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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Cut Off From the World

I’ve traveled to some isolated places in my time, but here’s a country you can’t fly or, since last month, even reach by telephone. The tiny Pacific island of Nauru has spent weeks completely cut off from the outside world after its telecommunications network collapsed. Its isolation is so complete that no one is even sure who the country’s president is any more.

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Leveraging Frequent Flyer Programs: A Small Idea to Win New Customers

Why don’t airlines allow mileage accumulation on award tickets? Sure, why reward someone twice — they’re already getting a free ticket, right? But most everyone offers a free ticket to the same destinations for the same price. It could be a nice way to one-up the competition, and miles aren’t particularly expensive for an airline (see the USAirways giveaway from the Fall, or Continental in the Spring on 2001). Okay, fine, airlines are cutting back and not rewarding more. Or they see the future in low-cost carriers rather than in business travelers — so their new market is less-dependent upon loyalty programs. I think they’re off base, but that’s just my uninformed opinion. 🙂 But what if they did something a bit more targeted? What if they said — no mileage accumulation on award tickets,…

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Keeping Abreast of Hooters Air Developments

Hooters Air is just two weeks away from regular service. Here’s what’s on offer: Myrtle Beach-Atlanta starts March 6, once daily except Tuesdays. Atlanta-Newark starts March 20, once daily except Tuesdays. Myrtle Beach-Neward starts April 3, once daily except Tuesdays. All the details of the new airline can be found here. Photos of a Hooters plane and of a cabin interior can be found here Fares start at $99 roundtrip. Aircraft feature all leather seating, extra legroom, and (2) Hooters girls.

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Expensive Advice

I said yesterday that United’s go-forward plan made for interesting reading. But it certainly isn’t worth $1 million a month in consulting fees to McKinsey & Company, and United’s unsecured creditors agree. They’re asking the bankruptcy court to stop the engagement.

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Path forward for United?

United’s January 31 presentation to its creditors committee makes for some (long) interesting reading. It gives a fairly detailed look into where United sees itself and the rest of the industry, and makes its case for: * cutting back mainline flying * growing the regional jet fleet * cutting fees paid to regional partner airlines * starting up a low-cost carrier United believes they are the ultimate Road Warrior airline, but that the Road Warrior segment (high fares, wants First Class) is deteriorating rapidly. United also believes that they are poorly positioned for leisure traffic. A low-cost carrier on leisure routes is their solution. Now, I do see some problems. First, they give away a bit of their myopia when they offer a slide blaming their problems on the Internet. (Customers know price options, spurs…

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