Welcome to episode 46 of the PointsHoarder podcast where we spend much of our time working to bully/pressure Stephan into taking a trip half way around the world, mostly in coach, for no apparent reason other than that the rest of us are going. Plus it is the famed Island Hopper, one of the greatest “milk run” flights operating today. Not too many similar routes remain, and this one offers access to remote islands in the Pacific Ocean. Plus it is a 737 all the way from New York to Hong Kong. There’s something magical about that. Hopefully we were convincing enough.
United is now (theoretically) enforcing their carry-on bag rules more aggressively. Rolo ran in to some issues with his suitcase coming home from pre-Mardi Gras festivities in New Orleans so pay attention to the details he offers about that with his normal carry-on (and its contents!).
Both Delta and Frontier are adding some routes in Cleveland, picking up from United’s dehubbing. Not a ton, but Trenton seems to be a cool place to go, right?
Welcome to the end of the line for the DC-10. Sort of. Biman Bangladesh Airlines is the only remaining operator of the type for commercial service and they’re finally making the leap into the 21st century with fleet modernization efforts. That means it is time for a retirement party. And rather than giving the plane a gold watch and sending it on its way (though that watch would improve the IFE options on board) Biman is taking the bird on one last boondoggle of a trip. This week’s episode was recorded in Dhaka, Bangladesh on the night prior to the final scheduled service and we’ve got a couple special guests on the show talking about the journey to get here and why it was important to them to make the trip.
Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren from Airchive.com and Bernie Leighton from Airline Reporter join me for the first half of the show, talking aircraft history, the challenges of chasing a final flight and the pain which jet lag can cause. We also debate how to actually pronounce Biman, who will carry the responsibility for making sure the rear cargo door pressure seal works and why someone would need to import 40 tonnes of green chilies in a single day. In other words, a bit of incoherent rambling, just like always. Also, it seems that Jason didn’t listen to the Apology episode, but we’ll forgive him that transgression.
There are some other news bits on the episode as well, including:
Club Carlson is changing their program, adding a new tier at the top of the award chart, reducing some elite benefits and also adding some earning options/benefits for award stays. It is definitely a mixed bag on this one.
Cleveland got cut deeply by United and we talked about that last episode. This time around there are some minor bits of good news for the city. Both Frontier (TTN, SEA, MCO) and Delta (IND, RDU) are adding service to fill in a few of the holes United is leaving. Will it be enough? Probably not.
Sometimes it is hard to say “I’m sorry.” In this episode, however, we prove that all of us can manage the phrase quite easily. See, it turns out that in PointsHoarder 42 I gave some bad advice. Fozz questioned me on it and I insisted. And I was wrong. Whoopsie. A few of our listeners caught the error and brought it to my attention and so the retraction is included in this episode. Of course, that also started a bit of a snow ball effect throughout the rest of the discussion, but I think it turned out OK.
This episode was recorded with all four of us together in Vilnius, Lithuania on an annual drinking trip we do (Episode 19 was similarly recorded last year in Budapest). As an added bonus, I provided refreshments for the group so there was a bit of a beer tasting happening throughout the recording. Make sure to listen for our thoughts on some of the more readily accessible Lithuanian brews (by which I mean they were at the checkout counter at the grocery on the corner), including a few from Kalnapilis and one from Švyturys. The Švyturys was my favorite, though we had more beers later that night which were much better.
Oh, there was also a podcast where we talked about travel and points and such.
United is forcing furloughs on a bunch of flight attendants from the legacy United side of their operation. That has, not surprisingly, caused some crazy discussions out there. One of the more entertaining bits (to me) is the letter from United to the Union head. Worth a read.
We also talked a bit about the impending United award chart changes. We’re a week out from the changes happening so that’s going to suck. And then we talked about a couple ways it might be possible to get around the changes.
Welcome to 2014, where lots of rules are changing and so are our travel patterns. Somewhat. Sorry we missed a couple weeks there over the holidays but we’re back with a whole bunch of stuff to talk about.
In this week’s episode we’re looking at our plans for the coming year – Stephan, Fozz and Seth all have different ideas about what makes sense for them – and how the new rules from Delta and United, as well as concerns about possible changes from American, are shaping our travel patterns.
Which of us do you think bought the most of the ~$60 Delta transcon business class fares? We talk about that mistake, why we think it happened and what the impact may be for our status in 2014.
Is manufactured spending finally ready to really, really beat out travel as the key to frequent flyer points? Sadly the answer seems to be yes. Sucks, but I’m learning to deal with it.
Welcome to the holiday episode of the PointsHoarder Podcast, so named mostly because we decided to mock the operational challenges American Airlines faced this past week with a bit of a jingle. You can enjoy that in the opening few seconds of the show.
Beyond that, we talked about a bunch of random and vaguely topical events/stories this week. Among them:
American and US Airways finalized their merger. That means not much right now (other than US/UA codeshares are no longer for sale) but many changes will be coming in the next 4 months or so. Keep tuned in for more details as they happen.
American also had a whole bunch of problems thanks to an ice storm in Dallas compounded by failures in some of their technology platforms over the past week or so. Fozz and Rolo got caught in the mess. Whoopsie.
Aerolineas Argentinas is an unreliable abomination of an operation. Or something like that. Rolo has all the details.
Air Force One needs to be a 4-engine plane but there aren’t many options available on that front and the weak 747-8 sales might cause the feds some issues. My suggestion of using the DC-10s being retired from Biman didn’t go over so well.
The resale value of A340-500s is tanking; that might cause Airbus to take a $1-2bn hit. Ouch.
All that and more inside. And I promise we won’t sing again for a while.
Not really any miracles to speak of in the episode, but – like many things I write – it seemed like a good idea at the time.
We’re coming to you a day early this week so when you’re stuck in an airport trying to get away for the holiday this afternoon you’ve got something to distract you from the chaos and idiocy which is holiday travel or stories on the news about holiday travel. Also, if you can spot B-roll on the news showing 727s or DC10s (not all that uncommon, sadly) let us know. That’s always fun.
It is a short episode this week for the holiday – we’re all already on the road as well – so not a ton of topics. Still, a few interesting bits:
Wideroe sold a few thousand United (and a couple other carriers) flights last weekend with no fuel surcharge YQ component added. In addition to the awesome that is the deal there are now many stories/rumors/questions about who shared the deal and how it was promulgated. Quite intriguing.
Happy Thanksgiving…may your travels this week be delay- and trouble-free.
Is the sky falling? Are we reaching the end of a fantastic run? Or is this just a minor adjustment in the world of points & miles? That’s the main topic of this week’s PointsHoarder podcast as we discuss multiple devaluations which were announced so far in November. We’ve got:
Some of our listeners have asked for out-takes and other behind-the-scenes bits from our shows. My response has generally been that we don’t have any because I don’t really edit anything out of the recording so what you’re hearing is what actually happened during the 40 minutes or so we’re live. Turns out that isn’t completely true. Oopsie.
Stephan handles the “official” recording of the episode and he generally starts that right before the intro and finishes it right after our sign-off so there isn’t anything extra there. For episode 39, however, I happened to record the entire call, including the bits before and after the main recording. There are some rather entertaining bits in there, too. And since we recorded early in the week I had time to edit a few of the out-takes together into a teaser reel. Hope you enjoy!
Double SkyMiles for Flights out of Seattle. As part of Delta’s growth out of Seattle they are offering double SkyMiles for flights between Seattle and San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas all the way through October of 2014.
Fozz talks a bit about the yellow baggage handles that United sent out and his recent experiences.
We discuss the new commercials being put out by British Airways, United, and American Airlines. There are some good ones, some not so good ones, and some where the marketing doesn’t match reality.
Emirates is launching service to the Republic of Guinea. We had a little bit of trouble with the pronunciation of the locales but the flight will stop in Dakar before heading to Conarky. The flight will operate 4x a week on an Airbus A340-300.
Lastly, Fozz and Rolo will be heading to World Travel Market from November 4 to November 7. If you’re in the area, be sure to send a message so they can buy you a beer and talk points and miles.