Matthewonlive and let's fly

Alitalia MilleMiglia Partner Redemptions: A Cautionary Tale


Alitalia's MilleMiglia loyalty program has some gems on its award chart and is an oft-overlooked American Express transfer partner. Highlights include:

North America-Southern South America 75,000 miles roundtrip in business class North America-North Asia 90,000 miles roundtrip in business class North America-Tahiti 90,000 miles roundtrip in business class North America-Southeast Asia 95,000 miles roundtrip in business class North America-India 100,000 miles ...
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Video: Woman Kicked Off an AA Flight for Singing

A JFK-LAX American Airlines flight made an unscheduled stop in Kansas City on Friday after a woman refused to stop...singing Whitney Houston songs.

AA quickly issued a statement stating, "The woman was being disruptive and was removed from the plane for interfering with the flight crew...There was a federal air marshal on the aircraft, who subdued the woman and put her in cuffs and removed her from the plane." Yet after being dragged off the aircraft singing "I will always love you," ...

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United Airlines Shines in Transatlantic Business Class

I returned home from Europe yesterday and would be remiss if I did not mention what superb flights I had on United for both the outbound and inbound journey.

You'll have to wait on the trip reports—Afghanistan and the Caucuses are coming first—but my Chicago – Frankfurt flight last week and Paris – San Francisco flight yesterday were about as close to a perfect flight as you can get on United.

I'll name names here. My friend Leigh Ann, the United FA I ...

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New Seats, Wi-Fi, Streaming IFE Coming to United Airlines Airbus Fleet

United Airlines is refreshing its Airbus fleet and UAInsider has provided a bit more insight into the pending changes.

New RECARO seats in United Economy and Economy Plus, which will result in an additional half-inch of headroom an almost a full inch of additional knee space on standard seats Power outlets in first class and Economy Plus, but not regular economy More spacious overhead bins Wi-Fi On-demand streaming video for Wi-Fi-enabled devices

Here's a bit more detail, ...

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Captain Weighs In on My Removal from United Airlines Flight for Taking Seat Photo

James Fallows offers a piece in The Atlantic today following up on the family who was removed from a United flight for complaining about the in-flight movie and also following up on my own expulsion from United flight a week later after a rogue FA lied about me taking pictures onboard.

In response to the ejected family, United has amended its in-flight movie policy, now showing only movies rated PG or G on overhead monitors. A victory for them to be sure, though I believe it is not ...

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Up To 40,000 US Airways Dividend Miles with Barclays Mastercard - Worth It?

There has been a kerfuffle of posts lately about the potential elimination of the US Airways Mastercard from Barclays as American Airlines and US Air sort out the details of their post-merger credit card program. But is it really time to apply for this card?

Yes. And here's why:

First and foremost, if you have a solid credit score you have nothing to lose by applying. Even if the combined American Airlines decides to keep Barclays as its credit card issuer (very ...

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Delta Agent: No Connections Allowed on Award Flights

While I technically provide a *research and consultation service* to help people effectively use their miles and points, I do offer to book tickets as an incidental complimentary service in correlation with the research and most take me up on the offer. Consequently, my team and I spend a lot of time on the phone with various airlines, though none so much as Delta Air Lines.

I always get a laugh poking fun at the lack of geographical knowledge of US Airways call center agents, but ...

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Farewell Philadelphia!


Sometimes your life can change in ways you least expect it. Mine changed nearly four years ago, while sitting with my uncle and brother in a guesthouse near the Galilee in northern Israel.

I had taken the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) earlier in the spring and while my performance was not exceptional, it was well above average. With strong grades from my undergraduate studies, I figured I had a good chance at acceptance at a prestigious law ...

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10 Days in Europe

The last few days have been hectic—travel from coast to coast, the Freddies, final exams, and a term paper. Thankfully, that is all behind me now and I will be taking a breather for the next week and a half.

A breather for me simply means a change venue….I'll still be working on award bookings and updating the blog, but it will be from Europe.

Tonight I fly to Germany, where I'll spend the rest of the week. Next week, I'll check out Malta and then visit a family ...

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The 2013 Freddie Awards: Winners and Reflections

Some look forward to the Oscars. Others the Emmies. But I look forward to the Freddies. Named for the late Sir Freddie Laker, the pioneer of low-cost air travel across the Atlantic in the 1970s, the 25th annual Freddie Awards ceremony was held last night in the upscale Washington suburb of McClean, VA. I was in attendance and came away smiling as usual--it is always great to catch up with old friends and see airlines and hotels recognized for what they do well. As I'll discuss ...

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Mores Miles, Reduced Fuel Surcharge on Air France KLM Flying Blue Award Flights


Air France/KLM Flying Blue offers a loyalty program with pluses and minus, which I've discussed extensively in several posts. True to form, Flying Blue is rolling out changes to its flight award redemptions that will make some customers swoon and others cringe. Mileage requirement in premium cabins? Up. Fuel surcharges in all cabins? Down. Sometimes.

Read More: Air France/KLM Flying Blue Lives in the Stone Age

First the good news. For the first time, it may make sense to ...

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San Diego - Atlanta Mileage Run on United - 6798 miles for $180


For the seasoned mileage runner or leisure traveler, United has had some killer deals out of San Diego this year and today's Atlanta - San Diego r/t for $169+ takes the cake. Heck, even business travelers may wish to make speculative bookings based on this cheap price (noting that with United's increased changes fees, there would be no value for a cancelled ticket).

Route via Washington and San Francisco for maximum miles and you are looking at 6,798 base miles for $180. If you are a ...

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Award Space: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow


My award booking service is all about helping clients effectively use their points to realize their family vacations, romantic getaways, business trips, or anything in between. The goal is always to find a combination that best blends schedule, points required, and out-of-pocket spend to create the best itinerary available. Sometimes that itinerary is perfect, sometimes it is not, but after redeeming 1m+ miles each week for the last 2.5 years, I know this: award space waits for no ...

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United Airlines Raises Change Fees - Will Others Follow?


Without warning, United Airlines raised change fees on tickets yesterday by $50, pushing fees on a restricted domestic ticket from $150 to $200 and from $250 to $300 on an international ticket.

After many expressed indignation on Flyertalk, UA Insider posted the following this morning--

Apologies for not being able to respond sooner. As is typically the case with this realm of the business, I can’t provide any insight into the new change fee levels other than to say ...

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Amtrak ClubAcela Lounge Access for United Club Members + Premium Passengers


I live just a flew blocks from Philadelphia's 30th Street Station when I am in Philadelphia and conveniently for me, United Airlines has codeshare service with Amtrak out of ZVF to Newark Airport, allowing me to easily make my connections west. Even better, when adding on a ZFV-EWR to just about any itinerary ex-EWR, prices tend to drop, sometimes dramatically. But today I learned something new...

Today is actually my last trip--I'll be leaving Philadelphia for good in a couple weeks ...

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Tip: Avoid San Francisco International Airport on Weekends


My trip to Philadelphia last night was not as smooth as I had hoped it would be:

San Francisco International is a great airport and I enjoy connecting through it, but when the fog and wind roll in, expect delays. Throw in some construction and those short delays that are erased once airborne turn into marathon delays that disrupt whole days. Like mine, today.

Under federal directive, SFO is updating its runways and for the next three ...

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How to Book Travel to Cuba from the USA


Even before Jay-Z and Beyonce made headlines for their recent trip to Cuba, an On the Spot column by Los Angeles Times travel writer Catharine Hamm caught my attention -

Question: What are the travel requirements for going to Cuba? Is it possible to fly out of Tijuana, Mexico, to Cuba with a U.S. passport? Are there any other ID or passport cards required?

Hamm responds that while it is possible to reach Cuba by crossing into Mexico, it is not worth the risk. She ...

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Pay-to-Play VIP Treatment on Delta and American, but not United


Scott Mayerowitz has a piece out today on how three of the legacies are offering extra special VIP treatment for select guests, namely "true" VIPs and those willing to slap down some cash.

American Airlines built a private check-in lobby in Los Angeles for VIPs who are greeted by name, given preprinted boarding passes and then whisked by elevator to the front of the security line.

Once past security, the VIPs aren't left to fend for themselves ...

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US Airways Agent: "Since we acquired American, we are sticking with Star Alliance" (humor)

I have a confession to make. If I am ever feeling down or just need a good laugh, I call US Airways to book an award trip. I've shared about two recent experiences with the call center and had another doozy last night. I used to dread booking US Airways awards because it took so long to complete and nothing could be done online, but in an odd way it has become a pleasure to book these awards. Agents still do not know airport codes and are by and large geographically ignorant, which has become ...

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Los Angeles/San Francisco - New York (Newark) for $198 r/t on Virgin or United


Virgin America recently launched non-stop service between Los Angeles/San Francisco and Newark and is offering some very attractive promotional fares, with round-trip travel starting at $198. Travel from 3 September - 30 October on Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday at this low price level. United Airlines has matched (and N-class does earn 100% credit in the MileagePlus program).


This deal will be ...