Mikeonbehind the curtain

What is your first class hot towelette strategy?

Are you a bather or a wiper? Individual fingers or the whole hand at once? Steaming hot or wait till it cools?

On many airlines hot towelettes are provided for passengers in premium cabins, presumably to act as a way to wash your hands before eating. However, many airlines provide the towelettes after the highly acclaimed hot-nut service, thereby missing the obvious opportunity to clean your hands before handling your, ah-hem, nuts.

[yes, yes, I know. get your mind out of the ...

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United Airlines CEO: More mergers on the way - clever analysts agree

The Chicago Tribune reports that United Airlines CEO Glenn Tilton predicted that there will be more airline mergers in the next two years. Shocking I know. Even more shocking is this statement from the article:

Analysts think that is likely.

Those crazy analysts. This must be why they get the big bucks. If there has ever been a merger in the making, unlike US Airways bizarre takeover attempt of Delta a few years ago, it is the United Airlines and Continental Airlines ...

Amtrak is finally adding wifi

It's hard to believe that so many of us blog from 34,000 feet in the air, but have to rely on PDAs and cell phones for internet access at zero feet on Amtrak.  That looks to be changing as a recent Wired magazine article states that wifi will be starting soon.

During the recent Amtrak financial conference call with Amtrak CEO Joseph Boardman the new changes include:

  • wifi on the Acela high speed trains in March
  • Possible rolling stock upgrades and new equipment when the money is available. Whenever that is.

With the stiff competition from bargain bus services including Bolt, MegaBus, Fung Wah, Lucky Star and the airlines - Amtrak will have to make improvements to continue charging their current premium fares.

Happy Christmas from all of us at Upgrd!

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the airport
Not a flyer was stirring, not even a rat around D36.
The airplanes were parked by the jetbridge with care,
In hopes that the economy rebound would soon be there.

The Captain and FO were nestled in the cockpit,
While visions of pay cuts and long hours gave them a fit.
And the Gate Lice in his wrinkled suit, and I in my "Glenn's Gotta Go" cap,
Had just settled into ...

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"Up In The Air" review from up in the air

As I am flying to DFW I've got a few minutes to write a review of "Up In The Air" the recent Jason Reitman and George Clooney movie about a very frequent traveler.

Ummmm, what can I say? The movie was so hyped in upgrd-land that I had exceptionally high hopes for ... well I don't know what for. Technically there was lots of flying geekiness that fit the bill: Concierge Key, Elite benefits, airplanes inside and out, but somehow the movie missed the mark for me. From the bland ...

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I've heard of airline bumps, but this is ridiculous

Jason Reitman, director of the "Up In The Air" movie, got bumped back to coach by some turkey. Errr...I mean...by a turkey.

Today, on "Turkey 1" a United Airlines flight from IAD to LAX, first class was occupied by the National Thanksgiving Turkey and his alternate who had just received a presidential pardon. And, I am assuming, their entourage.

I hear that the inflight meal consisted of turkey meatloaf with a side of seat 2D. See them in this quick video: http://qik.com/video/3687471

Thanks to Joe for mentioning this in the comments on Ben's blog.

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"Up In The Air" Movie Screening Next Week

It's no secret that every frequent flyer now thinks they are George Clooney due to the impending release of "Up In The Air" this Christmas. This movie chronicles the fictitious Ryan Bingham (Clooney) as he chases millions of frequent flyer miles - a theme that pulls all our upgrd heart strings. In conjunction with Entertainment magazine there is a pre-screening next Wednesday in certain major markets. Look for my review on Thursday.

Also, there is a new Up In The Air website which seems like a big miss to me. The previous site simply had links to the great trailers. The new site takes a long time to load, loops the theme music, and provides little more than...links to the trailers. Note to Jason Reitman - next time save the bucks on the flash website and just stick to something simple.

Looking forward to seeing it! Anyone else attending next week?

Transit the TSA security line like an expert

Ah...the joys of traveling. Traffic, check in agents making up their own rules, and our tax dollars hard at work at the TSA security check point. I am not sure what is more frustrating, the incompetent TSA staff standing around talking while passengers are waiting or the infrequent traveler that takes the last six...yes that's right six plastic bins for use on the conveyor belt.

First, as an homage to the upcoming Up In The Air movie, pick any line that you have access to that looks ...

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Airline Club Membership Survey Results

After sending a distressed tweet on Twitter that I thought the Admirals Club was crazy for only serving cookies until 3pm on Sundays, I exchanged a few messages with @AdmiralsClub about the club offerings.  I replied something to the effect that the recent improvements in inflight service were not reflected in the Admirals Club product and only heavily discounting membership (by giving $70 off – which is upwards of 25% for some membership levels) made me (and some others) decide to ...

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Google offering free wifi at select airports starting today

Google, in partnership with Boingo Wireless, Advanced Wireless Group and others is providing free internet access at 47 airports now through January 15, 2010.  This is in addition to the free wifi that Google is offering on Virgin America flights.

From their FAQ:

Q. How do I sign up for complimentary WiFi?

No login or email is required, simply select the option for the complimentary WiFi and accept the terms of service.

Find out more, including which airports this service is available from at: http://www.freeholidaywifi.com/


Connecting to the JFK Airtrain from Manhattan

If you are looking for a simple cost effective way to get from Manhattan to JFK airport, I'd suggest taking the subway or Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) to the JFK Airtrain. Since a taxi will generally cost you $55 ($45 fare, $5 tolls, $5 tip) and a variable amount of time, depending upon traffic, the train or subway can be much cheaper and get you there in almost the same time.

LIRR and JFK Airtrain

The recommended mode of transportation depends upon your location in Manhattan and the ...

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Live Blogging from the New York City Megabus

After spending time in New York with clients my plans called for a quick trip to Syracuse to see family and clients in upstate New York. Normally I take Amtrak as business class upgrades are cheap, and the ability to walk around, buy food, and power at your seat makes the trip very productive. However, as I was walking on 23rd street the other night I noticed a Megabus with signs indicating cheap fares to Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, and Toronto from New York City.

Megabus is an ...

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What's in your garage?

This article about a United Airlines executive building a replica of a Pan Am 747 in his garage got me thinking. We must have some equally dedicated and creative listeners and readers that have something to show.

What is in your garage?

What airline memorabilia do you own?

What nostalgic photos do you have to share?



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Baggage Handlers

While attending the United Fleet Week event last week, I noticed a crack in the fence and snuck airside to take some snaps of the hard working employees loading your bags. For some reason most of the photos were lost on my camera, but I still have this one:

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How did we not win?!

Last week I attended United Airlines' fleet week at SFO which included a plane pulling competition. An Airbus A320, recently saved from TED hell, was on the apron with a long rope attached to the pull bar.

Along with 19 (26?) other FlyerTalk readers we lined up for a quick photo:


Somehow we finished second.

Special thanks to Joe Jusai (flyforsmiles.com) for taking the photos.


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Northwest Airlines NWA bag tag - collectors item?

I ordered a Northwest luggage tag after reading Gary's post as a memento before the airline disappears. As I have no particular affiliation to NW and I foolishly printed my own name (instead of something generic I could sell on ebay!) what should I do with it? Should I keep it pristine in the drawer or use it today on my flight since my (also defunct) Ansett bag tag is wearing thin?

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