United biz class giveaway + New Chicago flight + MileagePlus deadline + Southwest overwater + Rocketmiles

2 BIZ CLASS TIX FOR BEST LOVE STORY. United is giving away two BUSINESS class tickets in a Valentine’s Day themed “Love in the Air” promo seeking the best story of how the airline brought two lovebirds together. Rules state: “A panel of United employees will select the submissions that best tells a United Love in the Air story, we met and/or fell in love on or because of a United Flight. Judging will be based on the story that is most heartwarming, funniest, most unique, incorporation of United employees, and tells the most complete story.” Estimated value of the two biz class tickets to anywhere United flies: $9200.00. Winner announced on Valentine’s Day, natch. Details here.  If you won, where would you choose to go? Comments below! 

UNITED DEVALUATION DEADLINE. Might be time to re-read this post about United’s most recent round of MileagePlus devaluations– which go into effect on February 1. If you are planning to redeem your miles for trips this summer, especially those in premium cabins of partner airlines, get crackin’!

Revised SFO airport map now shows T3E gates 60-69

Revised SFO airport map now shows T3E gates 60-69

UNITED MOVE FROM SFO T1 TO T3. Now that the gorgeous new T3E is open and functioning, we are getting lots of questions from readers eager to know when ALL United flights will be back in T3 and out of T1, eliminating that creaky shuttle bus ride through the bowels of the airport. United says that the transition of its regional flight operations over to T3 will take place between now and mid-May. Why is it going to take so long? A United spokesperson told TravelSkills, “It takes time to ensure a smooth transition for our customers.” Stay tuned for our “What’s Next” post later this week about which airlines will move where to make way for a massive re-do of SFO T1. You’ll be surprised to hear what’s in store….

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NEW NONSTOPS TO CHICAGO. Spirit Airways will launch a new A320 nonstop between Oakland and Chicago O’Hare starting May 1, 2014. Remember that Spirit is a “get-what-you-pay-for” carrier and not the best choice for a business traveler… but its presence in the market will help keep fares low from the Bay Area to the all-important Chicago market. Spirit’s nonstop A319 Oakland-Dallas/Ft Worth flight also cranks up on May 1, and will be year-round instead of just seasonal. Have you flown Spirit Air? Would you?

Southwest Redbellies to soon fly over oceans! (Photo: Andertho / Flickr)

Southwest Redbellies to soon fly to other countries! (Photo: Andertho / Flickr)

SOUTHWEST OVER WATER. Southwest Airlines announced its first international flights this week. Kinda. When Southwest took over AirTran in 2010, it snagged AirTran’s international routes to the Caribbean area and Mexico. That was part of AirTran’s attractiveness to Southwest. So the change is that some of those routes (Aruba, Montego Bay, Nassau) will be served by Southwest Red Bellies starting July 1. TravelSkills Readers will get to the sunny island s by flying Southwest through Atlanta, Baltimore or Orlando. By the end of 2014, Southwest jets will be on all AirTran’s international routes… and the AirTran brand will disappear soon thereafter.

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MORE ROCKETMILES. Remember when TravelSkills wrote about Rocketmiles when it launched last year? Rocketmiles is a hotel booking website that offers travelers gigantic frequent flyer mile bonuses (7,000 – 15,000 in many cases) for staying at its carefully curated list of upscale hotels. Well, it seems the business is working because Rocketmiles just secured $6.5 million more in funding from Silicon Valley VCs. Not bad! When you check out the site Rocketmiles from this link, both you and TravelSkills earn 1,000 bonus miles, so check it out and help us out!

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY. The fallout and legal wrangling from last summer’s tragic Asiana accident at SFO is bound to go on for years. The latest headline is that the City of San Francisco is now claiming that the teenage girl hit by the SFFD truck was actually dead when she was hit. Previous reports stated that the girl was alive. SFgate reports that the city now says that forensic analysis shows that the victim had, “no fire retardant foam in her lungs, although she was partially covered in the substance when struck by the first rig and completely submerged in foam when the second rig rolled over her. It also says that although she landed on bare ground, there was no dirt found in her lungs.”

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 9.28.48 PMDEAL ON MOBILE OFFICE SPACE. Regus, the outfit that rents office space to business travelers and mobile workers in over 1,800 locations around the world, is offering a nice deal via Amazon Local. The $20 Mobile Worker Pack deal offers two hours usage of of a professional meeting room for up to four people, plus five visits to a Regus Business Lounge, refreshments, and access to administrative support. Retail value for this pack is $260, so TravelSkills just saved you $240! Check it out here. 

– Chris McGinnis

And just in case you missed it, here’s what else you need to know about Bay Area Travel over the last month:

First look inside United’s new terminal at SFO

United’s state of the union

New Year. New credit card?

American & US Airways at T2 + Sonoma airport expands + UberX + Delta/Virgin + EVA expands

United transcon bonus + United 787 domestic + Fewer 747s + Delta vs Alaska

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Anticipating T3E + Google Int’l + New Virgin Visa + More Southwest nonstops

Southwest: Blackfish backlash

United: T3E & UA500 & 49ers-Seahawks Game fares

What to do if pulled over by the police [Infographic]

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  • Kirk

    “It takes time to ensure a smooth transition for our customers.” What a dumb (and useless) answer! I guess it’s better than “we really have no idea what we’re doing”

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