Sunday News Roundup 11/17/19: 12 Quick Takes On Aviation And Travel; Dubious Marriott Claims, TWA Ice Rink, A380 Failure, Mileage Ban, And More

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Previous roundups:

Featured trip reports of the day:

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.


Marriott’s CEO claims members prefer Bonvoy over Marriott or SPG by an 8 to 1 margin.

Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson made this absurd claim during their Q3 earnings call.

I’d love the see the actual survey. I have yet to meet any former SPG members who prefer the dumpster fire that is Marriott to the beloved Starwood program. Credit card earnings have been cut by a third, hotel award availability is down, upgrade shenanigans are rampant, off-peak pricing is absurd, 5th night free awards have been devalued, properties are going up in category even when there aren’t supposed to be category changes, IT problems continue to create headaches.

What exactly is there to like unless you never actually used the Starwood program?!?

The only explanation I can think of is that they surveyed 8 Marriott Rewards members for every 1 Starwood member.


The TWA Hotel at JFK is opening The Runway Rink

How cool is this?

The TWA Hotel at JFK Airport will be putting their runway, which features a 1958 Lockheed Constellation Connie airplane, on ice.

The runway rink will be open daily from November 30 through February.

I didn’t have a good experience at the hotel, but to be fair, it was opening night. But even if you’re not sleeping at the hotel, it’s still a very fun place to walk around and explore. The runway rink is just another reason to go check it out!


A man bragged about scamming an airline on social media, the airline took away all of his miles.

I mean, how stupid can you get? This must be the ultimate example of loose lips sink ships.

It’s one thing to scam an airline. I’ve heard of people who have their carry-on bags weighed at check-in and then they add more weight to them afterward. But for goodness sake, don’t post about it on social media!

This genius took that scam to the next level by having someone else’s cat cat weighed at check-in and then swapped the cat for his larger one that was too heavy to fly.

Not being content with pulling a fast one on Aeroflot, he wrote about the scam on Facebook.

Aeroflot struck back by closing his mileage account with some 400,000 miles.

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.


Emirates: Airbus will rue the day that they cancelled the A380.

A fascinating interview with Tim Clark, President of Emirates.

He says the A380 failed because it was introduced at the peak of the great recession, because airlines like Air France, British Airways, and Lufthansa put in 1980s first class seats and 1990s business class seats, and because airlines didn’t order enough of them to be a profitable subfleet.

I’m not really sure I buy all of that.

From a passenger perspective, there is probably no more comfortable ride in the sky than the A380. Sure, it would be great if every airline’s A380s had couple suites like Singapore and shower suites like Emirates and Etihad, but it’s still an awesome ride either way.

And I’m not sure why the plane being offered in 2008 explains why it wasn’t being ordered in 2015.

The real explanation is that running the A380 costs the same as running 2 Dreamliners. While the A380 may have more than twice the number of seats as a Dreamliner, making it cheaper on a per seat basis, not many airlines can fill that many seats on a route. And even if they can fill that many seats, they can sell them more profitably by operating more flights per day on a Dreamliner that allows for better scheduling to capture more business traffic.

Boeing correctly saw where the market was going when they were designing the Dreamliner and letting Airbus have the ultra jumbo market. Airbus was forced to respond with the A350 as airlines shunned 4 engine airplanes like the 747 and A380.

The A380 is a dream for Emirates with a well placed hub for connecting traffic, but it just doesn’t make much sense for most other airlines. Perhaps British Airways could have made it work, but it would be at the cost of a flight frequency, with little benefit as they have the slots they need at Heathrow.

But Emirates stock of A380s will fly into the 2030s, so it won’t be saying farewell anytime soon.

The A380 will go down as a failure. But Airbus certainly has Emirates to thank for not being a colossal failure.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bs8yR-SnUtf/


Boeing is pressuring the FAA to expedite the 737MAX certification.

Boeing’s arrogance with the 737MAX is brazen. If a 737MAX would have gone down in the USA, heads would be rolling and the future of the company would certainly be in jeopardy.

But as that didn’t happen, Boeing has gotten off without any real damage.

It’s chilling that Boeing is applying heavy pressure to the FAA to certify the plane, even before the FAA has had a chance to parse the latest software.

The message from the FAA head is clear, don’t give into Boeing. That’s good as they need to gain back respect in the international community.

“In this process, the only driving force is safety, and the FAA fully controls the approval process…I know there’s a lot of pressure to return this aircraft to service quickly. But I want you to know that I want you to take the time you need and focus solely on safety. I’ve got your back.”


Turkish Airlines returns to Newark after a 25 year hiatus; Have You Prayed In Their Synagogue?

Turkish Airlines will start flying between Newark and Istanbul starting in May, their first flights from Newark since 1994.

As a Star Alliance member I figured that they would do so to have connectivity from United. They could focus their JFK flights for NYC origin and destination traffic as there is little connecting Star Alliance traffic there, and use Newark for connecting flights.

Oddly, their flight doesn’t arrive into Newark until 10:30pm, much too late to make connections to other US cities on United. It might work for connections in Istanbul, but it sure doesn’t work stateside. Odd choice if you ask me.

I still find it amazing that Turkish Airlines has some 9 flights a day between Istanbul and Tel Aviv and that they operate 2 Synagogues in the airport! Now that’s a unique place for a minyan!


An alleged scammer targets Jewish travelers at airports across the country:

DDF member KSMH and DDFB member Ben Friedman share their stories and pictures of encounters with a man with an empty suitcase claiming he just arrived from Israel, that has been targeting Jewish passengers at airports across the country. Reports from members have him at Baltimore, Boston, JFK, Newark, Penn Station, and more.

The stories have apparently been going on for years and it usually involves him losing his wallet and asking for money to buy a train ticket.

If you’re flying in from Israel on a $421 ZFV fare that requires an Amtrak ride, maybe you can try to convince him to take your Amtrak ticket 😀


Here’s what it was like to fly on El Al’s final 747 flights:

Thanks to Sam Chui for an inside look at the final El Al 747 flights.

El Al hasn’t invested a dime into these birds in the past 25 years, but it’s still sad to see them go.

 

 

I gotta say, I’m feeling some pangs of regret for not flying in for it after watching these videos. But at least I got in on the United 747 retirement flight.

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Airbnb will verify all of their listings. Sort of.

After the crazy story of the Airbnb scam uncovered by Vice, Airbnb had to take some action.

CEO Brian Chesky promised to verify all listings by the end of 2020.

But what does verify mean? They’re going to rely on community reporting and crowd-sourcing, rather than send out employees to verify listings.

That may work for some cases, but surely there will be places that fall through the cracks.

On the plus side, starting on 12/15/19, Airbnb is offering a replacement booking of equal or greater value if their home doesn’t meet their standards.

That sounds good on paper, but when you’re checking into a home late at night and something is wrong, that’s not much consolation.

Do you use Airbnb and enjoy the extra space it can provide, or do you prefer the reliability of hotels?


Hyatt Adds More Destination Hotels To Their Portfolio. Sort Of.

Hyatt has been adding more hotels to the portfolio from their acquisition of Two Roads Hospitality. Some of them look like amazing bargains when using points.

Unfortunately the latest round of Destination Hotels that are being added include many that don’t honor elite benefits and aren’t available for award redemptions. In other words, you can collect points for paid stays, but that’s about it. Some of them will work with points, like Kauai’s The Lodge at Kukui’ula. That will fall in as a category 8 costing a whopping 40,000 points per night, a category that was previously reserved for non-Hyatt SLH hotels only.

I guess more hotels is a good thing, but this strikes me as a worrying trend.


Thrifty is offering BOGO car rentals

Rent a car from Thrifty through 12/31/19 and you’ll get 625 points, enough for a free one day rental for each rental that you make.

You can earn the bonus up to 5 times to earn up to 5 free days and the free days are valid through 12/31/20 within the US and Canada.


Is an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft the reason Android beat Windows Mobile?

I hate to doubt Bill Gates, but he’s claiming that if the US government didn’t try to break up Microsoft, he wouldn’t have retired early and they would have beat out Android as the alternative to iOS.

People use Windows because they’re used to it, though personally I’d have stayed with Windows 7 forever if they would build new computers for it.

Having tried some versions of Windows Mobile, this seems pretty delusional. Android is a truly great operating system.

What do you make of Bill Gates’ comments?


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

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20 Comments On "Sunday News Roundup 11/17/19: 12 Quick Takes On Aviation And Travel; Dubious Marriott Claims, TWA Ice Rink, A380 Failure, Mileage Ban, And More"

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donkey

You can say Android again. I was pretty dumbstruck hearing Bill Gates with that very original prediction (post-diction?) even most Microsoft employees would cringe at hearing.

Mike

Had they not been under investigation Gates would’ve had the time to lead his team to create something better
they could have hired the team which put android together.

Dr Moose

You didn’t mention anything about the Satmar Rebbe and his entourage to EWR.

Wa

That is just outrageous and unbecoming of a leader of religious Jews. Whatever happened to Hatzneia Laleches Im Eloicha?

Eliezer

Maybe to draw attention to the cause? Nowadays you’re raising much more money with the right PR.

wa

Not an excuse.

yelped

“If you’re flying in from Israel on a $421 ZFV fare that requires an Amtrak ride, maybe you can try to convince him to take your Amtrak ticket ”

I love this line. We need likes for DDMS, too!

numen

seriously 400k aerflot miles? are there good uses for those

Louise M

My only experience with the ZVF “flights” was my son getting stranded in Newark when his flight got in after the last train and he was really trying to get to ZVF.

Marky

where do you see in his post that they took away his miles?

Mike

Moral of the story-
If you are must share on social media at least use a nickname!

Sara

How can I open an Avianca account in English? I don’t read/speak Spanish.

Thank you!

kishke

Wow, i didn’t know about the AirBnB story. I’ve always been wary of them regardless.

Thanks for talking about that.

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