Upgrd Podcast

Upgrd 35: Everything Everywhere

This week we are joined by Gary Arndt from the Everything Everywhere blog and This Week in Travel podcast. Gary has spent over two and half years traveling the world and has some great insight and stories from the Pacific. Together we discuss flying in the Pacific, travel news, and:

The Continental Express overnight nightmare - again Are some people taking the Jetblue all you can fly pass too far? Flight delays Gary's long list of airlines flown Gary's ...

Upgrd 34: First Class Amenities

In this week's episode we discuss first class amenities, pajamas, and all sorts of good stuff up-front. However, without Ben our conversation lacked some details. So please help us out and post your favorite amenities and photos. In addition to the main topic we discussed:

Continental's join date to the Star Alliance on October 27th Continental's half-hearted compensation for stranded passengers Frustrated airline tweets and how people are expressing their concern ...

Upgrd 33: Stay Classy San Diego

This week's episode is a quick one. We didn't have much on the agenda and the heat was sweltering so we kept it short. Join us as we discuss some news including:

  • Southwest's offer for Republic (at the time of recording)
  • Jetblue's $599 flight pass
  • Continental's regional flight that kept passengers stuck on board overnight
  • and more.

In addition, we discuss the San Diego Film Festival coming up at the end of September.  Book your mileage run now to meet us there for a live recording and other events. You can get a discount on an all access pass to the Film Festival by using the discount code UPGRD. Make sure you RSVP for the recording on Facebook.

Upgrd 32: Match Game

This week we revisit elite status matching on the different airlines. Generally status matching is a one time event, so if you are going to match proceed carefully. In addition to airline status matches we discuss some recent airline news including:

New pet relief area at American's JFK hub New pricing plans for GoGo Wifi Internet - finally some plans for the mileage runners out there More turbulent news from Continental with an unlucky patch of rough flying Air ...
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Upgrd 30: El Airline

This week we are joined by David a frequent traveler on El Al to discuss the inflight service and amenities as well as their frequent flyer program. We hope that this will be the first of many podcasts covering international airlines to broaden our coverage of airline programs worldwide. This week we discuss:

  • Matthew's trip to Israel - including the Airbus scare that caused some passengers to deboard
  • El Al's onboard food and catering
  • King David lounges
  • Upgrades, not dogs and more ...
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Upgrd 29: Alaska...Mystery

In this week's frequent flyer discussion we discuss the details of Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program. In addition we discuss:

  • The Alaska Airlines Board Room lounge
  • Status and earning levels on AS
  • Upgrades and their first class product
  • And news including Delta's loads on LAX-SYD, the red dress kerfuffle at Delta for flight attendants of size, and US Airways continued reduction in services - this time the closure of the LAS lounge

Please leave comments or questions below!

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Upgrd 28: Lounging Around

In this week's discussion we cover airline news, Star Alliance and Red Carpet Club domestic lounge access, and Ben's tour of beautiful LAX airport. Also we discuss:

  • Delta's recent fine for the way it handled denied boarding and compensation
  • Viewer mail on credit card earning for hotel stays, an EWR flyer's question about where to credit miles after reaching Platinum on CO, and questions about the United Mileage Plus Dining program
  • A review of RCC member access to other star alliance clubs while traveling domestically on UA
  • and more...

Please leave feedback below or through the Contact Us link at the top of the page.

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Upgrd 27: Primarily Here For Your Safety

In this week's show we talk with Sara, a flight attendant who regularly blogs at theflyingpinto.com. We asked many questions including listener submitted questions such as:

  • How does scheduling work?
  • How has the job changed since you started?
  • What are your best airline jokes?
  • Funniest / strangest passenger stories?
  • Anyone join the Mile High Club on your flights?
  • Do you get many gifts from passengers?
  • and many more.

Please leave feedback and questions for future episode below or using the contact us page on this site. Be sure to subscribe in itunes to get automatic downloads to your MP3 player.

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Upgrd 26: Pedal To The Metal

Vroom vroom! Once you've enjoyed your hots nuts at 30,000 feet and are at your destination, which car rental company should you use? This week's show discusses car rental companies and their elite programs. Including:

  • The differences in the elite programs between Hertz, Avis, National, and the others
  • Which program we prefer and recommend
  • Straight from the early jungle bus scene in "Romancing the Stone", Matthew discusses how he gets around on the ground.

Also we chat about the new Delta Airlines - Los Angeles to Sydney - service starting July 1. Who will be the big losers with all the overcapacity in this market? What do you think?

Don't forget to subscribe in itunes, and take our survey.

Upgrd 25: Dot Bomb

This week, we discuss the state of airline websites for booking round trip tickets and frequent flyer awards.  As many have complained before, the airline websites are still a mixed bag of old and new technology searching for a unified user experience and accuracy of pricing and results.

We discuss:

The general user interface problems with most of the legacy carrier's websites Other websites you may use when trying to book award inventory Our strong ...

Upgrd 24: Fifty 50

In this week's frequent flyer discussion, we talk about the mid-tier (50,000 mile) elite level of the major carriers in the U.S. We know many of our listeners maintain this status and want to know some of the differences of the programs including:

Free upgrades vs coupon or sticker paid upgrades First class seat count and how it affects your choice of airline for upgrades Whether you should choose a program based on your location only Does a program like Delta or ...
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Upgrd 23: You've got questions, we've got even more

This week we discussed a number of listener questions about frequent flyer and hotel programs. In addition to written questions received via email and on the upgrd.com site, we recorded a few questions in person at a recent SFO dinner.  Some questions include:

Is the standby option (via a different routing) some sort of 1K only perk? Which hotel program is best for someone residing in Canada that might not be eligible for US based credit card pomotions? What to do ...
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Upgrd 22: Box of Chocolates

Join us in this week's frequent flyer discussion about the Priority Club hotel loyalty program. We try to answer the "how much is a point worth" question specifically in relation to a much cheaper stay on priceline. Also we discuss:

  • United twares and other twitter nonsense
  • Irate United 1Ks
  • SkyAmerica - destined to failure before it launches?
  • Priority Club promotions
  • Value of PC points
  • Intercontinental Ambassador and Royal Ambassador program

Please email questions or  leave a comment below.

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Upgrd 21: Continental's Rising Star...Alliance

This week we are fortunate enough to be joined on our frequent flyer discussion by Scott O'Leary, Managing Director, Customer Experience, for Continental Airlines. Some of you may know him as CO Insider from Flyer Talk.

Our contributors had a number of questions for Scott, but to keep things to a sensible timeframe not every question made it. Some topics we discussed:

Continental Airlines award availability Starnet blocking!!! Will CO ever have SWUs? 737-900 ...

Upgrd 20: Please Stand By

Welcome to this week's frequent flyer show discussing stand by options when flying. We discuss options when you want to take an earlier or later flight on your day of travel. In addition we discuss:

  • The disturbing Continental 3407 NTSB recreation video
  • The poor American Airlines AAdvantage award redemption change
  • Confirmed standby and routing changes when standing by
  • and other recent news

We would appreciate your feedback in our first listener survey so we can learn more about your flying habits. The survey is only 9 questions and should be very quick to complete.

Please leave a comment, we want to hear from you!

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Upgrd Podcast 19: Genius

This week we are joined by Gary Leff, Flytalk Talkboard President, and View From The Wing blog writer. During this week's frequent flyer podcast we discuss Gary's just completed five carrier Star Alliance first class award. In addition, we banter about:

  • FlyerTalk TalkBoard and why Gary and Ben participate
  • Matthew's unlucky win
  • Viewer mail including award booking on American to Europe, and award booking tools to Europe for Delta
  • A brief discussion on Avis and Hertz's elite renter programs. Let us know what car rental program you use and we'll cover it in an upcoming episode
  • And, as always, Hunter questions the existence of life, the universe, and being a Delta elite

Please leave comments and questions below!

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Upgrd Podcast 18: Number 1 Fan

After a short break we are back with our next frequent flyer podcast. This week we are joined by Josh, a frequent contributor to our podcast and upgrd.com website. Josh has some good information on:

  • The American Airlines Business Extraa program - find out how you can get even more points from American
  • The new 737-800 cabin on American Airlines that we briefly discussed last time

We also discuss:

  • LAX
  • Hunter's non-love from Delta
  • and a special shocking request from Hunter for our listeners

Write in below!

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Upgrd Podcast 17: Not Necessarily The News

In this week's first class podcast we talk about:

  • Ben's trials and tribulations in economy (gasp!)
  • Video of American Airlines new 737 seats
  • United's new policy for passengers of size
  • Clarification on Ben's "always have upgrade instruments available" claim

We are taking next week off, so check back in two weeks for our next episode. Please leave comments below.

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Upgrd Podcast 16: You'll love the way we advertise

In this week's airline podcast, we are joined by guest contibutor Gray from his Wing and a Prayer blog.  We discuss:

Gray's recent trip to Uzbekistan, including how you get there on Star Alliance Matthew's 95,000 United miles accrued already A free op-up on Emirates

Our main topic is our opinion on current advertising from the airlines, including some of these recent (and not so recent) ads:

Delta "Change" ...