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Lion Air plane overshot the Denpasar runaway in Bali this Saturday afternoon and landed on water. The flight was from Bandung in West Java to Bali. Surprisingly, there has not been any casualties. You can read more about this incident on Jakarta Globe’s website here.

lion-air-crash-photo

The Indonesian airline safety has not been very good in the past. Due to number of crashes in 2007 all Indonesian airlines were put on the EU’s black list of banned airlines. The national airline Garuda and three other Indonesian airlines were removed from the list in 2009, however. [click to continue…]

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The Airline Quality Rating (AQR) based on the 2012 data is out for 23rd time. This report uses publicly available information that airlines are required to report to Department of Transportation and then applies formula (some magic) to come up with the ratings. You can access AQR’s website here.

airline-quality-rating-2013

The findings are nothing new to those of us that have had a look at the DOT’s monthly Air Travel Consumer reports. The Virgin America was on the first spot and the United was dead last. United had a disastrous year in 2012 complaints and operation wise. [click to continue…]

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Last night, I was watching BBC News and saw this news piece about Samoa Air that has started to charge for flights based on the combined weight of the passenger and the luggage. You can access BBC’s news article about this here.

samoa-heavy-bbc

Pacific Islanders are known to be heavy set, but I didn’t see as many heavy people in Apia, where this airline is based, as I saw in Nukualofa, the capital of Kingdom of Tonga, few years ago. [click to continue…]

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When I was replying to the comments that readers of LoyaltyLobby had left and emails that I had received over the weekend, I started to think that maybe these programs have become overly complicated and almost impossible to understand by reading the terms and conditions.

terms-and-conditions-spg

(Terms and conditions of SPG program. 16 pages and more than 8000 words)

Have program become too complicated? Leave your opinions/comments below.

Here are two examples: [click to continue…]

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Two days ago, EU unveiled its updated air passenger regulation that is set to take effect in 2015. This regulation is usually referred as EC 261/2004. I wrote a piece about it that you can access here.

ec-261-2004-update

European Union has now made the proposed document public and there is also a link to EU’s web page trying to explain the changes in plain language. You can download the PDF below and access the EU’s web page here. [click to continue…]

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There was an interesting opinion pages piece on the New York Times yesterday “Frequent Fliers, Prepare to Pay More” about airlines goal of offering customized airfares for fliers that LoyaltyLobby reader alerted me. This article is interesting and worth reading. You can access it here.

ny-times-opinion-piece

The goal for the airlines is to recognize the individual traveler before the choice of prizes and possible packages are offered. They will try to implement this via online travel agencies like Expedia etc. too. [click to continue…]

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The website of Tune Hotels may look similar to that of AirAsia’s and this is not a coincidence. The man behind this limited service hotel concept is Mr. Fernandes, the founder and CEO of AirAsia. The goal of this hotel group is to offer “5-star sleeping experience at 1-star price”.

tune-hotels

This maybe true price wise IF you exclude all the “amenities” that are unbundled from the headline price. Air conditioning, TV, Wifi, toiletries, and even towels are not included in the price. [click to continue…]

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Parker Palm Springs just sent out an email about their category change next month. Award nights at this property are getting pricey moving from 12K per night to 20K. Also, they are currently in litigation with Starwood for faking occupancy reports in order to get higher reimbursements from Starwood for award nights consumed at their property. They will be likely (forced) to leave SPG once these issue have been solved.

parker-palm-springs-amenities

Despite all these changes and problems, this is the hotel that has had the weirdest mix of bathroom toiletries that I have ever seen. The above photo is from the showerless bathroom and the photo below is from the shower. [click to continue…]

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It is always nice to be surprised about the toiletries that some of the hotels have decided to use in their guest rooms. I know that some may think that this is truly trivial, but I am always delighted to have some quality stuff over generic Sysco crap.

molton-brown-crowne-plaza-dubai-deira

Just this past week, I checked into a Crowne Plaza Deira hotel in Dubai (former Renaissance) and couldn’t believe my eyes. They had Molton Brown products in their club rooms. Then, I remembered that the Crowne Plaza in Abu Dhabi also has this same arrangement. [click to continue…]

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This is one of those stories that is hard to believe. I have had quite a few funny experiences over the years at hotels (and handful of unpleasant ones), but I have never had vodka in a brand branded water bottle like my friend just did. I have come across some minibar items that are still inside the minibar, but which have been consumed i.e Pringles chips (empty tube).

ritz-carlton-phoenix-water-vodka

Friend of mine was staying at a west coast Ritz-Carlton property for business and had decided to make some decaf coffee using the in-room little coffee maker. After pouring part of the small Ritz-Carlton branded water bottles to the coffeemaker and having a sip of the rest, he realized that it was vodka and not water. [click to continue…]

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RoomKey is a hotel booking service backed and, at least partially, owned by Choice, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott and Wyndham. The idea behind the service is to try get consumers to book more directly with the hotels own websites over OTA’s like Expedia and Booking.com.

room-key

You don’t see adverts for RoomKey anywhere, but if you access any of these hotel websites, you are likely going to see a pop ups and pop unders for the website. I don’t mind seeing it once, but especially with Marriott’s website it keeps opening RoomKey pop unders every time I am trying to make a booking or search for the price. [click to continue…]

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As more and more airlines have majority of the air fare masked as fuel surcharge (you can read why airlines love fuel surcharges here), advertising of base fares has become meaningless. Brazil has banned fuel surcharges, United States and European Union require all advertised/quoted airfares to include ALL the charges.

cebu-pacific-plane

Cebu Pacific is starting to fly from Manila to Dubai on October 7, 2013, in all economy configured Airbus A330-300 aircraft with 400 seats (almost the absolute maximum). To celebrate the launch, the airline is advertising 888 PHP fares on the route. [click to continue…]