Matthew live and let's fly

Monorail and Runway Closures at Newark Liberty International


Newark Liberty International Airport is a fortress United hub but also one of the most annoying major airports in the United States. I used Newark often when I lived in Philadelphia, preferring to depart Philadelphia from Amtrak's 30th St Station (ZFV) on a United codeshare train service to EWR, then fly to Los Angeles direct from Newark. But it was annoying--the monorail connecting the rail ...

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Dishonesty and Myopia at American Airlines

Last night I figured something was up when award ticket prices appeared to vary based on day of travel and my prediction was correct--AA announced a substantial devaluation to its AAdvantage loyalty program today, effective immediately. US Airways also modified its award chart, effective immediately. The changes are bad, but not unexpected. The cardinal sin is the lack of the notice. AA's ...

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Variable AAnytime Awards on American Airlines?


While American Airlines has not formally announced a devaluation of its award chart, the consensus is it is only a matter of when, not if. Tonight, is either acting up or gives us a preview of what a new AAnytime award chart might look like: variable pricing.

I was searching for London - Los Angeles flights for a client and noticed that prices for AAnytime awards (last seat ...

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Spin-Off of Thai Smile Another Blow to Star Alliance


Thai Airways will spin-off its Thai Smile Air unit into a separate subsidiary that will not participate in Star Alliance. Created in mid-2012 as a low-cost division of Thai Airways, Thai Smile has now obtained its own air operators’ certificate (AOC) and starting later this month will operate under the IATA designator code WE rather than under Thai parent company ...

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United Airlines Releases Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner Seat Map


United Airlines has released the seatmap on its new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, set to enter service in late October on the new Los Angeles - Melbourne route.

Slightly larger than the 787-8, the new aircraft will have more seats in business (48 versus 36), Economy Plus (88 versus 70), and Economy (116 versus 113). Most of the additional seats come in business class or Economy ...

New Nostalgic Ad Campaign from Air France


Air France has released a beautiful new ad campaign that plays up the stereotypical glamour and nostalgia for France and highlights the carrier's refreshed product. Ads emphasize the comfort of the A380, the new La Première (first class) and fully lie-flat business class cabins, gastronomy, and its worldwide network. It has also debuted a new ...

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A Meaningless Supreme Court Decision on Frequent Flyer Miles

While nearly all the national focus on Wednesday morning was on the U.S. Supreme Court's bitterly divided 5-4 decision on campaign fiance reform, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the Court also handed down a unanimous verdict affecting our old friend Binyomin Ginsberg, holding that the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 (ADA) prevents him for suing Northwest Airlines ...

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Incredible Business Class Summer Airfare to Europe on United and Air Canada: $1468+ Round-Trip


Earlier this week several carriers ran a summer promotion sale in which business class seats were essentially the same cost as economy class seats for travel during the summer months from North America to Europe. United Airlines and Air Canada have brought back that special this evening and now is the perfect time to lock in summer airfare for an incredible cost of around $1500 ...

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Forcing Lufthansa into Submission Over Cancelled Flight


I hope that most of my friends, family, and clients would attest that I am a nice guy. I’m very mild-mannered, slow to anger, and try to be pleasant to all people. Sure, I could be a bit more organized, but when it comes to running Award Expert, the most important factors are trust and confidence—that clients know I will take care of them from the start to finish. Sometimes that ...

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United’s Baggage Cutoff is 45 Minutes at LAX, but no less than 40

Oh me! Oh life! As much as I love Los Angeles, its unpredictable traffic and my penchant to cut things close resulted in quite a screw-up today.

First off, I really need to settle. As much as I love the jet-setting lifestyle of frequently flying between Frankfurt and Los Angeles, it’s a lot more demanding than my old commute between LA and Philadelphia. I am in a state of ...

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US Airways + TAM Join oneworld Alliance


As Star Alliance shrinks, oneworld grows. Effective today, both US Airways and TAM transition from Star Alliance to oneworld, adding a more robust route network across the U.S., South America, and Europe for oneworld flyers.

How Will This Affect You?

If you are a U.S. based traveler, the oneworld ...

US Airways Adds Meals to Shorter Flights + Improves IFE


US Airways offers a very decent meal on domestic flights--when you can get one. The problem is that unless your flight is scheduled for more than 3.5 hours during conventional meal times, you're out of luck. That has put US Airways at a competitive disadvantage, as American, Delta, and United all offer meals on flights over 2.5hrs. Starting April 01, 2014, US Airways ...

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British Airways' Unfortunate "Escape to the Indian Ocean" Ad Campaign


I've raved about British Airways' "To Fly, To Serve" ad campaign and its 2012 London Olympic ad, but sometimes ads just miss the mark--even if it is not deliberate. I present BA's latest ad campaign rolled out at London's Euston Railway Station:

From @funnytweets

Talk about a fail. Now in BA's defense, this ad was ...

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End of an Era: United Pulls 747s from Australia Routes


The Boeing 747 has the graced the skies for more than four decades and is inextricably linked with the exotic heydey of global air travel. United Airlines has a been a prominent operator of the 747 and maintains a fleet of 23 747-400s. But in a sign that a new era is approaching, United's 747-400s will be pulled off the Australian routes this week and ...

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Leaked Video of Train Derailment at Chicago O'Hare Airport

CCTV footage has leaked out that captures the train wreck on Chicago's CTA Blue Line Monday at Chicago O'Hare Airport--

The train operator has admitted that she "dozed off" before the accident and has done so before.

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Ted Turpin said the woman operating the train had been working as an operator for about two months and ...

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US Airways is a Huge Loss for Star Alliance

US Airways’ upcoming departure from Star Alliance on March 30, 2014 is a huge loss for the airline alliance and a particular burden for North American flyers using United MileagePlus miles.

My most-requested award redemptions are business class to Italy or France, often from the U.S. west coast. Trying to put together award space is a tall task and US ...

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Should I Burn my US Airways Dividend Miles Now or Later?

US Airways is leaving Star Alliance on March 30, 2014 and we can only guess at what the future Dividend Miles loyalty program will look like. Will the award chart stay the same for now? Will you be able to get to where you need to go? Will fuel surcharges be introduced on carriers like British Airways, practically eliminating any value in economy class redemptions to Europe? (Yes to the last ...

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Train Derails at Chicago O'Hare - Dozens Injured


Not being a car guy, I have often availed myself to Chicago's CTA Blue Line to get from O'Hare Airport into the city and back. This morning, though, I am glad I was far away as a train derailed from the tracks at the airport station, eventually riding up an escalator and injuring 30 people.

No deaths and injuries seem minor, which is great news, but another reminder that life takes very unexpected turns.

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Last Call on the US Airways 90K USA + Europe + Asia Business Class Award

US Airways is leaving Star Alliance on March 30th, 2014, meaning your last chance to book on many Star Alliance carriers with US Airways Dividend Miles is this week.

There are several gems on the chart, but the most valuable to North American flyers is round-trip business class to North Asia (includes as far south as China/Hong Kong/Taiwan) for 90,000 miles. US Airways has very generous ...

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