Nickonrandom segments

Surprise in the Mail: Royal Ambassador Status

  Yesterday when I got home from trying out the new Home2 Suites (I had an event I wanted to attend down there, and so I figured I'd give it a try.  There will be a review coming this week) I arrived to find this had come in the mail:

Now my initial thought was that they sent me a duplicate package, which is not a bad deal, since it includes another bag tag, and another ambassador weekend certificate.  But when I opened the package, I found out it was not ...

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Nude-O-Scopes at DFW Tested: Complete Failure

 There is a long history of both the TSA and private citizens testing the limits of the security checkpoints at the airport.  I've even known one of the more infamous private citizens to do so in the TSA's existence.  Supposedly the new full body scanners which are extremely invasive are supposed to detect such items, and others such as firearms so that the flying public is safe (at least that is how the Department of Homeland Security has been able to pacify the majority of ...

New York Restaurant Week 2011: InterContinental Times Square


Hilton Garden Inn New York/West 35th St. InterContinental Times Square

For the second night of my stay in New York, I figured I'd check out what is supposed to be the new flagship for the InterContinental brand, the InterContinental Times Square.  It is located on West 44th St. right at 8th Ave. right next to the Shake Shack.

Welcoming Experience

In my limited experience, this property has the most welcoming lobby I've seen for the ...

Virgin America Launches ORD Routes, Offers Special Groupon to Celebrate

 Today, Virgin America announced that they have finally obtained rights to begin flying to ORD.  While this is not grand news since for the most part we focus on carriers with strong frequent flier programs, the second part of the deal is.  They have partnered with Groupon to offer the ability for you to purchase a $77 voucher for the flight for only $7, and the roundtrip rates start at $198 plus tax.  Thus you are getting a roundtrip between ORD and either LAX or SFO for ...

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New York Restaurant Week 2011: Hilton Garden Inn New York/West 35th St.

Hilton Garden Inn New York/West 35th St. InterContinental Times Square

One of my friends convinced me to come up this past weekend for Restaurant Week, while we are also planning an event in Miami for April.  Since this was the weekend before my birthday I decided I might as well, since it has been 3 years since I've been to NYC and decided to stay in the city for the first time.  Thus it brought me to the dilemma of where to stay.  While I knew I wanted to have ...

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Carry-on Mutiny: For Once Ryanair Was Right

 Ryanair recently denied boarding to a group of passengers that caused an uproar over an oversized bag that was refused as a carry-on by a gate agent in the Canary Islands, and the passenger was forced to check the bag and pay the appropriate checked bag fee.  The passenger in question started protesting, and his friends on the flight came to support him causing a large enough situation where the police were called and all of the passengers were asked to deplane while the ...

A Rant: Cellphone Use and Strong Smelling Food Do Not Belong When The Door Is Closed

 It takes a lot to really irritate me in domestic segment flying.  I can deal with kids, inhumane conditions on the plane, and just about anything else, but even with that I do have a breaking point.  A passenger doing one annoying thing while not OK, is managable, but when they start doing multiple things it gets to be too much, especially on the smaller regional jets.  After my flight this afternoon, I really need to vent after being seated next to a horrible passenger ...

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Would You Stay At A Hotel With No Human Interaction?

Airlines have already elevated avoiding a human being to an art form.  As elites, we know how to do just about anything with the airline without invoking a human being.  While we do use them to sometimes get around the system, our interactions are no longer necessary to get from point a to point b.  Especially when our upgrades do not clear on short flights, we may not even talk to any airline employees.  We check-in online or at the airport, at some airports we scan our ...

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TSA to Test Generic Body Outline for Full Body Image Scans

 Many of us here are unhappy with the invasion of privacy brought about by the TSA and their full body imaging machines.  Although they have assured us that the images will not be saved, one of the requirements for the machines is that they have such a capability.  Over the past holiday season, this outrage reached a boiling point.  Even though the TSA has been ignoring these protests, and instead attempting to test a "friendly" modification to these machines so ...

Where to Stay in NYC?

I've got some personal business up in New York City in a couple of weeks, and that brings me to the matter of where to stay.  While for work trips I have spent quite a bit on hotels, I am a complete cheapskate when it comes to purchasing hotel nights for myself, and New York City rates offend all of my sensibilities (I was conditioned to only paying $124 CAD a night for the InterContinental in a prime location)  and because of this, I will be using a hotel redemption for the ...

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Ventura Attempts to Body Slam Homeland Security in Court

The TSA is the subject of much ire from travelers all across the country.  Many have threatened to sue them and Homeland Security for the needless invasions of privacy they are subjecting more and more travelers to every single day.  Most of these travelers have low profile and so the suits can be made to easily disappear through making it such a miserable experience that nobody wants to give up their life to deal with.  Unfortunately for Homeland Security, they may have ...

Breaking Up is (Not)Hard to Do 2011 - Saying Farewell to Status in Programs

As we are coming to the end of January, it is time to look toward those programs where I did not renew my status at the same levels as I did the year before, and a little discussion as to the reasons.


In some ways, I am committing a major sin for someone who was born and raised in Atlanta.  I have abandoned Delta.  However, this divorce was set even before this past year.  The decision to abandon Delta was made in June 2009.  I was living in ...

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NHL All-Star Week 2011: Terminal 2 at RDU Complete

 NHL All-Star Week 2011 

MLB All-Star Weekend 2009 Memories Advice for Visitors Terminal 2 at RDU Complete NHL All-Star Fan Fair 2011

With how the airline industry has been over the past decade, starting with the September 11th attacks and ending with high fuel prices, and the first airline profits in years, there has been little movement in terminal construction.  RDU has been bucking that trend with a brand new two concourse ...

NHL All-Star Week 2011: Advice for Visitors

 NHL All-Star Week 2011 

MLB All-Star Weekend 2009 Memories Advice for Visitors Terminal 2 at RDU Complete NHL All-Star Fan Fair 2011

For many readers, this post is a year late with all of the Double EQM offers out of RDU last year (though we can hope for some more with Continental adding a new international flight at the end of February).  However, the All-Star Weekend is a major enough event drawing in visitors to finally get me around to doing ...

NHL All-Star Week 2011 : MLB All Star Weekend 2009 Memories

NHL All-Star Week 2011 

MLB All-Star Weekend 2009 Memories Advice for Visitors Terminal 2 at RDU Complete NHL All-Star Fan Fair 2011

This is going to be a slightly weird series, as it is a mix of memories, advice and news, all wrapped up around the NHL All-Star Game, with a post event report on my trip to Fan Fest next weekend (I know it is not really travel for me, but this is the sort of event that many people do travel to, and so I feel it should be ...

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Continental Changes Status Match Program: Don't Bother Unless You Live in the Air

 Today, Continental changed the method that you use to match your status from another carrier if you are contemplating a change.  Instead of matching and capping your possible status at Gold, they are moving to a challenge system, where you will be awarded status for 90 days, and can maintain it if you fly a certain amount on Continental, Continental Express, Continental Connection, United, or United Express Only.  Another positive is that you can now match once every five ...

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New Years 2011 in DC: Willard InterContinental

Not wanting to spend points for another night at the Embassy Suites Convention Center, and having a Sweet Dilemma night available, I decided to book a reservation at the Willard InterContinental, as both my roommate and I are complete political junkies (It is what our undergraduate degrees are in).  I should preface this by saying that I tend to be extremely picky about service at hotels at this level, as this is one of the more elite hotels in the city, especially with what they charge ...

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Assistant Minority Leader Calls for Special Treatment by the TSA in Wake of Giffords Shooting

 As someone who follows politics, I am completely disgusted by the comments of Rep. James Clyburn, Assistant House Minority Leader, in calling for special treatment by the TSA.  The following is from his appearance on Fox News Sunday, where he was brought in to comment on the shooting in Arizona:

We’ve had some incidents where TSA authorities think that congresspeople should be treated like everybody else.  Well, the fact of the matter is, we are held to a ...

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New Years 2011 in DC: Embassy Suites Convention Center

As I have mentioned previously, My roommate and I did a trip to DC this past weekend to visit a friend.  I had a couple of reward night certificates, and so we decided to really live up the hotel experience on our trip.  Thus for the first two nights, we stayed at the Embassy Suites Convention Center using 2 Q3FN certificates.  For those not familiar with HiltonHonors special reward programs, this past year, they had two promotions where you could earn free night certificates ...

Megabus from Durham to DC and Back for the New Year

 When Megabus announced their southern expansion, it provided my roommate and I an excuse to visit one of our old college friends up in DC for an affordable price, and the ability to completely avoid driving.  Most cities, I avoid driving.  However, I drove into DC once a few years ago, and vowed never again.   Until now my options were driving (incredibly annoying, and can be expensive with the hotel stays), train (surprisingly slow because of all the stops), or a flight ...

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