Kevinoncloud commuting

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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Review: Hilton Beijing Wanfujing – An EXCELLENT Property

I’m writing this from the Executive Lounge of the Hilton Beijing Wanfujing hotel. Tonight will be my 8th consecutive night, and tomorrow I’m flying home nonstop on United 888 PEK-SFO. I have had a fantastic time in Beijing, but I’m ready to head back to the States. That being said, I’m definitely not ready to leave the Hilton Wanfujing! This is a truly elite property, and I cannot wait to return.

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Review: Sheraton Chola Chennai – A Great Way to Experience South India

My trip to India included stops in Chennai, Mumbai, and Delhi. I really enjoyed every hotel I chose. Read on to hear about my experience at the Sheraton Chola Chennai!

 

Your first couple days in India can be very jarring, for lack of a better word. Seeing the lack of infrastructure, the poverty, the population growth, etc, can be a very overwhelming thing. It’s nice to have a hotel that can help guide you through it all and ...

Flying from Bangkok, Thailand to Chennai, India via Jet Airways (BKK-BOM-MAA)

After my 1-day adventure in Bangkok, I was off to India for a couple weeks for work. My first destination was Chennai on the southeastern coast of India. There were no great Star Alliance routes from Bangkok to Chennai so I decided to fly Jet Airways, a United partner, via Mumbai. As a United partner, Jet Airways allows Mileage Plus members to earn RDMs, but you can’t get any EQMs. Also, only certain fare codes are eligible for RDMs. Read on for ...

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Just One Day to Spend in Bangkok? Here’s a Great Way to Spend It!

Getting to India from the United States can be a bit of a journey. Rather than grimace at the thought of all those flights, booking a stopover in Bangkok seemed like a great idea. I could adjust to the time change, explore the city, eat some great Thai food, and then continue on my journey! Read on to know how I spent my stopover in Bangkok!

 

My roommate’s friend gave me some great advice about things to see in Bangkok. She ...

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SFO-NRT-BKK My First Experience in United International Business Class

I guess it’s been about four years since I first started traveling extensively for work. I’ve been a United 1K for most of that time, and that makes sense as I’m at about 400,000 lifetime miles. However, most of those miles have been earned on domestic routes! In fact, before this past trip, I had never flown internationally on United. Read on to find out about my first SWU / International Business Class ...

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The Trip of a Lifetime – Trip Report(s) Coming Soon!

I just got back from an amazing trip to India / Thailand. I had about 7 days of work that I had to do in India, and I had never even visited Asia before. I set out to try and create an itinerary that maximized my ability to use my United SWUs, see various parts of the world, burn some Marriott points, earn some Marriott points, and have some time for relaxation! I didn’t really have any control over my schedule in India. That was determined by my meetings. However, I DID have control ...

The United Premier Snack Mix is Not Really Much of a Mix…

I don’t love pretzels. In fact, I somewhat dislike them. Most airlines stopped the peanuts due to the allergy craze, which seems to have come out of nowhere, and now they all serve pretzels. Lucky for me, my air carrier of choice serves a “premium snack mix.” I grabbed one at the RCC and stuffed it into my bag for a late night snack when I got to the hotel. Much to my chagrin, I opened it up and could only find pretzels! I dug ...

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United Airlines Fails to Smoothly Roll out Unlimited Domestic Upgrades

Just my luck… My business travel landed me a BOS-SFO flight on March 19, 2010, the day United Airlines is set to roll out unlimited domestic upgrades. While I suspected that flights on the 19th would be completely messed up, from an IT systems perspective , I had some hope reserved that United might use the time leading up to March 19th to properly prepare their systems for this. Oh silly me! Here’s my ...

Waikiki Beach in Hawaii Before a Tsunami: Must-See Pictures + Video!

 

My girlfriend and I did a long weekend in Hawaii: 2 nights at the JW Ihilani and 2 nights at the Marriott Waikiki Beach. On top of it being a great weekend, we were fortunate enough to be there for the tsunami scare. I won’t recap the whole story for you. Check out here, here, and here if you need background. So while the tsunami (or lack thereof) kept us confined to our 24th floor hotel room and resulted ...

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Virgin America Keeps their Frequent Flier Program Relevant: 18 Month Expiration After Last Activity

I really like flying Virgin America. I think it’s a great in-flight experience. Frequent fliers can do much better with traditional legacy carriers, but if you don’t fly that often, I think Virgin America is a GREAT way to travel. They had one thing that really annoyed me, though. Elevate (their frequent flier) points would expire 18 months after they were given to you. That means even if you flew Virgin America like a madman for 18 months, ...