Featured Articles

Silvercar Adds Fort Lauderdale with $43/day Rates, Chicago is Next!

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Apr 27 2015

Silvercar announced Ft. Lauderdale as their 9th city, and strongly implies that number 10 will be Chicago. Silvercar of course is the company that rents only silver Audis. And they give you GPS, in-car internet, and no toll tracking administrative fees. They charge just $5 to refill gas at market rate. Promo code FLLE27 will get you 27% off their $59 introductory rates, or $43 a day (plus taxes). That’s even better than the $49 deal they’re running on all rentals this month (that’s valid at other locations as well). Although on a two day rental you’ll still do better with the Frequent Traveler University discount code FTU50 which will give even existing customers $50 off a rental of two days or more. The great thing is that these stack with Silvercar’s $25 bonus for…

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American’s New Plan to Renovate All of Their Lounges

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Apr 27 2015

Two weeks ago I wrote about American’s new lounge design.

American, today, has finally announced it and it looks very much like their old new lounge design, which is to say it’s quite similar to the most recently-opened lounges such as in Buenos Aires and the midfield concourse at LAX and even Paris.

The idea is that eventually all of the lounges get re-done. Here’s details of the renovation and which clubs go first..

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Any Room Charge on an Award Stay Enough for 30,000 Club Carlson Bonus Points

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Apr 27 2015

When Club Carlson announced that their co-brand Visa will stop giving second night free on award stays, they offered something of a sweetener to make the news go down more easily. They announced 30,000 bonus points on your next stay paid with the card by August 31. Presumably that was to keep cardmembers from cancelling their Club Carlson Visa — since they’d need to hang onto the card and use it to earn the 30,000 points, and presumably many would have cooled down or forgotten the devaluation by then. Reader B.K. confirms for me that it doesn’t actually have to be a paid stay in order to earn the 30,000 points. Any hotel charge that posts to your account should work. He passes along an award stay where he had a food and beverage charge…

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Let’s Help Out a Honeymooner Stranded by United.. My Advice Is Radically Different from Another Consumer Advocate.

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Apr 26 2015

United’s flight schedule from Antigua has changed, and honeymooners have to stay in paradise an extra night. Their hotel wants $900.

One consumer advocate says they should go to Congress for help. I say they should get the United flight segment refunded, and take the American non-stop home instead… or book a cheaper hotel for that last night. What say you?

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Airbus Celebrates 10 Years of the A380 — With Disingenuous Claims

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Apr 26 2015

Airbus released a video on Friday celebrating 10 years of their A380 program. The video was produced before Airbus announced a new higher-density economy configuration, or they conveniently ignore their own announcement when talking about economy class comfort. Of course it’s a promotional video and they make some rather incredible claims. The video suggests that the A380 is more efficient than the Boeing 787 because you’d “need 2 787s to carry as many passengers” and that would be more costly and burn more fuel. That misses the point, of course: the question is whether a given route has as many passengers as an A380 can hold, where it’s economical to fly such a large aircraft. You need to fill an A380 for it to make sense. And that’s not something that works on most routes.…

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Here’s How New Boeing Overhead Bins Will Make Boarding Faster and Flying Easier

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Apr 26 2015

Many flyers don’t remember that before 9/11 passengers could take two carry on bags onboard. Generally passengers had a free allowance of three bags — and those could be two carry ons and one checked bag, or one carry on and two checked bags.

This changed by government regulation. The TSA wanted fewer bags going through the checkpoint, which meant less screening work, and fewer delays given a fixed throughput at the checkpoint.

Continental Airlines actually pushed back: they had installed higher capacity overhead bins as a customer convenience. Passengers wanted to carry on bags, and they viewed this accommodation as a competitive advantage.

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How to Avoid Onboard Fistfights and Still Get the Seats You Want

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Apr 26 2015

A couple of weeks ago the New York Times carried a trend piece on arguments over seat swapping onboard.

I suppose if desires to switch seats are a trend, it’s a function of:

  • Fewer seats available for advance assignment, as airlines want customers to pay for ‘premium’ seats (more and more seats are designated as somehow premium even though they aren’t better)
  • Full planes, so fewer seats left for assignment at time of booking.

Nonetheless, it amazes me how many people don’t secure advance seat assignments, usually on international flights, and this is for people who really care where they sit.

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SEC Filings Reveal Data Behind American’s Frequent Flyer Program

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Apr 26 2015

American Airlines has consistently revealed key metrics for the AAdvantage frequent flyer program in their 10-K SEC filings. And that let me build a spreadsheet showing how many members of the program there are, how many miles outstanding and redeemed for a given year, and what percentage of miles were accrued through partners rather than from flying.

What we see in the numbers is that American has had success in printing miles, selling them to partners, but also redeeming them. And the number of miles outstanding really hasn’t grown especially quickly over the years. So there’s not a situation of ‘too many miles chasing too few seats’ though if anything at the moment it’s ‘too few seats’.

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