US Airlines Continue to Cut Passenger Services, Please Investors

Snip, snip, snip….

This is apparently the week for US-based airlines to make all sorts of passenger un-friendly changes and cuts.  While ultimately screwing over the passengers, the cuts are largely going to please investors on Wall Street.

Just this week, Delta, United and JetBlue have announced some cuts that hurt the consumer, and in many cases, they’ve prettied-up their press releases to make it look consumer-friendly.  Tsk, tsk…

Some of the changes this week include:

  • JetBlue announces “refresh” of A320 cabins (read – less leg room)
  • JetBlue announces that free checked bags are no more!
  • United makes a number of “enhancements”
  • Delta announces new 2015 award chart
  • Delta eliminates stopovers and open jaws on award tickets

Continue Reading →

United Club Giveaway Winner

PPP Giveaway 111714And the winner is Suril from DC!   The winner was selected randomly from the 64 entries into this contest who either subscribed to my blog, followed me on Twitter, and/or re-tweeted the contest.  Suril plans on enjoying the United Club prior to a flight over the  holidays out of DCA or IAD!

Congrats, Suril, and thank you to all who participated!

As always, please feel free to subscribe to my blog by entering your info in the right-side column of this site, or follow me on the Twitters by clicking the Twitter Icon, or following me at @seanau4882.

 

REMINDER: United Club Pass Giveaway!

Just wanted to post a reminder about the two United Club passes that I’m giving away!  See the post below for more information…..

After going through my things, I’ve come up on a pair  of one-time United Club Passes (expiration 2/28/15).  They’re each valid for a one-time entry for one person at any United Club.  I’ll be giving BOTH passes away to ONE winner.

United 787-8 Dreamliner

United’s 787-8 Dreamliner

How to EnterPPP Subscribe

For this giveaway, there are THREE ways to enter:

  • Subscribe to my blog posts on the side column of the blog
  • Follow me on Twitter (@seanAU4882)
  • Re-tweet my post with contest link on Twitter (include the #PPPUCPass hash-tag)

Terms

  • Enter up to three (3) times with the method(s) above
  • Enter at any time between the time of this post and Monday (17 Nov 2014) at 3am EDT / 12am PDT
  • The winner will be selected using random.org
  • I’ll contact the winner via e-mail or Twitter DM
  • The winner should have a valid US or Canada mailing address (so I can mail the passes!)

Good luck!

GIVEAWAY: 2 United Club Passes!

After going through my things, I’ve come up on a pair  of one-time United Club Passes (expiration 2/28/15).  They’re each valid for a one-time entry for one person at any United Club.  I’ll be giving BOTH passes away to ONE winner.

United 787-8 Dreamliner

United’s 787-8 Dreamliner

How to EnterPPP Subscribe

For this giveaway, there are THREE ways to enter:

  • Subscribe to my blog posts on the side column of the blog
  • Follow me on Twitter (@seanAU4882)
  • Re-tweet my post with contest link on Twitter (include the #PPPUCPass hash-tag)

Terms

  • Enter up to three (3) times with the method(s) above
  • Enter at any time between the time of this post and Monday (17 Nov 2014) at 3am EDT / 12am PDT
  • The winner will be selected using random.org
  • I’ll contact the winner via e-mail or Twitter DM
  • The winner should have a valid US or Canada mailing address (so I can mail the passes!)

Good luck!

 

Review: United Global First Class Chicago to Munich

I started out my around the world trip with a Transatlantic flight from Chicago to Munich in United Global First Class.  After a longer than usual flight from Washington-DCA to Chicago, I arrived at O’ Hare and met up with my good friend, who would be joining me for the entire trip to Europe and Asia.  IMG_8624We spent an hour or so at the United Global First Class Lounge in O’Hare, primarily finishing up some last-minute bill paying and calling loved ones before we departed.  Finally, it was time for boarding, so we ventured to the gate where boarding had just commenced.

Continue Reading →

First Look: United Global First Class Chicago to Munich

Good afternoon from Munich!

After four days here in Munich, I’ve finally acquired some wifi good enough for a post at the Le Meridien Munich.  I put together some initial thoughts on the flight, but a full review is forthcoming.

I  arrived in Munich last Thursday on United flight 952 from Chicago on a three-class B777-200 in United Global First Class.  I did enjoy the flight – especially the seat – but it certainly had its shortcomings, as expected.

The seat was pretty fantastic, once again. I find it to have plenty of leg room and shoulder room, and it is really conducive to a comfortable night’s rest. I found myself awoken from maybe the deepest sleep I’ve had aboard an airplane.   This was the most important factor in the trip, since I wanted to arrive in Europe well rested and ready to take on Oktoberfest!IMG_8636

The service was good. Not great, not poor, but perfectly fine and good.  All requests were taken in a quick and friendly manner, though not overly personable or memorable.

The catering was not first-class caliber, but at least it was edible unlike my last two trips in United GlobalFirst, LAX-SYD and SYD-SFO.  The entree featured a beef tenderloin, which was okay.  The gnocchi was decent, but the asparagus was pretty bad.IMG_8671

At the end of the day, I didn’t go hungry, so the meal was enough for me, but it was of the quality of an international first class product.  Overall, I really enjoy flying from Chicago to Europe since the two extra hours allow for a much more relaxed flight with more time to get some rest after a leisurely dinner service. Flights from the east coast to Europe are typically way too short for my liking.

I got some decent rest, which is the name of the game for me when flying to Europe, so I was mostly happy with the flight, as it’s really hard to complain when traveling across the Atlantic in first class!

An Around the World Trip — Introduction

As I previously wrote, I will be embarking on a two-week journey around the World starting tonight.  While I’m meeting twelve other friends in Munich, two of them will be joining me for our exploits in Asia.

Though we all have somewhat different flights, we all did manage to get on the same THAI flight from Munich to Bangkok to Shanghai.  And we all managed to do it all with miles.

How exactly did we do it?

I’m so glad you asked…

Continue Reading →

Ten Tips for Planning an Oktoberfest Trip to Munich

My favorite trip  of the year is always my annual pilgrimage to Munich for the World’s largest festival — Oktoberfest!

This will be the fifth year in a row that I’ve attended the Wiesn in Germany, so I’ve learned on the fly, but at this point,  I think I know what I’m doing pretty well.

Oktoberfest is a 16-day festival that runs every year,  from the late September to the first full weekend in October.  Plan these dates accordingly.

Planning a trip to this foreign festival can be a daunting task, but here are ten tips along with several guides and recommendations: Continue Reading →

Around the World with US Airways Miles

A week from today, I will be embarking on another around the world adventure — this time it will include a stop at one of my favorite places in the World — Munich during Oktoberfest.  The Oktoberfest trip is one that I’ve taken the past four years, so it was a no-brainer to book a fifth straight year at the Weisn.

I will be joining ten other friends in Munich for four days, and at least two days at the tents of Oktoberfest — the world’s largest festival.  We also plan to attend a Bayern Munich match, the famed Hofbrauhaus, and some other various sites in and around Munich.  Last year I was able to experience the closing of Oktoberfest, and it was definitely worth the effort to stay for it on Sunday night, so we will be enjoying the closing ceremonies once again from the Hacker Pschorr tent.

The 2013 Closing Ceremony at the Hacker-Pschorr Tent at Oktoberfest

The 2013 Closing Ceremony at the Hacker-Pschorr Tent at Oktoberfest

When planning this trip last year, I wanted to take advantage of a stash of US Airways miles that I had on hand, as I was uncertain of how the impending US Airways / American merger would affect the very favorable US Airways award chart.  As such, I decided to stretch the value of my miles as far as possible.  I also want to try several Star Alliance first class partners while I could, since one could no longer book US Airways on Star Alliance partners after March 31, 2014.

In order to squeeze that extra value out of my award, I decided to book a trip from the US to North Asia… yes, North Asia. Continue Reading →

Elite Status Challenges with American Airlines

Airlines – particularly legacy US carriers — value their elite passengers.  These passengers are widely viewed by the airlines to be some of their most profitable passengers, and as such, those passengers are extended numerous perks such as priority boarding, free checked bags, and first class upgrades.  For quite some time, most airlines offer published and un-published opportunities for elite passengers of its competitors called status matches or status challenges. The basic premise of a status match is that an elite member of Airline A would request and be granted equal status with Airline B once their elite credentials were verified.  A status challenge is where an elite member of Airline A is granted equal status with Airline B provided that the member flies X amount of miles/points/segments in Y amount of time (months).Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 9.06.54 PM

What is an American Airlines Status Challenge?

American Airlines currently offers varying levels of status challenge opportunities for elite passengers of rival carriers –  primarily United and Delta, though YMMV with other carriers.  There are currently three levels of status challenges: Continue Reading →