United is beginning to pull

United is beginning to pull a few benefits from their top-tier elites. No more special 1K rooms (for those who fly over 100,000 miles a year). No more free same-day changes confirmed in advance for Premier Executive (50,000 miles a year) and 1K (100,000 miles a year) flyers. Will United follow USAirways lead cutting benefits? The strange thing is that United’s announcement is a cut for their best customers. USAirways announced was a major cut for everyone except their most lucrative customers.

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Stay away from USAirways. They’ve

Stay away from USAirways. They’ve made several policy changes that make it difficult for me to fly them. If you don’t use a nonrefundable ticket, you can’t just save it and apply the value to a future purchase (less a change fee). Instead, you now have to make your change before the original flight leaves or you lose all value from the ticket. Discounted fares will no longer count towards elite status beginning January 1, 2003. Standby will no longer be permitted on nonrefundable tickets. No more free alcoholic beverages in coach on transatlantic flights. Frankly, I’ll just be choosing someone else to fly — period.

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Northwest has a new promotion

Northwest has a new promotion that can earn you up to 200,000 miles for your travel. It’s really geared to travelers paying higher fares, but there’s a few thousand miles here and there for the rest of us. Head off to the link, though, because it does require signup.

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15 Minutes of Training: the

15 Minutes of Training: the TSA violates federal law? The Transportation Security Administration’s “elite” baggage screening team — which travels from airport to airport as the TSA takes over security — started work after only 15 minutes of training. They weren’t tested or certified on the equipment. This despite a requirement in the Aviation and Transportation Security Act which requires all “security screeners” have a minimum 40 hours classroom and 60 hours on-the-job training… which would be more than enough to learn to operate the machines, but probably not enough to learn to detect explosives. Mineta’s TSA is clearly not ready for primetime. They aim to deploy more than 50,000 federal passenger and baggage screeners and install thousands of luggage-screening machines at U.S. airports before year-end — screeners who are apparently less qualified than the…

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