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Racism Charge Hits Lufthansa

I think the term racism is thrown around far too flippantly, but in a letter entitled "Dear Lufthansa, are your racist?" a Korean writer questions Lufthansa's treatment of a group of Korean reporters who missed their flight to Seoul--

Dear Lufthansa, are your racist?

Probably not, but this was the question that first popped into my mind when I heard about a bunch of unfortunate reporters who missed their Lufthansa flight out of Europe a few days ago.

This group of ...

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Italian Court Says Emirates Must Suspend New York - Milan Route

An Italian Court handed Dubai-based Emirates a stinging defeat yesterday, holding that the carrier could not operate its Fifth Freedom Route between New York and Milan.

It all boils down to this--there is a very real (and valid) fear amongst U.S. and European carriers that the Gulf carriers will eat up yields on profitable routes, adding excess capacity and driving down prices while offering a superior product and greater ease of connectivity in fortress hubs. With low labor costs and ...

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Dear Airlines, Why Aren't You Honest With Us?

First things first. Airline loyalty programs are here to stay--they are too lucrative. With airlines beholden to credit card companies, who purchase points en masse and distribute them to their customers, the possibility of loyalty programs going away is off the table.

But, we see that the concept of loyalty and the loyalty programs of several airlines are changing. No longer is the marginal traveler necessarily rewarded for the discretionary choice of flying one carrier over the ...

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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 link station to the terminals was excruciatingly slow and prone to delay as were late afternoon ...

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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 decision to drastically alter key components of AAdvantage without giving customers any warning shows a ...

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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 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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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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