Thursday, July 31, 2014

Airline News Emailed Every Day

The Airlines for America SmartBrief email is a great collection of airline news from around the country.  It is a great read every weekday and you should sign up.
CRJ-200 and CRJ-700 in Denver

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

United is Selling Half of Premier Status

The United Airlines premier qualification system is somewhat complex with four components.  To qualify you have to do the following in a calendar year: fly four segments on United (Express and Copa count on all these), spend a certain amount of money on fares on United (taxes, fees, and Star Alliance partners not included), and either fly (all partners count) a certain number of segments (PQS) or miles (PQM).  A tad complicated for my tastes and most members too I suspect. 
United 737-900ER in Denver
If you are running short of segments or miles, United will sell them to you for an exorbitant fee, 15,000 PQM / 15 PQS - $1950 14,000 PQM / 14 PQS - $1820 13,000 PQM / 13 PQS - $1690 12,000 PQM / 12 PQS - $1560 11,000 PQM / 11 PQS - $1430 10,000 PQM / 10 PQS - $1300 9,000 PQM / 9 PQS - $1170 8,000 PQM / 8 PQS - $1040 7,000 PQM / 7 PQS - $910 6,000 PQM / 6 PQS - $780 5,000 PQM / 5 PQS - $650 4,000 PQM / 4 PQS - $520 3,000 PQM / 3 PQS - $390 2,000 PQM / 2 PQS - $260 1,000 PQM / 1 PQS - $130.  I’d rather just book a cheap flight or two and enjoy a weekend of flying around.  These trips also help with spending requirements while also adding to my million miler total.  My goal is to hit a million miles with United and relax because I’ll have lifetime Gold status.  Until then the annual premier qualification math and email offers like this will bug me.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Frontier Airlines Coupon Craze

Frontier must be having a difficult time filling airplanes because they are couponing their flights nearly every week.  Add on fees like bags, seat selections, TV, and soda aren’t on sale, but the coupons could make it a good deal.
Frontier Fox in Austin

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

United Same Day Standby Woes

I needed to leave on a later flight last week while on a business trip.  United offers free same day changes to some members (Gold and higher, Silver has no discount), so there was no cost and a good flight option too.  Unfortunately everyone had already been upgraded on my new flights, so I was relegated to coach.  There was a lot of room to stretch out though.
Tons of Room in Economy Plus

The 747 Is Still the Best Aircraft for Advertising

The 747 is falling out of favor with airlines around the world.  777’s are the most common replacement, but the A380 and the new A350 are also moving into the 747’s space.  The newest 747 model, the 747-8, can carry more people with the same amount of fuel.  Lufthansa is currently the only passenger operator and they have 10 more seats, 26 more business class seats and 16 fewer coach seats, so much better revenue options.
Delta & SPG Lift Ad

The 747 is still best airplane for advertising.  An SPG and Delta cobranded promotion I saw in an aloft lift (yes, that’s what they call it, and that’s part of the brand) used Delta’s 747 to grab attention.  It works too.  The silhouette of the aircraft is beautiful and I enjoy seeing them every time.  I doubt that ad would work nearly as well with a 737, A320, A330, or 777.  Delta also decided not to use their newly acquired 20 year old 717’s either.  The 747 is still the best aircraft for advertising jobs, too bad airlines don’t think it is as well suited to move passengers.
Dull Delta 717

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Frontier Airlines Coupon Code

Frontier will offer a 12% discount on domestic fares from Tuesday, July 15, 2014 through 11:59 p.m. Eastern time, Thursday, July 17, 2014. The discount will apply to regular and sale fares for domestic travel August 20 through December 12, 2014. Blackout dates of November 21-26, and November 29–December 1, 2014 apply.  All fare rules will apply.
Tickets must be purchased online at using the promo codeHITTHEBOOKS. No exceptions will be made.
Frontier Flight in Houston

Sunday, July 13, 2014

United Is Serious About Carry On Sizes

United has a new warning message on the online check in about carry on bags. The airline must have finally noticed the large contraptions passengers have been attempting to shove in overhead bins recently.  I applaud this move, but the real test is with gate agents using the bag sizer and not letting large bags on, then charging for a checked bag.  The rules aren't new or hard to find, but just need to be enforced.    
Carry On Bag Reminder
UPDATE:  They also had messages on the self check in machine and on the boarding gate monitors.  None of the gate agents checked the sizes though.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

United Airlines First Class Late Night Snack

United Airlines serves full meals in first class on flights longer than 900 miles, but don't try too hard for departures after 7:00PM and only offer one cold plate meal option. Here's a recent example of humus and some other stuff.  I liked the cold chicken and pasta salad, but I guess budget cuts make every meal the vegetarian option. 
United First Class Snack - Humus and Other Stuff

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental For Sale - Brand New

Need a new 747-8 Intercontinental, but don't want to wait in line?  Well you are in luck, a 747-8 purchased for VIP use is for sale, brand new and ready for cabin outfitting.  Lufthansa is the only operator of the passenger 747-8 at the moment and cabin outfitting can take two years or longer, so don't expect to be flying around in a 747-8 without a crane on the tail soon. 
The 747-400 Isn't Very VVIP Anymore

Friday, July 4, 2014

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

US Airways Company Store Coupon

Get an additional 20% off your entire order plus free shipping on all orders over $75.* Here's how:    
US Airway Airbus Looking Like American Airlines

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

I Need To Fly For Miles Again

When United announced a minimum spend component to elite qualification, I was concerned because I believed I paid about 6c to 8c per flight mile while the qualification minimum was 10c per mile. I thought it would be the end of flying cheap flights for miles. Also I wouldn't receive any spending credit for flights with partners, so I'd be at a larger deficit.  
United A320 at IAH
My travel this year has not gone as planned; I took a few short and expensive trips on United and not much else. US Airways leaving the Star Alliance has stopped my partner airline flying after only 2,042 miles flown in January.  I've also flown on Southwest points a few times this year, removing a few earning possibilities. The result is I've paid about 17c per elite mile this year.
United Express Jets At Denver
I can book some cheap trips for miles this year after all because distance is coming up short rather than expense.  I've been searching for some fun fares from Denver, but without much luck.  I may need to take a few PTO days and spend them flying coast to coast.  I can also fly to Singapore and return after 6 hours, but that seems like a bad idea (it would be in coach) even to me.