Flights to begin from Rockford to Myrtle Beach

 
Published3/15/2008 11:07 AM

Beginning the week of May 19, Southern Skyways (www.southernskyways.com or (877) 235-9768) will introduce airline service to Myrtle Beach from Chicago-Rockford International Airport (www.flyrfd.com or (815) 969-4000).

Service between the Rockford airport and Myrtle Beach will operate Mondays and Fridays with seat prices starting at $109 each way (about $125 with taxes and fees). By comparison, it'll cost almost $1,300 round trip (with taxes and fees; at time of writing) on United Airlines, or $330 round trip (with taxes and fees) on Spirit Airlines (www.spiritair.com) when flying from Chicago O'Hare. Southern Skyways' flight is nonstop, whereas Spirit's requires a plane change.

 

Southern Skyways is a public charter airline managed by Aviation Advantage Inc.

US Airways adds $25 second-bag fee

Following in United Airlines' (www.united.com or (800) 864-8331) jetstream, US Airways (www.usairways.com or (800) 622-1015) will begin charging $25 for a second bag weighing no more than 50 pounds.

This applies to all economy-class fares, even full-fare ones, with the exception of those bought by upper-tier frequent fliers. Some other exceptions apply, such as military and unaccompanied minors.

The fee goes into place for travel on or after May 5 for tickets purchased on or after Feb. 26. We expect other airlines to add a second-bag fee in coming weeks.

So pack light or pay the piper.

French connections are on the way

Fairly hot on the fancy French heels of its earlier announcement of a new New York-to-London route came another news flash from the busy Air France (www.airfrance.us or (800) 237-2747) press room: a new Los Angeles-to-London route.

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Unlike the former, which is really just a code-shared Delta Air Lines (www.delta.com or (800) 221-1212) flight, this one is the real deal: Air France actually is doing business as Air France from the West Coast.

With this new and quite historic route, Air France enters a crowded (some might say saturated) air space where at least five other big carriers are already elbowing each other for air, space and diminishing returns. Still, more nonstop capacity should mean more competition, which should eventually lead to lower prices.

This is also another example of Air France's innovative use of valuable Heathrow landing slots that were freed up when Paris-to-London air traffic pretty much came to a halt late last year after by the opening of the final stretch of high-speed railway linking Paris and London that has reduced Chunnel travel time to a little over two hours and made it almost impossible for airlines to compete with Eurostar train service.

Not to be outdone by this Gallic incursion into its home turf, British Airways (www.britishairways.com or (800) 247-9297) has quickly cobbled together a counterattack with plans to launch the first-ever politically named airline, called Open Skies after the treaty that caused all this high-altitude turbulence and high-stakes hullabaloo. Slated to begin Paris-to-New York service this summer, the airline is so far little more than a sketchy idea outlined at www.flyopenskies.com.

Reach George Hobica at hobica@gmail.com, Kim Liang Tan at KimLiangTan@aol.com
or log on to www.airfarewatchdog.com.

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