Mikeonbehind the curtain

Business Class Airline Amenity Kit Showdown

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On my last frequent flyer award trip I flew Egypt Air, Turkish Airlines and Continental (now United Airlines) in business class. On each long haul flight I received an amenity kit which was given to all business class passengers. Most flights were two cabin flights: BusinessFirst on Continental, Business Class on the new A330 on Egypt Air and Business on Turkish Airlines 777 (trip report coming soon).  Turkish Airlines' 777 was configured for three classes, but it was Business, Comfort ...

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Turkish Airlines Free Tour of Istanbul

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Turkish Airlines offers a free tour of Istanbul to business class passengers laying over for more than seven hours and for economy class passengers with at least a nine hour layover. I had spent an hour in the Turkish Airlines Business Class Lounge at Istanbul Airport and had to make my way back out to passport control and to the tour desk. 

I'm not sure if there was a quicker exit (please comment below if so) but I walked back through the entire terminal to the food court where ...

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American Airlines CEO updates employees about US Airways

Six months ago, in the Q3 earnings call for American Airlines, CEO Tom Horton responded to a question by TheStreet.com's Tom Reed about the possibility of "further consolidation" in the industry:

"Does that include you?" asked Reed.

"Yeah, it could," Horton replied.

Horton has more recently also said "For years I've said that I think consolidation has been — can be healthy and constructive for the U.S. airline industry." Yet he couched this comment within ...

Ask UPGRD: Chase Credit Card Offer Changing?

Update: April 3rd: This offer is actually now retired. 

The flying blogosphere seems abuzz with "sky is falling" posts about the current Chase Sapphire Credit card promotion. I received an email asking if the 50,000 mile promotion is still current due to these other posts.

The promotion currently hasn't changed [edit April 3: it's ended until the new offer is announced], the Chase Sapphire Preferred card still provides 50,000 bonus points after just $3,000 in spend ...

American Airlines Extends Targeted Double Elite Qualifying DEQ11 Promo

The American Airlines Double Elite Qualifying Miles promotion between Los Angeles or San Francisco and Chicago O'Hare or Dallas/Fort Worth (for residents of California, Illinois or Texas) has been extended through June 30, 2012. If you registered for DEQ11 you should be registered already.

In addition, flights booked and flown between Chicago and Orange Country starting March 9, 2012 through June 30, 2012 will be eligible for this promotion. If you haven't registered simply visit the DEQ11 promotion page at aa.com to register.

IATA suspends Kingfisher sales

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IATA, which administers the sales and reporting of travel agents, today suspended sales of tickets on Kingfisher airlines. This saga began when the local Tax Department seized several Kingfisher accounts due to non payment, tying up cash and preventing regular payments to workers and creditors. Kingfisher has repeatedly denied allegations that it would shut down operations due to a potential pilot strike for delaying salaries. 

Since India doesn't have a US style bankruptcy ...

Turkish Airlines Business Class Lounge in Istanbul

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I finally had my chance to experience the business class lounge in Istanbul operated by Turkish Airlines. You can access the Istanbul lounge as a Star Gold which makes connecting very comfortable. And I know we've had several posts on this subject, but the lounge is so nice it deserves one more.

After arriving on Turkish Airlines from Cairo I made my way towards the signs for connecting flights, but I was turned back to the security station for all flights to the USA. The security ...

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Turkish Airlines Short Haul Business Class on the A320

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After my week in Cairo I took advantage of the free Istanbul tour from Turkish Airlines by laying over for more than 7 hours. Unfortunately that meant my flight left Cairo at 3:30am. After being dropped off at the airport at midnight, I made my way to one of the four small EgyptAir lounges. 

EgyptAir Lounge at Cairo

While the lounge itself is new and nicely appointed, they are small, and the food is awful. Well at least at 1 in the morning it was. Dry sandwiches and a pasta ...

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Giza Pyramids, Cairo Museum and Views Along the Nile

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While visiting friends in Cairo a few weeks ago we took a "relatively" short drive, depending on the often horrible traffic, through Cairo to the Giza Pyramids. As soon as we arrived and parked on the street outside we were met by the first of many sellers of tours, horse and camel rides.

Entry for non-Egyptians was 60 Egyptian Pounds, about 10 U.S. Dollars at the current exchange rate. After passing through a metal detector we started the walk up the hill to the pyramids. Along the ...

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Paris Catacombs Museum Tour

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During my short trip to Paris I had one day by myself. Having already seen the Eiffel Tower and Louvre Museum in past trips I asked around for another suggested destination. Brian suggested the Catacombs of Paris Museum. The Museum is open 10am to 5pm every day except Monday with the last entry at 4pm as it takes at least 40 minutes to walk the entire museum.

From their website the description of the Catacombs reads:

The Catacombs gather the remainders of approximately six ...

Business Class on EgyptAir's new A330-300 from Paris to Cairo

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After flying to Paris in Continental's BusinessFirst I spent a few days with friends and visited the Catacombs. The next leg of my Aeroplan award was one segment on EgyptAir (MS) in business class from Paris (CDG) to Cairo. Many of my friends that lived in Europe and Cairo shook their head saying I would not like the flight and thought I should have booked another carrier, but I was pleasantly surprised.

EgyptAir A330-300 Business Class

As with checkin, boarding was delayed and ...

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Star Alliance Lounge in Paris CDG Terminal 1

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After flying to Paris in Continental's BusinessFirst I spent a few days in Paris with friends and visited the Catacombs.  The next leg of my Aeroplan award was an EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo. After arriving at CDG I walked through Terminal 1 past the checkin for Swiss, Lufthansa and other airlines. Each checkin desk was relatively calm as most of their flights had departed in the morning. As I rounded the bend to checkin area 1 for EgyptAir I was met with a mass of people queued ...

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Continental BusinessFirst from Newark to Paris

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Since Aeroplan had their recent unannounced "award sale" I transferred some American Express miles to book an Aeroplan award to visit friends in Paris and Cairo. For the first leg I booked a BusinessFirst seat on Continental's United's 757-200 service from Newark (EWR) to Paris (CDG). After visiting the poorly appointed and spartan United Club near gate C71, I boarded my flight and settled into my seat. The flight was lightly loaded, surprisingly not a nonrev in sight, so I had the seat next ...

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United Airlines Strike of Christmas Past (1975)

Happy Holidays to all, for a little fun and a little history I thought I'd look into the archives for some aviation history from past Christmas travel.

In 1975 a strike by United Airlines, the then largest U.S. carrier, and National Airlines left thousands stranded for the holidays. This pre-deregulation strike meant many were unable to travel as there were few other options. However the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) approved international-only Pan Am to fly some domestic ...

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Watch out Santa! Airlines given permission to fly over the North Pole!

Modern airliners, like the 777, have had a restriction in place for years that limits them to fly within 180 minutes of the nearest airport. Due to continued advancements in engine design and reliability this restriction, known as ETOPS, has been increased to 330 minutes for certain models of the 777 aircraft. This opens the possibilities for new routes that haven't been flown before such as London to Hawaii. 

In other Santa themed news you can track Santa's progress right now ...

American Airlines Worldwide Double Elite Qualifying Miles Promotion

It looks like the previously announced double elite qualifying miles promotion has been extended across American Airlines' network. This is a great opporunity for some people to get triple elite qualifying miles. In an email outgoing President of AAdvantage Maya Leibman writes:

As my last act as outgoing president of the AAdvantage® program, and as a great introduction to the new president - Suzanne Rubin, we decided to give you what you've been asking for (yes, I heard you ...

Discover the Airport Exhibit at Syracuse Airport

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Many airports expect you to pass the time giving them more money by reorganizing themselves into mini shopping malls. It's sad that so few airports have viewing areas or other aviation related activities to help encourage future aviation careers.  Syracuse airport is one of the exceptions, as land side they have a "Discover the Airport" exhibit with a cockpit and cross section from a 727 aircraft, airport equipment, and audio and video lessons on airport operations. The exhibit is free ...

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American Airlines offers inflight streaming video

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BYOWED - that's the new slogan you may soon see on American Airlines advertising. Bring You Own Wifi Enabled Device. Now, with American Airlines' new Inflight Streaming Video you can rent movies and TV shows on demand.  Prices are currently set at the introductory price of $3.99 for a movie and $0.99 for a TV show. This streaming service is currently available on any 767-200 aircraft. This service will be rolled out to other American Airlines wifi enabled aircraft over the coming months.

Don't finish the movie in time? Don't worry,  you can finish watching the movie on the same device in the next 24 hours. An introductory video is below:

Rumor: A New American Airlines Livery

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The rumor mill is back in full force to answer one of my questions regarding American Airlines purchase of Airbus A320s, specifically how will they paint the aircraft. Since Airbus aircraft come with a bonded primer and do not use Alclad, you cannot get the polished metal look that has been a staple at American for decades starting with their DC-3s.

American has always stuck by their no-paint scheme including explanations in their American Way magazine

The unpainted ...

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American Airlines Orders 460 Narrow Body Airbus A320 and Boeing 737s

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It's been rumored for weeks, but American Airlines finally made the announcement this morning that they have placed an order for 460 new narrow body single-aisle aircraft. Somewhat surprisingly, the all Boeing airline has split this order between Boeing and Airbus. Additionally, American is moving at a fast past (in airline terms) to update their fleet. Their order includes:

 

100 new 737NG aircraft (starting in 2013) in addition to the 737-800s that have already been ...
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