Monthly Archives: March 2014 - Page 2

Perhaps Connecting Through O’Hare Was A Bad Idea

Ouch. (That is a terrible photo, but just know it’s a mess at O’Hare). On a plus note, I did eat at the best in-airport dining spot in the US, Tortas Frontera. (What? You have a better choice?)


Drunk Newlyweds Get Into Flight, Cause Flight Diversion

This marriage seems rock solid:

A couple flying on Delta from Atlanta to their honeymoon in Costa Rica were caused the plane to divert to Grand Cayman when the husband became unruly during an argument with his new wife. The man is being held in the Cayman Islands after he was charged with drunk and disorderly conduct.

The bride continued on to Costa Rica to enjoy the honeymoon herself.

How Adorable, I’m on an Ancient United 757-200

I fly United a fair amount and somehow I have never ended up on a non-Continental 757-200. Until today.

I’m going to Vegas, and this aircraft has tv monitors in the aisles and no power ports. It’s like 1982.

I had no idea United still flew these (how have I never ended up on one?). From what I’ve heard from my perch in 21C (along with its friend 21D, the best coach seats in United’s fleet – exit row, full recline), literally every single person has complained about the state of this aircraft.

People whine about US carriers because of this inconsistency – nowadays a 5-hour flight without seat back tv or, at least, wi-fi (or power ports) seems nuts. But here it is…

(I have nothing else to add – I somehow just had no idea they were still flying these around).

A Whole Buncha Stuff From This Week

I was traveling down in San Antonio this week, so I didn’t really have an opportunity to write. Here’s some stuff I meant to write about:

– As noted everywhere, Delta released their 2015 award chart. For some reason I was under the impression that companies can’t announce future price increases, but I’m apparently wrong about that. They’ve gone from 3 to 5 tiers, and while they’ve lowered many of the middle tiers by 5,000 or 10,000 points, the big question is inventory – whether they’re just going to keep the pathetic low level availability and make more expensive redemptions available. I know everyone bitches about Delta’s frequent flyer program, but the airline is profitable and well-run, and apparently most people don’t care about Skymiles.

– Hawaiian Airlines is canceling Honolulu – Taipei in April, less than a year after launching it. Their experiment increasing flights to Asia has not been a smooth one – they announced the cancelation of Fukuoka flights a couple of weeks ago, and last year ended Manila. Kudos, though, for trying something different.

– One passenger on a recent Westjet flight was not happy about having a female pilot. (Thanks to reader Joey Z for the heads up).

– Because of a glitch on the Bluebird website, make sure when you choose the payee that the website shows the same payee that you chose. Some people in this thread are saying that checks have been sent to the wrong people.

– The Virgin Atlantic card with the 47,500 mile bonus is available again. 20k on first purchase, 25k after $2,500 in 3 months, and 2,500 per added authorized user (up to 2 additional). $90 annual fee not waived. Transfers to Hilton at 1:1.5, which is the only reason to get this card.

– Virgin America sees Dallas Love as a big opportunity and announced that in October they plan to launch flights to LaGuardia, Washington National, LAX and San Francisco.

– Saudi Arabian Airlines is planning to launch 3X weekly LAX – Jeddah – Riyadh service on March 31st. That’s good news for west coast-based folks looking to use Delta miles to the Middle East and India.

– His blog seems to be down right now, but Wandering Aramean is currently flying Newark to Hong Kong only on United 737s (via Island Hopper). That’s literally the craziest trip I’ve heard of. Anyone willing to go around the world on a 737? Good luck, Seth.

United: Our Domestic First Class Is Worth about 79 Bucks

Nothing (well, almost nothing) has driven United Elite members crazier in the past few years than the idea that United is selling upgrades before giving free upgrades to Elites. This has been discussed ad infinitum on Flyertalk, and if you’re a United shareholder you should be happy about this.

Anyway, the offers I’ve received in the past few years to upgrade have, for the most part, been unreasonable. But today I saw that I could upgrade my rather cheap ticket tomorrow to San Antonio (~$300) for $79. That seems crazy cheap to me, considering it includes a LaGuardia – Houston leg that (supposedly) is incredibly different to get upgraded on (it’s a 737-700 with only 12 FC seats.

I turned it down because the exit row in Economy Plus was available for free (and I’m perfectly happy with that for 3 hours), but I’m surprised how little they were selling it for. Is that normal?

Sure, Take 11 Months to Hit That Minimum Spend (I’m Not Saying You Should Do This)

I’ve been under a bit o’ stress thinking about how I’m going to hit minimum spend on 2 of the AA Exec cards, meaning I need to hit $20,000 spend in 3 months. Given my limited access to Vanilla Reloads in Manhattan, I was starting to sweat a little bit…that said, I found the cards mentioned in the Doritos incident last week, and all is OK.

But I started thinking about how you could nearly guarantee yourself 11 months to hit the minimum spend on any card, and I’ve come up with this:

First, I’m not saying you should do this.

Here’s what you could do (if you were going to do this, which I’m not saying you should do): Buy a fully refundable business class ticket for an amount that is at least as much as the minimum spend for a flight 11 months from when you get the card. DO NOT buy the ticket on the airline associated with the card. DO NOT put in your frequent flyer number. Preferably buy the ticket on a random, somewhat obscure airline.

Continue to use the card to make sure that you will eventually hit the minimum spend during the 11 month period.

Refund the ticket a couple of weeks before the flight that you were never planning on taking.


You’ve hit the minimum spend with that purchase of the refundable ticket. You’ve spent the minimum spend for real(z) over the 11 months you have the card open, so that when you cancel that refundable ticket there is no (well, little) chance they claw back the points. You have avoided drawing any suspicion because you bought the ticket on Air Madagascar. You did not use your frequent flyer number, so the whole purchase isn’t tied back to any of your frequent flyer accounts.

Foolproof? Probably.

Just a thought…