About Travis

Travis has been playing in the world of miles and points for over a decade. At one time or another he has held status on just about every major domestic airline and hotel program. He has visited all 50 US states and over 50 countries. Nowadays he travels almost exclusively with his wife and three young children.

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Review: SAS Museum Oslo Airport

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After spending the night at the Park Inn by Radisson Oslo Airport, we decided to visit the SAS Museum before riding the train into the city. The museum is only open on Sundays and Tuesdays, so we couldn’t pass up the chance to check it out given that it aligned with our schedule.

The SAS Museum is located sort of directly across the runway from the main terminal. If you could just walk out across the tarmac, you’d be there in a jiffy.

But instead, you have to go the long way around which would make it about a 3-mile trek. My wife vetoed that so we took the bus from the airport terminal.

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Review: Park Inn By Radisson Oslo Airport

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Given our relatively late arrival into Oslo, we decided to stay at the airport the first night. I’m sure we could have headed into the city, but with three tired kiddos this seemed like a good option. And the Oslo airport has two very convenient hotels — you can walk to both the Park Inn by Radisson Oslo Airport and the Radisson Blu Oslo Airport.

We chose the Park Inn for this night because it was a bit cheaper. In reality, you can’t go wrong with either one.

Getting to the Park Inn is really easy since you just exit the terminal on the arrivals level and turn left. There are plenty of signs confirming that you are going the right way and you never even have to cross a street. If it’s winter, you might want to walk to the end of the arrivals level before exiting.

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Review: Lufthansa A321 Business Class Frankfurt To Oslo

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We arrived at the gate a little later than planned, and boarding was mostly finished. You might wonder how it’s possible to be late when you have a four hour layover, but trust me, it is. We didn’t miss the flight and that’s what matters.

The consequence for our tardiness was ending up on the last bus headed out to the remote pad. This meant we had to sit and wait for all the true stragglers to show up. Our kids were getting a little antsy when finally we started to move.

It was a long bus ride. Like I thought perhaps that the flight had been cancelled and instead they were going to bus us all the way to Oslo. The upside was that we got a great tour of the Frankfurt Airport and saw a good chunk of the Lufthansa fleet in the process.

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Review: Lufthansa Senator Lounge Frankfurt Airport Terminal A

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We had four hours to kill at Frankfurt Airport before our connecting flight to Oslo so we made our way over to Terminal A and checked into the Lufthansa Senator Lounge.

I find Frankfurt to be perhaps the most sprawling, convoluted airport in the world. I’ve connected there numerous times over the years, yet nothing ever really seems familiar. I’ve mostly given up trying to figure it out and instead just follow the signs to my next gate like a lemming.

So I’m not going to try to describe the process of getting to Terminal A. Suffice it to say we made it.

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Review: United “Polaris” Business Class 787 Houston To Frankfurt

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When we booked this trip, United Polaris was still called BusinessFirst. Last summer United unveiled Polaris and our reservations eventually updated to reflect the new branding on our Houston to Frankfurt flight.

We knew of course that United had only launched the Polaris soft product and that the new seats wouldn’t start appearing for another few months, but still felt kind of lucky to get to try the new service within the first month or so of its debut.

Coincidentally, we had flown United BusinessFirst across the Pacific during the last days of November, right before Polaris launched. That was unlucky. But it gave us a recent reference point with which to compare the new offering.

And that’s what I’m going to focus on in this review — the aspects of the flight relating to the new Polaris soft product. That’s why I’ve put Polaris in quotes in the title to reflect the fact that this isn’t the real Polaris, but it’s what you’ll get if you fly Polaris today.

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Introduction: Oslo In Winter

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My wife and I fell in love with Norway on our trip to Bergen a few years ago. We thought the city and surrounding fjords were beautiful and the quality of the food to be excellent. In fact, I began to tell people that the whole country was sort of like a cross between a national park and farm-to-table restaurant. Norway quickly became one of my favorite countries to visit.

But then I remembered that Norway is kind of a big place. It would be irresponsible to rave about how much I like it based on one visit, right? So when the opportunity came up for our family to spend some time in Oslo, we jumped at the chance. A few of our friends raised an eyebrow when we said we were going in winter, but that didn’t concern us at all as we live in a cold-weather climate ourselves and love to travel during the off-season without the crowds.

Here at OMAAT, we believe that getting there is way more than half the fun, and this trip was no different. It actually turned out to be more fun than we could have anticipated. That’s because shortly after we booked this trip, United announced the launch of their new Polaris business class product and our reservations eventually updated to reflect the new branding. Since I don’t normally plan trips around trying new products, it was exciting to actually fly Polaris within the first months of it’s launch. Even if it was just the soft product.

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A Trick For Saving Money On Kids’ Travel

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SAS offered a fantastic deal for families last week where children could fly from the US to Scandinavia for almost free. All you had to do was book one regular adult ticket and then as many as eight kids could fly for just the cost of the taxes and fees, which were about $50. It was an incredible offer and a few of my friends were able to take advantage of it. I even argued that it would be possible to take the kids mileage running on it.

Unfortunately, that deal is now over.

But it turns out that there are other opportunities for kids to fly on revenue fares at a discount. You just have to know where to look.

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United Schedules Final 747 Flights

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The 747 has long been the queen of the skies. It’s one of the most majestic aircraft of all time and is so iconic that most people can identify it at a glance, even if they’ve never flown on one. United has operated the Boeing 747 since 1970 and currently has 22 of them in their fleet.

The end of the road is near for these old birds, however. United announced a while ago that they were not part of their long term plans and wouldn’t be getting the new Polaris seats. They first said they’d phase them out in 2018, but that recently got moved up to the second half of this year.

And now we might know what the final flights will be.

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6 Alternative Facts About Basic Economy

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There is a good deal of confusion in the marketplace about basic economy fares, the no-frills tickets that Delta has been selling for several years now and American and United are poised to begin selling this quarter.

My biggest concern with basic economy fares is that there’s no good way to identify them when searching using Google Flights, or really anywhere other than the airlines’ websites. This seems like an easy feature for Google to add and would go a long way toward helping consumers make an informed decision about what they are about to buy. Of course I’d like to see all of the online travel agencies implement something similar, and honestly, I think that is coming.

But it turns out that there’s a lot more confusion about basic economy than just our inability to identify these fares. Let’s look at six alternative facts about basic economy.

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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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Get Your Kids Star Gold Status For $150 Each

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SAS is running a really awesome promotion this spring where kids can fly for almost free from the US to Europe.

You just need to book by January 23 and travel between February 7 and April 9. The best part is that you can take up to 8 kids with each paying adult. You’ll literally end up paying less than $50 for each round-trip child (under 11) ticket.

Scandinavia is a wonderful place and totally worth a trip or two, even in winter. My family just got back from Oslo, was in Helsinki last fall, and did Stockholm and Bergen a couple years ago. Yes, we really like it over there, and it’s an incredibly kid-friendly part of the world.

But let’s forget about the destination and focus on the miles for a bit. Is it possible to mileage run on this deal?

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Kids Can Fly To Europe For Nearly Free This Spring!

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Scandinavia is one of my favorite regions of the world. We’ve now been to Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark, and they are all fantastically beautiful places. It can be a bit expensive, but not nearly as much as it was a few years ago, at least for Americans, thanks to the strength of the dollar. It’s also a very kid friendly place so I highly recommending taking the family.

And now, SAS Airlines has an amazing deal going that will allow you to do just that. Kids can fly to Europe for about $50 all-in. That’s ridiculous.

For trips booked on SAS between the US and Scandinavia between February 7 and April 9, 2017, you can bring along all of your kids (12 and under) for just the taxes and fees. You will literally be paying less than $50 for each round-trip kid ticket, and you can book up to eight kids with each adult.

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Hurry, Milk This Settlement For All It’s Worth

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Like Ben recently said, we try to keep the content here on OMAAT about miles and points or aviation. But occasionally he lets me go off the rails and talk about random stuff that will still save or make you money even if it doesn’t have much of anything to do with travel. This is one of those times.

If you haven’t heard by now, there was a recent class action lawsuit alleging that Cooperatives Working Together, a federation of milk producers, colluded to fix the price of milk and other dairy products. They supposedly slaughtered half a million cows prematurely in a program called “herd retirement” to hold down production and thus drive up prices.

And you thought OPEC was the world’s leading cartel…

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Airline Distressed Traveler Kits: Lifesavers Or Useless?

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Airlines lose bags. That’s just a fact of life. If you fly enough, and check a bag, eventually the statistics will catch up with you.

Now to be fair, most of the time airlines don’t actually lose your bag, they just misplace it for awhile. It ends up on the wrong plane, sits in baggage purgatory, or whatever. That is to say most of the time you’ll eventually be reunited with it. Even so, it can be kind of annoying in the interim to not have your stuff.

Most airlines recognize this and have some form of distressed passenger amenity kit that they offer to passengers who have had their bag get lost. The contents of these kits tends to vary, however, as airlines seem to have different concepts of what is “essential.”

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