Thursday, January 29, 2009

Continental switches from SkyTeam to Star Alliance

Continental Airlines intends to end its participation in the SkyTeam Alliance after the last scheduled flight on Oct. 24, 2009. Make sure that you don’t try to redeem miles or earn miles in the network alliance at this time !
I am a creature of habit and I know where the SkyTeam Partner airport Lounges are located. They are presently available to One Pass Plat members via SkyTeam Alliance Partners, but now I will have to find the other group of lounges. I know that it is bad form to grouch about change….. Change happens and most of the time it's fun to try new places.

In June 2008, Continental announced plans for extensive commercial cooperation with United Airlines and Star Alliance, linking their networks and services worldwide. They have now given us an uppdated press release, informing that,."Regarding SkyTeam, Continental intends to end its participation in the SkyTeam Alliance after the last scheduled flight on Oct. 24, 2009.
Mark Bergsrud of Continetal Airlines satd that they “anticipate their participation in Star Alliance will begin promptly after Continental leave SkyTeam.” So it sounds as if OnePass members may have a small window where they are not part of a larger network while the switch over is in transition.
Customers will keep an account with one airline and use the reciprocity between programs to "earn and burn" on other airlines. Cotinentals Presidents Club members will have access to United's Red Carpet Club lounges as well as other select Star Alliance partner lounges. Specific Star Alliance partner lounge access for Presidents Club card holders has not been decided yet.
Aeroflot , AeroMéxico , Air France, Alitalia ,China Southern Airlines, CSA CzechAirlines, Delta Air Lines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air, Northwest Airlines.

Air Canada Air China Air New Zealand, ANA Asiana Airlines, Austrian bmi, EgyptAir, LOT Polish Airlines,Scandinavian Airlines Shanghai Airlines Singapore Airlines, Spanair Portugal ,THAI,Turkish Airlines, United,US Airways, Lufthansa and South African Airways.
I wonder when Continental Airlines will inform us to the extent of the lounge and upgrade benefits that Star Alliance will offer One pass members.
Star Alliance Gold Customers travelling in Any Class have access to any Star Alliance member carriers' owned lounges with the Star Alliance Gold logo at the entrance. United and US Airways Star Alliance Gold customers are only eligible for lounge access when travelling in conjunction with a Star Alliance international flight. Lufthansa’s a Miles & More members and Lufthansa International First Class Customers have access to International First Class and/or any Star Alliance member carriers' own lounges, also on international flights.

I am going to try to listen to CAL s earnings report conference call to hear how they are going to spin this change as an “enhancement” for their loyal frequent fliers and shareholders.- Business is all about retaining customers. Many Marriott Rewards members were angry about the recent changes in the program being spined off as an “enhancement”. One man said that “it is an insult to their highly educated clients to try to pull the wool over their eyes”.
Thats why is is best to use up your hotel and airline points because they loose value every year. Dont squirrel them away!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Concierge Club lounges is the best benefit for elites, but is erroding

I like the Courtyard and S.hill hotels because they have a computer to print a boarding pass and it is a pity that the full service Marriott’s and Renaissance hotels don’t. They don’t even have a PC for guest use in the concierge lounges.- Only for the lounge attendant to play on and they won’t share even for the moment that I wanted to look at the Marriott website. That is why Marriott is known as treating their staff better than their guests. If they want to save costs, perhaps they should do away with the lounge attendants since we put our used plates on the tray provided and it is self-service.
They do have computers in the business centers but are not free, most need you to enter or swipe your credit card and I try to avoid my card on the web. The Westin Kierland are smart in their club lounge, they let you log on to airlines and to the Starwood websites for free but have to pay for other sites. Non elites go to the hotel business center.
Marriott respond to the rumor that they are closing Concierge lounges by saying, ”The answer is no, we are not closing our Concierge Lounges, nor have we reduced any of our Concierge Lounge standards. However, we have instructed the hotels not to over-achieve, that is, they have been asked to stick with the published benefits outlined in our Terms & Conditions. So in some specific instances, a member might notice that the offerings aren't currently as rich as they have experienced in the past.

This is the published standard for hotel mangers: Guaranteed Concierge / Executive Club Lounge* access applies to regular hours of operation at Marriott hotels, JW Marriott hotels and Renaissance hotels worldwide. For Marriott hotels, JW Marriott hotels or Renaissance hotels without a Concierge / Executive Club Lounge or if the Lounge is closed, the guest is entitled to receive a free Healthy Start Breakfast, Monday through Friday but this is Not available at resort locations. There is not usually a concierge lounge at a resort so there is no free breakfast there.

Sounds like some of the free breakfast hours will be shortened to end at 9 a.m. and they will not remain open all day.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

US Airways went down in NYC today

The US Airways flight that went down in the Hudson river off Manhattan is a reminder that the airline safety system needs modern technology. Many people were shocked to see the plane in the freezing water today, west 50th street area.
The pilot, who was flying an Airbus 320, reported hitting a flock of geese, which led to him having difficulty managing the plane, and he made the decision to go down into the river, according to federal officials.
They need to reduce the number of flight delays and reform our airline system. Airline delays are a growing problem in the United States, and it's largely because our current air traffic control system uses radar technology from the 1950's! - Please become an American Solutions Airline Passenger (ASAP) today to become part of a 21st century solution.

The unionized airlines should be doing well with lower oil prices but instead, they are reducing capacity to keep the loads high.
See the telegraaf or SvD
It was an amazing feat by the pilot to splash land a passenger jet, keep the fuselage in tact and save all 155 aboard. .Had he not been an ex-airforce pilot with 40 years of experience, it may not have been such a wonderful ending.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

With OpenSkies, get British Airways upgrades and miles to Paris

If you want to forget about the hassle evolved in getting elite status, it may be easier to fly business class directly with Open skys business class flights. - The Merger of OpenSkies and L’Avion brings new customer benefits. Business class comfort in PREM+ for $417*. Book by January 26th! To get great first class travel fares to Paris and Amsterdam from New York. $417 & up: Premium-class Amsterdam fares (each way) with taxes for flights originating in the US.

• Seats recline to 140° with a 52" seat pitch–12" more legroom
• Only 40 seats on the plane with one universal power plug-ins for computer and personal electronics
• Personal entertainment systems with over 50 hours of audio and video

The PREM+ airfares are each-way based on round-trip travel. The fare all inclusive is $1000. The ticket must be booked by January 26, 2009. The last departure date must be before May 31, 2009. The maximum stay can be up to 12 months. The fare is available on OpenSkies and L'Avion services.Executive club members can earn BAmiles to Paris.
L'Avion has only the one class configuration on their flights, and that is Business Class Service.
See - ;
The $417 fare is only valid for travel to Amsterdam. They also have a special to Paris but it is $740.The price for Amsterdam is lower because it is a newer route and they are still trying to attract more customers.

A wholly owned subsidiary of British Airways which has been created to take advantage of the recently liberalized aviation agreement between EU member countries and the United States.
It is a UK carrier regulated by the UK Civil Aviation Authority that will operate between major European cities and the US. OpenSkies will not operate to or from the UK.
Great Business class deal!

The annual Big Wheel event in the Parisian Place de la Concorde attracts lots of children and fashionably dressed 20 somethings till it ends on 18 Jan. Ride the grande roue or The Big Wheel or visit after dark for a romantic ride à deux and sweeping views over the City of Lights. Paris is a vast street theatre where appearance counts. Join in the performance – pose at a terrasse café, stalk the wide Haussmannian boulevards, shop 'til you drop, and soak up the culture, from the Louvre to the Pompidou Centre.

We stayed at the Courtyard Paris Colombes that is only a few years old but still don't have any foam pillows for guests allergic to the feather pillows that can't be washed. Was glad to be back home to sleep.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Delays and Cancellations of flights due to storms

Delta Air and other airlines make “NICE” this season !
Weather storm conditions make air travel difficult, forcing some delays and cancellations of flights at airports across the country.
Passengers booked on flights operated by Delta Air Lines or subsidiary Northwest Airlines- to, from or through those currently impacted by winter storms may make adjustments to their travel schedule without fee. - Customers scheduled to travel may make a one-time change without fee if tickets are changed by Jan. 7. Travel must begin by Jan. 7.
But, - beware that changes to origin and destination may result in a fare increase. Any fare difference between the original ticket and the new ticket will be collected at the time of rebooking. Customers whose flights are canceled may request refunds.

Travelers scheduled on Continental flights wishing to delay commencement of their trip can also do so without penalty,
so I am staying snug at home.
The hotels are benefiting - Marriott said that bookings spiked during the recent snow and ice storms that wreaked havoc on air travel.

To avoid inconvenience, travelers should check for the latest information on airport operations, on the appropriate local airport Web sites.
It really pays to have elite status in these situations.