Sunday, June 28, 2015

Upgrades Are Late to Clear

Using an upgrade certificate, regional or system-wide, on United once guaranteed immediate confirmation.  Now United is selling more seats in premium cabins and installing fewer premium seats on aircraft.  United is also trying harder to sell upgrades for cash or cash and miles. This leads to fewer upgrades clearing and the ones that do at much closer to departure, often at the gate. I don't like this model because it frays too many nerves before departure. It makes United, and the many other airlines doing the same thing, more revenue, so I won't bother fighting this change, I have too many quixotic travel ideas
United Airlines 767

Friday, June 26, 2015

Where Did All the Deals Go?

Airline stocks are doing well and carriers are filling seats on their flights, so there's no need for discounts to boost ticket sales. Also miles programs have changed their focus to high revenue customers, so general mileage deals are non-existent while international business class flights could yield extra miles. It's a slow time for my points hobby, but I am planning some trips that could be a fun use of miles when the slow season comes. I did pick up a Delta Amex with a 50,000 mile sign up bonus (NOT compensated for this link).  No, I don't intend to fly Delta, but Virgin Australia's new business class looks fun. 
Don't Use Delta Miles To Fly Delta

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Hyatt Points Expire After 24 Months

"Your account will be closed (and all points lost) due to 24 months of inactivity."  Thanks for the advanced warning Hyatt, I need to earn or burn Hyatt points before the end of March, 2016. I'm focusing my hotel stays on Starwood, but I can reset the expiration date by earning points through their credit card, staying at an MGM property in Las Vegas, or a car rental with Avis.  I could also buy 1,000 points for $24.  I'm not too worried and my next Avis rental will credit Hyatt.  I appreciate the long lead time too, I don't feel rushed.
Also An Avis Partner

Monday, June 22, 2015

IATA Global Carry-On Bag Standard Dropped

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that it was pausing the rollout of its Cabin OK initiative and beginning a comprehensive reassessment in light of concerns expressed, primarily in North America. This will include further engagement with program participants, the IATA membership, and key stakeholders.

The Cabin OK initiative was launched on 9 June 2015 with the aim of providing passengers with greater assurance that their carry-on bags will travel with them in the aircraft cabin, even when the flight is full. The initiative provides consumers with a voluntary option to use a Cabin OK labeled bag (with optimally sized dimensions of 55 x 35 x 20 cm or 21.5” x 13.5” x 7.5" inches).
Carry-On Sizer
I oppose this idea because I love my Briggs & Riley bag that is 9 x 14 x 22 inches and would be rendered obsolete.  It’s also a silly idea because overhead bins on 737’s and A320’s can accommodate my bag wheels first, so a smaller size won’t fit more bags in overhead bins.  Also overhead bins are growing larger through new the Boeing Sky Interior or Space Bins on Alaska Airlines.  I’m glad US airlines fought this proposal and kept the IATA from instituting a smaller standard.

What is the current standard size for carry-on bags in the USA?  There isn’t one.  Really, they vary quite a bit.  Alaska Airlines is the most generous, but bags should probably shoot for 9 x 14 x 22 inches to fit on most airlines (Delta’s size is “approximately” 9 x 14 x 22 inches, the vague definition is scary).  Interestingly, the sizes for all 737 fleets (Alaska & Southwest) are larger than all A320 fleets (Virgin America & Frontier) even though the A320 fuselage is 6 inches wider.  Here’s a list for reference. 
Most Generous Carry-On Bag Size
Free Carry-On Bags:
Alaska: 10 x 17 x 24 inches
Southwest: 10 x 16 x 24 inches
Virgin America: 10 x 16 x 24 inches
United: 9 x 14 x 22 inches
American: 9 x 14 x 22 inches
US Airways: 9 x 14 x 22 inches
Delta: Approximately 9 x 14 x 22 inches
JetBlue:  9 x 14 x 22 inches
Hawaiian: 9 x 14 x 22 inches

Charge for Carry-On Bags:
Frontier: 10 x 16 x 24 inches
Spirit: 10 x 18 x 22 inches
Allegiant: 9 x 14 x 22 inches

Canada Does it Different:
Air Canada: 9 x 15.5 x 21.5 inches
WestJet: 9 x 15 x 21 inches

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Build Your Own Business Jet Cabin

Lufthansa Technik has a fun new site allowing you to configure a cabin of a ACJ319 or a BBJ (737-800).  It's fun to play with, but sad to think how modular a bespoke project has become.
I Love Lufthansa

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Busy Travel Week

I had a busy travel week, but the windows on United's older 737-800's are filthy.  Here's a picture from a clean Southwest window.
Southwest 737-800 Landing