Tag: Spring

Winter spring fare deals, Hawaii, COVID passports + more travel news

In this week’s TravelSkills on SFGATE newsletter…

With airlines desperate for cash, this year’s round of Cyber Monday fare deals, good through Thursday, are definitely worth a look, even if you are uneasy about traveling in the current pandemic-plagued environment. Why? Because deals like this won’t be around once a vaccination rolls out, quarantine restrictions dissolve, travelers release pent up demand and fares increase. Read: Fare deals flourish for winter trips to LA, Hawaii, NYC

Joshua Colby Council, 44, was boarding Delta flight 1362 to San Francisco from SLC at about 11 p.m. when he disregarded the gate agent’s order to put on a mask before he got on the aircraft, police said. Salt Lake County sheriff’s records identify him as a resident of San Francisco. Once he took his seat, other crew members, including the captain as well and a Delta manager, insisted that he wear a mask, which he consistently refused to do “for unknown reasons,” according to the police booking report. Read: San Francisco man arrested for refusing to wear a mask on Delta flight

In this week’s route news roundup, Kauai opts out of Hawaii’s pre-testing program, San Francisco International has a new “touchless” option for its parking garages, and also introduces COVID testing for Cathay Pacific; Hawaiian Airlines adds more mainland testing sites; CDC has new testing guidelines for international travel and warns against trips to Mexico; Delta finds a way around Italy’s mandatory quarantine; Air India will add a new San Francisco route; Alaska Airlines bets on the 737 Max for fleet renewal; JetBlue will still fly to London but not to Heathrow; the Delta/WestJet joint venture is scrapped; American Express reopens its Phoenix Centurion Lounge; and United gets some new gates at Denver International. Read: Routes: Kauai shuts down, New route to India, COVID updates, Mexico warning, more

As more governments turn to mandatory COVID-19 testing for travelers in place of mandatory 14-day quarantines after arrival, the world’s airlines are developing a digital health passport that will collect and standardize coronavirus-related passenger data for border crossings and could jump-start international travel once it is widely used. Eventually, the current proof of negative test results prior to travel could be supplanted by proof of vaccination. Read: Airlines’ new ‘health passport’ could revive international travel

Last week, on-airport COVID-19 facilities at both Oakland and San Francisco International Airports were sold out. There were no advance reservation slots until later in December nor was walk-up, day-of-travel testing available for the busiest week for air travel since the pandemic began in March. If you are planning on using the on-airport testing options, be sure to plan ahead and not rely on getting a walk-in appointment. Read: COVID-19 testing at SFO, Oakland airport is sold out

For the first time in more than two centuries, the people were gone. Hanauma Bay, a stunning body of water that formed within a volcanic crater, is approximately 15 minutes from Waikiki. Its natural glory makes it one of Hawaii’s top tourist

Continue reading

Wizz Air sees travel recovery from spring after tough winter

LONDON (Reuters) – European budget airline Wizz Air WIZZ.L said on Thursday it was positioning itself for an expected recovery in air travel in the spring, buoyed by its cash-rich position which should see it through a tough winter.

FILE PHOTO: A Wizz Air Airbus A320 from Sofia, Bulgaria taxis to a gate after landing at Luton Airport after Wizz Air resumed flights today on some routes, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Luton, Britain, May 1, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Boyers

Hungary-based Wizz Air, which in recent years has expanded from eastern into western Europe, has so far withstood the pandemic better than some larger airlines, continuing to add new routes and take delivery of new aircraft.

The airline vies with Europe’s biggest carrier Ryanair RYA.I for the title of lowest-cost player, and like Ryanair sees some opportunity during the downturn for growth while competitors such as easyJet EZJ.L, British Airways ICAG.L and Lufthansa LHAG.DE are planning to shrink.

Chief Executive Jozsef Varadi said that after months of restrictions due to the pandemic, which pushed the carrier into the red in the first half of this year, he saw “light at the end of the tunnel” from spring when the second wave of the virus is expected to ease and a vaccination could be available.

“People want to travel. The moment restrictions fall away, demand explodes,” he said, saying that his focus was on laying the foundations for that recovery by adding new bases, routes and keeping current headcount.

“I would be expecting a more positive movement on capacity … once we are approaching spring and going into summer.”

Wizz expects to fly 30% to 50% of last year’s capacity over the winter period, Varadi said, compared to Ryanair’s plans to fly 40% and easyJet on 25%.

With 1.6 billion euros ($1.9 billion) in cash, Wizz could survive for two years even if it did not fly said Varadi, adding that there were no plans to ground the fleet despite new lockdowns across Europe.

That cash-rich position contrasts with the situation at some competitor airlines. Air France and Air Europa have been rescued by governments, while easyJet and British Airways-owner IAG have raised new cash from shareholders.

For the six months to Sept. 30, Wizz reported an underlying net loss of 145 million euros, on passenger numbers which plunged 71% due to coronavirus travel restrictions.

That was a slightly bigger first-half loss than analysts had forecast and shares in Wizz were down 2.5% at 3,403 pence at 0842 GMT. They have fallen 13% this year, holding up better than other airline groups in Europe.

Reporting by Sarah Young, Editing by Paul Sandle and Susan Fenton

Source Article

Continue reading

Armstrong Woods, Austin Creek recreation area to stay closed until spring or later

The million or so visitors who seek serenity each year at Armstrong Woods in Guerneville or who slip into the nearly 6,000 acres of adjoining wilderness known as Austin Creek State Recreation Area will have to demonstrate the virtue of patience for months to come yet, as they await reopening of the fire-scarred parks.

The lightning-sparked Walbridge fire that seared much of northwest Sonoma County over six weeks beginning in August has been contained for almost a month, but it will be much longer before visitors can return to state park properties impacted by the flames.

Certain park infrastructure needs repair — the restroom and water system at Bullfrog Pond Campground, for instance — and park personnel still need to assess trails, bridges and retaining walls for damage. There is also some culvert replacement underway, and some fencing and signs need replacement.

But the chief concern among park officials are hundreds, maybe thousands of hazard trees throughout the area, those that are obviously a fall risk and those that may not be.

Some are leaning or tangled in neighboring trees, their own roots burned away or still smoldering, they said.

In other cases, an unsuspecting visitor could step into a cavity left by an incinerated root ball or even encounter material inside that’s still burning.

“There are so many scary, crazy trees out here,” state parks Natural Resource Manager Brendan O’Neil said. “There are so many trees hung up in other trees — not just one, but like three of them together — and they’re suspended off the ground. And it’s like, Wow, just the right wind, and a hard hat isn’t going to do you any favors in that kind of situation.”

So, though the intensity of the fire varied across the area concerned, state park officials do not expect to reopen any part of the parks until spring, at the earliest, and maybe even summer, Sonoma-Mendocino Coast District superintendent Terry Bertels said.

“We’ve still got fire in the park, and we will have until we get some rain, and it’s mostly fire in the form of smoldering roots or cavities,” Bertels said.

Trees that are burned but cold, meanwhile, may still fail, though their instability won’t be revealed until the ground is saturated and high winds arrive.

Conversely, the passage of time may allow a weakened tree to stabilize, preventing its unnecessary removal, Bertels said.

“We don’t want to take a tree out that still has a chance to make it, but we’ve got to get through some winds and wet soils,” he said.

Hundreds of trees already have come down and are stacked awaiting processing for sale as camp firewood. A huge pile awaits attention near the northern end of Armstrong Woods, an area normally used for picnicking. Most of the trees — everything from tanoaks and Douglas firs to eucalyptus — come from uphill at the Austin Creek State Recreation Area, a wide expanse of rugged terrain north and northwest of Armstrong Redwood State Natural Reserve

Continue reading

Economic expectations for spring break in Havasu murky as universities cancel week of vacation | Local News Stories

Spring breakers are still expected in Lake Havasu City come March, but just how large the flood of student visitors will be remains murky as some universities cancel the week of freedom in the face of covid-19.

University of Arizona is among the nation’s schools announcing spring break cancellations. The move intends to limit the spread of covid-19 cases on campus — a trend that many schools across the country saw last March after students traveled far and wide, creating outbreaks of the disease upon their return.

So far, Grand Canyon University, Northern Arizona University and Arizona State University all still have the break listed on their academic calendars. However, as is the nature of functioning in a pandemic, that still has potential to change, depending on the situation as the holiday nears.

As an alternative to a week of vacation, UA is instead speckling the semester with days off here and there, called “Reading Days,” in an effort to still provide breaks for students and staff. This same method is being used in several schools across the U.S.

So what does that mean for Havasu, a city that thrives on tourism and has learned to prepare for busy holidays, like spring break?

Whatever the numbers end up being, the pandemic and cancellations are expected to impact spring break 2021, according to local tourism leaders. At this point, it’s hard to say what exactly that impact may look like.

“It’s especially difficult to speculate since each day, week, and month recently have required everyone to be extremely fluid in how we act and react to the pandemic,” Matt Brewster, president of the Lake Havasu Hospitality Association, said. “For example, when this all started, Lake Havasu was in a real bad spot with all of the shutdowns and it was bleak at best, but in very little time, we found ourselves the hub of a lot more activity than anyone would have expected — in some cases, more activity than previous years.”

Brewster also believes it’s a possibility that students could be just as “wound up and in need of some much-needed outdoor activity” as boaters have been — in which case, they’ll be prepared to pump up coronavirus precautions.

“Even with students who have had spring break canceled, they may still want to enjoy that day or two of ‘Reading Days’ sitting on the beach with a good book here in Havasu,” he added.

For now, the Lake Havasu Hospitality Association is continuing to follow state health guidance while developing protocols for spring break 2021, Brewster said, noting that their plans are fluid and will change based on current information.

Summer Winter Action Tours, a company that organizes spring break festivities and events in Havasu, is returning to Havasu for 2021 after three years of absence. Terence Concannon, GoLakeHavasu president, said he hasn’t spoken with SWAT about the cancellations yet, but he plans to chat with them this week.

Source Article

Continue reading

10 New California Villas for a Spring 2019 Vacation

Live it up in Beverly Hills or mingle with the locals on Melrose Avenue. Golf your way through the desert or fill your feed with Instagram-worthy landmarks. No matter your style, you’ll find your niche in California — and it’s sure to be glamorous. Where to stay? From the mid-century modern gems of Palm Springs to the celebrity-laden pads of Beverly Hills, these California villas are the answer for your next trip west.

Villa: Valencia in Indio

Valencia (Indio)

California’s Desert Cities region is known to be a world leader in both golf course volume and quality. Valencia, a California villa in a gated community, is perfectly positioned — between Avenue 48 and 50 in Indio — to snag a tee time at any of the surroundings clubs. With Rancho La Quinta to its west and Indian Palms to its right, plus The Citrus Club, Mountain View, and Plantation all nearby as well, this section in Indio is as well-suited as you’ll find for your next golf getaway. For non-golfers, Valencia is just 10 miles from shopping and dining in Old Town La Quinta. The vacation home has five bedrooms in the main house, and one additional room in a guest house. All guests can enjoy its saltwater pool with a waterfall and a hot tub, plus an alfresco terrace with an outdoor television.


Villa: Beverly Grove Beverly Hills

Beverly Grove (Beverly Hills)

There are countless ways to visit Los Angeles, but it’s hard to beat the Beverly Hills lifestyle, even if for just a week or two at a time. Beverly Grove delights with classic 90210 architecture: white exterior, French white oak flooring, an open concept floor plan, high ceilings, and floor-to-ceiling windows. And scenic city views are seen from just about everywhere inside and outside the home, including its infinity pool and terrace, and three wraparound balconies — one on each floor. Life at Beverly Grove can be as connected or disconnected as guests choose: SmartHome technology allows guests to control their surroundings remotely, and a home theater with couch seating is the perfect place to host movie night. On the other hand, a private cabana with a massage table allows guests to clear their minds. For moments of total privacy, head down to the private tree-surrounded balcony where a set of wooden stairs lead down to a teahouse and koi pond.


Villa: Edinburgh Modern Mansion

Edinburgh Modern Mansion (Hollywood)

For a family getaway, a vacation with friends, or an exciting honeymoon, Edinburgh Modern Mansion in West Hollywood has the right stuff. A completely private waterfall swimming pool and hot tub with an adjoining terrace are the likely hangout place for your group of guests. And the adjacent glass wall slides open to reveal the stylish indoor living space and allow guests to easily transition in and out. The blue satin L-shaped couch is a statement on its own, and audacious art pieces add a flare to

Continue reading