Month: July 2016

Jet Blue to Europe?

Is JetBlue laying the groundwork to fly to Europe?

The New York-based low-cost carrier hinted at that possibility Tuesday morning, revealing details of an aircraft order that could pave the way for trans-Atlantic service. The details came amid JetBlue’s second-quarter earnings report.

JetBlue said it would amend a purchase agreement with Airbus to bring 30 more A321 aircraft into its fleet over seven years. Of those, 15 A321 aircraft will begin arriving next year. Another 15 A321neo aircraft will start arriving in 2020.

JetBlue said it would use the new A321 aircraft to expand its new Mint lie-flat seats and service that it markets to corporate and high-spending fliers.

But a new long-range variant of the A321 could also allow the carrier to begin flying across the Atlantic for the first time.

Starting in 2019, JetBlue will have the option to convert  A321neo orders into the long-range A321-LR (long range) version of the plane, JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said during the company’s second quarter earnings call.

“This enhanced airplane type could well be a game-changer for us and provide us the ability for JetBlue flights Europe from other East Coast focused cities, should we choose to do so,” Hayes said.

“As Robin alluded, the 321-LR could be the leap allowing us to leverage our relevance in the East Coast focused cities and accelerate launching service to Europe,” said Marty St. George, executive vice president for commercial and planning, added during the call. “While we are not formally committing to  this fleet type, and we are not ready to announce anything today, we are excited about the optionality and the potential opportunity.”

Even before the call, but JetBlue made an ever-so-subtle suggestion about Europe in a graphic it put out related to its aircraft deal. The image mostly addresses plans for the airline’s domestic transcontinental service. But, at the bottom right of the image, JetBlue shows an arrow appearing to point east toward Europe with the text: “New possibilities with A321LR option.”

JetBlue wouldn’t be the first to do so with narrowbody A321s. Iceland budget carrier WOW, for example, is now flying A321s from some East Coast cities to the short route to Iceland. And Portuguese carrier TAP is considering trans-Atlantic routes from several East Coast cities with the new A321s it’s slated to get later this decade, co-owner David Neeleman told Today in the Sky in June.

JetBlue’s Terminal 5 lobby at JFK Airport gets a high-tech makeover with new kiosks for check in, repacking stations and self-service baggage drop.

JetBlue’s Hayes was asked during the earnings call whether the announcement about potentially flying to Europe was just to gauge reaction from competitors. But Hayes said the announcement wasn’t to be “cute” or “clever,” but for transparency about the change in the aircraft order, which had to be disclosed.

“It does beg the next question: what are you going to do with it?” Hayes said of the possibility of option to take the long-range variant. “We don’t need to make a decision until the end of 2017.”

St. George said the study of potential  European flights is because, despite a number of airlines crossing the Atlantic, 87% of the capacity is under the three big alliances.

“What that has created is a very high-fare environment,” he said of the Boston market in particular. “We think that has great opportunities for us.”

Modobag, ‘World’s First Rideable, Motorized Luggage,’ Is Now Here


It’s like Mario Kart on luggage.

Today in how-does-this-thing-exist-and-why-do-we-love-it-so-much: a rideable carry-on called a Modobag that will get you through the airport terminal three times faster than walking. With a top speed of eight mph and a range of about six miles (and, with hoverboards banned from airports and flights), it looks like the Modobag could be the fastest way to make a tight connection or get you back and forth from Hudson News for a snack in no time flat.

According to the funding campaign, launched today on Indiegogo, the idea came to founder Kevin O’Donnell in an airport a few years ago, when his kids started taking turns riding on his suitcase as he dragged it along. His eureka moment: “We’re gonna put motors in these.” Cue bringing a friend of college on board, who happened to be a competitive motorcyclist, and the TSA- and FAA-approved Modobag was born.

In addition to its zoom, the black, boxy luggage also offers two USB charging ports, side pockets for easy access to all of your charging electronics, and a cushioned seat for your six-mile ride. And, at 19 lbs. when empty, you’ll definitely ride this bad boy around rather than carry it. This gif alone has us ready to pay up $995 for a first try at riding this luggage go-cart around the office.

Courtesy Modobag

Added challenge? Ride the Modobag out of a plane while skydiving. You won’t be the first, judging by this video.

What Your Passport Color Really Means


Selection of passports

Travelers don’t have a lot of say in how their passports look. It’s hard to take a flattering picture (unless you’re Prince), you can’t choose which inspiration quotes frame your stamped pages, and you can’t choose the color of your passport cover.

To that last point, Business Insider recently explained why passports only come in shades of red, blue, green, and black. Somewhat surprisingly, the color of your passport follows no strict system of country categorization—though that’s not to say the colors are totally random, either.

“Most passports in the world are based on blue and red primary colors,” said Passport Index Vice President of Marketing Hrant Boghossian, though there’s an enormous degree of variation in hues. And while geography, politics, and even religion come into play when a country selects its passport cover, there are no guidelines or regulations dictating the color of these national documents.

“There’s nothing [that] stipulates the cover colour,” confirmed Anthony Philbin of the International Civil Aviation Organization, which issues passport standards on cover size, format, and technology.

So what can we infer about passport color? Boghossian says it’s a matter of national identity.

Red Passports

Burgundy passports are used by members of the European Union (sans Croatia), and countries interested in joining (think: Turkey) have changed their passport colors to match.The Economist called this a “branding exercise.” The Andean Community (also known for past EU-ambitions) of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru also has burgundy passports. The Swiss passport, in effortless and famously Swiss-fashion, matches their flag,

Blue Passports

Boghossian told Business Insider that Caribbean, or Caricom states, typically use blue, though it’s common in the “New World,” as well. Vox pointed out the customs union of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguya, Uruguay, and Venezuela, known as Mercosur, all boast blue passports (except Venezuela, which still sports a red passport from its time in the Andean Community).

The United States’ passport, however, only became navy blue in 1976—to match the shade found in the American Flag. Before that?

“We believe the first travel documents in the U.S. were red,” Boghossian told Travel + Leisure. Green passports were used in the 1930s, followed by burgundy ones, [and] black passports in the 1970s.”

Green Passports

“Most Islamic states use green passports because of the importance of the colour in their religion,” Boghossian shared with Business Insider. Variations of green are also used by members of ECOWAS—Economic Community of West African States—including Niger and Senegal.

Black Passports

Here’s another, far more practical, interpretation for selecting passport colors. Dark colors (even deep shades of blue and red) show less dirt and tend to look more official. Examples include the Republic of Botswana, Zambia, and New Zealand—though for the latter, black is also considered one of the country’s national colors.

Ultimately, you can infer about color as much as you want, but passports represent something much greater than geo-political and economic ties. “We forget that [passports] belong to people. For some, they are a barrier. To others, a right of passage,” Boghossian said to Travel + Leisure.

After all, both the U.S. and Syria issue blue passports—but Syria has one of the worst-ranking passports in the world. Having a Syrian passport allows you access to only 32 countries without a visa, due to diplomatic relations. Meanwhile, the U.S. has the third-best ranking passport.

“Governments around the world have the freedom to choose the color and design,” reiterated Boghossian. “Unfortunately, only few have understood the importance of this document on their country’s brand identity.”

Boghossian cited Norway, which recently unveiled its winning passport design from a nationwide competition, as an example of a country using its passports to define its distinct personality and characteristics. The colors? Vibrant and hip.

The U.S. passport is about to get a makeover: and while the design has yet to be released, we know for a fact the country has a history of changing its passport cover.

Airline cabins of the future: A new golden age of travel?

Air travel photos from the 1960s show smartly dressed, champagne-sipping passengers in spacious airliner cabins.

Contrast that with today’s cramped seats and overcrowded airports and it looks like our flying experiences are getting steadily worse.
But is this based on reality?
The aviation industry has been investing massively to prove nostalgic travelers wrong.
Yes, aircraft may still look similar to those of the so-called golden years.
But every single aspect of the air travel experience is currently being overhauled — all driven by technology.
Right at the forefront are airplane cabins.
And key to their transformation is wireless connectivity.
With virtually every passenger toting a smartphone, tablet or laptop, inflight Wi-Fi is opening up new ways to engage with air travelers and redefine the flying experience.

Personalized inflight entertainment

Panasonic's Waterfront system  allows passengers to use their mobile devices to control an aircraft's built-in entertainment.

Mobile tech already plays an important role in enhancing travel, from electronic boarding passes to last-minute bids on biz class upgrades.
Some airlines, such as KLM, have even started sending boarding passes and flight alerts through a dedicated airline Facebook Messenger chat bot.
But the one area where mobile can become truly transformative is inflight entertainment, with personal devices becoming gateways to a whole range of up-in-the-air services.
While built-in in-flight entertainment systems are unlikely to vanish, particularly on long-haul flights, they can work in tandem with the passenger’s own devices.
Earlier in 2016, Panasonic unveiled Waterfront, a system that allows the passengers to use their mobile handsets to control an aircraft’s built-in entertainment.
Aerospace companies Thales and B/E are also using mobiles to personalize passenger experiences.
By syncing with handsets, their seats know a passenger’s preferences and can even restart a movie at the exact place where they left it in the previous flight.
Some airlines are doing away with embedded entertainment systems altogether.
They’re opting for passenger’s handsets to deliver inflight entertainment — a move that crucially reduces aircraft weight and frees up cabin space.
No Internet connection is required, passengers just connect their devices to an in-plane network.

Captive audience

Thales and B/E's Digital Sky seats make use of larger, higher-res screens.

Netherlands-based AirFi is primarily equipping low-cost airlines that often fly short-haul single-aisle aircraft and don’t have entertainment systems.
The company’s portable wireless system beams pre-loaded content onto passenger devices.
The AirFi terminal behaves like a normal Internet router. It’s lightweight and can easily be installed in a luggage compartment.
AirFi CEO Job Heimerikx says it’s a cost effective and flexible way to provide quality inflight content to the short haul market.
“There are a customer service and a commercial angle to our system,” he says.
“Passengers can access a broad range of movies and other sort of entertainment, but they can also use it to order food or shop duty free.
“It’s like an evolution of the traditional inflight magazine, but just as it happens at online stores, you can make it really personal.”
This concept thrives on having a captive audience.
But would it still work if users had a full inflight broadband Internet connection?
Passengers might be more interested in binge-watching their favorite TV series instead of booking airport transfers or ordering an extra cup of coffee.

Virtual reality

AirFi offers a cheap alternative to inflight entertainment systems, streaming direct to phones and tablets.

“If airlines can’t stop the passenger from going to Amazon or zoning out on Netflix for three hours… and they can’t offer something at least equally interesting in terms of intuitive retail and custom content, they are missing a number of tricks” says Maryann Simson of Runway Girl Network, a leading aviation news website focusing on passenger experience.
It’s a theory that’ll get put to the test soon.
Aeromexico recently announced it would use Gogo’s 2Ku satellite-based Internet connection to offer Netflix-enabled flights.
“More than 80% of passengers are walking on the plane with their own device,” Gogo exec Ash ElDifrawli points out.
“Airlines can save the weight and maintenance costs of legacy seat-back entertainment systems and still provide differentiated experiences.
“For example, they can now create custom portals that create a unique brand and advertising opportunity for the airlines.”
Internet connections are only the beginning.
Both Transavia, a low cost subsidiary of Air France/KLM, and Australian carrier Qantas have been testing virtual reality technology as an alternative to traditional in flight entertainment.
VR could offer not only entertainment but also help calm those afraid of flying.
Transavia also sees virtual reality sets as a potential source of extra cash, perhaps offered as a premium service.
Daan Noordeloos, VR manager for Transavia, says tests have so far proved positive.
“We are evaluating ways to continue it and make it part of our regular inflight offering,” he adds.

Perfect airline seat

Virtual reality is already a reality after trials by Qantas.

Qantas has already rolled out VR sets for first class passengers on some select flights between Australia and Los Angeles, with encouraging results.
New generation in-flight entertainment isn’t going to be enjoyable without a comfortable environment to experience it in.
Providing a nice, relaxing atmosphere in a cramped metal tube is always going to be a challenge, but moves are afoot to improve that.
LED lighting has already proven effective during night flights, even apparently reducing jet lag.
No wonder both Boeing’s next generation aircraft and the “Airspace by Airbus” cabin, rolled out on Airbus A330neo and A350 aircraft, make extensive use of LEDs.
Extra comfort is also coming from the constant accumulation of incremental ergonomic improvements.
These are the things that passengers barely notice on their own but put together make a difference between a good and a great travel experience.
Such as lavatories with anti-bacterial surfaces, or better designed overhead bins that reduce boarding time by making it easier to store hand luggage.
Many of the industry’s creative energies are being devoted to creating the perfect airline seat.
It may come as a surprise to those stuck at the back of the economy class cabin, but these are exciting times for the aircraft seating industry.
An increasing number of airlines are discontinuing first class, but those that keep it are making it way more opulent, such as Etihad with its Residence.
Discontinuing first has led many airlines to upgrade their business class, opening a gap for the introduction of premium economy services.

Cinema-style seating

Factory Design's twisting seat adapts to the body of its occupant.

Some carriers are pondering a more basic economy class, but does that mean radical proposals for standing-only planes will soon be realized?
Experts at passenger comfort innovators Zodiac Aerospace don’t think so.
They say certification costs and reputation risks may simply not be worth it, particularly when existing seats with pitches of 30 inches or less are already very efficient.
“I really can’t foresee this happening in the near future,” says Victor Carlioz, an advanced concept engineer at Zodiac Aerospace.
“Instead we’ll see a focus toward more innovative features in the economy class seat.
A compromise may be the flex-up seat proposed by Aviointeriors.
The Italian manufacturer is exploring a cinema-style seat for economy class that folds up vertically when unoccupied, allowing easier movement around the plane.
Ingo Wuggetzer, of Airbus, highlights how personalization is also becoming a thing in aircraft interiors.
The industry ideal is to create a seat that adapts perfectly to a passenger’s body.
In 2011 the European manufacturer unveiled its “Future by Airbus” concept that outlined, among other things, the company’s vision of the passenger cabin of 2050.
This included its own interpretation of the “smart seat” — one able to recognize and adapt to its occupant ergonomically and through entertainment preferences.
A first step in that direction may be the “twisting seat” concept proposed by London-basedFactory Design.
Creative director Adam White says the flexible structure is based upon a careful anatomical study of the multiple positions that the back adopts while seated.

Sleeping rooms

Factory Design's Air Lair concept offers passengers their own personalized cocoon.

White is also behind Air Lair, a concept of sleeping pods that immerse premium travelers in a futuristic cocoon with adjustable light, sound and temperature.
Other designs envisage adding sleeping rooms in standard aircraft cabins.
Carlioz and his Zodiac Aerospace team, for example, see potential in using an aircraft’s cargo space and area between the stowage bins and fuselage to accommodate bunks.
“It’s simply a question of who has the ambition and willingness to invest into a project of this scale and truly break the mold,” says the company’s industrial designer, Matthew Cleary.
Sounds radical, but perhaps not so much once the likely evolution of current technologies and concepts are taken into account.
“Design houses really are competing fiercely for airline business and that means they are also pushing the limits of creativity,” says Runway Girl Network’s Simson.
“Designs are becoming more intuitive, fabrics more breathable and inner-foam materials are being developed to stay cooler (which adds to comfort).
“Increasingly, we see seat designers taking cues from the automotive industry too, with auto seat makers such as Recaro and Mirus having started successful aero divisions.”
Airbus’s Wuggetzer says there’s potential to develop powerful strategies to produce standout cabin features, even in economy class.
Transparency is key, he adds.
“The same way that travelers are used to comparing hotels and check reviews on TripAdvisor, innovation in the cabin experience could lead to more differentiation between the experience provided not just on different aircraft types, but on different airlines.”
The golden age of air travel may be just starting, after all…

Where You Can (and Can’t) Drink Tap Water in Europe

Here’s when to buy a bottle—or two.

Sit down at a restaurant in Europe, and you’ll most likely first be asked about water preferences before anything else: Still, sparkling, or tap? And while this may seem a strange question to U.S. travelers used to glasses of ice-cold water filled (and refilled) without question, it’s actually an issue in Europe. Given that one of the most common causes of sickness while traveling is drinking contaminated water, knowing where you can—and and probably shouldn’t—drink water across the continent is important. A new infographic distills (pun intended) the data, and here’s what you need to know.


Most places in Europe do have potable tap water, which means you’ll save money by bringing a water bottle and filling up before heading out in the morning. (Some countries, like Italy, Germany, and Belgium, have public taps where you can refill for free, though look out for signs that indicate when the water is not safe for drinking, like at decorative fountains.) Countries and states where water is safe to drink? In alphabetical order: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and Vatican City.


Some of the most common side effects of drinking unsafe tap water include diarrhea, hepatitis A, typhoid, and even cholera. And though larger cities have higher water quality than elsewhere, places where you should exercise caution and probably buy a bottle (or two) are Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and the Ukraine.


It’s not just about actively drinking water: Brushing your teeth with water from the faucet, washing fruits and vegetables you may buy, adding ice to your drink, and even opening your mouth and gurgling when showering are other ways to ingest unsafe tap water. The water coming out of most taps on trains and airplanes is also not intended for drinking.


Buy bottled water, which is readily available almost everywhere in Europe. Bottles with red labels typically represent fizzy—or sparkling—water, while those with blue labels mark “still” water. If necessary, water can be sanitized by boiling it for ten minutes, or even by using a filter or purifying tablets. The good news? Beerand wine are always safe bets.

Five myths about Brexit for U.S. travelers

In the wake of the Brexit vote that paved the way for the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union on June 23, there’s a lot of confusion about what this means for American heading to Britain this summer and in the future.  Here are five current myths about Brexit and travel to the UK.

1. Brexit is really an issue between Great Britain and the European Union and has nothing to do with Americans.

While it’s true that Brexit is about Britain leaving its 40+-year EU membership in the dust, it’s also about currency, and that’s something that directly impacts U.S. travelers. On the morning of Friday, June 24, when the vote to leave the EU was announced, the pound-to-dollar exchange dropped 7.44% to $1.3766, the lowest level in decades. At one point, the pound sank to $1.32, the lowest exchange rate since 1985. In simple terms this means that for American travelers, Great Britain is on sale.

“The immediate effect, says George Hobica, president of Airfarewatchdog, is that “American visitors will pay less for travel to and within Europe and Britain. If the British pound continues to stay low or fall even more, your trip to England will be cheaper.” That means that hotels, meals, shopping and other purchases will be “at least 10% cheaper than recently.”

With the less-favorable exchange rates, “fewer Europeans and Brits will visit the U.S.,” says Hobica. “So expect airfares from the U.S. to Europe and Britain to go even lower. The day after the Brexit vote, we saw airfares to London on Virgin Atlantic and other airlines for fall travel reduced to $500 round-trip.”

Jason Clampet, co-founder and head of content at Skift, agrees with the notion that “for the short term this is about exchange rates and how they impact travel.” But Clampet also takes a longer view of the issue, noting that it could “affect airline routes, new development of hotel products, the cost of restaurants and transit, the cost of shopping, or even the upkeep and maintenance of tourist attractions.”

2. I’m planning a trip to the UK later this year, and I’ve booked my airfare and hotels, so it won’t affect me.

“That’s true when it comes to the airfare or if you prepaid for your non-refundable hotel room or bought a package,” says Clampet of Skift. “But you can otherwise take advantage of the better exchange rate, and the possibility of UK businesses discounting goods because they are hurting. While that 150 pounds per night rate may stay the same, the Brexit exchange rate swing put $15 in your pocket between last month and today. Expect small savings like that in every transaction you make.”

For anyone who booked a trip before the recent vote, Hobica suggests reaching out to hotels, tours and other agencies to see whether you can re-book at a better price, “now that exchange rates have been hammered.”

3. I guess I can just hope that British pound stays low until I get there.

Or you can be proactive. It’s a great time to take advantage of the exchange rate for as long as it lasts. If you’re heading to the UK even later this year, “it’s a good time to buy pounds for an upcoming trip,” says Hobica, now that they are at dramatically lower levels.

That said, Clampet of Skift urges caution, saying that “Unless you’re George Soros, it’s best not to respond to this by playing currency trader. The pound could continue to drop or it could go up — even the experts don’t know. If you’re worried about wide fluctuations in money and want to have protection, look into a trip insurance product that allows wide latitude for cancellations.”

4. This won’t really affect me when I go to England, it will just be the same passport check that I’ve always had when I fly to London.

“Sure, it won’t affect you — if you’re carrying a British passport,” says Clampet. Yes, there will still be passport control. But in the future, you can expect to wait in much longer lines.

“For travelers arriving in the UK, those passport control lines that once split passengers by passport from the EU and then everyone else will soon be for passengers from the UK and then everyone else, Clampet says. “If nothing else expect to hear Germans, Italians and Spaniards complain about being in line with you unlike the good old days when they had preferred status.”

Then, unfortunately, it’s likely to get even worse for American travelers. Once the UK and EU split is complete, “London’s international airports will need to radically rethink baggage claim and passport control, two of the biggest pain points in travel,” Clampet says “ For passengers transiting to Europe via London or other gateway cities, you’ll need to claim your baggage and take it through customs because, remember, you’re not in Europe anymore.”

5. It’s really just England that’s changing.

Actually, this is much bigger than England. The Brexit vote is for the United Kingdom, which includes Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Therein lie some potential future problems.

“If Scotland, which voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, becomes a separate country, you’ll need to go through border controls and show a passport between London and Edinburgh,” says Hobica. Because Ireland is part of Europe but Northern Ireland is leaving the EU as a result of Brexit, “travel between, say, Dublin and Belfast (would) also require going through passport control.”

Clampet adds that “we are also seeing talk of nationalist parties in France, theNetherlands and elsewhere pushing their own exit. In five years will we be back to the days of border checks and multiple currencies as you move from country to country? Think of all the math you’ll be doing.”

Which U.S. airports allow Uber, Lyft?

Can I take Uber or Lyft from the (fill-in-the-blank) airport?

It’s a question travelers across the country ask over and over these days as the affordable car services and a handful of competitors gain in popularity and encroach on the airport turf once reserved for taxis, limos and shuttles.

Tech-savvy travelers love the services because they can order a ride from an app on their smartphone or tablet after they land, meet the driver outside and bill the fare to their account. The fares are generally cheaper than taxi or sedan service and drivers usually arrive quickly.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, the nation’s 10th busiest airport by passenger boardings, on June 18 became the latest major airport to allow the ride-hailing services to pick up passengers. A day earlier, Tucson International Airport introduced Lyft service. (Drop-offs have long been allowed in Phoenix and at many other airports because they aren’t regulated like pick-ups are.)

The ride-hailing roundup 

Here’s a look at the ride-hailing landscape at other top 10 airports and select cities.


Available: Not yet. Rules were expected to be in place by July 1 but talks have been delayed over discussions on driver background checks.


Available: Lyft since December 2015. Uber since January.

Airport surcharge: $4 per pick-up and drop-off.

Estimated fare to downtown Los Angeles: $23-$33.



Available: Since November 2015.

Airport surcharge: $5.50 per pick-up and drop-off.

Estimated fare to Millennium Park: $28-$35 from O’Hare with Uber, $28 with Lyft. $23-$30 from Midway with Uber, $23 with Lyft.



Available: Since August 2015.

Airport surcharge: $2 per pick-up and drop-off at DFW. $2.50 per pick-up at Love Field.

Estimated fare to downtown Dallas: $25-$32 from DFW with Uber, $16 with Lyft. $11-$14 from Love Field with Uber, $13 with Lyft.



Available: Yes.

Fee: None. Unlike at most major airports, New York does not have a separate agreement with the services. They register like cabs and limos.

Estimated fare to midtown Manhattan: $30-$39 from LaGuardia with Uber, $27 with Lyft. $49-$64 from JFK with Uber, $48 with Lyft.



Available: Since late 2014.

Airport surcharge: $2.15 per pick-up and drop-off.

Estimated fare to downtown Denver: $29-$39 with Uber, $33 with Lyft.



Available: Since the fall of 2014.

Airport surcharge: $3.85 per pick-up and drop-off.

Estimated fare to Union Square: $29-37 with Uber, $26 with Lyft.


Available: Since February.

Airport surcharge: $1 per pick-up and drop-off.

Fare estimate to downtown Charlotte: $10-$14 with Uber, $13 with Lyft.



Available: Since late 2015.

Airport surcharge: $2.45 per pick-up and drop-off.

Fare estimate to Caesars Palace in the center of the Strip: $13-17 with Uber, $9 with Lyft.


Available: Since summer 2015.

Airport surcharge: $2.76 per pick-up.

Fare estimate to downtown San Diego: $8-11 with Uber, $6 with Lyft.


Note: The debut dates are generally when agreements between the airports and the companies took effect and UberX and Lyft began picking up passengers. In Phoenix and many other cities, pricier Uber rides, including Uber Black, Uber Select and Uber SUV, started earlier because those drivers have commercial permits like traditional ground-transportation providers.

Source: Arizona Republic research.

Tips for potential riders 

• The fare estimates are just that — estimates. They’re from Uber and Lyft websites and are for up to four passengers. Lyft has a tip option on its app, Uber does not. Uber says tipping voluntary but not expected or required. Uber drivers, though, welcome cash tips.

• The surcharges are in addition to the fare. The money goes to the airport.

• Looking for information or fare estimates at other airports? Check out Uber’s airport lineup and Lyft’s airport lineup. Need fare estimates for other routes? Go to or and scroll down to the fare calculator, or get an estimate from the services’ apps before you reserve a ride.

• Independent sites also offer fare estimates, and some provide real-time information on traffic, surge pricing (heftier fares when demand is high) and recent fares on a variety of routes. Try or

• Don’t forget about public transportation. Details on all your options are on airport websites under Ground Transportation.

The airlines making stopovers sweeter

As an experienced pilot who flies Boeing 757s for Icelandair, Commander Sigrun Bjorg Ingvadottir might seem overqualified as a cycling guide.

But these days she’s just as likely to be leading visitors across the wild, windswept ridges of Iceland as she is flying them across the North Atlantic.
Ingvadottir is one Icelandair’s 12 “stopover buddies” — staff volunteers who give their free time to offer passengers a glimpse of Icelandic lifestyle as they pass through the island.

A remote air hub

It’s a cool idea — and one that’s been adapted elsewhere.
But beyond the gimmick is a serious drive to bolster Iceland’s status as a stopover destination in the fiercely competitive transatlantic aviation market.
In the early days of commercial aviation, shorter flying ranges meant Iceland, halfway between Europe and North America, became an unlikely aviation hub.
Aircraft advances have diminished this role, but Icelandair has continued pushing its routes as affordable alternatives to flying directly across the Atlantic.
It’s also been looking for new ways of using Iceland’s stunning natural settings to persuade passengers traveling through Keflavik International Airport to lengthen their stopover.
And so Stopover Buddy was born.

Outdoor pursuits

Anyone flying from Europe to North America with Icelandair who decides to spend some time in Iceland on their way can sign up to the Buddy program on the airline’s website.
Passengers choose from a range of activities — mostly free apart from equipment rental charges — and are then matched to an Icelandair volunteer host.
Outdoor activities and sports feature prominently on the menu.
There’s hiking, horseback riding and fishing in the cold North Atlantic waters, but also cultural and food-related outings.
So far it’s been a hit.
Nearly 700 Stopover Buddy requests were received during the program’s debut February to April 2016 run (it’s returning in the fall), with outdoor sports being the most popular activities.

Enthusiastic response

Air crews and other Icelandair staff have responded enthusiastically, with even the airline’s CEO, Birkir Holm Gudnason, signing up.
Ingvadottir, the mountain biking pilot, says she’ll be volunteering again when the program restarts after several successful buddy excursions.
“As an airline pilot I do my fair share of traveling, and wherever I go, even if it is only for a few hours, I don’t like to do the standard tourist things.
“I would rather experience local lifestyle as closely as possible. So, when I heard about the Stopover Buddy program, I did not need to think about it for long!
“It has been very gratifying so far. We, in Iceland, are very proud of the beauty of our country, so it has been a nice experience to share a bit of it with our guests.”

Layover with a Local

Icelandair isn’t the only airline experimenting with peer-to-peer schemes.
Dutch flag-carrier KLM might not have Iceland’s volcanoes and majestic national parks to capitalize on, but its main hub at Schiphol international airport is barely half an hour away from the center of the buzzing city of Amsterdam.
The airline’s Layover with a Local app aims to offer transit visitors the chance to briefly escape the airport to perhaps join a local for a drink at one of the Dutch capital’s picturesque cafes.
As with Icelandair, transit passengers make up a very significant chunk of KLM’s traffic.
While Schiphol airport has plenty of amenities, the airline’s marketing team was looking for a way to help anyone with a long enough stopover to experience the true Amsterdam.
Layover with a Local allows passengers to connect with local Amsterdam residents who’ve registered with the app and are available when the traveler is in town.

Free drinks

In order to use the app, travelers enter their name and booking code.
KLM then checks if there’s enough time for the layover experience.
If the answer’s yes, and a match for languages and interests can be found, the passenger gets a notification on their phone.
Once they land at Schiphol, the app guides them toward the airport’s train station — the train ticket is included for free, as is the first round of drinks.
From there it’s just a short hop to Amsterdam’s Central Station, where they should encounter “their local,” holding up a phone with the traveler’s name displayed on it.
The free app ensures they make it back in time for their flight by sending an alert.
It’s still in pilot phase until the end of June, being made available for iTunes download in the U.S., Canada and Italy, but has attracted interest from more than 3,000 people.