Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Budapest Airshow & WIZZ AIR Flyover

The Budapest airshow goes right down the Danube in the center of town and WIZZ AIR's A320 did a cool low lever fly by.  Enjoy some pictures and video from WIZZ AIR.
Photo from WIZZ AIR
Photo from WIZZ AIR
Photo from WIZZ AIR
Photo from WIZZ AIR
Photo from WIZZ AIR
And a video:

Monday, May 12, 2014

Spirit Airlines Educates Potential Customers

Spirit Airlines just launched an outstanding marketing campaign focused on educating potential customers about how flying Spirit is different than other carriers.  The campaign called Spirit101 is a response to their industry leading (though still rather small) complaint count.  Spirit explains the unbundled fare idea to better set expectations for first time Spirit customers.  Only a cramped seat and a small personal item are included in the ticket price, so customers need to expect fees for optional extras.  Setting this expectation well in advance will change customers' mindsets and should reduce complaints while providing an experience that meets expectations.  Enjoy the video below and learn something about Spirit Airlines too.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Best and Worst Airlines for Spending Frequent Flier Points Observations

Southwest and Air Berlin have the best award seat availability and US Airways and Avianca the worst according to a study published in the Wall Street Journal.  This study is meaningless for point and mile collectors because the survey methodology is flawed.  The study “looked for two seats on each airline's 10 busiest long routes and 10 busiest short routes on 14 different round-trip dates between June and October.”  For example, Southwest’s busiest short route is Dallas to Houston, but they run 46 flights a day between the two cities, so an open seat is likely to be found, though not always at a preferred time.  The study assumes simple point to point awards, so connections are disregarded even though they are more difficult to book and more useful to passengers because it increases redemption options.  The study also does not factor in awards with partners, a valuable and often used feature of frequent flyer programs.
US Airways Does Better Than It Looks
The study also doesn’t factor in point value.  Southwest does great in this study because it will sell you any available seat for points.  The value received could be atrocious though because Southwest charges a fixed multiple of the cash fare.  Most other carriers charge a flat rate for domestic flights, regardless of distance, connections, or cash fare prices.  The flat rate model could be of great value to customers because it can multiply the value of their miles.  Airlines also have to limit flat rate award seat availability to maximize revenue, lowering their ranking in this study even if it increases value received by customers.
Partner Awards Add Flexibility And Value
The final flaw is assuming two coach seats on the same flight in the peak summer travel season.  Miles are most valuable (cash price of award / miles price of award) for international premium cabin awards.  This study also overlooks the intangible benefits of miles, like bringing the unattainable into reach.  Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal experience would only be available to most people with Star Alliance airline frequent flyer miles, so there is no value equation if the numerator is priceless.
Go Anywhere With Miles

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Marriott Plus Points Social Rewards

Spam your friends for 2,000 Marriott or 500 United points each month.  Sign up for Marriott's new Plus Points program and earn points for posting about Marriott. Participants can earn up to 2,000 Marriott points per month.  Marriott points can be transferred 4:1 to United miles with the Rewards Plus program discount, the ratio improves the more points are transferred.  Marriott rewards points have a poor value, so I will be transferring my points to United, but waiting for the price breaks.
Earning Methods

Monday, May 5, 2014

100% Bonus US Airways Purchased Miles - Again

US Airways is offering 100% bonus on purchased miles this month.  They run this promotion every other month because it does really well.  They collect money up front in exchange for something later.  I trust their redemption costs are less than the miles price they quote, plus they benefit from the float on the cash.  People can buy a business class ticket to Europe or Asia (100,000 miles) for $1,750 plus taxes and fees.  That's a good price compared to advertised prices for US Airways and their oneworld partners.  I recommend against putting down money without a plan to use the miles quickly because US Airways runs this promotion all the time and award price changes can happen at any time without notice and reduce the value of the miles.
US Airways' Airbus Collection at CLT

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Southwest AirTran Miles Program Merger Update

Rapid Rewards will be the single frequent flyer program for the merged AirTran and Southwest (the 737 will be the single aircraft and Southwest will be the single brand too).  The AirTran A+ program's final day will be November 1, 2014.  To ease the IT transition, AirTran is sending emails offering 750 Rapid Rewards points (about $10.71 in flight value) to confirm their guess at what your AirTran and Southwest numbers are.  Keep you eyes peeled for the email and free points.
Southwest And AirTran Moving Closer

Friday, May 2, 2014

Window Seats - From 9 to 4

Good luck grabbing a window seat for your flight. The Boeing 787 has only four windows for the flight deck, the older MD-80 has nine. Just an interesting comparison for Friday.
4 Flight Deck Windows on the 787
9 Flight Deck Windows on the MD-80