Southwest returns to San Francisco
This weekend, Southwest Airlines returns to San Francisco airport, flying 18 daily departures. In 2001, Southwest shut down operations at that airport. But the airline has apparently decided to return to SFO to challenge United Airlines. Introductory fares of round-trip to Las Vegas for $118 and round-trip to Chicago for $189 can be bought now for travel between August 26 and October 31. See Southwest.com.
Fun facts: Southwest's website is a hit. It's the number one airline website for online revenue, according to PhoCus Wright. It's also the largest airline website for unique visitors, according to Neilsen/NetRatings.
Related: Southwest says the early response has been favorable to its test of a new boarding procedure. In a test that began this week in San Antonio, passengers are asked to board the plane one-by-one in an assigned order, rather than board in one of three groups. When passengers check-in for their flight, they're assigned individual boarding numbers. Once they board the plane, they still have their choice of seats on a first-come, first-served basis. According to Gadling, "They've doubled the size of the 'A' group and done away with the C group completely, and families with small kids get boarded between 'A' and 'B' groups."
Elsewhere: Spirit Airways CEO: "We owe him nothing"
The first G.A.P. Adventures store
Some of our most popular Real Deals have been vacation packages put together by G.A.P. Adventures, a Canadian company that specializes in outdoor adventure travel. These packages include escorted, small-group tours, which come in cushy and rough-and-tumble versions. G.A.P. Adventures has been launching "stores" worldwide. The latest store to open is at 364 Avenue of the Americas in New York City. Assistants can help custom-tailor the best package for you. Photo: Rick McCharles, Creative Commons Here are some recent Real Deals involving G.A.P. Adventures. Airfare is additional. In the Buddha's Footsteps, $745 a Person. Costa Rica Volunteering & Tour, $695. Myanmar Revealed Over 13-Nights, From $905 Hiking Through Navajo History, 7 Nights, $1,395 Per Person. Thailand for 11 Nights, From $870 a Person
Europe's Smart cars are coming to the U.S.
When I first saw a Smart car in Europe years ago, I was instantly reminded of the toy cars my Weebles rode in, a fact that sold me on it instantly. Until now, I've sufficed with the dream of, what I thought, was the next best thing (a Mini Cooper), but now my original dream can finally be realized when Smart's fortwo makes its U.S. debut in early 2008. The Smart fortwo gets about 40 miles to the gallon and starts at around $12,000. You can already reserve the model you want to buy, be it the Pure, the Passion, or the Passion Cabrio, for $99. Currently, the Smart fortwo is on a 50-city tour, giving all Americans the chance to fall in love. Reservations and a list of the Smart fortwo tour stops can be found at smartusa.com.--Lindsey Ramsey
Today's travel intel
American adds daily flights between London's Stansted airport and New York's JFK starting on October 29. Later, on March 30, 2008, American will begin daily flights between Heathrow airport and Dallas/Fort Worth and Raleigh/Durham. The airline will run one daily departure from Gatwick airport and one from Heathrow non-stop to Dallas-Fort Worth instead of twice daily from Gatwick. Tomorrow is the Calgary Stampede. More than one million visitors will see barrel races and bronco-riding contests. Details--including last-minute vacation packages--can be found at the Calgary Stampede's website. Tour operator Globus is offering a discount. Between now and Sept. 30, you can receive $500 off per couple on next year's river cruises. See details at Globus's website. Minimalist beach vehicles: Not far from downtown Buenos Aires, Argentina, you'll find a beach that has many unique concept cars, whose bodies have been taken off to prevent rust from the sea air. These all-frame cars are cool beach vehicles. [via Buenos Aires Spotting blog] [Photo: Buenos Aires Spotting blog]
Good news: The eagles are back
After years of endangerment, our national bird is now easily spotted along the upper Mississippi River (from Minnesota to Illinois); in the Minnesota Valley refuge; Oregon's Bear Valley and Cape Meares refuges; Virginia's Mason Neck, James River, and Blackwater refuges; and the Chesapeake Bay's Rappahannock River refuges, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. [Photo by Frank Wouters via Flickr and Creative Commons]