- Sunday News Roundup 10/27/19: 11 Quick Takes On What’s Going On In Aviation, Credit, And Deals That You Should Know About
- Sunday News Roundup 11/3/19: 9 Quick Takes On What’s Going On In Aviation And Travel; Airbnb Scam, Cathay’s Tel Aviv Plans, United Plays Dirty, 747 Farewell, LAX Uber Disaster, And More
Featured trip reports of the day:
- DDF member Denverite shares in this 2016 trip report how she planned for her trip to the Maldives, with pictures of Singapore along the way, flying to the Conrad Maldives, having drinks in the incredible looking Conrad underwater restaurant, and pictures of the Conrad overwater villa.
- Learn how to get Hilton points on the cheap to replicate this trip for yourself!
- DD throwback trip report: Back in April 2016 I took my son Rafi on an epic trip to San Francisco before United stopped flying the 747 on domestic flights.
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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!