Advice

Who’s Right In This Airplane Window Shade Dispute?

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There are an increasing number of people who seem to approach flying in a hostile way, which might explain why we see so many stories of people being kicked off planes. While flying is getting better in many ways (there are more ways for people to stay entertained while traveling, it’s more affordable than ever before, etc.), the amount of personal space in the back of the plane is in many cases as limited as it has ever been.

Beyond that it’s also reflective of how divisive our society seems to be. People come on planes saying anything they want, and are shocked when they find out they don’t have “freedom of speech” on a plane.

To chime in on the most popular “issues” we seem to see when it comes to passenger etiquette:

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What Do Onboard Chefs Really Do?

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Reader Davey L asked the following question in the “Ask Lucky” forum:

“I met a chef who works on board an airline. Have you experienced that on board? Do they just heat meals and make it look presentable or do they do the cooking on board? Have you any photos of what a kitchen on board an aircraft looks like? Which airlines have on board chefs?”

Nowadays many airlines market that they have onboard chefs for premium cabin passengers. The first airlines that come to mind for onboard chefs are Austrian, Etihad, Garuda Indonesia, SAS, and Turkish. Typically the onboard chef is a specially trained flight attendant, so you’ll see them in the normal flight attendant uniform for takeoff and landing, and then they’ll put on the chef’s uniform for the meal services.

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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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What To Do When You Get Your Amex Platinum Card

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The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN are among the most popular premium cards out there. They each have a $450 annual fee, though in my opinion the benefits more than offset that.

The main reason I have these cards is because of the great perks they offer. However, if you’re a new cardmember it can be tough to navigate all these perks.

So in this post I figured I’d talk about what you should do as soon as you get the Amex Platinum Card in the mail. If you already have the card and have taken advantage of all the perks, then by all means skip this post, but it’s something I get a lot of questions about.

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What Happens To Your Miles When You Die?

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Not to be morbid, but this is a question I get all the time. Miles and points are confusing enough, and when you add in the stress surrounding an unexpected (or even expected) death it can be difficult to understand options and make decisions.

This is unfortunately a discussion we’re having in my family. Given how challenging it has been I figured it would be helpful to compile the rules for the main programs, along with my tips on how to organize your miles such that they can be used should something happen to you.

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The One Drink I’d Like To See More Airlines Offer

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I’ve spent the past week largely on dry airlines, which is eye-opening from a product perspective. While I respect that some airlines don’t serve alcoholic drinks due to sincerely held beliefs, it often does come across as a convenient cost cutting mechanism. Why? Because many of these airlines don’t bother putting any effort into their non-alcoholic drink selection.

Sure, I get Saudia isn’t going to serve alcohol, but couldn’t they at least serve brand name water, freshly squeezed juices, espresso-based cappuccinos, etc.? To me that’s why it feels cheap. Heck, on my EgyptAir flight the other day they didn’t even have sparkling water.

That’s one aspect of my recent Royal Brunei flight that really impressed me. Despite being a dry airline, they actually put a lot of effort into their drink selection.

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Why The Hottest Credit Card Bonus Might Not Be Right For You

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There’s a crazy amount of buzz right now about the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, and has been for months. The 100,000 point bonus is changing soon, so people seem even more enthused about it than before.

And there’s no doubt — it’s a great offer, and a very good card. The card benefits outweigh the high annual fee, and if you’re able to use the points towards premium cabin awards you can really get a tremendous value.

In some cases, however, it really might not be the best option for you. This is on my mind due to an exchange with reader @LelaRenee3 on Twitter, who is planning a trip for her son and his classmates to Japan next year.

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Can Kids Fly In First Class?

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When it comes to traveling with kids, there are three things that matter — space, space, and more space. That’s true on the plane, in the hotel, and in the rental car. I don’t much care about the service or the food (assuming there is some!), I just want more space. That lets the kids sprawl out, lie down, and be kids.

Reader Rhebon recently asked a question in the Ask Lucky forum about traveling with kids.

“I have a very simple question and I think you never talked about that subject?!? What airline is best for travelling with kids on a longhaul flight? Is it OK to fly first class with younger kids (2&5)?”

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How Everyone Can Visit Canadian National Parks For Free

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I recently posted about how American seniors can purchase a lifetime pass to the national parks for only $10. This is an incredible bargain considering that a single visit to Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, or other major national parks can be $30 or more. The cost of the senior pass is going up to $80 at some point this year, so I highly advise anyone who is eligible for the pass to lock in this great deal now.

Well, it turns out there’s another awesome deal for enjoying the great outdoors and this one is open to anyone, not just those 62 and over.

Canada is celebrating their 150th birthday in 2017 and to commemorate the milestone they are giving free admission to all Canadian national parks. For the entire year. To everyone.

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Seniors: Get Your US National Parks Lifetime Pass Now Or Pay More Later

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Imagine that you could buy a lifetime pass to the the airline club of your choice for less than the cost of a single visit. And that it not only covered your own entrance fee, but also everyone in your party.

You’d jump on it, right?

Well, that is essentially the deal that the United States government offers senior citizens for entry into our national parks. For as long as I can remember, seniors have been able to purchase a lifetime pass to our national lands for $10. Not only does it get them into the park, it also includes entry for everyone in their vehicle. Most of the big parks like Yellowstone, Glacier, and Yosemite charge $30 for a 7-day pass, so this is obviously an incredible bargain.

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Here’s Why You Don’t (And Shouldn’t) Have “Freedom Of Speech” On A Plane

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This seems to be the month where passengers just can’t for the life of them behave on planes. Yesterday we saw someone removed from a Delta flight between London and New York, and today a passenger was removed from a JetBlue flight that Ivanka Trump and her family were on.

Here’s what happened, per TMZ:

“Ivanka was on a JetBlue flight leaving JFK Thursday morning with her family when a passenger started screaming, ‘Your father is ruining the country.’ The guy went on, ‘Why is she on our flight. She should be flying private.’ The guy had his kid in his arms as he went on the tirade.”

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Top Gifts For Travelers

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Have you scoped out our Holiday Gift Guide yet? This year our list is chock-full of travel-inspired treasures and items we can’t live without on the road.

Most of these items are still available for delivery before Christmas, so even if you’re just now starting your gift hunt there’s still time for that perfect present.

From road warriors to aviation geeks to luxury-aficionados there’s hopefully something for everyone on your list!

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6 Reasons NOT To Be Loyal To An Airline In 2017

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I’ve long been an advocate for the value of airline frequent flyer programs. Historically if you put in some effort to be loyal to an airline, they reward you handsomely, with upgrades, lounge access, bonus miles, etc.

In the past I often didn’t even crunch numbers that much with my airline loyalty, since being loyal to an airline just felt right. Well, unfortunately times have changed. In some ways I don’t blame airlines for cutting loyalty program benefits a bit, though at the same time they’ve made the programs so transactional that I’m finding myself crunching numbers and wondering whether airline loyalty is even worth it anymore. In many cases, it’s not.

Here are six reasons why 2017 might finally be the year to dump elite status with your preferred airline:

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Should You Get The Amex Business Platinum Or Gold Card?

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Amex has several limited time increased sign-up bonuses on their business cards at the moment, two of the most compelling of which are on The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN and The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN. In this post I figured I’d look at the difference in offers on the two cards, and who should be considering which card.

Given that both cards have different strong points, I figured I’d compare the sign-up bonuses, annual fees, return on spend, benefits, and approval odds:

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