Downgraded: Delta’s SkyMiles
It’s not coming as a surprise, but Delta has added a third tier to its frequent flyer program. I have expected this since last year, when Delta eliminated the “last seat availability” clause and added restrictions to its “SkyChoice” tier of frequent flyer tickets. (Previously, if you were willing to pay about double the miles, and if a seat were still for sale on your desired flight, you’d be guaranteed the opportunity to buy it. Much like full-fare tickets.) Now you have to pay TRIPLE the miles for the “last seat availability.” Bad enough. But there’s insult added to this injury. We know that miles are being devalued, and we understand that airlines are trying to make a buck (by screwing their most loyal customers, ahem), but it’s disingenuous when the airline says it’s giving travelers “more choice” or “flexibility,” when in reality that flexibility was taken away and then replaced at higher prices. I’m in complete agreement with Jared Blank on this one: Delta is pissing on us and telling us it’s raining.
Bonus: Since you’re going to need more miles, why not get some for very little effort, and have a story to tell your friends over a beer? Via Gary Leff, get 20,000 Delta miles by getting a free hair loss restoration consultation. Even if you’re a hirsute Adonis with a flowing mane (or, for the sake of equality, it seems, even if you’ve got the Crystal Gayle look), you’re eligible.
Downgraded: Standby on Frontier
Frontier has eliminated the complimentary standby policy and has moved to a Southwest-style model. You can still get on an earlier flight, but you’ll have to pay the difference between the ticket you’re holding and the walkup fare for the desired flight. If you’re on a full-fare ticket, then rock on. But walkups are most likely far more than what you’re holding. (Hat tip to Dan Webb.)
Upgraded: OpenSkies dumps economy, plans flights to Amsterdam
OpenSkies to fly JFK-AMS
British Airways’ new subsidiary OpenSkies just announced a new route from New York to Amsterdam, adding to their New York-Paris flights. At the same time, after only flying for a few weeks now, they’re giving up on their economy cabin, making the Boeing 757s a split between premium economy (using a version of the old BA biz class seats) and true lie-flat business class.
Downgraded: Le génie de Jerry Lewis
Jerry Lewis carried a gun in his carry-on luggage at Las Vegas’ McCarran Airport. Some confusion arose over whether the gun was a prop or not. Either way, stupid.
Upgraded: Google Maps adds walking directions
I just stumbled across this, in looking for directions within Boston: Google Maps now features walking directions, and not just driving directions. Of course, this only makes sense if you’re in a walkable city, and it’s not rolled out everywhere yet, but it’s a good start.
United is taking its pilots to court, accusing them of sick-outs and work slowdowns. I’m in no position to judge the validity of the charges, but this sort of acrimony isn’t exactly the kind of thing a person making travel plans wants to see. Flying is undependable enough, especially in summer, and no one needs another layer of uncertainty. If you had the choice between United and any other airline, and you saw that the pilots and management were swiping at each other, with “work stoppage” and “sick-out” being tossed around, how comfortable would you be booking with United?