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Video: Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule on United Airlines Flight

I don't own a TV and rarely watch television programming online. That saves me from a great deal of wasted time, though sometimes I wonder just what I am missing. Like this:

Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule is apparently a comedy program on Cartoon Network.

The program follows Brule as he examines different facets of living. His severe naivety and social awkwardness generally lands him in embarrassing situations, though he largely remains ignorant.

I ...

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United's Strict New Carry-On Policy or Business as Usual?

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Word leaked last month that United Airlines would begin to strictly enforce its carry-on policy on March 1, 2014 and new carry-on sizers began popping up around the gate areas of many United stations. MileagePlus members received e-mails outlining the new baggage policy this week and an internal memo was sent out instructing airport staff at all steps of the check-in process to monitor for carry-on compliance. Today, the new policy officially went into ...

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Buying Elite Status from US Airways and American Airlines

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As February draws to a close, today is the last day to buy elite status from US Airways at a preferential rate--the rate and even ability to do so changes substantially tomorrow. Meanwhile, American Airlines is enticing current elites who face status expiration or reduction tomorrow to buy back their status with a specially-tailored offer.

US Airways

US Airways has had far and away the best program available to buy up to preferred status. With it, you could buy up to 100,000 ...

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Humor: American Airlines to Eliminate Complimentary Cabin Pressurization

Oh, how I love the Onion, America's finest news source!

FT. WORTH, TX—Explaining that the costs of the service have grown too high in recent years, American Airlines announced Tuesday that it will no longer offer free cabin pressurization to passengers starting March 15. “Unfortunately, to stay competitive as a legacy carrier in today’s air travel market, it no longer makes economic sense for us to provide breathable air at altitude,” said American Airlines ...

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United Airlines Eliminates Canadian Staff

United Airlines' CEO Jeff Smisek is on a mission to cut $2BN in annual spending and is slashing anywhere and everywhere to meet that goal. The latest casualty is the United Airlines' employees in Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto.

CHICAGO - United Airlines says it is cutting 240 jobs in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary.

The U.S.-based airlines says the jobs, which include customer service agents and ramp agents, will now be outsourced.

There will be 95 jobs ...

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United Releases Award Space on New Los Angeles - Melbourne Route!

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United formally announced new service between Los Angeles and Melbourne yesterday. The route will operate 6x weekly, utilize a Boeing 787-9, and be operated by ex-Continental crews. On Wednesday, I noted--

United has indicated that the flight will be loaded into the system tomorrow, so keep an eye out for premium award space on the route--usually when United announces a new route (like when it began service to Istanbul), a fair number of award seats are released in both ...

United Airlines to Launch 787-9 Service Between Los Angeles and Melbourne on 26 October 2014

Word has leaked that United Airlines will soon announce new six-times-weekly non-stop service between Los Angeles and Melbourne to begin on October 26, 2014. The flight will be operated by the new Boeing 787-9 aircraft, be staffed by legacy Continental crews, and will mean the end of United's tag flights between Sydney and Melbourne.

United is the North American launch customer for the 787-9 and the aircraft will be configured with 252 seats: 48 in United BusinessFirst and ...

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Breaking: Hijacking on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 702

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No media has picked up this story yet, but after a failed hijack attempt earlier today, it appears Ethiopian Airlines Flight 702 from Addis Ababa to Rome was successfully hijacked and after circling Geneva for two hours, has landed. Geneva airspace is now closed with incoming flights diverted to nearby airports.

Listen to Geneva ATC here.

Upon landing in Geneva, the Ethiopian pilots were heard on radio stating they will be exiting via ...

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Brussels Airlines Award Space Returns to united.com

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Shielded from the user-friendly united.com, Brussels Airlines has been one of the hidden secrets of my award booking business for several months. Award space is generous in both economy and business class and Brussels Airlines serves both Washington Dulles and New York Kennedy from its BRU hub. With a sleek lie-flat seat and a relatively easy connection experience in Brussels, I have booked many on Brussels Airlines over the last year. Now, United Airlines has restored the ability to book ...

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Plenty of Award Space at Park Hyatt Paris - Vendôme for Summer 2014

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The deadline to make changes to your existing Hyatt Gold Passport reservations and still pay the old rate is this Saturday, February 15th. I booked a couple nights at the Park Hyatt Paris - Vendôme for this summer under the old rate of 22,000 points per night, but did not get the dates I wanted--everything was sold out and very few days offered Gold Passport redemption space. Since then, I have closely monitored hyatt.com for changes to award space, hoping that additional space ...

United's Team USA Olympic Videos

U.S. companies are never hesitant to remind us of their support for Team USA in the biennial winter and summer Olympic games. Olympic logos tend to appear near the corporate logo and special ads are taken out as the games draw close. Airlines are in a unique position because they transport athletes and also have the ability to remind captive audiences locked inside a metal canister of this fact. To that end, United Airlines has produced three new promotional videos highlighting its role in ...

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United Airlines Ditches Styrofoam Cups

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Styrofoam is so 20th Century. United finally got the memo and today has introduced new "eco-friendly" coffee cups that will soon be appearing onboard your next United flight and in United Clubs worldwide.

A token move, but still laudable that United is trying to be a better steward of the environment.

I hate the feel of styrofoam on my lips, but I am not sure that plastic will be much better--far better to use the real coffee mugs available in most United Clubs and to fly in ...

Customer Friendly? United Softens Blow of New Award Chart

United Airlines left a substantial question unanswered before its award chart devaluation yesterday--what changes to awards booked under the old chart will be permitted without having to pay additional miles? Today, it answered the question and also lessened the harshness of the new award chart by relaxing a convoluted rule that would have forced regional partner flights into a lower class of service.

Here's the official word-- 

The updated Saver and Standard Award ...

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Old United MileagePlus Award Chart Extended Through 02 February 2014!

Just got off the phone with United, where an agent read a memo stating that to "ensure a seamless customer experience" the old award chart will remain in effect through 02 February 2014. All travel booked on or after 03 February will incur the new massively devalued rates. 

My guess is that UA's crack IT team could not complete the transition in time. I do not underestimate the difficulty of this re-code and I still have trouble envisioning how the award pricing will be displayed ...

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Last Day to Book Under Old United Airlines Award Chart

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Final call for what has been the overall most attractive award redemption chart in the industry--tomorrow the United Airlines MileagePlus award chart becomes much, much less valuable between nearly all regions.

For more details about the changes, see this post and this one.

Here's just a few frequently asked questions about the devaluation:

If I book today and want to change later will I have to pay the new price?

Yes, if your routing changes. The bigger ...

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Germanwings (4U) Award Space Now Available on United.com

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United Airlines MileagePlus members have been eligible to earn miles on Germanwings, the Lufthansa low-cost-subsidiary since last October, with the promise that Germanwings flights would soon be available for mileage bookings. Now, Germanwings flights are bookable on united.com in both "business" and economy classes.

Germanwings cities served

Germanwings is a low-cost carrier with hubs ...

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The ANA Award Search Tool is Great, but not Perfect

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Even if it can be a bit cumbersome to use, I have found ANA's award search tool to be the single most accurate source of Star Alliance award availability for several years. Singapore Airlines space has been problematic--ANA automatically blocks out premium cabin space on the 777-300ER and A380-800 even if Singapore has made space available on those flights--but other than that blip and the inability to search for space within four days of travel, I have always found all other partners to be ...

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Why I Went to Afghanistan When I Did

Things in Afghanistan are going downhill...to put it lightly.

The latest headline is Taliban Attack on Kabul Restaurant Rattles Close-Knit Expat Community in which we learn:

KABUL—Shock spread through Kabul's close-knit expatriate community after the Taliban killed 21 people, including the International Monetary Fund's mission chief and a senior United Nations official, in a dinnertime attack on a popular restaurant Friday.

With at least 13 ...

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Politicians, Twitter, and United Airlines

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Two former United States Senators have sounded off on Twitter today against United Airlines, including a six-tweet diatribe by former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) regarding a lost first class seat on a flight to the Dominican Republic.

First up, Norm Coleman, a former Republican Senator from Minnesota who lost out to comedian Al Franken in 2008--

Well, why was your flight delayed? Was it due weather or some other reasons like the pilot computer integration ...

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