Sunday News Roundup 2/16/20: New US Airlines, Cruise Quarantines, #Reclinegate, Yiddish Harry Potter, Aeroplan Infant Awards, And More!

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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.

View previous roundups and commentary here.


Featured Trip Reports Of The Day

  • DDF Trip Report:

DDF member AJK’s classic Bora Bora Trip Report inspired many more visits to this piece of paradise. The color of the water and the mountain backdrop make it a bucket-list destination for many.

I just wish it had the variety of amazing flight options and points resorts that the Maldives have…

Bora Bora Airport, Photo Credit: AJK, via DDF
Photo Credit: AJK, via DDF
Photo Credit: AJK, via DDF
Photo Credit: AJK, via DDF
Photo Credit: AJK, via DDF
  • DD Trip Report:

Earlier today I shared our experience last month at the Atlantis and Grand Hyatt Baha Mar in the Bahamas

  • American continues to offer a much worse travel experience than United.
  • I didn’t miss taking the kids out to packed restaurants in Miami. Not even one iota.
  • The Atlantis free stay deal is free for a reason. Go, but with your eyes wide open.
  • I love Hyatt Globalist’s confirmed suite upgrades. Nothing else compares.
  • The Baha Mar pools and Grand Club are fantastic.
  • The Bahamas is no Hawaii, but it sure is nice not to have jetlag or fly for an entire day.
  • I can’t wait for a Zika vaccine to explore more places that have been cut off for us over the past 4 years.


2 New Airlines From Seasoned Executives Will Aim To Disrupt The US Market

Serial airline founder David Neeleman is preparing for his return to the US market. When this man launches an airline, people pay attention. He launched Morris Air and sold it to Southwest in the 90s. He launched Canada’s WestJet. He launched JetBlue. He launched Brazil’s Azul and purchased TAP Portugal.

He will launch Breeze Airways with a large fleet of Airbus A220s and Embraer E-195s, 2 of the most comfortable narrowbody jets in the world. Expect service to launch in 2021. Mr. Neeleman says it will be the world’s nicest airline.

They will use the E-195 on routes of 2 hours and less and the A220 on longer routes. As those planes have fewer seats than the 737, it will make nonstop routes with lower traffic numbers more feasible.

The market strategy is simple and copies Allegiant Air’s strategy. Find routes without nonstop service and offer nonstops for less than the cost of connecting on the major carriers.

I’d expect lower fares from the majors as they try to kill the new airline, but if Breeze delivers on friendly service, comfortable planes, and nonstop service then it will be a hit!

In other airline news, Andrew Levy, a co-founder of Allegiant and former United CFO, is also planning on launching a US airline. 

He plans to start service this year with 737-800s. He will use a similar strategy of connecting cities that don’t currently have nonstop service. However with bigger planes, he’ll need to find routes with more traffic than Mr. Neeleman does.

This country certainly needs new airline competition and I wish them both the best of luck in bringing back nonstops and customer service that have gone the way of the dodo as the major airlines consolidated.


Americans Are Finally Being Evacuated From The Quarantined Diamond Princess Cruise

I’ve always been wary of cruises.

Given the choice, I’d much rather stay on dry land and explore a place then do drive-by day trip excursions.

Plus, bugs  like norovirus can spread like wildfire across a cruise ship. A Princess cruise was denied docking after the virus spread among passengers in the Caribbean.

Sure, I organized the first Antarctica kosher cruise of the 21st century. But that was because there are no other good options for getting to Antarctica as a civilian who is an observant Jew.

But seeing the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship in Tokyo is just terrifying. Thousands of passengers who are stuck on a boat just waiting as coronavirus makes its way from person to person, perhaps even just through the air. I can’t imagine a worse situation on Earth. Though one couple had some fun and had a drone drop off some wine to them.

Dozens of Americans have caught coronavirus while in quarantine on the ship, as have 3 Israelis.

Americans on the ship are finally being evacuated and they’ll spend another 2 weeks in quarantine before they can go home.

Another ship, Holland America’s MS Westerdam, was denied docking by several countries before finally being allowed to dock in Cambodia. The Prime Minister of that country may regret kissing disembarking passengers though after at least one American on that ship has tested positive for coronavirus. 

All I know is that I sure wouldn’t get on a cruise while coronavirus is still going around.


Will Coronavirus Infect 2/3rds Of The Planet?

Bloomberg reports that 2/3rds of humans may wind up being infected with coronavirus.

Currently some 69,000 people are infected and the death toll is 1,669, though only 4 have died outside of mainland China.

If some 5.2 billion out of 7.8 billion people caught the coronovirus and if mortality rates remained at 2.4%, that would mean over 125 million deaths.

Scary numbers to say the least.

For now, countries outside of China have managed to avoid major outbreaks. But is it just a matter of time or can a worldwide epidemic actually be avoided?

Meanwhile China is fighting the spread with a warlike response. But Chinese citizens are unhappy with the country’s initial response and cover-up, especially after the coronavirus linked death of the doctor who first sounded the alarm.

Passengers flying to Asia take the risk of being subject to new restrictions before they reach their destination. A Bloomberg writer went around the globe after being denied entry to the Philippines due to new regulations blocking people who transited Hong Kong.

Maybe we’ll all be flying with a tent soon enough? Side benefit: El Al won’t need to solve any more seat stalemates!

Image: BoingBoing

“The Intelligence Coup Of The Century”

I LOVED this Washington Post tale of how the NSA got countries around the world to pay it in exchange for handing over all of their secrets.

It’s a long read, but boy is it a good one.

I found it truly shocking that it took so many decades for other countries to figure out what was going on. But I guess that just shows how good the ruse was.

It’s not often that we get such a fun peak into intelligence gathering!


Please Explain To Me Why #Reclinegate Is A Thing?

The internets are up in arms over this video of a man, who rocks and/or punches the reclined seat in front of him:

 

Apparently there are actually people out there that feel like the man is in the right.

Newsflash: If you were not supposed to recline your seat then the seats wouldn’t recline. If you pick a seat that doesn’t recline, that’s just too bad. It certainly doesn’t give you the right to rock the seat in front of you.

I don’t typically recline my seat, but if I’m tired I might choose to recline. And if I do recline, I’m always sure to recline it slowly.

Is it annoying to be reclined on? Sure. But it’s just one of myriad annoyances of public transportation. If you can afford to fly private then you can avoid it, but otherwise, it’s just part of travel.

If you were never supposed to recline then airlines would turn off the ability to recline. In fact Spirit does exactly that, though that’s because with their 28″ pitch, you would likely break someone’s kneecaps if you reclined.

Delta’s CEO says you should ask permission before reclining. In my thousands of flights nobody has ever asked my permission…

 

The worst part might be that the flight attendant sided with the man behind her:

 

And then American alleged to TMZ that she spilled a drink on him:

 

The flight attendant made her delete the video, but she was able to recover it from deleted files. She says that she’s still in pain and that she didn’t even capture the worst of it.

She may be crying a bit too much in hopes of a Dr Dao settlement that she will never get. But that doesn’t mean she’s in the wrong on this incident or that she deserved what she got.

And yet, people are on the man’s side. Please explain yourself!


Bring Your Infant For Free On Aeroplan Awards…For Now

For a long time Air Canada Aeroplan had some of the lowest rates for infant lap child awards. While most airlines charge 10% of the fare, they only charge $50 in coach, $75 in premium economy, $100 in business, or $125 in first class.

However due to switching their reservations systems to Amadeus they haven’t been able to collect fees for infants, so they’re including them free of charge with an adult. At least for the time being.

Another airline with no infant fees on awards is Qantas. British Airways charges 10% of the miles instead of 10% of the paid fare.

Personally I stand with Jan Brown in opposing bringing lap children on an airplane. It makes no sense that you can’t hold a purse, but that you can hold your child during takeoff, landing, or during turbulence. And it’s so much easier to have an infant in a carseat where they can sleep better.

But reasonable people can disagree about child safety and hey, a deal is a deal.


Beware Of Marriott Bearing Gifts

I mean, I’ve received some inappropriate free books from the PJ Library, but boy does this take the cake:

 


Will IHG Pointbreaks Return?

IHG normally runs rotating Pointbreaks award specials on hotels.

Once upon a time, 5K IHG points was able to get you some truly incredible rooms. Then they devalued the program and started charging 5K, 10K, or 15K points for hotels rooms.

But there is no current Pointbreaks list and all IHG will say is,

“We do not have a new IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks promotion planned currently. However, our guests can take advantage of our current offers, City Lights (advisory below) and the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card promotion. We look forward to sharing more details on other promotions in the coming weeks.”

Ironically they point to their credit card signup bonus that keeps climbing, but offering more points doesn’t make things better if you keep charging more points for awards…

Hopefully Pointbreaks returns, but the jury is still out on this one.


OneWorld News: LATAM, Royal Air Maroc, GOL, Alaska

LATAM shocked the mileage world when they announced that they would leave OneWorld and partner up with Delta.

It was a giant blow to American, which has traditionally been strongest in South America. Delta will also add flights to Miami to feed to the LATAM flights.

LATAM has announced that they will leave OneWorld on 5/1. They will retain select partnerships with OneWorld airlines, but they will no longer be partners with American. They don’t have current plans to join any alliance, which is a shame.

Meanwhile Royal Air Maroc will join OneWorld on 4/1, though the best way to fly on them will be with Etihad points.

American will partner up with former Delta partner GOL, but that hardly replaces LATAM. Hopefully GOL will join OneWorld as well.

But the worst news from last week is that Alaska plans on joining OneWorld in summer 2021. Burn their miles while you still can before they’re devalued with a OneWorld award chart!


Virgin Takes On Cape Town

Virgin Atlantic continues to fill holes in their network. Last fall they added service to Tel Aviv and this fall they will add service to Cape Town.

Virgin often has cheap fares between the US and Johannesburg, so I’d imagine we’ll see the same to Cape Town as well.

The problem is that flying between the US and South Africa via Europe adds a good amount of time to a long journey, though some may find that preferable to a very long flight, especially when it saves hundreds of dollars per ticket.

United returns their nonstop service from Newark to Cape Town on October 25th, the same day Virgin starts service. Cape Town has long been on my bucket list, so hopefully I’ll get a chance to make it out there with all of these new flights!


RIP Air Italy

Air Italy, the Qatar backed airline that tried to take on Alitalia, shut down last week.

Ironically, it failed in part due to Italy keeping Alitalia from failing. US airlines complain that airlines like Qatar only exist due to being state owned and shielded from massive losses.

But it also failed due to Italian law that forbade foreign investors like Qatar from owning a majority of the airline. The US has a similar law which is the reason we don’t have competition from foreign airlines on domestic routes. How crazy would it be to be able to choose from Singapore Suites or Ryanair when flying from JFK to LAX?


Stay 2 Nights At Best Western And Get One Free

Best Western is offering a free night after staying 2 nights.

Best Western Rewards members who register and stay two nights between February 18 and April 20, 2020 at any Best Western branded hotel in the United States, Canada, or the Caribbean Islands will get a Free Night to use for their next stay.

You’ll have 70 days to use the free night.

As a kid we stayed at Best Western hotels, but my standards have grown since becoming a full time points addict as an adult.

As I said back in 2006 about Greyhound launching a loyalty program, 

“More time on a Greyhound bus as the top reward?
Reminds me of that joke about winning a vacation to Pittsburgh;
First prize: 1 week in Pittsburgh
Second prize: 2 weeks in Pittsburgh…”

But if the promo works out for you, enjoy!


Marriott Bonvoys The Silver and Gold Elite Telephone Lines

Another week, another Marriott devaluation.

This time they have eliminated the dedicated phone line for Silver and Gold members without providing advance notice.

Truthfully, anything under Platinum isn’t really elite with Marriott. Even as a Titanium member I don’t get much.

And calling Marriott’s Titanium has always been an exercise in futility for me.

I’ve had much better luck sending a direct message to @mbonvoyassist on Twitter or emailing the CEO.


Harry Potter Is Now In Yiddish

I have fond childhood memories of getting the newest Harry Potters in the mail and devouring them in all-nighters.

I love this article about the difficulties of translating Harry Potter into Yiddish.The decisions that had to be made are simply astounding!

“Thus, Harry’s classmate Neville Longbottom remained Longbottom, rather than “longtuchus.””

“I turned Dumbledore into this very lomdish [Jewishly learned] guy who speaks with a lot of loshen koydesh [Hebrew and rabbinic phrases].” In other words, Dumbledore speaks in the Yiddish register of a rabbinic dean of a yeshiva because that’s the role he plays at Hogwarts, not because he’s actually Jewish.

Likewise, “McGonagall and Snape, and especially Filch, speak in a particularly Litvish register, so you can sort of really hear their dialect. The same thing with Hagrid, who speaks with a very deep back country Polish register,” a Yiddish analogue to “his west country English accent” in the original books.”

Amazing 😀


Share your thoughts on these stories or post a comment about what other stories that I missed!


Previous roundups

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42 Comments On "Sunday News Roundup 2/16/20: New US Airlines, Cruise Quarantines, #Reclinegate, Yiddish Harry Potter, Aeroplan Infant Awards, And More!"

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Jacob

I get that you don’t think it’s right that he was banging her head like that (honestly couldn’t stop laughing watching that video). But you keep saying people CHOOSE those seats. Are you for real? Many times I was put in such a (unreclinable) seat NOT by choice.

Helen

Yes, they CHOOSE them by choosing to buy Basic Economy tickets which comes with the inability to have your pick of a good seat unless you PAY more for it. So if you’re put in the last row which you say is NOT by choice, it IS because you did choose to get a cheap ticket and not pay more for seat selection. That is definitely considered a choice to me.

Jacob

I hold my kids on my lap in Ubers. Planes are much safer. I’m glad you have the money to splurge on seats as you wish.
Do you put helmets on your kids heads when they cross the street?!

Helen

Not money, miles. I do the same, not just for safety but also because it makes my life so much easier while traveling with a baby or toddler (which is already usually difficult as it is).

And I wouldn’t hold my infant in an Uber. I bring along their car seat with a snap n go. Its very irresponsible to hold them in your lap.

Jacob

I’m so happy for you folks who are able to grab your 20 lb carseat as you sprint into an Uber; you must be fit. Make sure to keep one in your purse. Do you also take one on the city bus with you?

Serving junk food to your child is also “careless” and “irresponsible”.
Helen, I’m sure you keep your kids on healthy diets, because statistically that’s exponentially more likely to affect their life than deciding which safety measures differentiate between a responsible or “irresponsible” parent.

yelped

Come on. When you compare two things, make sure you compare apples and apples. No one is going to die from one sugar treat, but one car ride without a car seat is enough for a tragedy to occur, Chas Veshalom.

Helen

Exactly @yelped!

And if I’m taking an uber with an infant I’m not rushing or grabbing anything. I prepare myself completely and then call the uber and calmly enter with my car seat while the nice driver puts the snap n go in the trunk which I tip them nicely for :).

I avoid taking city buses like the plague even when I’m by myself, let alone with a baby, so can’t comment on that.

Texas Totty

Actually I do have a booster that can be kept in a purse. Won’t work for an infant but great for a toddler. Really comes in handy when traveling. It has gone down to $9.99 before.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AQYZCXK/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

E

Jacob, I’m not sure if its jealousy or ignorance with you. UBER’s policy states that a child under 15 months of age must be seated in a car seat. Not only is it illegal and also against uber’s corporate policy, but you can kill your child. https://www.uber.com/en-GB/blog/uber-with-kids-guidelines/

Jacob

Okay @Yelped and @E, you can also “kill your child” (to use your sick terms) when you walk then across the street. And unlike sugar treats, one hit and it’s all over. Surely you put helmets on them whenever you take a walk, afterall you wouldn’t want that on your shoulders.

E

Jacob, another source for NY State. If you don’t have the means for travel, then that’s acceptable and nothing to be ashamed about. But, playing with the law and safety of your children is never acceptable or an opinion. Consider doing for their sake,not yours. https://www1.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/motorist/car-safety.shtml

E

And to complete my trio of comments to Jacob, perhaps the next time you fly or travel in an automobile you should forgo putting a seat belt on yourself. It’s only the right thing to do since your kids have no seatbelts protection, neither should you. Aside from breaking Uber policy and State laws, you and your kids might get killed ( God Forbid 1000×)

Jacob

E, you are completely incorrect about the law. NYS/NYC law explicitly states that a child restraints are NOT required in taxis.
And thank you for quoting Ubers terms in the UK. Thankfully we live in the US.

Jacob

I presume @Yelped and @E put helmets on your kids heads when you take them across the street, unlike sugar all it takes is one hit ch”v. And surely you don’t let them play outside when there’s rain in the forecast lest they ch”v be hit by lightning. After all they’re much more likely to be killed by lightning than in an airplane because they weren’t in a car seat.

And lest I be misunderstood, I should clarify. I am not preaching against car seat use (never did), I definitely bring them with me on trips (but put them in cargo for under 2yo) and cars (it’s the law). What I do detest is others preaching that if you don’t buy a seat for your infant on an airplane then you’re a sick dad, and worse. Same for sprinting into a taxi.

I applaud you if you do take those steps, but there really is no limits to how many safety precautions you can take in general. So very nice if you do them, but don’t decide for others what amount of protection they much take and how much money and inconveniencing is required. It’s just such bad attitude.

yelped

Talking about attitude….

Going into a taxi with an infant without a car seat is simply foolhardy. Don’t try to excuse yourself.

E

Jacob, no way to convince someone that it’s wrong for you to be fully protected by a seatbelt, but your children are in danger in the event of a collision. I don’t eat organic carrots or put helmets on children when crossing the street, but as with Dan and most readers I certainly wouldn’t be cheap or too quick to consider safety.

Jacob

You do as you wish. My point is we all pick and choose what safety measures we are interesting in taking for our children. All I am saying is that people should respect other people’s choices (for themselves AND their children).

ah giten

I always ask when to recline my seat, and even then I don’t fully recline.
I get VERY annoyed when the person in front fully reclines. He might have the right, but I feel it’s a bit selfish.

Yanky

Dan these are amazing! Keep me coming.

Where are you dying to go to that you are still worried about Zika?

Than you sir

Love these. Thanks again!

yelped

Crypto AG is not the only time the NSA tried building in backdoors to snoop. There was the famous Clipper chip that never took on, and the RSA ECC encryption algorithm that people suspected for years had a backdoor and with the Snowden leaks, it was confirmed.

rob

” It makes no sense that you can’t hold a purse, but that you can hold your child during takeoff, landing, or during turbulence.”

Agreed. It’s ridiculous that one can’t hold a purse.

Srulky

The screenshot in Yiddish from that article seems like a google translation.
It is difficult to understand. Kind of like Fiddler in Yiddish.

Cook

Likely because those individuals who translate these texts have never spoken Yiddish for functional communication purposes

#

Find routes without nonstop service and offer nonstops for less than the cost of connecting on the major carriers.
@Dan can you give couple of examples? Domestic?International?

Mendel

I was hoping mad on a 11 hr flight to Israel when the fellow behind my mom would not let her recline. I called over the flight attendant, who, after I explained the situation, promptly walked away.

Yeshivabucher

@dan @ajk amazing TR is there supposed to be a part 5?

Zack

I don’t recline my seat. “What you don’t want others to do to you, don’t do to others”

Shmoogrr

If you don’t want anyone reclining in front of you, fly Southwest, Spirit or Allegiant

Dawie

the Best Western Plus Arroyo Roble Hotel & Creekside Villas
is one of the nicest hotels in Sedona AZ, where point values are usually a bad deal for your money
be a great use of the promotion

sam

dan, I love these roundups, and your trip reports too! To think how much time & work you put into these. thanks!

paul

Royal air cannot be booked by Eithad they r saying “does not show on the system”

if you need to book shoot me email, I can help you book it laughard@gmail.com

Problem Solved

If you don’t want someone to recline on you, there is a simple answer.
Buy a bulkhead seat like I did! Then you have more legroom and no worries!

y id

Will the ‘stay 2 nights get 1 free’ work at best western regency suites in Tel Aviv? anyone ever say there?

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