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A Little Friday Morning Roundup

- Amtrak announced that is has upgraded its wi-fi service on Acela, Capitol Corridor, Pacific Surfliner and San Joaquin trains, with additional Northeast Corridor service to be added this summer. If you have taken the Acela and used the wi-fi, you can attest that Amtrak’s wi-fi service is the Amtrak of wi-fi service.

- American Airlines will allow passengers with no rolling bag (ie, only bags that fit under the seat in front of you) to board in Group 2, which is basically ahead of most others in Coach. But here’s the more interesting part: if you have a rolling bag and you get to the gate, they’ll let you gate check the bag for free so you can board early. Read that again: DO NOT CHECK YOUR SMALLER BAGS ON AMERICAN. They will let you check them for free at the gate and board early. American said that since they started charging for checking bags, people have (no surprisingly) been carrying on more bags than ever. This slowed down the boarding processes. They’re hoping the new system will alleviate some of the pressure on boarding. I contend that no airline really knows the best way to board a plane, that it’s a complex problem with no optimal solution. I do know the worst boarding process I ever encountered: years ago a friend and I were flying China Airlines from San Francisco to Taipei. They announced First Class to board the 747. 10 people go to the gate. Then they announce Business Class. 15 people go to the gate. Then they say, “We are now boarding Economy Class.” And 472 Taiwanese, me, and my friend Dave start a stampede at 1 o’clock in the morning so that I can go sit in 62H.

(Completely unrelated, though on the same trip: We land in Taipei at 6am on a Sunday morning, and I called my friend Jim in Detroit. We had the usual “where are you/what time is it” conversation and I managed to convince him that because it was 6am in Taiwan (7pm Saturday night or so in Detroit) that I was able to have already watched the live episode of Saturday Night Live that had not yet been on in the US.)

- The Onion says that “Spirit Airlines Is the F***ing Worst

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  1. as a taiwanese american, i love that story. haha.

    also just wanted to thank you for all the tips and knowledge you been dropping. i booked my first ever award redemption and didn’t try to waste points to do first class. sleep is where it’s at. any tips for reducing jetlag flying from US to Asia? i would arrive early evening like at 6pm.

    • Thanks, Danny. What time does your flight depart and from what city?

      • my flight departs at noon out of Chicago. so it’s 15 hrs in the air…

        • As I see it, you have 2 options.

          1) Stay up the night before (that’s what I usually do) and pass out when you get on the plane.
          or
          2) DO NOT go to sleep on that flight.

          I know those seem like obvious answers, but you’re going to have a rough night at some point. I prefer to just stay up all (or much of the) night the night before my flight and just power through until I get on the plane, then sleep 7 hours and when you wake up, poof, it’s morning.

          Or, have a great night’s sleep and DO NOT fall asleep on that plane. That will be difficult, but not impossible.

          Still, I’d stay up the night before and go to sleep for the first half of the flight.

  2. I still don’t believe you saw snl before I did because, as we all know, time is the same everywhere.

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