Want To Buy An Airline? Alitalia Will Shortly Be Up For Sale

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As I wrote about yesterday, Alitalia employees essentially just voted in such a way that the airline will shortly be going out of business (or perhaps the way they see it, they’re calling the bluffs of management and the government and expecting to be bailed out for the umpteenth time).

Alitalia has been in a terrible financial situation for a long time, though it has been especially bad lately. They’ve been on the verge of liquidation, but for political reasons got a new business plan approved by the board that would have kept them alive (see yesterday’s post for more on that).

However, the new business plan being approved was contingent upon layoffs and also employees taking pay cuts, and that’s something employees voted against. As a result, Alitalia is out of luck — their creditors won’t fund their new business plan (or more accurately they don’t have a new business plan, since it was contingent upon employees agreeing to it), the government won’t bail them out, and the airline will run out of cash in the coming weeks.

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Tips For Going Number Two On A Plane With Grace

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I swear I’m not trying to be crass here, but I feel like this is a topic that needs to be addressed. Collectively the blogosphere shares tips for maximizing all aspects of travel, but perhaps there’s no area where some suggestions are more necessary than airplane bathroom etiquette.

I’m the last person who would typically want to discuss this stuff, but I feel like someone’s gotta do it. Last night I was waiting for the single rear lavatory on a plane, and as soon as the guy opened the door I unintentionally gave him a look of pure horror. It smelled like someone had died after an all you can eat Mexican buffet. While I heard him flush, there was still toilet paper and some “residual” excrements in the toilet bowl when I went to use it. In addition to actual chunks of you-know-what, the entire toilet bowl looked like an A380 skidded off a dirt runway during monsoon season. There’s a lesson to be learned here, so let’s get to it.

I don’t think anyone enjoys going number two on a plane, but if you’re going to, there are some basic ways to minimize the impact it has on other passengers.

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Review: United Club Hong Kong Airport

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My flight from Hong Kong arrived shortly before 7PM, while my connecting flight back to San Francisco on Singapore Airlines was at 11:30PM. Upon arrival I tried to find the Singapore Airlines transit desk, since I didn’t yet have a boarding pass for my return flight.

It was quite a trek to the transit desk, though once there, a funny conversation ensued. The Singapore Airlines representative requested my inbound boarding pass, which I handed over without saying anything.

“Sir… you are coming from… San Francisco?”

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Which Hotel Credit Card Offers The Best Annual Free Night Perk?

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There are many reasons to consider picking up a credit card, including a great sign-up bonus, a lucrative return on everyday spend, and also valuable ongoing perks. Hotel credit cards are among the best when it comes to offering perks just for holding onto cards and paying the annual fee. There are even three hotel credit cards that offer an annual free night certificate just for paying your annual fee every year. There’s no spend requirement, and a vast majority of people should be able to get outsized value out of this perk.

In this post I wanted to look at the three credit cards that offer an annual free night certificate each year without any sort of spend requirement, and compare them.

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Uber Is Making Changes To Their Ratings System

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One of the reasons that the Uber experience is typically pretty civilized is because of the ratings system they use. Both riders and drivers rate one another after every ride, and hopefully it encourages a system where everyone is on their best behavior. However, I think both sides are sometimes annoyed when they realize how they’re sometimes rated.

Uber has just announced that they’re making two changes to their ratings system, in an effort to encourage better rider behavior, and also to encourage fairer UberPOOL ratings. Specifically:

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I’m So Dumb: I Accidentally Just “Downgraded” Myself Out Of An Exit Row

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This has to be one of the dumber things I’ve done on a plane. I’m flying from Toronto to New York today on an A320, which is just a short 90 minute flight gate-to-gate. I was booked in an exit row aisle seat, though was a bit scatterbrained this morning, as I often am. I’m not really an Air Canada frequent flyer (this is actually my first time flying them in economy), so when I boarded, I sat down in what I thought was seat 18C, an aisle seat in one of the exit rows.

I quickly opened my laptop as I was in the middle of finishing something prior to boarding, so I wasn’t at all aware of my surroundings. About two minutes later a lady came up to me and said “excuse me, are you in 19C?”

I noticed I wasn’t. “I’m supposed to be in 18C, I’m really sorry, I’m not paying attention.”

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Priority Pass Isn’t Cutting Ties With Alaska Lounges, But…

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As I’ve written about in the past, Priority Pass members are increasingly reporting issues with accessing certain lounges. While it’s not the case at most lounges, some of the most popular ones are restricting access to Priority Pass members due to space constraints.

This is likely due to the huge increase in the number of people who have Priority Pass memberships, because of the increasing popularity of premium credit cards. For those of you not familiar, here’s how the Priority Pass business model works:

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Etihad Is Introducing Double Daily A380 Flights To Sydney

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A couple of days ago Etihad announced some A380 service changes, as they’ll be discontinuing A380 flights between Abu Dhabi and Melbourne as of October 29, 2017. The plane didn’t fly the route for very long, as Etihad only inaugurated A380 service in the market as of June 2016.

Etihad has a fleet of under a dozen A380s, so they’re quite selective with where they fly the planes (unlike their rival Emirates, which has about 10x as many A380s).

At the time, Etihad hadn’t yet announced which route would be getting the A380 in place of Melbourne, though we now know. Etihad will be introducing a second daily A380 flight between Abu Dhabi and Sydney as of October 29, 2017. I think that’s pretty telling as to whether Etihad has better yields on their Melbourne or Sydney flights.

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Hilton Now Lets You Pool Points Across Accounts For Free

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A few months ago, Hilton announced some major changes that they’re making to their Honors program. Many of these changes have already been enacted, including the ability to extend your Diamond status by a year, changing how award costs are calculated (including new points and money awards), etc.

Hilton has now made yet another perk available, which I’m quite excited about. As of today, Hilton Honors points pooling is live, allowing members to combine points across accounts. This allows members to share up to 500,000 points per year, and have up to two million points per year shared with them, at no cost. This is a fantastic new benefit.

To create a new “pool,” just follow this link and enter the name and email address of the person you’d like to invite to the pool.

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Hilton Is Offering Up To Triple Points With Their Next Global Promotion

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Hilton has been doing a fantastic job lately with constantly offering promotions to members. Between February 1 and April 30, 2017, Hilton is offering their “2K Every Day” promotion, through which you can earn 2,000 bonus points per night for all stays. I appreciate just how “no strings attached” the promotion is, as it’s valid for stays at all brands starting with the first stay, and there’s no limit to how many bonus points you can earn.

Well, Hilton has just shared with me the details of their next promotion, which I think a lot of people will like. Between May 1 and August 31, 2017, Hilton will be offering their “Go More Get More” promotion. Through this promotion, Honors members can earn double points on all eligible stays, while Diamond members will earn triple points on all eligible stays.

Hilton has also shared that:

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A Frustrating Way Some Hyatt Hotels Play Games With Award Availability

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I can deal with loyalty program devaluations, etc., but if there’s one thing I have little tolerance for, it’s loyalty programs playing games with members. Deliver on what you promise, and be transparent about what you’re offering.

In my opinion, this used to be the single best thing about Hyatt’s loyalty program. Don’t get me wrong, there were lots of other great things about it, but Hyatt’s program has been more about maintaining the trust of their members than just about any other program, in my opinion.

Unfortunately I’ve found that this has changed over time. For example, I’ve written in the past about the games that Hyatt plays with confirmed suite upgrade availability on Points + Cash bookings. Hyatt said that confirmed suite upgrades for top tier elite members don’t have capacity controls, and as long as a suite is available for sale, you can redeem a confirmable suite upgrade for it.

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How I Scored The Best Seat On A Frontier Redeye For Free

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Frontier Airlines is a whole different kind of animal. Or so claimed their marketing campaign way back in 2003. That was back when they were sort of a quirky regional airline that managed to attract a loyal following among the anti-corporate crowd common to the mountain west. They went to head-to-head with United in Denver for years, becoming equally famous for the lovable animals on the tails of their planes and the chocolate chip cookies baked in their onboard ovens.

Nowadays, Frontier is still an animal. But instead of that cuddly koala, they are now more like a raccoon or opossum that skitters around the edges of civilization, tipping over trash cans in search of a meal made of someone else’s leftovers. Frontier’s current strategy is to dart in and out of juicy markets that were once dominated by the legacies. If a route works after a few months, they keep it. If not, they pack up shop and head elsewhere. For sure, they offer some incredible fares, but then try to sell you everything and the kitchen sink along the way.

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Hilarious: United Ads Pulled From The Tribeca Film Festival Because People Couldn’t Stop Laughing

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Okay, I’m literally laughing out loud at this. United Airlines has long been a sponsor of the Tribeca Film Festival, and as part of that they had the right to show a 30 second ad before every screening. They chose this ad to play, which highlights their new Polaris product:

After a couple of days of the ad playing, a mutual decision was made to stop screening the ad. Why? Because audiences apparently burst out in uncontrollable laughter when an ad played that showcased United’s great service, to the point that it drowned out the next ad. Some even thought that it seemed like a parody. Per The Hollywood Reporter:

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Conclusion To My Etihad Stopover Drama: I Got A $1,500 Per Night Suite After All!

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Boy, my upcoming trip in Etihad’s Residence is proving to be quite interesting, and I haven’t even left for Abu Dhabi yet!

Over the past couple of days I’ve shared the issues I was having with confirming a complimentary hotel in Abu Dhabi, which is a standard feature for first and business class passengers on revenue tickets. Etihad even advertises how they offer two complimentary nights in a Khaleej Suite at the Emirates Palace for passengers in the Residence. I was looking forward to taking advantage of that for my stopover in Abu Dhabi.

Unfortunately that proved tougher than I was expecting. After six days Etihad still hadn’t confirmed my reservation, and that’s despite a promise that hotels would be confirmed within 24-48 hours of the request being made. I had sent a follow-up email to both the department that handles this, and also Etihad’s concierge for Residence passengers.

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