Matthewonlive and let's fly

Another Costly Travel Screw-Up: Yellow Fever Vaccinations

I think my last big travel mistake was missing the bus by one minute and having to pay an outrageous taxi fee to travel 50km from central Reykjavik to Keflavik International Airport in Iceland. There have been small mistakes, of course, in the meantime, but nothing really costly…until I tried to fly from Johannesburg to Livingstone, Zambia.

Yellow Fever is a problem in parts of Africa and a seasoned traveler like me should have known better….Here’s a word ...

Bad News for Aeroplan with Stricter Routing Rules


The news just keeps getting worse for Aeroplan members. Lucky wrote a post entitled Aeroplan Improving Routing Rules — No More MPM! a couple days ago and my heart sank immediately when reading it -- I knew the news could not be good. And it isn't.

Most Routings from North America to Asia via Europe Prohibited

I am still sifting through the new rules, but routings we once enjoyed to Asia via Europe are no longer permitted. The official MPM may be gone, but Aeroplan ...

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Stopovers Still Permitted on Delta Skymiles Awards...For Now

When Delta's latest IT update eliminated the ability to include stopovers on award trips, most assumed the worst...Delta had stealthy devalued its program again with no notice. Turns out the news is not quite as bad after Delta clarified today that stopovers will still be be bookable over the phone by manually pricing awards, but do not kid yourself--Delta continues to act duplicitously and we can now reasonably speculate that stopovers will not be part of the 2015 Skymiles ...

The Hunt for a Competent American Airlines Agent

Earlier today I posted the following about booking Etihad Airways award space with American Airlines--

American Airlines Cannot Book Etihad Award Space...Again

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways is a wonderful American Airlines AAdvantage partner, offering excellent premium cabin award space to top destinations around the world. AA ran into problems earlier this year confirming Etihad award space and it took several weeks for the problem to be resolved. ...

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United Reports Strong Q3 Profit

United Airlines reported a healthy third-quarter profit today of $1.1 billion, a record and also a 99% increase from last year. Here's some of the specifics:

United's consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) increased 3.9 percent in the third quarter of 2014 compared to the third quarter of 2013. Third-quarter 2014 consolidated unit costs (CASM), excluding special charges, third-party business expenses, fuel and profit sharing, increased 1.0 percent ...

New United Airlines Premier Status Tracking Website


United Airlines has introduced a nifty new website for tracking MileagePlus status: nothing revolutionary, but knowing how much you have to spend to attain or maintain elite status is now very transparent.

Here's the website and watch this one minute video United put out explaining it:

Here's a look at my details with the specifics removed-

Certainly a smooth interface, which also tracks spending ...

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United Airlines, Hertz Partnership Adds Elite Benefits to MileagePlus


United Airlines and Hertz have announced a new partnership in which MileagePlus elite members will receive elite status in Hertz’s Gold Plus Rewards program and more miles for Hertz rentals.


Discounts and  Bonus Miles with Hertz

Hertz is already discounted on (up to 40%, though always shop around) and with this partnership, Hertz, including its Thrifty and Budget divisions, will become the exclusive rental ...

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5 Things to Know About the Latest Lufthansa Strike


Lufthansa pilots are striking again over proposed cuts to a lucrative early retirement program and will continue until 23:59 CET tonight. While the 35-hour strike was originally planned only to affect regional traffic within Europe, longhaul pilots have joined the work disruption in a show of solidarity, meaning most intra-Europe and many medium- and longhaul-flights have been canceled today. A list of cancelled flights can be found here. Here are five ...

LOT Polish Airlines Award Space Bookable on


LOT Polish Airlines is back after a long hiatus on The Polish flag carrier operates a fleet of 787s to North American gateways including Chicago, New York JFK, and Toronto and award space in both business and economy class is excellent...or at least was.

I'll be honest - I am not happy about this space re-appearing on because that means it will be booked up quickly. This is the recurring tension over award space - make it easy to search and book and ...

The Zimbabwe Haircut

Four years ago I wrote a post entitled, “Haircuts when traveling” and I really meant what I wrote…one of my favorite things to do while traveling internationally is to get a haircut and I have now patronized barber shops on every continent but Antarctica. But after my latest haircut in a village outside of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe yesterday, my days of getting haircuts outside of Los Angeles are over.

My wife Heidi and I struck up a conversation with Caleb, the cook ...

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Frequent Traveler University $250 Hyatt Gift Card Giveaway


Frequent Traveler University (FTU) is coming 05-07 December 2014 to Washington, DC and I will be speaking on a variety of travel-related topics. This is going to be a huge event with a speaker list including some of the indstury's most-respected point and mile gurus. Though tickets have sold out for the Advanced portion of this event, there are still tickets available for FTU and now a giveaway contest courtesy of Hyatt for those buying tickets this week or next.

Everyone who ...

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Moving to South Africa

...for the next month anyway. Perhaps longer.

I'm already here, actually. You can blame my wife. Or the American government. Or striking South African postal workers.

You see, not that our U.S. government wins any blue ribbons for its efficiency, but things are a little rogue here in South Africa. The postal service has been illegally striking for eight weeks, so the documents we mailed ("oh do not vorry, za documents vill be deliwered owernight" the Germans assured us) ...

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Streaming Inflight Movies and TV on United Airlines


United Airlines has made economy class travel much more bearable by introducing streaming IFE to many of its aircraft. I had a chance to try it last week on a flight from Chicago to Frankfurt and was very pleasantly surprised.

First off, I find wi-fi on UA longhaul flights (mostly 747-400s) a bargain at $16.99, but United has lowered the price to only $12.99 - a total steal, even considering that there are no power outlets on most flights that have wi-fi (though that problem should be ...

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Ontario, CA Fights for Control of ONT Airport


Southern California’s Inland Empire is a vast sprawl of affordable housing and big box stores east of Los Angeles that also is home to Ontario International Airport (ONT).  The once-bustling airport now looks like a ghost town at most times of day, with even further cutbacks under consideration. With a renewed emphasis on hubs, smaller regional airports like ONT find themselves fighting for survival.


ONT is run by the same airport ...

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US Airways 100% Bonus on Purchased Dividend Miles Extended


US Airways has extended, perhaps for one final time, its 100% bonus on purchased miles. It appears this sale will mark the end of US Airway’s role a consolidator for premium award tickets, as word is there will never be a sale like this again. So is it time to stock up? The answer is still no.


First, make sure you get the US Airways Dividend Miles MasterCard from Barclays if you do not have one. It comes with a 40,000 miles sign-up ...

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New United Airlines Globe Surfing Commercial

United Airlines has released another commercial narrated by Matt Damon, this time highlighting United’s extensive worldwide route network from the view of a lie-flat seat…or something like that. 

It is by no means UA’s best commercial: it features a first person view staring up at many of the great cities served by United, then pans to the customer actually being supported by dozens of United employees of all stripes. As the man and his bag reach the ...

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South African Airways Award Space Again Bookable


I wrote yesterday that South African Airways award space had been unbookable for one week using miles from any Star Alliance loyalty program outside of South African Voyager. Thankfully, the space is again bookable.

The one-week hiatus of all SA space left a big hole for travel within Africa, but all space is back and appears to be what it was before, with good availability within Africa and to Brazil. Space was only bookable via phone with United and Aeroplan earlier today, but is ...

South African Airways Award Space Not Bookable


South African Airways has been a stalwart member of Star Alliance for the last eight years and offers an extensive route network within Africa and to key cities around the world from its hub in Johannesburg. Although I would never characterize award space as overly generous, some routes, like São Paulo - Jo'burg, offer excellent award space. But for reasons we have yet to find out, all SA flights are now unbookable using miles, unless you have miles in South African's own Voyager ...

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My Delayed Journey to Chicago

Fire in an FAA Facility shut down Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway airports for several hours this morning and it just so happened that I was flying from Los Angeles to Chicago this morning to speak at this weekend’s FTU Advanced. I made if safely to Chicago, in first class no less, but it took some effort!

I booked myself on the 6:44a United flight to Chicago this morning because of wi-fi. My upgrade cleared, so I was happy camper as I arrived at LAX, ready to enjoy my ...

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United Arrivals Lounge London Heathrow


United Airlines offers an arrival lounge to intercontinental business and first class passengers in its new home in Terminal 2 at London Heathrow. Open from 5am – 2pm each day, Air Canada and South African Airways also allow their business class passengers access to it.

The concept of an arrivals lounge is brilliant – even flights form the U.S. west coast are ...

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