is often a cheaper location to fly into as it doesn’t have as heavy tourism traffic – especially in peak times.* Car rentals at Tampa are often cheaper for the same reason, more available cars = cheaper rentals.
    * Try combining a flight into Florida through Tampa with a return flight home out of Orlando.  Car rental companies in Florida allow pick-up at onc location and return at another, without charging a dramatic fee.
  2. San Francisco: San Francisco Airport (SFO) and Oakland (OAK) are within close proximity to downtown.  Be sure to check both airports.  Oakland is a little further away, but depending on the time of travel can be a short hop into the city.* A Taxi fare from SFO to Downtown San Francisco (14.2 miles – 23 mins) will run between $35 & $45.* A Taxi fare from OAK to Downtown San Francisco (20.2 miles – 30 mins) will run between  $50 & $60.

    If you have the option of saving on your flight of flying at better times by choosing OAK instead of SFO, the commute fare difference may be worth it.

  3. Miami / Ft. Lauderdale: Miami Airport (MIA) and Ft. Lauderdale Airport (FLL) are a short distance from each other and can be used synonymously when traveling to Florida’s east coast. * A commuter rail – Tri-Rail – has stations at both airports.  A ride from FLL to MIA will take approx. 50 minutes and will cost you a meager $3.75.* A car ride between the airports is 27 miles or approx. 36 minutes down I-95.

Splitting your trip between two or more airports is always an option as well.  When flying out of NYC and heading to San Fran, your best combination be out of JFK into SFO, returning out of OAK into LGA. Odd combinations can lead to significant savings.  Travel with a family and it can be the difference between a vacation out of town and a stay-cation.

jetBlue Changed My Flight Time – Now What?

So you have booked your flight, planned your car service to or from the airport and now you receive an email from your airline:  “We want to inform you about a change to your scheduled flight”  Now what?  This just happened to me and here are some helpful hints to make the experience less painful.

  1. jetBlue will attempt to contact you via email and telephone.  You will receive a telephone call with an automated recording telling you that your flight has changed.  As you were not expecting this phone call, you scramble to find a pen and paper and miss everything they were saying.
  2. Go check your email.  Be aware that both legs of the flight could have changed.  The email I received was a little cryptic, so read it thoroughly.
  3. Browse over to and login with your reservation info to print a new confirmation.  This is the only place that will be accurate up-to-the-minute.  Everything else can change at a moments notice.  (General tip:  It is always good to log back into your reservation <24 hours before your flight to make sure you didn’t miss the phone call or the emails.  jetBlue also gives you the option to check-in from home).

jetBlue changed your flight time(s) – and your not happy with the new flight times;  I called jetBlue and spoke with a helpful customer service agent who explained the options:

  • Flight time was changed by less than 30 minutes: You need to stick with the new time.  No free changes are available.
  • Flight time was changed by more than a 30 minutes but less than 4 hours:  You have 2 options.  You can change your flight to any flight on the day of original travel, one day before or one day after your originally scheduled flight without incurring any other fee.  You can select any flight, including one that is more expensive than the original.  They will change you to an available seat on an alternate flight with no fees.  -OR-  You can cancel your flight and you will receive a credit in the full amount of the canceled flight.  This credit is put into the jetBlue Travel Bank and is good for use on future travel within one year.
  • Flight time was changed by more than 4 hours: You can change your flight according to the same rules as >30 < 4 Hours  -OR- You can cancel your flight and jetBlue will credit your credit card for the full amount of the canceled flight.

While all of the above options are an inconvenience, the remedies are pretty reasonable.  Look at the bright side – may be you can use this as an opportunity to switch to that flight that was originally too expensive.