Mikeonbehind the curtain

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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Air Berlin New Business Class Amenity Kits


With Air Berlin's launch of their new fully flat business class seat they are also changing their amenity kits. Two of the kits available are from Institut Karité and from Tumi.

The Karité kit include: socks, eye mask, ear plugs, collapsible travel toothbrush with GUM toothpaste, Institut Karite Lip Balm with 6% shea butter and Institut Karité Extra Gentle Body Milk. The bag itself is pretty light weight with a clam shell design. It opens wide making it easy to ...

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Honolulu to New York Mileage Run


After arriving into Honolulu on my American Airlines mileage run, I wandered aimlessly through the open plan terminal looking for my next gate and club lounge. Along the way there is some great plane spotting as there are no windows clouding your view. I just wish I had brought my camera with me instead of just my phone!

After a long walk, and missing the sign twice, I finally found the lounge near the Kona Brewing Company Restaurant and up the stairs. Unfortunately this is ...

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Mileage Run from New York to Honolulu


I needed about 20,000 elite qualifying miles at the end of last year to re-qualify for Executive Platinum. Luckily the end of year double elite qualifying promotion along with $460 fares to Hawaii from New York made qualification much easier. I booked a flight departing Saturday morning and returning Sunday afternoon: LGA-DFW-HNL-OGG-LAX-JFK.

Since no one was on the road early on Saturday morning in New York, the car service got me to Laguardia in just 20 minutes. The ...

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A Tour of Old City Hall Station in New York, Closed since 1945


The MTA Transit Museum in New York City offers tours throughout the year of old stations, artwork in the stations and nostalgia rides. Generally tours sell out to museum members before being opened to the public, and some tours are for members only. Membership starts at $50 for an individual and $80 for a family of two adults and two children. Once a member, be ready on the day the tickets go on sale to purchase immediately. Some tours, like this Old City Hall Station tour, sell out in ...

National Train Day at Grand Central


National Train Day at Grand Central was well attended. In fact, it was packed on Saturday. I was surprised at the long line of people inside Grand Central waiting to go to the exhibit. I almost decided not to wait, but the line was moving quickly enough.


What I didn't realize was this is the first of many lines before entering the exhibit. Many, many, many lines. 

At one point, they boarded us onto parked commuter trains for 20 minutes so we could ...

Improved Search Results on UPGRD.com


The search box, at the far right of the menu above, finds old posts on this site. Today I've replaced the old search feature with a Google custom search widget that displays better results directly from Google. 

With this change you will find more results on the search result page along with better matches for long queries.

While setting this up, I looked through the history of old searches on the site. Most we're to be expected: "united", "american airlines" and ...

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jetBlue E-190


Like many other airlines, jetBlue sells extra legroom seats on all of their flights. In addition to bulkhead and exit row seats, their planes have additional legroom in other rows as well. On their regional E190 jets, they've been reconfigured such that row 12, the exit row, along with row 13 and 14 offer 39" of pitch. The rest of the E-190 has a seat pitch of 32" - still slightly more than other carriers standard of 31". Due to this reconfiguration, the extra legroom is removed from the rest ...

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It's National Train Day!


Grab your camera, check the website, and head to your closest National Train Day exhibit. I'll be headed to Grand Central Station at noon today for the Parade of Trains to view more than 20 classic trains including:

FL-9 Locamotive

20th Century Limited Hickory Creek Observation Car

Montana lounge car

...and more. There are a number of exhibits ...

Laguardia (LGA) Admirals Club


Along the windows are the typical club seats that you'd find at any Admirals Club. The unique part of the renovation added a larger open space in the middle of the lounge along with a revamped bar area.

The club is upstairs over the terminal and provides a nice view and decent plane spotting of American's hangar and aircraft parked on the ground.

The lounge provides the standard Admirals Club fare of bagels in the morning and ...

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Boulder AB Bus from Denver DIA


Visiting friends in Boulder? There's an easy way to get there from Denver Airport. The RTD's AB SkyRide bus. I found the RTD's website a little confusing so I thought I'd document the trip here. 

The AB bus is $13 each way which can be paid with exact change to the driver. There is also a round trip option for $24 that can be paid by credit or debit card from the RTD desk inside the terminal. For some reason, you cannot buy paper one-way tickets with your card - round trip ...

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American Airlines Breakfast Showdown


It's airline food rumble time! Which egg breakfast is the best?

Our first contestant hails from MCO-LAX. Scrambled eggs with corned beef hash. The eggs were actually tasty, light and fluffy, the corned beef and potatoes were dry and stiff. It was accompanied by fruit and either a bagel or biscuit. 

Fighting off the Scramble is Omelette. Being New York eggs (LGA-DFW), they were ready for a fight! After departure the flight attendant took orders from the last row ...

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Sigma 10-20mm Camera Lens for Airline Photography


All of the bloggers on UPGRD.com take a lot of photos. Some more successfully than others. ;)

Getting good first class and business class cabin photos is tough due to the tight space and proximity of other passengers and crew.  Typically aviation photographers choose a wide angle lens, often a fisheye lens. I dislike the look of fisheye photos as they are very distorted. I want to feel like I'm sitting in the in the seat shown and not at some mirror fun house at a carnival. So, ...

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Pan Am Timetable October 1989


With today's travel websites, apps and electronic overload sometimes it's nice to just thumb through an old paper timetable for a little nostalgia. Take a trip back to October 1989 with me, almost 25 years ago, as we plan a trip on Pan Am.

Now remember, by 1989 Pan Am was a shell of what it once was. It has sold its Pacific routes to United in 1985 and failed to merge with Northwest that very summer. So some routes are missing from this time table, but there is still a lot of ...

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AirNews: Seeing Red


This week's airline news from around the web:

A new policy at Turkish Airlines bans their flight attendants from wearing red lipstick, a move some Turks see as an Islamic move. While the airline states that this is a move to keep their appearance "artless and well-groomed with makeup in pastel tones", some think otherwise. Read more Passengers were seeing red two weeks ago when American Airlines' computer glitch caused hundreds of flights to be grounded. No word on the cause of ...

ITB Berlin


The reason for this award redemption was a last minute decision to attend ITB Berlin one of the largest travel shows in the world. For those of you that haven't attended, ITB is spread out over more than 20 buildings across the large Messe Berlin conference center campus. If you ever go, bring some comfortable shoes.

In attendance were most country and city tourism boards, airlines, hotels, travel operators, and every other company connected to travel. I visited a few of the airline ...

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