Russia’s FSB Detests Premium Passengers, TSA’s Instagram, and Parker Responds to DOJ Investigation

News and notes from around the interweb:

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. Yes his statement must be true as that explains why there are little or no premium first or business or coach seats to Europe or most destinations on miles. They must all be sold out
    and why revenue seats are 500 to 1000 dollars roundtrip to most destinations in deepest discounted economy plus baggage and seat fees

  2. Air New Zealand might have to actually compete if they cant stop the deepening relationship
    They might be forced to even discount or allow a reward seat
    Never seen one from the US on
    I fly Singapore , Qantas or Emirates all of which I can find seats and fair priced tickets

  3. FSB is taking steps now, because the U.S. is actively engaged against Russian interests in their backyard: Ukraine.

  4. FSB Russian internal security and counterintelligence service … one of the successor agencies of the Soviet-era KGB. To say that the Russian FSB is a part of the military is the same as to say that the FBI is a part of the military.

    As to VIP status in Russian airports, it is not the same as a VIP status (Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check) in US or Europe. Russian VIP expedited immigration is a revenue service. Anyone that is willing to spend $200 – $300 is the VIP ( ) Therefore, this is a security risk as the “VIPs” are not properly screened.

  5. @Gary70 except that it is a military branch in addition to being their spy agency. And how is this service all of a sudden a problem, but not for the past decades? It’s quite common worldwide by the way.

  6. Parker may be channeling his predecessor, Bob Crandall. During a previous investigation of price-fixing at American, Crandall called his counterpart at Continental to get Continental to match an American fare increase. Continental’s CEO told Crandall that they couldn’t talk about fares due to antitrust constraints, to which Crandall replied, “Bulls—, Howard, we can talk about anything we want.” The DOJ had tapped Crandall’s phone, and had the entire conversation on tape.

    Note: No indictments here, as Sherman Act Section 1 offenses require an agreement, and the tape made it clear there was no agreement.

  7. I have to chuckle at the prospect of real VIPs going through international passport control in Domodedovo (Moscow). It is a big room set up in a triangle style and there are no lines (at least last time I was there). It was a big mosh pit.

  8. @Retired Lawyer, it was Braniff not Continental and it wasn’t a DOJ tap (if I recall Howard Putman had recorded the call). The case ended with Crandall agreeing to log all of his contacts with senior executives at other airlines.

  9. FSB has a Border Guards arm that’s a lot like the military so Gary has a point. Also perhaps the VIP lines were used for smuggling drugs, etc since they allowed expedited Customs clearance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.