It's pretty easy to drop a ton of money in Las Vegas and have nothing to show for it. But from March 10-13, you can be one of 12 participants to take part in the bi-annual Richard Petty Fantasy Racing Camp - for a mere $10,500. That gets you all activities as well as accommodations on the Vegas strip, all meals, custom apparel, in-car video and photos.
Participants get four days to explore all the event offers, which includes meeting Richard Petty and Dale Inman, and hanging out in a luxury suite for the Kobalt Tools 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. And that's just the first day. The following days get them behind the wheel of a 600-horsepower NASCAR race car where they'll learn short-track driving skills, road-course skills and participate in a speedway challenge, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Spring Mountain Motorsports Racetrack Road Course. Other camp highlights include scene helicopter rides, driving challenges and one-one-one instruction from some of racing's best, including Inman, Randy LaJoie and a team of Petty instructors.
All new this year is the American Muscle Car Challenge, in which participants can drive American supercars by Ford, Dodge and Chevy in two modules, including a 0-to-60 mph challenge and g-force experience.
Space is limited to 12, and to register call 704-454-6224, email email@example.com or visit www.drivepetty.com/fantasyracingcamp The cost is steep, but the memories last a lot longer than whatever you'd pump into the slots or leave on the tables.
By Kari Bodnarchuk, Globe Correspondent
More than 150 neon signs from Las Vegas casinos, restaurants, and shops dating to the 1930s are on display at the city’s Neon Museum. This venue includes a two-acre outdoor area called the Neon Boneyard with a kitschy and colorful assemblage of neon signs (the world’s largest collection), and the new La Concha Visitors’ Center, which is located in the newly restored La Concha Motel lobby, a seashell-shaped architectural beauty that was saved from demolition and moved to this site. One-hour public tours run every half-hour Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; the last tour leaves at 4p.m. Adults $18; students, seniors, veterans, and Nevada residents $12; children age 6 and under free. Advance purchase recommended. 702-387-6366, www.neonmuseum.org
Last weekend marked the maiden run of a new curbside service called Hangover Heaven, dedicated to offering relatively quick relief to those suffering the residual effects of overindulgence.
For an introductory fee of $90 or $150, patients receive IV therapy (choose either Redemption or the higher-priced Salvation) to rehydrate as well as as regimen of anti-nausea medicine and vitamins. The whole shooting match is done in a half hour to 45 minutes.
The business is the brainchild of Jason Burke, who is, according to his website, a Duke-educated, board-certified anesthesiologist. Burke has a fleet of specially-equipped tour buses that make stops at the Hard Rock Hotel, Paris, Bellagio, and The Cosmopolitan. According to reports he is also talking to hotels about offering room service to the less ambulatory.
Planning a trip to Vegas? There is more information on the company's website and Burke is hoping that soon there will be an app for that.
Photos of bus and Dr. Jason Burke courtesy of Hangoverheaven.com
Fares begin as low as $59 and must be purchased before Nov. 15 for travel Nov. 14-Feb. 14, and though it ends on Valentine's Day the carrier gives up little love for the holidays as the exclusion dates include: Nov. 20 and 23, Nov. 26 -28, and Dec. 22 - Jan. 3.
Two weeks ago, I wrote about how it appears holiday travelers will be paying more for airline tickets this year as the carriers, facing surging fuel prices, have been boosting tickets prices in the wake of plans to make deeper cuts than usual for the holiday season to ensure fuller planes and higher fares.
If you can work around the blackout dates, prices are pretty good. Here is the fine print and some sample one-way fares from Boston:
$59: Baltimore, Buffalo, Norfolk, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh
$127: Minneapolis/St. Paul
$142: Kansas City
$144: Jackson, Miss.
$147: San Antonio
$149: Los Angeles, Burbank, Calif., Ontario/LA, Orange County, San Diego
$158: Louisville, Ky., Panama City Beach
$159: Birmingham, Ala., Tucson, Sacramento
$161: St. Louis
$162: Albuquerque, Salt Lake City
$178: Reno/Lake Tahoe
$179: Little Rock
$184: Phoenix, San Jose, Calif.
$187: Portland, Ore.
$194: Oklahoma City
$199: Dallas, El Paso, Tulsa
Looking to travel this fall? I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, after writing about sales from Southwest, AirTran, and JetBlue, that we were entering the fall sale period. Today, both JetBlue and Southwest announced discounts for travel through the fall, but there is some difference in terms.
The JetBlue sale is a 48-hour deal so you must book before midnight Wednesday July 20 for travel from Sept. 6-Nov. 16. Discounts are not available on all days or flights; blackout dates are Oct. 6-11. Here is the fine print and some sample one-way fares from Boston: to Baltimore, $39; Washington, (Dulles), New York City (JFK), Pittsburgh, and Newark, N.J. $44; Washington, DC (Reagan) $49; Chicago (O'Hare) $52; Richmond, Va., and Bufffalo, N.Y. $54; Raleigh-Durham, N.C. $69; Charlotte, N.C. $74; Jacksonville, Fla., $84; Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Tampa, and Bermuda $99; Denver, San Juan, P.R., and New Orleans $119; Austin and Phoenix $129; Long Beach and Los Angeles $149; San Jose, Calif., $159; San Diego and San Francisco $169; and Seattle $179.
Southwest sale prices are available for purchase until Aug. 2 for travel between Aug. 23-Dec. 14. Black out dates include all Fridays and Sundays as well as Sept. 1-5 and Nov. 17-29. Here is the fine print and some sample one-way fares from Boston: Philadelphia $39; Baltimore $59; Pittsburgh $89; Denver $119; Chicago $134; Kansas City $156; Oklahoma City $179; and St. Louis $149.
You'll notice the JetBlue fares are better, but they are only available through tomorrow and only through the JetBlue website --- in other words you won't find these prices on Travelocity, Orbitz, Expedia, or any of the others. Also note that it's likely other carriers will be looking to match -- or better --- some prices of some competitive routes so it could pay to shop around.
UPDATE 11:48 a.m.
AirTran, which was recently acquired by Southwest, has also sprung a fall sale. For this one, you must book by Aug. 1 for travel to most destinations July 30-Nov. 16., with lowest fares available for travel Tuesdays and Wednesdays. A 10-day advance purchase required, and blackout dates are July 29 and 31; and Aug. 5, 7, 12, 14 and 21. Here's the fine print and some sample one-way fares from Boston: Atlanta and Newport News/Williamsburd, Va., $84; Akron/Canton, Dayton, Memphis, Pensacola/Gulf Coast, Richmond, and Sarasota/Bradenton $94; Flint and Grand Rapids Mich., and Miami $99; Bloomington/Normal, Ind., and Charlotte $104; Bermuda and Nassau $109; Wichita $114; Cancun and Rochester, N.Y., $119; Montego Bay and Branson, Mo., $129; Key West $134; Huntsville, Ala., $144; San Juan, P.R. $149; Des Moines $159; and Aruba $164.
New Jersey-based foodies Laury and John Bakie sampled 750 meals in
Las Vegas and then penned a book to help visitors enjoy eating in Sin City.
The 280-page coffee-table book, ‘‘The World of Las Vegas Dining’’ (NJR
Publications, $48) contains 700 photos and the inside scoop on local
restaurants and the world-renowned chefs who run them, such as Bobby Flay,
Todd English, Emeril, Mario Batali, and Tom Colicchio. You’ll find out how
they made it to the top and where you can savor their creations. The Bakies
are researching a similar book that will focus on Boston’s culinary scene.
Frequent travelers to Las Vegas will welcome a clever new invention by locals Gena and Matt Marler: The Vegas Box. This 20-by-17-by-12-inch lockable storage box can be used to hold personal items, such as shampoo, conditioner, and shaving kits, or business supplies and convention materials. The durable plastic box is delivered to travelers at their hotel room upon arrival, and then picked up after they leave and moved to a secure, climate-controlled warehouse until their next visit. It helps travelers save on baggage fees and the hassle of clearing security with toiletries. The box comes with dividers, breakaway security locks (customers can supply their own locks), one year of storage, and two hotel deliveries for $99. Additional deliveries cost $20 each per trip.
Photo: The Vegas Box
When we buy cars, most of us consider the relative safety ratings of models but few of us do when choosing a rental car. Perhaps we should. USA Today has looked closely at Insurance Institute for Highway Safety figures in an attempt to make the task easier.
The good news is that more than 95 percent of 167 different vehicles in rental fleets are rated "good'' in head-on collisions, the most frequent type of fatal crash. It turns out that there is, however, a good bit of difference in how cars do in side and rear wrecks and rollovers.
USA Today reports that a half dozen 2011 vehicles and one 2010 vehicle had "poor" side-impact crash ratings: Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio, Volkswagen's New Beetle, two-door Jeep Wrangler, GMC Canyon, Chevrolet Colorado with a crew cab, and 2010 Chrysler PT Cruiser. In rear-crash ratings, two 2011 vehicles — Cadillac STS and Lexus HS hybrid manufactured before 2010 — and three 2010 vehicles — Chrysler PT Cruiser, Infiniti M35, and Hummer H3 — got slapped with poor ratings.
The 2011 cars that earned top overall safety ratings include: Ford Fiesta, Honda Civic, the Mitsubishi Lancer, and the Subaru Impreza among the smaller cars; Ford Fusion, the Chrysler 200 and the Volkswagen Jetta for the midsize vehicles; and Ford Taurus, Toyota Avalon, and Buick Regal.
Want more details? Here's a chart.
Let's call it a fare war. Southwest launched a big sale a few days ago and yesterday, we pointed out that US Airways had jumped on. Now Smartertravel.com is reporting that American, Continental, Delta, JetBlue, and United are now in too. To get discount fares on Southwest and US Airways you must purchase before Feb. 18 for travel through late May. Smartertravel suggests that the competitors will likely drop discounts around then too.
And here's a new one from Southwest: It's no secret that Boston-Baltimore is perhaps the most competitive route out of Logan. Southwest is putting Baltimore flights on sale with one-way prices starting at $59. Besides Logan, this deal also applies to T.F. Green outside Providence and to Manchester. To get discounted prices you must purchase before March 15 for travel March 3-May 25. But travel is limited to Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with a blackout day of April 26.
Amid rising fuel prices, US Airways is raising fees for overweight bags on domestic flights. Fees for bags that weigh between 50 and 70 pounds will rise to $90 from $50 and the charge for luggage that weighs more than 70 pounds is going up to $175 from $100.
The carrier will also raise levies for customers who travel with more than two bags. Fees for checking additional bags will increase to $125 from $100.
US Airways will keep its base price for checked bags the same: $25 for the first bag, and $35 for the second.
The new prices will apply to tickets purchase after Jan. 31 for travel after Feb. 28.
The carrier says that the policy brings US Airways’ fees in line with those of other airlines.
With fuel prices back on the rise as global economies begin the march back after the Great Recession, airlines will undoubtably be looking for new ways to add revenue. Recently Spirit Airlines nudged their luggage weight limits so that passengers with bags over 40 pounds, instead of the standard 50, will be subject to overweight charges.
JetBlue is joining other carriers offering onboard food for sale. Five new snack boxes go for $6 each.
The snack boxes will be available on flights longer than 3 hours and 45 minutes. They range from a "Wake Up" box that includes a croissant, jam, almond butter, crackers, fruit and milk to a "Cheer Up" box that features three cheeses, dried fruit and crackers.
There will still be free snacks on every flight. JetBlue began selling the boxes June 16 and is expected to officially announce the move Tuesday on Twitter and its blog.
Several other domestic airlines offer snack packs or meals for sale on longer flights; including United, US Airways and Delta. (Associated Press)
Virgin America has just launched a winter-spring sale with nonstop flights from Boston to San Francisco or Los Angeles as low as $99 each way, and one-way service with connecting flights to Seattle, Las Vegas, San Diego, and Orange Country also starting at $99.
To qualify, you must buy tickets before Jan. 12 for travel between Jan. 7-June 20. All sale fares require a three-day advance purchase.
Like many air sales, this one comes with restrictions. From Jan. 7-March 10, the lowest fares ($99) to all the destinations are available Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday; on the other days discount prices rise $10.
For the March 11-June 20 period, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday fares to SF and LA start at $109 and rise to $119 on other days. Prices to Seattle, Las Vegas, San Diego, or Orange Country start at $119 and go to $129.
Sale fares are limited, may not be available on all flights, and there are some blackout dates. Still as these sales go this one looks pretty good, given that it's good through spring and the blackout dates are limited.
Airlines are looking for ways to fill seats after the holiday rush and as we enter a slower travel season. Today, United Airlines also launched a quick sale with one-way fares as low as $45. Tickets must be purchased by tomorrow, and travel must be completed by March 11. Yesterday, JetBlue also announced a sale for travel through March 24. If you're looking to fly in the next few months, it appears you will have some discount options.
The car rental companies told USA Today that they will impose a cleaning fee of as much as $200 on customers who violate the rule. The firms also noted that they would forbid their own employees from smoking in the cars.
For me, this is great news. I hate getting into a rental that smells like smoke. And apparently I'm not the only one. John Barrows, a spokesman for the Avis Budget Group, the parent company, told USA Today that "the No. 1 request we get is for a smoke-free car.''
This puts Avis and Budget in front of the pack on this issue. Other major competitors either do not have an across-the-board ban or simply allow customers to request smoke-free but don't guarantee it.
Domestic airlines, buses, and Amtrak have had severe restrictions or bans on smoking since the early 1990s.
Photo by iStockphoto
JetBlue has just launched a sale, with fares as low as $29 each way. Travel must be booked before Sept. 11; trips need to be completed by Dec. 16.; and sale fares require up to a 7-day advance purchase.
The Thanksgiving holiday period is blacked out and it will come as no surprise that "advertised fares are most often found on midweek travel dates.''
Here's a quick look at the advertised one-way prices from Logan: to Baltimore is $39; Washington Dulles $49; Charlotte, N.C. $69; and LA $109.
And the rest of the fine print can be found here.
Call this the upside of trimming flight schedules. The on-time rate for US airlines in July was the best it's been in six years.
In fact, on-time rates in the first seven months of the year have been at their highest levels in six years, owing in part to the fact that struggling carriers have been cutting flights to save money amid the recession and falling demand.
This from Bloomberg News:
The 77.6 percent on-time rate for the month compares with 75.7 percent for the same month in 2008 and was the best result for the industry since 79.7 percent in 2003, the department said in a report released in Washington.
Which airline was best? Hawaiian Airlines at 93.6 percent, followed by Alaska Air at 87.2 percent. And the worst? Delta’s Comair unit with 63.6, followed by SkyWest’s Atlantic Southeast unit at 68.3 percent and AirTran at 69.8 percent.
An interesting bit: The most frequently delayed flights were Northwest Airlines 1266 from Boston to Tampa and Northwest flight 1154 from West Palm Beach to Boston, both of which were tardy 96.77 percent of the time.
JetBlue has just sprung a fall sale, with one-way, online fares as low as $49 from Boston. You have to book before Aug. 6, and fares require up to a 14-day advance purchase from travel between Sept. 8 and Dec. 16 -- note the Thanksgiving period is blacked out. And, for this one, you best shot at finding sale fares will be midweek.
Here's all the fine print.
Southwest Airlines, which will launch service from Logan starting Aug. 16, announced
a big 48-hour sale, with one-way fares going for as low as $30, $60, or $90 based on length of travel.
The move bucks a recent industry trend, which saw the major airlines raising ticket prices over the past couple of weeks as the beleaguered carriers once again find themselves facing volatile fuel prices.
The terms of the Southwest sale go like this: For flights up to 400 miles, you could pay as little as $30; 400-750 miles $60; and more than 750 miles $90. These fares don't include taxes and fees, and you must purchase before July 9 for travel from Sept. 9 through Nov. 18. Also you can't travel on Fridays or Sundays.
The complaints with this kind of deal tend to focus on the fact that sale fares tend to be in rather short supply. But here in Greater Boston we have an advantage because Southwest doesn't begin flying till next month, so, for the most part, there's no shortage of seats available for the fall.
I plugged in a few September and October dates for flights to the Midwest and California and found a number of openings at sale prices.
This sale could also kick off a smallish price war on competing routes, according to one airline analyst who was quoted in a Reuters story.
"While airline ticket prices have stabilized recently from their free fall, airlines are by no means out of the woods as oil prices remain volatile and demand precarious," said Rick Seaney, chief executive of FareCompare.com, in an e-mail this morning. "Later today we should see significant airfare matching activity (even for the modest 2-day purchase period on the Southwest sale) as legacy airlines will not want to be undercut."
Forewarned is forearmed. Recent reports suggest that problems for the airline industry may be near bottoming out, and with the the seasonal uptick of air travel it looks like carriers are trying to may some hay. Bloomberg, citing numbers from Farecompare.com, is reporting that the major carriers may be trying to make another move to raise fares.
American Airlines and United Airlines raised most domestic fares by as much as $20 for a round trip, the second increase in as many weeks, as they try to take advantage of peak U.S. summer travel season demand.
AMR Corp.’s American boosted prices by $10 to $20 on most U.S. routes yesterday, and UAL Corp.’s United matched the move, ticket-research firm FareCompare.com said in an e-mail. Delta Air Lines Inc. and Southwest Airlines Co. led carriers in a $20 round trip increase in the second week of June.
Two successful fare increases in a month would support an International Air Transport Association report today that the slump in global airline travel may have reached a “floor” following a 9.3 percent decline in passenger traffic last month. Airlines have slashed prices to win customers in the recession.
“We may have hit bottom, but we are a long way from recovery,” IATA Chief Executive Officer Giovanni Bisignani said in a statement. “This crisis is the worst we have ever seen.”
The Clear registered traveler program, which promised to speed fliers through airport security lines, was shuttered last night.
Clear, which began about four years ago, had enrolled more than 250,000 travelers who paid nearly $200 a year and operated at 18 airports, including Atlanta, Denver, San Francisco and Washington Dulles. At Logan, the program was offered only through Delta Airlines in Terminal A.
Users of the Clear system received high-tech ID cards to verify their fingerprints or iris images at designated security kiosks. Clear faced criticism because TSA decided that registered travelers had to go through the same security screening as everyone else.
A statement on the website of Verified Identity Pass, which runs the Clear program, said that the firm "had been unable to negotiate an agreement with its senior creditor to continue operations."
The note also said that the firm would keep member information secure until it was able to delete it and that "at the present time, because of its financial condition, Verified Identity Pass, Inc. cannot issue refunds.''
Clear was started by Court TV founder Steven Brill, who told USA Today that he had left the company in March to start Journalism Online LLC, a venture to help publications collect revenue for online content.
Bloomberg News photo
Southwest Airlines, which has largely refrained from engaging in the airline extra-fee feeding frenzy, has decided to add a levy for children flying alone, double charges for third checked bags, and allow pets in the cabin for $75 each way.
Southwest, which prides itself on its "no hidden fee'' policy, will add a $50 round-trip service charge for children ages 5 through 11 flying alone, according to a report by Bloomberg News. The levy will apply to fares bought after June 1 for flights starting June 17. Most of the major carriers, including Delta, American, and US Airways, charge $100 each way.
Southwest, which lets travelers check two bags for free, will raise the fee to $50 for a third checked bag and for luggage weighing 51 pounds to 70 pounds. The changes take effect June 17.
Among the major carriers only Southwest and JetBlue don’t charge for a first checked bag, and JetBlue charges for second and subsequent bags.
Good morning, travelers.
For the first time, American plans to let frequent fliers use their miles to book one-way flights for half the miles of a round-trip. The carrier will also let customers redeem miles for first-class seats one way and use fewer miles for a coach seat on the return, according to the Associated Press.
Officials at American, which developed the first frequent-flier program nearly three decades ago, plan to announce the changes Monday and put them into effect shortly.
They say American is the first major US airline to offer a one-way award ticket at half miles. It's hard to know how many people would use miles for a one-way trip -- parents driving a child to college and flying home might -- and American officials didn't offer any estimates.
From Logan, one-way, online prices start at $29 (Buffalo, Charlotte, New York, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, and Richmond, Va.) and rise to $59 (Oakland and SF), $69 (Bermuda, Chicago), $69 (Bermuda, Chicago), $79 (Long Beach), $89 (Austin, Denver) and $99 (Las Vegas, San Diego, and Seattle).
There is fine print: You must buy before midnight. Travel must take place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and needs to be completed by June 10. And there are other restrictions and you can scan them all here.
To celebrate Sir Paul McCartney’s exclusive concert at the grand reopening of the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, the Liverpool Productions Beatles Fan Club has planned a getaway April 18-20. Participants will get group seating at ‘‘Love’’ by Cirque du Soleil celebrating the Beatles’ legacy at The Mirage, hotel for two nights, group seating at a concert by a Beatles tribute act, a visit to the Beatles Revolution Lounge,and — ta-da! — guaranteed tickets to McCartney in concert April 19.
Visit www.liverpooltours.com or call 866-LIVERPOOL (866-548-377665).
Posted by Richard P. Carpenter, Globe correspondent