The Most Innovative Frequent Flyer Program and United Plane Barred from Russian Airspace

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • Guest leaves behind a snake in his Marriott hotel room by mistake

  • Jay Sorensen offer kudos for Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. Jay has long been an advocate of revenue-based programs, but Alaska’s continued rewarding of at least one mile per mile flown stands out.

    My first reaction has always been that revenue-based accrual is clearly the answer. Having said that, when I did the analysis regarding Alaska Airlines, they clearly have created a program that is very rewarding for lots of people. Not just long-distance travelers, but also for people who are buying more expensive tickets.

    What they have done is they’ve said, ‘We’ve made our program better and you’re going to continue to get good value from us.’ That’s a very compelling message.

    I really give Alaska kudos for innovation, but it’s weird to say that. It’s almost as if they’re being innovative by staying the same.

  • The Associated Press confirms the change in policy at Delta to allow gate agents and supervisors more flexibility in compensating customers in denied boarding situations.

    Raising the limits “lets them solve some PR problems” and might head off U.S. Transportation Department regulations to curb overbooking, said another travel blogger, Gary Leff. “They can say, ‘Look, we’re already solving the problem.'”

  • Photo of Christopher Walken opting out of the nude-o-scope in favor of an intimate pat down. As they say, “Let the memes begin!”

  • Federal Essential Air Service Not Essential

    Other critics of EAS say it’s a program that’s outlived its purpose. Travel blogger Gary Leff says the program was created in the 1970s “as a temporary measure to soften the blow of deregulation”. Leff writes in his “View From The Wing” blog that the program no longer serves a practical purpose, and uses its subsidy of Decatur air service as an example.

    “Decatur, Illinois is less than an hour from both Champaign and Springfield,” writes Leff. “It receives subsidized flights to St. Louis a mere 110 miles away by air. If passengers want to go to St. Louis they should drive. If passengers don’t want to fly out of Champaign or Springfield they should drive to St. Louis.”

  • United flight barred from Russian airspace for ‘diplomatic’ reasons

  • Hash tag #NewUnitedAirlinesMottos on twitter (HT: Alan H.) For instance,

  • Regulations have slowed Airbnb growth

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 would say EAS should be looked at on a case by case basis. There are definitely routes that don’t serve a practical purpose. However, I would think flights to some rural areas out west and Alaska would need EAS service. I think most routes could be eliminated in my home state of West Virginia as most of them are in driving distance of Charleston, Pittsburgh, or Columbus. The exemption might be Clarksburg as it is a pretty far drive to Pittsburgh and Charleston from there.

  2. Maybe someone was on board the United plane who has been sanctioned by Russia. US does just as much shit around the world as Russia does and just like we sanction their officials they sanction our officials as well. Someone on the plane might be high enough on the shit list to have fighters come up and force the plane down in Russia and arrest his ass. We have done similar when we have forced down planes in Europe and arrested Russian nationals. So the pilot was quietly informed by those Russians not keen to have another incident .”reroute or we will be forced to force you down”.

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