News Posts

United Slashes Partner Earning Rates

With cuts coming left and right in the world of airline loyalty programs, I must admit I no longer wince in pain when a new devaluation announced. The question of devaluation is not if, but when and how much. United has finally published its 2015 partner earnings charts, set to take effect on 01 ...
8 Comments

IAG Group Moves Closer to Aer Lingus Acquisition


IAG Group, parent company of British Airways and Iberia, has made its third offer to acquire Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus, this time at €2.50/share. Irish news sources are reporting the Aer Lingus board is "set to accept" the latest bid, but details remain unclear of what IAG would ...

Illiterate Chinese Farmer Fined for Smoking Onboard Cathay Pacific Flight


The "glory days" of smoke-filled 747 lounges with baby grand pianos and circular staircases has been replaced with a harsh new reality--light up onboard and you'll face a heavy fine or jail time. From Britiain's finest news source, it appears that one illiterate Chinese farmer learned this ...

No Imminent Star Alliance Membership Announcement for Royal Air Maroc


I knew it sounded too good be true -- could Star Alliance really woo Royal Air Maroc into its alliance when it already was the dominant alliance in Africa? Would EgyptAir, Ethiopian Airlines, South African Airways, and Brussels Airlines really want more competition in their own backyard? Would ...

Royal Air Maroc to Join Star Alliance?

The formalities are not complete, but a Swiss news agency is reporting that Royal Air Maroc, the national carrier of Morocco, will join Star Alliance.
Royal Air Maroc would bolster's Star's dominance in the region, joining Egypt Air, Ethiopian Airlines, and South African Airways as the fourth ...
2 Comments

The Cuba Travel Ban is Over!

While pure tourism is still not technically allowed for Americans in Cuba, the travel ban is over – the veil has been lifted and Cuba is now open legally to all. Under new rules issued in response to President Obama’s decision to strengthen ties between Washington and Havana, it is now ...
1 Comment

No Tourist Visas After All for Saudi Arabia

Well, when something seems too good be true, even if we are just talking about a visa to Saudi Arabia, it probably is...

The Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) has now denied that it will issue tourist visas starting in June 2015. Instead, it will continue to focus on building infrastructure to better serve the needs of local tourists; the citizens and residents of Saudi Arabia.

Tourist visas for foreigners may still come one day -- the SCTA called it a "postponement" rather than a permanent policy -- but don't expect anything soon, especially when transit visas are no longer available.

Oh well...so much for that!

7 Comments

Saudi Arabia to Offer Tourist Visas Starting in June 2015

06 JAN 15 UPDATE: No Tourist Visas After All for Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is not quite the hermit kingdom of North Korea, but it remains an elusive destination, difficult to enter and currently impossible to be an official tourist in outside of a narrow exception for Hajj or Umrah ...
2 Comments

Breaking: AirAsia Flight from Surabaya to Singapore Missing

In a year in which two Malaysian Airlines aircraft have tragically been lost, another airliner has sadly lost contact with air traffic control this evening. The AirAsia Indonesia A320 was (hopefully is) carrying 155 passengers and seven crew members.
An AirAsia flight travelling from the ...

Woman Spends Weekend in Jail for Changing Seats on United

When I was thrown off a United Airlines flight for taking a picture of my seat, many were quick to attack -- blaming me for being over-entitled and concluding that I was wrong to even question the FA's confusion over in-flight photography. Such attacks were unfounded, but at the same time I could ...
13 Comments

Air New Zealand to Start Auckland to Buenos Aires Route


For Star Alliance flyers trying to connect between Australia or New Zealand and South America, options are not just limited -- there are no flights at all. Connecting via North America or Africa is required, adding hours to an already-long journey. With new aircraft comes new opportunity and ...
5 Comments

United Airlines Now Processing Lufthansa GPU Upgrades Electronically

United Airlines and Lufthansa were both founding members of the Star Alliance and have maintained a close relationship as both codeshare and joint venture partners over years. United's top-status 1K flyers receive six GPUs (Global Premier Upgrades) each year and as part of that partnership, can use ...
1 Comment

United Airlines Mimics Delta, Raises 2016 Elite Requirements

The consultants United Airlines hires to provide strategic advice on loyalty innovation and how to increase profit must have a pretty easy job...watch Delta, then copy. Once again, United has mimicked Delta in increasing elite status thresholds for 2016 in a move that makes sense in a season of ...
3 Comments

Chinese Tourist Visas Now Valid for 10 Years

President Obama is in Asia this week at APEC and the headline has been the climate change deal he announced with China...but wait, there's more! Of particular interest to travelers is another deal cut with China to extend visas for short-term business travelers, tourists, and students. The new ...
8 Comments

United Airlines, Hertz Partnership Adds Elite Benefits to MileagePlus

United Airlines and Hertz have announced a new partnership in which MileagePlus elite members will receive elite status in Hertz’s Gold Plus Rewards program and more miles for Hertz rentals.
 
Discounts and  Bonus Miles with Hertz
Hertz is already discounted on ...
5 Comments

5 Things to Know About the Latest Lufthansa Strike


Lufthansa pilots are striking again over proposed cuts to a lucrative early retirement program and will continue until 23:59 CET tonight. While the 35-hour strike was originally planned only to affect regional traffic within Europe, longhaul pilots have joined the work disruption in a show of ...

Ontario, CA Fights for Control of ONT Airport

Southern California’s Inland Empire is a vast sprawl of affordable housing and big box stores east of Los Angeles that also is home to Ontario International Airport (ONT).  The once-bustling airport now looks like a ghost town at most times of day, with even further cutbacks under ...
1 Comment

Airplane Food Delivered to Your Door!

I have a confession to make about airline meals. While most curse United Airlines for the "unchanging" "nasty" "disgusting" "tried" breakfast entrée pictured below, it is one of my favorite meals and if I had the chance to order it for home consumption, I would gladly pay for ...