Some stories and deals don’t get their own post, but should get some coverage. I’ll round them up here and let me know what you think of making posts like this in the future 🙂
Table of Contents
United’s CRJ-550 takes to the skies today, you can take a 3D tour of it now!
I wrote about the innovative project here previously. United stripped 20 seats out of the CRJ-700 and added luggage closets, more first class seats, and more Economy Plus seats. By getting the plane down to 50 seats, they avoid the 70/76 seat aircraft scope limitations and can add virtually as many CRJ-550s as they want to their fleet. Plus they can operate the plane with just one flight attendant.
The strategy is to use them on short-haul flights that didn’t previously have business class service.
The legroom on the plane in first class and Economy Plus looks amazing. You can see it for yourself by clicking on 3D View here. The 3D tour feature is great and United is planning on adding it for their other planes as well. Hopefully all airlines will offer this soon!
Want to fly on the CRJ-550?
Here is where you’ll find them, via RoutesOnline:
Chicago O’Hare – Allentown
Chicago O’Hare – Bentonville
Chicago O’Hare – Cedar Rapids
Chicago O’Hare – Cincinnati
Chicago O’Hare – Columbus OH
Chicago O’Hare – Des Moines
Chicago O’Hare – Grand Rapids
Chicago O’Hare – Greensboro
Chicago O’Hare – Harrisburg
Chicago O’Hare – Indianapolis
Chicago O’Hare – Madison
Chicago O’Hare – Oklahoma City
Chicago O’Hare – Richmond
Chicago O’Hare – St. Louis
Chicago O’Hare – Tulsa
Chicago O’Hare – Sioux Falls
Chicago O’Hare – Wichita
Chicago O’Hare – Greenville
Chicago O’Hare – Green Bay
Chicago O’Hare – Syracuse NY
Chicago O’Hare – Akron/Canton
Chicago O’Hare – Knoxville
Chicago O’Hare – Lexington
Chicago O’Hare – Little Rock
Newark – Cincinnati
Newark – Columbus OH
Newark – Greensboro
Newark – Richmond
These routes should be a bargain with Lifemiles. Hopefully I’ll get to try it out from CAK-ORD in the near future.
Step aside Qantas, Air New Zealand will fly nonstop from Newark to Auckland in October 2020.
Qantas got a ton of media attention for their JFK to Sydney nonstop flight. They gave the press a business class flight and added gimmicks like checking their blood pressure to see how they would cope with the 19.5 hour flight.
I flew on a 19 hour flight in 2013 from Newark to Singapore and somehow survived to tell the tale without in-flight yoga classes and health monitoring.
In the meantime, Air New Zealand announced they will connect NYC with the South Pacific with their own nearly 18 hour nonstop service on a specially configured 787-9 Dreamliner with more premium economy and business class seats than in the regular configuration.
My brother (and fellow DansDeals contributor) JJ flew on Air New Zealand nonstop from Chicago to Auckland on the business class glitch from earlier this year. Hopefully they’ll give us another glitch when the NYC flight goes on sale 😀
American Airlines is an operational mess. They cancel and delay far more flights than their competition and they make matters worse by refusing to rebook passengers on other airlines.
I’ve personally suffered from this policy many times. I’ve written off even trying to fly American as it seems like all of my American flights wind up delayed or cancelled. They messed up multiple trips to London, to my grandfather’s 90th birthday party with delays, cancellations, and refusals to rebook us on other airlines. On my last American flight I didn’t have any other options but to take American home from my nephew’s bris in Miami in order to catch the Home Run Derby in Cleveland and hope that my horrible streak of delayed AA flights would finally crack. But of course, that flight was delayed several hours. At least I had Centurion Lounge access to drink off the misery of another delayed AA flight.
But while American has stranded us overnight, I’ve never experienced something like what these passengers went through trying to get from Peru to Dallas. American cancelled the flights for 3 days in a row while failing to get another aircraft or rebooking customers on other airlines until they had waited around for days.
American’s rebooking policies make their operational failures so much worse. It’s been amazing to watch USAirways management ruin what was once a decent airline with a valuable mileage program.
When you’re trying to save money on a low-cost airline, be sure you know the risks.
- My heart goes out to Naama Issachar, who was caught with 0.33 ounces of Marijuana in her checked luggage as she flew from India to Israel via Moscow and now has been sentenced to 7.5 years in Russian prison on drug and smuggling charges. She took the Aeroflot flight as it was $200 cheaper than other options. There’s little doubt that she’s a political pawn as her stash was clearly for personal use and Russia tried her as a distributor. It shouldn’t need to be said, but you should never, ever fly with drugs. There are countries that will execute people flying with drugs! But traveling with any illicit goods through a country with courts that take orders from above is certainly a risk. Hopefully reasonable minds will prevail in Naama’s case.
- It’s old news that Ukraine Airlines plays dirty with carry-on bags. Every time there’s a Jewish holiday, stories pop up about them discriminating against Jews. But the truth is they play dirty with everyone. If you decide to save a few shekels by taking Ukraine Air to Israel just take a personal item like a small backpack as they will lie about the size of wheeled carry-ons in Kiev in order to charge a small fortune to continue onto your connecting flight with it. Officially they do allow a hat in a case and tefilin in a case in addition to carry-on allowance.
- Chabad once again came to the rescue of hundreds of Jews connecting from Tel Aviv on a Norwegian flight that was cancelled from Barcelona to Newark. Rabbi Dovid Libersohn of Chabad of Barcelona brought hot food to the airport. Don’t forget that every Chabad House needs to raise their own operational funding, so be sure to donate generously. When you fly on a low-cost carrier it may seem like a bargain, but when things go south they typically won’t rebook you on other airlines and you may need to wait a very long time until they have the space to accommodate you on another flight.
El Al Tidbits: Goodbye 747 jumbos, hello tiny 787-8s onto their flagship route.
El Al’s jumbo 747 carried over 400 passengers from JFK to Tel Aviv for years. It recently flew its last flight on that route without fanfare.
The final El Al 747 flights will be from Tel Aviv to Rome on November 1, with the return from Rome to Tel Aviv on November 3. Will you book travel on these flights? Nothing will be as fun as the United 747 retirement flight that I took to Hawaii a couple years ago.
In the meantime, El Al is now flying between JFK and Tel Aviv with smaller 787-9s that have 32 business seats, 28 premium economy seats, and 222 economy seats, for a total of 282 seats.
However on some dates next year, including many Wednesdays, El Al will fly their 787-8 between JFK and Tel Aviv. That plane has just 20 business seats, 35 premium economy seats, and 183 economy seats, for a total of 238 seats. The plane was intended to fly in markets with low demand, so it’s surprising to see this plane show up on their flagship route.
I’m seeing the 787-8 scheduled to fly from JFK to Tel Aviv on:
April 1, 22, 29
May 6, 13, 20
June 3, 10, 17, 24
July 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
August 5, 12, 19, 26
September 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
October 7, 14, 21
Check the airplane bathrooms before you go…
A Southwest flight attendant now alleges that she caught pilots streaming from an on-board camera placed in the bathroom.
I’ll be sure to take an extra look around before using an airplane bathroom!
Boeing heads are finally starting to roll for the 737MAX fiasco.
Boeing is finally taking action against executives for the 737MAX disaster by firing the head of their commercial aviation unit.
Had Boeing not been as frugal and designed MCAS to take input from both sensors instead of just one, the 737MAX may not have become the disaster it became. With the fixes. MCAS will take input from both sensors, will be able to overruled by pilots far more easily, and will only activate once so that it will never again force an airplane to crash.
That being said I expect the plane to return to the skies in early 2020. Personally I won’t avoid the plane due to safety, I’ll avoid it as it’s been outfitted with uncomfortable slimline seats with little legroom and bathrooms so tiny you won’t even be able to bend down and check under the sink for a hidden camera.
OK, in a pinch I’d still fly it without reservation once it comes back online. But if you’re uncomfortable, just call your airline and they should allow you to change to another flight for free. Unless you’re flying American, good luck with them. Southwest and United have official policies allowing free changes from 737MAX flights.
Everyone wants to take on Netflix.
Disney will throw their hat into the ring on November 12 with their Disney+ streaming service.
If you have a Verizon Unlimited plan you’ll get 12 months of free Disney+ service. I’ll make a post when you can enroll in that offer and whether it works on $30 grandfathered unlimited plans like the one I’m on.
Lindblad left a bad taste in my mouth when they I tried to bid Starpoints to cruise to Antarctica on 11/6/16. They point-blank refused to allow me to bring kosher food onto their boat.
All worked out in the end, as a couple of weeks later, I got to throw out the first pitch and get 2nd row seats to game 7 of the 2016 World Series on our wedding anniversary.
And 2 years after that, I got to lead a group of over 50 Jewish passengers who shared my dream and passion of making it to Antarctica, but were never able to due to the lack of kosher food availability.
But if you are booking on Lindblad, you may as well claim a bunch of extra points. Best of all the 5 points per dollar spent will count towards earning Hyatt elite status. Hyatt has the last of the valuable hotel points. Hopefully they stay valuable for years to come.
You can get a great deal for staying in a Vancouver hotel through 2/29/20.
Select the Visa promo from the drop-down menu and you’ll get a C$125 Visa gift card for 1 night stays and an additional C$50 added onto the gift card for each subsequent night.
My only question, did Equifax hire a 5 year old or a 95 year old to make their “password” for keeping our credit safe?
Share your thoughts on these stories or post a comment about what other stories that I missed!