Monday, March 30, 2009

Accidental Stowaway?

A 21-year-old JetBlue employee rode from New York to Boston Saturday in an airplane’s cargo compartment, officials said today. “Even after talking to him we were a little uncertain as to how it happened,” said David Procopio, a state police spokesman. “This may have been accidental.”

Wednesday, March 25, 2009



"A Tunisian pilot who paused to pray instead of taking emergency measures before crash-landing his plane, killing 16 people, has been sentenced to 10 years in jail by an Italian court along with his co-pilot."

From the Irish Times:

Monday, March 16, 2009

The road less traveled in Ireland

Today Show feature on exploring "less traveled" parts of Ireland.

I can certainly relate to the driving style - in Ireland that is how I drive on rural roads (bothereens, in the Irish language - "little roads") - 50 miles an hour and "assuming that another car is not coming in the other direction".

Friday, March 13, 2009

United's Door to Door Baggage

United offers a door-to-door baggage delivery service in conjunction with Fedex. The cost, $79, is still a lot higher than any airline's baggage fee (well, for a first or second bag anyway). I've always wondered who is the target customer for this? Certainly, people who are worried about losing bags would use it. Or maybe people who have difficulty carrying their bags. I'd love to see some statistics about how many people actually use this...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Continental's Mileage Calculateor

I've often wondered does Continental's Mileage Calculator encourage people to take more convoluted, longer routings in order to amass more miles? Hmm....

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Coachella Radio on Pandora

If you're going to the Coachella music festival in California next month, check out Pandora's Coachella Radio station. It's a good way to hear some of the bands playing there:

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Alain de Botton "On going to the airport"

It's just a 5 page essay in a slim book called "On seeing and noticing", but "On going to the airport" by Alain de Botton has to be the most beautiful thing I've ever read about travel. Has anything more lovely ever been written about a 747:

"On a grey day from the edge of the runway at Heathrow, a 747 appears at first as a small brilliant white light, a star dropping towards earth. It has been in the air for some twelve hours. It took off from Bangkok at dawn. It flew over the Bay of Bengal, Delhi, the Afghan desert and the Caspian Sea. It traced a course over Romania, the Czech Republic and began its descent, so gently that few passengers would have noticed a change of tone in the engines, above the coast of Normandy. From the ground, the white light gradually takes shape as a vast two-storied body with four engines suspended like earrings beneath implausable long wings. In the light rain, clouds of water form a veil behind the plane on its matronly progress towards the airfield. The plane is a symbol of worldliness, carrying within itself a trace of all the lands it has crossed; its eternal mobility offering an imaginative counterweight to feelings of stagnation and confinement. This morning the plane was over the Malay Peninsula, a phrase in which there lingers the smells of guava and sandalwood. And now, a few metres above the earth which it has avoided for so long, the plane appears motionless, its nose raised upwards, seeming to pause before its sixteen rear wheels meet the tarmac with a blast of smoke that makes manifest its speed and weight".

Monday, March 2, 2009

Use BMI's frequent flyer program to score perks in the US?

This is a story which interests me because I'm a member of BMI's frequent flyer program, and I've used it to amass almost 150,000 miles, which I'm going to use at some point for flights to London. Their miles do not expire, and can be redeemed on Virgin Atlantic as well as BMI itself.

However, my experience in the US is that unless you have Gold status with BMI (equating to Star Alliance Gold status), you don't get lounge access with United. Also, the miles which I amassed with BMI were useful for transatlantic flights, but not so much inside the US. For example, i could not do much with a small-ish amount of BMI miles, though if I had miles from a US carrier then I could use a small-ish amount of miles for internal US flights.

Therefore, a few years ago I signed up for United's frequent flyer program and I use this to amass miles (which I can spend internally in the US, or for transatlantic flights, e.g. with Aer Lingus to Ireland). I find that I get perks such as upgrades, though still not lounge access (as I'm still only on Star Alliance Silver level).

Here is the story from Yahoo Finance anyway, even though it doesn't match my experience with lounge access (unless you have Gold status):

BMI is part of the Star Alliance, a group of 25 airlines that work together (United, Lufthansa, Air Canada and Air New Zealand among them), which means your points and upgrades can be applied to any of those airlines. While most U.S. airlines do not offer complimentary lounge access to frequent fliers, most foreign carriers do, which means you get the benefit of using those facilities within the U.S.--on airlines like United--without actually belonging to their frequent-flier programs.