United adds flights between MSP, LAX

United Airlines announced several new routes last week, including four daily nonstops between Minneapolis-St. Paul International and Los Angeles International airports. The flights, which begin April 1, will be on United Express service’s CRJ700 regional jets, which include first-class, economy-plus and economy seating. The new service to LAX, a United hub, may be an attempt by the airline to capture market share from Delta, a move that could bring lower fares.

Kerri Westenberg

River cruises continue to draw travelers

Interest in river cruises in continental Europe, Russia and on the Mississippi River is rising, according to a report by Travel Leaders Group, a national travel agency franchise headquartered in Plymouth. Based on a poll of 946 travel agents, the survey found that higher airfares have not resulted in fewer fliers. “River cruising continues to be one of the hottest trends in the travel industry,” according to Travel Leader CEO Barry Liben, “and, with Europe and Russia leading the way in terms of increased bookings, any increases in airfare costs are not deterring consumers.”


What’s behind those fare sales?

Southwest Airlines recently launched a fare sale with prices starting at $69, and other airlines followed. These too-good-to-be-true deals usually come with a slew of restrictions, making them almost useless for most travelers. But industry experts say the ultralow fares usually drive traffic to an airline’s website at a time when demand is slow. With fees charged by the airlines, travelers who buy the cheap tickets are likely to spend enough on bag charges, food and other extras to make it profitable for the carriers. “Airlines would rather get some revenue for those seats than to fly them empty,” said Rick Seaney, of the fare-monitoring site Farecompare.com.

Los Angeles Times