US Preclearance (Immigration & Customs) Coming To Abu Dhabi?

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There was an interesting news piece last week about the new US Customs & Immigration preclearance location that is being planned to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. You can read more about this on WSJ (here) and on USAToday (here).

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This would be very interesting move. The US currently has preclearance posts in Canada, the Caribbean, and Ireland. You can access the list of these current locations here.

SkyTrax’s World Best Airports Rankings

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SkyTrax publishes rankings based on passenger surveys about airlines and airports. Now, SkyTrax has released a list of top 100 airports and this was covered on a recent Economist article that you can access here.

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As Gulliver points out, there are no US airports in the top 25 and I would say rightfully so.

Airbus To Shrink Window & Middle Seats To Make Aisle Ones Wider

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This issue has been covered in the European media quite widely in the past week, but it doesn’t seem to have made it elsewhere yet. Here’s piece from the Daily Telegraph about it.

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Airbus is going to offer an option for airlines to order the A320 aircraft in a configuration that shrinks the window and middle seats by an inch and gives the extra space for the aisle seats to better accommodate the larger passengers. Airlines in turn could charge higher price for these wider seats.

Would You Fly Inside A Plastic Bag?

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When I first saw this photo, I thought that someone had passed away during a flight and they had put the body inside a plastic bag. But this was not the case here, however.

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Apparently, some orthodox Jews are forbidden to be in touch with dead people or even fly over a cemetery. The solution for this problem is to bag yourself inside a plastic bag during a flight.

Should I bring My Own Life-jacket To Lion Air Flight?

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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.

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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.

Airline Quality Rating (US Airlines) Is Out For 2013

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.

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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.

Samoa Air Lifts The Weight Concept To A New Level

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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.

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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.

Have Hotel And Airline Programs Become Too Complicated?

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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.

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(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:

Update On The EC 261/2004 Passenger Rights Legislation

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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.

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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.

EU Overhauls Passenger Rights Legislation – EC 261/2004

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European Union has introduced updated air passenger rights that are expected to take place in 2015 after all member states have ratified the new legislation.

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Under the current EC 261/2004 legislation air passengers have right for cash compensation of 125/400/600 euros when the flight is delayed more than 3 hours depending of the distance of the origin and destination.

NY Times Opinion Piece “Frequent Fliers, Prepare to Pay More” About Customized Air Fares

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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.

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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.

Tune Hotels – Amenity Unbundling Gone Too Far? Pay For AC & Towels?

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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.

Fabulous Bathroom Toiletries At Parker Palm Springs

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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.

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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.

Do You Like (And Sometime Take With You) Hotel Toiletries?

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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.

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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.

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