Hotel and Social Media

The Points Guy posts about Hotels possible taking social media too far, performing stalker-ish antics.  I think the answer is pretty simple though.  Don’t put information you want private online.  These companies have as much right as anyone to use your info if you put it out there.  And regardless of what privacy controls or settings exist, you should expect anything you put online to be publicly accessible.  Especially given the privacy track record of a certain social media giant whose stock has been tanking since it was listed…

Taking advantage of elite status lines (tastefully)

TPG posted a video last week an answer to a question about someone asking whether it was appropriate to use elite status lines to skip the lines.  The answer was yes, but he did offer a few tips to do so tastefully.

However, there was  one point in particular that I identified with.  He mentioned people that start crowding the gate at the beginning of board, referring to them as gate lice.  That’s one thing that annoys me so much.  I am usually able to board with one of the earlier boarding groups, and I tend to stand back from the gate until my turn comes up.  However, half the time when I walk up, there’s tons of people standing all around the area, and I can never tell who is in line, or who is just being a “pest” by blocking the path well before they can board.  I suspect part of why people are so early to board is because of their carryon bags, which I believe the airlines are wrongly incentivizing people to bring on the plane).

An aside, I was reading about Spirit’s policy of baggage fees recently, and I learned that they do charge for carry-ons.  Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find the link I was reading, but there was a lot of controversy over their newly announced $100. Crank Flier wrote about the media hubbub over Spirit’s $100 carry-on fee. Realistically it’s not $100 as long as you know to pay for your carry-on ahead of time (and there are multiple opportunities to do so, but if you decide to try and sneak your bag on, they slap you with a $100 fee (or I guess if you’re completely ignorant, though I supposed some people that don’t travel often will get caught up in this rule).  Anyway, the important thing is, someone does successfully charge for carry on bags, which as I outlined before in the past post linked above, should be what airlines are doing to properly incentivize customers to make the boarding process smoother.

Um, that was a long aside.  I was also going to share another random story about elite lines and boarding.  While boarding a flight leaving Las Vegas last year, there was a huge group of elites waiting to board a CO flight.  They had called elites to board with first class.  Some lady seemed flustered off to the side, and exclaimed, “There can’t possible be that many first class passengers,” and she got a reply of “elites!” from out 10 people in unison.  I think she was trying to figure out whether she should get in line (and was probably worried about her carry-on).

Club Carlson Big Night Giveaway (Radisson)

Better late than never…registration for this promo opened about 2 hours ago.  The Club Carlson Big Nights giveaway is returning has returned. Loyalty Traveler has a detailed post with links for this upcoming promotion.  FrequentMiler has a post on maximizing points when booking stays for this promotion.  Last time, sign ups remained open for quite a while, even though they were limited to the first 50,000 or so.  I think more people were online this time to sign up right away this time, though I don’t think it’s run out yet.  I recommend you get in on this as quickly as possible.

This promotion does require a nights stay, but it’s generally pretty easy to stay at a Radisson for $100 or less on weekends.  Also, see Loyalty Traveler’s post for more details, but you can sign up for all 3 promotions (Radisson, Country Inn and Suites, and Park Inn), and get well over 100k points.  Radisson hotels probably won’t excite most people in the US, though they are trying to improve, but their properties in Europe are actually pretty nice, so you never know when you might need a night in Europe 🙂  I actually stayed at a Radisson Blu in Dublin a couple months ago, and I’ve been meaning to post that review and trip report, but haven’t gotten around to it.

Also, it’s interesting to note that I heard many stories of people signing up multiple times for the first Radisson promo…err, i mean people’s whole families were signed up 🙂

AMR (AA parent company) to consider sale of company

After resisting sentiment from creditors, unions, and others to sell/merge the company before exiting bankruptcy, apparently AMR will now consider merger options.  It’s an interesting development, especially considering how many people have recently been getting shifting business to AA (myself included).  Somewhat related,  as View from the Wing wrote about Randy Petersen’s AAdvantage comments at the Frequent Traveler University a few weeks back, AA hasn’t mentioned much about the value of the AAdvantage program, which is potentially a huge asset (considering it is the oldest and largest frequent flyer program around).

P.S. My trusty Bloomberg iPad app actually alerted to me about this story yesterday morning 🙂  As i was waking up, I grabbed my iPad, and this article was showing on my lock screen 😛

State of Business Travel from NY Times and Airfares

The NY Times recently ran an article about the general state of things in the business travel world.  It seems that business travel is recovering the recent recession, but it is expected to fall this year compared to 2011, since economic recover is still uncertain.  I’ve personally noticed that airfare is higher this year than the previous few years, and I have to book a number of plane tickets still for this summer (I’m very tempted to start booking flights using points on domestic flights, even though the redemption rate isn’t quite where i’d want it to be).  That could definite be a drag on business travel.  The main factors that seem to be contributing to the airfare increase is consolidation in recent years, airline capacity reductions (i.e. fewer flights, which partially contributes to massive plane graveyards), and of course, rising fuel prices.

For what it’s worth (probably not much), according to charts from the DOT (via Things in the Sky), airfares adjusted for inflation are still well below what they were 15 years ago.  I dunno, I’m still not liking $500 transcon airfares, especially considering the AA mileage runs I did just a few months ago 🙂

Time for another spurt of posts :)

I’ve got a backlog of interesting things I ran across and wanted to post, but never did.  I’ve been working on some websites keeping me busy (which weren’t in WordPress, which would’ve saved me a lot of time), but I’m winding those up now, and hopefully I’ll be able to post regularly again!

Anyway, I started following Cranky Flier at some point, and just wanted to post a couple of articles I read on his site.  The first was an article about some of the intricacies of airlines and change planes on the same flight number, among other things.  What I really like about Cranky Flier’s posts is that when he runs across something funny, it’s not just a half-baked, superficial treatment of the topic with a link to the article (like the posts that guy Frequent Flyer Collector makes :-P), but it usually involves a history of the topic, and how things came to be.  That particular article talks about how the current convoluted flight number systems “evolved” from marketing strategies.

Another article he wrote was about Delta’s purchase of a refinery.  Great analysis, and a quick primer to how the oil/refining market works, and what was going through Delta’s head when they made this move.  I highly recommend reading those two articles and following Crank Flier’s blog as well, for many interesting, well-researched articles.