Monthly Archives: July 2014 - Page 2

The Spirit Airlines 8,000 Mile Giveaway Video

So a bunch of people have written about how Spirit Airlines is giving away 8,000 of their miles to anyone who complains about another airline at (because they’ve heard so many complaints about their own airline). Hint: take the miles and get a subscription to the Wall Street Journal. You’re welcome (thanks to a kind reader for that heads up).

But I’m really bringing it up because the accompanying video & song they’ve made for this made me laugh a lot. Especially at about :44 seconds in. Skip if easily offended, please.

Save 20% On Lots of Non-Chain Hotels with a Coupon has a coupon for 20% off lots of non-chain hotels when you book by July 13th for stays through the end of the year. Use code HELLOJULY when you book. It’s not good on all non-chain hotels, but you’ll see there are a bunch in most cities, and it actually does take 20% off the rate.

Tuesday Roundup: Goodbye, Stuttgart; WestJet Widebodies; Delta in Venezuela

– United Airlines will drop their daily Newark – Stuttgart route beginning September 20th.

– Beginning August 1st, Delta will run its Atlanta-Caracas flights once a week instead of once a day because of a dispute with the Venezuelan government over funds that are tied up in the country. Most noteworthy, I thought, is that the crew will overnight (Saturday night) in Caracas and return in the morning.

– Lufthansa will postpone 747-8i service from Frankfurt to Mumbai and instead use the aircraft for 1 daily flight between JFK and Frankfurt from July 15th to October 25th. Mumbai’s Airport authorities told Lufthansa that Emirates will be using the only gate at the airport capable of handling the airplane. Remember that Lufthansa’s 747-8i aircraft feature lie-flat beds in business class.

– WestJet reached an agreement with its pilots union to allow them to fly widebody aircraft for the first time, likely in late 2015 for flights between Alberta and Hawaii. Those flights are currently operated by Thomas Cook using 757-200s.

– An Air New Zealand captain locked his first officer out of the cockpit during a flight between Perth and Auckland because he was angry about a delay caused by the first officer having to take a drug test. I know, I don’t get it either.

– A train derailment caused 3 737s fuselages to be dumped in a river (check out the photo in that link)…

Oh, New York Times….You Can Do Better Than This

The NY Times has a rather ridiculous piece today about how leisure flyers are constantly getting screwed by frequent flyer programs blah blah blah blah blah etc etc etc etc good old days ya ya ya.

My favorite line is this one from someone complaining about award availability:

“I can’t even remember the last time I was able to book a free ticket that didn’t cost 50,000 points, made three stops or left in the middle of the night,”

Wait – THREE flights had award seats available, but the nonstop you happened to want never has any seats available? How is that possible?

That Seattle-based whiner shouldn’t complain – his Alaska miles can be used on Alaska, American or Delta. He has it better than most, no?

Another person is quoted as saying she feels that she has no choice but to take whatever miles she can, “mostly to pay for upgrades so we can get back some of the perks like more legroom that we used to get for free.”

What airline is she using miles for upgrades on? And when did airlines have more legroom in coach than they do now? Every airline offers a chance to buy up for more space – more space than they ever had before…

One interesting tidbit: “In 2012, American sold 66 percent of the 209 billion miles it awarded to frequent fliers that year to partners like Citibank, Starwood and Avis.” I had no idea that partners gave away most of the miles…

I’ll spare you the rest of it, but it just makes me sad that mainstream publications write nonsense whining about how awful frequent flyer programs are while, with just a tiny amount of work, lots of people are racking up miles and using them for award tickets.

The only redeeming point was the nice shout out for Summer at Mommy Points….well done!) who tells people do get off their ass and take a minute to research before joining a frequent flyer program. It just takes a small amount of effort for a large amount of benefit.

I’m So Excited for This Flight on Saturday…

I’ve never been more excited for an upcoming flight, and I won’t even be on it…and it’ll be in coach.

One of my 8-year-old daughters will be flying alone this Saturday from Washington, DC, back to New York. I don’t usually get all choked up about parenting stuff, and God knows I don’t share it here, but I cannot believe that I now have a daughter who can fly alone.

OK, so I paid JetBlue the $100 unaccompanied minor fee to make sure that she’s fine. My father’s response to that was that when he was 6 years old his mother used to stick him alone on a bus in Chelsea, MA, to go out to the beach in Marshfield, MA. Times have changed. I don’t know if there’s a bus to Marshfield anymore, first of all…

Anyway, if you’re a parent of a young child I think you probably know the mixed feelings you have about your children becoming more independent. As an airline guy, this is such a major step – next thing I know she’ll be mileage running to Singapore. Without me.

When my parents used to stick me on an Eastern Airlines flight down to Florida to visit my grandparents, I’m pretty sure I went on board with nothing, hoping that they’d give me some playing cards when I got on the plane. Sage will have an iPod and JetBlue’s TVs – that should make the 40 minutes fly by (assuming she can squeeze in 7 episodes of Jessie in 40 minutes somehow). But if anyone has helpful ideas about sticking an 8 year old on a plane alone, I’d love to hear them….

The July 4th Special Holiday Edition of OTR…

It’s been a lazy week here in OTR-land, so today I’m going to share a few things where Independence Day and Airplanes intersect:

– Independence Air was an ill-fated startup airline (sort of – it was originally regional partner Atlantic Coast Airlines, but they decided they would be better off on their own and the management launched Independence Air) based out of Washington, DC. They stood for independence (from partnerships with their former mainline partners) and, of course, freedom. Specifically, the freedom to blow through a wad of money offering $29 fares to Lansing on flights that ran 7 times a day.

– Nothing stands for Liberty more than Air Liberte. I’m not sure I’ve seen Air Egalite or Air Fraternite, but they should be in an alliance of some sort. The French airline liquidated in 2001, after 15 years of flying leisure routes from France.

– Presidential Airways flew out of Washington DC in the 1980s, eventually merging with Colgan. I remember them for being the campaign plane for Michael Dukakis, and apparently was also the campaign plane for Bob Dole, showing that bipartisanship was alive and well in the airline industry back in the day.

– Freedom Airlines was part of the Mesa Air group and flew as a Delta Commuter partner (there’s no picture because they flew under Delta’s colors). And what represents freedom more than a lawsuit, specifically a lawsuit where they ended up suing Delta for terminating their contract early. Freedom lost the suit and shut down in 2010.

– The extremely colorful Freedom Air flies from Guam to the Northern Mariana Islands, bringing its sunshiney livery to such locales as Saipan and Rota.

And finally, we should be thankful for the Fifth Freedom, which is the right for airlines to sell a seat on a route that does not begin or end in its home country. Cathay Pacific can sell seats between Vancouver and New York because of the Fifth Freedom, one of the 9 Freedoms of the Air.

Happy 4th of July…