Tuesday, June 30, 2015

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

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Bad Ad Copy

A hotel chain ran a TV ad promoting rooms for "2,000 points and a few dollars."  Someone in marketing had to approve that copy and thought it was a good idea.  It is because it provides an alluring hook, but no useful data.  Cash & Points offers on their own are meaningless.  Some offers provide massive or minimal discounts, so more detail is needed.  The next ad might promote "0 points and a few dollars" because that's where Delta's frequent flyer program is heading.
Hard To Find Points Availability

Friday, June 12, 2015

Wings Over The Rockies Museum - Denver, Colorado

I purchased a membership to the Wings Over the Rockies museum. The Denver Botanic Gardens was a close second, but only one membership offered an evening with Buzz Aldrin. Wings is a cool museum to explore and they let you go right up and underneath the aircraft. Wings and the Botanic Gardens are both worth a stop if you are in the area.
Wings Entrance and B-52
New EA-6B Prowler and Main Hanger
F-14 and B1
Prowler Again - So New It Still Leaks Oil
Hanger View
Jet Engine Cut Away
1975 F-14A Tomcat
B-18 Bolo Restoration
Cockpit Demo Days on Select Saturdays
Fun Art
Really Short Wings
F-104C Starfighter
'Merica

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Monday, June 8, 2015

Peachy the Fox - New Frontier A320

I spotted Frontier's new A320, N229FR leased from CIT, with Peachy the Fox on the tail.  I like the new look with animal photos more social media style than Mangelsen style wildlife photography of the old tails.
New Look Fox Airplane
Old Look Airplanes

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Lufthansa European Business Class Meals

I ordered the fish and loved it. Yes, on a two hour from from Madrid to Frankfurt I ordered the white fish option.  Risky, except I was flying Lufthansa and they have the best food on airplanes.  It was all really good.  They even serve a full meal on the 189 mile flight from Frankfurt to Brussels.  I wish American carriers fed passengers as well.  There's real food in the lounges too, so be careful not to fill up on the ground.
White Fish Meal from Madrid to FRA
Pork Option on Two Hour Flight
Quick Bite to Eat on BRU-FRA Route
Quick Snack on 737 to Brussels
Hot Coach Meal FRA-MAD on an A321
747 Business Class Dinner Chicago to FRA
747 Business Class Breakfast Chicago to FRA

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Lufthansa 737 Business Class Seats

Lufthansa has the same seats from nose to tail on their 737's.  Business class gets better catering and an open middle seat on every flight.  It's not the large recliner seat like in United Airlines' first class, but on short hops, it is still comfortable.
Blocked Middle Seat Every Trip
Thin Seat, But Still Relaxing

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Frontier Going Big - Soon

Frontier ordered 10 current generation A321's and 2 A320's. They are going big and soon.  The NEO (New Engine Option) aircraft will have much better fuel economy, but the wait is long and the discounts minimal. Frontier is looking to make changes soon and keeps moving away from smaller aircraft, turbo props, E175's, and A318's are all gone, in a quest to lower costs per seat mile.  
Photo from Airbus

Monday, June 1, 2015

Helsinki Airport Innovations

Helsinki Airport is the home to the first Starbucks in Finland and soon will house the first Victoria's Secret in Finland. I wish American airports were at the forefront of innovation too. 
Denver International Airport - Not Innovative