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Twitter service aids hunt for the cheapest airfares


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POSTED: Friday, July 03, 2009

Twitter and cheap airfares from Honolulu to destinations around the globe have merged at www.twitter.com/flyfromHNL.

In fact, Twitter users can get updated, real-time “;Tweets,”; or Twitter posts, on fare deals from 170 cities in the U.S. and Canada on Twitter.com via www.farecompare.com/ twitter.

The site will “;detect your home airport”; and offer the option of following the updates, said Rick Seaney, FareCompare.com chief executive officer.

If Twitter is not your bag of online tea, signing up for e-mail alerts is also an option linked toward the upper right corner of the page.

The real-time Twitter feeds are “;the culmination of four years of technology effort,”; Seaney said. The company obtains fares from 500 airlines “;before (they) even hit the reservation systems,”; he said. The additional technology FareCompare brings to the search party is, “;We go in and we price every week of the year for the next 11 months.”;

If an airline is dropping a price for two weeks in September, “;we can send out a note for that.”; The database also will let bargain hunters know if the fare offered is a buy-it-now-or-you're-crazy historical low, Seaney said.

“;You don't have to hunt and peck,”; as the company's computers do the equivalent of 200 searches for cheap fares and also can find accommodations for a range of dates, “;so if you have any amount of flexibility at all, you're always going to get the best deal.”;

The service is free.

The company's goal is to get the cheap seats 80 percent to 85 percent filled.

“;The difference between that and the 1 to 2 percent rate for hunt-and-peck is huge,”; Seaney said.

Pasta & Basta closed for now

Pasta & Basta by Donato Loperfido at Restaurant Row has closed for renovation, according to a sign posted at its entrance.

The restaurant's signature pizzas were taken off the menu when it was discovered — because of smoke rising into offices above the eatery — that its pizza oven was broken. Inspected from inside, it was found to have “;huge damage,”; in the form of cracks in the sandstone compound dome, Loperfido said.

The oven is old, dating back to the restaurant's incarnation as Pizza Bob's in the early 1990s. “;And the model, they don't even make it anymore,”; Loperfido said.

To repair or replace the oven will cost $30,000, not including labor.

“;Pizza was a very good seller,”; to the degree that some customers who come in to order it will simply leave upon learning it is not available — many don't opt for freshly made pastas or sandwiches with Loperfido's homemade mozzarella or other specialty ingredients.

The chef and restaurateur is still running the fine-dining Elua Restaurant & Wine Bar with his partner Philippe Padovani — and has a catering business for which he can use the Elua kitchen, but no food service can happen in Pasta & Basta while oven inspection, work or other renovation is being done, he said. He hopes to reopen in two or three weeks, at which time his wife and business partner, Desiree, will once again greet guests at the counter. He is taking the opportunity to renegotiate his lease with Waterfront Plaza, as he has seen foot traffic decline following the departures of Aloha Airlines and Hawaii Superferry.

On the Net:

» www.pastabastabydonato.com

» www.eluarestaurant.com

» flavorsofitalyhawaii.com

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Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Reach her by e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).