Great Garuda Indonesia First Class Fares Are Back!

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Last November Garuda Indonesia had a great “Black Friday” sale, with discounted first & business class fares between London and Asia. I took advantage of this offer and flew from London to Jakarta in Garuda Indonesia first class, and then returned from Jakarta to Singapore to London.

The flights were incredible, and Garuda Indonesia no doubt has one of my favorite first class products in the world (and perhaps even my favorite). I’ve never flown an airline with staff who were so consistently and genuinely friendly.

A few weeks ago Garuda Indonesia had a 90% off award sale (including for first class), though that ended up being a bit of a cluster, meaning that not everyone who was interested was able to take advantage of the offer.

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British Airways Is Improving Service On Flights To China

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British Airways seems to be making nothing but cuts lately, in particular on shorthaul flights. For example, as of a couple of weeks ago they no longer offer free drinks or snacks on shorthaul flights — not even free bottled water. British Airways’ CEO is the former head of Spanish low cost carrier Vueling, and seems to be doing everything he can to run British Airways like a low cost carrier.

So I do think it’s worth giving the airline some credit for improving service, at least in one market. British Airways has just announced that they’ll be improving service on flights to China, including to Hong Kong. Specifically, British Airways will offer:

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AirAsia Could Soon Start Flying To The U.S.

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AirAsia is one of Asia’s biggest low cost carriers, which has really put a lot of pressure on airlines like Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines. AirAsia has several divisions, though AirAsia X is their longhaul operation based out of Malaysia.

As of now they have a fleet of 22 A330s, though they have another 76 A330s and A350s on order. Their A330s are in an extremely dense configuration, with 377 seats, and nine seats per row in economy (rather than the standard eight). They do have 12 “premium” seats though, which are angled flat.

As of now AirAsia flies within Asia, to the Middle East, Australia, etc. However, for a while they’ve been looking to expand beyond that, and in particular, to the U.S. It looks like that might finally happen.

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7 Hot Limited Time Credit Card Bonuses Available Right Now

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The past few months we’ve seen a lot of increased credit card sign-up bonuses. The card issuers are really getting competitive, both in terms of sign-up bonuses and in terms of perks. So I figured I’d use this post to recap some of the increased card sign-up bonuses we’re seeing, some of which are expiring soon. In no particular order, here are some of them:

This amazing sign-up bonus ends tomorrow.

The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN is offering a sign-up bonus of up to 100,000 Membership Rewards points — you earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 within three months, plus an additional 50,000 points after spending an additional $10,000 within three months.

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Dubai Hotel Asks Russian Models Not To Geotag Themselves There On Instagram

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Okay, this is pretty damn funny. About two dozen Russian models were in Dubai for a photoshoot, and were staying at the Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah. Not surprisingly, they took a ton of pictures of themselves for Instagram around the pool, in bathtubs, etc. (assuming they actually live in Russia, I imagine Dubai is a nice temperature change for them in January).

Well, it appears that the hotel wasn’t all too happy with the racy pictures they were posting, and asked them to untag the hotel on Instagram. Per The Mirror:

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It’s Official: Etihad’s CEO Is Stepping Down

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In late December I posted about the rumor that Etihad’s CEO was expected to resign within a few months, and it looks like that’s now confirmed.

Bloomberg is reporting that James Hogan will be stepping down as Etihad CEO this year:

“The 60-year-old Australian will leave in the second half as Etihad reviews its own operations and the future direction of Hogan’s so-called equity alliance, which has seen the Abu Dhabi-based carrier take minority stakes in a variety of smaller and often ailing airlines across Europe and the Asia-Pacific.”

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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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