Review: SriLankan Business Class A330-200 Hong Kong To Bangkok

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I was quite looking forward to flying SriLankan again. I had flown them a handful of times several years back, so was curious to see how this experience compared, now that they’ve joined oneworld. That being said, I was slightly less excited about having three flights on them back-to-back after a 16 hour flight from New York — I’m not sure what I was thinking. ;)

Anyway, the flight from Hong Kong to Colombo is a “direct” flight (meaning it’s marketed as a single flight number), with a stop in Bangkok. The route is operated by an A330-200. SriLankan has several configurations of the A330-200, some of which feature fully flat beds, and others of which don’t. Unfortunately there’s no way to know in advance which configuration you’ll get. The only way to be guaranteed a fully flat bed is to fly their A330-300, which features fully flat reverse herringbone seats in business class.

And even that’s not a guarantee, given how often SriLankan has last minute equipment changes.

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Last Day For Increased Ink Cash Sign-Up Bonus

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As I wrote about a few weeks back, in celebration of National Small Business Week, Chase is offering increased sign-up bonuses on two of their most popular business credit cards. I figured I’d post a reminder, because today, May 25, 2015, is the last full day under which to apply for these increased bonuses:

— The Chase Ink Cash® Business Card is offering $300 bonus cash back after spending $3,000 in the first three months after account opening; the card has no annual fee
— The Chase Ink Plus® Business Card is offering 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first three months after account opening; the $95 annual fee is not waived the first year

I’ll focus mostly on the Ink Cash sign-up bonus, given that:

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Two Days Only: LifeMiles Targeted 125% Bonus On Purchased Miles

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In early May I wrote about how Avianca’s LifeMiles program is offering a 100% bonus on purchased miles through May 29, 2015.

LifeMiles is offering a total of 120% bonus if you have an account registered outside of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, or the United States. If your account is eligible for the promotion, you should automatically see the increased offer showing up in your account.

On one hand I was sad to not be eligible for the 120% bonus. But it seems like that may have been for the better, since I just received a targeted email, offering a 125% bonus on LifeMiles purchased May 25 or May 26, 2015. You’re capped at purchasing 66,000 “based” miles through this offer, plus the bonus of 82,500 miles. That’s a total of 148,500 LifeMiles for $2,178.

Again, this is a targeted promotional offer, so only members who received an email about the offer are eligible. Here are the terms of the promotion:

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Is This The Most Generous Lounge Access Policy Ever?

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While there are many things I love about San Diego, the lounge situation at the airport has not, traditionally, been one of them.

The agents at the old Admirals Club were outrageously nice, but the space itself left plenty to be desired. The new facility is shared (and managed by) Airspace, and I think they might have the most generous lounge access policies I’ve ever encountered.

To start, because the Airspace lounge is operated in partnership with the American Admirals Club, all the same access rules apply.

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Uber Finally Approved In Nevada!

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Woohoo!

I’ve started to love Las Vegas (once I appreciated it for what it is), though one thing that has driven me nuts about the place is the taxi mafia. I’d argue Las Vegas is the single most corrupt city in the US when it comes to taxis. That’s mainly because everything is in such close proximity, and the taxi drivers will do everything to screw you over and take you the long way. Not only are they charging you more, but they’re wasting your time as well.

Last October, Uber finally made its debut in Las Vegas. The catch was that only UberX was available, and beyond that they couldn’t do pick-ups at Las Vegas McCarran Airport.

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Review: Dragonair G16 Lounge Hong Kong Airport

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I’m all for checking out new lounges, even if I know they’ll suck. Since I had a bit of extra time and wanted to finish off my Hong Kong Airport oneworld lounge “bingo card,” I figured I’d check out the Dragonair G16 Lounge.

For those of you not familiar, Dragonair is Cathay Pacific’s regional subsidiary, and they operate a lot of their intra-Asia routes, both to major markets (Beijing, Shanghai, etc.), as well as to many secondary markets.

While Dragonair is a oneworld affiliate carrier (much like British Airways’ OpenSkies is), they have a separate lounge in Hong Kong. It’s (not so) creatively called the G16 lounge, because, well, it’s near gate 16.

It’s one level up from the main concourse, and takes up adjacent real estate to the Qantas Lounge.

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How Much Information Do You Volunteer On A Mistake Fare/Mileage Run?

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I’ve been involved in this hobby for a bit over a decade now, and there’s no denying that my approach to things is different now than when I was 15.

When I was mileage running as a teenager I’d quite proudly proclaim I was on a mileage run to anyone that would listen. Because I thought it was sort of cool (after all who needs sex, drugs, and alcohol when you have mileage runs?!).

Over the years I’ve mellowed out quite a bit, and generally don’t proactively offer up details of my travels to airline employees. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll always be honest at immigration (most immigration officers nowadays are familiar with mileage runs, and don’t bat an eyelash when you give that as the reason for your quick international trip). But aside from that I don’t usually proactively offer up too much information. For example, if a flight attendant asks me how long I’m going to Beijing for:

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Review: Qantas Lounge Hong Kong Airport

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Having arrived in Hong Kong about 20 minutes early, I had a well over four hour layover before my connection to Bangkok, and then onwards travel to Colombo and Male.

I quickly cleared transit security, where there surprisingly wasn’t a wait at all, much to my delight.

My primary objective for this layover was to check out the new Qantas Lounge Hong Kong. Though having just gotten off an ultra longhaul flight my first priority was a shower, and there’s no better place to do that than at Cathay Pacific’s “The Wing” First Class Lounge. That’s because this lounge has cabanas, which, unlike the ones in British Airways’ London Heathrow Concorde Room, are actually gorgeous. I’d say they’re probably the nicest shower facilities at any lounge in the world.

It was my lucky day, because there was no wait for a cabana, which is rare. It’s worth noting that only a subset of the showers in Cathay Pacific’s “The Wing” First Class Lounge are cabanas, so you have to explicitly request them.

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San Diego Airport Commuter Terminal Closing June 4, 2015

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San Diego International Airport has long had a unique commuter terminal, which I’ve had a love-hate relationship with.

The awesome thing is that the commuter terminal is separated from the rest of the airport, and it’s tiny. It’s like flying out of a small regional airport, in the sense that if you’re already checked in you can show up 20 minutes before departure and easily make your flight, since security queues are almost always short.

Furthermore, there’s something about the setup which I find charming, as you walk across the tarmac to your plane. Somehow it feels glamorous… if only you were boarding a private jet rather than a regional jet.

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Cathay Pacific Adding Wifi On A350s

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A few years back I was almost morally opposed to wifi on planes. In a way, planes were somewhere I could disconnect and recharge, since I’m otherwise basically connected to technology 24/7/365.

However, my impression of inflight wifi has shifted dramatically over the years. It has changed my life for domestic flying, as I can stay connected and work while flying, which greatly reduces the opportunity cost of moving around the country.

Meanwhile on international flights I’ve also come to love inflight internet. While I don’t necessarily work as efficiently on international flights as on domestic flights (since there’s more to “enjoy”), it is nice to have a wifi connection so I can at least make sure nothing exciting is going on in the world.

I absolutely love Cathay Pacific’s first class product, though it does drive me slightly bonkers that they don’t have onboard wifi. They’re otherwise a pretty cutting edge airline, so I find it puzzling that they don’t see the value in investing in inflight wifi.

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Review: Cathay Pacific First Class 777-300ER New York JFK To Hong Kong

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Cathay Pacific departs from Terminal 7 at JFK, which is primarily used by British Airways and United. My flight was at 10AM, so I decided to get to the airport quite early in order to avoid rush hour. That way I could get some work done from the lounge, given that Cathay Pacific doesn’t have wifi aboard.

I arrived at the airport at 7AM, and proceeded to Cathay Pacific check-in.

Cathay Pacific’s premium check-in is located at the far left of the terminal, right next to British Airways’ first class check-in.

There’s a premium security line there, which was completely empty at the time, so I was through in minutes.

Cathay Pacific uses the British Airways Galleries First Lounge at New York JFK, which is rather underwhelming, as it’s basically a dark dungeon. Since I’ve reviewed it before I won’t write about it again.

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How To Catch An Airline Pilot Off Guard

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Upfront warning: this is a totally random tangent.

To me it’s amazing how safe flying is. While the autopilot does a lot of the work nowadays, there’s still a huge human element involved, and given the volume of flights there are on a daily basis, it’s all a miracle.

For the most part we interact with gate agents and flight attendants when flying. We often don’t think of the “behind the scenes” people — pilots, mechanics, etc. — who make our travels smooth, and most importantly, safe.

While it doesn’t happen all the time, often you’ll see a pilot standing at the door upon deplaning. For several months now I’ve had a habit whereby if I see a pilot standing at the door upon deplaning I’ll say “thanks for the safe ride, I appreciate it.”

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