Want to know my opinion on allowing voice calls from in flight?

NO!
Wait a minute, let me expand on that.
HELL NO!

Posted in Air Travel | Tagged | Leave a comment

About this electronics stuff…

Okay, so first it was Delta and jetBlue that got the okay to go gate-to-gate with electronic gadgets.  Then it was American.  I had a question from a friend on this new policy, because he flew Delta mainline, where they announced the new policy, and then flew a Delta Connection flight, where the flight attendant nearly came unglued when he wouldn’t put his iPhone away during taxi out to the runway.

Try as they might, airlines aren’t telling their customers the distinction between “mainline” flights and those that are subcontracted.  Indeed, my friend’s Delta Connection flight was on ExpressJet, though it was branded a Delta Connection flight.

Earlier this week I got an email from US Airways saying that they were rolling out gate-to-gate electronic use – but they were actually freaking helpful!  They said that the new policy applied only to mainline US Airways flights, and that the policy didn’t yet apply to US Airways Express flights; that would come at a later date.  And just now, I got an email from Alaska Airlines saying that starting Saturday passengers on mainline flights would be able to use electronics, with sister carrier Horizon coming up soon, as well as subcontractor SkyWest, pending FAA approval.

From what I can tell, US Airways and Alaska Airlines are the only ones to roll out this new policy correctly.

So congrats you guys!  Travel is just about to get a little more interesting.

Posted in Air Travel, Airlines | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How’s THIS for a headline?

So I’m going through a list of headlines for the airline industry, and I read this doozy:

Hawaii Island Air unreliable according to their CEO

Umm, WTH?

You seriously want to tell the flying public that your airline is unreliable?  That’s like having the boarding agent take your ticket, scan it, and tell your passengers, “Hold on tight during the flight; I hope nothing happens to the plane!”

That’s just seriously unprofessional.  This is a CEO who doesn’t want to be in his job.

I totally understand the underlying message; Hawaii Island Air needs a good, stable, reliable aircraft for them to be able to grow.  So why not say that?  In these days, newer aircraft are going to be more fuel efficient and can carry more passengers farther on less gas than older aircraft can, while allowing the airline in question opportunities to grow.  So why not say something like that?

Just wow…

Posted in Airlines, F'd Up Issue of the Week | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Scuttlebutt on the AA/US merger – Thoughts?

So it should be no secret to those that follow me on here or on Twitter that I primarily fly Alaska Airlines.  I’ve been curious about the announced American/US Airways merger since day one – mostly because American is a partner with Alaska Airlines.  Not as strong a partner as Delta, but still – a partner.

As I was traveling on the new AS route PDX->ATL yesterday, I was talking to some folks on my flight, and the merger came up.  Specifically, there was scuttlebutt that, if the AA/US merger goes through, the new AA would drop the partnership with Alaska.  I’m wondering if this is true or not.

I couldn’t see Alaska dropping the newly merged AA, because it opens so many doors for them.  Hell, if they did, there’d be virtually no reason to fly from SEA or PDX to DFW, because there wouldn’t be any more continuing tickets (AS to DFW, AA or AE DFW to final destination).

This has me thinking…  So what do you think?  Think the merger will go through, and if so, do you think they’ll stay partners with AS?  Or do you think new AA management will force AS to drop the contract?

Posted in Air Travel, Airlines | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Filed under WTF?!?

So apparently you can get arrested for having sex on a commercial airplane.  That part’s not news, nor does it surprise me.  But what does surprise me was that it was oral sex – IN COACH.

Now the couple in question allegedly repeatedly engaged in oral sex on an Allegiant flight from Medford to Las Vegas.  If you know anything about Allegiant’s non-Hawaii flights, you’ll know these are on MD80 aircraft, and the seats are packed in there tighter than a LCC CEO’s pocketbook (the damn thing seats 150, and a similar one from American only seats 140).  But a blowjob?  In coach?  There’s barely enough room in coach for a handy, much less a blowjob.

What was my point?  Oh I give up anymore…

Posted in Air Travel | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

THIS headline absolutely pisses me off

So I’ve got a Google keyword search that sends me a daily digest of the comings & goings of the Airline industry – the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Well today can be safely thrown into the “ugly” category.  Seriously.

BusinessWeek.com’s website screamed this today:

Asiana’s San Francisco Plane Crash Seen Pushing Airline to Loss

Really?  I’m sorry, but didn’t we just lose a plane, injure hundreds, and call an entire industry’s training practices into question just a few days ago?  Not to mention the two 16 year old girls who won’t live to go to college, reach adulthood, and live a full, healthy life?  No, we don’t care about that.  Or at least the five financial analysts that put forth the data – and Bloomberg for publishing such tripe.

I get it; it’s a business.  But freaking come on, already!  Poor, poor taste!

Posted in Airlines, F'd Up Issue of the Week | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Best Frequent Flyer Rewards Programs

This is a guest post from Angie Picardo, a staff writer at NerdWallet.

Choosing which airline’s frequent flyer program to sign up for can be daunting. How to earn miles, how to redeem them, when to redeem them—it’s enough to deter many people from making a choice. Below are some factors that might influence your decision and a comparison of the top rewards programs.

No matter what kind of traveler you are, first consider what airlines fly to airports nearest you. Which airports do you fly in and out of most? Also consider where you will stay in your most frequently visited cities, since many programs’ points also come from partners such as hotels, rental car companies, and credit cards. The key is to make sure each action you take during your trip will earn you points or miles. You will also get the best rewards when you choose a program and stick with it, and when you use that program’s sponsored credit card.

Airline Alliances
It’s good to be aware of airline alliances, since some rewards programs will allow you to earn or redeem points through partner airlines. The three major alliances are the Star Alliance (27 member airlines, including United and US Airways), One World (11 member airlines including American), and Sky Team (includes Delta airlines). It’s important to realize, though, that airlines in global alliances do not always have transferable rewards programs. You’ll need to double-check individual reward programs for details.

Best Rewards Program Credit Cards
To reap the benefits of these cards, you’ll also need to sign up for these airlines’ respective rewards programs. Regularly using these credit cards can score you some major free travel.

Card Name 5- Year Value Annual Fee Cost Per Point/Mile
Barclays Virgin America Visa $1,390 $0 $1.19
Chase Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Card $1,380 $59 $15.80
Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Card $1,001 Free first year, then $95 $1.00

 

Best Rewards for Business/Frequent Flyers
American Airlines AAdvantage: With the best top-tier level services and rewards, AAdvantage is high on the list. It includes a massive list of partner airlines and hotels that provides you with over 1,000 ways to earn your miles. You’ll also be able to register up to six credit or debit cards with the dining program. Although this program only gives you the actual number of miles flown rather than a 500 mile minimum every time, it is the best in overall quality. You’ll need 25,000 miles to reach the lowest frequent flyer status, but this is the only program in which miles earned from any source can get you there.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan: You might be wondering how little old Alaska Air made it onto this list, but the benefits are not as limited as you might think. This program is great if you live in or travel frequently in the western United States. Alaska Air has partnered with several big legacy carriers, and has fewer hotel partners, but with a decent price point variety. It also offers car rentals, credit cards, dining and shopping as ways to earn miles. For every flight you take, you’ll get the greater of 500 miles or the actual miles flown. This program also offers good flexibility for non-loyal flyers. Your miles don’t expire but you need to have an active account for 2 years. With 20,000 miles on Alaska Air, or 25,000 miles on Alaska and select partners, you can reach elite status.

Southwest Rapid Rewards: With no blackout or expiration dates, points based on flight fare and class, and points redeemable for free flights, Southwest provides an enticing rewards option. With its Rapid Rewards card, points can also been redeemed for other purchases. If you can’t travel light or your plans are subject to change last minute, Southwest also has a two bags free policy and no flight change penalties. To reach the lowest frequent flyer status, you’ll need to take 25 one-way flights within a year, or earn 35,000 qualifying points.

United MileagePlus: With a long and varied list of partner hotels and airlines, eight different car rental companies, two mileage credit cards, and lots of ways to redeem miles, this program gives you plenty of choices. You will earn miles you fly on United and United Express flights, on the miles flown on airlines in the Star Alliance. Those major partners include Air Canada, US Airways, Lufthansa, and Turkish Airlines, among others. You can redeem miles for travel, upgrades, merchandise, subscriptions, and so on. You will have premier status once you reach 25,000 miles.

US Airways Dividend Miles: Though some consider US Airways to be a stripped-down legacy carrier, it has good airline partners because of the Star Alliance and a huge list of hotel partners. Car rentals, credit cards, shopping, dining, and numerous services are all part of this rewards program. For each trip, you’ll earn the greater of 500 miles or the actual number of miles flown. You can register up to five different credit or debit cards to use with the dining program. Higher levels of this program will enable you to earn more miles.

Delta Airlines SkyMiles: SkyMiles has a long list of partners to help you earn miles, including Hilton and Marriott hotels. You’ll receive either 500 miles a flight or your actual miles flown.

 

Angie Picardo is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance site dedicated to helping people get the most for their money and start planning for retirement.

Posted in Air Travel | Leave a comment

All #RealSlogan tweets

Because I loved them so much, I decided to archive all of the #RealSlogan tweets here on my blog.  Join in if you got ‘em!

#RealSlogan: Delta – You’ll pay our exhorbitant fares, get crappy service, and hate travel. We’re the biggest, so just deal with it!

#RealSlogan: Us Airways – We’re America West. I mean US Air. I mean American. SOMEONE PLEASE LOVE ME!

#RealSlogan: Alaska Airlines – You’ll love us! As long as you are in Seattle. Or maybe Portland.

#RealSlogan: Southwest Airlines – STOP MOOING! It’s not really cattle car class. And you’re not paying a baggage fee, so there!

#RealSlogan: Allegiant Air – Would you like some water? $2. Pretzel? $3. Life vest? We only take Visa and Mastercard.

#RealSlogan: Great Lakes Air – Yeah, our timetable’s more like a guideline, give or take a few hours.

#RealSlogan: Northwest Airlines – Yeah, we’re really starting to regret that whole Delta thing now, too.

#RealSlogan: AirTran Airways – Crap, Southwest is on their way over. Quick – somebody go hide the Boeing 717s!

#RealSlogan: Chautauqua Airlines – Hey, we can be your private dancer, too. Just, you know, not that far away from home.

#RealSlogan: British Airways – Gosh darnit, Eugenia – It’s teatime somewhere! God save the Queen and all.

#RealSlogan: Sun Country Air – Yeah. We go places, too. You could come with, if you wanna. Can you chip in for some gas?

#RealSlogan: Virgin America – Yet another airline from Richard Branson. It must have bugged him being a billionaire.

#RealSlogan: Air Canada – Our flight attendants play pickup ice hockey games on layovers. Oh, and we’ve got a sweet dental plan, eh!

#RealSlogan: Ethiad Airlines – We’re all over the globe! Just you can’t get there from here without a 24hr layover in the desert.

#RealSlogan: Japan Airlines – Now with 200% more glow in the dark flight crews! Thank you, Fukushima Daiichi!

#RealSlogan: Ryanair – The Southwest of Europe? Shut up and give me all the money in your wallet.

#RealSlogan: Aer Lingus – Yeah, we think it sounds dirty, too.

#RealSlogan: Qantas – No, sir. There aren’t any koalas or kangaroos onboard. Have another Fosters.

And now a special one from Twitter follower @user47

#RealSlogan Midwest Airlines. Who’d of thought our #SaveTheCookie campaign would do us in? cc @airsnark

Thanks for putting up with me, and thanks for taking part, folks!

Posted in Airlines | Tagged , | Leave a comment

How I knew it was going to be a bad TSA day

I guess I can explain my tweet of last night.  Flying out of PDX, for some reason I didn’t get TSA PreCheck again.  Three weeks in a row.  I made a “Ugh!” type comment, was overheard by a TSA agent, and she proceeded to “bait” me into a fight.  Here’s the exchange:

Me (to TSA ID Checker): Oh jeez…  Three weeks without PreCheck?  You guys are killing me!  (said in a more jovial than not tone).
TSA ID Checker just rolled her eyes.  I made my way into the regular security line.
TSA Overhearing Agent: “You know there’s a line over there?” she said, pointing to the other lane.
Me: “Yes, but that one is wrapped around and this one is shorter, thanks.”
TSA Overhearing Agent: “I’m not arguing with you, sir.  I know you’re angry for not getting PreCheck.”
Me: I rolled my eyes at her obvious bait and asked, “Do you want me to switch lines anyway?”
TSA Overhearing Agent: “I said I’m not going to fight with you, sir.”
Me: “I’m not fighting with you; I simply asked if you wanted me to move to the other line.”
TSA Overhearing Agent: “I understand that you wanted to get PreCheck. It’s not our fault; it’s handled elsewhere.  I’m not going to fight with you, sir.”

At this point, I closed my eyes, counted to ten, and just stayed where I was.  I had a TSA Agent arbitrarily provoking me for whatever douchy reason she had.  I never raised my voice, said anything derogatory, or anything to the woman.  She just wanted me to snap at her for some reason.

Well I wouldn’t take the bait.  But that’s not going to stop me from calling her a giant douchenozzle and blogging about it.

Aah, adventures with the TSA.  Fun, eh?

Posted in Airports, TSA | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Remember, Flyers: NOT EVERYONE WANTS TO SMELL YOU!

It’s somewhat crazy in this day and age that people have to bring this kind of thing up.  But how you smell, and what you do with heavy perfumes, colognes, and perfumed lotions, can effect the people around you.  Especially if you are in a confined space – like, say, an airplane!

I just got off of a 30 minute flight from AVL to ATL, cramped in a tiny CRJ200.  The lady in front of me was wearing perfume.  A LOT of perfume.  Enough that even with the air vent turned on full blast, she was still bringing tears to my eyes.

The poor girl next to her; she had her fan going and was fanning herself.  By the time we were descending, the girl was sneezing almost non-stop.

Fragrance intolerance isn’t some passing fancy; it’s real, though people tend to just shoo it away as if the sufferer is just being “sensitive”.  I remember one trip, a 10 hour flight from MSP to AMS, sitting next to a woman who was bathed in perfume.  Within minutes I was sniffling, and by the time we took off, I was sneezing.  I literally had to stand in the back of the plane for probably 8.5 hours of that 10 hour trip, to get away from her.

People scream and shout if the person next to them on the plane is obese and takes up part of their seat.  I, myself, stood in the back of an MD80 for almost 4 hours on a flight from DFW to LAS, because the man sitting next to me was so large that he took up all of his and nearly all of my seat.  That’s not right.  And it’s not right that I have to suffer the smells of another person throughout a flight.  Sitting next to an obese person may get you a few frequent flyer miles or such, but putting up with overwhelming stench for hours on end will get you nothing.

So be kind when you fly.  You’re sharing a small space with other people.  You wouldn’t bring on a boom-box and blare it during a flight, would you?  So why would you blare your smell?  Forego your perfume or cologne, and all of the other stinky stuff for the flight.  Your fellow passengers will be glad that you did.

Posted in Air Travel, F'd Up Issue of the Week | Tagged , , | Leave a comment