Danielonfriendly skies

2011, a year to remember

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As I write this post, I'm sitting in my room at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, reflecting on my many memories of 2011. From my trips to Hawaii, to making friends with people from all around the world, 2011 will be a year that I remember for a very long time. I was fortunate to visit eight new countries, which was something that I had not planned on, but I'm certainly not regretting.

Some of my most memorable trips include:

Charleston, S.C. Hong Kong Kauai Paris Sao ...
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College Student By Day, World Traveler by Weekend

I am not the typical college student. While many of my friends spend their weekends at parties, or sleeping in, I spend my time traveling throughout the world. Past weekend trips have included London, Frankfurt, Shanghai, and Sydney. I’ve also fallen in love with Hawaii, taking more than five trips to the Hawaiian islands since December 2010. Thanks to frequent fare wars between United/American & Hawaiian, I’ve been able to take advantage of round-trip tickets from San ...

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United Launching Daily Washington-Dulles to Doha service, via Dubai

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United fliers now have a new flight to Doha, via Dubai. Announced this morning, United will use a Boeing 777, configured with the new international First/Business seats, as well as a refreshed Economy cabin. The flight, will be a continuation of the current non-stop service from Dulles-Dubai. Previously, United fliers would have to fly Qatar Airways' non-stop service to Doha from Dulles, while forgoing almost 7,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs), or 14,000EQMs on the round-trip.

The ...

American Airlines Economy: Kansas City-Shanghai

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Introduction

American Airlines Economy - Kansas City/Chicago/Shanghai

Grand Hyatt Shanghai

For a person that normally flies United, it was a real shock to me that I would have to fly out of a different terminal in Kansas City. At the KC airport, United is in Terminal A, while American is in Terminal C. Since the airport was built around the TWA "drive to your gate" concept, none of the terminals are connected, so each one has their own ...

The Race for EXP - Shanghai, China - Nov. 2011 - Introduction

Introduction

American Airlines Economy - Kansas City/Chicago/Shanghai

Grand Hyatt Shanghai

Exploring Shanghai

American Airlines Economy - Shanghai/Chicago & AA First - Chicago/Kansas City

Having not flown on American since the days shortly after they took-over TWA, I was pretty unsure of what to expect when I learned of a challenge for Executive Platinum status, requiring me to fly 20K base miles. With the new management at United working towards diluting the ...

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Hyatt Releases iPhone App!

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I had heard some rumors that an app for the iPhone was under development, but I did not expect to see it until the end of the year. However, this thread on FlyerTalk mentioned that the app had been quietly released to the App Store. Looking back, it appears that Hyatt released the app on October 31st.





As you can see, the app has five main areas, and then an option to view all of your reservations. I've only used it for a few minutes, but it seems pretty ...

oneworld MegaDO + American Airlines Race to Exec. Plat + Grand Hyatt Shanghai

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During the month of October, I attended several interesting events, one of them being the oneworld MegaDO Launch Party. At the party were several executives from American Airlines, including Maya Leibman, President of AAdvantage, as well as Jeff Zidell, Vice President of Hyatt Gold Passport. Representatives from Boeing were also on hand to discuss their latest projects, namely the 787, as well as enjoy hearing from the people that may fly millions of miles in their jets.

The ...

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United First Class: San Francisco to Honolulu

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Introduction

United Business: Denver to San Francisco

United First: San Francisco to Honolulu

United Airlines Flight # 663
San Francisco (SFO) – Honolulu (HNL)
Friday, September 23
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200
Seat: 3J

Although I was excited to head to Honolulu, I woke up a bit later than planned, but still had enough time to make my flight. The shuttle from the Hyatt took less than ten minutes, and delivered me into the ...

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United Business: Denver to San Francisco

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Introduction

United Business: Denver to San Francisco

United First: San Francisco to Honolulu

A United 767-300ER being towed to the gate in Chicago

United Airlines Flight # 525
Denver (DEN) – San Francisco (SFO)
Thursday, September 22
Aircraft: Boeing 767-300ER
Seat: 8A

Thursday evening, I flew a regional jet from Kansas City to Denver, ...

Thirty-Six Hours in Honolulu

image from friendlyskies.smugmug.com Introduction United Business: Denver to San Francisco United First: San Francisco to Honolulu

Thanks to Hawaiian Airlines, I was able to spend last weekend in Honolulu. The best part was that United had matched the prices, so I ended up paying less than $250 to fly round-trip from San Francisco to Honolulu. While I would still have to purchase positioning flights, the cost of those would be offset with an e-certificate, so I was looking at a pretty inexpensive weekend ...

Final Chance to Transfer Membership Rewards Points to Continental

As a reminder to those of you with American Express Membership Rewards Points, tomorrow (9/30) is the last day to transfer those points to Continental Airlines. Starting on October 1, United Continental Holdings will no longer accept Amex cards for access to the Continental President's Clubs, or allow points to be transferred to OnePass.

For those of you with the Amex Platinum card, you will still receive access to the American Airlines Admirals Club, Delta SkyClub, and US Airways Club.

 

Coming Up: Hyatt Regency SFO, Hyatt Regency Waikiki, United SFO-HNL

Tomorrow, I'll be heading out to Honolulu, for the first time since December. I'll plan on doing a review of the Hyatt Regency Waikiki, and then also a review of a property I stay at quite often, the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport. The flight to Honolulu won't be too special, but I'll make sure to do a brief summary of anything interesting that happens on-board.

Aloha!

United/Continental Merger Update - $550M to Improve On-board Product

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It was a pretty quiet morning, until I received the latest merger update email from United. While I was hoping to hear more about the potential changes to MileagePlus, I was still pleasantly surprised to see that United will begin to improve the on-board product, by investing a substantial amount of money into the fleet, and adding streaming IFE (Inflight Entertainment) to the United 747 fleet. Below are the rest of the changes.

Improved Long-Haul Comfort with More Flat-Bed Seats than ...

Star Alliance Suspends Air India's Membership Application

air india taking off

Air India 777

For almost four years, Star Alliance, and Air India (AI) have been in talks for AI to join the Alliance. However, membership was contingent on several factors, which AI failed to achieve.

To join Star Alliance, potential partners must adhere to the following terms and conditions.

"The member airlines of the Star Alliance network are among the most respected in the world. In order to become members, all airlines must comply ...

Update: United/Continental Systemwide Upgrades Now Valid on Both Carriers!

UPDATE (11:10AM 7/26): Recently posted information by UA Insider on Flyertalk, mentions that CO SWUs are also valid on UA. UA Insider also went on to mention that CR1 support is coming soon.

"Hi Everyone, as has been mentioned, earlier today we soft-launched the ability for customers who Systemwide Upgrades the ability to use for travel on both United and Continental-operated flights. The option to redeem these upgrades between carriers is only available by contacting us over ...

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Remember Tom Sawyer?

Last November, Tom Sawyer, a retired teacher from Michigan, was travelling down to Orlando for a wedding. Sawyer, a cancer survivior had been outfitted with a urostomy bag, which helps to collect his urine. Attached to his stomach, the bag is very fragile, and when left to the hands of the TSA, you know that something bad will happen.

And it did! Sawyer opted to use the full-body scanner, which showed his urostomy bag as an anomoly, causing TSA agents to pull him aside for an additional ...

United Frequent Flyer to hit Ten Million Miles on LAX-ORD 7/9

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Tom Stuker, who many equate to a real-life Ryan Bingham, will be flying his ten millionth mile with United Airlines later today. Following a pre-flight gathering, Stuker, as well as several friends from FlyerTalk.com, will fly from Los Angeles to Chicago, where United will be hosting a party for him and 20 guests. This promises to be a fun event, with a number of people covering the festivities.


To listen to Tom's interview with NPR, click here.

You can also view Tom's ...

What's in your pants? TSA Employee Arrested for Stealing iPad from Passenger Baggage

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From the organization that has a mission to keeping the traveling public safe, one grope at a time, Nelson Santiago, a 30-year-old employee with the TSA in Fort Lauderdale, was caught by an airline employee while stealing an iPad from a passengers bag. After being arrested by the Broward Sheriff's Office, officers discovered that Santiago had stolen $50,000 of electronic since January, and had even sold most of the items online.

After this latest "incident", you've ...

Spring Break in Paris - Park Hyatt Paris

image from friendlyskies.smugmug.com Introduction Hyatt Regency Chicago United Business Class - Chicago to Paris Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme

Two hours after I landed in Paris, I made my way to the Park Hyatt. An hour long ride on the Roissy Bus deposited me only two blocks from the hotel, so I quickly learned the way around my home for the next two days.

Hotel Entrance

I was not even inside the hotel, before I was welcomed by numerous staff members. While I ...

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United Begins Nonstop Service - Los Angeles & San Francisco to Hilo, Hawai'i

Footage from the inaugural UA (operated by CO) flight from LAX-ITO (Hilo). UA has also begun nonstop service from SFO, although the flight to/from SFO only operates on Saturday.

These flights are operated by Continental, who will utilize a Boeing 737-800, holding 16 passengers in First Class, and 144 passengers in Economy.

Flight times are as follows:

Depart LAX on UA1564 @ 5:00pm, Arrive ITO @ 7:40pm

Depart ITO on UA1563 @ ...