United Really Doesn’t Care

I fly United. They have been very good to me. But it became very clear last night that United Mileage Plus really doesn’t get it. At the post-Freddie Awards reception, I stood next to a very frequent traveler from Texas (> 220,000 miles flown last year and a top-level elite with both United and American) talking to Robert Sahadevan of Mileage Plus. She told him that the changes to United’s top-level elite program were chasing her away. No longer are United’s “Systemwide Upgrades” (certificates given to 100,000 mile flyers that can confirm international upgrades at the time of booking) good on any fare. That means that if she chooses to give United her high revenue business fares, she is not able to upgrade her lower priced personal trips — and so she’d rather give all…

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The Freddie Awards Were Great

Obviously, I enjoyed being in the company of loyalty program executives and fellow frequent flyer enthusiasts. I managed to visit the House of Miles where this server is located. The results are available online along with a blow by blow of the evening. My travel to the event was great, as I managed to score an upgrade on a United award ticket and I also managed to get my rental car from Avis for half their lowest web rate and for 25% less than my reservation with Thrifty. I even won one of the door prizes — a (4) night stay at one of two Wyndham resorts (Telluride or Puerto Rico). Definitely worth the price of admission! Thanks, Randy.

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20,000 Mile Signup Bonus for Mileage Plus Visa

This may be the most generous credit card offer yet. No, it isn’t the 25,000 mile bonus that Northwest offered last summer — but you had to wait 15 months for all the miles to show up. And it isn’t the 25,000 mile bonus that Delta has been offering at times — but you had to spend tens of thousands of dollars before all the miles showed up. This offer is simple. Use the $60 annual fee card once and pocket 20,000 United miles. Very bold… especially since the consensus seems to be that United is turning a corner financially with labor concessions in place and the impact of the war on Iraq being somewhat less than expected.

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Thai May Not Honor the $0+tax Fare

Best understanding at this time is that Thai Airways is refusing to honor the $0+tax fare for first class travel from London to Bangkok. Ironically, this is just as the Bangkok Post is reporting that Thai Airways is planning to offer complimentary tickets and heavily discounted tour packages to 20,000 travel agents worldwide in a bid to woo back passengers. It seems, though, that Thai caught onto the computer glitch pretty quickly, but the programmers had all gone home in Bangkok before correcting the error. The London ticket office seems to be refusing to ticket the fare. In most past cases, tickets like this have been honored. United tried to back out on its $29 Paris fares a couple of years ago, but relented after some bad press. (Giving away tickets gets good press worth…

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Fare Glitch… Go!

London to Bangkok in First Class for 55 Pounds Go to the Thai Airways booking site Choose departure airport London-Heathrow Choose arriveal airport Bangkok The system will pull up one available flight per day. Regardless of class of service, it is returning a fare of 55 pounds. I just tested it with May 1 outbound and May 8 return and it is still working, but I expect this to last minutes to hours at most. It is a mistake. Looks like they’ve mis-loaded the 2-for-1 fare, not requiring the first ticket purchase before allowing the second ticket purchase. Several folks have already bought this and now hold confirmed reservations… Thanks, Matthew Clement!!!

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Maybe if we subjected Norm Mineta to this, we’d get some reform?

Howard Kurtz reports that White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer was subjected to extra security screening at National Airport. Security Risk? When Ari Fleischer was in a long line for the Delta Shuttle to head to New York for NBC correspondent David Bloom’s funeral, an airline employee offered to escort the president’s press secretary directly onto the plane. Fleischer declined, saying he would wait like everyone else. A moment later, another worker pulled him out of line and subjected him to a random search. No such indignities on Air Force One.

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The drama at American isn’t over yet.

On Thursday it looked like American had averted a chapter 11 filing for now. Now, with all the hubbub over their executive compensation, the flight attendants union has backed out of its concessions and revote. This could get ugly in a variety of ways. On the one hand, American could throw them a few more bones and then they’ll just revote for the concessions. On the other hand, they could vote the concessions down and then the airline could declare chapter 11. The airline might then retaliate against the union by asking the bankruptcy court to impose even more cuts on the flight attendants, as a way of making an example of them. American’s labor relations could really tailspin from that. Their labor relations could also take a nosedive just by having the flight attendants…

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