Sunday News Roundup 11/3/19: 9 Quick Takes On What’s Going On In Aviation And Travel; Airbnb Scam, United Plays Dirty, 747 Farewell, LAX Uber Disaster, 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:

Los Angeles Airport has banned Uber, Lyft, and taxi pickups at the terminal. It has not gone well.

Travelers now have to wait for a shuttle to take them to a lot where they can get matched with a ride. During peak travel times that wait time can exceed an hour.

With peak holiday season coming up, the new system is likely to be a disaster.

It’s even worse for people traveling with families, as they now have to shlep their bags and kids onto the shuttle bus before waiting for an Uber.

If LAX really wanted to reduce ride share traffic, maybe it should have imposed another surcharge on the service? Or kept the option to skip the shuttle in exchange for an added fee?

There is a way to bypass the mess though. Uber Black is exempt from the new rules. Uber Black can be pricey though, especially for long distance rides. Maybe the best move is ordering an Uber Black to a nearby location and then switching to an UberX so that you don’t need to wait and shlep your bags and family onto a shuttle?

Will Cathay Pacific add first class on flights between Tel Aviv and Hong Kong?

Globes ran this fascinating interview with Cathay Pacific’s outgoing head of Israel, Jonathan Bailey, about their Tel Aviv route a few months ago.

We already knew the flight was performing well as Cathay has gone from 4 weekly flights to 6 weekly flights to daily flights on the route. I mentioned back then that I hoped that meant that Cathay would add first class onto their Tel Aviv flights. From the article it sounds like Tel Aviv might just land the next generation 777-9, which will operate with a first class cabin!

I can’t wait to use 70K Alaska miles to fly from the US to Israel in first class for both flights!

Some other interesting tidbits:

  • The majority of the Israeli passengers use the flight to continue to other destinations, “mostly to Japan, followed by Sydney, Singapore, Taipei, and Vietnam.”
    • How cool would it be to have Qantas or Singapore fly nonstop to Tel Aviv!
  • Cathay doesn’t regard El Al’s upcoming nonstop to Tokyo as a threat. They think they will profit more as they offer far more frequent service than El Al’s 3 weekly flights. Cathay also offers service into Haneda Airport, which is far preferred to Narita where El Al will fly to. Plus they’ll benefit from El Al marketing Tokyo to Israelis.
  • “We have more than a few passengers traveling to Hong Kong every week and returning to Israel for the Sabbath.”
    • Now those are some serious road warriors!
  • Israelis love booking last minute. “More than a quarter of our tickets can be purchased one month before the flight…it made us nervous at first, but when we saw that this behavior was consistent, we realized that we would sell these seats. We used to try to sell 6-9 months in advance, but we’ve eased up on the pressure. In a certain sense, the Israelis have educated us as to how to sell to them”
    • I love this. I’m a spontaneous traveler and my love of miles stems from the fact that I can book last minute trips at affordable rates. Cathay in particular is great about opening up award space at the last minute.
  • “The profit comes from business class. In tourist class, we’re trying to reach a tie-breaker. We have 46 business class seats, which make up 10-15% of the plane, and they’re the big profit.”
    • No surprise here. It’s the reason United created a special premium heavy version of their 767-300 for routes like Newark-London with 46 business seats, 22 premium seats, 47 economy plus seats, and just 52 economy seats.
  • “In Israel, we use the Dan lounge, which is alright, but expensive. If you compare it with the business lounge in Hong Kong, which is one of the best in the world, we charge less for it than what we pay here.”
    • Mr. Bailey is being generous here. The Dan Lounge is barely usable during peak travel times due to overcrowding and the amenities are weak. It’s insane that they are able to command such high rates for such a poor product. It seems like they must have some sort of lounge monopoly arrangement with Ben Gurion as many other airlines besides El Al would love to offer their own lounge product in Tel Aviv.
  • It’s the best country I’ve lived in, except for the high prices. It’s more expensive here than in Qatar and the UK.
    • That’s quite the ringing endorsement for Israel. 

CLEAR is now open at Newark Airport

CLEAR has finally arrived at Newark Airport, though for now it’s only available in Terminal C for PreCheck passengers. The regular CLEAR line at Terminal C will arrive next.

It’s too bad that the service isn’t available at Terminal A or B, though there is a bus located airside that can take you to the other terminal should you say, clear security in Terminal C and have a flight from Terminal A.

PreCheck is great, but CLEAR is amazing.

PreCheck costs $85 for 5 years (it’s included for free with the excellent Global Entry, which costs $100 for 5 years) and allows you to keep your shoes, belt, and jacket on, and your laptop in your bag. You get to go through metal detectors rather than assuming the position for the nude-o-scope. Adults that have PreCheck can also bring their kids with them, even if their kids don’t have PreCheck.

PreCheck and Global Entry are free with cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®Chase United ExplorerCapital One Spark Miles for Business Business, Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, AMEX Business Platinum Card, AMEX Platinum Card, Citi Prestige, Citi Executive AAdvantage, and more.

Once upon a time, PreCheck lines were always short, but that’s no longer a guarantee. With PreCheck these days you may be able to walk right up to security or you may need to wait 20 minutes.

CLEAR allows you to skip to the front of the line. If you have PreCheck you can skip to the front of the PreCheck line and if you don’t have PreCheck you can skip to the front of the regular line.

You don’t need to take out your ID either, your fingerprint or eye act as your ID.

The dependability that skipping the line gives you is simply amazing. It means I can leave my house 55 minutes before a flight and know that I won’t miss my flight out of CLE. When I’m with my family I’ll leave plenty of time and enjoy the airport lounge, but if I’m solo, the less wasted time in the airport is always a win.

CLEAR also works for sports stadiums. I’ve used it to skip the line at Progressive Field, which is a nice bonus on top of skipping the lines at the airport.

A full list of CLEAR locations can be found here.

Virgin Atlantic trained their staff for their Israel launch and Richard Branson sold tickets in Jaffa’s Shuk

Kudos to Virgin Atlantic for trying to understand religious clientele before launching service to Israel.

They hired consultant Arieh Wagner for sensitivity training for their crew, and they went to London’s Golders Green suburb to learn everything from kosher food to wig boxes.

They have also added kosher snacks and wines onto flights, a kosher menu in the Virgin Clubhouse, and they’ll be switching from Hermolis to high-end caterer Food Story. Hermolis is generally considered the best kosher meal provider, but I’m told that Food Story will take it even a notch higher.

Competition on the London-Tel Aviv market is fierce and it’s great to see Virgin join the ring.

Now if only Arieh could provide the same training to El Al, Delta, and United…

And here’s a cute video of Richard Branson selling tickets in the Jaffa shuk:

El Al’s final 747 flight is now flying from Rome to Tel Aviv; It just drew a 747 in the sky.

Another sad day for the 747 as another airline retires its final Queen of the Skies. El Al flight 1747 is making its way from Rome to Tel Aviv.

DDF member yandmk is aboard and reports that he ran into another Jewish avgeek on the flight who flew to Israel and bought tickets on the flight after seeing the final flight details posted on DansDeals.


The flight path even drew a 747 in the sky:

The aircraft will likely face the same sad fate as this El Al 747-400:

I’m just a bit obsessed with the Queen of the Skies, so it’s always sad to see videos like that.

In 2016 I took Rafi to San Francisco to let him experience flying on the upper deck of the glorious 747 before United retired it.

In 2017 I flew to Hawaii on United flight 747, which was United’s final 747 flight. I even have a piece of a 747 in my office.

Luckily, the 747 will fly on as airlines like Korean and Lufthansa operate the newer 747-8, so it will be a while until the Queen is gone from the skies.

American and United’s new club restrictions are now in effect, but only United played dirty.

American and United have matched Delta in requiring you to fly on their airline or partner airline in order to access their airport lounges.

That’s certainly within their right to do for annual members.

However after lifetime club members complained to all 3 airlines about the terms of their purchase being significantly altered, American and Delta relented and will allow lifetime club members to access their clubs, even if they’re flying another airline.

United refused to make an exception. They will require people who paid for a lifetime club membership to make an additional purchase in order to access the clubs they already paid to access for life. It’s just wrong.

This isn’t the first time United has behaved badly toward lifetime members. They also promised in writing that Million Milers would get regional upgrades for life, before they backtracked on that promise. They also have refused to honor lifetime Silverwings memberships.

United seems to take pride in showing just how little trust they deserve. It costs them practically nothing to keep their word in this case, but they still managed to anger a group of their most loyal customers.

Washington DC’s Newseum closes their doors for good on 12/31/19.

This is one of my favorite museums in the world and it’s sad to see it go. If you’re around the nation’s capital it’s certainly worth a visit!

From the Newseum 9/11 exhibit:

Vice uncovered a nationwide Airbnb Scam. It’s hardly the only one out there.

Airbnb can be amazing, especially for big families that don’t fit into hotel rooms or suites. But with a hotel you generally know what you’re getting and if you don’t get it, the corporate chain that manages the hotel will step in.

Airbnb though is the wild, wild west. I rented in Airbnb in Florida that was exactly as pictured, but smelled so bad that we had to checkout and move into a hotel. Good luck fighting with Airbnb for a refund in a situation like that.

My brother JJ rented an Airbnb in Cairns, Australia, only to find it covered in spiders and insects. He got a refund as the home’s owner never responded, but had to pay for a hotel when he was expecting a home with a private pool.

But the Vice article takes the cake and is just shocking. Sophisticated scammers know that Airbnb sides with the home owners and that means they can take advantage of renters and get away with it. At least until they scam a journalist who unwraps the scam.

Airbnb didn’t seem to care much and I doubt they’ll offer proactive refunds. They’re just another tech company growing fast and behaving badly.

But the FBI is now on the case.

Have you had problems renting an Airbnb?

Mishpacha covers the DansDeals Vacation Nod


This is hilarious 😀

I’m certainly guilty of just about everything in this paragraph. Though I have been asked if I got my vacation deal through DansDeals and only on rare occasions will I spoil the fun by saying that I am Dan.

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

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72 Comments On "Sunday News Roundup 11/3/19: 9 Quick Takes On What’s Going On In Aviation And Travel; Airbnb Scam, United Plays Dirty, 747 Farewell, LAX Uber Disaster, And More"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.


Awesome! Thanks!

United ever flew between London and Tel Aviv? Or is that a typo?


Love these roundups


You would fly 28 hours to Israel (from NYC) instead of 11 to 12 hours just to fly First Class? For me personally that defeats the whole purpose. I would much rather fly J or even PE on a direct flight.


I’m definitely planning to do this one day. Spend a few days in Hong Kong, see the sights, get some custom made suits. That’s assuming that things settle down there.

Sholom Brody

I did this with a stop in Asia, was awesome.


Hard to comment on a digest.

Does the lax situation apply to only what you said, Uber Lyft and taxi? So if I call for a car service I can leave straight from the terminal?

I wouldn’t be too proud of every shout out. Leitzonus and loshon horah aren’t yiddishe zachen, so I try to stay away from their purveyors.

#5 llol

#5 was indeed the best


Love these roundups! Sunday Snippets?


Love these. That vice article is crazy though! What credit card would you recommend using for Airbnb to cover yourself for such circumstances?

Mountain Man

For Uber just take a shuttle to a rental car location and grab an Uber their. We’ve done that before even without Uber being banned. You just need to price check first which way is cheaper as occasionally airport pickups have a lower cost per mile than other locations.


VS did a great job with the LON sensitivity training. But the Israeli Hareidi bunch is a totally different ball game.


With regard to Airbnb, one lesson here is that potential renters should check reviews carefully and avoid anything that doesn’t feel right!


Or doesn’t smell right.


We rented a Airbnb for Passover and found an old /dirty pair of undergarments in the bedroom dresser.
Talk about not clean!

Liam K. Nuj

re: “I am that Dan”:
Cantor Werdyger was a frequent shopper in my retail store and usually “made himself comfortable” there, occasionally belting out a nigun or two.
One time, another customer asked this “noise maker” who he was.
The cantor asked, “Ever hear of Mordechai ben David?”.
The other customer answered, “Sure! Everyone knows who Mordechai ben David is. MBD!”
Cantor Werdyger replied, “Well, I’m David!”


Love the roundup!
With regard to lifetime United club members, why can’t you just purchase a ticket to anywhere on priceline, use it to enter the club, and then hit the cancel button when you’re done


Clear works with Elal? Precheck doesn’t work with Elal


Clear is not tied an airline. (through your boarding pass does show up via your fingerprint- how cool is that. No id, no boarding pass necessary to CLEAR security). Clear services both Pre and regular security lines. If you’re a member, scan your fingerprint and cut to the front of the line. Simple as that.
(Since airlines are sponsoring it, it often only shows up at concourses used by that airline. If you can transfer terminals airside or a different airline shares that concourse, then you’re fine.


You’re correct there is no need to show ID or boarding pass to TSA agent but a boarding pass is still needed. You need to scan it at the Clear kiosk along with fingerprint or eye scan.


Love this new(s) type of post. Please do it regularly!


Shame about VS changing the Hechsher on their meals. Hermolis are under Keddasia – eaten by almost everyone. Food story are under KLDB – Not eaten by everyone.
I envision many meals going in the bin like the Borenstein meals coming out of NY.


True thing.


My century old question, Why shouldn’t Borenstein take an additional Hechsher to satisfy the numerous passengers flying from NYC who are in need for an additional Hechsher besides for OU??


I’d like to see the cheaper Keddasia/(Hermolis) as an option for those of us who want it. Now that would be real service, Virgin Atlantic, of catering to the religious clientele!

Coffee Guy

Now looking forward even more to my VS TLV-LHR flight in a month. Seems it will be quite an improvement over LY or BA. Flights readily available on Delta site using Skypesos.


I use the “old folks Air BnB ” — VRBO and have never had a problem. Been using VRBO for over 10 years
I have heard too many stories about poor accommodations (not as advertised) on Air BnB


Problem is that vrbo raised their rates on hosts tremendously (they were acquired by home away which was then acquired by Expedia, each with a rate hike) while simultaneously losing most of the clientele to airbnb. So it isn’t worthwhile for many hosts to list with them anymore.


Dan, you managed to get a lounge named after you? What level of service do they provide in the Dan Lounge?


Are the kosher snacks on VS only on the TLV route? When will these meal changes apply?


The hour-long waits for an app ride at LAX were true on the first couple days. The airport’s Twitter account updates the wait times every hour or so, and for the past few days most of them have been under 15 minutes — often, under 5 minutes. For a while, Lyft was doing much worse than Uber, but that has changed also. The two now trade the shorter wait times.

It is inconvenient for families with luggage to board a bus to the paid-ride parking lot, just as it has been inconvenient the last many years for them to do it on the way to the rental-car lots. Somehow, those who can’t plan their trip for an alternate LA airport destination have been able to do it without too much rage.


It’s impossible for me to get on a shuttle with my family. That said lax traffic has been unbearable the last few months. More than once I’ve parked in the wrong terminal and ran to the right one. I fly from Burbank whenever possible. When not I arrange for private van pickup if my car is not parked at the airport and I’m with kids


What is the reason all the airline take out 747′ of there fleet ?
Fuel issue ?


Please keep posts like this coming!


did you use your bofa card to get into the newsuem when you went? it offered free admissions i think

yanky d

just to point out silvercar lax relies on lyft to pick you up to take you to their offbranch location what would happen now?


Thanks for this Dan – At LAX and walked to the Uber/Lyft lot (was under 10 minutes w/only carry-on) and saw how congested it was – realized the Hyatt Regency on Century and Sepulveda is just a 3 minute walk from the lot so I walked there and got a quick Uber there and was able to beat all the traffic.


While the Dan lounge is overcrowded, the Dan+ lounge is usually rented out by select airlines and is very empty and a really gorgeous lounge. This morning they told me it’s only for Virgin Atlantic passengers, but it was totally empty when I was there. I wonder if they charge the airline much more for that lounge.


I fly in and out of LAX every week I usually plan an additional hour to return my car and take the shuttle to the airport. I always walk to united terminal 7 from terminal 1 and it still can take up to an hour. Last week it took me 15 minutes to return the car and take the shuttle to terminal 1 so I am very glad they dont allow rideshare cars at the terminal anymore the congestion was way out of hand.


Dan how much did you pay for clear?


Or the refreshed green card


Thanks for the great post. Where can I found more info on the CLEAR EWR airside shuttle?

Jeff B

These short write-ups are missing alot of info, please explain how we go about setting up the fake Airbnb listings, thanks in advance


Will be on a Virgin Atlantic flight in a few weeks. I hope they trained them that there will be lots of children because I am planning to bring an infant carseat for my baby, and it clearly says on their website “no rear facing car seat” but how else can I place my 6 month old on the seat that I purchased!! ?

Texas Totty

Is VRBO immune from scammers like that? Even if they don’t have as many listings it’s probably worth checking to see if there’s something there that works. I always try to search both and take VRBO if not much more expensive.
(Also because of past AirBNB anti-Israel bias)


I’ve always had good experience with VRBO Homeaway (same co.) I recently took an Air BNB for the first and last time this summer. Really obnoxious host and we should’ve stayed with Homeaway. After being charged all kinds of fees and being accused of stealing a kayak oar (!?) from the home, we cancelled our AirBNB account.

The worst part is that the host can rate you, the guest, but you can not see what they wrote about you until you write your own review first. Stacked against the guest.

Good riddance. I’ll stick with what we know has always been a good experience.

Musa Abu Marzuk

Re Airbnb
You mention that Airbnb always sides with rhe hosts. For me as a host, that remark makes me laugh. I suggest you go into any Airbnb hosting group. They are full of guest horro stories and everyone is certain that Airbnb always sides with the guests….


Really enjoy these posts, thanks.
Can you pls add links to referenced articles, museums etc. In the future.


I just wanted to chime in and say that I really loved this new format/roundup — keep it up!


I’m not sure about anyone else, but i flew Virgin LHR to JFK and had Food Story….. the food was absolutely disgusting!!! The mashed potato was brown and looked like dog food….. I also flew LHR-TLV with Virgin and was served Hermolis – their food is by far THE BEST in the kosher market. Why are Virgin even thinking of changing?? terrible decision!!!!!

Steve Applebaum

Regarding the post about VAA changing supplier: as a very frequent business/ first class traveller I sincerely hope that does not happen. It is a known fact around the world that Hermolis is the best of the best!! There are quite a few other suppliers out there that have tried to compete with them on their usual routes but all have failed! They have been doing this for 30 plus years and have gotten it down to a very fine art!! Just cause a company that does catering and can produce a nice dish for an airline presentation doesn’t mean they can ensure that the standard would stay the same once transferred into an airline meal on a mass volume!! That’s where Hermolis are king!
Furthermore as someone who only eats kedassia this move would be detrimental to myself and many many other travellers that I know that would not eat the food story meals that are under KLBD.
I also spoke to a friend of mine that flew on Virgin to NYC and received the food story meal and was told it was horrible! Never mind not coming close to the Hermolis standards he was used to, it was just a horrible taste and really poor unappealing presentation!
I also find it strange that you say they are changing supplier since no one else seems to have confirmed this including Hermolis themselves.i emailed them to ask and they said this is untrue. From what I understand Hermolis are currently supplying ther TLV route and food story is supplying their NYC route as a trial.
Let’s be honest we know full well who will win that one!!!i believe the pros of 30+ years


Good roundup, thanks.

CX interview is cool.


Dan, we’ll get you on a 747 Cargo in 30 years. Don’t worry.