Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 - Year In Review

I saw penguins in the wild! This has been a long standing travel goal and I was able to accomplish it in 2016. It was part of a round the world trip I took with four one way mileage awards. I also enjoyed driving around southwest Australia (get full coverage and satnav from Hertz). I also made progress on my quest for lifetime status. I am now 75 nights away from lifetime platinum status with SPG (and Marriott). I'm also 150,000 miles from lifetime Star Alliance Gold thanks to United.

2016 wasn't all smooth sailing. I had two United trips cancelled and refunded because of irregular operations. It was extra frustrating because I lost upgrades, status opportunities, and two days. Lufthansa also went on strike and interrupted a trip to Europe with <24 hours notice. Air Canada also canceled a transatlantic flight on me. I flew a total of 159,969 miles this year.
2016 Paid Travel
2016 Total Travel
Travel Highlights of 2016:


Favorite Photos:
View of London from my A380 Seat

Aircraft at HNL

Lounge View at IAH in the Morning

Paris is Lovely

Denver also Photographs Well

Southwest 737-300 Take Off from PVD

Brussels Airport - Sigh

I Love 747's

I Really Love 747's

737 Landing at SYD

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Strangest Shower Handle of 2016

As Adam Carolla has ranted and raved, shower handles in hotels are complicated and need some standardization. Starwood hotels should all use the Heavenly Shower System or the Speakman Anystream 2005. I'm batting less than .500 this year on those items. There is no standard for the shower control handle(s). I prefer a basic Grohe model, but I'm not running things yet. The winner of 2016's contest for the strangest, pictured below, was at a Westin and told the temperature. I experienced worse function and worse design, but this is the all around winner for strange.
Westin SFO Shower

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Fun Photo

How did your status quest go in 2016?
Morning At Denver International Airport

Monday, December 26, 2016

SPG and Total Rewards End Partnership

SPG and Caesar's Total Rewards are ending their relationship at the end of the year. Not a big loss, but still inconvenient for some.
Viva Las Vegas

Friday, December 23, 2016

QATAR Coupon Code

That's a nice Christmas Hanukkah late December gesture.

As a small token of our appreciation, enjoy a special discount of up to 10% off Economy Class tickets and up to 15% off Premium Class tickets when you book using the promo code* ThankYou2016.

Book your ticket from December 21, 2016 to January 3, 2017 for travel between January 11, 2017 and June 14, 2017*.
QATAR Dreamliner in CPT

Thursday, December 22, 2016

New Favorite Airport Hotel

I have a new favorite airport hotel, it's the Westin SFO. I have a great view from my room and get superb reception on my ATC scanner. Also the airport shuttle runs frequently, the rate is low, and the breakfast is nice. It is a slightly dated Westin, but I can overlook that. You want to be on the top floor in rooms 701-714 or 767-780. As an added bonus, it is across the street from a park with great views of the field, a nice walking path, and cool bay breeze. I sadly only brought my iPhone this trip, but next time I'll bring a real camera.
View From The Park

View From My Room

Monday, December 19, 2016

Alaska and Delta Break Up

Alaska and Delta had an It's Complicated relationship status for some time. It's official now, they are breaking up. Alaska is still friends with American Airlines. I guess I'll have to credit my Delta trips to Delta now.  Added bonus: short distance trips on Alaska cost fewer miles.
Delta is now Alone in the North West

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Raytheon's Strange 727

Here is an interesting 727-223 at LAX. I don't think it came from Boeing looking like that. It's operated by Raytheon, so I guess they like adding aftermarket design touches.
VooDoo1 - Raytheon Experimental Test Bed

Friday, December 16, 2016

Alaska Now Owns Virgin America

I'm a Denver based flyer, so this has no impact on my travel. In the off chance I'd fly a Virgin route, it would be nice to grab some Alaska miles, but that may never happen for me.
All Boeing Fleet

All Airbus Fleet

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Long Sappy Commercials Around Christmas - WestJet & LHR

WestJet has an uplifting offering about the families hit by the large wildfires in Fort McMurray this summer.  London Heathrow has some cute teddy bears traveling.

Monday, December 12, 2016

25% Off Boeing Models

The Boeing Store is offering 25% off all models until December 24th.  Free shipping on orders over $100 too. I've ordered from them before and they do a great job.
This Full Size Boeing Model Is Also Discounted

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Air France A318 European Business Class

The seats do not recline! That aside, I had a nice flight. Thin crowd, even for a A318, so there was plenty of space to spread out.  Row 1 has the most space. Pleasant flight crew and good grub. European airlines seem to encounter fewer passengers wanting a cocktail in the morning, so don't be surprised with the limited booze options. 
Business Class Cabin
Breakfast

Seat Depth
Window View from Row 1

Monday, December 5, 2016

Star Alliance Lounge LAX

The Star Alliance lounge at LAX can be accessed by any Star Gold member, including domestic United passengers. The complication is that the lounge is a 25 minute walk each way.  If you have the time, it is very worthwhile. The lounge is in the new international terminal and has a nice hot buffet selection and good bar options. The best part is the outdoor patio overlooking runways 24L and 24R. I brought my scanner and enjoyed listening to the action on 133.9. It was a great way to pass the time, just set an alarm so you don't miss your connection.
Great View

Sunday, December 4, 2016

737 Crew Rest Seats - United Airlines

They recline all the way to the row 2 seat cushion. I'm not sure why they installed row 2, but the Micronesia 737-800 only has 12 first class seats that can be occupied by passengers.
Row 1 Crew Rest

Friday, December 2, 2016

MSP's Famous Aviator

MSP has a great tribute to Snoopy, the most famous aviator from Minnesota. It's way better than the Amelia Earhart statue at Burbank.
Pride of MSP

Thursday, December 1, 2016

SAA Voyager Wants Me To Earn Miles

We have noticed that at least one booking you previously made with South African Airways did not have a Voyager membership number, and we are concerned that you may be missing out on fabulous rewards with SAA Voyager - Africa’s only revenue-based airline loyalty programme.

I only flew SAA using United miles, so this is an odd offer. The flight from Perth was great because it saved me half a day.
State Run Star Alliance Airline - Better Than Air India

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Private Jet Discount!!!

Delta Private Jets is offering 3% off their standard rates. Wow! This is a great marketing idea because private jet customers are exceptionally price sensitive. Trips must be booked by December 15.
A319 Not Offered - That's Part of Delta Charters

Monday, November 28, 2016

Save $50 or More on Emirates

For a limited-time, we've partnered with Visa Checkout to provide great savings of $1,000 off First Class fares, $250 off Business Class fares and $50 off Economy Class fares on round-trip flights departing from all Emirates US airports to selected destinations across our global network. 

To take advantage of this great offer, use promotional code USVISAC and make sure to select the Visa Checkout button when you’re ready to pay. 

Book by November 24, 2016

The sweet spot is if you find a cheap first class fare, but $50 on economy is nice too.
They Love A380's

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Don't Fly Lufthansa When I Plan To

My last two trips on Lufthansa have been disrupted by strikes. I think it's me.
No Lufthansa Flights Departing Denver Today

Monday, November 21, 2016

Book Through IHG or Feel Their Indifference

We’ve made a change. Effective January 1, 2017, members must book directly through IHG® (IHG.com, IHG® App, IHG® brand sites, corporate travel sites, Central Reservations, or Hotel direct) and not through other travel booking sites in order to take full advantage of the benefits that come with an IHG® Rewards Club membership. Why? We want to give you the best travel experience—from start to finish—every time. And we can only do that when you book with us directly. 

IHG saves money when you book through them and they are trying to encourage direct bookings. Most chains have a version of this, just with IHG, you are less likely to notice a difference. You still get MrRebates credit if you click through to book at IHG while still seeing full IHG perks.
Taken From The Sheraton FRA

Friday, November 18, 2016

Honolulu International Airport - HNL

I'm starting to love HNL. The architecture is beautiful and the outdoor concourses are great. The airport has amazing views and there always seems to be a nice breeze blowing.  There is a terminal modernization project starting soon that will add gates and remove charm.
Get Up Close to an A330
Japanese Peace Garden
Ideal Smoking Section, But Isn't
Wide View of the Field
View from the United Club
Fun Interior Design - Mid Century Modern/Tiki

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Suspect Southwest Award Math

Southwest is marketing to differentiate themselves from legacy carriers. Bags Fly Free is a clear differentiation, but the miles program isn't as clear cut. I don't doubt their math below, but they are missing a big component. United has flat rate award pricing, so no round trips are less than 25,000 miles. Southwest bases award prices on ticket costs, so their round trip prices shift as the price changes. United passengers are less like to use award miles on cheap flights, but can receive great value using their miles for expensive flights since it's the same cost in miles.
Southwest Math

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Virtue Signaling or Actual Action?

Why only care about breast cancer in October? Could it be virtue signaling or is this a cause being tangiably supported? I wouldn't mind the all out pink assault in October if airlines permitted pink year round and just encouraged it in October. Also knowing of any tagible results from this campaign would be nice.
I Doubt They'll Repaint the Tug

Monday, November 14, 2016

30% Off Boeing Store

Time to stock up on expensive items because the Boeing Store is offering 30% off orders over $100.
I'm On A 757 Roll

Friday, November 4, 2016

I'm Now Gold With Best Western

I've never stayed with Best Western, but have a rewards number. I played a contest and they boosted my status a level from basic to Gold. BW Gold status might be the most depressing hotel status; close race with La Qunita Elite. BW will also match loyalty program status if you ask, they are the only chain that advertises this, but most others will do it if you ask.
This Costs More Than A Best Western Hotel

Thursday, November 3, 2016

United Cheaped Out - Again

United did a real half rear end job removing the inflight entertainment components from legacy United 777's. The just put a sticker over the controls and a plastic plug in the headphone jack.
Not the best refurb job.
There Was Channel 9 Once