bangkok airport chanel Upgrades and Downgrades    Duty free and other scams, OpenSkies, scorpions, fees, more

Downgraded: Bangkok airport duty-free
If you’re in Bangkok, you might want to skip the duty-free shop. Customers have been falsely accused (better: framed) of shoplifting. And thanks to an apparently collusive agreement between the police, the duty free operator (King Power), and individual “translators,” all working in cahoots, travelers have been forced to pay up thousands of dollars in order to leave the country. “The British Embassy has also warned passengers at Bangkok Airport to take care not to move items around in the duty free shopping area before paying for them, as this could result in arrest and imprisonment.” Absurd! Read the whole convoluted story of the “zig zag scam” here.

Downgraded: OpenSkies
British Airways is looking to sell its all-business class OpenSkies subsidiary, only a year after buying L’Avion and merging the two operations. The airline-in-an-airline is still operating, though, and there are some pretty sweet deals for premium class travel. If you’re flying between New York and Amsterdam or Paris anytime soon and looking for a relatively inexpensive upgrade, this could be the ticket. (~$1230 all-in roundtrip for a 140° cradle seat, or ~$2100 for a 180° flat bed.) But I wouldn’t book more than a month or two out.

Upgraded: Inflight internet overseas
Lufthansa is reportedly exploring ways of restarting the now-defunct Boeing Connexion satellite-powered inflight internet service. The receivers are already installed on many of their planes (a process which was undertaken at a hefty cost. Panasonic is the most likely provider of the services to the airline.

Downgraded: The St. Regis Monarch Beach
Upgraded: Irony

You may recall the St. Regis Monarch Beach in California as the site of controversy — Weeks after accepting a huge federal bailout, AIG executives spent nearly half a million smackers to host a swank affair at the resort. Now the resort itself has gone into receivership: Creditor Citigroup has foreclosed on the property, taking possession from the franchisees, Makar Properties. (Perhaps not surprising if reports of 15% occupancy rates are true.) But foreclosure doesn’t mean closure. The property remains open, albeit under new ownership.

Upgraded: Exotic inflight vermin
Paging Samuel L. Jackson! A passenger on a Southwest Airlines flight departing Phoenix was stung by a scorpion in flight. The creature fell out of luggage in the overhead bin, where numerous other scorpions were residing.

Downgraded: Budget Rent-a-Car’s ethics
Budget Rent-a-Car is still working with Trilegiant, the shady operators who send out “checks” you shouldn’t endorse. Signing the back commits you to an expensive membership in a “consumer club” with minimal benefits — all billed to the credit card you used when you rented a car from Budget. I reported on this back in January. I just received a similar solicitation this week, offering me a $10 check in exchange for a $219.98/year membership in “HealthSaver.” Shame on you, Budget, for pimping out the credit card data that your customers trusted you with.

Downgraded: Airline fees
Another week, another hike of airline fees. Continental, as part of its earnings report, is raising the cost of checked luggage by $5, bringing it to $20 for the first bag and $30 for the second. Also: Delta is adding a $5 in-person luggage fee for bags not checked in in advance online.

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5 Responses to “Upgrades and Downgrades — Duty free and other scams, OpenSkies, scorpions, fees, more”

  1. David Says:

    RE: Downgraded: Budget Rent-a-Car’s ethics.
    You just gotta be vigilant in this day and age. I once got such a check for a different offer, they wanted me to write my CC number on the back and cash it. I just signed it but never wrote the number.. They sponsored my lunch that day :-)

  2. Marilyn_Res (Marilyn Terrell) Says:

    Twitter Comment


    RT @@upgradetravel Why you might want to skip the duty-free shop in Bangkok airport [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  3. Upgrades and Downgrades – Fees up, fees down, Open Skies, security architecture, green hotels, and saving green at hotels | Upgrade: Travel Better Says:

    [...] Amsterdam route and is focusing entirely on flights from Paris to Newark and JFK. Just days after announcing that the airline was for sale. A [...]

  4. Michael Worthen Says:

    Hello,
    .

    I am flying on May 17,2012 from Boston, MA to Amsterdam, The Netherlands on flight 630 Ticket number: 1087015216009

    What would an upgrade cost me?

    Thank you

  5. Michael Worthen Says:

    What kind of upgrade could I get on this flight?

    M Worthen

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