Virgin America and Hertz Team Up to Offer Elevate Loyalty Program Members …

August 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

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SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Virgin America, the award-winning airline that is reinventing travel, announces today that it has partnered with The Hertz Corporation (NYSE: HTZ), the world’s largest general use airport car rental brand, to offer Virgin America’s Elevate loyalty program members exclusive deals on Hertz rental cars wherever the airline flies.  Elevate members who rent with Hertz can earn one Elevate point per $1 spent on qualifying rentals and for a limited time, Virgin America and Hertz are offering double points and up to 35 percent off for rentals of two days or more through December 31, 2011.*


“We’re pleased to partner with Hertz to offer our business and leisure travelers another great option for ground travel once they’ve arrived at their destination,” said Brett Billick, director of CRM at Virgin America. “Our new partnership with Hertz provides our frequent flyers with an easy and seamless travel experience throughout their trip – both in the air and on the ground.”

The latest partnership with Hertz expands Virgin America’s rental car partners to three of the largest car rental companies in the U.S., giving the airline’s guests even more options for ground travel during their business trip or leisure getaway.  Virgin America’s Elevate frequent flyer loyalty program offers guests the ability to redeem points** for any unsold seat — on any Virgin America flight, at any time. Elevate offers Web–based redemption with no black–out dates and has grown to over 1.9 million members since the carrier’s 2007 launch. Last year, Virgin America rolled out changes to Elevate in order to give flyers more flexibility to earn and redeem points for travel on the airline. Elevate members are also able to retain their Elevate points indefinitely, as long as they either earn or redeem points at least once every 18 months.

Known for its beautifully designed mood–lit cabins, innovative amenities and topnotch service, Virgin America has won a list of industry best–in–class awards since its 2007 launch, including “Best Domestic Airline” in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 and “Best Domestic Airline” in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2008, 2009 and 2010 Readers’ Choice Awards.

Virgin America flies to San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C., Seattle, Las Vegas, San Diego, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Cabos, Cancun and Chicago.

About Virgin America:  Headquartered in California, Virgin America offers guests attractive fares and a host of innovative features aimed at reinventing air travel.  In just over three years flying, Virgin America was named “Best Domestic Airline” in the Condé Nast Traveler 2008, 2009 and 2010 Readers’ Choice Awards and “Best Domestic Airline” in Travel + Leisure’s 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 World’s Best Awards.  Virgin America is a U.S. owned and operated airline that has created 2,000 jobs and welcomed more than 12 million guests since its August 2007 launch.  The airline’s new aircraft offer interactive in-flight entertainment systems and power outlets near every seat. Virgin America offers Gogo™ WiFi on every flight and hosts the largest in-flight entertainment library in the North American skies via the touch-screen Red™ platform.  In 2011, the airline announced plans to nearly triple its fleet size by 2019 and placed the first orders for the new eco-efficient Airbus A320neo and CFM LEAP engine.  In April, the airline opened its new home as an anchor tenant at SFO’s sleek and sustainable new terminal 2 (T2).  For more:

About Elevate: Elevate is Virgin America’s first-of-its-kind loyalty program, which offers guests the ability to redeem points for any unsold seat – on any Virgin America flight, at any time.  Elevate offers one of the industry’s most generous and easy-to-redeem flight reward programs, as few as four roundtrips or 2,500** points can earn members a reward flight.  Elevate members are able to retain their points indefinitely, as long as they either earn or redeem points at least once every 18 months. Elevate members receive exclusive offers that only the world–class Virgin brand could provide, such as tickets to the star-studded in-flight premiere of HBO’s Entourage and the chance to compete to earn a seat on a Virgin Galactic sub-orbital space flight.

About Hertz:  A subsidiary of Hertz Global Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: HTZ), Hertz is the world’s largest general use car rental brand, operating from approximately 8,500 locations in 146 countries worldwide.  Hertz is the number one airport car rental brand in the U.S. and at 83 major airports in Europe, operating both corporate and licensee locations in cities and airports in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.  In addition, the Company has licensee locations in cities and airports in Africa and the Middle East. Product and service initiatives such as Hertz #1 Club Gold®, NeverLost® customized, onboard navigation systems, SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio, and unique cars and SUVs offered through the Company’s Collections, set Hertz apart from the competition.  Hertz car sharing operates in Berlin, London, Madrid, New York City and Paris.  Hertz also operates one of the world’s largest equipment rental businesses, Hertz Equipment Rental Corporation, offering a diverse line of equipment, including tools and supplies, as well as new and used equipment for sale, to customers ranging from major industrial companies to local contractors and consumers from approximately 325 branches in the United States, Canada, China, France and Spain.

To make car rental reservations or for more information, customers can call their travel agent, or call Hertz toll-free at 1-800-654-3131. Information and reservations are also available on the web at

*Terms and Conditions: Base point earning for Hertz is 1 point per $1 spent on qualifying rentals. Now through 12/31/11 members will earn 2 points per $1 spent on qualifying rentals of 2 or more days.  To reserve this offer offline, call Hertz at 1-800-654-2210 in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, or 1-800-263-0600 in Canada.  At the time of reservation, you must provide discount CDP 1916490, PC 160252 and your Elevate number.  Advance reservation required.  CDP 1916490 and PC from above must be included in the reservation.  This offer has no cash value, may not be used with Pre-Pay Rates, Tour Rates or Insurance Replacement Rates and cannot be combined with any other certificate, voucher, offer or promotion.  Hertz age, driver, credit and qualifying rate restrictions for the renting location apply.  Taxes, tax reimbursement, age differential charges, fees and optional service charges, such as refueling, are not included.  The CDP savings of up to 35% apply to time and mileage charges only, discount vary by rental date, location and vehicle type.  Frequent Flyer Surcharge of $0.75 per day, up to a maximum of $5.25 per rental may apply.  Modifying your reservation may result in a change in your rate and/or invalidate this offer.  Points will not be awarded on travel industry rates, wholesale tour packages, insurance/dealer replacement, other promotional rates or group travel.  Offer valid for pickup through December 31, 2011.  Please allow 4 to 6 weeks for points to post in your Elevate account.

**Points required to redeem an Elevate travel reward on Virgin America will be publicly available on a seat and flight-specific basis and are subject to change.  Domestic reward bookings are subject to a security fee of $2.50 per segment, payable by credit card or Virgin America credit file.  The Passenger Facility Charge and Segment Fees are waived for domestic reward bookings.  For international reward bookings, Virgin America guests are responsible for the taxes and fees incurred from international travel.  These taxes and fees are subject to change at the discretion of each country’s government and also vary from country to country depending on the origin and destination.

SOURCE Virgin America

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Good eats fund a good cause at Las Vegas Restaurant Week

August 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

Las Vegas kicks off its restaurant week at the end of August with an added bonus: Part of the proceeds will go to a local food bank that feeds the needy in southern Nevada.

The deal: Restaurant weeks with special fixed-price menus have become a fixture in cities nationwide. More than 80 restaurants are participating in Las Vegas Restaurant Week 2011. I suggest perusing the list to see what fixed-price menus will work for you. Prices range from $20.11, $30.11 and $50.11 per person for multi-course meals. And you can sort restaurants by how much they will donate to the nonprofit Three Square Food Bank.

When: Restaurant “week” actually starts Aug. 29 and ends Sept. 11.

Tested: I went to the restaurant list and checked out the $20.11 lunch at  BLT Burger in the Mirage Hotel Casino. Lunch starts with garlic string fries and a soft drink; BLT, turkey and lamb sliders for the second course; and a s’more cupcake for dessert. Looking at similar menu items, this lunch might usually cost $30.

Rick Moonen’s RM Seafood restaurant in the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino offers a four-course dinner for $50.11 per person. The special  menu comes with lots of options, including vegetarian ones. You could choose a  jumbo lump crab cake for first course, roasted shrimp second course and Key lime pie for dessert, all of which usually would cost about $65.

Still want to do more? Volunteer to help sort and repackage food, assemble BackPack for Kids food packs and more at Three Square.

Info: Las Vegas Restaurant Week 2011

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Allegiant Air will fly from Newport News to Orlando – The Virginian

August 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Travel Deals


Allegiant Air announced Wednesday that it will begin flying between Newport News and Orlando in November.

The new service is a small solace to Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport, which recently learned it will be losing AirTran service after that airline’s merger with Southwest is consummated.

Flights on Allegiant between Newport News and the Florida vacation destination will start at $64.99 one-way, not including airport and other fees. It will fly in and out of Orlando Sanford International Airport.

Allegiant will offer one flight on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. The flights will depart Orlando at 1 p.m. and arrive in Newport News at 2:50 p.m., leaving at 3:30 p.m. for a 5:30 p.m. return to Orlando.

Known for inexpensive flights between small cities and major leisure destinations, Allegiant Air is a unit of Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel Co.

“We’re pleased to bring an affordable and convenient travel option to Newport News,” said Andrew C. Levy, Allegiant Travel’s president, in a news release. “We are confident the Newport News-Williamsburg community and all of Southeastern Virginia will appreciate flying nonstop to Orlando and take advantage of the great deals we offer on hotels, car rentals and theme park tickets.”

Ken Spirito, executive director of the Newport News airport, said it has been working to bring Allegiant there for more than a year.

“Not only will Allegiant Air’s low fares and great destinations be an asset to our community, we also see this as a way to expand our destination as well,” Spirito said in the release issued by Allegiant.

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Sept. magazines feature The Greenbrier, Lewisburg (AP)

August 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Travel News

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. – Greenbrier County is getting national exposure: Two local gems are featured in the September issues of Travel + Leisure and Budget Travel magazines.

Spokeswoman Lynn Swann says The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs is highlighted in a Travel + Leisure feature that began as a fashion shoot featuring the resort’s Dorothy Draper-inspired decor.

Budget Travel carries a story focused on the town of Lewisburg, which was recently named the Coolest Small Town in America. The town of 3,500 finished ahead of Astoria, Ore., in an online contest.

The Greenbrier County Convention Visitors Bureau led an effort to get out the coolest-town vote in hopes of boosting tourism. It’s hosting a celebration Tuesday and will sell commemorative copies.




Visitors’ bureau:

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Air Berlin to cut back routes, CEO to go (AP)

August 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Travel News

BERLIN – Germany’s second-biggest airline, Air Berlin PLC, said Thursday its founder plans to quit as CEO after it announced plans to chop routes amid losses that it blamed on high fuel prices, a new aviation tax and sagging demand for travel to North Africa.

Joachim Hunold, who founded Air Berlin in 1991, plans to offer his resignation effective Sept. 1, Air Berlin said. He recommended that Hartmut Mehdorn, a former chief executive of Germany’s national railway, become his interim successor.

Air Berlin announced Hunold’s departure shortly after it released weak second-quarter results and disclosed a program of cutbacks.

“In order to become profitable, we need to make cuts in our flight routes and in our fleet,” Hunold said in a statement.

Air Berlin said it will concentrate increasingly on its hubs in Berlin, Duesseldorf, Palma de Mallorca and Vienna.

It said it plans to cut flight frequencies and reduce capacity in the second half, reducing its fleet by eight aircraft. Air Berlin currently has 170 planes.

Routes that will be cut include Frankfurt-Hamburg domestic flights, Frankfurt-Naples, Munich-Cairo, and Duesseldorf-Paris.

Air Berlin will thin out a dense network of connections from German regional airports — cutting, for example, flights from Muenster-Osnabrueck, Hannover and Paderborn to London.

Germany started imposing a new departure tax on flights from its airports in January. Hunold argued that the tax, along with competitive pressure, makes it impossible to pass on higher fuel prices to customers in full.

In addition, “the demand for flights to the tourist destinations in Northern Africa, which are of significant importance to our company, has not recovered in the aftermath of the unrest” there, chief financial officer Ulf Huettmeyer said.

Capacity on North Africa-bound flights was 25 percent lower in this year’s second quarter than a year earlier, causing losses of some (EURO)20 million ($28.8 million), he added.

Air Berlin said its overall second-quarter revenue was up 27.3 percent from a year earlier at (EURO)1.1 billion, though it said the figure was “lower than planned.” Its net loss came in at (EURO)43.9 million — not much better than the (EURO)56.9 million it lost a year earlier.

The company’s shares rose after it announced Hunold’s departure, but sank again in later trading and were down 3.4 percent at (EURO)2.47 in Frankfurt by midday.

Air Berlin has expanded under Hunold, acquiring charter-travel airline LTU and a minority stake in Austria’s Niki among other holdings. The company said he wants to remain a non-executive director.

Mehdorn, who already sits on Deutsche Bahn’s board of directors, led national railway Deutsche Bahn from 1999 until 2009.

He worked to prepare the railway for eventual privatization, but the government put unpopular plans for a partial sell-off on hold in 2008 and hasn’t revived them.

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Paris airport tests ‘virtual’ boarding agents (AP)

August 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Travel News

ORLY, France – An airport in France is experimenting with “virtual” boarding agents in a bid to jazz up its terminals with 21st century avatars who always smile, don’t need breaks and never go on strike.

The pilot project at Paris’ Orly airport began last month, and has so far been met with a mix of amusement and surprise by travelers, who frequently try to touch and speak with the strikingly life-like video images that greet them and direct them to their boarding gate.

The images materialize seemingly out of thin air when a boarding agent — a real live human — presses a button to signal the start of boarding.

They are actually being rear-projected onto a human shaped silhouette made of plexiglass. Three actual airport boarding agents were filmed in a studio to create the illusion, which the airport hopes will be more eye-catching and easier for passengers to understand than traditional electronic display terminals.

“Bonjour! I invite you to go to your boarding gate. Paris Airports wishes you a bon voyage,” the image appears to say, while the name of the destination flashes in front of him.

Airport authority AdP came up with the idea for what it calls “2-D holograms” earlier this year, when it was brainstorming ways to modernize Hall 40, one of the dozens of boarding gates at Paris’ second airport, south of the capital.

“Children like it, it’s fun. They’re attracted to it and try to play with it,” said Didier Leroy, the airport’s director of operations. “There’s finally very few who find it useless or just a gizmo.”

The technology behind the images was developed by a Paris audiovisual marketing agency, L’Oeil du Chat. Similar virtual agents are in place in airports in London and Manchester since earlier this year.

Hall 40 serves about 30 or 40 flights a day, Leroy said. Around 1 million passengers a year pass through it, mainly on their way to destinations in the south of France and Corsica. The airport decided to make it a “laboratory” for testing new ways of organizing its boarding gates. It received an overhaul this spring that created 40 percent more space and 20 percent more seats so that it can now hold up to 400 waiting passengers.

As passengers boarded a flight to Bastia in Corsica, one small boy of about five years old approached the hologram, this one showing a middle-aged man in a striped shirt and neatly trimmed beard. “Hello!” the boy greeted it. The pre-recorded image smiled, blinked, folded his hands, glanced to the left but said nothing.

Leroy said the airport’s experiment with virtual reality will be evaluated by the end of the year, after which it could be expanded to other boarding halls at Orly or to Paris’ larger Charles de Gaulle airport.

Not all passengers were as taken with the virtual hosts as the boy.

“It spooks me the way his eyes seem to follow you,” said Cedric Olivier, 32, an Air France pilot waiting for his flight. Other passengers hurried past with barely a glance at the hologram, more concerned about boarding the plane and finding space for their carry-ons.


Greg Keller can be reached at

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Dream Vacation Network Launches MUVE iPhone and iPad Application

August 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

Dream Vacation Network is subsidiary of Vacation Business Services and is based in Las Vegas Nevada. Visit the Dream Vacation Network online travel website for information, reviews and testimonials!

Dream Vacation Network – Las Vegas, Nevada – Luanches Innovative Travel Vacation Convenience Savings Android iPhone App For Its Members!

MUVE is just another tool that allows Dream Vacation Network Member’s exclusive savings while traveling to their most desired destinations and desired travel dates.

Las Vegas, Nevada (PRWEB) August 18, 2011

Dream Vacation Network, a web based platform for timeshare owners and travelers recently launched their free MUVE application on Apple’s App Store. MUVE was previously only available on Android and as a Windows Desktop Widget.

MUVE which stands for My Ultimate Vacation Extension provides Dream Vacation Network (DVN) Members with real time travel deals based on the preferences and searches they set. Dream Vacation Network Members can set preferences and searches for destinations, unit types, dates and activities for vacation, business or local enjoyment. When travel deals matching the member’s preferences or searches become available they are immediately pushed to the MUVE application or widget so that Dream Vacation Network Members can take advantage of huge savings on vacation packages, cruises, resorts, hotels, golf, car rentals and more as they become available.

MUVE is just another tool that allows Dream Vacation Network Member’s exclusive savings while traveling to their most desired destinations and desired travel dates.

For more information on Dream Vacation Network In Las Vegas Nevada and this vacation ownership vacation club topic, please visit the Dream Vacation Network website at You may also visit the Dream Vacation Network YouTube channel by visiting this link:



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Switzerland: Resort hotel offers Tesla sports car package

August 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

Here’s a chance to double-dip on luxury — and thrills. La Reserve Geneve, on the shore of Lake Geneva in Switzerland, pairs use of an electric Tesla sports car with a two-night stay at the resort. Guests can take off in the roadster, which accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds without a sound, for a day of zero-emission touring. 

Dates: The hotel has a fleet of five Tesla Roadsters, and the offer is good indefinitely. Call the resort to make a reservation.

Price: The Tesla Break driving package starts at $3,393 for two nights and the Tesla rental. But driving isn’t the only cool thing about the package. The resort has 100-plus rooms and suites — with decor inspired by an African lodge — to explore.

Info: La Reserve Geneve, (011) 41-22-41-22-959-59-59


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Airline passenger: Depardieu urinated on plane (AP)

August 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Travel News

PARIS – An airline passenger says her Paris-to-Dublin flight was delayed nearly two hours after celebrated French actor Gerard Depardieu urinated on the plane ahead of takeoff.

France’s Europe-1 radio aired an interview with the passenger, identified only by her first name Daniele, saying that Depardieu appeared inebriated and announced “‘I need to piss, I need to piss.” The passenger said when the cabin crew told him to remain seated during takeoff, “he stood up and did it (urinated) on the ground.”

A spokeswoman for City Jet, the Dublin-headquartered airline that operated the Tuesday evening flight, confirmed that such an incident had taken place. But spokeswoman Karen Gillo said Wednesday privacy issues prevented her from naming the passenger, who was escorted off the plane along with his two traveling companions and their luggage.

Calls for comment from Depardieu’s agent went unanswered Wednesday.

One of France’s most famous actors, Depardieu, 62, has appeared in more than 150 films, including 1986′s “Jean de Florette” and 1990′s “Cyrano de Bergerac,” for which he was nominated for an Academy Award.

The actor is also a Paris restaurateur and the owner of a vineyard in Burgundy.

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Aruba probes insurance in missing tourist case (AP)

August 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Travel News

ORANJESTAD, Aruba – A U.S. tourist detained in the presumed death of his travel companion had an insurance policy that covered the missing woman, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

Gary Giordano mentioned the travel insurance during questioning, but authorities haven’t determined whether it is relevant to their investigation into 35-year-old Robyn Gardner’s presumed death, Solicitor General Taco Stein told The Associated Press.

The policy included both travelers, but it wasn’t clear whether it covered Gardner’s accidental death, Stein said. Nor was it clear who was the beneficiary.

“If you travel, you take out insurance. That’s not an uncommon thing, to say the least,” Stein said. “It all depends on what’s in the policy.”

Giordano, a 50-year-old businessman from Gaithersburg, Maryland, traveled to Aruba with Gardner on July 31 and reported her missing two days later, saying she disappeared while the two were snorkeling. He assisted the search but was detained at the airport as he tried to leave the country because of questions about his account of what happened.

A judge ruled Monday that there is enough evidence to hold him for at least 16 more days on suspicion of involvement in Gardner’s presumed death.

Aruban authorities plan an extensive search involving police, firefighters and possibly the military as investigators try to determine what happened to Gardner.

The search is expected to start later this week and would be centered around the southern part of the Dutch Caribbean island near where Gardner was reported missing. Police and firefighters searched an abandoned phosphate mine in the area but did not find any trace of her.

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