In an attempt to leverage its frequent flyer program to defend its presence in Philadelphia, USAirways is offering triple miles between that city and 22 destinations. Registration is required.USAirways is also offering lots of bonuses for flying specific routes on its Star Alliance partners.Route-specific bonuses include bonuses for flying Austrian Airlines to Vienna (specific fares only), from 5,000 to 50,000 miles for flying United from Dulles to Zurich (on all fares except S, L, and T), and from 5,000 to 50,000 miles for flying United from Chicago to Osaka (looks like all fares earn something).USAirways is also offering carrier-specific double miles on Asiana, bmi to Heathrow, Singapore, Thai, and Varig. These are all restricted to specific fare classes and require registration.
In an era where most onboard knives are still plastic, it remains possible for passengers to defend themselves in the event terrorists attempt to takeover a plane. That’s the message of a new book, Never Again: A Self-Defense Guide for the Flying Public. (Hat tip to Bob Poole.) David Grimes offers a review. Some of the self-defense techniques discussed in the book include elbow chops, punches to the throat, lip pulls and kicks to the groin. If the bad guy is still breathing after that punishment, you can whack him in the head with a soda can, which the authors describe as an “effective short-range missile.” And, proving that I was wrong all along about the usefulness of neckwear, a tie is said to make an excellent wrist restraint. Even the TSA doesn’t seem to…
Bob Poole compares TSA screeners to private contractors and finds both lacking: April saw the release of three reports comparing the performance of TSA screeners and those employed by TSA-managed contractors at the five pilot program airports (now known as the PP5): San Francisco, Kansas City, Rochester, Jackson Hole, and Tupelo. Weighing in were Bearing Point (under contract to TSA), the Inspector General’s Office of the Dept. of Homeland Security, and the General Accounting Office. There was some good news, for those who fought to have this option included in the law that federalized screening. All three studies found that the PP5 screening was as good as or better than TSA screening. And all five of the PP5 airports want to continue going that route. The bad news, from the classified versions of the reports,…
The Dallas Morning News carries a eulogy for Continental’s Ellington Field service which ends September 7th. This airport on the south side of Houston offered service to Continental’s hub at Houston Intercontinental, providing convenient checkin and free parking to many in addition to 500 frequent flyer miles for each segment. In a similar vein I miss United’s Baltimore-Washington Dulles service which ceased September 6, 2001. Atlantic Coast flew Jetstream 32 aircraft several times a day for this roughly 38 mile flight, giving me an extra segment credit and extra miles each way in addition to generally a lower ticket price.
MidAmerica Airport, built in the 90s at a cost of $313 million ($220 million from the federal government), was supposed to be a second St. Louis airport. This in spite of the fact that the existing St. Louis airport has struggled to keep service. It should be no surprise, then, that the second St. Louis airport had problems. MidAmerica is seeking to recoup some of the additional subsidies it provided to Great Plains Airlines, now no longer operating and in bankruptcy.No airline currently offers scheduled service at MidAmerica Airport.
I’m so glad for regulators here and abroad. The EU model is especially appealing. Because regulators never let anything like this happen. Oh, wait. Passengers aren’t going to get refunds, but maybe the Irish government will refund tax dollars that were supposed to ensure this didn’t happen? The irony is that every time government fails, there is a call for more government. A new Irish airline offering flights for one euro ($1.19) shut down services on Wednesday after a week’s operation, stranding hundreds of passengers in Spain. In a brief statement, JetGreen Airways apologized to customers for closing down the business without warning but said it would not repay any of the more than 40,000 people who had bought tickets, including more than 400 people expecting to fly home Wednesday from their Spanish vacations.
Marriott Rewards hit 20 million members in its program this week and awarded the 20 millionth member with airfare and a week’s hotel stay for two at any Marriott property and lifetime Platinum status.And I thought I got a good deal when I named the new Sheraton Checkin Kiosk.
The 20,000 mile signup bonus for getting a new United Visa is still available. This one doesn’t waive the $60 annual fee, though.
United Airlines, struggling to exit bankruptcy, is counting on government-backed loans from the Air Transporation Stabilization Board, which was set up after 9/11 to overcome (perceived) temporary financial market disruption. Somehow the ATSB still exists. United says they can’t access funds in the private market, which they judge to be a market failure but may really be a reflection of United’s prospects for profitability. The Financial Times (sorry, no link handy) carries a piece suggesting United’s financial planning is in disarray. “We have got to get out of model land,” a stunned Jake Brace, finance director at United, told a team of business planners last July in his conference room at the airlines’ headquarters on the outskirts of O’Hare airport. Mr Brace had just been told that a mistake had been found in the companies’…
The United Mileage Plus Visa is available with a 15,000 mile signup bonus and fee waived the first year. This was sent as part of a targeted email, but past practice suggests that it should work for anyone. Apply at the link above and print out the page which indicates the fee is waived. In addition, my experience is that existing cardholders can take advantage of these offers and obtain a second card.