Jacqueline Passey is looking for a lover to travel with, apparently because she didn’t get a job in my office. So send gifts, miles, and upgrade certificates my way gentlemen. You’re welcome.
Through September 15th Delta is offering a 35% bonus on transfers from American Express Membership Rewards. Registration is required. Bonus points likely won’t show up until mid-November.
Via Free Frequent Flyer Miles, you can get 500 free Delta miles for requesting an auto insurance quote.
An Air France plane skidded off the runway after landing in Toronto and caught fire around 4pm Eastern. Early reports are that most passengers are safe, but this is not yet certain. Thoughts and hopes are with the passengers and crew. Update: Everyone made it out alive, with just a few injuries.
Eugene Volokh gets a lost luggage call meant for Alaska Airlines. Sometimes a looming constitutional question is really just a wrong number.
Via Brad DeLong, Iraq’s transportation minister has ordered a ban on alcohol sales at Baghdad International Airport. The airport’s duty-free shop is not complying, in spite of threats to have their $800,000 inventory destroyed. Alcohol makes up 85% of duty free sales at the airport. Oddly enough, the decision to ban alcohol is influenced by how it would look to the outside world. Jabiri expressed concern about Iraq’s image if alcohol continues to be sold. “And this could corrupt the employees also,” he said. “Foreign travelers might not even realize this is an Islamic country when they see alcohol in the airport.” Oh, yeah, if we didn’t go to war in Iraq because of weapons of mass destruction that didn’t exist, it must have been to create a secular, democratic state in the Middle East…
The alleged incident occurred on a flight from DC to Syracuse, and the guy denies it. Story contains one of the best lines ever in a news article: When he got off the plane in Syracuse, police took him into custody and checked to see if he was wearing underpants, which he was, Gibeau said. But I don’t think this is actually illegal: Police searched Gibeau and found five Polaroid photos of his penis, according to Bragg’s affidavit. Gibeau said he was bringing the photos to his girlfriend to show her the contrast between the sunburned areas of his body and the areas that weren’t exposed on the beach.
A piece in the Seattle Times explains that State Department travel warnings, which harm tourism in the country on the receiving end, are influenced by political considerations. (I’m shocked!) Noting that the State Department’s treatment of London bombings were delayed, contained scant detail and provided warning for just a few hours, when less serious country warnings don’t expire for monthsJim Grace, CEO of InsureMyTrip.com, an online seller of travel insurance, puts it, “if the State Department issues a travel warning, Tony Blair would be on the phone to President Bush pretty quickly, saying ‘Hey, what are you doing to our economy? We’re supposed to be best allies.’ ” Of course the State Department denies this, and simply claims to be incompetent instead “We are a bureaucracy and unfortunately these things don’t always happen as quickly…
Tyler Cowen points to a Slate piece that purports to explain airline delays. Mayer and Sinai’s study also identified the real culprit: the deliberate overscheduling of flights at peak periods by major airlines trying to increase the amount of connecting traffic at their hub airports. Major airlines like United, Delta, and American use a hub-and-spoke model as a way to offer consumers more flight choices and to save money by centralizing operations. Most of the traffic they send through a hub is on the way to somewhere else. (Low-cost carriers, on the other hand, typically carry passengers from one point to another without offering many connections.) Overscheduling at the hubs can’t explain all delays—weather and maintenance problems also contribute. But nationally, about 75 percent of flights go in or out of hub airports, making overscheduling…
Hilton is testing out e-checkin. Our new eCheck-In service allows you to have the convenience and control to complete your registration the day before or up to two hours before you plan to arrive. The idea is similar to picking a seat assignment on a plane, you should be able to see what room you’re blocked into and choose a different room if you prefer. It should even process upgrades. This is going to be interesting to watch.