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More A380s + Cathay discounts biz class + SJC courts Asia + Double Elevate pts

The first Air France A380 arrived at SFO in June 2011 (Chris McGinnis)

The first Air France A380 was here during summer of 2011…now it’s coming back again! (Chris McGinnis)

NOTE: We’ll spend this week catching up on several snippets of Bay Area travel news that have been accumulating in our inbox….

HERE COME THE A380s…Lufthansa has suspended its Airbus A380 operations from SFO to FRA for the season, but plans to return the double-decker aircraft to the route April 8, 2014. The bigger story is that Air France will deploy a 516-seat A380 on its SFO-Paris nonstops effective March 31, 2014. Last time Air France flew the A380 to SFO was the summer of 2011 when it switched the A380 reserved for the Paris-Tokyo run to SFO due to the earthquake/tsunami/radioactive disaster in Japan.  Now we are hearing rumors about yet another A380 lumbering into SFO in the next year…any guesses?

VIRGIN AMERICA LAUNCHES DOUBLE POINTS…In line with other airlines this fall, Virgin America is jumping on the double points bandwagon offering twice as many Elevate points per flight between now and the end of the year. All cabins and fares are eligible. Elevate members who’ve registered for the “Feel the Earn” offer can also get a boost of up to 25,000 bonus points based on their total qualifying points earned for Virgin America flights in all cabins during that time.  Plus, to make the deal even sweeter, all the bonus points earned will count towards reaching or renewing Elevate Silver or Elevate Gold Status on Virgin America. Full details.

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Cathay Pacific's new business class seat on its B777's (Chris McGinnis)

Cathay Pacific’s new business class seat on its B777′s (Chris McGinnis)

CATHAY PACIFIC DISCOUNTS BIZ CLASS TO HONG KONG…Fancy a trip to Hong Kong over the holidays? Well, Cathay Pacific just gave you a present. By booking before Dec 1, you can save up to $1,500 off the cost of a roundtrip business class ticket for travel during the heart of the holiday season- between Dec 23 and New Year’s Day- a period when most business travelers stay home. The roundtrip cost is $4,689 (all in)  and is valid from SFO and other US gateways to HKG.  If you prefer Cathay’s jumbo 747 from SFO to Hong Kong, remember that it’s only around for one more year. Starting in Oct 2014, Cathay will run only B777s on SFO-HKG. Here’s a previous BAT post on the pros and cons of Cathay’s 747 and 777

SAN JOSE HINTS AT NEW ASIA FLIGHT…The new director of aviation at San Jose Norman Mineta International, Kim Aguirre, announced that the airport is expanding its international terminal from two to four gates. She also noted that the ANA Dreamliner flight to Tokyo Narita is spurring interest from other Asian carriers, and that a new flight to Asia could be announced within the next 12 months. Wanna make any guesses as to what that city or airline that may be?

SOUTHWEST BOOSTS SJC FLIGHTS…What is no secret, however, is that Southwest is planning bulk up its schedules from San Jose beginning April 8, 2014. One new nonstop to Denver, Orange County, San Diego, and Seattle will be added. Southwest currently owns about 50% of all flights to/from SJC.

-Chris McGinnis 

And just in case you missed it, here’s what else you need to know about Bay Area Travel over the last month:

>Southwest FINALLY joins PreCheck

>United to allow handhelds below 10K feet

>Travel advice fit for a Queen (Latifah!)

>New landing procedure at SFO should help w delays! Hallelujah!

>Big, bad United MileagePlus surprise 

>Virgin’s new Safety Dance

>Riding the Red Carpet Route to London! 

>Double Miles on United & Southwest

>$100 hotels in NYC 

>Two posh new lounges coming to SFO 


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