It’s terribly ironic that the federal government’s (IMHO, correct) decision to deny United taxypayer backing for billion-dollar loan may have lead to the situation where the federal government is taking on an even larger liability for the airline’s pensions. Of course it’s possible that providing the loan would still leave the government in the position of picking up the pensions also. But United provides an interesting illustration of failed U.S. industrial policy. The airline has been operating under bankruptcy protection for two and a half years and continues to lose nine-figure sums each month. Despite cost-cutting and layoffs the airline has no path towards profitability, and labor relations are at a low point. The airline has been kept afloat by the government, by the courts which have kept aircraft lessors at bay (though a recent…
Ameniti, United’s “Luxury Travel Club” (which is useless in almost every regard) is offering a 3-month trial membership for $10. It comes with 2 United Red Carpet Club passes and Starwood Gold status, my best guess being through February 2007. If you allow your membership to renew after 3 months for a $295 annual fee you’ll receive 25,000 United miles. Otherwise, just cancel before 3 months are up.
Here’s a story about a husband and wife who took a month for their honeymoon and traveled around the world in business class — all on frequent flyer miles, with most of the hotel nights paid for in Hilton HHonors points. We saw the famed sunset in Key West, sandy black shores around Tahiti, the Opera House and governor’s mansion in Sydney, Bangkok’s ornate Grand Palace, the Ancient Agora in Athens and Sorrento’s Mediterranean Cliffs. We even got a personal marriage blessing from Pope John Paul II at the Vatican five months before he died I’m not making as many stops on my own upcoming honeymoon, but will travel to more than one part of the world over three weeks – in first class, not business, and also all on points.
Chris Elliott’s latest column, published in today’s New York Times is on airline status beyond the published benefits of elite frequent flyer programs. The gist is that high spenders receive rewards greater than those provided to an airline’s 100,000 mile flyers. On United and on other airlines, members of the secretive, invitation-only clubs are met at the airport by employees and whisked past the check-in line. They wait for their flights in unmarked V.I.P. lounges and are offered liberal upgrades and personalized attention by airline employees. And at a time when airlines are obsessed with improving their on-time records, it is not uncommon for a plane to be held for a super-elite member who is stuck in traffic. Chris gets some of the details wrong. He says that the Global Services designation requires only $20,000…
There’s a vending machine in the Atlanta airport that sells iPods. I hadn’t seen this. Though I don’t like Hartsfield one bit, it’s long had the best vending machines, especially for ice cream.Thanks to Marginal Revolution for the pointer.
The federal government spent billions of dollars on screening devices that didn’t work when it took over airport security. It didn’t make us any safer, but it made us feel safer “After 9/11, we had to show how committed we were by spending hugely greater amounts of money than ever before, as rapidly as possible,” said Representative Christopher Cox, a California Republican who is the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. “That brought us what we might expect, which is some expensive mistakes. This has been the difficult learning curve of the new discipline known as homeland security.” How bad are the screening systems? Customs officials at Newark have nicknamed the devices “dumb sensors,” because they cannot discern the source of the radiation. That means benign items that naturally emit radioactivity – including cat litter,…
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Continental is offering tickets to a Houston Astros game on May 19 for 25 miles apiece, limit 4. Offer expires May 12. (Hat tip Free Frequent Flyer Miles.)
Register to earn triple United miles at the first three iDine restaurants you eat at by June 30, up to 3000 bonus miles. A credit card set up to earn United miles for dining and an online iDine profile are required. (Okay, I can’t stop calling it iDine, I’ll never manage to refer to it as RewardsNetwork. But at least I’ve stopped calling it Transmedia.)Hat tip to Free Frequent Flyer Miles.
Receive 300 Priority Club points for requesting a price quote through FordDirect.com.