Matthewonlive and let's fly

Variable AAnytime Awards on American Airlines?

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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, AA.com 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 availability) now fluctuate based on the date. AA had been the holdout among legacies, charging only ...

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Spin-Off of Thai Smile Another Blow to Star Alliance

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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 TG.

Route Map

Think of Thai Smile on the level of Cathay Pacific subsidiary Dragonair or ...

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United Airlines Releases Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner Seat Map

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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 Plus, so good news for upgraders--rumor is the new 777s on the Sydney routes, with 25% fewer business ...

New Nostalgic Ad Campaign from Air France

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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 slogan, “Air France, France is in the air.” The ad campaign was created ...

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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 over the termination of his frequent flyer account on bad faith grounds. 

SCOTUS blog ...

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

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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 r/t.

Here's some further detail:

You can travel outbound from 06/28 through 08/29 and complete travel ...
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Forcing Lufthansa into Submission Over Cancelled Flight

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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 requires me to be very nasty.

Lufthansa is one of my favorite airlines and I have fond memories ...

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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 constant jetlag and my ability to maintain a disciplined schedule of work is compromised when I must ...

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US Airways + TAM Join oneworld Alliance

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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 alliance now offers extensive reach out of hubs in:

Los Angeles - LAX Phoenix - PHX Dallas - ...

US Airways Adds Meals to Shorter Flights + Improves IFE

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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 will begin offering meal service on shorter flights. The carrier also announced improved IFE ...

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

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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 created months ago so it is not like BA pulled a Spirit Airlines on us--but it is still a ...

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

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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 replaced with 777-200s.

On Wednesday, the last 747-400 took off from San Francisco to Sydney. Now ...

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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 acknowledged she'd previously fallen asleep on the job in February, when her train partially missed ...

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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 Airways via Charlotte or Philadelphia to some east coast or departure point is my go-to solution. The ...

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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 question)

My point is not to speculate about what may happen, but to encourage you to make ...

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Train Derails at Chicago O'Hare - Dozens Injured

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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 routing rules, allowing connections and even a stopover within Europe before continuing on to ...

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United Cuts Special Meals on Premium Transcon Routes Between Newark and Los Angeles & San Francisco

There was no formal announcment, but in fine print on the United Airlines North American premium cabin dining webpage, the following has appeared:

*Effective May 1, 2014, we no longer offer special meals on flights between New York/Newark and San Francisco or Los Angeles. Special meal requests will not be accepted after March 13, 2014.

I will speculate here: I think the bigger issue is not just the elimination of special meals--quite imprudent as I argue below--but that ...

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Air Canada Suspends Service to the Failing State of Venezuela

Air Canada is halting its thrice-weekly service between Toronto and Caracas as hyperinflation and violence continue to engulf Venezuela.

In a statement, Air Canada said--

Due to ongoing civil unrest in Venezuela, Air Canada can no longer ensure the safety of its operation and has suspended flights to Caracas until further notice.

Passengers who are booked on Air Canada on a future flight will receive a full refund, though that hardly seems like a deal if you have ...

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To Selfie or Not To Selfie?

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An aborted takeoff at Philadelphia International Airport tonight led to an evacuation of 149 passengers and five crew members. One passengers elected to post a selfie on Twitter just moments after evacuating the US Airways A320 aircraft with a "so yup" quip. Was this in good taste?

 

At first impression, it appears extremely tawdry that anyone would post such a picture. Even setting aside the fact that no one was injured (at least based on ...

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