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OzFest 2012 - Introduction

map OzFest 2012 (Canberra) - Introduction Lufthansa First Class, Denver to Frankfurt Lufthansa's First Class Terminal and LH901, Frankfurt to London Hilton Paddington Station London to Sydney, the Long Way, in United Business Sydney's Qantas Club & The Q400 to Canberra The Park Hyatt Canberra Touring Canberra Canberra's Qantas Club & The Beginning of a 13,000 Mile Journey

Before I start this trip report, I want to offer my apologies for taking so long to write it. This past ...

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Plane Pull Results from the 2012 United Family Day - We Won!

As you may recall, I flew out to San Francisco at the beginning of October for United's Family Day event. One of my favorite parts of the event is the plane pull, where a group of twenty~ people attempt to pull an A320, with a large rope, as far as possible. This part of the Family Day is similar to tug of war, although the opponent weighs close to 80,000 pounds!

Despite a delay in releasing the results, I was pleased to see that the FlyerTalk team has continued their winning ...

Mileage Running to Anchorage, and $600 in VDB certificates, on United Airlines


As I've discussed in the past, I plan my mileage runs for the weekends that I am not too busy with school work. Where I go usually depends on the miles I am looking for, although the price is usually what I pay a bit more attention to. On this occasion, I had an e-certificate that was going to expire, so this trip was more of a "fun-run".

When I booked the ticket, the plan was to fly up to Anchorage, and then turn straight around to Kansas City. I would have loved to spend time in ...

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United Airlines Economy Plus LAX-Singapore: Twenty Four Hours in Singapore

Introduction United Airlines Economy Plus LAX-Singapore The Grand Hyatt Singapore United Airlines Economy Plus Singapore-Denver

The Friday before we left for Singapore, I flew from Kansas City, through Chicago, to San Francisco. My original plan was to fly a quick mileage run from SFO>Newark on Friday night, return Saturday, and then fly down to LAX to then spend the night before the flights to Singapore at the LAX Hilton. I had applied a regional upgrade to the SFO>EWR ...

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Twenty-Four Hours in Singapore: Introduction

map-3 Introduction United Airlines Economy Plus LAX-Singapore The Grand Hyatt Singapore United Airlines Economy Plus Singapore-Denver

As is usually the case for mileage runners, I spent the better portion of a Saturday on ITA & United.com in search for some decent fares to help me reach the 100,000 elite qualifying miles necessary to renew my 1K status on United.

When I look for mileage runs, I aim for a trip that will cost between 2-4 cents per mile (CPM). While it can be ...

On-board American Airlines - American Business Class from Barbados to Denver

Introduction American Airlines First/Business Class - Denver to Barbados Courtyard Marriott Bridgetown American Business Class - Barbados to Denver

After an enjoyable drive to the airport, the driver pulled up to the open-air check-in area for American.

image courtesy; go to barbados

The lines were quite short, although there were a couple of families attempting to check in the maximum amount of luggage ...

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United's 2012 Family Day

For the seventh consecutive year, United has hosted their Family Day open house event at the SFO Maintenance base. Though the event is geared towards United employees and their family, a small group of customers are invited to the event, as well as those who are lucky enough to grab their tickets through FlyerTalk or MilePoint.

As is normally the case with an early flight, I elected to the spend the previous night at the Hilton MCI. I was given the same kind of room that I got on my ...

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The Courtyard Marriott - Bridgetown, Barbados

Introduction American Airlines First/Business Class - Denver to Barbados Courtyard Marriott Bridgetown American Business Class - Barbados to Denver

With only a backpack, I was the first passenger to exit the customs area. There was no line for a taxi, so I figured I was all set, until I discovered that the taxis did not take credit cards. With very few airport personel outside, and no signs for the ATM, it took me about ten minutes to find an ATM, and then walk back over to the taxi ...

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Review: Hilton Beijing Capital Airport


photo courtesy; Hilton

As some of you may remember, I took two weekend mileage runs to Beijing, thanks to a promotion from American Airlines. Although I planned to sleep both on the flights to and from Beijing, I would still have eight hours between flights which I preferred to spend in a quiet place, rather than the stuffy Beijing airport. The other benefit of having a hotel would be a shower (which is often needed after a 14hour flight), and the ability ...

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Off to the United Airlines Family Day in San Francisco

Tomorrow morning, I'll be flying out to San Francisco to attend the United Family Day at their Maintenance base in San Francisco. If you aren't familiar with the event, check out Matthew's report from the 2010 Family Day. United has done this for the last few years to show off some of their behind the scenes work to their employees. They've also offered invitations to a small group of FlyerTalk members, as well as some of their Global Services and 1K customers. Below are a couple of photos ...

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ExpertFlyer Introduces Full Star Alliance Support for Award & Upgrade Searches


If you're like me, or many of the others bloggers on UPGRD, you've used ExpertFlyer (EF) in the past to scope out the number of available seats for upgrade, or to piece together an award ticket.

Although there are some websites out there that allow you to search for Star Alliance inventory for free, namely United & Air Canada's Aeroplan, I've found the benefits of ExpertFlyer to greatly cover the cost. One of my favorite features is their flight and seat alert program. On a recent ...

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Review: Grand Hyatt Shanghai

With four Hyatt properties to choose from, I was a bit unsure of which location to choose when it came time to book a hotel for my trip to Shanghai. The Andaz was opening about a week after we were scheduled to arrive, and the Park Hyatt was double the price of the Grand Hyatt. The only remaining property was a bit too far from the area that we were hoping to stay in, so Grand Hyatt it was!

Upon arrival to the Shanghai-Pudong airport, we took the Maglev train to Longyang ...

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Great News for Denver Travelers - PreCheck Coming to DIA!

For the past year, we've been seeing more airports coming online with the TSA Pre-Check program, which allows certain airline customers (elites), and members of a trusted traveler program (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI) to get the chance to use an expedited security lane when flying on a qualifying domestic itinerary. We've discussed Pre-Check several times on UPGRD, with information on the start of the program, steps you can take to ensure you receive pre-check access, the expansion of the ...

"The LAX Experience"

Check out this short film that was shot at LAX.

If the conditions are right, and I am at an airport with a good spotting area, you'll always see me with my SLR out, snapping away. SFO is one of my favorite airports to spot at, especially when I am staying at the Hyatt Regency SFO. The Regency Club provides a great view of runway 28L & 28R. Below are a couple of shots that a friend and I took last September.

On-board American Airlines - A Weekend Mileage Run to Ft. Lauderdale


With the end of the year drawing closer, and my schedule become quite busy, it's been difficult for me to find enough time to take an extra couple of trips on AA to requalify for my Executive Platinum (EXP) status. I was able to take advantage of the Double Elite Qualifying Mile (DEQM) promotion in January, earned a nice amount of miles on the oneworld MegaDO, and then took two trips to Beijing. However, my spreadsheet told me that I was going to be about 14,000 miles short of requalifying ...

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Earn Double Preferred-Qualifying Miles on US Airways Shuttle Flights

With less than four months left until the end of the year, many people start to realize that they're going to need more miles to reach the next status level. I've run into the same problems in the past, and once before, I had to fly a ticket on December 27th. Of course, prices for tickets in December are usually awfully priced, so I paid way more than I should have for a simple DEN>LAX ticket. Even though it sounds easy, the trip offered up a six hour delay, during which time I ...

United's 787 Domestic Flight Schedule *UPDATED W/ Flight Times*


photo courtesy; Boeing/United


If you've been dying to fly on United's first 787, but don't have the time or money to fly it internationally, your wishes may have been answered. Today, United sent out the schedule that details which domestic routes the 787 will fly on before beginning international service at the end of 2012.

City Pair N/W Departure E/S Departure Start Date End Date Frequency
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An Evening with United's Captain Denny Flanagan & The Jason Dahl Scholarship Fund


This past Saturday, I flew off to Chicago to attend a dinner with my favorite United Captain-- Denny Flanagan.

I first met Captain Denny during a FlyerTalk "DO" in March of 2011, where he was able to arrange a behind-the-scenes tour of United's operations in San Francisco, and then flew twenty of us (FlyerTalkers) aboard a 767 to Chicago. He did the same thing a year prior, and had the ATC callsign of the flight changed to "FlyerTalk 1".

For those of ...

American Airlines First/Business Class - Denver to Barbados

Introduction American Airlines First/Business Class - Denver to Barbados Courtyard Marriott Bridgetown American Business Class - Barbados to Denver

Despite living in Denver, I decided to spent the night at an airport hotel. My flight to Chicago was scheduled to depart at 6:00am, so I planned to arrive at DIA by 4:45 in the hope that the Nude-O-Scopes had not yet been turned on, and I would be able to use the reliable metal detector. Unfortunately, that was not the case, and I got a ...

From the Triangle to the Trolleys | United Airlines Inaugural RDU to SFO service


After chatting with the welcoming committee at the gate, and exchanging some interesting ;-) stories about the TSA, I met up with a local FlyerTalk member at the Hyatt Place. Originally, we had planned to go out somewhere nearby, but with the late arrival, we went straight to the Hyatt Place for drinks.

The room was the same as you find at all Hyatt Place properties, so I'll just add a couple of photos.

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