The OTR Marks Its 10th Anniversary

Last week marked the 10th anniversary for Online Travel Review…this thing started as a work project back in my days where someone was actually paying me to write about the airline industry and when I left that company, I took OTR with me.

This site is absolutely a labor of love. For anyone who has written (or tried to write) a blog, you quickly come to realize that it becomes all-consuming pretty quickly. On days where I don’t have anything to write about, I have a deep sense of guilt that I should have posted something. I’m constantly writing myself notes about ideas for posts. It’s always in my brain.

The blog world has changed significantly over the years. Driven certainly in part by the credit card affiliate situation, there are just sooooooo many blogs out there. And that means that actually coming up with a new take on something is challenging. This morning I woke up to I’m-not-even-sure how many bloggers writing about Hyatt eliminating stay certificates. I don’t need to be the 17th person writing about that. Which makes it more of a challenge to come up with new content that you’re not going to find elsewhere – since elsewhere is now everywhere. And without resorting to lists of credit cards or pictures of airplane seats. There are more than enough places for those interested in that to find it.

I really enjoyed putting together the weekly airline news quiz from last week, so we’ll see more of those. I’m excited by the idea of changing it up a little bit, and staying the hell out of the way of the same news you’ll find elsewhere. Like I said, last week’s quiz is one idea, the buzz-feedy 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Airlines was another. I promise – we’re going to mix it up here.

In any case, I wanted to thank everyone for sticking with this over the long 10 years. The best part of this adventure has been the interactions with readers – people have been absolutely amazing, and I can’t tell you how good it feels when I’m actually able to help someone out, allowing them to take a trip they never thought they’d be able to take.

I’ll leave you with 2 really stupid pieces from the first week of OTR 10 years ago. For some reason I found fake conversations to be funny. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Here’s to 10 more years…

MEALS AT MEALTIME – December 14, 2003
When you fly on Continental, Gordon Bethune, their CEO, appears on a little video introducing the flight, saying that they provide a wealth of amenities, not least of which is “meals at mealtime.” The Blogalot Theatre Players will now present a scene where Harry Hamlin will portray Michael Kuzak of LA Law cross-examining Mr. Bethune (played by Glen Campbell) in regards to the flight I took last evening from West Palm Beach to Newark.

Michael Kuzak: Good afternoon, Mr. Bethune.
Gordon Bethune: Good afternoon.
MK: Last night’s flight from West Palm Beach to Newark departed at 7:25 pm, did it not, sir?
GB: Yes, I believe it did.
MK: And what time would you say you eat dinner?
GB: Um, around 6 pm.
MK: May I remind you, sir, you are under oath.
GB: OK, around 7:30, 8 pm.
MK: And you would categorize dinner as a meal?
GB: Sometimes.
MK: Sometimes?
GB: OK, I will stipulate that dinner is a meal.
MK: And you would describe “meal time” as the time when you eat a meal, would you not?
GB: Yes, I would.
MK: Alas, then, 7:30 or 8pm is, in fact, mealtime.
GB: In some cases, yes.
MK: Then why, good sir, would you serve only drinks and pretzels in first class at mealtime.
GB: Well, I wouldn’t say that 7:25 is mealtime.
MK: Did you not just say that it was mealtime? I can have it read back to you.
GB: OK, yes it is mealtime. I admit it, I lied. Lied! I said we’d serve meals at mealtime and we served a snack (and a terrible one at that) at mealtime. I’m sorry!
MK: Isn’t the whole problem with the airline food situation that YOU JUST DON’T KNOW IF THERE’S A MEAL? People like Southwest because you know there won’t be a meal. The problem is when you have to guess.
GB: I have seen the error of my ways. I shall serve meals at mealtime in the future.


LARRY KING ON ESTONIA – December 14, 2003

I haven’t had a Friday fare special in a while, as the Friday fares haven’t been so special (I’m SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO clever!).

Anyway, Frommer’s is reporting that Finnair has $299 r/t fares from NYC to all of Scandanavia, as well as the Baltic states (Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia). This is quite a steal.

You may have objections to these trips due to the cold. That’s valid. So, I will address them in the form of a hypothetical conversation between you and Larry King…

You: I mean, of course it’s $299. It’s unbearably cold in Scandanavia during the winter. Not to mention dark.

Larry King: Scary Movie 3 is the sleeper hit of the fall! I can’t wait until Scary Movie 4. Tonight, Pamela Anderson and Tammy Faye Baker.

You: That may be true, but won’t I freeze to death? I mean, it’s certainly colder and darker there than it is here in New York.

Larry King: I went to the opening of the new musical Taboo last night, and I proclaim it the biggest hit on Broadway! Tonight, Howard Hessman and Nipsy Russell!

You: Indeed. But I’ve also heard it can be quite beautiful there during the winter. Sure it’s a bit coldish, but there are fewer tourists and you have the whole place to yourself.

Larry King: I can’t stop listening to the new Clay Aiken CD! I tell ya, he’s gonna be the next Engelbert Humperdink! Tonight, Steve Garvey and Hugh Downs discuss the Laci Peterson murders.

You: Right. In fact, I’ve heard that Tallinn is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe—a 1,000 year old medieval city still intact. And dirt cheap. I guess $299 IS a great deal.

Larry King: I don’t know about you, but I think Good Morning Miami should win an Emmy for Best Laughs! I can’t stop watching! Tonight, Adrien Zmed for the full hour!

You: Uh huh. Thanks for tipping me off about the low fares. I can’t wait to go!

Larry King: Carlsbad, New Mexico, what’s your question for Loni Andersen? Carlsbad, go ahead.


  1. Congratulations, Jared, on a milestone anniversary! And thank you for the superb information you have given your readers over the year. Happy holidays to you and your family.

  2. Love the blog. You’ve consistently earned a spot in my top 5 to check every day (even though you don’t post daily) because your content is not like everyone else. Plus, you’re damn funny.

    I started a miles&points blog for a specific niche audience last February…I think I lasted until April. That pressure you describe to come up with fresh content every day, well-written and well-researched was too much for a non-paying job :)

  3. Congrats on 10 years Jared, I can’t believe you been blogging for that long. Thanks for all the good work. I’ve been following you since you reported on the IcelandAir deal. Happy holidays!

  4. Hi Jared,

    I’ve been reading OTR since Day 1 – still one of the best out there, and the fact that you DON’T post every day, but only when you have something to say, is very much appreciated. happy 10th.


  5. Actually I’ve “NEVER” read a post of yours until today, and I’ve been around more than most . Btw, the give and take with Larry King for those of us who have been around when King was King is actually downright hilarious. Congratulations. May you have another 10 great years.

  6. There are other airline blogs?

  7. Congratulations on 10 years. You bring a refreshing perspective to the miles/points game. Keep up the good work. (And how about an amenity kit review for 2014?)

  8. Congrats from a loyal reader since Aug 2012 and thanks for the tireless effort at keeping content fresh and not repeating or rehashing whats out there fron others.