Monthly Archives: September 2012

Up to 25% Off a LAN Flight When You Use Paypal

LAN is offering up to 25% off your next flight through May 30th when you pay with Paypal. You must book by October 8th, and the discount varies by destination.

25% Off: Miami to Punta Canada and Caracas
15% Off: All flights within South America; Miami to Columbia, Ecuador or Argentina; NYC to Argentina; LA to Argentina or Sao Paulo; and San Francisco to Argentina or Sao Paulo.

Get 6,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points When You Buy a $500 Marriott Gift Card

Southwest is offering up to 6,000 bonus points when you purchase a $500 Marriott gift card. You can also get 1,200 points for a $100 card or 3,000 points for a $250 card. Each member can earn up to 12,000 points (worth roughly $200 in travel on Southwest) through this promotion (think of it as a 20% rebate on the cost of the gift card, payable in Southwest credit).

United Will Now Reimburse Platinum and 1K for Global Entry

As they announced they would do earlier this year, United is now reimbursing Platinum Elite and 1K members for their $100 Global Entry fee. As I’ve mentioned here before, Global Entry (which allows you to skip the passport control line when you return to the US from overseas) is the best government initiative since Emancipation (a very, very distant 2nd to Emancipation, to be clear).

If you’re United 1K or Platinum, here’s how you’ll get reimbursed:

Request your personalized code from United:
1. Visit united.com/globalentrycompensation and log in.

2. Within one business day you will receive confirmation via email that your personalized code is ready. Follow the instructions on the email to retrieve your personalized code.

3. Print or save the screen with your personalized code. You will need the information exactly as it appears on this screen when you complete your Global Entry application.

Apply for Global Entry through the CBP site:
1. After you receive your personalized code from United, visit the Global Online Enrollment System (GOES).

2. Register for a GOES account. If you have already registered, log in as an existing GOES user.

3. On the welcome page, you can begin the application process. Remember, when prompted, enter your personalized code exactly as it was provided to you.

JetBlue to Roll Out Fleet-wide Wi-Fi in Early 2013…And It’ll Be Free (at First)

Somehow I missed this a few days ago: JetBlue will roll out high-speed wi-fi on its entire fleet in early 2013.

The airline will use the high-speed ka-band wi-fi and, at least at first, will be free, which is huge since just about everyone else charges for the service. Well, it will be free for the first 30 planes as they roll out the service, and I assume they’ll start charging after that (though they’ve kept their Live TV as a free product, so who knows). The ka-band service is supposed to be 5 times (or so) faster than wi-fi found on other airlines.

Up to 100,000 Bonus Miles for Premium Class (and Expensive Coach) Fares to Europe on AA

American Airlines is offering a bonus miles promo for flights to Europe on AA, British Airways and Iberia for flights from the US and Canada to Europe through January 31st. Fly in First, Business or full-fare coach* and you’ll get 15,000 bonus miles for the first flight; 30,000 for the second flight; and 50,000 for the 3rd flight.

Visit this link and enter code AAEUR to register.

*Includes First Class and Business Class fares booked in F, A, J, R, D or I; Economy Class fares booked in Y, B or H on American Airlines operated flights; First Class or Club World fares booked in F, A, J, R, C, D or I; World Traveller Plus or full-fare World Traveller booked in W, E, T, Y, B or H on British Airways operated flights; Business Class fares booked in J, C, D, R or I; Economy Class fares booked in Y on Iberia operated flights.

Tuesday Morning Roundup

At some point my life will calm down and I can write long posts about what credit card to use when you buy gum. Until then, here’s a few quick bites:

– A Horizon Air flight attendant was arrested for stealing a passenger’s iPad. The passenger had left it on his seat after flying recently and used his “Find My iPad” app to, er, find his iPad. It was in the flight attendant’s home.

– A Republic Airlines flight attendant was charged with disorderly conduct after she tried to bring a loaded gun through security at Philadelphia Airport. Officers then accidentally fired the gun while trying to secure it.

– In case you were wondering if you were the only person using Wi-Fi on your most recent flight, the answer was probably no – but it was close. GoGo Internet says that while about a third of flights are now wi-fi equipped, only about 5% of passengers purchase wi-fi on planes. I think they need to start giving it away for a while so people appreciate the value of it, then they can charge for it. Then people can freak out about getting charged for it.

Monday Morning Roundup

I had a bunch of smaller things to share, so I thought I’d bundle into 1 post:

– One of the more obscure North American flights is being discontinued: Any of you plane nerds who have flown Philippine Airlines’ A340 service from Vancouver to Las Vegas will be disappointed to learn that they are discontinuing the route beginning in January. They will now fly Manila-Toronto-Vancouver-Manila, dropping the Vegas leg. In case you were wondering, according to their 5th Freedom agreement they were allowed to sell 50% of the capacity on the Vancouver – Vegas leg. (And if you care what 5th Freedom is, it’s basically when an airline is allowed to sell seats on a flight between two countries outside their home base — ie, Philippine Airlines could sell a ticket between Canada and the US.)

– An Italian man bought a pilot’s uniform and made a fake ID card and somehow managed to fly in the cockpit of a Lufthansa flight between Munich and Turin.

– Southwest Airlines’ flight attendants voted to approve the changes to their contract that would allow the carrier to fly to Hawaii. Wouldn’t be shocked to see Oakland or Burbank flights to Hawaii in their future.

– Air France is changing the names of its cabins from Voyageur, Premium Voyageur, and Affaires to Coach, Premium Economy and Business. Glad to see that because I could never remember which classes Voyageur and Affaires were supposed to be.

– If you have a US Airways Mastercard be on the lookout for a piece in the mail offering you 5X bonus miles on restaurant spend, department stores and electronics stores during the 4th quarter this year. However, you can only earn up to a 2,500 point bonus. It’s a targeted offer, so your promo code will vary (my wife and I each received our own offer, both of which have now disappeared. I, obviously, blame my wife, though through a spokesman she vehemently denied throwing out the mail. She did, however, admit to seeing those pieces of paper (suspicious!!) but she says she left them right where they were, adding that maybe if I cleaned up my piles of crap that I wouldn’t have such a difficult time finding stuff.)

15% Off All Delta/SkyTeam Flights

A bunch of other blogs are writing this, but I wanted to pass along anyway because it’s a great deal a lot of people can use:

You can save 15% on any Delta or SkyTeam partner flight when you book before noon on September 24th on Alitalia‘s website and enter promo code WEEK15US after you select your flights.

That’s pretty much it – save 15% through end of schedule on all Delta flights. Nice.

(Thanks, Point me to the Plane)

A Quick Review of Amtrak Acela First Class

The most comfortable flying experience in the US isn’t actually available on a plane – you’ll have to hop on a train to experience it. And the most frustrating, annoying customer service experience can also be found on that same trip.

The Amtrak Acela exemplifies both all that is right, and all that is annoying, about domestic travel today.

To wit: I took the Acela today from New York to Boston in their First Class service (because someone else paid for it). First Class has wide seats, plenty of legroom, room to walk around and a general sense of spaciousness. Since you don’t have to wear a seatbelt (because one isn’t available) you also feel free in a way you never do on a plane. 3 1/2 hours flies by without any of the general discomfort you’d find on, say, a flight from New York to Denver. Plus, there’s no security line. Lovely.

You may be wondering what the difference is between Business Class and First Class on the Acela (there is no economy class on the Acela). There are two answers:

1) They give you a meal for free in First Class. It is “free” in that you have paid $78 extra dollars for it. There were about 5 choices for lunch, though only the salad was available, which in my book means there was 1 choice for lunch. It was $78 worth of fine. In Business Class you have to go to the club car and purchase your own food stuffs. Also, there is a lounge at Penn Station, with newspapers and pastries wrapped in cellophane. I was just about to mock it, but it’s really no worse than the United lounge at LaGuardia.

2) The second difference is that First Class does not offer the Quiet Car option you find in Business Class. This leads to a bit of cognitive dissonance: how can something that is labeled First Class and costs $78 extra (free food aside) actually be more annoying than the Quiet Car in Business Class, which suggests that you are paying $78 to listen to a bunch of cellphone conversations. I can’t quite get my head around this, and I left vaguely disappointed by the non-quiet First Class experience. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but if given the option, I would choose Quiet Business Class over its more cacophonous First Class cousin. Go figure.

What I would NOT choose again is to arrive at Penn Station to find that the Acela trains were delayed 2+ hours because of rain the night before. I’m not making that up. So I dragged myself over to the looooong customer service line that, in one of America’s busiest train stations, is manned by exactly 2 Amtrak employees. I stood in that line for 20 minutes as they announced train numbers, but no destinations. For example, “you may use your Amtrak 2549 tickets on Amtrak 3716” does not help me. It might help me if they had an arrivals and departures board anywhere near the line of dozens of passengers but they didn’t. Well they did, but none – none – of them worked. I have seen that in an airport in Botswana, and if you have any customer service interaction with Amtrak (prior to boarding the train) your reference point will be the Gabarone, Botswana, airport.

That said, once on the train the staff could not be more helpful. The service is at least on par with domestic first class and really closer to what I find on a US airline in business class to, say, Europe. The seats are comfortable, and everyone gets a power port. There’s no security line, and no pat downs. It’s amazing. Except if you have to deal with Amtrak at the train station. Or if you have to call them. Or change your ticket. Good luck.

I can’t help thinking, though, that if Amtrak could put in a first class customer service experience, it would be the best way to travel in the United States. Sure, it barely compares with what’s going on in Europe and Asia, but set that aside (because no one in the US wants to invest). But compared to flying New York to Boston or DC? I’ll take the train any day.

(DEAD AGAIN) How to Get a 70,000 Mile Bonus with the Amex Delta Gold Credit Card

(THIS OFFER IS DEAD AGAIN)

There’s been rumors of a 70,000 mile bonus being available for the American Express Delta Gold card, and now there is confirmation. You’ll get 25,000 miles after first purchase, then 45,000 miles after spending $5,000 in 6 months. First year waived, $95 thereafter. It would also appear that if you have had a Delta Amex before, you can’t get the bonus.

Copy and paste this link, but change the words “John” “Smith” and “222222222” to your name and Delta Skymiles number:

https://www265.americanexpress.com/apisites/microsite-framedapp/apply/delta-gold-skymiles-credit-card/U7-1000-46?offerType=leadOffer&pmcVendorCode=U7&additionalOffer=false&
firstName=John&lastName=Smith&membershipNumber=222222222

(IF YOU’RE SEEING AN EXTRA BLANK LINE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE URL, TAKE IT OUT — FOR WHATEVER REASON, I CAN’T GET RID OF IT — SORRY ABOUT THAT)

You’ll also get a $100 statement credit when you purchase a Delta ticket.

Say what you will about the ability to use Skymiles (and what I will say is that it’s terrible), 70,000 is a nice chunk of miles. Which in Delta’s case will get you, er, one domestic round trip ticket in most cases.

(Thx Slickdeals)