As I reported last week on NewsChannel 8 at 6, there's now a great way to get your money back if your airfare goes down after you buy it.
It used to be you had to take a leap of faith, and book when you though you were getting the best deal. Now, a new website takes all the guesswork out of buying travel. You go ahead and book your ticket at whatever fare is available. Then, log onto yapta.com, enter your ticket information, and the website will e-mail you if and when the airfare on your ticket goes down. The site tells you exactly what to do to get your money back, or get an airline refund for future flights.
Check it out, and let me know how it works for you. Drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other News and Notes
September's Most On-Time Airlines
The Department of Transportation's September airline on-time rankings are out, and, once again, they're not pretty. Collectively, a little less than 82% of all flights in the US arrived within 15 minutes of their scheduled time. But large airlines including US Airways, American, United, and Northwest posted worse than average results. Meanwhile, Portland's largest carrier, Alaska Airlines, posted the worst on-time performance of any of the majors, and of all the airlines serving PDX, with 73% of its flights arriving on-time.
Here's where Portland's carriers stack-up:
Hawaiian Airlines 93.7%
Frontier Airlines 88.5%
Continental Airlines 88.0%
Southwest Airlines 85.8%
jetBlue Airways 85.7%
Skywest Airlines 82.9%
Delta Air Lines 82.0%
US Airways 80.1%
American Airlines 78.5%
United Airlines 78.2%
Northwest Airlines 77.8%
Alaska Airlines 73.3%
Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics
More on the Q400 - Horizon's Favorite Plane
Last week I reported on a major European airline deciding to permanently ground an entire fleet of planes because it says they're not safe after a pair of landing gear collapses, and another landing gear incident. We found those same planes operate more than 60 daily flights at PDX, and their operator, Horizon Air, has no plans to ground them here.
After the incidents, the European Union's aviation safety authority has ordered a "crisis meeting" to talk about the problems with Q400 landing gear. It says it wants the Canadian manufacturer, Bombardier, to prove the plane is still airworthy.
Sweden's SAS Scandinavian Airlines pulled all 27 of its Q400s from service. It's President said his confidence in the type has diminished considerably in the wake of the incidents, one of which was caught on tape.
Back in September, Horizon pulled its 33 Q400's from service for landing gear inspections. It says it found nothing wrong.
I had a good e-mail from Horizon spokesman Bill Coniff, but I wasn't able to include all of it in the report on TV, or ther report here on kgw.com. Here is the full text Bill sent me:
"Horizon, which has operated the Bombardier Q400 since 2001 in the western U.S. and Canada, has never experienced any issues like those SAS has encountered in Europe.
"Bombardier and Transport Canada, Canada's equivalent to the Federal Aviation Administration, have advised all Q400 operators worldwide to continue with normal flight operations. Horizon is following their guidance.
"Safety always comes first. We are fully confident of the safety of our Q400s. Otherwise, we would not be flying them.
"In September, as a purely precautionary measure, we successfully completed a thorough inspection of all of our Q400 landing gear before returning the aircraft to service with a clean bill of health."
I, personally, have flown on the Q400 a number of times. I've got to say, I think it's a really nice plane. It's big, quiet, and confortable... especially for a regional aircraft. I'd hate to see problems ground it here in the Northwest.