Bradonregional first

Off to Hong Kong and Bali on Cathay Pacific


First CX 777-300ER landing at ORD

My wife and I are heading to Bali in Cathay Pacific First Class.  It is my first time on Cathay Pacific, and my first time in International First Class since my Thailand trip in late 2010.  I'm definitely ready to experience Cathay's renowned service. This trip will be my first time to Indonesia, and the HKG-YYZ trip will be the longest flight I've ever taken. 

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24 hour holds now available on of

United image

There has been lots of talk of the issues in the first month since the system changeover between United and Continental.  Some of the discussions here on Upgrd include:  Problems with United Clubs, mileage posting, missing segments.  United provided their own summary, and finally Matthew posted some humor. 

In my own experience, it has not been smooth, I've had lots of annoyances, but thats not the focus of my post. 

I was working on a booking ...

Seeking advice for a possible upcoming transcon on United

Being based in the middle of the country, I don't have the opportunity to fly many transcons.  Typically my longest domestic flights are from Chicago to the west coast.  I occasionally have the need to fly between the coasts, and I have an opportunity to do so coming up

I'm going to be in DC for a weekend, and need to be in SFO the following Monday, ideally by noon or so.  I can obviously fly IAD-SFO, but most flights look like they are on Airbus, which will be very ...

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A review of Fairmont Le Chateau Frotenac, Quebec City


I recently visited Quebec City for a conference.  I will often go out of my way to stay with a preferred hotel chain, but this was one case where I didn't mind booking elsewhere.  The meeting was at the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac.  


The Chateau Frontenac is one of several railway hotels across Canada originally built to serve customers traveling across Canada by train.  It is a grand style hotel, originally built in ...

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Scuba Diving on the Great Barrier Reef with the Spirit of Freedom


I had a few people ask me about my experiences while scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, so I'm finally writing up some thoughts.  This trip was part of my mega trip to Australia and New Zealand on Virgin Australia, which I booked with Delta Skymiles.  

Final approach to LZR, the landing strip on Lizard Island, Queensland, Australia.

Scuba diving is one of my favorite leisure activities, so many ...

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Moving credit limits on Chase cards

Chase Logo

I have several Chase credit cards, and I recently experienced something that I want to share.  It was a very easy process, and I think it can be useful for others in a similar situation.


Chase logo thanks to Flickr


In my case, I had the British Airways Visa that I got primarily for the 100,000 mile sign up bonus that I am using for a trip on Cathay Pacific.  I don't intend to keep ...

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Trip Report: The Hyatt Regency Indianapolis


I've been to Indianapolis fairly frequently for business trips, and stayed in various hotels.  My trip in late 2011 was my first stay at the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis.  Like many Hyatts located in a city center, the building is somewhat dated, but this property was nearly completed with its interior renovation when I visited.  There was of course, the Super Bowl coming to Indianapolis in early 2012, so many hotels across Indy were being renovated. 

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Chase Hyatt Visa adding chip for US cardholders


Today I received an email from Chase about my Hyatt Visa with some interesting news:




You are one of the first Cardmembers who will receive a new Hyatt Credit Card with Smart Chip technology. This new feature will provide additional convenience and security when traveling abroad.


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A review of the Westin Nova Scotian


I had a business trip to Halifax earlier this winter.  Its a city I've looked forward to visiting for some time, but I was hoping for a trip in the warmer months.  Fortunately, when I visited, it was unseasonably warm, so I was able to explore the city during my limited free time.

view of Halifax Harbor from the Westin

There are various full service hotel options in central ...

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Are cute women more likely to be selected for TSA body scanners?

AIT scanner

There have been some recent news reports discussing TSA forcing women through body scanners (nude-o-scopes) due to their looks.  One woman claimed she was asked to submit to scanning 3 times before the TSA agent let her go.  

According to CBS 11 in Dallas: 

The female agent asked her to enter the machine three times in the incident several months ago. But the agent eventually lost patience with the requests coming from the other room, she told CBS ...

Air Canada's Customer service: an easy solution

Air Canada IFE

I had a domestic flight on Air Canada flight where I experienced simple but effective compensation in response to a delay.

I arrived at the gate just before boarding was scheduled to begin.  Boarding time came and went, and finally the agent announced that we were waiting for a disabled passenger to be offloaded from the previous flight before boarding could begin.  Once that passenger deplaned, the cleaners had to get on board.  Then boarding began, and as Murphy's Law ...

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Skymiles to New Zealand with Virgin Australia


I had many wonderful experiences on my trip to New Zealand and Australia in late 2011.  I got to experience V Australia's service and really maximized the value out of a Delta Skymiles redemption. 

Split apple rock, Abel-Tasman National Park


Since have a lot of blog content relating to my trip, I wanted to organize them all into one place as well as wrap up my thoughts on this great ...

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Starwood Preferred Guest program updates


Starwood has recently announced some positive changes to their program.  These will take effect on March 1, 2012.  Kevin noted that Hilton also has recently improved the offerings of the Hilton Honors program.  Despite the economy improving and business travel increasing, I'm all for these positive changes for customers making for more competition among the hotel chains.   


Pool view at ...

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Virgin Australia business class from Sydney to Los Angeles


From the Air New Zealand Koru Club in Sydney, we boarded our V Australia flight to Los Angeles. 

The 777-300ER taking us to LAX


We flew this service on the outbound from LAX to SYD in VA Business, so we were familiar with what to expect, although this time my wife and I were flying together, so it makes for a bit more pleasant experience for the long flight.  This flight typical of ...

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Virgin Australia domestic arrival in Sydney, V Australia check in and the Air New Zealand Lounge


As I mentioned, we had a bit of an extended stay at the Virgin Australia lounge in Melbourne.  Once we were finally ready to depart, the flight to Sydney was quite uneventful.  We arrived at the domestic terminal, but despite assurances when we checked in in Melbourne, and the paperwork we were given, there were no agents there to help us with our transfer to the International terminal.  We had to collect our bags, then get on the terminal shuttle bus.  I was not ...

Virgin Australia lounge in Melbourne and flight to Sydney


We had an early departure from the Park Hyatt Melbourne, which began a very long day of travel.  It started with a taxi in Melbourne, then 2 bus rides, flights from MEL-SYD-LAX-MSP-MKE and eventually ended with a taxi ride back to our house.  The odd thing about flying from Australia to the US, is that you can experience 2 sunrises on the same day.  This post is focused on the first part of that day's journey.

Our trip started with a few stresses, which only got worse ...

Park King Suite at the Park Hyatt and touring Melbourne


After our journey with Air New Zealand from Christchurch to Melbourne, we headed to the Park Hyatt for the last stay of the trip.  We arrived in the morning, well before the scheduled check in time, and unfortunately, I got a got a somewhat curt response from the front desk since "it is well before published check in time".  This was despite me asking my private line agent make a request.  It seems that request was not noted and had no effect whatsoever, but of course ...

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An unexpected flight on Air New Zealand: Christchurch to Melbourne


After a nice brief stay in Christchurch and a wonderful trip in New Zealand, the return portion of our journey was about to begin.  Our Virgin Australia award ticket had us flying back from CHC to MEL. 

As I have discussed before, actually getting to Melbourne proved to be a bit of a challenge. My Pacific Blue/Virgin Australia flight was changed to Air New Zealand. From that post:

The problems started when flying from Christchurch to Melbourne on what was supposed ...

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United Mileage Plus stickers for extended status


The United/Continental merger is a hot topic for those that are frequent travelers on either of those airlines.  It has recently been announced that the 2012 Mileage Plus program will officially begin on March 3, 2012, once all systems are merged. Below is some of the United has released:

2012 Premier status levels and associated benefits will officially begin March 3rd. For those of you who have qualified for 2012 Premier status, you’ll receive a new credential card in ...

Touring earthquake-ravaged Christchurch and the Jetstar flight from Queenstown


After we checked out of the lovely Hilton Queenstown, it meant our New Zealand trip nearly at its end.  The final segment of the NZ trip was a flight to Christchurch.  There weren't a lot of options for this flight that would have had timing work well for our needs.  I saw flights both on Air New Zealand and Jetstar (low cost carrier that is a Qantas subsidiary).  I was able to book a nonstop flight on Jetstar for under NZ$50 per person including baggage fees.  I'm ...