Wednesday, January 18, 2017

If You Love Flying...FlyDelta App!

I'm one of those very few people who aren't bothered by flight disruptions (you know...delays, cancellations, etc.) - never in a hurry and don't mind being rerouted with one or more extra stops. In fact, the more the merrier! If the disrupted flight happens to be on Delta Air Lines, their app product FlyDelta offers a fast and easy rebooking process right at your fingertips and, of course, at no additional cost. I've rebooked disrupted flights via the app maybe twice now, and I just love it! The first time was back in June, and then more recently this month, January 2017. What a way to start the new year :)


(Photo couresty of Delta Air Lines)

In the June 2016 event, my original route was OMA-MSP-OMA. Due a projected delay of my return leg (MSP-OMA), I was prompted to rebook from a list of alternate flights and routing scenarios. I of course scanned through the list and selected the most segments! So MSP-OMA became MSP-IND-DTW-OMA, and at no additional cost. And I got to check off the State of Indiana on my list of visited states.

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In June 2016, my simple OMA-MSP-OMA became OMA-MSP-IND-DTW-OMA.

In the January 2017 event, my original route was again OMA-MSP-OMA. Due to the mechanical delay in my outbound leg (OMA-MSP), I was prompted to rebook from a list of alternate flights and routing scenarios. I of course scanned through the list and selected the most segments! So OMA-MSP became OMA-DTW-CLE-MSP, and at no additional cost. However, it didn't depart until the following morning but I didn't mind. With a mechanical delay, I was entitled to a free hotel room for the night in Omaha! And I got to check off the State of Ohio on my list of visited states.

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In January 2017, my simple OMA-MSP-OMA became OMA-DTW-CLE-MSP-OMA.

Why is this desirable? Well for starters, I'm a member of the Flying Blue frequent flyer program. The more Delta flight segments I fly, the faster I reach elite status. And I simply love travel; disruptions are, to me, hidden opportunities for more travel.

It's a strange message, but thank you Delta for having an app that lets me fly for free more often!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Route Debuts 2016 (Domestic USA)

Hard to believe, but these are domestic USA routes that I've flown in 2016 for the first time, ever!

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January
OMA-CLT on American (city debut!)
CLT-DCA on American

June
MSP-IND on Delta (state debut!)
IND-DTW on Delta

August
ORD-LAS on American
LAS-SLC on Delta

September
MKE-ORD on American (state debut!)
ORD-PHL on American

October
ATL-SLC on Delta
SLC-MSP on Delta

December
MSP-SEA on Delta
PDX-SLC on Delta

Happy New Year everyone!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Route Debuts 2016 (International)

2016 is almost over and I've decided that instead of the usual year-end routes flown map, I'll do what I call "Route Debuts" with two versions, one domestic and one international. These are routes that I've flown for the first time, ever!

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February
ORD-AMS on KLM

March
FCO-WAW on Alitalia (country debut!)
WAW-PRG on Czech (country/airline debut!)
PRG-ICN on Korean
ICN-HKG on Korean
ICN-ORD on Korean

September
PHL-AUA on American (country debut!)
AUA-ATL on Delta

October
AUA-JFK on Delta

Have a safe and prosperous New Year full of travel and exploration!




Monday, October 31, 2016

Recap: Routes Flown With Friends


With Matt en route to Atlanta on Delta...first class, baby!

Since 2007, I've had the pleasure of sharing the skies with friends. Travel with friends makes both the journey and destination even more fun, plus stories to share forever. Here are the who's, what's and where's...

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2007:
LAS-LAX on US Airways with Dan

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2010:
DEN-LGA on Frontier with Fernando
PHL-DEN on Southwest with Fernando

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2011:
MSP-LHR on Delta with Gil
LGW-AMS on British with Gil
FCO-VCE on EasyJet with Gil
FCO-LIS-MAD on EasyJet with Gil
MAD-ATL on Delta with Gil

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2013:
ICT-ATL-LGA-MSP-ICT on Delta with Matt
ICT-ATL-LAS on Delta with Matt
LAX-HNL on American with Fernando
HNL-OAK on Alaska with Fernando

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2015:
LAX-HNL on American with Walter
DFW-OMA on American with Jennifer


Getting ready for Omaha-Chicago with Tara and Leigh

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2016:
DTW-OMA on Delta with Jane
OMA-ORD on American with Leigh and Tara
ATL-AUA-JFK-ATL-SLC on Delta with Kailash


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Take Back Your Status! Strategy For AAdvantage Members

With American Airlines' frequent flyer program going revenue-based in granting mileage earning and status attainment to their AAdvantage members, the big 3 of US airlines are now all in the same league of um, unapologetic greed. It's no longer distance flown, but rather the fare you paid, that determines how many miles you'll be allowed to earn. In addition, there is a dollar threshold to reaching elite status.

But fear not, disAAdvantaged flyers - I have just the solution for you to retain your alliance-wide status on oneworld and keep enjoying your elite benefits therein! I've compiled a list of all of American Airlines' oneworld partners and their frequent flyer programs' elite status requirements in terms of flight segments or tier points (a special points calculation formula that varies from program to program based on distance flown, fare paid and cabin of service ticketed).


Information valid as of August 2016

Even as a US flyer, you're free to join these other ones! Membership is free, except in the case of Cathay Pacific. I've also noted how on some frequent flyer programs there are minimum flight segments required on their native airline. You can skip these. Also, some programs have a reduced renewal requirement chart. Please check each individual airline's program for details by going on the oneworld portal website link below.

As you can see, Air Berlin Topbonus, Finnair Plus, Iberia Plus Avios and Malaysia Enrich are standouts when it comes to being easy potential replacement programs against your current AAdvantage membership. They have relatively low thresholds and no native airline minimums - just keep flying American!




Want to migrate out of AA? The answer may just be staring at you from the window.



Besides the usual elite-level benefits, withint the USA if you're at Sapphire or Emerald level on any of the above oneworld partners, you have access to all Admiral's Clubs as long as you have an AA (or other oneworld) boarding pass departing from that airport, regardless of destination. So even if you're just flying from O'Hare to Milwaukee on American Eagle, you can access both Admiral's Clubs at Concourse H/K and G.



So there you are, you can work around this new age of frequent flying. Enjoy!



Sources:
www.oneworld.com
www.aa.com







Monday, July 18, 2016

Train Review: Amtrak Lincoln Service


Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

I scheduled myself for the first run (07:00) of the Lincoln Service, Amtrak's semi-frequent service between Chicago and St. Louis, and I was coming from Chicago to see my old friend Nicholas, who lives on the Illinois side of the St. Louis area. Nothing spectacular to write about this 5-hour ride, except I heard from frequent riders that it's sometimes prone to delays due to track-sharing with freight lines, etc. And this isn't my first time in St. Louis either, although the first time via train.


Crossing the Mississippi toward the Missouri side...and there's St. Louis!

As luck would have it, my train was delayed almost an hour! The good news is fares on the Lincoln can go for as low as $27 one-way in coach class, which is only $2 more than it costs on the shorter Hiawatha line between Chicago and Milwaukee. The cars are single-deck, two classes and includes a cafĂ© and dining car, in addition to the usual lavatories, drinking water faucets and luggage racks by the inter-car doors. I don't remember if this train came with an observation dome car - I doubt it. As with all Amtrak trains, there are power outlets by the window seats.

All in all, it was a pretty smooth ride, so smooth that I caught myself sleeping part of the way.

More information:
www.amtrak.com





Friday, March 11, 2016

Video: My ROUND THE WORLD Trip 2016

Here it is...a fun presentation of my relatively simple, but milestone, round the world (RTW) trip.



Routes:
ORD-AMS-IST on KLM
IST-ATH-FCO on Aegean
FCO-WAW on Alitalia
WAW-PRG on Czech
PRG-ICN-HKG on Korean
HKG-ICN-ORD on Korean

Thanks for watching!