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Thrifty Travel Club Tips For Finding The Lowest Airfares
(Also Find Tips Below For Packing, Airport Security, Passports & Visas, Overseas Travel, Etc.)


GET THE BEST DEAL EVERY TIME YOU TRAVEL: Discover the secrets seasoned travelers use to find the best airfares... the tricks they use to grab the last remaining seats on a flight or uncover prime hotel vacancies during peak tourist season... the savvy they employ to detect "hidden charges" that can turn a great travel deal into an expensive mistake... & dozens of other strategies that most tourists don't know about--but you can start using to save money on the very next trip you book!


AIRFAREWATCHDOG.COM is the only airfare alert & comparison website which includes fares on *all* airlines, including Southwest, Skybus, Allegiant, and JetBlue. If you're relying on any other source, then you're overpaying for airfare. Click here for details.

Important Passport Information

PASSPORT INFORMATION - The Departments of Homeland Security and State have announced the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative to secure and expedite travel.  This initiative will require all U.S. citizens, Canadians, British Overseas Territory of Bermuda, and Mexican citizens to have a passport or other accepted secure document to enter or re-enter the United States. Check the formal source for complete details:

If Traveling Outside The USA, Read This Link: PASSPORTS, VISAS & TRAVEL WARNINGS! Both Travisa: & assist in getting passports & visas fast and are oriented for US citizens traveling abroad. IN AN EMERGENCY - by paying extra - you can get your passport within 24 hours. Your U.S. Immigration Direct Online Resource is here:

Accepted secure documents: Passport, Border Crossing Card (Laser Visa), Customs and Border Protection Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI), NEXUS and Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program cards. We also STRONGLY RECOMMEND reviewing the US Department of State: Travel Warnings Section

Getting the Lowest Airfare

: Every day, airlines lower a few, or a few hundred, fares to incredibly low levels. No one knows why. The airlines won't talk about it, & don't advertise them. How do you find these fares? Only by checking here often, because the best deals sell real fast. Click HERE

The Airlines Stopped Paying Travel Agency Commissions. How does this affect you? Travel Agencies now add reservation processing fees to the fare price when booking airline tickets for you. The average service fee is USD$25. Here is what big players do: AMEX is at $30 per ticket & corporate AAA is expected to go to $30 per ticket for non-members, $20 for AAA members.

TO SAVE MONEY MOST TRAVELERS PURCHASE THEIR AIRFARE ONLINE. A Recent Consumer Reports Study Found That Even The Most Basic Fares Vary Substantially & The Lowest Airfares Are Found By Those Who Shop To Check All Possibilities.


1. Search Airline Sites Individually - Increasingly, some airlines have “private” sales, reserving their very best fares for their own sites. With the exception of Southwest and JetBlue, which sell fares on their own sites exclusively, most of the airlines that do this are smaller domestic airlines or large international carriers, but we've even seen Delta do it, and we’re not talking here just about last minute weekend fares. Alaska, Air New Zealand, Malaysia, Frontier, Qantas, Singapore, SAS, Varig and others are using this strategy. Niche carriers like USA3000 and Allegiant Air usually don’t share their fare data with third-party sites at all, although USA3000 fares are included in searches. A list of links to all airlines of the world can be found here:

2. Don’t Assume That Travelocity, Orbitz, Expedia & Sidestep All Have The Same Fares - They don’t. Especially on international fares, one of these online travel agencies could have a fare several hundreds less or higher than another. Recently, Travelocity and Thrifty Travel were selling seats to London on Virgin for $400-$470 round-trip, taxes included, from east and west coast cities, even for peak summer travel. Those fares were available only on Travelocity and Thrifty Travel, not Orbitz or Expedia (they weren't available even on Virgin’s own site). So check all online agencies, including, Hotwire, Kayak,, and LastMinuteTravel in addition to the ones already mentioned.

3. Try A Flexible Fare Search - If you’re at all flexible, you can sometimes save hundreds by adjusting your travel dates, often by just a day or two. Travelocity and Thrifty Travel have the best flexible date search option in the industry for two reasons: it searches 330 days ahead, it includes international flights both between the US and international destinations, and also flights between international destinations (of course, it’s limited, as all online agencies are, by its exclusion of Southwest, JetBlue, and several small domestic and international carriers such as EasyJet and Ryanair). To use this feature, simply click on the “Flexible dates” button just below the “to” and “from” boxes on the flight search engine (check these step by step instructions if you’re unsure how this works). is our second favorite flexible search; it goes out 330 days too but, unlike Travelocity or Thrifty Travel, it does not work for international destinations. Orbitz has a limited flexible date function that searches a span of only 30 days (click on “Flexible dates”), and Expedia does flexible search only between a few dozen major US cities (click on “My travel dates are flexible”). and the other major sites have no flexible search capability. Increasingly, individual airline sites are improving their flexible date search functions. American, AerLingus, Air New Zealand, Spirit, and USA3000 all have decent ones and Southwest and US Airways have good ones.

4. Combine Weekend Fares - Last minute weekend fares are often great deals, but most people don’t realize that they can construct itineraries by combining two of these fares. Let’s say you want to fly from Boston to San Antonio next weekend, and you’ve signed up for all the weekly newsletters alerting you of these deals but there’s no Boston/San Antonio deals listed. However, if there’s a Boston to Atlanta fare for $128 round-trip, and an Atlanta to San Antonio fare for $108 round-trip, then there is indeed a Boston/San Antonio fare as well. Just buy two separate fares (we've noticed that Travelocity, Thrifty Travel and some other sites do a good job of combining weekend fares in this manner). You can even combine such fares on two different airlines, but make sure you leave enough time in between connecting flights in case there’s a delay.

5. Sign Up For Ding Fares & Frontier’s Fare Alerts - Southwest offers daily “ Ding” deals that pop up on your computer (announced by an audible “ding”, thus the name) that can save a few bucks off their already low fares. Frontier Airlines has begun sending out similar fares by email. In both cases, the fares expire the same day they’re announced but they’re often good for travel far into the future.

6. Buy Hotel + Air Packages - It’s often cheaper to buy an air/hotel package rather than airfare alone. When we say “cheaper” we mean that the total package with hotel is often less than the airfare without the hotel component. is the online leader in this field. Travelocity powers Thrifty Travel and owns Site59, so you’ll often see “TotalTrip” options on Travelocity or Thrifty Travel which are just slightly above the airfare-only search results. Don’t ignore these deals! Usually, they work best only if there are two of you traveling since the hotels are based on double occupancy. They’re especially useful for last minute travel. Tour operators and your local travel agent also sell packages that might save you money, although not necessarily on last minute deals.

7. Search For Fares Early In The Morning And On Weekends - Airlines play games with airfares, sometimes, it seems, merely to annoy their competitors. If you check a New York to Seattle fare before going to bed one night it might be $228 round-trip, but check at 8 AM the following day and it could be $108 But that sneak sale, which could be valid for travel up to 330 days in the future, will probably last only a few hours, and seats will sell quickly. So be an early bird and catch these unadvertised deals. And for reasons that we can only speculate on, airlines lower fares on Saturday mornings and during the weekend (this is also when those “fat finger” airfare mistakes seem to happen). The aforementioned peak summer deals on Virgin to London popped up on a Saturday afternoon, and those now famous 88 cent USAIR roundtrips on a Saturday morning.

8. Check Fares Often - Because airfares fluctuate like the stock market, you need to check them every day, sometimes two or three times a day, if you’re serious about saving money. And another little tip: be sure to clear the “cookies” on your internet browser (on Explorer you do this under the “tools” menu and “internet options” sub menu). Why do this? If a fare changes between two separate searches done over time on the same route, some fare search engines may return the results you viewed earlier rather than the new results.

9. Combine Two Separate Fares Rather Than Buying One Fare - It’s often cheaper to buy two fares rather than one. Let’s say you’re flying from New York to Eleuthera in the Bahamas. Check on one of the big sites like Expedia or Orbitz for a single fare (for example, JFK to Governor’s Harbor, Bahamas) and then do two separate searches (JFK to Nassau and Nassau to Governor’s Harbor). Since JetBlue flies JFK/Nassau you’ll want to check separately). Chances are the two-fare strategy will save you a lot of cash. This fare trick also works for flights to Europe (fly into London or Manchester, UK on one fare and then hop on a discount European airline to reach your final destination) and Asia. To search route possibilities on these discounters, check out the AirfareWatchdog route maps page.

10. Buy Tickets On An Airline That Will Refund The Difference If A Fare Goes Down - Let’s say you’ve done your best to find the lowest fare, and then the day after purchase your non- refundable fare goes down $100 Sure, if you ask for it you can get a refund for the difference, but it’s a little-known fact that some airlines will charge you a “service” or “administrative” fee as high as $100 for domestic fares or from $200-$300 on international ones, wiping out any savings. United, however, will give you the entire fare difference without extracting a fee, as will US Airways and JetBlue as long as you accept the reimbursement in the form of a voucher good for future travel. Northwest charges just $25, for both domestic and international fares. American and Delta extract the $100-$300 fees; Southwest gives you a credit for a future flight without charging a fee. Even on these less generous airlines, however, we've heard of plenty of instances where a polite entreaty will get you a full fare difference refund without the penalties, so it’s worth try.


AIRLINE ROUTE MAPS: Do you know which airlines fly where? For some strange reason airlines tend to bury their route maps, so our associates collected most of the airline maps & put the links all in one place for your convenience - here:

FLIGHT TRACKER: Track Any Commercial Airline Flight & View Its Current ETA Status online here:


HAVING TROUBLE FINDING A LOW AIRFARE? - The Best Way Is To Follow The Steps Below:
  • To grab the absolute best deals you usually need to act fast.
  • To find out the details & restrictions or to book click HERE and follow these steps carefully:
  • Enter your departure and arrival cities in the "To" and "From" boxes,
  • Be sure to select the flexible dates option,
  • If your travel dates are flexible, but only within a month or more, use the pull down menu: "Search a wide range of travel dates". Then specify one or a range of months,
  • Click on "search flights",
  • Fares will pop up. Some of them will invariably be invalid fares. This is the nature of the beast.
  • Scan down the list until you see the fare we have listed.
  • Click on the blue "select" button to see a calendar of dates when the fare is supposedly available and on "fare rules" to see restrictions and other information.
  • Green dates mean good availability; blue dates means the fare is "offered" but seats may not be available; you should try clicking on those dates anyway.
  • Travelocity (Thrifty Travel)gives you the best chance of finding a good fare if you're just a bit flexible in your travel dates, which is why we direct you there first.
  • If a fare cannot be booked on Travelocity (Thrifty Travel), or we're sure that a lower fare is available elsewhere, we'll include a link or instructions to another site.


By Rick Newman - US News & World Report (February 11, 2008)

The airlines have finally become profitable, but air travel keeps getting more stressful. In 2007, airlines turned in their second-worst on-time performance ever, with just 73.4 percent of flights arriving on time. And planes have never been more crowded, with an average "load factor" of 80.5 percent. In terms of cramped planes and late flights, these are dark days for air travelers. Full listing:


Believe It Or Not, YOU DO HAVE RIGHTS & As Planes Become More Crowded Involuntary Bumps Are Becoming An Increasing Reality. 

Surely you've seen them before. Surrounded by grease-blotted Sbarro boxes and empty soda cans, these unfortunate folks have been booted from their overbooked flight, left with no choice but to make camp on the airport floor and wait. Think it can't happen to you? Don't be so certain. Overbooking flights has become standard practice these days among the most airlines, and your chances of being booted are higher than ever.


WHAT TO DO IMMEDIATELY IF YOU ARE BUMPED - Instead of waiting in line with other disgruntled bumpees for a gate agent, sneak off and call the airline 800 number directly (or call while you're waiting in line). Speaking immediately to an agent on the phone will help you skirt the airport computer systems which will give priority to frequent fliers or those who paid top dollar for their fare. So it's a good idea to phone in for first crack at seats.

WHAT YOU'RE OWED - For starters, if you're involuntarily bumped off your flight and the airline can't get you to your destination within an hour of the original arrival time, federal law requires that you be paid the equivalent of your one-way fare up to $200 or $400, depending on the length of the delay. According to David Stempler of the Air Travelers Association, passengers should insist on a check instead of a travel voucher since they come with many restrictions and can be difficult to redeem. 

HOW NOT TO GET BUMPED - One way to avoid getting bumped altogether is to fly JetBlue Airways, which refuses to overbook and consequently has the best track bumping record among all major US carriers, followed by AIRTRAN. And flying to or within the Hawaiian Islands should be a breeze, since both Hawaiian and Aloha Airlines always score in the top five carriers with the least involuntary denied boarding. And if you really can't afford to take any chances, you should know that Atlantic Southeast Airlines, COMAIR, and Delta Airlines consistently score the worst. You can find these and other rankings on the Department of Transportation website at

And you should also know that the folks in the cheap seats have lower priority on some airlines than the ones who paid full fare. If you're a very frequent flyer at the highest tier of your airline's program and/or paid a full fare (or are a business or first class passenger) you're more likely to get on board than the poor chap who paid next to nothing for his coach ticket.

Of course, the easiest thing you can do to prevent getting bumped is arrive early. On overbooked flights, the last passengers to check in are among the first to get kicked off. And for those days when time is most definitely not on your side, call the airline in advance to let them know you'll be late and reserve a seat on the next flight.  

EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULES - There are, however, a few exceptions to the bumping rule, in which case you may find yourself out of luck. For example, if the airline must substitute a smaller plane for the one it originally planned to use, the carrier isn't required to compensate people who are bumped as a result. Compensation also does not apply to charter flights, or scheduled flights with 60 or fewer passengers. Also remember that these rules vary for international flights, even if they're on US-based carriers. Not sure where you stand with your airline? Check their contract of carriage. In fact, it's a good idea to print this out and have it with you for reference incase of such an emergency. Sure, it may sound unnecessary now, but hey, it just may save you from sleeping on a row of chairs next to Gate 43A.


IS IT JUST ME, or have the airlines somehow managed to make economy class travel even more uncomfortable than before? Have they squeezed in extra rows? Made the seats less padded and filled them with straw?

I just flew from New York to San Francisco on American, and got stuck at the back, where the plane narrows, in a middle seat no less, so was even more hellacious. For six hours, I competed for shoulder, elbow and leg space with the two big guys on either side of me.

What happened to American's “more room” program with extra space between the seats? I silently vowed to myself, “Never again!”

Ironically, I was taping a segment for the local NBC affiliate's evening news broadcast on how to avoid economy class torture (watch it, if you're curious, here). I know I sound like a whiner, but I have a back problem, and the pain was spreading all the way down to the sole of my right foot by the time the flight was over.

Currently, the only major airline that sells economy seats with some extra leg room at no extra cost is JetBlue, which spaces the seats at the back of the plane with a few extra inches. These are assigned on a first come basis.

But most airlines are squeezing seats in more than ever, as they struggle to become profitable and, in some cases, emerge from bankruptcy.


USE MILES - With economy cabins so crowded and uncomfortable, and with coast to coast flights still available for $200 round-trip when there’s a sale, I think the best way to use frequent flyer miles these days is to upgrade to first or business class, rather than to buy economy fares with them. Depending on route, the fare you paid, and airline, mileage upgrades “cost” as little as 10,000 miles each way. Don't have miles? Get some. Many airline-affiliated credit cards offer 10, 20 or even 25,000 bonus miles when you sign up, and some have no fee for the first year. There are offers from Vonage and other telecommunications providers with similar generous mileage bonuses.

For example, currently Alaska Airlines is offering 25,000 bonus miles if you sign up for their Visa card. Delta is offering 17,500 miles with their SkyMiles/American Express Gold Card, with no annual fee for the first year. That's an upgrade right now, for nothing.

AIRLINE SPECIALS - From time to time, airlines have very good deals on business and first class. Just look under the specials section of your favorite airline. For example, right now Continental has a sale on its very comfortable BusinessFirst cabin to Europe for holiday travel between Thanksgiving and January 11. Fares are less than half what you’d normally pay.

This sale is valid for travel over the holidays, specifically because that’s when business travelers tend to stay home. Usually these discounted business class fares have more restrictions, such as 30 or 60 day advance purchase requirements and minimum stays.

Virgin Atlantic has a sale going on right now as well. For example, from San Francisco to London the fare is just $2800 round-trip in their first-class Upper Class cabin over the holidays. That’s about a third of the usual fare.

FIRST / BUSINESS CLASS CONSOLIDATORS - Another strategy to is to buy first or business class fares from consolidators. specializes in low cost business and first class fares at savings of 50% or more.

Fly Midwest Airlines “Signature Service” - This airline has all first-class seating ­ every row of the plane­on some routes, all at economy class prices. And the food is great too. Yes, excellent airplane food.

FLY AIRTRAN - If you’re flying somewhere on their route network, AIRTRAN offers very inexpensive confirmed upgrades to their roomier business class. Pay between $40 and $140 and you can upgrade from any full price coach fare at time of purchase. And as a special promotion, AIRTRAN is offering first come, first served upgrades from any fare, not just full fare coach. Spirit Airlines also has a low-cost upgrade program called Spirit Plus.

YUP & QUP FARES - On many domestic routes, most airlines offer what they call Y UP and Q UP fares. UP as in upgrade. These are full fare economy fares that can be upgraded at the time of purchase to confirmed business or first class for just a few bucks. Call your favorite airline or travel agent for details.

ATTAIN UPPER LEVELS OF FREQUENT FLYER PROGRAMS - Frequent flyers already know this route to a comfortable seat. Many airlines will award free or low-cost space-available upgrades to their very best customers, so it really does pay to fly often and to give all your business to just one airline.

AND IT DOESN'T HURT TO DRESS NICELY AND BE NICE - A friend of mine was flying on Air Canada from San Francisco to Vancouver recently, and the gate agent handed him a first class boarding pass even though he had bought an economy ticket. He asked why he was being upgraded, and she told him, “Well, you’re very nicely dressed and the station manager put you in first class.” Simple as that. No, it doesn't happen all the time, but it does happen. Especially when flights are oversold or cancelled, airlines tend to re-assign their best customers to first class if there are no seats left in economy. These are called “operational upgrades” in airline speak, and are usually handed out by the agents at the gate. And if you’re an upper level frequent flyer and there’s only one seat left in first class but a lot of people with the same frequent flyer status are waiting at the gate for upgrades, it seriously doesn't hurt to stand out as the nicest, friendliest, and best dressed customer. All else being equal, why wouldn't they choose you over the others?

PS: In the past, I've been laughed at for saying that dressing well and being nice helps. But the last laugh is sometimes on the nasty flyers. Here's an email I got yesterday from John Hermann, a reader in Montana: "I was on Virgin Atlantic from London to NYC coming back from a year of teaching at a Polish university. I was in my professor's corduroy suit and economy was full.  I had seat D36 and so did a very unpleasant woman who fumed about the mix up. I got the first class seat. And if you have ever ridden in 1st on Virgin Atlantic you have experienced the best that air travel can offer. The bed was almost 6 ft. long, sheets, comforter, rack of lamb, best wines, and a gal came by asking if I'd like a massage upstairs!" Today's flying lesson: be nice!


THRIFTY TRAVEL customers are happy campers, because we go the extra mile for them. We even save our customers money on airport parking with Discount Valet Parking Vouchers or - good at most major USA airports.


  • Have Your Own Travel Agent Photo ID Card within 10 business days.
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SPECIAL DISCOUNTS FOR TRAVEL AGENTS ONLY: Chat with our live Counselors at: 1-800-873-5353 or Click HERE to signup now. Your InteleTravel referral number is: A106980

WE FURTHER SHOW APPRECIATION FOR YOUR BUSINESS BY OFFERING COMPLIMENTARY 3-Day/2-Night Romantic Getaway Vacations For 2  We recommend printing out one Vacation Voucher and reviewing it. Then please print as many FREE VACATION VOUCHERS as you need as "Gifts of Travel" for your friends, family & associates. Choose from three dozen popular resort destinations and take up to 12 months to complete your vacations. Simply follow the instructions on the voucher for redeeming it and making vacation reservations. These vacations have a retail value of $300 each. For full details go online to:

Get our DAILY SAVINGS CLUB Card and save thousands of $$$ a year on your travels. To get the MAX DISCOUNT on your travels & best service Click HERE for details.

We Also Recommend The LIFETIME TRAVEL FOR HALF PRICE CARD: STAY AT THE BEST HOTELS IN THE USA, THE CARIBBEAN, MEXICO, CANADA & EUROPE & GET UP TO 50% OFF. Discounts Also Apply to Cruises, Condos, Rental Cars & More. Travel Agents Get 50% Discounts at Hotels & Resorts the World Over. With Our Hotels Etc Half Price Travel Card You Can Travel Like A Travel Agent & Cut Travel Costs In Half. YOU WILL LIKELY SAVE THE COST OF MEMBERSHIP ON YOUR VERY FIRST USE & save thousands more over your lifetime, whenever you travel. The Half Price Travel Card Is A Godsend For Saving Travel Dollars! Regular Price: $1000 - Our Price: $99

THE BEST SENIOR DISCOUNT FARES: Southwest Airlines offers special for seniors: or phone: 800-435-9792. Check with other airlines to see if they also offer discounts for seniors and senior companions.

PRIVILEGES FOR AARP MEMBERS: Virgin Atlantic offers AARP members great discounts when purchasing Economy & Premium Economy fares to London from US gateways. YOU CAN GET SAVINGS OF 13% TO 17%: Ready to book a flight? To take advantage of this valuable offer please phone the Telephone Sales Call Center at 1-800-862-8621, and mention the AARP Discount Promotion!

For savings up to 50% on International airfares to Mexico, Europe, etc. Check: or - phone: (888) 468-5385

JETBLUE AIRWAYS OFFERS EXTREMELY LOW AIRFARES: SuperFly fares are in effect for fall travel to all 22 JetBlue destinations. Take advantage of these low SuperFly fares and see what more than 15 million passengers nationwide have already discovered: new planes, free DIRECTV? programming at every big leather seat & super low fares, JetBlue isn't the only way to fly - but maybe it should be.


FOR LOW COST CAR RENTALS Check Thrifty Car Rental or Call 1-800-FOR-CARS (800-367-2277). Use Corporate Discount ID # 7770218289 for major discounts & upgrades.

LASTMINUTETRAVEL is another good source to check and compare prices.

HOTWIRE: Save On Last-minute Trips With HOT DEALS! Get amazing last-minute holiday deals or take advantage of low domestic & international fares for a future trip.

HOTWIRE also offers you a price (if available) with 30 minutes to decide if you like their price. You get no frequent flier points. They choose flight times.

TWO SITES OFFER REVERSE AUCTIONS (Also known as "guess what price we are willing to accept?"). Since they own the tickets, you will not be able to make schedule changes & you get no frequent flier points.
  • Expedia Price Matcher - all taxes and fees are included in their prices.
  • Priceline
  • offers the same service, but taxes and fees are NOT included in their prices.
FOR CORPORATE CHARTERS, PRIVATE CHARTERS, OR SPORTS CHARTERS call Worldwide Charters, Inc. at (800) 501-4263 or visit online:

CONSOLIDATOR SITES KNOWN FOR DISCOUNTING CERTAIN TICKETS: In the case of consolidators, it is usually unknown if you will be able to collect frequent flier points. Often you can, but sometimes they are specially marked to prevent it. INTERNATIONAL WHOLESALE RATES: Save hundreds when traveling from the USA to INTERNATIONAL DESTINATIONS by booking airfare with one of our consolidators. We have contracted with select consolidators who specialize in volume airfare bookings to specific countries. NOTE: During price wars, consolidator rates may not always be lower than published rates via your local agency. Tickets may be billed to major credit cards and will be delivered by second day or overnight delivery.

  • Obtain a quote from your local travel agent prior to calling.
  • Find the consolidator from the Consolidator List which supplies tickets to your desired destination.
  • Identify yourself as an "Airfare Access" member.
  • Obtain a quote and compare price with the price quote from your local travel agent.
Participating consolidators are screened to include only those with over 5 years experience, are fully bonded, and have a high customer satisfaction rating: IF TRAVELING OVERSEAS, READ THIS LINK: PASSPORTS, VISAS & TRAVEL WARNINGS! This website assists getting passports and visas promptly and is oriented for US citizens traveling abroad. We also STRONGLY RECOMMEND reviewing the US Department of State: Travel Warnings Section

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL & HEALTH: - Is Your Planned Destination Safe? World Health Organization - Disease Outbreak News

THRIFTY TRAVEL CLUB WANTS YOU TO FEEL CONFIDENT AND SAFE ABOUT YOUR TRAVEL PLANS. Airlines work closely with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ensure that airport facilities and aircraft meet all security requirements. New increased security measures have changed the airport security screening procedures that travelers had become accustomed to. As you prepare to travel under heightened security measures, please review the following topics to ensure a positive travel experience. Also see:

ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO GET CHEAP AIR TRAVEL IS WITH FREQUENT FLYER MILES!  We don't usually even have to collect them when we travel, because we're always using them to FLY FOR FREE!  Frequent Flyer Miles are so wonderful!  You can just buy the things you normally do, and save up for that next vacation.  The best part, is that to fly to Cancun, you only need as little as 22,500 miles from the US, depending on your program.  We are members of several programs, including Alaska Airlines (because they have the most flights from Portland where we live and are partners with several great airlines like  United , Delta, Continental, and Southwest, but most of all we use the American Airlines AAdvantage program. 
To find more about a specific frequent flyer program, follow the links below: We've given you a rundown of what programs are out there, and what the best tools to use for getting miles are.  If you use these programs properly, you should never have to pay for air travel.  Imagine that -  never pay for air travel again! There is once in a great while that we do pay for our flights, that's only when we have to travel on very short notice, especially during the summer months.  You can also use your miles for free vacations.  Free cruises, free hotels, and much more too.  All the airlines book vacations including hotels, airfare, and even cruises.  You can redeem your miles for these as well - not only airfares.

By far and away the best way to get frequent flyer miles without traveling is to get a Mileage Rewards credit card.  You not only get up to 20,000 bonus miles for signing up, but you get one mile for each dollar spent - on anything!  Plus, many of the cards give you reduced mileage awards and other benefits.  We get over four free flights to Mexico or the Caribbean each year just for using our card, let alone all the other miles we pick up along the way. That's right - FOUR FREE FLIGHTS PER YEAR!  Pick the credit card that's right for your mileage program:  or, there are many rewards cards that let you gain points toward travel on any airline, such as WorldPerks and others.
To see a list of those cards, click here Fly For Free on Any Airline or here

Don't forget the #1 way to rack up the miles! If you're a business owner, you can get one mile for each dollar your business spends each year!  That includes miles your employees spend.  If you have a medium-to-large business, that can mean millions of free miles!  If you have a small business, it's still thousands of FREE miles!  We use a business frequent flyer miles card for all our business purchases, and you should too!  Here are some of the most popular: THERE ARE MANY OTHER WAYS TO GET FREE MILES TOO. - You can get miles for every hotel you stay in, every car you rent, every check you write, every phone call you make, every meal you eat, and more.  You can even get miles for investments, real estate, buying flowers, or buying groceries!  You can get miles toward your free flights for almost everything you do every day!  Plus, if you pay for these things with your mileage credit card, you'll get miles for that too!

NEVER PAY FOR AN AIRLINE TICKET AGAIN! - To read more about the benefits of a certain program and to apply, simply click the links below:

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
If you live in the Pacific Northwest, this plan is a must for you.  In fact, this should probably be your primary plan.  Nobody serves the west coast better than Alaska.  Plus, with powerful partner airlines like Delta, Continental, and Northwest, you have many choices for award travel.  We are members of the Alaska program.

American AAdvantage
This is one of the top programs out there particularly if you live near one of American's hubs in Dallas, Chicago, or Miami.  You can earn miles very easily and it doesn't take many of them to get an award, particularly if you use the reduced mileage awards with the Citibank AAdvantage MasterCard.  American is our primary program.

America West FlightFund
If you live in the Southwest, particularly near Phoenix or Las Vegas, this is an excellent program for you.  Nobody flies cheaper out of these areas than America West.  However, the program right now is still being built up - partners are somewhat limited.  We are members of this program because we live in the West.  America West is a must for a secondary program if you do too.

Asiana Magic Miles
Asiana is a great program for those who fly frequently to Asia, particularly Korea, China, and Japan.  It is somewhat limited in value to the rest of us, however.  If you fly Asiana or its partners, make sure to open a secondary account.

British Airways Executive Club
British Airways is part of American Airlines OneWorld Alliance.  If you fly frequently to or from Europe, particularly the UK, this is the program for you.  If you don't, then this should probably not be your primary account.

Continental OnePass
Continental has one of the best plans in the industry.  They partner with Delta, Northwest, Alaska, and AeroMexico among others to give you a wide variety of choices to earn and use miles on.   We're members of OnePass.

Delta SkyMiles
Delta is also part of the powerful SkyTeam, with Continental, Northwest, and Alaska.  Delta is the world's second largest airline. Hooking up with them makes sense.  We are members of the Delta program.

Hawaiian Miles
If you live in Hawaii, this is a no-brainer.  If you frequently fly to Hawaii, this is also a good program for you.  For the rest of us, the usefulness is limited.  Discounts on Activities and Resorts in Hawaii are nice, though.

United Miles Plus
United is the world's largest airline with the monster Star Alliance featuring European giants SAS and Lufthansa giving them over 800 unique destinations.  This program is a must to add to your collection, even if it's not your primary.

U.S. Airways Dividend Miles
U.S. Airways is a good program if you live on the east coast, particularly in the hub areas of Philadelphia, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Washington DC, or New York.  It is less useful to those of you on the West coast, however.

Did you know you can buy miles if you don't have enough for a free trip?  It won't be free, but it will be a lot less than full price, that's for sure.  Well, there's a site out there called that does exactly that. Get the additional frequent flyer miles you need for a free airline ticket with a click of the mouse! that will handle all of this for you and get you flying for free right away!  Give them a look.  We do.


Security Tips



When you are preparing for your trip, remember to PACK SMART ? PACK SAFE. Start thinking about security before you even leave for the airport. That'll help save you and fellow travelers some extra time. You cannot bring the items listed below on your person or in carry-on luggage.

  • Knives of any length, composition, or description.
  • All cutting and puncturing instruments. This includes pocketknives, carpet knives and box cutters, ice picks, straight razors, metal scissors, and metal nail files.Corkscrews.
  • Athletic equipment that could be used as a weapon, such as baseball/softball bats, golf clubs, pool cues, ski poles, and hockey sticks.
  • Weapons - firearms, ammunition, gunpowder, mace, tear gas, or pepper spray.Aerosol spray cans - hair spray, deodorant, insect repellant, or butane fuel (such as in curling iron refills, scuba tanks, propane tanks, cartridges, and self-inflating rafts).
  • Explosives - fireworks, sparklers, or signal flares.
  • Flammable liquids or solids - fuel, paints, paint thinners or cleaners, lighter fluid, a perfume (no more than 16 oz.).
  • Other hazardous items- dry ice, gas-powered tools, wet-cell batteries, camping equipment with fuel,radioactive materials, poisons, infectious substances.
  • Leave gifts unwrapped. Airline security personnel will open gifts if the X-ray scan cannot determine the contents.
  • If in doubt, don't pack it.
  • Arrive early. Heightened airport security measures increase the time needed to check in. Arriving at the airport two hours before your flight's scheduled departure is advisable.
  • Build in even more time at the airport if traveling with young children, infants, or persons with disabilities.
  • Consider taking public transportation to the airport, if possible. Parking and curbside access will be controlled and limited.
  • Curbside check-in is available only at specific locations. Contact your airline to see if it is available for your flight.
  • Do not leave your car unattended in front of the terminal. Security measures dictate that unattended cars will be towed.
  • Watch your bags and personal belongings at all times.
  • Do not accept packages from strangers. If you see unattended bags or packages anywhere in the airport terminal or parking area, immediately report them to a security officer or other authority.
  • Report any suspicious activities or individuals in the airport or parking lot to airport security.
  • Don't joke about having a bomb or firearm. Don't discuss terrorism, weapons, explosives, or other threats while going through the security checkpoint. The mere mention of words such as "gun," "bomb," etc., can compel security personnel to detain and question you. They are trained to consider these comments as real threats.
  • Adult passengers must bring a government-issued photo ID. The FAA requires that air carriers request government-issued identification, such as a driver's license or draft card, if the passenger appears old enough to have an ID. If a government-issued photo ID is not available, bring two pieces of ID, one of which must be from a governmental authority.
  • E-ticket travelers should check with their airline to make sure they have proper documentation.
  • Automated kiosks are available for airlines that have appropriate security measures in place. Travelers interested in this option should check with their airlines.
  • Be prepared to answer questions about your bags. When asked who packed your bags and if you might have left them unattended at anytime, think carefully and answer the questions honestly. Criminals may use unsuspecting passengers to carry bombs or other dangerous items onto aircraft.
  • Be cooperative as screeners ask to hand-search your bags. Security personnel will search a bag if the x-ray scan cannot determine its contents.
  • Only ticketed passengers are allowed beyond the screener checkpoints, unless a passenger requires parental oversight or must be accompanied by a medical assistant.
  • Travelers are limited to one carry-on bag and one personal item (e.g., purse or briefcase).Electronic items, such as laptop computers and cell phones, may be subjected to additional screening. Be prepared to remove your laptop from its travel case, so it can be X-rayed separately.
  • Put all metal items in your carry-on baggage before you reach the front of the security line. If you're not certain what might set off the metal detector and force a secondary screening, here's a sampler: All kinds of jewelry, including pins, necklaces, bracelets, rings, watches, earrings, clothing with metal buttons, studs or snaps, belt buckles, shoes with steel tips, heels, buckles or nails, cuff links and yes -- body piercings.
  • Also, take off your outer coat to put on the x-ray machine (don't worry about sport coats or blazers).
  • Plan to remove your shoes - even if you can't see any metal in your shoes, there may be some.
  • Listen carefully to the flight attendant's safety instructions.
  • Note where the closest exit to your seat is located.Wear your seat belt.
  • Report unattended items to your flight attendant.
  • Have your luggage receipts available for verification when retrieving luggage.


  • Charge it. Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, credit card customers have a right to refuse paying for charges for services not rendered: such as for cancelled flights.  Details can be found at the Federal Trade Commission Web site:
  • Purchase travel insurance. Some travel insurance policies may offer varying degrees of protection during a military conflict. Consumers should check with their ASTA member travel agent to determine what policy best meets their needs.
  • Stay connected. Leave your e-mail address with your travel agent so that they may pass along whatever knowledge they have of the situation. Also, get the address and telephone number of the U.S. embassy or consulate for each country. In case of difficulties, contact U.S. authorities promptly.
  • Paper tickets or e-tickets- Travelers should discuss with their travel agents the pros and cons of paper tickets and e-tickets. While airlines typically charge fees for paper tickets (around $25), they are more easily transferred to another airline for re-booking in the event your original airline isn't flying. On the other hand, with e-tickets, travelers can often avoid long check-in lines at airports. Talk to your travel agent to decide what is best for you.
  • Center for Disease Control. The Traveler's Health section  gives information related to health and travel.
  • Transportation Security Administration. This site  gives travel tips, information on security procedures, lists of what you can bring with you on flights, latest news, etc.
  • U.S. Customs Service. Visitors to will find regulations and information related to leaving and entering the United States.
  • U.S. State Department. Get travel updates via the U.S. State Department at for up-to-the-minute information, including any worldwide alert or advisories.
  • Allow extra time. Arrive at the airport two hours early.
  • Ask your travel agent. Check with your travel agent to regarding any changes in airport security procedures, e.g. has curbside check-in been temporarily discontinued.
  • Keep your I.D. handy. You may be asked after entering the gate area to produce a picture I.D. such as a drivers license, passport, or government-issued identification for airport or airline personnel. Make your reservation in the exact name that appears on the identification you plan on presenting at the airport. If your name has recently changed and the name on your ticket and your I.D. are different, bring documentation of the change (e.g., a marriage certificate or court order).
  • Get a boarding pass. At many terminals, passengers now are required to present both a boarding pass and government-issued photo ID to pass through the security checkpoints. Tickets, itineraries and e-ticket receipts are not sufficient. Boarding passes can be obtained at airline ticket or curbside check-in counters, or self-service check-in kiosks, and in some cases can be printed from airline Web sites. Ask your travel agent for the latest regulations.
  •  Watch your belongings. Keep your luggage and carry-on luggage with you at all times prior to arriving at the airport and while in the terminal.
  • Packing Do's & Don'ts.  Do carry medications in your carry-on bags. Don't accept any packages or materials from strangers or carry any sharp instruments (i.e., letter openers, knives, box cutters, scissors, etc,) in carry on luggage. They will be confiscated at airport screening stations. See for more information.
  • Group travel tips. If you are traveling with a tour group or cruise group, you may encounter special security procedures. Please ask your travel agent or tour operator for more information.
  • Report suspicious behavior. If you see any suspicious activity or see unattended bags, contact airline or airport personnel immediately.
  • Know your surroundings. Learn the location of stairways, fire escapes, exits and alarms.
  • Dress comfortably and inconspicuously. Don't draw attention to yourself by displaying large amounts of cash or wearing expensive jewelry.
  • Get your things. When deplaning, claim your baggage immediately and leave the airport quickly.
  • Don't panic. If you find yourself near a civil disturbance or other dangerous situation, move away quietly and inconspicuously. Do not run. If this is not possible, take cover behind the nearest shelter and stay there until danger passes.
  • Carry a cell phone & pre-program an emergency number on it. If you'll be traveling abroad, rent a global cell phone that works overseas.




  • Carry a cell phone, and preprogram it to dial the police emergency number, usually 911. A cell phone shows that you are prepared -- criminals avoid prepared targets.
  • When you suspect a situation might be dangerous, immediately call for help. If you hit the pre-programmed 911 button and can't talk, the police still might be able to find you. Many police departments have electronic locators.
  • If you don't have a cell phone, fake it. Reach into your purse or pocket, and pull out your compact or wallet. Cup it in your hand, put it to your ear and pretend you're talking. If the criminal thinks that you are calling for help, they may leave you alone.
  • Poor defense: Pepper spray, mace or a weapon. You won't have time to look for it if you're caught off guard. Even if you do try to use it, the criminal may be able to withstand the weapon and turn it on you.
  • Planning is vital. Nearly everyone without a plan hesitates and loses the first critical seconds that he needs to escape. Result: The victim is at the mercy of his assailant.
  • Your assailant most likely will be a robber, not a killer. If he wanted to kill you, he would have shot you first. He probably will grab the goods and make his escape. Even if he has a gun, he probably won't shoot... and if he does shoot, he may be too stressed to aim properly.
  • If confronted by an armed person -- whether you're male or female, old or young -- try to escape. Don't argue or plead with your assailant. Take out your wallet and drop it on the ground. Set down your purse. Take off your watch or jewelry. Then run, making as much noise as you can to attract attention.
  • If a stranger tells you to get in a car -- don't. Do all you can to resist. Every violent criminal says, "Do what I say, and I promise I won't hurt you." Don't believe it. Once a criminal decides to move you, he is no longer just a robber. He has something else in mind, probably rape or murder.
  • If he grabs you, you probably won't be able to kick or punch him. Instead, gouge out his eyes. Many criminals are high on drugs or alcohol. Unless you cause severe pain, he might not feel it or he might be able to withstand it. If you can't reach his eyes, bite him as hard as you can -- he will let go.
  • When he loosens his grip, pull free and run. Yell, "Fire!" -- not "Help!" It attracts more attention.
  • If you are locked in a car trunk, kick out the taillights, then stick your arm out the hole and wave like crazy. The driver won't see you, but others might. Also: Some car trunks have an internal release. Become familiar with your own car before an emergency.
  • Avoid dangerous situations. Even when you think you're safe... pay attention. Criminals really are lurking. When a criminal sees someone who is distracted, he will strike... and act before you are aware that there is any danger.
  • Trust your instincts. If a situation makes you uncomfortable, get out fast. Your intuition often is right.
  • Avoid  potentially dangerous places. Do not drive through bad neighborhoods to save time. Take the elevator, not the stairs. Use ATMs inside buildings whenever possible. Exterior ATMs expose your back to people on the street while you are distracted, making you an easy target.
  • Parking lots and garages are dangerous places. Do not walk into an empty parking garage alone. If you see a single man sitting in the car next to yours, don't go to your car. Return when the man has gone or call the police.
  • Do not park next to a van or between two sport-utility vehicles. Before getting in your car, look under and inside both your vehicle and the one next to yours. Once in your car, do not sit there chatting on your cell phone with the window open. Immediately lock the doors, start the car and leave the area.
  • Do not be nice to strangers. We all have inclinations to help others. Criminals know this & take advantage of it. Never stop for anyone who asks for change, directions or the time.
  • Project the image that you're alert and ready for action. Keep your head up, and walk briskly. Women -- if you're on the street or in a parking lot and someone catches your eye or looks you over -- look back at him. Sending the message that you see him and won't be surprised is a good deterrent.

ARE HOTELS MAKING YOU SICK? - IF YOU TRAVEL, YOU MUST READ THIS: Several weeks ago there was a big news story about dirty hotel drinking glasses. I travel a lot, so this story really caught my attention. I even get to stay in some nice hotels courtesy of the conferences where I lecture or attend. You'd think that the drinking glasses they provide in the rooms would be clean and safe. But they aren't!

Since news broke about the hotel glasses, someone put together a video that shows just how bad the problem is. When you see this video, you'll never drink from a hotel glass again. Or if you do, you'll sanitize it yourself.

Here's how bad it is: At best, the maid sprays window washer fluid into your glass and then wipes it out. Next best is she just rinses it out with sink water. Worst, she puts on heavy gloves, washes out the toilet, and then goes with the same gloves and washes your sink and the drinking glass - Yuck!

Here's what I suggest you do. Bring our own hydrogen peroxide with you when you travel. You can put it in tiny glass spray bottles. Then you can spray everything you will be touching in the room, especially the bathroom.

Doing this one simple thing could save your life. As you'll see on the video, even health authorities admitted the possible spread of flesh-eating bacteria and horrible viruses. You can watch the secretly made video HERE.

We work hard and smart constantly upgrading our vacation offers and services, which we are hopeful you will find to be the best available anywhere, and we kindly appreciate your customer feedback and testimonials.

Wishing you much success and happiness, and I am hopeful your vacation is a most enjoyable and memorable one, as well as a thrifty bargain. Kindly tell all of your friends and associates about THRIFTY TRAVEL CLUB'S great vacation & travel bargains on the Internet.


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