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  • Steve S

    Thanks for the reply, Chris. I understand the safety reasons behind airlines wanting the shades open during takeoff and landing. The issue being discussed over on TripAdvisor was why more and more flight attendants are asking everyone to close the shades 10-15 minutes after takeoff. That’s what happened when I flew China Eastern over to Shanghai and back last year. I think the flight left around noon, so it wasn’t a night flight where people wanted to immediately go to sleep.

  • Chris McGinnis

    Hey Steve: We noticed it, too. Not sure if anything has officially changed, but here’s what a flight attendant friend told us: “Every airline is different. My airline, a major US carrier, doesn’t require the shades to be open. But the low cost carrier I worked for 20 years ago required the shades to be open for take off and landing. It makes sense to keep them open, especially if you’re seated in an exit row. You never know when you might have to evacuate and being able to see if there’s fire outside before you open the door is important. In the summer months, we have the shades closed during boarding to keep the cabin cool. ”

  • Chris McGinnis

    Hi there… $674 is actually not that bad on that itinerary depending on the timing of your trip. Sounds like you might want to consider using the services of a good travel agent.

  • ArianaVincent

    I’d appreciate some help booking a flight from Austin Bergstrom to KOA (Hawaii). I went to Booking Buddy and that took me to SmartFare, TripAdvisor, CheapTickets, Priceline, Orbitz, Travelocity, and ShareTrips. Not one of these sites had a Virgin Air or Hawaiian Air flight. The cheapest flight I could find was on American and that was $674 and I was appalled to discover that American now charges a baggage fee of $25 per bag for the first bag and $35 for the second bag when it used to be free. Can anyone suggest a way to get a less expensive (less than $674) round trip flight from Austin, Texas to Kona (Big Island of Hawaii) Hawaii?

  • Steve S

    Hey Chris, do you know what the deal is with more and more airlines telling passengers to close the shades after takeoff? There’s a discussion about this on TripAdvisor, and nobody really seems to know what the reasoning is. Personally, I hate it. I always reserve a window seat so I can look out the window.

  • Linda Raffel

    Thanks so much Chris! Very kind of you! Best, Linda

  • Chris McGinnis

    Hi Linda: Yes, Delta now runs a Delta 767 on SFO-JFK once or twice per day. You might find a nice big old wide United flight from SFO to Dulles, too.

  • Linda Raffel

    HI! Did you once post that Delta (?) will be flying wide body planes from SFO to NY? I’d love
    to find a nice big old plane from SFO to DC-but-NY would do….thanks!

  • MadMac89

    Team: maybe you’ve addressed this before, but I think some treatment of the travel experience for people with disabilities would interest me. Not just for those people who are not ambulatory, but for the many, many more who are disabled and are ambulatory or partially ambulatory. Seat selection, the frightening walk down jet way (broke a kneecap slipping in a frozen portland jetway), the gate change, being forced to stand in a line for 30 to 60 minutes just to get your carry-on aboard, the pain cost caused by the inability to move around for several hours.

    Some of these things are subtle, yet there are so many things we all take for granted. I have some experience being left with a horribly disfigured and temperamental left wheel in a fight with Cancer 25 years ago – few people know as I was very successful learning to walk again. I was bicoastal for many years early in that recovery. There are virtually no programs for dealing with these issues if you are “partially ambulatory”. Be on the lookout…

  • Bryant Petitt

    I was a Gate Agent/Ticket agent for a large Southeastern-Based Airline we all know. Working at the gate one day, I had a passenger who gave me this gem of a quote. “There are 3 people in this world you don’t want to piss off, Traffic Cops, Judges, and Airline Gate Agents”. How true, I had a lot of flexibility in my job, and I could play “Airline God” to a certain extent. Gate agents don’t have the flex they did as I did back in the dark ages, but they still have that power…….

  • Bryant Petitt

    That is simply NOT RIGHT. They certainly took advantage of you. As a former Gate Agent myself, You should make a VERY LOUD complaint to UA. They should NOT have treated you that way, especially on your special day. I would be livid with rage if that had happened to me….

  • disqus_QE9uopcQhJ

    Booked a UAL Business First award flight several months ago for a trip to Europe, showed up this morning for flight and was sitting in my seat ready to go when the gate agent came in and bumped me to economy, stating that other people had paid for the seat with cash and they were oversold. It turns out what he didnt mention is that the flight before ours was canceled b/c of mechanical issues and I was being displaced to accommodate people from that flight. Seemed like something with this wasnt right but they werent willing to even discuss it. I was traveling with wife in the original seat next to me, she paid cash b/c she was a few miles short on the award ticket. They didn’t care that we were traveling together or that it was our honeymoon. Is this common on UAL?

  • Chris McGinnis

    Regrettably not… that’s standard now for most international carriers. –chris

  • DSE

    Is there a way to avoid paying for Qantas seat reservation on long distance flights?

  • Gill

    Apologies, I just found the email option all the way at the bottom. Please ignore my previous request. Thanks for the great articles.

  • Chris McGinnis

    Thanks for your comment! If you look at the bottom of the individual post– lower right side — you will see icons for emailing the post. Is this what you need? Thanks– chris

  • Gill

    Could you please add the option of being able to email articles as well as all the social media methods. Being in an office, I can’t use all that stuff on a business computer + my FB etc. accounts are ‘personal’. Thanks a lot.

  • Roswell Owner

    Anything that can make Security Checkpoints calmer is to be commended and I commend Springhill Suites for contributing the comfortable furniture for people repacking and putting on their jackets, shoes, and belts after going through security. However, when I hear the words Springhill Suites, I remember the terrible experience my wife and I had when staying in the Springhill Suites in Savannah, Georgia near the Convention Center. The free breakfast was pretty terrible, including scrambled eggs made from powdered eggs, discourteous people at the front desk, being assigned to handicapped room (suite) when we are not handicapped, no sign for the hotel on the street so I had to circle the block three times to find the drive-in entrance, etc. Perhaps this is the only Springhill Suites from Hell but I was amazed that Marriott would let this hotel function this way – I am a Marriott elite member for decades. The Assistant Manager of this hotel told me that the operator would not allow enough of a budget for the breakfast to have real rather than powdered eggs.

  • Chris McGinnis

    You should first check to be sure that you are not assessed a fee for paying tuition with a credit card (as you are when paying taxes with one). If not, then I would use the Chase Sapphire Preferred card for a big spend like that. Why? Because of the broad array of airlines, hotels, etc that you can redeem points on via the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. You may also want to consider the Barclaycard because you will get 2x points per dollar spent, so 70,000 points in your case that you can use to pay for any travel related purchase. Hope that helps!

  • Kevin G

    I pay 35,000 a year in tuition with a check…I can also pay with a credit card…what is the best card to use for travel ( plane, hotel )

  • Chris McGinnis

    Hey CLH– see this post about BYOD entertainment — Chris

  • CLH

    What is up with United’s new planes? No audio, no visual and no wi-fi. Unbelievable.