I’m baaaack! Tanned and relaxed after a nice, long late summer vacation. Hope you’ve been able to take the time to have a good one, too!
Our break ended with a quick trip to Mexico City– a remarkably upscale, interesting, inexpensive and easy trip– stay tuned for our full report later this week.
Even when I’m taking time off, I can’t keep my eyes off what’s happening in the travel world. Over the last few weeks I’ve trolled the headlines, and taken some time today to catch up on what I missed.
Here’s a roundup of important stories and deals that caught my eye- in no particular order. Lemme know if I missed anything!
DELTA’S NEWEST PLANE: Delta has taken delivery of its first shiny new A350 and will put it to work in Asia later this fall> Delta’s first Airbus A350 routes
PARTNERS: Now you can earn Alaska miles when flying Singapore Air (and vice versa). Redemptions will come later> Alaska Airlines and Singapore Airlines partner up
STATUS MATCH: In its battle for the hearts and wallets of California flyers, Southwest is currently offering to match your elite status with other carriers. Want to get on Southwest’s A-list? Register here.
VOICE ACTIVATION: A cool new addition- especially helpful with those early morning flights> Hey Alexa: What’s the status of my United flight?
MORE SPACE: A nice upgrade for Alaska Air elites… Virgin’s Main Cabin Select is a very nice upgrade on a long flight> AlaskaAir elites flying Virgin America get free upgrades to Main Cabin Select
SLEEPER BUS: LA Times reporter liked the experience. But I wonder about sleep quality. And the $115 price. Still I need to give it a try. Would you?> Review of Cabin, the new sleeper bus service between SF & LA
$1 BILLION: That’s what restaurants and shops at the world’s busiest airport grossed last year! PF Chang’s is at the top of the heap> Busiest restaurants at ATL gross $5-$10 million per year
CHINA: Since it’s located just down the road a piece from Shanghai, we wondered why United added this one in the first place. Wondering if Xian might see same fate> United exits SFO-Guangzhou
GERMANY: SJC has paid many airlines (via reduced fees) to serve Silicon Valley. Now that those discounts are drying up will airlines flee?> San Jose-Frankfurt on Lufthansa goes seasonal only
RENTAL CAR REWARD: National’s popular One Two Free promo is back for the fall/winter. You get one free rental day for every two rentals now thru Feb 28,2018. Book 3x and you get bonus points. Register here
SOUTHWEST STEPS IT UP AT SJC: Battle for California continues bringing more flights at lower prices to the Golden state> Southwest adds 8 new cities from San Jose
EARN MONEY FOR FLEXIBILITY: If you are a “rogue traveler” and make your own travel arrangements, you’ll save by using these> 3 new incentive platforms reward business travelers for taking cheaper options
DEATH BY 1000 CUTS: I’ve been writing about this for 30 years and the story remains the same. Our only hope is that a downturn in the economy will force airlines to use programs as marketing tools again> Another Delta SkyMiles devaluation
HILTON BONUS. Now thru the end of the year, Hilton Honors member get double points. Diamond members get even more> Register here
NICER A380s: As Qantas slowly phases out its 747s, A380s are becoming its new flagship- check out the upgrades its making to these big birds> Upgrades in 4 classes coming to Qantas A380 fleet
BEST RESTAURANTS: Our favorite new restaurant recommendation site. We agree with all its SF recos and will use it when on the road this fall> The Infatuation: Our favorite new restaurant recommendation site
DARK SHADES. Remember our review of the new AC Hotel Atlanta where we mentioned it’s new electrochromatic windows? Or the first time we saw them on an ANA Dreamliner? Now the same tech is coming to SFO’s new Terminal 1> Electro-chromatic glass on Dreamliners coming to SFO Terminal 1
LITTLE BUSES UNDER THE AIRPORT. Once again, United is running out of space at SFO’s Terminal 3. Where to go? Back to Terminal 1> United adding gates at SFO to accommodate growth
TIPPING ON UBER. If you’ve been wondering why your Uber drivers seem more friendly these days, consider this> Uber drivers have already bagged $50 million in tips
HOW TO NOT TICK OFF YOUR UBER DRIVER. Since the departure of Uber’s embattled CEO this summer, it’s been getting a lot more driver-friendly. First we saw tipping added. Now drivers don’t have to accept unusually long rides> Uber to notify drivers when customer requests “long trip”
A BETTER WAY TO GO? The Wall Street Journal reports on why flying Air Canada via its international hubs makes sense for bargain hunters from the US> Why Air Canada’s the best way to get to Europe or Asia
AIRPORT LOVERS: At TravelSkills we love a big new airport and we know you do, too. Here are a handful that are coming relatively soon> 3 new airports to get excited about
RETIRING QUEEN: This week Delta is celebrating its final domestic Boeing 747 flight on a leg between LAX and Detroit. EVA retired its Queen in August> EVA Air retires its last Boeing 747
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