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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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Train Derails at Chicago O'Hare - Dozens Injured


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?


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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Chaos at Philadelphia International Airport After Aborted US Airways Takeoff

An aborted takeoff on a US Airways flight bound for Florida from Philadelphia International Airport has shutdown PHL. The culprit: a blown tire; the result: smoke billowing out of the engines and a runway evacuation of the 149 passengers and five crew members onboard. No injuries have been reported.

U.S. Airways flight 1702, an Airbus A320, was taking off for Fort Lauderdale just after 6 p.m. when the incident occurs. One witness shared what he viewed on ...

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Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Wreckage Found?

A Chinese satellite has located what may be the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Then again, we've head that before.

The Chinese agency gave coordinates of 105.63 east longitude, 6.7 north latitude, which would put it in waters northeast of where it took off in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and south of Vietnam, near where the South China Sea meets the Gulf of Thailand.

There's still many unanswered questions surrounding this incident. What about the first ...

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On Malaysia Airlines and the Fragility of Life


I am working on a trip report that will include the scariest flight of my life, a Malaysia Airlines flight from Kuala Lumpur to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. An odd coincidence that it was on Malaysia Airlines but a sobering wake-up call that each day may be our last.

My brother and I had a great stay in KL and were looking forward to several days in Cambodia. Competing with low-cost carriers like Air Asia, we snagged a ticket from KUL to PNH on Malaysia Airlines at an ideal afternoon ...

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Report: Malaysia Airlines 777-200 Crashed in South China Sea

A Malaysia Airlines 777-200 flight from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing has crashed in the South China Sea off the coast of Vietnam according to reports breaking now from both Vietnamese and Chinese state media. The flight was carrying 227 passengers plus 12 crewmembers and earlier reports suggesting that the plane safely landed in Nanming, China appear to be nothing more than illusory hope. Relatives anxiously assembling at Kuala Lumpur International Airport have been instructed to ...

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I Will Not Allow This Plane to Land!

It sure pays to have friends (or fathers) in high places...

A passenger plane flying from Lebanon to Iraq was forced to turn back after the Iraqi transport minister's son missed the flight and phoned Baghdad to stop the aircraft from landing, a spokesman for the airline said.


So Mahdi al-Amiri and his friend are loafing in the expansive Middle East Airlines lounge in Beiruit and their flight to Baghdad is nearing last call for departure. Finally, a lounge ...

Top 10 Airline Award Redemptions for March 2014

Award chart devaluations continue, there are still a number of superb deals available. Here are my top ten award travel bright spots for March 2014. Nothing has changed from last month except the removal of United Airlines Asian redemptions and the addition of Singapore Airlines Suites Class saver awards. 

1. US Airways Dividend Miles – 90K miles r/t for business class between North American and North Asia with a Stopover in Europe

Still the best award in the world, ...

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New Numbers Show the Route Network is Not Saving United Airlines

United Airlines has released its 2014 Quarter One investor guidance and the figures are ugly. United blames the weather, the late Easter holiday, and the reduction of its regional jet fleet, but the signs point to a more ominous reason—continued poor management of world’s largest airline.

My aim here is not to personally attack CEO Jeff Smisek or his team. Rather, it is to demonstrate that United’s continued excuses for its poor performance both outright and relation ...

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American Airlines Kills Bereavement Fares


With cost-cutting CEO Douglas Parker at the helm, American Airlines has deep-sixed bereavement fares. Considering bereavement fares rarely make sense to the cost-conscious consumer, this is not a big deal. Still, there was a better way to bury these special fares than by a formal announcement.

Essentially, American accurately claimed that times have changed and conventional bereavement fares are dead:

"We remain committed to doing all we can to relieve the burden of travel ...

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