Some stories and deals don’t get their own post, but should get some coverage. Here are some quick takes on stories that caught my eye.
Table of Contents
Featured Trip Reports Of The Day
- PBaruch’s Big Island of Hawaii Trip Report is an awesome look into an amazing island, from lava to waterfalls. His trip reports are always such a pleasure to read and his pictures are breathtaking!
- DD trip report:
Will The 737MAX Fiasco Accelerate A Pilotless Future?
Think the Boeing 737MAX’s problems stemmed from Boeing taking away control from the pilot via the MCAS system?
Well, the WSJ reports that Boeing feels the opposite is true and is now more motivated than ever to automate the cockpit.
Historically Boeing has always given aviators more control than Airbus, but in an era of diminishing pilot skills, things are changing.
It all seems a bit strange to me given that MCAS had software and hardware problems, but there’s also no doubt at least on the Ethiopian Air crash that the pilots didn’t help the situation by not following their checklist.
Having a plane automate a checklist process is the wave of the future. The only question is how far are we from planes that fly themselves?
Long lead times in airplane design means that won’t happen anytime soon. But like truck and taxi drivers, piloting a plane is going to go the way of the milkman. It’s a question of when, not if.
PSA: If You’re A Religious Jew, Please Stop Flying Too Close To Shabbos
Another week, another diverted Thursday night El Al flight. This time smoke in the cabin of El Al flight 26 from Newark to Tel Aviv that caused a diversion to Halifax. It’s a flight that normally departs Newark at 8pm and arrives into Tel Aviv at 1:20pm the next day.
El Al didn’t want to fly the group to a major city, so they spent Shabbos in Halifax and flew to Tel Aviv after Shabbos ended.
Of course Chabad of Halifax got the call to help prepare food for dozens of religious passengers onboard. One of my fellow #KosherAntarctica cruise passengers Sol Friedman is a pilot and tried flying in food from NYC, though in the end Hatzola didn’t loan out their Learjet for the mission as people from Montreal were able to bring food on a commercial flight.
This wasn’t as bad as the numerous diversions to other cities over the past couple of years that have landed just as Shabbos was about to begin.
Nevertheless, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Religious Jews need to stop taking flights that are too close to Shabbos.
As I said then,
I hope that Shabbos observing Jews can take these stories to heart and try to avoid taking flights that are scheduled to land within 6 or 7 hours of candle lighting time, unless there is a true emergency. That allows enough time for a 4 hour delay and time to get from the airport to your destination or it gives you the ability to wait 4 hours on the runway and then deboard at your origin airport without needing to cause a scene.
Given how El Al has lied to religious passengers in cases like the Athens diversion after promising to return to the gate, I strongly recommend that Religious Jews, except in the case of an emergency, should not fly from North America on a flight that is scheduled to land in Israel on Friday, period.
Travel agents need to steer their religious passengers away from these flights. It costs tens of thousands of dollars annually for a family to practice religious Judaism in the US. Think about that the next time you select a Thursday flight departure to Israel in order to save a day of work or to save a couple hundred dollars on a flight.
El Al does not care about your religious observances, their bottom line will come first and that’s their prerogative. If you want to ensure that you don’t enter a situation where you have to violate Shabbos, then it’s up to you to know the risks and choose your flight responsibly.
There will be more Thursday flight diversions. Don’t be a burden on others and find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, make the right decision when shopping for a flight.
PSA: Print Your Boarding Passes
Mobile boarding passes are certainly a tempting convenience. But they can be a trap.
dval44 writes how during a tight international connection on United they added a backup flight to his itinerary in case he missed his flight. Unfortunately that process kills your mobile boarding pass, so he was unable to get through TSA and had to get a new boarding pass.
By that time he missed his connection. Having a paper boarding pass would have solved that problem.
It’s not the only scenario where having a paper boarding pass can be the difference between making or missing your flight.
- The mobile app might not work when you need it to, though taking a screenshot can help with this.
- Your phone battery can die.
- Your phone won’t break if the TSA agent drops your paper boarding pass.
- Airlines IT systems have gone down in the past and only people with paper boarding passes have been able to checkin and/or board.
- Paper boarding passes prove you took a flight and can be used for mileage credit in case it doesn’t post automatically.
So even if you like using a mobile boarding pass, be a belt and suspenders type of traveler and have a paper boarding pass as a backup.
Has having a paper boarding pass ever saved one of your flights?
United Is Removing Bag Sizers At The Gate, That’s Not A Good Thing
According to internal memo, @united is removing bag sizers at gates. This could reduce stress, but might it backfire? Some agents will be more zealous than others, and rules at some gates may be different than others. What do you think? pic.twitter.com/cqx5qYyf2x
— Brian Sumers (@BrianSumers) January 17, 2020
United will still size carry-on bags at checkin, but at the gate it will be completely up to the agent.
Personally I think it’s a dumb idea. I’ve encountered gate agents on a power trip that insist a carry-on bag is too big. Showing that it fits in the sizer usually diffuses the situation. Without the sizer though, it will be completely up to the gate agent’s discretion.
Why is this a good idea United?
This Screenshot Shows Why Loyalty Is A Fool’s Errand
That’s 183 passengers standing by for a free upgrade from Newark to Vegas.
Granted that was during CES, but airlines are doling out fewer upgrades than ever to elite members.
Mileage programs keep on getting devalued, loyalty benefits keep getting worse, but the requirement to earn status keep on getting more and more onerous.
Chasing status has never been less beneficial. Free agency is more appealing than ever.
The Future Is…Using Your Hand As A Credit Card
The WSJ is reporting that companies like Amazon and Chase are working on using your biometrics as a method of payment.
That would fulfill the promise offered in Back to the Future about how people would pay for things in the future.
Personally that sounds a lot better than using my phone as a payment. But if you struggle to remember which card to use in which store now, can you imagine if you have to remember which card you assigned to which fingerprint?
Total Your Leased Car? Prepare For A Big Credit Score Hit
DDF member Euclid was in an accident and his leased car was totaled. No big deal, it’s insured, right?
It showed up on his insurance report as “Early Termination/Insurance loss” and his FICO 8 score plummeted by 100 points.
He tried having that removed and one credit bureau did, but another refused. His score by the bureau which removed the comment jumped back up, but the score by the other languishes.
Others report the same story. apparently credit reporting agencies have decided that borrowers getting into accidents that lead to a totaled car are people that might not pay back a loan on time.
Bose Is Closing Their Retail Stores
There’s nothing quite like a Bose store to try out for yourself how amazing their noise canceling headphones are.
The online revolution has made shopping cheaper and easier. But retail stores are suffering and malls are dying. Gap is in the process of closing up to half of their stores, including their store at my local mall. A mainstream mall without the Gap?
The end of retail is drawing near. The question is, how long will it take to redevelop those spaces into housing or other more useful spaces?
Ken Jennings Is A Legend Of Our Time
Watching the Jeopardy GOAT challenge was as great as watching a playoff sporting event. It was so much fun watching the greatest trivia minds of our generation.
I felt bad for Brad Rutter, who sure seemed past his prime. But man was is fun to watch James and Ken battle it out on the show and on Twitter.
BREAKING: I have decided to follow @James_Holzhauer on Twitter, since he’s been following me on Jeopardy all week.
— Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) January 11, 2020
Ken won by expertly copying James playing style, in which you hunt down Daily Doubles and go all in when you find them.
I’m only sad that he says he won’t play any more Jeopardy. That’s like hearing Bill Watterson saying he won’t write any more Calvin & Hobbes strips. We just want more 😀
The War That Twitter Avoided
Say what you want about Twitter or Trump, but Wired makes the case that direct diplomacy between President Trump and Iran meant that both sides were able to take a step back, claim “victory,” and avoid a drawn out war.
I’d say that’s pretty great!
United’s Reneging On Lifetime Club Membership Gets News Coverage
The Houston Chronicle takes a look at United’s decision to not honor lifetime club members ability to access their lounges when not flying United.
United has reneged on written lifetime commitments to Silver Wings members, Million Milers, and Lifetime club members.
Clearly their promises aren’t worth much of anything. Stay classy there United.
MLB Had Its Worst Week In 26 Years
What a sad week for Major League Baseball. I can’t remember such a bad week since the 1994 strike that wiped out that year’s postseason.
They released a report showing that the Houston Astros systematically cheated by using cameras to steal signs.
That is so much worse for the integrity of the game than players on drugs.
— Hockeytoronto.com (@hockeytoronto) January 17, 2020
3 managers and a general manager lost their jobs due to the scandal, but is it even over yet?
Videos like this sure make it seem like MLB is covering up a deeper scandal:
Somehow I don’t think this is the last that we’ll hear about digital cheating in baseball.
DDFers Have Been Targeted For Free AA Elite Status, Are You Targeted?
Check all of your email folders and let us know if you got targeted as well!
2 DDF Members Left One Of The Most Prestigious Big Law Firms, Boies Schiller, To Open Their Own Boutique Law Firm.
Bloomberg has an article about 2 DDF Members (Velvel Freedman & Jason Cyrulnik) that left Boies Schiller to open their own boutique law firm.
They took a dozen attorneys from Boies Schiller with them as well as Paul Weiss and other prestigious firms.
Roche Cyrulnik Freedman LLP are setting out to change how big law works, focusing on client needs and a revolutionary compensation model for attorneys.
Freedman explains “To make a really great firm, you need great clients and cases and you need great lawyers. We’ve developed a model that attracts both of those things” They put an emphasis on transparency and rewarding business generation. To do this they created a formula without a discretionary element, and rewards attorneys based on factors like and business generation, litigation talent, and efficiency.
Wishing them the best of luck!
Helpful Link: United Old Reservations Interface
I don’t care for the new United reservations interface. Why make links that can’t be opened in a new tab anyway?
Luckily this old link that I saved still works just fine to get the classic view 🙂
Share your thoughts on these stories or post a comment about what other stories that I missed!
Catch up on what you missed!
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