Bits ‘n Pieces for September 4, 2012

Some links, news, and opinion from around the interweb:

  • Christopher Elliott notes that the Republican Party platform calls for reform of the TSA and private screeners. He didn’t expect anything similar in the Democratic Party platform, and he was correct (.pdf).

    Elliott concludes that it’s an election year issue, but I’m not so sure. Most items in party platfoms aren’t ultimately issues that get play during a campaign. They serve more to cement coalitions and demonstrate relative status within a party rather than representing even what a Presidential candidate’s position on an issue will be.

  • As of November 1, only elite members of LANPASS will be permitted to use miles for upgrades.

  • The September issue of Inside Flyer‘s Ask Randy section (subscription required) recommends my award booking service.

    [T]here are a number of bona fide experts in award travel redemption. I would have no qualms in recommending as one of two or three services that so far have garnered excellent reputations for finding those “business or better” seats in tight markets, and more importantly, with challenging programs such as Avios. So, here are two very reasonable options for you using as few miles and cash as possible. In my mind, paying someone to find this solution for you is money well spent and the best part is that you only pay for results. If only $150 is standing between a trip to Cape Town (to visit the fabulous wine country there), then it truly is money well spent.

  • Via Lucky, a 4 minute video on Cathay Pacific’s catering out of Vancouver. I’m not overly impressed by Cathay’s food, at least as compared to Singapore, Asiana, or All Nippon. I do favor the Chinese options over their Western dishes, and in this video the stir fried lobster with ginger and green onion looks delicious.

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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. my opinion is that the Romney party are good at marketing and selling ideas. So they came up with this to look like they can accomplish something with the TSA but my experience with many marketers is that they are great at selling and promotions but not good with delivery and results. I think he’s blowing smoke. Good ploy but it wont swing me. Also, I may be mistaken here but wasn’t one of the problems with security back in 2001 the fact that some was run by private firms and some was government? I think it’s OK to have a one centralized TSA, but yes it does need to be reformed. I don’t think Romney will do anything though, if he gets elected. Well, now at least ya’ll know my politics.

  2. @marathon man – this has little to do with Romney, it’s driven by Ron Paul’s supporters on the committees that drafted the documents

  3. Doubt any of them will do anything about TSA, after all the only reason it was created is to promote the idea that the government are doing something to prevent terror attacks. The fact that it is just for show is neither here not there, with the liquids and shoe fiascos, being exhibits A & B supporting this.

  4. @marathon man – So you would not vote for someone who at least says that they would try to change what is in all fairness judged by many to be a broken system, yet you obviously believe that it needs changing. Instead you’d will vote for someone who thinks all is “hunky dory” and certainly won’t make any changes? That seems pretty illogical doesn’t it?

    Unfortunately, IMO the attitude that the TSA is a joke will persist as long as the organization continues the way it is doing things and hires the type of people it does. The rest of the world laughs at what many have described as our “security theater”. Does anyone really believe that without radical reform or a total rebuild of the system that we are truly safer? I don’t think so…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.