How Will I Be Able to Talk Miles and Points in 20 Minutes… TODAY?

This will be short because I have nothing unique to add to the conversation. I’m about to give a talk at Chris Guillebeau’s World Domination Summit on travel, and I don’t really want to.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great group of people, and it’s a talk that I love — but with the news of the Asiana crash in San Francisco it’s a little bit difficult to focus on my usual pedantic concerns of points, miles, first class cabins.

And yet I won’t be posting much on the subject of the crash because I don’t have special knowledge from being on the scene, or special expertise other than as an observer of travel about crash investigations.

I’ve just been following twitter for my updates. And I know to discount much of what’s reported in real time. First, it was that the flight was coming from Taipei. And then:

There was this hopeful statement.

And a first-hand tweet from a crash survivor.

I spent a good bit of time looking to see if anyone had booked onto the Asiana Seoul – San Francisco flight today via my award booking service. And I fielded queries about friends who were flying back from Seoul today (they weren’t on the San Francisco flight).

We know only dribs and drabs at this point, and since I have no special insight I’ll just say that religious or not all of our thoughts focus on this even as we go on talking about things that seem small in comparison.

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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. That is our first response, isn’t it? To check if we knew anyone or anyone we now knew anyone. I think the checking is out of utmost caring. Then we turn to CNN, flyertalk, Twitter, etc. I was planning to spend part of this afternoon writing Blog posts about my most recent trip or credit cards or other trivial topics, but I can’t write..

    glad you and those you know are well.


  2. I definitely agree with the “grain of salt” you receive early info with.

    I’m not normally one to defend CNN, but an early tweet I saw said the Asiana flight was a freight plane and not a passenger flight. Using the same caution about early information could have caused the “unclear whether passengers were on board” comment by CNN.

  3. Huff Post is saying Asiana is a oneworld carrier.

    Why be that specific – on largely irrelevant information at the moment – if you aren’t highly confident that you’re correct? Now they’ve changed it to Star Alliance, with some notable new anchors!

    “It has recently tried to expand its presence in the United States, and joined the Star Alliance, anchored by American Airlines and British Airways.”

  4. Cant find the link, but an early AP report had said Asiana had just joined OneWorld. Would love to have some extra options with my US+AA points…

  5. There are two things that bothed me. The first is that they kept saying it was from Taiwan when I know they don’t fly that route. The other is a witness who stated that the plane hit tail first and cartwheeled down the runway. I think she was using pronouns and meant to say that the tail cartwheeled. While she knew what she meant the news didn’t once stop to think about what it was she was saying and reported it as she said it. The plane would be completely destroyed if it had done anything close to a cartwheel and id like to think that is completely obvious to most intelligent people.

  6. One of the radio networks kept pronouncing Asiana as you would pronounce the word “asiago” (as in the cheese). Not a big deal, considering the scope of what had happened, but annoying/silly enough that I finally switched the station.

  7. i think you should comment on the story that Sheryl Sandberg was originated booked on that Asiana flight, but changed her flight to United so that she could redeem her United miles for her family members.

    perhaps you could comment on the difficulty of using United miles for booking miles tickets on Asiana that actually saved her yesterday…

  8. @Surffnutt3000 — I’ve only ever heard the name Asiana spoken in a television commercial, and I’m certain the narrator pronounced AH-ze-ah-na, indeed as in the cheese.

  9. I found the CNN coverage to be deplorable–especially from their resident travel “expert” Richard Quest. reddit and airliners net had more accurate information 30-60 minutes ahead of the networks.

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