Joshonsteak and sundae

Part Two: Don't Blame Delta... Because It's Good to Compromise Our Values

For the past several days, there's been a lot of chatter on the interwebs about a suggestion (which seems to have really taken off with this HuffPost article by Rabbi Jason Miller) that people boycott put pressure on Delta because "Delta will add Saudi Arabian Airlines to its SkyTeam Alliance of partnering companies and would require Delta to ban Jews and holders of Israeli passports from boarding flights to Saudi Arabia." My colleagues on UPGRD.com, Matthew and Hunter, have offered ...

Part One: Don't Blame Delta... Because the Airline Business is Complicated

For the past several days, there's been a lot of chatter on the interwebs about a suggestion (which seems to have really taken off with this HuffPost article by Rabbi Jason Miller) that people boycott put pressure on Delta because "Delta will add Saudi Arabian Airlines to its SkyTeam Alliance of partnering companies and would require Delta to ban Jews and holders of Israeli passports from boarding flights to Saudi Arabia." My colleagues on UPGRD.com, Matthew and Hunter, have offered ...

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Thank Goodness for Stupid Travel "Expertise"

A part of me wants to write a long post here analyzing the problems with CNNMoney's "Best Frequent Flyer Programs." I'm really tempted to go point-by-point in order to illustrate just how stupid their rankings are. Their criteria are inconsistent, their explanations for why certain programs are best ignore the fact that other airlines offer similar (or even better) perks, and they totally ignore the fact that the programs available from domestic-only* discount carriers don't allow for ...

AA Offering 3cpm for Charitable Donations

As part of their ongoing 30th anniversary promotion, AA announced today that they were giving triple miles (or, more specifically, triple the usual amount of miles) for donations to the airline's two pet charities. So if you make a donation to Susan G. Komen for the Cure® or American’s Miles In Support of All Who Serve (which benefits the USO), you'll get 30 miles for every dollar donated.

I wouldn't necessarily buy miles at $.033/mile, but for a donation (especially if you ...

Breakfast in F, BOS-LAX

Dear flight attendant,

It's called a "mixed drink" because it's supposed to be served mixed. If I wanted bloody mary mix with a vodka floater, I would have ordered it that way.

Sincerely,

- josh

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Why I'm Probably Not Re-Earning EXP This Year

I'm no longer traveling for business, and with my new job, I haven't had much time to explore MRing to get  myself back to EXP. I'm sitting on about 70,500 EQM at the moment (including a couple family trips between now and the end of the year).

So despite AA's generous RDU/BNA/PIT/STL double-EQM promotion, things aren't looking good for my AAdvantage Executive Platinum status:

1. I need to earn 29,500 EQM between now and December 31.

2. Between now and December 16, I must be in LA (where I live) on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, and on Sundays. (More specifically, I have to be in LA all day every Sunday, and I have to be at my office 3pm-9pm Tuesdays and 3pm-7pm Thursdays.)

3. December 22-29, I cannot travel (I'll be on a family trip).

I spent about 40 minutes this morning playing around in the FT MR forums and on ITA, and I'm not feeling positive. Anyone got any bright ideas?

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Free Booze in the Admirals Club!

Free booze! Free booze! Free booze!

Well... not "free." You still have to pay for the Admirals Club membership, or for the premium ticket that gets you access to the club.

But the point is, people visiting Admirals Clubs will no longer have to pay for well drinks, wine, and beer. (Passengers on international itineraries already got booze. Now everyone does.)

From the email I just got (emphasis mine):

As a ...

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Vindication! AA Executive Platinum Members Get Free Drinks and Food in Coach

Yesterday, I flew LAX-DFW-JAN with my wife. On the LAX-DFW flight (on the dreaded 737-800, which has only 16 seats in first class), my upgrade didn't clear. My wife and I were seated in 14F and E. 

When the flight attendants came around to do drink service, I asked about what snacks they were stocking on the cart and then requested the chocolate chip cookie (a healthy breakfast to be sure). After handing my diet coke and cookie to me, the FA then whipped out the credit card ...

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European Adventure Trip Report Part 3: Lounges at MEX

(This is Part 3 in a multipart trip report. For the background on this trip, check here.) 

We arrived at Mexico City at about 5am. Our outbound flight to Madrid wasn't until about noon. Though we flirted with the idea of heading into the city and coming back for our flight, we decided against it. First, what would we do that early in the morning in Mexico City? Second, we were worried about schlepping our carry-on luggage. Third, we were concerned about there being too many ...

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European Adventure Trip Report Part 2: Mexicana Redeye LAX-MEX

(This is Part 2 in a multipart trip report. For the background on this trip, check here.)

As we left the lounge and walked towards our gate, we heard an announcement that the flight was boarding and that passengers should make their way to the gate. So we kind of hustled. Of course when we got to the gate, the flight was not boarding (though the gate display said "Boarding"). We waited about fifteen minutes before business class ("Mexicana Elite") passengers and ...

European Adventure Trip Report Part 1: Lounge Ridiculousness at LAX

(This is Part 1 in a multipart trip report. For the background on this trip, check here.)

We arrived at the Tom Bradley International Terminal, checked in at the Mexicana Elite desk, and headed quickly through security. (The first-class security line was poorly enforced, but that certainly isn't anything I haven't seen before.)

Our plan was to head to the joint oneworld® lounge to spend the hour or so before boarding. We took the lounge elevator to the fifth floor and ...

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My Big European Adventure Trip Report

I'm traveling with my wife, Sara, for the next few days on vacation to Europe. Strangely enough, this is actually my first major award redemption in several years, and my first time traveling internationally with serious elite status. So naturally, I thought it would be appropriate to write up the whole trip here on my UPGRD blog.

As time allows, I'll do my best to post during the trip (as I write this I'm sitting in an airport lounge with my wife fast asleep next to me), and if ...

Laying Over Just a Few Miles from Home?

On the last upgrd.com podcast, we talked a bit about New York airports. The consensus seemed to be that flying in or out of Newark isn't necessarily any more inconvenient than flying out of JFK or LGA.

Turns out that someone at JetBlue disagrees.

I stayed at the Crowne Plaza by Newark the last couple nights, even though I flew in and out of JFK (the client is in that part of New Jersey, but flying into EWR on AA would have cost way more than flying into JFK, so if I wanted to ...

Be Prepared, Moms!

I'm sitting in the last row of coach right now on a 767-200. It's been a while sit I've sat in coach on this plane, and even longer since I've sat in a non-exit row or bulkhead. Here's why:

My upgrade cleared about 24 hours before the flight. I was assigned to 9J, which is where I sat for most of the flight. For the first few hours, my seatmate in 9H slept.

A few minutes ago, she woke up and asked the flight attendant for a glass of sparkling water. She also asked if there was ...

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A Breath of Fresh Air from a Travel Journalist

(written at 35,000 ft. on AA flt. 2, LAX-JFK)

I was pleasantly surprised to read a blog post this morning from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Sky Talk Blog, which covers the airline industry (especially airline industry news related to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, which explains why the blog has a place in my RSS feed).

The blog post itself was nice enough — reporting the surprising news that airline passenger satisfaction has actually risen for the first time in three ...

Four Random Thoughts on Transcons

I've flown ten transcon segments on AA in the past fourteen days. Some thoughts:

1. Smaller Planes Suck.

AA is using the 737-800 on more transcon routes, which is bad for frequent flyers. Both versions of that plane have just 16 seats in first. Compare that with 22 on the old 757, 30 business- and 10 first-class seats on the 767-200, and 30 on the 767-300. So even an Executive Platinum flyer has a decent chance of missing an upgrade.

This played out on a recent ...

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Someone Shoulda Thought of This a Long Time Ago

I showed up at JFK this evening for my flight home to LAX and found that someone had installed a bunch of handy-dandy luggage scales curbside at Terminal 8. I don't know how long these have been there, I don't know if they're exclusive to Terminal 8, I don't know if they're available at other airports, and I have no idea who put them there. I noticed them today for the first time.

But I know this: It's a brilliant idea, and I'm surprised we've never seen something like this sooner.

The scales are simple to use, and are positioned at just the right spot. Before entering the terminal to check your bags (or before checking them curbside), you can easily weigh them. If you need to redistribute their contents to meet airline weight restrictions, you can do so before getting inside and finding out that your bag is too heavy while dozens of people wait in line behind you.

Someone at JFK or AA should get a raise.