A little used-way to save money on air fares ... United's new bag delivery scheme
I've done this several times before, but a story I spotted this morning out of Dallas made for a good reminder.
One way you can save a bit (sometimes more) on a long-distance air fare is to buy separate tickets. This works particularly well if you're headed to a smaller destination in Europe or to a far-flung part of the Caribbean. Also to South America and sometimes Asia.
The thing to remember is that there are often are great deals at OTHER airports than Toronto; particularly some in the U.S. and in Europe. Rather than fly, say, Air Canada to London and then on to, say, Prague, you could look at a cheap flight out of London to Prague (see photo) on something like Ryan Air or another discount carrier, and then buy a ticket to London.
Better deals, I think, are often out of New York. That doesn't always work so well for flights to Europe, but it can if the New York-Europe ticket is discounted enough to get you to fly (or even drive) to New York or Newark. It can work quite well on a trip to South America out of New York, or to some Caribbean spots with deals. Likewise, you can fly to some Caribbean spots or South America via Miami.
It also can work if you want to go to Hawaii, as there have been good deals out of Oakland and San Francisco and Los Angeles of late. Ditto for the occasional sale out of L.A. to New Zealand or Australia. If you have Aeroplan points, you might be able to fly to L.A. for the $100 or so you'll get charged by Aeroplan, and then get a $1,200 ticket (or so) to Australia.
UNITED BAG SERVICE
Here's a clever idea. Travelmole.com reports United Airlines has launched a new VIP baggage service, allowing flyers "to avoid luggage lines and have their bags delivered directly to their final destinations."
It would save a hassle if you can afford the fees: $29.95 for one bag, $39.95 for two and $49.95 for three to eight bags. The latter would be handy for a big family that doesn't want to bother waiting around for their bags.
Sadly, the place I know of with the LONGEST WAITS IN THE WORLD for bags, that being Pearson here in Toronto, isn't part of his program.
The new service, called Bags VIP, will first be available to customers departing from any US airport and heading to Boston, Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles or Orlando. The bags can be delivered anywhere within 100 miles, and United says it plans to expand the service to nearly 200 airports in the coming months.
I can see this being pretty useful if you're a business person and you have to get to a meeting fast and don't want to wait for the carousel to spit out your suitcase. Maybe not as much for average travelers, but worth considering....
JAUNT.CA DEAL OF THE DAY
Jaunt.ca, a division of Torstar, has a Discover Imperial Beijing, China tour on offer. A package from Tour East Holidays, it goes for $1,199 plus $600 in taxes.Jaunt Highlights
- EXCLUSIVE SAVINGS: Savings of up to $2300 per couple, compared to what you'd pay had you booked your air, accommodations and tours separately!
- 9-day/7-night tour of Beijing, including visits to the Temple of Heaven, the Imperial Palace, the Great Wall of China, and more
- Includes single-entry China Visa (valued at $115) and gratuities for local driver & guide (valued at $85)
- Includes round-trip, direct flight with Air Canada from Toronto or Vancouver, to Beijing, airport/hotel transfers in China, and all transfers throughout the tour
- Includes 18 meals throughout the tour (as indicated in itinerary below)
- Accommodations are in 4-star hotels, and are based on double occupancy
- Includes accompaniment of an English-speaking guide and all required entrance fees (as per itinerary)
- Fly direct to Beijing, and if you're an Aeroplan member, collect points
- Visit the Great Wall of China - one of the Seven Wonders of the World
- Taste your way through the country from traditional teahouses to Donghuamen Snack Street
- Valid for travel on April 3, 2013 departure
- Pricing (per person, plus tax):