Spinning off United’s Mileage Plus?

united-plane
Jun 24 2005

David Rowell looks at Air Canada’s successful public offering of its Aeroplan program, and wonders why United hasn’t gone public with Mileage Plus? Rowell thinks Mileage Plus could be worth $15 billion. That seems a little high to me, I’m also not sure that imputing similar per-member value makes sense. My hunch is that US consumers participate in more frequent flyer programs than Canadian consumers do, so Mileage Plus while valuable may occupy less mindspace than Aeroplan. I’d personally believe a $5 billion market value estimate rather than $15 billion, but what do I know? Either way, it doesn’t change David’s central point that United has a hugely valuable hiddle asset. Contra David, who believes United should sell a large stake in its frequent flyer program to exit bankruptcy and pay back creditors and the…

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Returning Home

food trip report
Jun 23 2005

Wednesday, June 15 10:25 am Departure Melbourne (MEL) Qantas Flight 93, MEL-LAX First Class Seats 2E, 2F We arrived without further incident about 8:20am and walked right up to the 2 dedicated Qantas checkin counters for First Class on MEL-LAX. No wait. Bags were tagged to Seattle and boarding passes were issued all the way there – even though LAX-SEA was on a separate e-ticket purchased from Alaska directly. I simply showed my itinerary to the CSR and she didn’t have any difficulties. There was a short line for passport control, and then we walked through duty free. Would they let me bring in Aussie beef jerky into the states? It was on sale at duty free, but when I arrived at SYD there was a sign specifically saying that beef jerky was prohibited. I…

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On to Melbourne

melbourne
Jun 21 2005

Monday, June 13 Westin Sydney Westin is built around an old Post Office (the Intercontinental was built on top of the old Treasury building). We checked in about 1pm and were given a ‘deluxe room’, number 1806. The door has electronically-controlled signs for do not disturb and service room – you flip a switch inside the room by the door, and the appropriate note lights up outside. Our room certainly had a fantastic bathroom. It wasn’t the Nui, I couldn’t feed the fish from my tub, but it had a large glass window between the bathroom and the room (with an electric-controlled screen between the two) and separate toilet and shower rooms housed in frosted glass. Here’s the sink. The shower had two heads – one directly above from the ceiling, and one coming out…

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In Sydney

sydney
Jun 21 2005

In Sydney We stopped by the Sydney Fish Market on the way to my family’s place from the airport to pick up dinner, then Thursday went to the Taronga Zoo (let me know if anyone wants pictures, for the moment I’ll just share this sign which particularly amused me). Then lunch on the water and back to change for the evening. My family had arranged a private tour of the Opera House, and then we had prime seats for a new play, Two Brothers. (Which was fine, some of the humor a bit too locally Australian for us really to get, but for a political play it was way too unsubtle for my tastes – in the very first scene we learn that conservatives are characterized by their heartlessness and desire to see immigrants die…

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Heading to Australia

sydney
Jun 21 2005

Monday, June 6 1:50 pm Depart Bora Bora Motu Mute Airport Air Tahiti Flight 459 The night before we received a ‘departure letter’ with a printout of our folio, a Starwood Luxury Collection survey, and a departure time. We were scheduled for 11:30am which would have left us with 2 hours at the BOB airport – way too long with nothing to do. I went to the front desk and had them change our departure until an hour later, which I think caused them to make an extra airport boat run as there were a couple of other folks from our resort on the plane and they didn’t come over on our boat. After approaching the airport dock by boat, checkin at BOB took 2 minutes tops. There was no line and the airport was…

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On to Bora Bora

bora bora
Jun 18 2005

Wednesday, June 1 11:10 am Depart Papeete Intl Tahiti Faaa Air Tahiti Flight 452 Egads, we were about 45 minutes ahead of my planned schedule. After a 5 minute cab ride (1500 CFP) I went to check in. There are 2 domestic terminals at Faaa and 1 international. Entering the airport, the first terminal is for Air Moorea, then the international terminal, followed by Air Tahiti (VT). Several shops, an upstairs restaurant, downstairs shops, Bance Socredo, McDonald’s, and business center. Checkin requires you to first screen all bags, which then receive a tag. You take them over to checkin yourself after that (at least at LAX at the TBIT the bags are taken to checkin with you and you aren’t allowed to touch them after screening, couldn’t you put something dangerous in after receiving the…

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Where I was at…

After posting about my hiatus on the 26th of May, I received several emails asking what the beautiful beach photo was. The answer: the Intercontinental Beachcomber Resort on Tahiti, which frankly was just an airport hotel. I was on an award trip during which I spent a whopping 670,000 miles and points, including: 290,000 American Airlines miles (2 first class tickets to Tahiti, Australia, and back on Air Tahiti Nui and Qantas); 176,000 Starwood points for a 5th night free award at Bora Bora Nui; 60,000 Priority Club points for 2 nights at the Intercontinental Tahiti; 24,000 Priority Club points for a night at the Intercontinental Sydney (during a 20% off award sale); and several other redemptions. After a flight to Seattle in Alaska first class, a stay at the W Seattle, then down to…

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Heh

soldiers
Jun 17 2005

Via David Rowell, 280 fully armed soldiers boarded a chartered DC10 to fly from Atlanta to Kuwait. M-16s, pistols, bayonets and knives were everywhere. But, as the soldiers made their way through airport security, they had to surrender nose hair clippers, pocket knives and cigarette lighters.

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