Bits ‘n Pieces for July 4, 2013

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • Earlier in the week I wrote about a blogger declining a pilot’s offer to join the mile high club. Now one accidentally joins?

  • Free $45 on-demand car service credit. That’s more than a free ride for most trips, and may be as much as three free rides depending on distance. Turns out the promotion does indeed run through July 7 (at least as long as the $25 Amazon Local component doesn’t get pulled first).

  • On the subject of car service discounts, Online Travel Review says Groundlink will give you 15% off with promo code BLOG15.

  • Garuda Indonesia is slated to join Skyteam and now will be adding a first class product with ‘chef on board’ service. Should be an interesting option for redeeming Chase points transferred to Korean Air.

  • Terry Maxon reviews the arguments over whether the government should extract a pound of flesh — in the form of slots at Washington’s National airport — as part of not blocking the merger between US Airways and American.

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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, 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. Using the R-word in DCA’s name like the author does (gratuitously!) is a sign that he’s never lived here, and probably shouldn’t be recommending policy on our airport.

    As someone who uses National almost exclusively for domestic travel, I’m happy to put up with a layover in Chicago or Dallas when I have to fly to some backwater rather than paying higher prices across the board because US has reduced competition.

  2. @liucoke – I always refer to “National airport” and never “Reagan National” … I vastly prefer using National even with a connection over Dulles. I’d rather keep the route network that exists than redistribute slots and have more duplicative flights inside the 1250 mile perimeter in which flights are permitted without a federal exemption.

  3. @Gary:

    You see “duplicative flights”. I see more competition and more capacity — and therefore lower prices and more availability — on routes that large numbers of people want to fly. That seems like a very good deal, even though it means losing some non-stops to places a small group of people want to go. I suspect that the relevant antitrust agency’s economists will see it the same way.

    The worry, of course, is that the small group that would lose service includes some congressmen. And I can easily see them pushing for keeping the status quo because it’s good for them, even though it’s bad for the vast majority of people.

  4. @Rob yes more capacity likely drives down price on a given route. But it also means fewer destinations given DCA’s slot restrictions. You have the option of lower prices now via competition from alternate airports, you can go out to Dulles or BWI of course. Slot restrictions mean higher prices and fewer choices, and are the real root of the issue/tradeoff rather than redistribution of those slots of course..

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