Kevinoncloud commuting

For the Best Views While Skiing: Heavenly Lake Tahoe

While I don't love the mountain layout, the not-as-good-as-Colorado/Utah snow, or the long lift lines, the view really cannot be beaten at Heavenly Lake Tahoe. If you're going to Lake Tahoe for the first time, do yourself a favor and check this place out! Click "Read More" for more pictures. Click any of the pictures to get a full-size view!

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US Airways Denies Me the Open Window Seat, Gives Me First Class

Today I flew to SLC via PHX from SFO on US Airways. I had a window seat from SFO-PHX, but I was in the middle from PHX-SLC. I tried to check-in last night and change my middle seat, but while there were at least 5 window seats, US Airways wanted at least $22 for one of these "choice seats." A choice seat is just like any other economy seat, just usually a bit closer to the front, but there isn't any extra legroom. I decided to try my luck at the ...

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Taking Off at Telluride Airport (TEX)

I just finished an amazing week at Aspen and Telluride. I'll make sure to get a trip report up in the near future, but I thought it best to start with the last part of the trip, leaving Telluride. This airport is unique for a multitude of reasons. First off, at 9078 feet above sea level, it's the highest commercial airport in North America. Even cooler, as soon as your wheels lift off the ground, you fly off a cliff. Seriously. Check the video. See that ...

Aspen and Telluride Next Week!

The trip starts with a non-stop SFO-ASE on United. We'll do a day of snowmobiling and two days of snowboarding, coming home in the afternoon to the St. Regis hotel. We'll then spend a day driving down to Telluride, where we'll be staying at the Peaks Resort and Spa, which is actually the first time I've ver used United miles to book a hotel! After three nights there, we're flying home on US Airways TEX-PHX-SFO. I'll be sure to post a trip report when it's all done!

Ever Seen a Plane this Empty? Thai Airways BKK-KBV

I typically mean to post trip reports immediately after a trip. Then there are those times that I wait eight months to do it. Now would be one of the latter times . Today is January 31, 2011. This flight was on April 24, 2010. Eight months late is still better than never! Click after the break to see pictures of just how empty this flight was!

This flight was part of the best vacation I have ever had, and it was just a short hop down to ...

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Bing.com Daily Picture - For Once I've Actually Been there!

So who is a better photographer? Me or Bing.com? Today (January 29, 2011) Bing.com has a great shot of the Anhinga Trail in the everglades. Let me reiterate: If you have not been on the Anhinga Trail, do yourself a favor and go next time you're in the Miami area. It's pretty breathtaking. [Sigh...] I think whoever took the pic for Bing.com got a better pic than I did. Here are the two for comparison.

Bing.com:

Me:

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Main Cabin Select: Cross Country with Virgin America

Virgin America doesn't get too much airtime on frequent flier messageboards, podcasts, blogs, etc. It's likely due to their mediocre frequent flier program, lack of any status, and lack of routes around the country / world. I've only flown Virgin American (VX) from LAX-SFO and back before. Yesterday, my work life informed me that I needed to go to New York today with about 18 hour notice. I had phone calls early in the morning, and I had an early meeting ...

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Another UPGRD Podcast, Another Day Marriott Rewards Gets Ragged On....

In the most recent UPGRD podcast, Marriott Rewards once again gets called out for being one of the "worst" programs out there! Is it the best? Nope. Can you get some great value out of it? Yup. I don't feel like writing a super long post, but I'd like to tackle a couple points.

"OMG it takes 75 nights to get platinum! That's like 25 more than SPG, and the benefits aren't even very good!" Marriott gives you so many ways to earn nights, without actually ...
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Do You Have a "Jailbroken" iPhone? Here's a Quick Tip!

I know this post will only apply to my fellow geeks out there in travel land, but I use it enough that it's worth sharing. iPhone jailbreaking is the process of hacking your iPhone so that you can run unofficial code on it, allowing you to load a multitude of unofficial applications, tweaks, and generally anything you can't get from the App Store. You can get more information about how to do it here. Yes, it's totally legal.

There's a ...

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Using Marriott Gift Cheques for Paid Stays Instead of Using Points

If you're a Platinum Marriott Rewards member, you're able to spend 135,000 points to get $1000 of gift cheques (in $50 increments). These cheques can be used to pay your hotel bill at any Marriott owned property. The primary catch is that you can only use them to pay for publicly available rates (i.e. no corporate or AAA rates). On the UPGRD podcast a few months back, I mentioned how I like using these gift cheques to pay for paid stays at resorts, rather than using points. ...

Thanks for a Great 2010

It has been another great travel year for me. I've finished the year up with over 150,000 miles on United and about 20,000 or so on Alaska. Thanks to both airlines for treating me so well this year and making my travel life easier on me. United, especially, has done a great job this year. Not only have most of my upgrades cleared, but all of the "enhancements" they announced this year actually WERE enhancements. I can only think of two or three really bad delays or cancellations ...

Just Had one of United's New Scones in First Class

When United announced that they would be bringing Poppies scones to their flights, I was a bit skeptical. It's not that I have anything against scones, except that they are usually dry and make me feel like I'm chewing on sawdust. Other than that, I find them great. Yesterday morning I flew in first class from SFO-LAX, and I was surprised to see the flight attendant offer me a scone. She used tongs to pull one out of the basket for me, and she placed it on my napkin. Not only was it quite delicious and moist, but it was also warm! My excitement may be out of line here, but I was very surprised to see them using the heater for such a short flight. Very nice touch, United.  I don't even get hot nuts on many of my flights to Denver, and here on such a short hop to LAX, I got a warm pastry. I approve!

Trip Report: Grand Cayman

We took a trip to Miami, Grand Cayman, and St. Kitts a month or so ago, but I haven't had the time to put up a trip report of the various segments until recently. Apologies for the delay. Read on to hear about our experiences in Grand Cayman!

We arrived in Grand Cayman on American Airlines after a few days in Miami. We were surprised by how short the flight was. I guess it is probably because I've never gone to the Caribbean by way of Florida ...

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Heading to Miami? Make Some Time for the Everglades!

I just came back from a long vacation in Florida, Grand Cayman, and St. Kitts. One of my highlights had to be my half day down at the Everglades. I think many people don't realize what an amazing place the Everglades is. Furthermore, it's SO convenient to do a half day trip there from Miami. We were staying at the Renaissance Eden Roc Miami Beach hotel, and the Everglades was on the top of our list of things to do.

I did a bunch of research ...

Double Dipping: Use Irregular Operations to Your Advantage

 

When flying somewhere via a connection, it's never fun to see your first flight delayed, making it physically impossible for you to make the second. In many cases, your first reaction might be to just get really upset, think about having to spend the night in your connecting airport, etc. Instead of doing that, call the airline, tell them about the important event you will miss if you don't get there in time, and let them know you would like to ...

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UA Brings an Old 747 Back from the Dead!

Yesterday (August 10)  I was on the 6AM SFO-ORD flight. UA has been using a 747 more and more often for this route, and I love the fact that I can get a mediocre sleep the night before, get to the airport, flatten out that seat, and sleep like a baby for a few extra hours, getting me into ORD pretty well rested. My upgrade cleared a few days in advance, and I didn't pay any attention to the seat map. I was QUITE surprised to get on the plane and see ...

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Review: Phulay Bay, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve

Before I get into my detailed review, I will say two things:

This is, by far, the nicest hotel I have ever stayed at. The UPGRD podcast about Marriott Rewards was completely wrong in saying that there are no good properties to redeem at.

On my business trip to India, I decided to redeem some Marriott points at the recently opened Phulay Bay, Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Krabi, Thailand. Let me jump to the conclusion and tell you that this place ...

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A club away from the hubbub? I think not...

With business travel having picked back up, has anyone else noticed that Red Carpet Clubs are absolutely slammed? Geez I must have been waiting in line for 20 minutes to get into the ORD RCC across from C17 a couple weeks ago, and once I got in, it was tough to find a seat! I know one way UA could thin out the crowd: RAISE THE PRICE! Juuuust kidding - That's the worst idea ever. They've already done enough of that. Just build us another RCC K? OK THX.

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Chennai to Mumbai on Kingfisher Airlines

I really had a great experience on my short hop from Chennai (MAA) to Mumbai (BOM) on Kingfisher Airlines. I found the plane to be very clean. One refreshing thing about most of the Indian carriers is that even on their short haul flights around the country, they still serve a full meal in coach!

 

The meal I got on Kingfisher was some Indian gravy, rice, and a great mango juicebox! I definitely recommend Kingfisher when hopping around India. I think they're going to become even more popular for US travelers now that they're going to become members of OneWorld. Leg room seemed fine, but not great. Maybe a bit more than a typical Delta flight and nowhere near E+.

A Little Generosity + Some Luck Can Go Far!

 

I was flying from LAX-SFO on United this past weekend. I was flying with my girlfriend, and she and I were not on the same itinerary. Thus as a 1K, I was upgraded. And as a Premier, she was not. We wanted to sit next to each other so I just decided to plop down in the middle seat in E+ next to her, and I figured that whoever got my seat, I’d just offer them 3D up in first class as the alternative.

 

Oddly enough, ...

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