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Google Flights Now Tells You The Best Time Fly

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Google Flights Now Tells You The Best Time Fly

Nothing causes more price anxiety in travellers than deciding when to use Google flights. Should you book now or wait for fares to fall? But what if prices instead rise? What if you wait too long and all flights are full? So much hand-wringing, so much time and mental space consumed.

Travel agencies are constantly forecasting the best time to book the cheapest airfare. They can see patterns and generate forecasts by processing previous data, but there are always changes from year to year. When Google recently updated its crystal ball with data from the first seven months of this year, it discovered that, with two significant exceptions, most patterns from 2022 have carried into 2023.

When it comes to booking flights for the upcoming holiday season, average rates will be lowest 71 days before departure, compared to last year’s prediction that fares would be lowest 22 days before departure. So mark it in your calendar: The best time to book a flight for the weekend before Christmas 2023, according to Forbes, is in the first few days of November.

According to James Byers, group product manager for Google Flights, the massive seven-week change is essentially a course correction. Last year’s forecast was based on data that encompassed 2020, which was “not the best indicator of what to expect going forward,” according to Byers. As a result, his team eliminated 2020 from their dataset for this year.

The most-searched destination on Google Flights for vacations departing from US airports between December 20, 2023 and January 5, 2024 is Cancun, Mexico. Miami and Fort Lauderdale, New York, San Juan, Honolulu, Orlando, and Los Angeles are the top U.S. destinations.

Google Flights

The other significant difference that Google observed for the rest of 2023 over last year is in flights to Europe. The age-old recommendation to book early still holds true, as trans-Atlantic airfares are often at their lowest 72 days or more before departure.

However, Google claims that there is no longer a sweet spot when prices fall before rising again. “We’re now seeing that prices no longer tend to drop at any point before departure and will generally rise once you get about 10 weeks from takeoff,” Byers adds.

“Intriguingly, this shift appears to be the result of including the most recent data through July 31, 2023 in this year’s set of insights.”

If you prefer to sit back and wait for an email notice when airfares decrease drastically, Google’s price tracking service will send one.

To receive alerts regarding price cuts in the next three to six months, you may either set up tracking for specific dates or turn on “any dates” tracking.

And what about the risk-averse who prefer a guaranteed thing? Some Google Flight search results now include a price-guarantee badge, indicating that Google is so confident that the shown fare will not decline before departure that it will repay the difference if it does.

The most-searched locations on Google Flights this year for travellers planning a vacation to Europe during the holiday season are the perennial favourites, London and Paris.

Google Flights

Google Flights is a flight search engine and travel planning tool developed by Google. It allows users to search for flights, compare prices, and find the best travel options for their needs. Here are some key features and functions of Google Flights:

  1. Flight Search: Users can enter their departure city or airport, destination, travel dates, and other preferences to search for available flights.
  2. Price Comparison: Google Flights provides a user-friendly interface for comparing prices from different airlines and travel agencies. It helps users find the most affordable options for their desired routes.
  3. Flexible Date and Destination Search: You can explore flight options for different dates and destinations to find the best deals or plan a trip with flexible travel dates.
  4. Explore Destinations: Google Flights has a feature that allows users to explore destinations based on their interests, budget, and travel dates. This can help travelers discover new places to visit.
  5. Track Prices: Users can track flight prices for specific routes and receive notifications when prices drop, allowing them to book at the best time.
  6. Filter and Sorting Options: Google Flights offers various filters and sorting options to help users narrow down their search results by factors such as airlines, layovers, departure times, and more.
  7. Multi-City and Multi-Airline Bookings: Users can book multi-city trips and even mix and match airlines to create custom itineraries.
  8. Information and Tips: Google Flights provides information about baggage fees, in-flight amenities, and other travel details to help users make informed decisions.
  9. Integration with Google Services: It seamlessly integrates with other Google services like Google Calendar, allowing users to easily add their travel plans to their calendar.
  10. Mobile App: Google Flights has a mobile app available for both Android and iOS devices, making it convenient for travelers to search for and book flights on the go.

It’s important to note that while Google Flights is a powerful tool for researching and planning flights, the actual booking process may redirect you to the airline’s website or a third-party booking platform to complete your reservation. Always double-check the details and terms before making a booking.

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Entertainment

Rio De Janeiro Is Betting On Carnival For ‘Cooler’ Parties – And A Better Brazil

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Rio’s government made its largest investment yet in 2024’s Carnival. If it pays off, everyone benefits.

Rita de Cassia Oliveira takes a quick break to rearrange a display of multicoloured earrings before returning to serve a group of tourists. They are choosing dazzling shorts and glittering bikini tops for this year’s Carnival street festivities. During this time, Oliveira trades her typical swimwear products for Carnival clothes, and she expects February’s income to increase compared to previous months.

“It’s the best time of year for those who work on the streets,” she explains, setting up pots of glitter at her outdoor shop on a popular Copacabana street corner.

carnival

Rio De Janeiro Is Betting On Carnival For ‘Cooler’ Parties – And A Better Brazil

Shopping in Rio de Janeiro picks up in the weeks leading up to Carnival. The festivities draw many national and international tourists to see the world-famous parades and block parties. But it’s more than simply a good time for Brazil; it’s also a moneymaker. Tourists spend millions during Carnival, creating thousands of temporary jobs in the city.

Rio de Janeiro is expected to earn a record 5.3 billion reais (£846 million; $1.06 billion) from tourism-related activities in February this year. The state government has invested the highest in Carnival preparations and celebrations for 2024, totalling 62.5 million reais. The infusion of capital has resulted in a record number of jobs and strengthened infrastructure to support tourism, and it is expected to provide long-term socioeconomic changes to the city.

“For every one Brazilian real invested in tourism in Rio, it brings a three to fourfold return,” says Ronnie Costa, president of Rio’s tourism board Riotur. The Carnival investment is well-timed. Brazil welcomed record numbers of international tourists last year, bringing $6.9 billion (£5.5 billion) into the Brazilian economy, a 1.5% increase over the previous best income achieved in 2014 when Brazil hosted the World Cup. The country’s Tourism Plan aims to reach $8.1 billion (£6.4 billion) by 2027.

In Rio, the government has been spending on infrastructure, security, and mobility to attract visitors. This includes more flights into the city’s major international airport and enhanced police presence in tourist areas. This year, Rio will have more than 12,000 military police officers on duty during Carnival, a 5% increase from the previous year.

Officials hope this will help to counteract Rio’s reputation for violent crime. The National Confederation of Commerce (CNC) reported that this image cost the state 3.3 billion reais (£536 million; $660 million) in tourism in 2023.

“The city needs to enable decent infrastructure to receive all these tourists, so the City and Rio State are making investments to create a good, positive experience,” says CNC’s chief economist, Felipe Tavares.
Rio has also invested 40.5 million reais (£6.5 million; $8.1 million) in samba schools, the clubs that organise the city’s iconic parades. The schools open to the public several weeks before Christmas, allowing visitors to view and participate in singing music, and dancing rehearsals.

“When schools have more money, they may spend on equipment, costumes and floats. Tourists will notice something neater, tidier and more sophisticated; a cooler avenue and cooler parties; and a better day-to-day experience’, says Carlos Werneck, president of the tourism organisation Visit Rio.

carnival

Rio De Janeiro Is Betting On Carnival For ‘Cooler’ Parties – And A Better Brazil

In addition, they’ve committed tens of millions of reais to prolong Carnival celebrations beyond the statutory five-day period. The capital has already helped pay for the typical block parties on weekends soon after New Year’s and will support the street celebrations that continue in the weeks after the parades, providing tourists with a Carnival experience in Rio during the first quarter of the year.

Tourism officials from Riotur and Visit Rio say there may also be plans for a Carnival-style celebration in the middle of the year.

Many Rio locals rely on the celebrations and subsequent visitors for income. According to Costa, investments in 2024’s Carnival have created 50,000 jobs, most benefiting socially vulnerable populations from low-income districts. Samba schools employ hundreds of seamstresses, musicians, performers, and organisers.

Full-time employees in Brazil are often paid an additional month’s income at the end of the year, known as the “thirteenth salary”. According to Oliveira, a street vendor in Copacabana, Carnival earnings are the equivalent of this incentive and an opportunity to pay off obligations and save. Rio officially registered 15,000 street vendors to work during block celebrations and parades this year, up from 10,000 last year.

carnival

Rio De Janeiro Is Betting On Carnival For ‘Cooler’ Parties – And A Better Brazil

“Carnival represents an important source of extra income for independent street vendors to increase their revenue during this period,” says Bruno Guerra, director of popular parties at Dream Factory, an event and entertainment firm. “This extra money helps support their families and pay additional expenses, often playing a fundamental role in the financial stability of these independent street sellers.”

However, Tavares emphasises that it is not just about profit. “When we have such a large development in Carnival and tourism, we see significant social improvements in the region,” he said. “Rio is getting more professional in the Carnival and tourism sectors. More people in tourism speak English and Spanish.

You can see options in two or three languages. Rio’s entire city and economy are adjusting to become an international and national tourism destination.”

In February, São Paulo state is set to receive a record 16.2 billion reais (£2.6 billion; $3.25 billion) in tourism revenue, over three times that of Rio state. Tavares attributes this to the region’s vastness. “We are seeing destinations that were not traditional for Brazilian Carnival, such as the states of Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul, Minas Gerais and São Paulo growing a lot every year.”

This is a beautiful time for Rio’s street vendors, such as Oliviera. She states, “It’s like Christmas for us.”

SOURCE – (BBC)

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World

How Deadly Fire Ants Are Surviving Australian Floods: A Perilous Journey

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ants

Red fire ants are constructing rafts to travel on flood waters in Queensland, northeastern Australia, as extreme weather threatens the highly invasive species’ expansion across the country.

“The recent heavy rainfall and wild weather in the region could accelerate the spread of fire ants, one of the world’s worst invasive species,” Reece Pianta, advocacy manager at Australia’s Invasive Species Council (ISC), said in a statement Tuesday.

“Fire ants are more active before or after rain, and they can form large floating rafts that move with water currents to establish footholds in new areas,” Pianta said, advising locals to be vigilant. The ISC posted a video on social media showing fire ants migrating in raft formation.

“It’s incredibly simple to do your part. Just snap a picture of any unusual ants and report them,” he said.

ants

How Deadly Fire Ants Are Surviving Australian Floods: A Perilous Journey

Queensland has experienced severe weather and flooding in recent weeks. Last month, the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Jasper poured severe rains to Cairns, cutting the city off. Flooding also stranded many of the more than 150,000 residents on their rooftops.

According to ISC modelling, fire ants will spread to “every corner of Australia” if the Queensland outbreak is uncontrolled.

The ISC stated that it just obtained a 70 million Australian dollar ($46 million) four-year commitment from Victoria to support the national fire ant eradication effort. Pianta believes eradication is still attainable.

Solenopsis invicta, a red imported fire ant native to South America, is an omnivorous species that damages crops and livestock. Its deadly sting causes pustules and allergic responses and can be fatal to humans. Over the past century, it has expanded over the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, China, and Australia. It made its maiden appearance in Europe last year.

ants

How Deadly Fire Ants Are Surviving Australian Floods: A Perilous Journey

Australia’s first fire ant outbreak occurred in 2001, according to the ISC. According to the statement, the country has brought seven infestations under control, stretching from Queensland’s capital, Brisbane, to the border with the neighbouring state of New South Wales (NSW), to first contain and then eradicate the infestations.

However, in November 2023, the ants were discovered in New South Wales, raising concerns that they could spread to the Murray-Darling river basin and out of control.

At the time, Tara Moriarty, the Minister for Agriculture in New South Wales, stated that “red imported fire ant are a terrible invasive pest, which cause serious social, economic, and environmental harm.”

ants

How Deadly Fire Ants Are Surviving Australian Floods: A Perilous Journey

“Our teams are focused on limiting further spread, and encouraging reporting and compliance through a targeted communications campaign,” she said.

Red ants can spread swiftly, but human activities, such as cargo containers or shipments of potted plants or soil, usually exacerbate an infestation.

SOURCE – (CNN)

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Spirit Airlines Shares Plunge After Judge Blocks JetBlue Merger

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Spirit Airlines shares fell 52% on Tuesday after a federal judge in Boston rejected JetBlue’s proposed $3.8 billion acquisition of the cheap carrier.

As a result of the above Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, the Defendant Airlines, their servants, employees, agents, and anyone else working with either of them is permanently forbidden from carrying out the agreed upon merger as of July 28, 2022. This order was filed with the court on Tuesday.

The decision raised various worries, including higher costs for fliers, particularly Spirit’s customers, and huge debt for JetBlue (JBLU).

jetblue

Spirit Airlines Shares Plunge After Judge Blocks JetBlue Merger

JetBlue shares rose 3% on Tuesday afternoon.

In March, the US Justice Department filed a lawsuit to prohibit the merger, marking the first time in more than 20 years that the government attempted to block a US airline merger.

Since assuming office, the Biden administration has claimed that greater competition among businesses, particularly in the aviation industry, is necessary to reduce consumer costs. Spirit’s (SAVE) low-base fare business model, which costs consumers extra for everything, including carry-on luggage, encourages larger carriers to provide a percentage of their seats at the lowest feasible price.

“If not prevented, the merger of JetBlue and Spirit will result in higher tickets and fewer options for tens of millions of passengers across the country. “The Justice Department is suing to stop that from happening,” Attorney General Merrick Garland stated in March. “Companies in every industry should understand by now that this Justice Department will not hesitate to enforce antitrust laws and protect American consumers.”

jetblue

Spirit Airlines Shares Plunge After Judge Blocks JetBlue Merger

JetBlue contended that the merger would create a new, stronger rival to the four larger airlines, lowering rather than raising fares.

Before this deal was announced, the US airline sector had undergone mergers and consolidations for almost 20 years. The ten major airlines in 1999 were consolidated into four major carriers — American Airlines, United, Delta Air Lines, and Southwest Airlines — through a series of transactions, frequently as part of a bankruptcy filing. These four major airlines handle over 80% of the country’s air traffic.

The acquisitions have resulted in a considerably more successful US airline business but far fewer options for US air travellers, perhaps resulting in higher rates.

jetblue

Spirit Airlines Shares Plunge After Judge Blocks JetBlue Merger

The Biden administration has taken a far stronger stance against mergers and acquisitions, notably in the aviation industry. Before this arrangement, it launched a federal lawsuit challenging American and JetBlue’s cooperation in the Northeast United States. That cooperation was dissolved while JetBlue attempted to obtain approval to purchase Spirit.

Another merger is being considered in the US airline industry: a $1.9 billion plan to unite Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines.

Hawaiian Holdings shares dipped 2.9% on Tuesday afternoon.

SOURCE –  CNN

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