Matthewonlive and let's fly

U.S. House Shamefully Passes Transparent Airfares Act of 2014

In a bipartisan vote yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Transparent Airfares Act of 2014 which would roll back 2012 legislation requiring that the full fare be displayed at all steps of the airline ticket booking processing. We've had this discussion before, so there is no need for me to go too much into why I strongly oppose the Transparent Airfares Act of 2014.

Pennsylvania Republican Congressman Bill Shuster is the chief sponsor of the Act and ...

7 Comments Read more

Free In-Flight Movies, TV, Music on Delta Air Lines Starting Friday, August 1, 2014


Delta Air Lines will offer free streaming movies, television programming, music and video games on all U.S. flights of 90 minutes or more, starting Friday, August 1, 2014. Dubbed "Delta Studio", entertainment will be offered through seat-back systems and streaming on wi-fi equipped flights to laptop computers, smart phones, and tablets.

Importantly, there seems to be no catch here and Delta is touting the news as such--

"Through the introduction of Delta Studio our customers ...

9 Comments Read more

New (Humorous) United Airlines Safety Video!

United Airlines has introduced a new safety video that for the first time incorporates some levity into what has been a serious, humorless public service announcement for at least the last two decades.

The video is not over the top like Air New Zealand's many send ups, but does two things nicely - first, it brings some well-needed humor (cheesy, but cute) to an airline that is fighting a public image problem of being seen as unloving, ...

5 Comments Read more

Always Check: First Class for the Price of Economy Class


A client in Los Angeles called me this morning saying he had an emergency meeting in Miami on Monday morning and needed a ticket to Miami tomorrow afternoon or evening, returning Monday night.

I noted immediately that AA or DL would be best for non-stop service and priced out an itinerary - economy was $1110.



The client asked about upgrading and before even checking for upgrade space, I ran the search in business ...

2 Comments Read more

Airplane Feet Etiquette


I could never become a medical doctor because blood makes me squeamish. That's about it, though - most things do not bother me. Except bare feet. I don't know how those people with permanently dirt-stained, calloused feet can stand it: I hate to even take my socks off and avoid beaches like the plague.  Some people have a foot fetish but I have an aversion to feet. Especially on an airplane.

Which leads me to my point - what is it about people that makes them ...

16 Comments Read more

Scam Artists Claim I am in a German Prison to Extort My Grandma


Imagine you are 88 years old and your grandson and his new wife live in Germany. You have not seen him in a couple months and know that he is a good boy, but his idea of fun is vacationing in Iran or Afghanistan. 

One morning you receive a call from a man who identifies himself as Sergeant Holt from the United States Embassy in Germany. He says "I'm sorry to report that Matthew and Heidi have been locked up for drug possession. They were pulled over tonight and marijuana was ...

15 Comments Read more

Winner of the Rimowa Amenity Kit Contest


It has been a very busy day with a totally unexpected (and frankly grotesque) surprise. All I will say now is check back tomorrow - wait till you read what happened today.

And on that happy note, I am pleased to announce that Giovanni has won the Rimowa EVA amenity kit. Giovanni, look for my e-mail and based on your .it address, looks like I'll be sending it to Italy!

I have a United Airlines special edition amenity kit that I will be giving away next week and perhaps there are some additional amenity kits in my garage full of them (I wish I was joking...) that can be future contest prizes.

Last Day to Enter! Rimowa Amenity Kit Contest


Just a reminder that today is your last day to enter to win a free Rimowa Amenity Kit from EVA. The contest ends about 24 hours from now, at 23:59 CET on 21 July 2014.

I'm a huge fan of Rimowa and the Rimowa amenity kits offered by EVA in business class and ANA, Luftahansa, and Thai in First Class. These are great collector's items and fetch a fair amount of money on eBay.

Good luck in this final day of the contest!

I'll just add - I have one extra Rimowa EVA kit. If anyone wants to trade for a ANA one, I'll be happy to make that trade...

5 Comments Read more

Reflections on World War and Crashed Airliners

100 years ago, Serbian rebels dreaming of changed political boundaries assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, in Sarajevo. The initial response was muted, but three weeks later, Austria-Hungary responded forcefully by issuing an ultimatum to Serbia essentially threatening force if it did not bring the killers to justice.

Russia and Serbia were allied and as a precautionary move against the slim chance of a Russian entrance into the dispute, ...

4 Comments Read more

Breaking: Malaysia Airlines 777 Shot Down Over Ukraine

A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 enroute from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur has been shot down by a ground-to-air missile over eastern Ukraine. All 298 passengers/crew onboard are believed to be dead.

As Malaysian continues its struggle over the still-unsolved mystery of the disappearance of MH370, there is no mystery where this plane is: lying in a heap of smouldering rubble on the ground. What a sad testament to the frailty of life.

The aircraft was downed in ...

6 Comments Read more

Giveaway: Rimowa Amenity Kit from EVA


In honor of my recent nuptials, I am giving away a Rimowa amenity kit that I received on a recent Amsterdam-Bangkok EVA flight in Royal Laurel (business) class. 

Rimowa is the premier German luggage company and this hard-shell amenity kit featuring both the Rimowa and EVA logo resembles Rimowa's Salsa line of luggage.

The rules are simple - 

1. Follow me on Twitter (@liveandletsfly)

2. Leave a comment below (not on ...

139 Comments Read more

Air India Joins Star Alliance


After years of drama, Indian flag carrier Air India has formally partnered with Star Alliance and becomes the first Indian carrier to join a global air alliance. I remember all too well how the drama unfolded in 2011 while I was working at Star Alliance and am relieved that the bitter controversy is now history and heartened over the progress Air India has made over the last three years. The carrier still faces many hurdles to make it competitive (and ...

2 Comments Read more

Flying Blue Promo Awards for Autumn 2014 Travel


I've written about Air France/KLM Flying Blue Promo Awards in the past and though the program has become stingier in allocating Promo Award routes, each promotion cycle usually has at least a couple deals worthy of consideration. This fall, Flying Blue is offering 50% off economy class redemptions between Dallas and Europe and 50% off business class redemptions between Montreal and Europe.

Remember that Air France classifies Israel as Europe, so you can get all the way to ...

More Stringent Airport Security for USA-Bound Flights


There's a man that U.S. intelligence agencies are watching named Ibrahim Al-Asiri who has been called a master bombmaker for Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). He allegedly is skilled in constructing bombs out of ordinary material that can escape the detection of most airport screening equipment. With "chatter' that another terrorist attack against commercial jetliners is in the works, the Transportation Security Administration has increased scrutiny on electronic ...

3 Comments Read more

Free Upgrade to Business Class on Aeroflot


Aeroflot Russian Airlines introduced a premium economy "Comfort Class" last year that provides a hybrid between business and economy similar to Air France's Premium Economy product. Through the end of August, Aeroflot is offering Comfort Class passengers a free upgrade to business class on the shorter leg of their intercontinental journey via Moscow. 

The offer is valid if you start or end your destination in: 

New ...

Newark AirTrain Back in Service

Track corrosion forced the closure of AirTrain service between Newark's Liberty International Airport and the EWR Rail Station in May, but the restoration work is now complete, more than 10 days ahead of schedule.

With runway construction, no rail service, and poor weather, Newark has been a nightmare to fly through lately, but travelers will appreciate the resumption of AirTrain service. Amtrak and NJ Transit have also resumed service to EWR Rail Station, eliminating the necessity of taking a bus to Newark's Penn Station - a 3-mile journey that could take up to an hour in traffic.

Lufthansa Lounge Cheat Receives Huge Bill


For one Munich man, a strategic calculation to save money by buying a refundable Lufthansa ticket, enjoying food and drink in the Lufthansa Business Lounge, then cancelling his reservation, has proved a grave mistake. After 36 incidents, Lufthansa had enough and sued the man for damages. Yesterday, a court sided with the German carrier and fined the man €1,980 - his ticket was only €744.

Here's the heart of the ruling in ...

6 Comments Read more

United Airlines Bends Rule, Saves the Day for Sick Boy

United Airlines gets a lot of bad press and rightfully so - it has torpedoed the MileagePlus program on both the earnings and redemption side and has severely cut back on in-flight services, particularly in the forward cabin of domestic flights. But, a Huffington Post story demonstrates the power of going the extra mile...and also why the chain of command must sometimes be breached.

Here's the summary: boy gets sick on a school trip to China, his condition worsens, and he is ...

1 Comment Read more

In My Absence...


Some of you may have noticed that things have been quiet lately…in the four years that I have written Live and Let’s Fly, there has never been a month with as few posts as the last one. Thankfully, my absence was not due to work obligations or a death in the family or a health crisis or just plain laziness; rather it was due to a very special event in my life that required my full attention: marriage.

Where to start? This blog has been all business, with the exception of ...

38 Comments Read more

Why I'd Hate to Be a Gate Agent

I spend enough time in airports to know that I would never want to be a gate agent. Some agents are just nasty, but most try their best and get gangraped (I suppose that is a bit strong) by passengers when something goes wrong beyond their control.

It doesn't help when you work for United Airlines and I'll be the first to say that Newark gate agents have a bad reputation, but watch this scene in the videos below (shot from two angles for your viewing pleasure!) and see whether you ...

4 Comments Read more