SO CUTE: Two Travel Geeks Get Married On A Cathay Dragon Flight!

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Okay, this is ridiculously cute. A travel-obsessed couple who met on a travel forum recently got married on a Cathay Dragon flight. It’s so so so so so so cute, and made my Monday:

I’m curious about the logistics of all this, though regardless, it put the biggest smile on my face, and almost made me a bit teary-eyed when they started talking about one another.

This is easily one of my favorite airline related videos ever.

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AT&T Gets Competitive With International Data — FINALLY!

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AT&T has finally added a somewhat competitive international data plan, which is long overdue.

On Friday we’ll see the introduction of the AT&T International Day Pass, where you can talk and text all you want, and use your data plan in over 100 countries. The cost will per $10 per day per device for any 24 hour period.

Here’s how AT&T describes the International Day Pass:

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American Is Increasing Standard Economy Award Rates To The South Pacific

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American has just informed me that in February they’ll be adding additional AAnytime reward levels for travel between North America and the South Pacific. As some of you may remember, a few months back they raised some AAnytime reward levels for travel in premium cabins in this market. Here’s their statement regarding this change:

“In February we’ll be adding additional reward levels to our AAnytime fares in the South Pacific. The levels will apply to the main cabin on flights to and from Sydney or Auckland. As you’ll remember in September we introduced higher levels in the premium cabins in the South Pacific. There will be no changes to MileSAAver.”

We don’t yet know the exact dates these changes will kick in, though I’m told on some dates awards in economy will cost as much as 150,000 miles one-way. As it stands, American has the following award rates for travel in economy between the U.S. and South Pacific:

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Woman Kicked Off Alaska Flight For Going On Anti-Trump Rant

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A Facebook video is going viral of a lady who was kicked off an Alaska Airlines flight from Baltimore to Seattle this past Saturday. Here’s how the guy who sat next to her (a Trump supporter, who was being attacked) describes the event on Facebook:

“Just had the craziest experience ever on an airplane:

I’m boarding my flight from Baltimore to Seattle and approach my seat. I had an upgraded seat that I paid a little extra for because of the long 6 hour flight. As I approach my row I smile and motion to the husband and wife sitting in the aisle and middle seat that Imy seat was next to the window. I put my backpack in the overhead and the wife with a very stern voice says to me:”

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Review: Royal Brunei Business Class A320 Kuala Lumpur To Bandar Seri Begawan

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At the door I was greeted by Fizhal and Leanne, the two flight attendants that would be taking care of the business class cabin for the short flight to Bandar Seri Begawan. Royal Brunei’s A320 business class cabin consists of a total of 12 seats, spread across three rows in a 2-2 configuration.

The airline has a total of six of these planes in their fleet, and I was on the second oldest, which was delivered to the airline in 2004.

While the seats felt a bit outdated, they were extremely comfortable. Apparently the seat pitch on these planes in business class is 44″, which sounds about right — it was a bit more spacious than domestic first class in the U.S., and the seats were also really thick.

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Dear Google, Please Save Us From Basic Economy

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Basic economy fares are upon us.

Delta has been selling these wretched fares for a few years now, but has recently rolled them out to more and more markets. Then United unveiled the details of their punitive offering last fall and American came out with their slightly-better-than-awful version last week.

I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan. Can you tell?

Sure, I get it. The legacy carriers are facing stiff competition from the ultra-low-cost carriers and feel they need to do this to compete. But guess what? They, or at least United and Delta, tried operating a low-cost-carry subsidiary within the framework of a mainline carrier before. I watched that movie — I think it was called Song and Ted’s Miserable Adventure — and we all know how it turned out.

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Upside Adds Domestic Bookings, Offers $200 In Gift Cards

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In case you’ve missed earlier posts, Upside is a new travel tool that aims to disrupt the business travel market by incentivizing travelers to choose options that save their companies money.

OMAAT readers have had selected access to the various beta versions for a few months now, but Upside officially opened to the public last week, and now includes domestic bookings as well. To celebrate, One Mile at a Time readers can get a guaranteed $200 in gift cards on their upcoming bookings.

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Hilton Introduces Their 14th Hotel Brand — Tapestry Collection

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Hilton has just announced their 14th hotel brand, called Tapestry Collection by Hilton. The brand is described as “a gathering of original upscale hotels catering to guests seeking reliability and value in their independent hotel choices.” Interestingly Tapestry Collection is Hilton’s second independent brand — Curio Collection is Hilton’s other independent brand.

Tapestry Collection is supposed to be upscale, but slightly lower end than Curio Collection, which Hilton launched in 2014. It’s similar to how Starwood has Luxury Collection, which is a collection of independent hotels, and then introduced Tribute Portfolio, which is supposed to be slightly lower end.

Per the press release, the first Tapestry Collection property will open in the third quarter of 2017, and seven hotels have signed letters of intent:

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What Happened To Etihad’s U.S. Award Charts?

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Several weeks ago, Etihad stopped displaying many of their partner airline award charts on their U.S. website. If you click on many of the individual partner award pages in the “spend miles” section, you’ll see the following message:

“Unfortunately, due to US DOT requirements we are unable to present this page to the United States of America. Apologies for any inconvenience, if you require further help please contact us guest@etihadguest.com.”

So, did Etihad pull a Delta and decide that there’s no need to be transparent with customers and publish award rates? Nope. Instead this is an innocent mistake, though it could quite easily be solved.

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WOW: Emirates Is Launching Daily Flights Between Newark And Athens

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Emirates has just announced that they’ll be launching daily flights between Athens and Newark as of March 26, 2017. The flight will operate as a continuation of one of Emirates’ existing flights between Dubai and Athens, so the entire routing will look as follows:

EK209 Dubai to Athens departing 10:50AM arriving 3:30PM
EK209 Athens to Newark departing 5:30PM arriving 10:00PM
EK210 Newark to Athens departing 11:45PM arriving 4:00PM
EK210 Athens to Dubai departing 6:00PM arriving 11:40PM

The flight between Athens and Newark covers a distance of ~4,920 miles, and is blocked at 9hr15min eastbound and 11hr30min westbound.

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Great News: Delta May Be Cutting SkyClub Memberships As A Diamond Benefit

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As much as Delta has led the race to the bottom as far as U.S. frequent flyer programs go (by adding revenue requirements, awarding miles based on spend, adding basic economy fares, eliminating award charts, etc.), they’ve also genuinely innovated in many ways. Unlike other loyalty programs, they’ve made some significant and deliberate improvements, which I commend them for.

Just to give a couple of examples, a few years ago they eliminated fare restrictions on systemwide upgrades, and just last year they added the ability to redeem systemwide upgrades on Virgin Atlantic.

Well, Rene’s Points writes about some potential changes coming for top tier Diamond Medallion members, which I hope to get confirmed one way or another soon.

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Mexico Might Be My New Favorite Vacation Destination!

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I’m trying something new for the first time this weekend — I’m vacationing in Mexico. Specifically, at the new W Punta de Mita.

Bizarre as it may sound, I’ve never actually visited Mexico as an adult. I’ve connected at Mexico City Airport, and as a kid I stopped in Mexico on a cruise (which hardly gives you a fair representation of a place), though I’ve never otherwise visited the country. I’ve really wanted to visit Mexico City as I’ve heard great things, but haven’t had the chance yet.

It might seem odd that I’m traveling to Mexico for the first time as an adult, given that I like resorts, and it’s just a short flight from the U.S. After all, I’ve been to Bali more often than I can count, and assorted other relaxation destinations on the other side of the world.

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Could British Airways Introducing Dine On Demand Be A Bad Thing?

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I’ve written in the past about the 11 features that I value most in business class, and one of those is a dine on demand menu. We’re all on different schedules when we’re flying, so it’s nice to be able to eat and sleep when you want to as well.

At the same time, I don’t actually think all airlines should necessarily offer dine on demand. The key here is that airlines have to train their crews to offer service efficiently, whatever form it may come in. There’s no point in doing a dine on demand service if it’s just going to lead to frustration and disappointment for passengers.

It’s no secret that British Airways offers among my least favorite fully flat business class products out there, both in terms of the hard and soft product. Soon they’ll be taking delivery of their first A350, which is supposed to feature a new business class product. Based on everything we’ve been told, the new seat will be an evolution of the existing product, rather than a product that’s actually globally competitive. They don’t plan on retrofitting existing planes with this product, because they don’t view it as being sufficiently different enough.

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3 Days Left To Earn Up To 100K Points!

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The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN is offering a sign-up bonus of up to 100,000 points through January 25, 2017, meaning that you have just three days left to take advantage of the offer. This offer has been around since early October, and a lot of people have taken advantage of it. If you haven’t yet, I’d highly recommend doing so.

This card has the following sign-up bonus:

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