Mike behind the curtain

SFO T2 Grand Opening - Open to the Public

You can now RSVP for the upcoming grand opening of the new Terminal 2 (T2) at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) on April 9th, 2011. A $383 million dollar renovation that will be the new home for American Airlines and Virgin America.

The new sustainable facility boasts cleaner air, better seating, water bottle filling stations, and a unique "recomposure" area right after you pass through the TSA.

American Airlines flyers will finally get a new lounge instead of the dark micro lounge that currently occupies  T3. The open house is open to the public but does require registration, so follow the link above and reserve your tickets today.

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Unofficial Guide to San Jose Airport (SJC) Long Term Parking

Although I had plenty of time to catch my flight, there is something about making "good time" getting to the airport. As I pulled into the San Jose Airport (SJC) long term parking lot, I spied the shuttle bus making its way into the lot. I had to act fast - get to a stop in front of the bus, park, grab my bags and go.

I rapidly scanned the unfamiliar ...

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Are you a frequent flyer on short-haul flights?

Marketplace from American Public Media are looking for sources for possible upcoming news stories on the decline of short haul flying. I know a lot of you still make your status through elite qualifying segments, so perhaps you want to add your voice to their story.

Through American Public Media, you may have opportunities to inform reporting for Marketplace, Marketplace Money, Being, American RadioWorks, and other news outlets. To be considered head over to their source information form here.

New Blogger, New Webisodes

I'd like to welcome Elyse Pasquale to upgrd.com where she will be tackling the world of airline meals in her Inflight Dish column. Elyse is a frequent flyer who seeks out great local meals across the globe, writing about the experience at Foodie International.com She will be posting here to highlight some of the best (and worst!) airline meals along the way.

An introduction in her own ...

Major Airline Websites Unavailable - Denial of Service Attack?

Right now - aa.com, united.com, delta.com and other travel sites are unavailable for many and slow for others.  This week has been difficult for many online properties with the denial of service attacks on Visa and Mastercard and the Gawker password compromise that Mark mentioned. When the sites do come back up, please follow Mark's advice and monitor your account balances and make sure you have strong passwords on all your accounts.

Update 1: United is always on top of things: "We are investigating reports of united.com issues" I guess it's better than American and others that have said nothing yet.

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New Design - New Announcements

It's been a busy few months at upgrd.com HQ. Gabrielle and Steve have joined the podcast network with their new pilot podcast Hangar Flying. Bobby and Sara have extended their reach to the big little screen with the Tips From Above webisodes. 

In the mean time, thanks to the outstanding design ability of Davina, we have a fancy new look to the site. (If anything is broken - ...

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New Flight Attendant Bikini Calendar Now Available

Without Hunter around here anymore I guess it's up to me to bring the hard hitting stories to upgrd.com. Ryan Air has once again released a flight attendant calendar in time for the new year. The proceeds from the bikini calendar will be donated to charity.

Ryanair’s people chose to donate all the 2010 proceeds to the UK based “KIDS” charity, which provides support to disabled children and their families throughout the UK.

You can order your calendar by visiting http://www.ryanaircalendar.com/ - now to see about getting "The Crew Lounge" calendar going...

Thanks to Robert for sending this one in.

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United Airlines 747 Escape Slide Deployment Video

During the United Airline's Open House and Family Day the airline demonstrated an emergency escape slide deployment. For those of you who missed it, here is a very short video showing the 747 door opening and slide inflation. It all happens pretty quickly - too bad they wouldn't let us go for a slide.




Air Berlin: new codeshares with American Airlines and new New York to Berlin route

At a joint event with American Airlines on Tuesday, Air Berlin announced a new nonstop flight from New York to Berlin starting next year, and further clarified their plans with American and OneWorld.

Codeshares with American Airlines are planned as early as November 2010 after regulatory approval. With entry into OneWorld planned for mid 2011, this brings a nice option for American Airlines flyers to get to European destinations without a dreaded transit at Heathrow.

New and existing routes - increasing frequencies to Germany


The announcement by Airberlin's CEO Joachim Hunold


And finally, some Italian's singing the Airberlin theme song.

Yes, Italian singers flown into Manhattan to sing a theme song for a German airline.

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Watch Sara and Bobby's televised travel tips on Sonoran Living

Check out Sara and Bobby's appearance on today's episode of Sonoran Living on the ABC affiliate in Phoenix, Arizona. They discussed how a little planning on what to bring to the airport can make your flight more enjoyable. In addition they discuss some kid friendly things to bring along.




Jetblue unlimited All You Can Jet flight pass is back

Jetblue is once again offering their all you can jet pass valid for flights from September 7th to October 6th. This time there are two pricing options, a pass valid every day of the week for $699, and if you are flexible in your travel plans and can skip traveling on Friday's and Sunday's, the 5 day pass is only $499.

  • Each Pass flight must be booked and ticketed at least 3 days prior to departure
  • There are additional taxes and fees for certain destinations such as Puerto Rico.
  • 7 day passes will earn 4,200 TrueBlue points while the 5 day passes will earn 3,000 TrueBlue points
  • See the rest of the restrictions on Jetblue's website

Although this is no chance to upgrd on this flight, if you have a lot of domestic travel during this period it could be a good way to save some money.

Welcome to our newest travel blogger!

I'm excited to announce a new blogger on upgrd.com - Kevin Hanson. Although Kevin is new to upgrd.com, he is not new to blogging. Previously authoring his own blog at CrazyHawt.com, he's decided to post all of his travel tips, experiences, and horror stories (!) here instead. You can read his old posts in his new section on upgrd.com called Cloud Commuting.

Kevin is a Sales ...

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Google Buys ITA Software

I imagine some were shaking in their boots at online travel booking sites today when Google announced their $700 million acquisition of ITA Software. As previously mentioned the search giant has been working on a deal with the travel search engine for some time now.

Airfare search is a huge business. If Google becomes the defacto airfare search engine, as it is now for web searches, it ...

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Battle heats up in ITA acquisition war

In a previous post I mentioned that ITA Software, which many of us use for searching mileage runs, was in acquisition talks with Google. It looks like those talks are heating up as other companies including Expedia, Kayak, and Travelport are reportedly in discussions with the travel search juggernaut.

After attending the travel blog exchange (TBEX) this weekend, it's no ...

What do you listen to when you are on the road?

Ha! It's really a rhetorical question as we know you are busy listening to the Uprgd Podcast and The Crew Lounge. (And I promise more Upgrd Podcasts are coming late next week). But in the meantime our friends at Marketplace, from American Public Media, want to know what else you listen to. A brief description:

Here at Marketplace we're starting a new series looking at what business travelers are listening to when they're out on the road. Maybe there's a song that keeps you going when you're stuck in the airport, or a song that keeps you sane in that generic hotel. When you're away from home, pounding the pavement for work, what song is playing in your ear phones?

If you're interested in giving them your song click here to share the soundtrack to your business trip.

If United Airlines and Continental Airlines merge, where will they call home?

It has been widely speculated that United Airlines and Continental Airlines are in merger talks. Many of us on the Upgrd Podcast have speculated for years that the merger is inevitable, although some recent news would leave you to believe that the airline merger could be placed on hold.

Although no official announcement has even been made about merger talks, the Houston Chronicle is ...

Awwwww...US Air doesn't want to play anymore, leaves United in the sandbox

US Airways has a new press release stating that their talks with United Airlines are off the table. CEO Doug Parker issued a statement:

"We have recently held discussions with United Airlines regarding a possible combination between our two airlines. After an extensive review and careful consideration, our Board of Directors has decided to discontinue those discussions"

Well there is a shocker - US doesn't want UA. Hmmm...I wonder if its the other way around? Does United Airlines lose some of its leverage with Continental Airlines now? Will Glenn's golden merger parachute collapse?



Google to buy ITA Software?

It's being reported today that Google is in talks to buy ITA Software, the engine that powers many travel sites and so many of our mileage runs.

Google Inc. is in talks to acquire ITA Software Inc., a maker of travel programs used by companies including Orbitz Worldwide Inc. and Microsoft Corp., three people familiar with the matter said.

It will be interesting to see ...

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Surprise Surprise - Continental and United "Talking" again

The New York times is reporting that Continental Airlines is reopening merger talks with United. As we know, United has also allegedly been speaking with US Airways. But as we have all commented on our podcast, Continental has long been the favored partner.

Continental Airlines has reopened merger talks with the UAL Corporation, the parent company of United Airlines, people ...

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