Boldly Going Where No Credit Card Has Gone Before, and the One Shocking Reason Airline Complaints Are Up

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • The French tip even less than Brits. That’s a result I wouldn’t have expected, though one the whole the French have a reputation for being remarkably frugal. Few do more with less in the developed world than the French.

  • Four new Star Trek credit cards are being launched in September: Starfleet Academy Alumni, Starfleet Command, United Federation of Planets, and the Captain’s Card. They’re all the same except for card design, and earning is weak. So it’s really just an affinity play, like the Saturday Night Live MasterCard, Sex Pistols MasterCard, and the Karl Marx MasterCard.

  • “Singapore Airlines accused of cover-up of in-flight violence” That’s a bold charge but reading through the article the facts don’t seem to support it. The crux of the issue appears to be that a drunken Singaporean got up from his seat midflight, slapped a flight attendant, and and poured champagne on a passenger. Flight attendants subdued the man and no additional violence occurred.

    When the San Francisco – Seoul flight landed, the airline took statements. Incheon’s airport police “said that the carrier informed them that the in-flight violence was caused by a mentally disturbed man, but it did not request for a police investigation.”

    Nonetheless, “[t]he attacker was briefly questioned by police” but “his behavior didn’t seem serious enough to issue an arrest warrant for.” Oddly the story also claims “[p]olice referred his case to the prosecution with a recommendation for indictment.” So unclear which it is — but hard to call this a cover up, it sounds like it wasn’t escalated to the extent some passengers would have preferred.

  • US air travel is as safe as it has ever been.

    As U.S. passenger airlines racked up their fifth straight year without a fatal crash, last week the National Transportation Safety Board reported that the overall mishap rate for domestic carriers was one accident for roughly 300,000 departures, barely higher than the record low figure of one accident for every 400,000 or so flights the year before. By another measure, the latest data amounts to one accident per roughly 700,000 flight hours, or about half as frequently as during the late 1990s.

  • And yet complaints to the Department of Transportation are on the rise up 20% year-over-year. Still, with fewer than 10,000 complaints overall (and the year-over-year variance perhaps explained by thousands of complaints that United didn’t honor transatlantic fares mispriced in Danish kroner), I’m not sure how much that matters.

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. I’d say that the low-tipping French tourist is due less to stinginess than to a different restaurant culture entirely. Unlike the United States, it’s not considered demeaning at all to be a waiter for your whole career (in fact, you work your way up TO waiter, after starting out as kitchen help.) Waiters make a decent income on their wages alone, and tipping is just not A Thing. So the French, traveling abroad, tend to assume that the price on the menu _is_ the price. Inflexible? Yes… but then, American tourists don’t tend to adjust very well to local customs either.

    Granted, this system can lead to an entirely different customer service experience… the phrase “the customer is always right” does not travel well.

  2. Talking about big complainers, did BoardingArea just drop Chris Elliott? I don’t see him in the list of bloggers anymore.

  3. Come on, Points and Pixie Dust is still there!!!
    And Jamie The Creepy Forward Cabin, thanks god!!!

  4. The One Shocking Reason My Visits to “View From The Wing” Are Down!

    Less Depth + More Fluff = Too Much Time Spent For The Value Received

    …not to mention the puerile clickbait titles.

    Not criticizing this particular post, but in general: Bloggers who attempt to maximize credit card signup bounties by posting vacuous clickbait are just as short-sighted as airlines who continually devalue their frequent flier programs.

  5. @nsx – “Not criticizing the particular post” but you decide to criticize “maximiz[ing] credit card signup[s]..” in a post with no credit card links? And YOU’RE criticizing too much time spent for value received?? 😀

  6. I hate these “one shocking reason” clickbait titles – they’re NEVER “shocking” and usually boring, like yours is today. Such wording makes me avoid clicking but I wanted to leave this comment. Can you please reserve the word shocking for stuff that is really shocking?

  7. I don’t know about labor law in France or the living standards specific to waiters in that country. But I’ve often seen French-Canadians so cheap I was embarrassed for them. Maybe they’re just born with it, like garlic in the blood.

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