Upgraded: United’s Mileage Plus
Man bites dog! Airline reverses fee! United is eliminating the fees for booking Mileage Plus tickets within 21 days of travel. If you book today, you’ll still pay a fee — $100 for travel within six days was $100 and $75 for travel within seven to 20 days. But if you book July 30 or after, there will no longer be a last-minute booking fee for using your miles. It’s an interesting — and welcome — move, considering airlines aren’t known for cutting fees. Here’s hoping others follow suit.
Downgraded: American’s luggage fees
Speaking of fees, this is more or less the norm: American is raising its checked baggage fees by $5, both for the first piece (now $20) and the second ($30).
Downgraded: Open Skies
OpenSkies, the all-premium class British Airways subsidiary, is dropping its New York-JFK to 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 shame.
Downgraded: Government architecture
Just when they started making customs and border crossing buildings a little more interesting, they go ahead and roll it all back: The 21-foot-high letters spelling “United States” were deemed a target, and thus a security risk. Words fail me.
Upgraded: Deals at Starwood hotels
Starwood is cutting rates by up to 50%, albeit off rack rates. “Limited time only,” they say, but no end date.
Upgraded: Headline writing
A Southwest Airlines flight made an emergency landing shortly after leaving Hartford, due to an electrical problem emanating from a coffeemaker, but you’ve gotta love the Times of London’s headline for the incident: “Southwest Airlines flight grounded by coffee aroma.”
Upgraded: Eco-designations for hotels
AAA is planning to note an “eco-friendly” designation in their TourBook travel guides for properties that participate in local, regional, or third-party eco-accreditation systems. The patchwork approach means that a hotel might make the cut in one state but not in another, based on regional variation.