Nickonrandom segments

First Time Flying WestJet

img_0412

Coming back from my recent trip to Toronto, I was able to book an itenerary that gave me the chance to try out a new airline, WestJet.  For those unfamiliar with this airline, it is the Canadian low cost carrier.  Many people in Canada will bash Air Canada and rave about WestJet, because of this when I found an itenerary that allowed me to earn miles, as well as try them out for the same price as the other options, I jumped on it.

First off, they charge a lot more for extra ...

2 Comments Read more

My Experience at the Local Passport Agency

Most of the time, you go to a passport acceptance office hand in your forms and wait a few weeks to get a new passport.  However last Sunday I lost my apartment to a massive fire with a trip to Toronto this weekend (In fact I am already up here as you read this), I needed to get a new passport at the local Agency.  

Documentation

There is one slight change to preparing your documentation, and that is not attaching the passport photo to the application.  Instead ...

2 Comments Read more

Delta Heritage Museum Pictures

I visited the Detla Heritage museum a couple of months ago, but have been delaying posting the pictures because I was debating on the best way to share them.  Rather than have a post that is extremely long with a huge amount of pictures and no real good organization to them, I decided to post them on Google+ in special albums dedicated by hangar.

Hangar 2 (With the Spirit of Delta)

Hangar 1 (Including interior of DC-3)

I know this makes this not as fun, but I wanted to get this out there, especially with the renovations about to begin.

Mainsail Suites Tampa Review

img_0275

While most of the time I stay in chain hotels to maximize points and benefits, there are times where circumstances prevent me from staying in a chain.  An extra night on a stay in Tampa provided to be one such situation.  I was returning home from a quick vacation, and they oversold all the flights to ATL for the day, so were needing volunteers.  I had the time, so took the bump, and they provided an overnight stay.  Unfortunately, most of the regular hotels were ...

Delta Heritage Museum To Undergo Major Renovations

Airline museums always provide some interesting experiences for the aviation geek to see old products and unique twists for the given airline providing the museum.  American has a museum on their campus at DFW, and Delta has theirs located at their corporate headquarters at ATL.  The museum is located in two hangers, the first built in 1941 and the second in 1947.  The hangers themselves are relatively unchanged since the airline moved technical operations to the east side of ...

2 Comments Read more

Swiss International Airlines: Providing Time Travel As Well As Flights

img_0158

As a part of the Star Alliance MegaDo 4, I was on a Swiss flight from Zurich to San Francisco on the Airbus A340.  While I know many of you ignore the advertising that appears on the inflight entertainment system, this flight provided some real gems.  Let us start with their newest code share partner for North America

And next we have a series of other airlines that they recently started partnerships with.

So basically, according ...

3 Comments Read more

Notes from Marketing, Product, and Social Media executives at the Star Alliance MegaDo 4/United DO

For the second part of the notes from Q&A's at the megado.

Social Media

United does realize just how bad their social media operation is.  However, they tried spinning it that they are working to improve as the general company is starting to gain an understanding of how important social media can be for shaping the image of the company.  In fact, the social media team has grown greatly since the merger closed.  At the time of the merger, there were only 2 ...

Notes from Hub and Airport Operations executives at the Star Alliance MegaDo 4/United DO

img_0213

So I have been spending the past week on the Star Alliance MegaDo 4.  In fact, I have not made it home, but there were some important notes that came from the executive panel Q&A sessions, as well as the information session with Jeff Smisek.  There are a lot of updates from this one, so I will give it its own post.

Hub and Airport Operations

While United has placed a basic gui ontop of SHARES for agents to use, a completely new integrated system will enter ...

2 Comments Read more

Thoughts on United Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner

megado-stats

So for the Star Alliance MegaDo 4, the plane was advertised as being a reconfigured 767-400.  However, as the FAA filing for the event was published, there was an aircraft substitution that was never announced to everyone.  As everyone knows, sometimes that can be a bad thing, sometimes it can be a good thing.  In this case, it was a very good thing.  We were upgraded to the 787, which due to mechanical issues, United currently only has one while Boeing repairs the other. ...

2 Comments Read more

Stay Hilton. Go Out. 20% Off Hilton Stays with Double Points and more

A growing area within the travel industry is trips targeted toward gay travelers.  You have travel agents targeting the gay community, as well as organized gay cruises.  There are events surrounding Pride festivals all around the world, as well as special events such as Gay Days down at Disney World.  Most of the specials related to these events are confined to special event rates.  However, Hilton has a blanket discount program, that comes with some very useful benefits. ...

2 Comments Read more

Four Seasons Atlanta Review

img_0103

So I was attending an event where the Four Seasons Atlanta was the host hotel, and the group rate was fairly good, so I decided to make a little weekend getaway of it.  

Arrival

Arriving, I pulled up front, and I was immediately given my valet slip (Valet parking is $32 a night), and was offered assistance with my luggage, that one of the bell staff would take it, and have it delivered to my room.  A nice touch, although I was traveling light, and so I did not take ...

3 Comments Read more

Travel Humor for the Holiday

mars-curosity-ta

Well, there is definitely some travel humor going around the internet before this holiday weekend in the US.  First up is this nice little review from the Mars rover:

Yes, this is not real, but we have all had this feeling.

The second piece is from everyone's favorite Delta flight attendant, showing that US Airways does not employ the use of spell-check, even with the Democratic National Convention coming into town.

(HT to Darran for these)

1 Comment Read more

Another Launch Party for a MegaDo, This Time for Star Alliance

While I previously attended the oneworld MegaDo launch party, I was able to secure a space to the Star Alliance MegaDo 4 Launch Party as well.  Even with technical difficulties in forming the initial RSVP thread, when Gary announced the launch party, it filled within 40 minutes, while the OWMD party took a couple of days to fill.  However, one of the benefits of milepoint being a sponsor is that the save room for elite members of the site to have access to a special pool of slots ...

1 Comment Read more

Preview of the New Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal in Atlanta

img_0024

So yesterday I got to participate in the terminal simulation for the new international terminal in Atlanta.  One of the benefits was that it was the full experience, as both a departing and arriving passenger.  While I only have departing pictures (full simulation, people were even put in the hold at Immigration and full questioning).

The area check-in area is really broken up into two zones.  At the far end of the terminal from the Security Checkpoint is the other ...

2 Comments Read more

Once in a Lifetime Opportunity to Test a New Airport Terminal in Atlanta

As I'm sure many readers are aware of, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is opening a new terminal this spring.  The concession contracts have been signed, most of the heavy construction is done and you everyone is waiting for the terminal to finally open so international travelers terminating in Atlanta no longer have to re-check their bags just to get out of the airport.  But as a part of that, they need to do some operational testing to make sure everything ...

1 Comment Read more

Boeing Customer Experience Center

SAM_0136

One of the megado exclusives was the Boeing Customer Experience Center.  Now, this is not a place where the average person can just go and check-out the options available for the aircraft, especially since some of these options will never see passenger use because they take too much space.  This is a place where airline executives come to see potential configurations for their aircraft order.  We were able to tour the mock-ups of the 747-8, 737, and 787.

Entrance ...

American Airlines Flagship Dining Experience on the oneworld megado

SAM_0117

I'm exhausted from the oneworld megado, however I figured I would share with you our dining experience.  When we boarded the aircraft, we discovered the menus attached to our tray tables.

Now, I decided to go with the steak, because you don't eat the fish on a plane.  Here it is:

It was a nice meal, though a little disappointing that the roll was cold, but they were trying to serve us an international premium cabin meal in a domestic 757, so I can ...

2 Comments Read more

Park Suite at Park Hyatt Toronto

SAM_0083

For the New Years holiday, I decided to visit Toronto since it had been a little while for me.  Given the special offer from the oneworld MegaDO, I decided to book at the Park Hyatt Toronto and redeem one of my suite upgrades.  I have stayed at this property previously, in just a regular room.

Check-In

Check-in was fairly smooth, but I actually found it lacking.  I was promptly checked in, and asked which welcome amenity I wanted, but the agent did not mention ...

3 Comments Read more

Irregular Operations Leads to First Taste of Alaska Airlines

gcmap_atl-SEA

I write this inflight on a Delta redeye from SNA to ATL, as today's flights turned into complete chaos when a surprise snow storm hit Seattle Sunday afternoon while Daniel and I were taking our mileage run.  We pulled out from the gate and then as we were about to taxi to the runway, they closed the runway because the conditions had deteriorated to the point where the runways were dangerous, and needed to be plowed.  So we returned to the gate, the delay grew until the point where ...

1 Comment Read more

American Airlines Status Challenge Trip to London: Intercontinental Park Lane

SAM_0073

The hotel choice for this trip was easy.  As I'm sure anybody who has priced hotels in London knows, the rates are insane.  Thus I was going to make it an award stay, and since the Intercontinental Park Lane honors Royal Ambassador benefits on award stays, might as well stay there and get one last night in as a Royal Ambassador.

Check-In

I arrived in the hotel about noon, and was checked in quickly.  Service was friendly, and they confirmed at the front desk ...