Review: New York JFK – Abu Dhabi Etihad First Class Apartment, the Best Flight in the World

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Sep 29 2016

I’ve argued many times that the greatest luxury in air travel is space and privacy. As a result there’s no first class product that comes close to Etihad’s First Apartment on the Airbus A380. There’s an inflight chef, an onboard shower, but that’s all extra.

It’s the sheer spaciousness of the suite that makes this the best first class in the sky — and I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to fly it again and to be redeeming miles to do so.

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13 Best Songs About Travel

Comeflywithme
Sep 28 2016

Following my stab at a list of the 13 best movies about travel, I thought I’d work to come up with the very best songs about travel.

That’s a very different exercise than the best travel songs, this isn’t a ‘play list for the road’ it’s about borrowing someone else’s poetry to describe the travel experience. There’s no question that George Gershwin didn’t write Rhapsody in Blue to be about travel, but it’s equally clear that the 1924 composition has become inextricably linked with United Airlines.

What songs most evoke travel for you and are missing from my list? Which ones here are new to you?

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A New Trick to Jump the Upgrade Queue on American (But if You Don’t Know It, You Could Lose Out)

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Sep 28 2016

American Airlines gate agents are under a lot of pressure to get flights to push back exactly on time. As a result they organize their duties around this goal, at the expense of passengers.

There’s another wrinkle that several readers have emailed me about, though I haven’t experienced directly: gate agents who process upgrades by calling people at the gate, and skipping them if they aren’t waiting at the gate.

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Department of Justice Standing in the Way of Alaska-Virgin America Merger

westcoast
Sep 28 2016

Earlier in the week Alaska Airlines agreed to delay the close of its acquisition of Virgin American to at least October 17 in order to give the Department of Justice more time to review anti-trust issues.

Of course the Justice Department doesn’t need ‘more time’ so they can think deeply about the issue and decide what to do. They’ve clearly expressed reservations about the deal. We can conclude:

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Free American Airlines Lounge Access if You Have United or Delta Status

Last year I wrote How to Get – and Use – Airline Status Matches. Travel providers are interested in acquiring their competitors’ best customers, but elite status has a lock-in effect. Sure, you might want to defect from United to American or from Delta to Alaska, but it’s pretty tough to do that and start from scratch with a new airline. You’re well treated as an elite, and it’s rough out there flying without any status (although now the bottom tier of status can be approximated in many cases with the airline’s co-branded credit card). So airlines came up first with status matches (you have elite status with a competitor, we will give you that status on our airline to make it easier to move your business over) and then status challenges (we’ll let you…

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Free Upgrade to AwardWallet Plus, and This Time I Won’t Run Out of Codes!

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Sep 27 2016

Last month I gave away 106 upgrades to AwardWallet Plus. I’ve updated this post on the first 2 things you should do when you’re new to the frequent flyer hobby with an unlimited number of free upgrades.

See, these giveaways of premium AwardWallet membership were controversial because this site has a lot more than 106 readers, some people who saw the offer first figured out they could apply lots of codes to their account — they would grab free premium service for a decade or more leaving other readers without, and there was no good way to track and show which codes had already been used. It turns out there is a solution for this!

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Should You Fly First Class on a US Airline or Business Class on an Asian Carrier?

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Sep 27 2016

Not all Asian carriers have the top business class products, but all of the truly best business class products are offered by Asian or Middle Eastern carriers. Take Singapore Airlines. With a four-across configuration like in first class, Singapore Airlines seats are incredible wide and they are also relatively private.

Increasingly US airlines are eliminating first class, with American slated to be the last carrier offering it and then only on their small fleet of Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. And US airlines don’t offer service or food that’s as good in first class as some of the better carriers offer in business. But I’ll still always take first class over business class.

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How to Earn Top Elite Status With Nothing But Credit Card Spend

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Sep 27 2016

Delta, Marriott, and Hilton are the major programs that are the easiest to ‘game’ with spending alone towards top tier elite status.

Other programs make it possible, and most offer some modicum of status for spend or even just for being a co-brand credit card holder. But for this post I’m interested in the upper tiers of status that generate the most benefits, so I’ll describe the techniques that work for each.

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With These Airlines You’ll Want to Eat Onboard — Not at a Restaurant

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Sep 27 2016

t’s rarely the case that airlines will provide meals that will be better than what you can get on the ground. The prepacking in the flight kitchen, constrained spaces onboard, and altitude present real challenges. And food is hardly the primary driver of my choice of premium cabin airline (heh, award space usually is!).

But some airlines do a fantastic job despite the challenging conditions.

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