Downgraded: Uses of college budgets
I know that baggage fees suck, but is refunding students who fly back to school their $15 or $25 baggage fees really the best use of college funds?

Downgraded: “Fakeproof” passports
I love stories like this: British authorities touted the safety and security of their “e-passport,” effectively a passport with an embedded radio-frequency chip. Hacker-proof, they claimed. It was cracked, cloned, and altered within minutes. Minutes. Not even hours, much less days, or weeks. Minutes. The computer researcher proved his point by changing the data to make the passport appear to be Osama bin Laden’s, complete with passport photo. Just awesome. (Recall that, as posted a couple years ago, the easiest way to destroy the chip inside your passport, if you’re wary of RFID scanners stealing your personal information, is with a hammer.)

Downgraded: American Airlines upgrades
A downgraded upgrade? Indeed. American recently rolled out copayment fees for many of its upgrade awards. See the changes on the award chart here. More evidence of the devaluation of miles, if you needed a reminder.

Upgraded: European booking war hilarity
Britain’s Thomson Holidays, part of the TUI Group, came under heat for offering vacation rentals in Greece or Turkey for £14 a week. At £2 a night, that’s some cheap sleeps. Why was this problematic? Competitors complained that Thomson was changing customer expectations, causing travelers to hold out and wait for the rock-bottom room rate, instead of booking early. Sounds like crybaby talk to me.

Upgraded: Alliance dalliance
It’s not really a surprise, given the urge to merge that’s rampant in aviation today, but American Airlines, British Airways, and Iberia are looking to link up. They’re already alliance partners within Oneworld, and this isn’t a merger (yet), but the three airlines are trying to get antitrust immunity, so they can collude and set fares together. There’s really no benefit to consumers in this, especially if you fly between London and the United States. AA and BA dominate those routes, and the companies want to expand their price-setting power.

Upgraded: Google Maps’ sense of humor
Remember how Google Maps gave directions from the U.S. to Europe which included the instruction to swim across the Atlantic? Those jokesters recently did it again, suggesting you kayak across the Pacific Ocean. (They took it down, alas.)

kayak across pacific Upgrades and Downgrades    Baggage fee refunds...from colleges? High tech passports faked.  Kayak to Australia.  And more!

Upgraded: Your chance to speak your mind on aircraft interiors
Friend of the blog Addison Schonland is doing some market research on aircraft interiors, and what you want to see inside those aluminum tubes. Take his poll, which will hopefully filter through to airline designers and execs attending the Aircraft Interiors Expo show next month.

Upgraded: Stormy weather
Priceline is once again rolling out a cute promotion, which promises to pay the cost of your vacation package if your trip is rained out, through November 16, 2008. The “Sunshine Guarantee” kicks in if a half inch of measured rainfall is present on HALF of the days of your trip. That’s a lot of rain, so don’t count on any payout. Kerala monsoon holiday, anyone?

 Upgrades and Downgrades    Baggage fee refunds...from colleges? High tech passports faked.  Kayak to Australia.  And more! Upgrades and Downgrades    Baggage fee refunds...from colleges? High tech passports faked.  Kayak to Australia.  And more!

pixel Upgrades and Downgrades    Baggage fee refunds...from colleges? High tech passports faked.  Kayak to Australia.  And more!

One Response to “Upgrades and Downgrades — Baggage fee refunds…from colleges? High-tech passports faked. Kayak to Australia. And more!”

  1. iBIDLow Says:

    If you are using the genius Sunshine Guarantee, also use http://www.ibidlow.com
    to reveal your hotels before bidding and be updated with the latest winning bids that will help you to receive the full 60% discount ( ;

    Keep The Sunshine

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