Mikeonbehind the curtain

American Airlines New Airbus A321T


Today American launches their first Airbus A321T (transcontinental) service from JFK to Los Angeles. Last month, I experienced the aircraft during an American Airlines event at JFK.

Overall, it's an impressive cabin. With In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) at every seat and seating for just 102 passengers, boarding should be quick and over head luggage space plentiful. These planes will use Gogo's upgraded air-to-ground (ATG4) Wi-Fi throughout the cabin.

First ...
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American, American Eagle, JetBlue, and Delta Mainline Now Offer Gate-to-Gate Electronics Use

American, and most of its regional carrier American Eagle, became the third airline to allow gate-to-gate use of electronics yesterday after the FAA changed its electronic use guidelines. JetBlue was the first, while Delta has only approved use on mainline jets. Their regional Delta Connection fleet will not allow electronics use gate-to-gate until closer to the end of the year. Some notes from the AA press release:

Devices will need to be in airplane mode and you'll need to secure ...
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Finally Use Your Smartphone or Tablet From Take Off to Landing

All of us are familiar with the requirement to turn off all electronic devices for take off. Not only is it annoying for passengers, but doubly so for the flight attendants that have to enforce this silly rule. On my EgyptAir flight almost two years ago, electronics were allowed throughout the flight. Today the FAA announced that their electronic device policy is changing to something similar. 

Passengers will eventually be able to read e-books, play games, and watch ...

TWA Flight Center - JFK Terminal 5


The Eero Saarinen designed Trans World Flight Center, part of Terminal 5 at JFK, opened in 1962 and was closed in 2001 when TWA merged into American Airlines. This terminal is amazing. While its practicality diminished, even before it opened, it's the type of terminal that could make you look forward to waiting in the airport. I'd wait for my confirmed upgrade all day long in a terminal like this.

The terminal captures the space-aged mindset of the late 50s when Saarinen was ...

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New York City Meetup - Tuesday, September 17th

The next Reach For The Miles frequent flyer and mile aficionado meetup will be held Tuesday, September 17th, 2013 in the lower east side of Manhattan. After a successful first meetup that drew nearly 50 people I'm looking forward to an even bigger event this time.

Please join me on Tuesday, September 17th, at 6 pm to mingle and meet others from the travel industry, talk points and miles, have a drink from the cash bar and enjoy a fun, informal evening.

Please RSVP at Meetup.com

Look forward to seeing you there!

Feeling Coachy: Flying Humor on TV

You've probably seen all these clips before, but I thought I'd mention them for the few that have not. There are three TV clips that I often think of when boarding a plane. My favorite flying phrases, that get strange looks if you don't know them, come from these episodes: "I'm coachy!", "People up here are getting cookies!" and "get your foot off our rug!".

The most recent is Larry David's Coachy vs First Classy:

Secondly the funny flight of Jerry (in First Class) ...

Changing or Canceling an American Airlines Award

A friend asked me: "I need to cancel an American MileSaaver Award as plans have changed, is there a fee to get the miles back?"

American has fees associated with changes to an award and redepositing the miles for most members.  The explanation of the fees is explained in a fairly dense description on the aa.com website. I've highlighted the basic facts here to (hopefully) make it easier to read. The main exception is that the fees are waived for Executive Platinum (EXP) members ...

Tonight in New York: Reach for the Miles

Don't forget tonight's meetup (July 30th, 2013) in New York City: Reach for the Miles. Join Fozz, The Miles Professor, The Wandering Aramean, Just Another Points Traveler, myself and other bloggers and frequent flyers at the first Reach for the Miles meetup. 

Please join us at 6 pm tonight to mingle and meet others from the travel industry, talk points and miles, have a drink from the cash bar and enjoy a fun, informal evening.

Please RSVP ...

Behind the Scenes Revenue Management Video from American Airlines

American has quietly been rolling out a number of "behind the scenes" videos about the internal workings of the airline. From baggage handling to catering these videos are well produced and provide some insight into the inner workings of an airline.

"Why do airfares charge so much?" interviews analysts within the revenue management department. It's an interesting five minute interview that discusses the factors that effect pricing including: seasonality, holidays, taxes, fees, ...

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Reach for the Miles - New York City Meetup

Are you in New York City on Tuesday, July 30th? If so, join Fozz, The Miles Professor, The Wandering Aramean, myself and other bloggers and frequent flyers at the first Reach for the Miles meetup. 

Please join us on Tuesday, July 30th, at 6 pm to mingle and meet others from the travel industry, talk points and miles, have a drink from the cash bar and enjoy a fun, informal evening.

Please RSVP at Meetup.com

We'll be at Professor Thom's in the Lower East Side, located at 219 2nd Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets. We'll be getting together upstairs.

Look forward to seeing you there!

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Singapore Airlines Announces New First, Business and Economy Class Cabins


Singapore Airlines has released details on their new First, Business and Economy Class products.  These new seats will begin to roll out in September on select flights between London and Singapore.

The first class seat offers a great deal of personal space. The seats are 35 inches wide and 82 inches in length. These seats offer enhanced lighting and a 24 inch LCD screen.


The new business class seat, which will replace the existing Singpore ...

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A Fee By Any Other Name Would Smell as Bitter

United re-introduced their annual "subscription" services: economy plus subscription and baggage subscription. The baggage subscription is simply a euphemism for bag fees in which they collect a $349 annual subscription instead of piecemeal for $25 each time you fly.

The $349 does allow you and up to eight companions traveling on the same reservation to check up to two bags each per flight for free. (Excluding overweight bags). So if you are traveling with your eight ...

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Samoa Air to Provide Special Seating for Bigger Passengers


The New Zealand Herald is reporting that Samoa Air, which recently began a pay-by-weight system, is now creating an Executive Row (XL) of seats with more space. Oh, and a ramp for boarding.

Somoa's Chief Executive Chris Langton told the Herald:

"We're in the process of changing the space between the seats. What we've done is created what we call the executive row, where they've got an extra 14 inches (35cm) between the seats. There's also a ramp so people have easier access. ...

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American Airlines Updated Boarding Passes and iOS App


American has updated their iOS app to show PreCheck status, better integration with Passbook and more direct integration with Twitter for support from the social media team. Once boarding passes are added to Passbook you'll get updated flight and gate information automatically sent to your phone.

Watch and listen as the dynamic and vibrant narrator walks you through the Passbook features:

In addition the newly redesigned boarding pass will also show PreCheck status ...

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Preventing Constipation While Flying and Other Invaluable Tips


Step into my time machine and travel back to 1980 with me. You've just got a big promotion, requiring a lot of travel, so you pick up The Air Traveler's Handbook for some tips and tricks.

First published in London in 1978 and reprinted in 1980 you can learn about:

Runways Aircraft Design Supersonic aircraft Air Traffic Control Cabin Layout and Cabin Comfort

Scrolling further back you can find pics of each airlines insignia so you can identify such airlines ...

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AirNews: Ratings Are In

In aviation news this week:

A US Airways express plane, operated by Piedmont, lands with the gear up Consumer Reports list of "best" airlines is out with Virgin America taking the top spot. It's too bad those reviews don't equate to profit for VX. Spirit's CEO, at the bottom of the ratings, responds by equating his airline with McDonalds. Porter Airlines wasts to expand it's Toronto operations to include jets

If you missed some posts from UPGRD over the past two ...

eBags Mother Lode TLS Mini 21" Wheeled Duffel Review

One year ago today I purchased the eBags Mother Lode TLS Mini 21" Wheeled Duffel carry-on bag. Since then it's been my primary travel bag and has traveled close to 100,000 miles with me. The bag still looks sharp and has held up well during this time. I chose the blue version of the bag to easily identify the bag when plane-side checking on a regional jet.

I paid $142 for this bag last year and looking on the ebag website now, it's still available for the same basic ...

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Delta T4X Terminal Preview in SoHo


Delta is previewing their new JFK Terminal 4 expansion with a pop-up display in SoHo, Manhattan. Located at 376 West Broadway at Broome St the two floors showcase the new design and new Delta Sky Club and Sky Deck. Walking down W. Thompson you will eventually come upon the entrance.

Walking down W. Thomson a few blocks away

Entrance to Delta's T4X

Terminal 4 opens this Friday, but until then you ...

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Braniff II Timetable from 1988


Braniff Inc (also known as Braniff II), the reincarnation of the failed Braniff airlines had hubs in Kansas City, Miami and DFW. With a single class of service and all leather seating. They were focused on unrestricted low cost fares for every flight. 

Braniff A320  - Wikipedia

This timetable is effective July 1, 1988, just a year before bankruptcy and finally suspending airline operations in November 1989. The route map is ...

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