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Posts by HappyFlier
Do you use a smartphone to surf the Web?
A few years ago no one did. Now, with the incredible growth of the smartphone category (led by Apple’s iPhone, several phones from BlackBerry, new Droids from Google, and the Palm Pre and Pre Plus) more and more people are using their phones as their web browser. I am in that group, checking mail and the news on my phone several times a day from work.
Most websites, mine included, are designed to look good on a computer screen, but may not work very well on a phone’s much smaller screen. Thanks to a wonderful plug-in, readers of my blog will no longer need to be concerned with that.
The new feature automatically converts the site so that it will look good and format correctly on your phone’s browser. You don’t have to go to a new URL, it is all automatic.
So give it a try, see how HappyFlier looks on your phone. I think you’ll like what you see. I know I do! Comments? You can reach me at Bob@happyflier.com.
Several people have asked about my last post, trying to figure out what they were selling in that video.
The answer is: airline tickets!
At the end of the video is a link to http://www.grabaseat.co.nz. That link takes you to the web site of Air New Zealand, specifically their special deals page.
There is nothing on the site that has any connection to the video, and the video had no connection to Air New Zealand. No connection that is, other than the fact that we are now talking about them and visiting their site.
And that, my friends, is a successful viral video. And now you know what they were selling.
Sometimes a commercial is straightforward and you know what the product is. Sometimes not.
I like this commercial, (given its length, probably more viral video than commercial) but I have no clue what the connection is to the product. Follow the link at the end to see what they are advertising.
And beware of the cougar!
In January I scheduled a great mileage run for May, only to have American Airlines break it. I was pretty disappointed by this, it’s not often that I get the chance to do a transcontinental flight as I had scheduled. The new itinerary American gave me was awful and I had no intention of flying it.
I spent two hours yesterday at aa.com, looking for other options. I found some that, at first glance, looked good. For example AUS-DFW-JFK-LAX-AUS and would give me a transcontinental flight, but I’d earn almost 1,000 EQMs less than my previous route. Considering the fact that we are in March and I have not even taken a flight yet this year, the last thing I need to do is lose miles.
I finally found an itinerary that looked like it would work for me. I’d fly to both the East Coast and the West Coast, and I would not have an 8 hour layover in Chicago in the middle of the night like the new AA itinerary had.
The route I found was Austin-Chicago-Boston-DFW-Seattle-DFW-Austin. It would only be 100 EQMs less than my original trip. My longest layover would be 2.5 hours at Boston.
Now I had to convince AA to give me that route without charging me any extra fees.
I called the AA Platinum Desk and tried to be as friendly as I could with the customer service rep. I told her my hobby was to spend money at American Airlines and no other airline, and I needed her help. I described my original itinerary, how bad the Miami itinerary was, and asked if she could book me on the one I listed above. Not surprisingly, she said she had to talk to a supervisor.
She put me on hold and returned a few minutes later to tell me that the supervisor had said no, that the route I requested was not my original route and I could not change it without paying a penalty. How absurd!
“If I can’t change my routing, then please reschedule me for my original trip going through JFK to SEA, I want that routing and none other. And if I can’t change my routing, please explain to me how AA managed to change my destination from Seattle to Miami, a distance of over 2,700 miles! Isn’t that a change in routing? At least my new schedule has me going from the East Coast to Seattle, which is a lot closer to the original route than the Miami trip AA gave me!”
There was silence for about 5 seconds, then the rep said, “Please hold while I speak to a different supervisor.” A few minutes later she was back to tell me that the new route had been approved.
So, I will again have a long weekend in the air, earning over 7,000 EQMs and more than 14,000 total miles. The new route actually gets me back into Austin 3 hours earlier than my original one, so I am very pleased with it!
My only worry is that the trip is still two months away, and with 6 segments, there is a lot of opportunity for another schedule change to break it again. All I can do is hope that does not happen.
I have two upcoming mileage runs, both to Seattle. This weekend American Airlines changed the itineraries on both trips: one change is mild, the other change ruins the trip.
My April mileage run to Seattle had me arriving at 10 a.m. and departing at 1 a.m. the next morning. That departure has been moved up one hour to midnight. That’s okay, I can live with that. Actually, they have changed the departure time back and forth between midnight and one a.m. several times. The only problem occurred when they changed the aircraft from an MD-80 to a 737, but kept me in the same seat number. The seat that was an exit row aisle seat on the MD-80 became a forward row middle seat on the 737. Fortunately, I was able to change back to the exit row.
The big problem is with my May mileage run: this one had me flying to Dallas, Baltimore and then JFK where I’d get a transcon fight to Seattle; then, after a short stay, I’d fly to Chicago and then back to Austin.
Today I checked AA.com and saw a message that my itinerary had been changed. My new itinerary is Austin – Dallas – Baltimore – Kennedy – Miami - Chicago – Austin.
Obviously, Miami and Seattle are no where near each other.
With this change, I lose almost 1,900 EQMs, raising my cost per mile to over 3.1 cents. I also have an 8 hour layover at Chicago: that would be okay if I arrived in the afternoon and left in the evening, giving me time to go into town,but no such luck. I arrive at midnight and depart 8 a.m. I would never book a trip that made it necessary for me to stay at O’Hare overnight!
I called AA, their explanation was that the schedule had changed on the JFK-SEA flight; it was going to be one hour later than the original itinerary, making it impossible for me to get my flight out of SEA that night. The computer looked at my itinerary and thought ORD was my destination, so it sent me there, via Miami.
I found another option, going AUS-DCA(Washington, D.C.)-JFK-ORD-SEA-ORD-AUS, but the layover at SEA was only 1 hour 5 mintues. The customer service representative said I could not do that because that was an illegal connection, it had to be at least 1 hour 10 minutes. (I’ve made many connections at DFW that were less than 1 hour 10 minutes — were they illegal too?)
As you can imagine, I am not too happy with this. For the moment, I am keeping my MIA itinerary, but will try to find something better. My goal was to take a transcon flight: since Seattle is out of the question maybe I’ll find something to Los Angeles or San Francisco.
Wish me luck!
A new year has started, and with it comes the most discouraging American Airlines AAdvantage statement of the year.
* YTD Elite Qualifying Points: — 0
* YTD Elite Qualifying Miles: — 0
* YTD Elite Qualifying Segments: — 0
It’s January and I have no points, no miles, and no segments. As I look forward to 2010, I’ll take a moment to look back on my flying highlights of 2009.
1. American Airlines Platinum Status: This was by far the most important accomplishment of the year. By earning PLAT status I’ll get double miles on all of my flights through February 2011, and that is the most valuable benefit of all. While early boarding of the aircraft and not having to pay the luggage fee are good to have, they simply do not compare in value to earning double miles on all my flights. As a mileage runner, my goal is to earn the largest number of miles possible: the PLAT double miles bonus is the most important benefit of the year.
2. I had some fun mileage runs: I did a trip to San Francisco and ate a great lunch. Dinner in Seattle was great too. And, I had the chance to fly with American Airlines’ coolest pilot.
3. Final account numbers for the year: I finished 2009 with 34 YTD Elite Qualifying Segments, 27,122 YTD Elite Qualifying Points, 32,945 Miles Towards Elite Upgrades, and 58,523 YTD Elite Qualifying Miles. I did not fly 58,523 miles, but the American Airlines Double Elite Qualifying Miles promotion helped me earn the 50,000 EQMs needed for Platinum Status.
My goal for 2010 is to once again earn Platinum Status, but that is going to be quite a challenge for me for the following reasons.
* In 2009 my wife and I flew to Dublin, Ireland on vacation, I earned 9,300 EQMs on that trip. This year we will not be taking a similar trip.
* I had two business trips to Chicago last year, earning almost 4,000 EQMs. I already know that I will not have any business travel in 2010.
* I not only won’t have the benefits of those trips, but due to difficult scheduling at work, and the fact that I am currently recovering from surgery and will not be able to fly for many weeks, it looks like my first mileage run of the year will not happen until April.
I’d love to see American Airlines run the Double Elite Qualifying Miles promotion this year, but can’t rely on that happening. So, I have to plan on needing to fly the full 50,000 miles to again earn Platinum Status. If my first mileage run does not occur until April, I will need to average almost 5,600 EQMs per month to again make PLAT. A business trip or two would certainly help, but it looks like I will have to pay for all that flying myself, and that is a LOT of flying! So, without the Double EQM promotion, it looks like my chances of making Platinum in 2010 are not good.
A few years ago I did two international mileage runs. My first was to Helsinki, Finland, and I earned over 13,000 EQMs. The other was to Frankfurt, Germany, on which I also earned just over 13,000 EQMs. I was lucky though, both of those trips were on sale at a price that was too good to ignore. I’ve checked for the next few months and saw that the price to fly to either of those cities would cost more than the trips to both of them cost in 2008. I doubt we will see such good prices this year.
On a positive note however, I start 2010 with 828,000 lifetime AAdvantage miles. With each flight I will get closer to 1,000,000 lifetime miles which will earn lifetime Gold status for me.
I’ll keep looking at the mileage run area on Flyertalk, maybe a good deal will appear.