Tag: big

2 big airlines fly back to SFO, cheap travel outlook, double beds in biz class + more travel news

In this week’s TravelSkills on SFGATE newsletter…

Last week I sat down virtually with Jared Kamrowski, the energetic and informed founder of one of my favorite airfare deal-finding sites and newsletters, ThriftyTraveler.com. Take a read through our lively, advice-laden conversation to learn about the airfare outlook for the holidays, spring break and next summer; “crazy good” fare deals;  how a COVID-19 vaccination will impact 2021 trips to Europe or Hawaii and lots more. Read: Expert advice on the near future of cheap travel

After years of expansion, airline growth at San Francisco International Airport hit a dry spell this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on air travel. That’ll end next month when Qatar Airways operates its first regularly scheduled flights to SFO — the only international airline to launch a new flight to SFO in 2020.  Come take a look inside the two-class A350 jet we toured in Los Angeles last week to see the double beds and private suites onboard! Read: Qatar Airways to bring ‘private living room’ suites to SFO next month

In route news, Singapore Airlines will revive San Francisco flights next month; Cathay Pacific is dropping some U.S. routes; Copa is back at SFO this weekend; Frontier Airlines will move into Oakland; Southwest and Allegiant add California service; Alaska and American announce new mutual perks for their frequent flier members; major carriers extend change fee elimination to international routes; Delta pushes its empty-middle-seat promise into the spring; airlines prepare to put 737 Max aircraft back into service; Norwegian files for reorganization; new U.S.-U.K. bilateral air agreement is signed; Aer Lingus gets the nod to join AA/British Airways joint venture; Korean Air will buy a controlling stake in Asiana; and Los Angeles International opens COVID-19 testing facilities for passengers. Read: Routes- Singapore, Copa back at SFO, Frontier to OAK + Alaska/AA, change fees, 737 Max news, more

American Express will nearly double the size of its wildly popular Centurion Lounge at San Francisco International Airport — a welcome expansion that will alleviate crowding when travel picks up again. SFO’s Airport Commission unanimously approved the expansion project during its Nov. 11 meeting. Read: SFO’s overcrowded Centurion Lounge to expand

Comments from a credit card executive are raising concerns that formerly frequent travelers are accumulating large amounts of miles and points in airline and hotel loyalty programs but not using them – for now. Once a COVID-19 vaccine becomes widely available, that could lead to a sudden rush to claim free flights and rooms, putting a strain on the availability of those rewards. Read: Frequent fliers could face this problem with post-pandemic travel


Planning to fly to Hawaii for the holidays? Better make sure your negative COVID-19 results are in hand, and not just pending, before boarding your plane under a change to the state’s Safe Travels program announced Thursday, Nov. 19. Read: Hawaii is tightening COVID-19 restrictions, from mask mandates to visitor testing

After nearly two years and a pair of deadly crashes, the U.S. Federal

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Hotel quarantine stopping Big Bash imports from training

Strikers star Rashid Khan won’t get out of hotel quarantine untinl days before the Big Bash opener (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Strikers star Rashid Khan won’t get out of hotel quarantine untinl days before the Big Bash opener (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Big Bash imports are being subjected to strict quarantine rules leaving them unable to train and some, like star spinner Rashid Khan, won’t exit until just days before their opening match as officials jump another COVID-19 hurdle.

Khan only arrived in Australia on Monday and will have to complete a full 14-day hotel quarantine before linking up with his Adelaide Strikers teammates three days before the first match in Hobart on December 11.

The release of the full BBL fixture on Monday included games in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth in January with officials confident they have structured the season in a way which ensures they can “get in” to any states with ongoing border restrictions.

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Chartered planes will be used until the safety of players can be guaranteed on commercial flights and Big Bash boss Alistair Dobson conceded it was a large added expense but a neccesasary one to “deliver the matches we have scheduled”.

While the touring Indian players were given exemptions to train and prepare for the limited overs series against Australia which begins on Friday, individual players arriving for the Big Bash were not.

Clubs have signed internationals players from England, the West Indies, New Zealand, South Africa and Afghanistan and Dobson said it remained a “24/7 project” to get them in for the start of the season on December 10.

There are currently 12 players and a coach already in Australian completing quarantine, but most only arrived last weekend and will be limited to four or five days preparation with their teammates.

England’s James Vince is one of a dozen players stuck in hotel quarantine before the Big Bash (Photo by Scott Gardiner/Getty Images)
England’s James Vince is one of a dozen players stuck in hotel quarantine before the Big Bash (Photo by Scott Gardiner/Getty Images)

The West Indies are in New Zealand for T20 and Test series. The trans-Tasman travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand should allow any Big Bash bound players to enter the country without serving quarantine.

“There are some players that have arrived ands are doing their 14 days. They are in the regular overseas quarantine in different states. ,” Dobson said.

“It will be a different preparation, it will be tough on a number of levels. But the importance of that process is crticial to the country.”

Sports Writer

Melbourne

Russell Gould is a senior Herald Sun sportswriter with nearly 20 years experience across a wide variety of sports from cricket to golf to rugby league to horse racing and AFL, writing both news and in depth fea… Read more

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A vacation to Lake Chelan made him a fan. Now Olympia big man Grant will sign with UW Huskies

When Jackson Grant was on vacation with his family in Lake Chelan, around 10 years old at the time, he saw a teenager shooting hoops on a basketball court near the family’s timeshare. Grant, being plenty social even as a younger kid, went over to join him, taking turns taking shots.

That teenager was Matisse Thybulle, who went on to a stellar career at the University of Washington, capped in his senior year, in which he was recognized as the top defender in the nation with the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year and the Lefty Driesell awards in 2019. Thybulle went on to be selected with the No. 20 overall pick in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft and currently plays for the Philadelphia 76ers.

That week in Chelan was more or less when Grant started following Husky basketball, just before Thybulle committed to UW.

“My grandma started taking us to games up there to watch him play after that,” Grant said.

Now, it’s Grant’s turn to suit up for the purple and gold. The Olympia High School center will be signing his National Letter of Intent with Washington on Wednesday, Nov. 11, the first day of the early signing period allowed by the NCAA for sports other than football.

The 6-foot-10 senior big man was The News Tribune and The Olympian’s 2020 All-Area player of the year in his junior season, leading the Bears to a fourth-place finish in the Class 4A state tournament, its best finish since 2011. He averaged 17 points and 11 rebounds for Olympia last season.

Following Thybulle’s career helped turn Grant into a Husky fan over the years. He’d attend games and take pictures with Thybulle after the games.

“I’ve looked up to him a lot,” Grant said. “Just his work ethic through the years. I didn’t realize how good he could be. I realize how hard that level that he’s working at is and I really respect that.”

Grant said he hopes to follow a similar trajectory over the course of his Husky career, developing as a player over four years and hopefully turning pro one day.

“I don’t see myself as being a one-and-done player,” Grant said. “I see myself really improving. (Thybulle) really laid out a groundwork to be able to follow at UW.”

Grant was fortunate enough to lock down his commitment and go through the recruitment process before the coronavirus pandemic took hold and shut everything down. He committed to Washington last November.

“I feel super fortunate about that,” he said. “Some of the guys on my (AAU) team, they’re trying to figure out where they’re going to go. It’s been hard, you can’t do any in-person visits now. Those official visits helped me more than anything else. I’m so happy I got that out of the way before everything covid hit.”

Grant took his visit to UW last September, when he took in a Husky football game, naturally, but more important, spent time around the

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Travel service stocks get a big boost from good news on potential COVID-19 vaccine

Expedia Group Inc.’s stock (EXPE) was the biggest gainer of the group within the S&P 500 index (SPX) as it shot up 21.9% in active morning trading to surpass this year’s pre-COVID-19 peak. The stock was headed for the highest close since November 2019.

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Trading volume swelled to more than 6.4 million shares, already more than double the full-day average of about 2.3 million shares.

Also in the S&P 500, shares of Booking Holdings Inc. (BKNG) shot up 16.4% toward the highest close since June 2018.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 climbed 2.8%, with 425 of 505 components gaining ground.

The gains come after BioNTech S.E. (BNTX) and Pfizer Inc. (PFE) revealed data showing that their COVID-19 vaccine candidate was 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 in trial participants without previous evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

“Stocks, including beleaguered travel sector stocks amongst others, are soaring on the back of the news,” said Nigel Green, chief executive of independent financial advisory firm deVere Group. “But I would urge investors to remain optimistically cautious and above the ‘buy everything’ mindset.”

Elsewhere, shares of TripAdvisor Inc. (TRIP) jumped 19.4% toward a two-month high, Trivago NV (TRVG) hiked up 26.2% toward a seven-week high, Trip.com Ltd. (TCOM) ran up 12.3% toward a 10-month high and Despegar.com Corp. (DESP) advanced 18.1% toward an eight-month high.

The rally in travel booker stocks coincided with big gains in travel providers, with shares of airlines and cruise operators also soaring.

DeVere’s Green said he believes that while the vaccine news is “obviously, an important step in the right direction,” stocks are being “premature in their buoyancy.”

Travel stocks have been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, given some government-mandated restrictions put in place in attempt to stem the outbreak. Although many of the restrictions had been lifted since the worst of the pandemic, a surge in new cases globally worried investors that further shutdowns may occur.

With Monday’s rally, Expedia’s stock has gained 16.3% year to date and Booking shares have edged up 0.9%, while the S&P 500 has tacked on 11.7%.

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Thanksgiving Travel Will Create The Next Big Superspreader Event, Fear Experts

As the United States comes off back-to-back days with record-setting levels of new Covid-19 cases, public health experts and a growing number of state governors are raising red flags that the Thanksgiving travel weekend is shaping up to be a superspreader event.

We only have to look north for a cautionary tale. Canadians celebrated their Thanksgiving holiday less than a month ago, and now the country is seeing a dramatic surge in cases across the country.

Before the holiday on October 12, Canadian leaders had warned citizens to limit celebrations to their own households. “The care we show each other today will help protect all of us tomorrow,” British Columbia’s top health officials said in a released statement in early October.

“Stay home with the people you live with. Resist the temptation to see your friends and family,” the Quebec Premier François Legault told his constituents days before the holiday.

As Covid-19 cases have climbed in recent weeks, top healthcare officials in Ontario, Alberta and other provinces have blamed Thanksgiving travel for the subsequent spikes there, according to reports in multiple Canadian news outlets.

Weeks before Thanksgiving will be celebrated in America, Covid-19 is spreading faster in the U.S. than at any time since the pandemic began — more than three times faster than in Canada, according to the risk-assessment map run by the Harvard Global Health Institute and Brown School of Public Health.

Over a seven-day rolling average, the U.S. is currently at 27.4 new daily cases per 100,000 people, which puts the country “at a tipping point,” according to Harvard-Brown data. In Canada, comparatively, the incidence rate is 8.3 new cases per day, per 100,000 people.

MORE FROM FORBESTravel Alert: America’s Current Covid-19 Surge Won’t End Until 2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance for Thanksgiving deems “attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside of your household” to be high risk. “Travel increases the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes Covid-19,” according to the CDC. “Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.”

In recent weeks, the governors of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Ohio have asked their residents to spend Thanksgiving at home. A week ago, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo expressed his concern. “I think you’re going to see the number increase even more after Thanksgiving and it’s going to be coming into December when you run into the flu season,” Cuomo said in a press briefing last Friday.

Yesterday in Illinois, Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike recommended that people avoid traveling over Thanksgiving weekend to areas of high risk. And that, she said, “is almost everywhere.”

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New DC hotel CitizenM offers small rooms, big beds, mood lighting

Dutch hotel company CitizenM has opened its fifth CitizenM hotel in the U.S. in Southwest D.C., and it calls its rooms “the hotel room, reinvented.” See photos.

The 12-story, 252-room hotel is at 6th and E streets Southwest, near the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station, and within walking distance of The Wharf. (Courtesy CitizenM)

Courtesy CitizenM

There is only one room type, and they are on the small side, at about 165 square feet. (Courtesy CitizenM)

Courtesy CitizenM

The hotel has a large living room instead of a lobby. (Courtesy CitizenM)

Courtesy CitizenM

There’s a rooftop bar with terrace. (Courtesy CitizenM)

Courtesy CitizenM

There’s a canteen offering grab-and-go food, snacks and drinks 24 hours a day, sourced from D.C.-based catering and food delivery company Chef Jess. (Courtesy CitizenM)

Courtesy CitizenM

There are seven bookable meeting rooms. (Courtesy CitizenM)

Courtesy CitizenM

The hotel has a large living room instead of a lobby. (Courtesy CitizenM)

Courtesy CitizenM

The 12-story, 252-room hotel is at 6th and E streets Southwest, near the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station, and within walking distance of The Wharf. (Courtesy CitizenM)

Courtesy CitizenM

Dutch hotel company CitizenM has opened its fifth CitizenM hotel in the U.S. in Southwest D.C., and it calls its rooms “the hotel room, reinvented.”

The 12-story, 252-room hotel is at 6th and E streets Southwest, near the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station and within walking distance of The Wharf.

The hotel has a large living room instead of a lobby, seven bookable meeting rooms, a rooftop bar with terrace, and a canteen offering grab-and-go food, snacks and drinks 24 hours a day, sourced from D.C.-based catering and food delivery company Chef Jess.

There is only one room type. They are on the small side, at about 165 square feet, all with extra-large king-size beds that are tucked in wall-to-wall, a desk and chair, under-bed storage, a TV with streaming capability and a free movie library, and free Wi-Fi.

The rooms also have rain showers and ambience lighting. An in-room iPad controls lighting ambiance, temperature, blinds and TV.

And for guests, their smartphone is their friend. Check-in, check-out, opening doors and ordering food can all be done through an app.

The rooms are also relatively affordable, starting at around $100 a night, with a complimentary drink during a “hotel opening deal” in November, according to the CitizenM D.C. website. It brands itself as “affordable luxury.”

CitizenM also offers a fixed-rate stay option, called Global Passport, which lets frequent travelers or those with extended-stay plans sign up for as little as $50 a night when booking a full month of nightly stays, regardless of the hotel location.

CitizenM is also opening a second, 292-room D.C. location in NoMa.

The first CitizenM opened at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport in 2008. There are 21 locations now, mostly in Europe.

Its other current U.S. hotels include two in New York, and one each in Boston and Seattle.

Others are coming to Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago. By 2025, CitizenM expects to have

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Jersey Shore Family Vacation Season 4 to Premiere in November … With Big Changes


MTV is moving on with Jersey Shore: Family Vaction. 


The cabler today announced that its beloved series is set to return this holiday season with back-to-back episodes on Thursday, November 19th at 8PM ET/PT.


Following an explosive season-three finale, which was the highest-rated episode since 2018, the pop-culture phenomenon returns for season four to make “Jerztory” as the world looks a little different and social distancing is the new rule.

The Family Is Back! - Jersey Shore


For the first time ever, it’s “Jersey Shore ‘Bring the Family’ Vacation” as our favorite roommates take over an entire resort living their best lives in their own “Shore” bubble.


Yes, you read that right. 

Jwoww is Shocked - Jersey Shore: Family Vacation


The stars of the series will be bringing their families along for the ride. 


“With more than 10 years of ups and downs and humor and heart, the cast has always made it out on the other side stronger than ever — until now,” reads the official logline.


“Angelina’s wedding and the speech heard around the world left the family fractured, leaving the boys with only one option — make the family whole again.”


“So, DJ Pauly D takes over a resort and with the help of Mike “The Situation,” Vinny and Ronnie, they hatch a plan to reunite the girls, invite the extended family to distract them from the drama, and hope for the best,” it continues.

Snnokie Attends VMAs


“It seemed like a good idea at the time, but with this group you never know what will happen.”


Leading up to the highly-anticipated season four premiere, MTV will air Jersey Shore Family Vacation Season 3 recap specials on Thursday, November 5th and Thursday, November 12th at 8PM ET/PT.


The cast for the fourth season includes Deena Nicole Cortese, Paul “Pauly D” Delvecchio, Jenni “JWOWW” Farley, Vinny Guadagnino, Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, Angelina Pivarnick, and Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino.


Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi announced she was leaving the franchise last December, with her on-screen exit airing earlier this year. 


The series first premiered in 2009 and returned in 2018 to record ratings, and is an MTV worldwide phenomenon that has built a franchise that includes Floribama Shore, Geordie Shore (UK), Gandia Shore (Spain), Warsaw Shore (Poland), Acapulco Shore (Mexico), and Super Shore.

Snooki Poses at Radio Event


Jersey Shore Family Vacation operating in a bubble is no surprise, so don’t expect the gang to be going out to bars and living it up. 


Instead, the drama will be within a closed setting. 


What are your thoughts on the news?


Watch the trailer below. 


Remember you can watch Jersey Shore: Family Vacation online right here via TV Fanatic. 

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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Santa Fe’s vacation rental market sees big decline

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – As in many other tourist destinations in the United States, a large portion of Santa Fe’s housing market is short-term rentals, where guests can stay in family-sized homes for a few nights instead of a hotel.

Oftentimes, owners rent properties through such websites as Airbnb and HomeAway.

But the demand for these vacation rentals, as in so many other sectors of the economy, has dropped off dramatically since New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham declared a public health emergency March 11 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Shane Morris, a Houston-based machine learning engineer, tracks online traffic for short-term rentals across the country and said the market has evaporated in a short span of time.

In Santa Fe, he said, internet searches for terms like “places to stay in Santa Fe” fell by 97%.



“When you lose 97% of your searches on a term, that’s deadly,” he said. “They’ve all cratered in the past two weeks.”

A report from last year indicated that there were more than 1,600 active listings for short-term rentals in Santa Fe, ranking it 12th in the country on a per capita basis.

Morris said those who own multiple short-term units will be affected most by the lack of demand.

One of those people is Mary Ann Kaye, who owns 12 units, all in the same block of Park Avenue, through her company, Casas de Guadalupe.

Kaye said she was planning for a busy season with spring break, but now nearly all her guests have canceled.

“We went from a sold-out situation to a ghost town situation,” she said.

Her company purchased all the units several years ago and converted them from apartments into short-term rentals. Now, she has to figure out how to pay for a dozen mortgages with few or no guests.

“We made all our payments for the month of March, but if this continues into April and May, it’s going to be really difficult,” said Kaye, who is now applying for a small-business loan.

In response to the crisis, many owners of short-term rentals are attempting to lease their units month to month to make up the difference, listing their properties on such websites as Craiglist.

One of those owners is Brenda Wall, who has mortgages on two properties she used as short-term rentals. However, with most New Mexicans now ordered to stay home, she remains unsure she can rent them out for the long term.

Wall said she took out the cash value on one of her life insurance policies – around $16,000 – to avoid foreclosure on her properties.

Based on statistics from a study by Homewise Inc. last year, around 5% of homes in Santa Fe were listed on Airbnb last November alone, a large industry supported by various managers, cleaners and other employers.

Will Risbourg’s company manages 75 homes across the city that are used as short-term vacation rentals and employed 10 people. Now, he has had hundreds of cancellations and had to lay

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