Matthewonlive and let's fly

How I Almost Missed My Flight to Frankfurt

I recently made a short trip to the USA, including a visit to some dear friends in Washington, DC. I like taking the 10pm United service out of Dulles because it allows for a full day and relaxed dinner before the short overnight flight to Frankfurt, which arrives at midday – not too early, but not too late. Flying out of Dulles for more than a decade, I tend to cut if close before flights – a pattern which has led to close calls on several occasions. But nothing like this ...

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Frankfurt to San Francisco in United Airlines First Class

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United Airlines CFO John Rainey made an unforced error when he told Bloomberg News that there was virtually no difference between United Airlines First Class (Global First) and Business Class (BusinessFirst). While true that the differences between first and business are muted compared to the products on some competitors, my recent flight in first class from Frankfurt to San Francisco nicely demonstrated the differences between the two cabins and the potential United is missing in not ...

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Airplane Food Delivered to Your Door!

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I have a confession to make about airline meals. While most curse United Airlines for the "unchanging" "nasty" "disgusting" "tried" breakfast entrée pictured below, it is one of my favorite meals and if I had the chance to order it for home consumption, I would gladly pay for it.

Nothing like chemical-filled sausage, powdered eggs and the cheesy potato surprise to start the day! But I do love it - there is just something about it I cannot ...

9-Seat Airliner Coming to California

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I have family that lives in Visalia, California and while my uncle was still alive, I made frequent trips up there - often once per month. A 3hr drive on I-5 is not a horrible thing, but the drive from LA over the Grapevine through California's Central Valley did get tedious at times. As we pulled onto CA198 we always passed Visalia Municipal Airport, and through the years I spied many different airlines operating what always turned ...

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United Cuts JFK-IAD Service, Effective October 25, 2014

Even I am not too old to remember when New York Kennedy was once a United focus city, with service to Tokyo, London, Hong Kong, Boston, Chicago, Washington, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. JFK was also once the home of UA1, United's (and PanAm's) former around-the-world service from New York - London - Delhi - Hong Kong - Los Angeles - New York that ended after 9/11. For the last several years, though, United's presence at JFK has been a shadow of what it once was and on October 25, ...

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ExpertFlyer Now Features US Airways Awards and Upgrades

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While Delta Air Lines has demanded that ExpertFlyer remove not only award and upgrade info, but revenue info, the new American Airlines has moved in the opposite direction, working with ExpertFlyer to load availability for US Airways upgrade and award space. This is good news for smart travelers who value transparency on upgrades and awards.

I will be holding a seminar at the upcoming FTU Advanced in Chicago on how to use ExpertFlyer and I will be happy to demonstrate how to search ...

German Court Lifts Ban on Uber

A Frankfurt court that had banned Uber ride service from operating within Germany late last month has lifted the ban: Uber is back in business in Germany.

Uber is mobile app based ride sharing service that offers an easy way to hail a driver - all transactions are handled by credit card, no tipping, and the price often comes out cheaper than with a normal cab. I used Uber to get around London last weekend and had very good, prompt, clean, and reasonable service each time.

Not ...

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A Weekend in England with My Best Friend

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I do not talk much about my friends, but you should know a little bit about John, one of my closest friends of more than 15 years. He never did especially well in high school and skipped college, but he is the shrewdest, smartest, and most successful businessman that I know. Quite frankly, who needs college when you run two businesses very well? He's a workaholic like me, but I managed to drag him out of LA for a weekend to check out England. 

The purpose of the trip, at least ...

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Tickets Available for United SFO Family Day on October 12, 2014

United Airlines hosts a Family Day at its giant maintanence center at San Francisco International Airport each autumn. In past years, select members from Flyertalk and MilePoint have been invited to attend and I have attended twice - it is a great event. This year, United has again extended an invite beyond employees and family to the greater United family--its most enthusiastic customers.

Date: Sunday October 12th Time: 11:00am to 4:30pm Location: SFO Maintenance Center

This ...

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A Note from Captain Denny Flanagan

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Captain Denny Flanagan sent me the following note this morning --

My Flying Friends,   It's early morning on September 11th in Shanksville Pennsylvania. I am here with over 50 United crew members to honor the memory of the Pilots, Flight Attendants and Customers of United Flight 93. It has been 13 years since that terrible day and time makes us forget, but we should not. When you hear the Nation[al] Park Ranger tell the story of the Flight 93 coming in at a steep angle ...

When Chaos Breaks Out Onboard

One of the reasons I avoid low-cost-carriers in Europe is because of incidents like the one captured on the video below:

Flights within Europe on carriers like Ryanair can be very inexpensive if you buy early or buy at the right time and that attracts the clientele seen in the above video (among others).

> Read More: The Ryanair Experience - Frankfurt Hahn to Pisa

What would you do in a similar circumstance? There is a thin line in which revelers having a good ...

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September 2014 Flying Blue Promo Awards for November + December Travel

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Air France/KLM Flying Blue has released its Promo Awards for September 2014 and the pickings continue to get slimmer for business class deals between North America and Europe. This month, there is not a single city 50% off or even 25% off business class space in North America - the closest business class sale is Panama City.

But a 25K r/t economy class award is nothing to scoff at if you live in Detroit (Detroit - Tel Aviv or anywhere in Europe for 50K r/t is about as cheap as it can ...

Up to 100% Bonus on Purchased US Airways Miles - 7 Tips and Tricks

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US Airways is once again running a 100% bonus on purchased miles through September 30, 2014. Every other month US Airways has been running this promotion, but I would not expect it to last - I sense an imbalance in supply and demand that will be solved through a dramatic award chart devaluation coupled with a further increase in the cost of miles once the merger with American Airlines is complete. But for now, US Airways Dividend ...

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Kidnapping Forces United Flight from Washington to Beijing to Divert

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I love the movie Argo, which tells the story of how Canada and CIA operative Tony Mendez smuggled out a cadre of six U.S. diplomats from Tehran during the Iran Hostage Crisis. In the gripping conclusion (full of artistic embellishment but nevertheless riveting), hearts pound as the Swissair 747 bound for Zürich gently ascends out of Mehrabad Airport to the consternation of the Revolutionary Guard and continue to pound until the aircraft safely leaves Iranian airspace. But ...

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United Airlines' CFO Disses His Company's Global First Class Product

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John Rainey, United Airlines' infamous CFO who claimed that elites are over-entitled, has put his foot in his mouth again...this time by trashing his company's three-cabin international first class product, dubbed "Global First". But it was not just a curious denigration...it was a fairly accurate statement and a sign that United does not see a three-cabin first class in its future.

Watch the video on bloomberg.com.

Rainey appeared on ...

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Additions and Subtractions to Virgin Atlantic Route Network

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Virgin Atlantic, strengthening its joint venture partnership with Delta Air Lines, has announced new routes that will bring the two carriers closer than ever before. With the lastest shuffle, the USA wins while Canada, India, Japan, and South Africa loses.

The new Virgin Atlantic routes include:

A new daily service from London Heathrow to Detroit offering new connections across North and Central USA such as Cincinnati, New Orleans, Memphis and Indianapolis on Delta A fifth ...
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United Airlines Should Capitalize on AA's Poor New In-Flight Meals

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Both Rocky and Sriram have sampled American Airlines' new onboard premium class menu, effective 01 September 2014, and both found it to be supremely lacking. They are not the only ones, for I have not read one positive review of the new meal policy. Meanwhile, United Airlines has announced a true enhancement in in-flight meal service, adding meals to shorter flights that do not currently offer meals and making the menu more attractive. Polling consistently finds that travelers do not choose ...

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How I Learned That I Could Never Be A Farmer

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My wife's suggestion seemed innocent enough: let's visit my cousins on the farm for a couple days before the wedding. I was at the farm once - in the winter of 2013 - and it seemed like an okay suggestion, as long as I could find internet. "Oh don't worry, you have your cell phone and USB internet," said my wife.

The farm is located near the village of Mulfingen, in Baden-Württemberg near the Bavarian border, with Schwäbisch Hall the nearest town about 25km away. This ...

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Orbitz and American Airlines Fighting Again: Who is to Blame?

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American Airlines has pulled fares from Orbitz (again) and will also pull US Airways' fares starting on September 01, 2015. Though AA is a partial owner of Orbitz, the carrier and the online travel agency have been unable to agree on a fee arrangement for selling AA/US flights. History makes me hopeful this blockage is temporary in nature, but is nevertheless detrimental to consumers. Which side is to blame for this latest squabble?

Here's ...

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Massive British Airways Executive Club Devaluation Coming?

Gary wrote an alarming post yesterday pointing out that Iberia, owned by the same parent company as British Airways, has obliterated its partner redemption chart for Avios redemptions. Shorthaul trips on American Airlines that are 4,500 Avios with BA are 19,500 Avios with IB! Although this is not a new chart, merely the first the time Iberia has published its current partner chart, many are rushing to redeem their remaining BA Avios in anticipation of a similar devaluation and moaning that ...

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