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United Airlines Satellite Based Wi-Fi is Finally Here... Sorta.

Announced today on the United Hub, United Airlines has announced that it has introduced satellite based wi-fi on the first of its international wide-body aircraft. It will be very interesting to see how the speeds compare to GoGo based in flight Wi-Fi. GoGo Wi-Fi uses a link to connect to the ground, and then it has speeds that are compareable to a non-LTE cellular internet conncetion. This connection is shared by the whole plane.

United has also announced pricing:

You can ...

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Avoid TEP Wireless for Your International Hotspot Needs

If you're reading this blog, you probably have some kind of elite status with a hotel chain. Thus, you're likely to get free internet access at the hotel when you're traveling abroad. However, if you want mobile data on the go or if you're staying at a hotel that isn't in one of the chains where you have elite status, you might be interested in renting a mobile hotspot.

You pay an upfront fee, and then you get a MiFi device shipped to you. When you ...

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Cage Diving with Great White Sharks in Gansbaai, South Africa

Our honeymoon brought us to Cape Town, but… it wasn't supposed to! No… we were supposed to be in Egypt, seeing the pyramids, walking in the Valley of the Kings, and touring the Nile River. Unfortunately, circumstances led us to cancel this portion of our trip, and we immediately started to look at where we could go with our award tickets instead of Egypt. I have to admit that I initially wasn't to keen on Cape Town, but after seeing that the top attraction on Tripadvisor was ...

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Review: Hiton Cape Town City Centre

Cape Town was the second on our list of three honeymoon destinations. We started with the island destination of Mauritius, and we ended with the Maldives. Cape Town was sandwiched in between. Surprisingly, Cape Town turned out to be our very favorite place on the whole trip! I will have a sequence of posts describing a bunch of the fun things that we did in Cape Town, but this post will focus on a review of our lodging: The Hilton Cape Town City Centre.

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2012 Travel Status: Where I Landed

2012 has come to an end. Soon all of our elite qualification meters will be reset to zero, and it will be time to play the game again in 2013. As I reflect on the different status levels I have earned, I can say that it isn't too different from my previous year. Check out my 2011 status qualifications here.

United AIrlines


As Brad mentioned, traveling on United Airlines in 2012 was a chore, at times. My ...

Has the TSA Ever Locked Your Suitcase Before?

There's a first time for everything. When my wife and I were unpacking after arriving in Cancun, Mexico, we noticed that her suitcase could not be unpacked... It was locked with a lock we had never seen before.

Very odd... I tried the usual combinations... 0,0,0. 1,2,3. 1,1,1. Nothing. As I started fiddling with this lock, I noticed the bottom of it was marked by TSA.

I mean c'mon... what's the point of that? Locking my suitcase without giving me the combination? What a bunch of pranksters! Anyhow... I had the last laugh... Hotel "engineering" had some bolt cutters that came in handy.

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A Quick Look at the Amedee-Maingard Lounge at the Mauritius Airport

While this article is current as of December 2012, Mauritius is currently in the process of building an entirely new international terminal. After having a wonderful stay at the Four Seasons Mauritius, it was time to continue our journey in Cape Town, South Africa!

We arrived to the airport with a bit of time to kill, and as we were flying in South African Airways Business Class, we were invited to use the lounge at the airport. There's only a single lounge here, the Amedee Maingard ...

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Is this United's Plan to Exterminate Gate Lice? I Hope So!

gate-lice-splitter

In early 2012, a few things happened to make United's boarding process significantly worse for top-level elites.

The red carpet lane, designated for 1Ks, Global Services members, and premium cabin passengers, was done away with. United introduced the Premier Access lane, replacing the red carpet lane, in which anyone with some sort of elite status could board through. United introduced the Mileage Plus Explorer credit card, and one of the benefits of owning this card was being ...
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Using BigCrumbs and Expedia to Book Flights

bigcrumbs-expedia

 

When you fly on a paid ticket, you earn miles. If you pay for that ticket with a rewards earning credit card, you earn points for the purchase as well. Many people assume those to be the only two ways to earn miles on the purchase. It turns out that you can earn an extra set of points by HOW you book your ticket. For example, some people use the Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall.

My preferred way of booking tickets is by using Expedia and BigCrumbs ...

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The Four Seasons Mauritius at Anahita: The Conclusion

The Grounds, Garden Villa, and Service

The Food

The Conclusion

This post is the third and final in my review of the Four Seasons Mauritius at Anahita. If you couldn't tell from the other two posts, we found the overall experience to be fantastic, and this was augmented further by the fact that we had some of the best dining we have ever had before. This final post will just help to fill in some of the blanks.

We really enjoyed the amount of complimentary ...

The Four Seasons Mauritius at Anahita: The Food

beau-champ

The Grounds, Garden Villa, and Service

The Food

The Conclusion

We had an absolutely wonderful stay at the Four Seasons in Mauritius. We ate like kings. The food at this resort is absolutely fantastic. The food is so good that I thought it was worth an entire post to highlight some of the… highlights... Most of the rates at the Four Seasons are considered "half board," which means that breakfast and dinner are included. You're on your own for lunch.

The ...

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The Four Seasons Mauritius at Anahita: The Grounds, Garden Villa, and Service

The Grounds, Garden Villa, and Service

The Food

The Conclusion

I'm going to do a three part series on the Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita. We had such a wonderful time there that in order to cover everything, I felt that three posts would be necessary. We'll start with our initial arrival experience, our villa, and the resort grounds.

After four consecutive segments, we had finally arrived on the other side of the world, literally. While we had ...

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Get Jealous. I'm flying in Business Class on a 787 Soon.. SO CAN YOU!

My favorite perk of being a 1K member with United is having zero fees for changing award tickets. I'm constantly looking to improve my routings for trips that I've booked. Imagine my surprise when I found this one the other day (click here for the full screenshot).

See anything out of the ordinary? Take a look at the plane for the NRT-SEA flight. Yup… I was able to score two business class tickets on the ANA 787 home from Asia in business class! Wooooot! We're gonna fly the Dreamliner!!!

How freaking cool is that?!!?

FYI - I'm checking that route on a couple other dates… and I see some more availability on the dreamliner… so if you're interested in flying on that plane, I'd recommend taking a look before everyone else does!

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A Quick Tour of the South African Airways Business Lounge - JNB International Terminal

I'll keep the text of this blog post rather short. I thought people might be interested to see a quick tour of the South African Airways Business Class Lounge at Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Terminal. My first impresson of the lounge is that it was incredibly clean, sleek, and large. Even during peak hours, walking down the primary hallway, there were plenty of seats available.

If you keep walking down that large hallway to the right, ...

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Johannesburg to Mauritius on South African Airlines Business Class

Wow! What a long journey it had been so far… We left Los Angeles on Friday afternoon, flew overnight to London, and then we flew all the way to Johannesburg. After a quick stop in the lounge to shower, now we were off to Mauritius! It was Sunday morning now, and by the time we landed, it would be Sunday afternoon - and we left on a Friday afternoon! Going in the direction that we did, we lost time, and it was just a LOT of time to spend on airplane. While I was still like a pig in ...

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United 787 Schedule for November / December Will Change...

787-delay

The good new is that United is finally using Twitter a bit more regularly than they used to. The bad news is that it appears that if you booked a flight in November or December that was originally scheduled to be on a dreamliner, you might be out of luck. Here is the full text of their update: 

Update (October 26, 2012)

Our first 787 is continuing with pre-certification proving runs and we expect it to enter commercial service on ...
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South African Airlines Business Class from London to Johannesburg

After landing in London from our journey on Virgin Altantic Upper Class, we decided to check out the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, as it is apparently one of the nicest lounges in the world. Unfortunately, we were REJECTED by the lounge! Apparently, in order to enter the lounge, you must have a departing flight on Virgin Atlantic. Bummer. After having gone through security to get there, we we then went through security again to get to the Star Alliance ...

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Virgin Atlantic Upper Class to London: LAX to LHR

I still remembering hearing the radio commercials for "Virgin Atlantic Upper Class to London" when I was growing up in LA. I didn't know much about flying, and I didn't know much about London, but I loved that lady's accent! As the first major part of our honeymoon, my wife and I were able to experience the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class experience from Los Angeles to London.

Continental used to be a partner with Virgin Atlantic, and I was able to ...

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"iPod Integration" ~ United Needs to Update Their Inflight AV Software

ipod

In terms of quality of seat and entertainment, I think United's business class is quite competitive. The screen is huge, and the controller is nice and response. There's a huge amount of content to view. However, I think it's time to fix up the iPod integration.

Take a look at the picture, which I snapped on one of my recent flights. When was the last time you saw somebody with one of those devices? It has been years! Problem one: the image doesn't ...

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Last Minute Honeymoon Changes

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade... Right? Right???

Well, we were tossed a couple lemons right around the same time.

Lemon One: The St. Regis Mauritius announced that it would not make its October 1 opening date. It would be pushed back to November 1. We were set to arrive in Mauritius on October 14. Great.

Lemon Two: The US Embassy in Egypt was attacked. Protestors tore down the American flag, burned it, and there were protests all around the Muslim ...

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