What to Do at the Airport, Which Upgrade System is Best, Bicycle Seats on a Plane, and Frequent Flyer Funnies

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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I think the Airbus bicycle seats are in preparation for making the aircraft of the future passenger-powered (at least in part). The next patent(s) will be for the pedals (and other mechanisms). Might not be such a bad idea after all — at least if our legs are all pumping away, the chance of getting DVT will be greatly reduced! 😉

    (There, said it first — I wonder how many others are thinking the same thing re: those seats.)

  2. Gary, after years of your asserting that the AA system is better for low tier elites, and me being somewhat doubtful, I must say that post June 11, my suspicions seem somewhat confirmed. As an AA PLT i have been 100% for upgrades on US, including redeyes and big hub to hub routes, and that is being last in line. Of course, a lot of it is that US just seems to reserve a LOT more inventory for upgrades with all their crazy seat blocking. I am sure that will be going away shortly.

  3. @CW – US Airways doesn’t sell as many first class seats. They also have lower concentrations of elite members in many of their maor cities. DCA-based US Airways elites do very very well. But that has little to do with the upgrade SYSTEM they employ..

  4. The more important question is if they will add a 4th tier at “Platium Plus” on AA and if it will be 75k or 100k EQMs

  5. Fair enough. But in agreement, I feel like the biggest differentiator of their “system” is, like you said, how much inventory they hold back. And of course that is likely to change going forward.

  6. So if AA’s sticker-based upgrade system is going the way of the dodo — which wouldn’t be good for low-tier me — what’s going to happen to people with a stack of unused stickers? My speculation would’ve been that they would be converted into miles even though they’ve reportedly stopped doing this recently. Alternatively, they could say, “Use it or lose it. You have six months.” The other on-line speculation I’ve seen is even less informed than mine. What do you think?

  7. @Tom my guess (totally uninformed) is that members do not get anything for their unused stickers, “You still get upgrades, and now they are FREE!” Although that will sting for people that have, say, just PURCHASED stickers unnecessarily. So we’ll see I guess.

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