Spirit Joins Non-Fee Party, New Delta Sky Club, The Busiest Travel Season Ever?

Tuesday, May 21: Just when you thought it was safe to keep paying airline cancellation fees, another airline says “NO! You will not go in to that night alone and we will NOT take more of your money!” Ok, it’s not that dramatic, but it IS nice that Spirit has joined the ranks of ‘we’re not gonna charge you change fees…not out of the goodness of our small, seat-like hearts but because other carriers are starting to do it and we don’t wanna seem greedy’. Hey, we’ll take it!

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Delta Air Lines Reveals Lavishly Expanded Sky Club at LaGuardia Airport

Delta Air Lines recently cut the ribbon on the expanded Sky Club at LaGuardia Airport, marking a significant upscale in both size and amenities. The club now sprawls across more than 35,000 square feet, growing by around 4,500 square feet, which not only provides more elbow room but also makes it the largest in Delta’s portfolio.

In an era where airline lounges sometimes feel more crowded than the terminal itself, this expansion could be a game-changer for frequent flyers. The highlight of the new space is arguably the year-round Sky Deck. With a retractable roof, this feature promises a breath of fresh air—literally—for passengers weary of the standard airport experience. Whether it’s basking in the sunshine or simply enjoying a cocktail under the stars, the Sky Deck adds a splash of resort flair to the pre-flight ritual.

Not to be overshadowed, the addition of a second premium bar might just make waiting for a flight at the “Sky Club” a more appealing prospect than boarding the plane itself. As the lines at airport bars can rival those at security checkpoints, this should be a welcome addition for anyone looking to unwind before jetting off. Delta’s expansion at LaGuardia turns the lounge from a mere waiting area into a destination in itself—a clever move in the competitive world of airline amenities. (photos can be found here)

Spirit Airlines ends cancellation and change fees, because...well, everyone is too!

Spirit Airlines has taken a leap towards customer-friendly skies (as well as following Frontier’s last-week announcement) by axing cancellation and change fees, joining the growing fleet of carriers that are shedding these extra charges

As reported by SimpleFlying, this policy revamp means travelers can now tweak or nix their plans without a financial sting. Spirit’s website cheerfully declares, “Change fees are now gone for all,” and “cancellation fees are canceled for everyone.”

Previously, passengers were navigating a fee maze, forking over $119 for alterations made within six days of departure. If you planned a bit further ahead, changes made between 7 and 30 days before takeoff cost $99, while adjustments from 31 to 59 days in advance were slightly less punitive at $69.
This change of heart comes during a turbulent time for the budget airline. 

After a U.S. judge greenlit a Department of Justice lawsuit to block a proposed $3.8 billion merger with JetBlue on antitrust grounds, the deal was jettisoned. This legal headwind, combined with a less-than-rosy financial outlook, has left market watchers and investors a tad nervous about Spirit’s flight path ahead.

Saudi Aviation Conglomerate Orders 100 Airbus Jets

In an ambitious stride towards becoming a tourism powerhouse, Saudi Arabia’s national airline, Saudia Group, has significantly bolstered its fleet. The conglomerate, which includes the flagship Saudia airline and its budget counterpart Flyadeal, announced on Monday that it has placed an order for 105 aircraft from Airbus’s A320neo family. This substantial order comprises 12 A320neos and 93 A321neos, swelling Saudia Group’s backlog with Airbus to 144 planes from the A320neo series.

This move isn’t just about expanding metal wings; it’s part of a broader vision to boost visitor numbers to the kingdom. With aims loftier than the cruising altitude of its jets, Saudia is ramping up flights and seat capacity across its sprawling network of over 100 destinations. The ultimate destination? Attracting more than 150 million tourists by the year 2030.

The timing of Saudia’s announcement could be seen as a tailwind from Airbus’s recent buoyant earnings report in February. The aerospace titan reported robust results for its commercial aircraft sector and has set an ambitious production target of 800 commercial aircraft deliveries this year, up from 733 in 2023.

While the scale of this order might make one think Saudia is on a spending spree, it’s clear the airline is strategically banking on air travel to be a cornerstone of Saudi Arabia’s tourism thrust.

TSA is prepared for busiest summer travel season ever

As Memorial Day weekend approaches, signaling the kickoff to this year’s summer travel season, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is gearing up for what could be record-breaking crowds at airport security lines. The TSA is projecting that Friday, May 24, will be the busiest day of the holiday weekend, with nearly three million travelers expected to pass through checkpoints. Over the week spanning May 23 to May 29, the agency anticipates screening over 18 million passengers and crew, marking a 6.4% increase from 2023.

“In close coordination with airport, airline and travel partners, we are more than ready to handle this summer’s increased travel volumes,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske confidently asserted. He added, “We are also continuing to deploy state-of-the-art checkpoint technology that increases security effectiveness, efficiency and enhances the passenger experience and our retention and recruitment numbers are the highest they’ve ever been.”

As part of its ongoing efforts to enhance security while minimizing traveler hassle, the TSA is rolling out the latest in checkpoint technology across the nation. Travelers can look forward to experiencing these new developments firsthand, although some may wonder if the shiny new gadgets will mean shorter lines or just a more futuristic wait. Either way, the TSA’s proactive measures suggest that while your patience at the airport might still be tested, your safety is being taken very seriously.


> In April 2023, Austrian Airlines revealed plans to refresh its long haul fleet, replacing its existing wide body aircraft with Boeing 787s. Ben from One Mile at a Time shares an update on this, as the first Dreamliner will operate its first passenger flight.

> Ottawa travellers can soon expect more options when booking flights to both domestic and international destinations. Air Canada announced Friday it is expanding its service to the Macdonald–Cartier International Airport by almost 60 per cent compared to 2023.

> Low-cost carrier Ryanair on Monday reported its best-ever annual profit, as passenger and revenue growth offset sharply higher operating costs, but flagged a weaker pricing environment in the current quarter.

> Thai AirAsia X expects to post a profit from carrying nearly 1 million passengers this year, driven by its Japan routes, after returning to profit in the first quarter.

Fares, Miles, Points

> To celebrate Memorial Day Weekend, low-cost Icelandic carrier Play Airlines is back with a deal: Flights to Europe are currently going for as little as $99 to $129 one-way when booked as part of a round-trip itinerary. (link comes from our friends at The Points Guy).

> The Marriott Bonvoy American Express lets you earn miles with 40 different frequent flyer schemes if you convert the Bonvoy points. This is a benefit which no other UK credit card can match.

> Tata SIA Airlines, which operates Vistara Airlines, informed its users on May 15, 2024, that the ‘Club Vistara’ frequent flyer program will merge with Air India’s ‘Flying Returns’ program. Hence, passengers of both airlines should expect some changes.

> If you’re traveling soon, make sure you have these must-haves recommended by people who are basically pros.


> Book a weekday (Sunday thru Thursday) stay of 3 or more nights at Comfort Inn [choicehotels.com], Comfort Suites [choicehotels.com] or Country Inn & Suites [radissonhotels.com] to save 20% off best available rates.

> Hilton has announced the debut of DoubleTree by Hilton Malta, marking the brand’s inaugural presence on the island. Located on the picturesque St. Paul’s Bay in the Mediterranean, the 485-room beachfront hotel offers elegant guest rooms, exclusive dining experiences, multiple swimming pools and premier business meeting spaces.

> It’s well and good that distinguished Gramercy Tavern chef Michael Anthony will be the “culinary consultant in charge” of a planned restaurant at the Waldorf Astoria when it reopens, as the New York Times reported. But “culinary consultants” are rarely in charge of anything. What New Yorkers want to know is when the fabled hostelry and its famed public spaces such as Peacock Alley will finally reopen after standing closed for more than six years

> Marriott International is set to debut a new W Hotel in Riyadh with the signing of W Riyadh. It is slated to welcome guests in 2025, further expanding the brand’s footprint in the country, following the announcement of W Trojena last year.

> La Quinta by Wyndham Abu Dhabi Al Wahda is set to open in May 2024. In the US-born midscale brand’s UAE portfolio it joins La Quinta by Wyndham Dubai Jumeirah, which opened in 2021. Located next to Al Wahda shopping centre, the hotel has 107 colourfully-designed rooms, ranging from standard twins to spacious executive suites.

> Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, the world’s largest hotel franchising company with approximately 9,200 hotels across more than 95 countries, has opened the Ramada by Wyndham Fethiye Ölüdeniz, its first hotel in Muğla’s Fethiye district and the first hotel in Fethiye by an international hotel chain.

> Do you ever get frustrated with hotels’ foolproof cancellation policies? Well, a life advice influencer now has the solution for you. Sharif Ceasar, who goes by the Instagram handle @realmelaninkingbroke out his apparent life hack to avoid expensive fees if you ever had to cancel a hotel reservation at the last minute.


> Boeing parts supplier Spirit AeroSystems said Thursday it will lay off as many as 450 workers due to a slowdown in Boeing plane deliveries. Terry George, senior vice president for Wichita and Tulsa operations, blamed the layoffs on lagging delivery rates for Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft. 

> Lufthansa Technik (LHT) and Swiss International Air Lines (Swiss) have completed application of AeroShark surface film on 12 Boeing 777-300ERs.

> Iberia (IB) has today confirmed it will be the first airline to introduce the Airbus A321XLR into the market “by the end of the summer.”


> Responding to growing demand for winter adventures, SAS announces the addition of five new direct routes to popular Northern destinations: Tromsø, Kiruna, Rovaniemi, and Scandinavian Mountain Airport Sälen-Trysil.

> Tartu, Estonia’s second-largest city, will welcome back Finnair flights in June 2024 after a brief pause caused by GPS disruptions. This technical hurdle temporarily grounded flights, but through collaboration between Estonian and Finnish aviation authorities, a solution was found, ensuring stable flight operations.

> Eurowings launched its inaugural flight from Manchester to Stuttgart on Thursday, 9 May, in anticipation of the Euro 2024 football tournament this summer. This route is expected to be a favorite among fans traveling to Germany for the games.

> Air France continues to expand its network. During the 2024-2025 winter season (November 2024 to March 2025), the airline will offer 5 additional routes from its global hub at Paris-Charles de Gaulle, including 3 new destinations.

> Hawaiian Airlines will now offer nonstop flights from Salt Lake City to Honolulu. It’s the airline’s first service at the growing Salt Lake City International Airport.

> At 7:16 p.m. May 16, Icelandair’s first nonstop flight between Reykjavik, Iceland, and Pittsburgh touched down on Pittsburgh International Airport’s Runway 32 under clear afternoon skies.


> Illinois lawmakers have passed new legislation that would issue citations to drivers who park on the shoulders of highways near O’Hare International Airport, and could utilize safety cameras to enforce the measure.


> Passengers aboard an Air India Express flight can be heard screaming on video as one of the aircraft’s engines caught fire Saturday night, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing.

Rental Cars and Rideshare

> Dollar Car Rental and Thrifty Car Rental joined the Hertz brand in 2012 when the Hertz Corporation acquired the two rental car agencies. Both companies primarily serve cost-conscious leisure and business travelers, so if you’re choosing between Dollar versus Thrifty, you might want to know which one would serve your needs better.