If you’re a routine flyer around North America, you may have heard today that United Airlines dropped a bombshell on its loyalty program members. But chances are you didn’t, because it seems that they chose to release the information at night. You know, during Halloween, when everyone is reading the news. The long and short of it is that many people with accumulated mileage, myself included, are facing a pretty severe devaluation of our mileage. On some international routes on other Star Alliance airlines, it will now take almost twice as many miles for the same flight. Their domestic routes fared much better, but anyone using United miles to fly on partner airlines is now facing a large increase on […]

Current 2011 Travel Metrics

Given that I’m about to head out on my second round of travel this year, I thought it might be fun to tally a few metric from my travels so far. First, some quantitative metrics: Flight Segments: 15 Flight Distance: 51,908 (kilometers) Total Flight Costs: $4,240 Total Cost / 100 km: $8.17 Countries Visited: Six Next, some qualitative ones from this segment: Favourite Experience: Visiting a penguin rookery in Ushuaia, Argentina Favourite Restaurant: Lupita, Las Cañitas, Buenos Aires, La Cabrera is a close second Best Photography: Iguazu Falls, on the border of Brazil and Argentina Notable Drinking Adventure: Drinking Guinness from a self-pour in Limerick on my birthday In terms of the next round, I currently have 8 flight segments […]

Getting Off A Flight Mid-Connection

I spent a few minutes checking out flight options this morning, and came up with a bit of an idea. Here’s part of the problem. Option 1: Book Second Leg Later Get a return ticket from Vancouver to Buenos Aires, possibly throwing the return ticket away in Buenos Aries and going somewhere else. The cost of that is about $1,500 right now, and then I still have to buy an expensive ticket to somewhere else when the time comes, which will probably be another $1,500. But at least I have a Vancouver ticket already booked in the event I want to come back. Option 2: Use Houston as a Hub Continental flies to South America, and Houston is their hub. […]

New Airline Rules Regarding Delays

For those of you who haven’t been following along, there are some new airline rules going into affect regarding delays that force aircrafts to sit on the tarmac. There have been many documented cases of passengers being stuck on the tarmac for extended lengths of time, often without any food or water, while waiting for clearance to depart. A recent example involves Virgin America and a plane that was on the tarmac (loaded with passengers) for nearly 4 and a half hours. The solution to this problem, in the eyes of the FAA, is the impose fines on the airlines in the amount of $27,500 per passenger if a place is on the tarmac for more than three hours. But […]

Virgin America Airline Review

Part of the reason I drove to Seattle last weekend was that I was really anxious to try out Virgin America’s relatively new airline. They have already garnered a reputation for being fun and innovative, much the same way Canada’s West Jet is viewed by locals. Their planes are all new Airbus models, they have funky mood-lighting, and also plugs between all the seats so you can use your laptop during the entire flight. I even went so far as to email their media contact email address, and received a prompt, personal reply from the Director of Corporate Communications at Virgin America, Abby Lunardini, which was much appreciated. In terms of cost, they actually weren’t much cheaper than the competition. […]

Curious to know what happens in the cockpit on French airlines when your dinner is being served? You might have though that the pilots were busy doing complicated fuel calculations, or checking safety systems. Think again! The stewardesses are coming up from and putting on a little strip show for the pilots. Added union incentives no doubt. Makes me wish I would have gone to pilot school. You can read more about the strip show here. I’m guessing that lady is in need of a new job.

Ode To Air Canada's Ass

I hate Air Canada, really I do. They have screwed me over so many times and are at least partially responsible for how much I hate flying these days. The last time they gave it to me was last year coming back from Boston. I arrived 90 minutes before my flight and was told that due to weather they were going to delay us a while in the airport. Since I was hungry and needed a beer, I said no problem. So, they booked me on a flight two hours later and said it would be fine. The funny thing is even though it was raining outside, every other airline appeared to be operating normally. After dinner and beers we […]

Air Canada Emergency Landing

Just read that an Air Canada flight from Victoria to Toronto was forced to make an emergency landing in Calgary due to turbulence. Apparently the plane hit a patch of turbulence that sent a pile of people into the ceiling. I would have probably shit my pants had that happened on my flight. My last flight to Kelowna was pretty bad, and my glasses came off at one point, but thankfully my head didn’t encountered the ceiling. Half a dozen passengers were badly injured after an Air Canada plane bucked in midair on a flight across Canada, probably because of heavy turbulence. A spokesman for Calgary Emergency Medical Services said a number of passengers had been taken off the plane […]

Payback, Air Canada

You thought this day would never come, didn’t you Air Canada? All your posturing, your laughing. You may not remember us, but we sure remember you. Oh yes, we haven’t forgotten the night we had together, have we precious? We remember landing in Toronto, coming back from a brief trip to Boston, so anxious to finally get into our own bed in Vancouver and fall asleep later that night. And dream. Yes, we dreamed once. Of fields and sunshine. But it took that from us. Yes, took it from us they did, my precious. Upon arriving in Toronto, one of its minions came forth, only to announce that our flight home, the last flight of the evening back to the […]

Airbus A380 Coming To Vancouver

It’s sort of funny, because Jason and I were talking about this big bitch tonight. Apparently it’s going to be making a brief appearance in Vancouver sometime in November. It truly is an engineering marvel, but I really don’t want to go on it. Why not? Well, firstly, it’s 590 tons of reinforced plastic travelling at mach 0.85. Doesn’t scare you? How about the fact that during the initial stress test of the new plane, the wings snapped in half. Maybe it will be safe, but considering that nobody really understands the failure modes of composite materials, and that at least one airplane has broken apart in midair due to composite delamination, I think I’ll stay clear of relatively unproven […]