This Week Around Boarding Area (or Things I Was Too Lazy to Blog Myself)

Lucky points out that Red Carpet Clubs will start offering free drinks today, now that Continental and United have merged. This was a foregone conclusion when American caved, and something I predicted last year when US Airways introduced free alcohol (though not in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh due to local liquor laws, and not in Boston due to lack of a liquor license, hah!). He also notes that the United clubs will offer free wi-fi to everyone with access, not just members, which is great for those of us who gain admittance through Star Alliance partner airline status.

Lucky also notes that All Nippon’s award chart will get rid of the lower mileage award pricing for distances under 1600 miles roundtrip beginning in April, 2011. Everything else about their award chart remains the same, though it appears there are changes to the upgrade chart as well.

Meanwhile, Jet Airways is becoming a bmi partner. It’s strange to see the bmi program adding partners in advance of being closed, but then perhaps this presages the long-speculated entry of Jet Airways into Star Alliance? Air India, which has been supposed to join Star for a few years but can never seem to get its act together, will be introducing a number of non-stop flights to the U.S. according to UnRoadWarrior.

Though for the latest in new Star Alliance members, Musings of the Global Traveller updates us on this week’s news that Ethiopian Airlines is poised to be a new entrant into the alliance. Their intra-African route network is strong, with a handful of long-haul routes (including Washington, DC). Their current frequent flyer program which Kiwi Flyer lays out isn’t all that exciting, however. Probably going to be better to redeem the occasional intra-Africa segment with them using miles in another Star program rather than work to accumulate Sheba Miles.

Alright, there’s more for sure, plenty of speculation about Southwest and Airtran, what it means for Frontier and for the majors, what to wear to the airport, more advice on US Airways promos and also discussion of buying discounted lounge memberships. But these are the things I meant to share with you but somehow didn’t…

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 »

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  1. Good to see you mention my favorite program, Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings Club, the one with the almost free upgrade to the Flat-Bed Business Class.

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