Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Is Selling your Frequent Flyer miles to a “Mileage Broker” legal?

Friday, May 13th, 2011

The mileage broker market was once a thriving industry, buying frequent flyer tickets from people and then reselling them at a profit. Understandably the airlines don’t like this practice of monetizing their frequent flyer / mileage plus type systems. These are marketing tools and they arguably lose both control of things and lose paid tickets to free ones (though a mileage broker could make the argument that they are simply making the process more efficient by letting people turn one form of compensation – free tickets – into cash.

In any case this practice is still in play, but appears to be scaled down and risky for both buyer, seller, and especially for the airlines mileage brokers who can wind up in court.

A case that may set the new standards is Alaska Airlines vs Carey et al, where Alaska Air is suing mileage broker Carey (I think a small, husband and wife online business) for what they feel is an illegal resale of frequent flyer / mileage program tickets. I don’t think this case has yet resolved in the courts, though it may have by now.

It should actually be very cost effective to resell miles benefits at the 1.5-2 cent per mile rates we just reviewed at a mileage broker website assuming your travel plans are flexible. My rule of thumb is that miles are only worth about a penny. This calculation assumes you’ll have trouble getting a 25,000 mileage award and probably have to use 37,500 or even 50,000, and also assumes that a bird (cash) in the hand is worth more than a ticket in the bush (mileage award). A lot can happen to those miles in the new frenzied airline business where, for example, shorter – often only 18 month – mileage expiration time limits can easily kill your miles.

QuickAid at this time recommends you do NOT buy this type of ticket as the risks seem to outweigh the benefits, but we’re open to changing our minds depending on how the courts view the legality of mileage brokering.

Relax, you are in an Airport!

Friday, April 29th, 2011



Saigon 022 – transfer in Hong Kong?

Originally uploaded by JoeDuck

Air Travel, especially in the new era of intense security measures, can be very tiring. However most of us fail to take advantage of the many amenities in almost all airports large and small – amenities that can make your trip a lot more comfortable and stress-free. For me WIFI has been a godsend, especially when it is free. I carry a small laptop whereever I go so there’s really no more “down time” in the airport – I can catch up on email, blog, or surf the internet. This is especially relaxing if you can find a quiet lounge or restaurant.

For the more active who miss their daily does of exercise, try walking the terminals to get a feel for the airport. In many countries and in some US Airports, the facilities are designed to give travelers insight into the local, regional, or national culture, architecture, and attractions. Take advantage of this even in a “pass through” airport. You may be returning for a vacation to the country or region and simply “taking in” the sights and sounds, shops and restaurants can be a great introduction for your future travels. Airports are a showcase of different languages, food, cultures, and more.

Bangkok Airport BKK. Bangkok’s beautiful Suvarnabhumi Airport. Plus some Taxi Tips for Southeast Asia.

Monday, March 28th, 2011



Bangkok Airport BKK. Bangkok’s beautiful Suvarnabhumi Airport. Plus some Taxi Tips for Southeast Asia.

Originally uploaded by JoeDuck

Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport is one of the world’s newest and most beautiful facilities. Located somewhat outside of Bangkok you’ll need to take a taxi ride into the city.

Taxi Tips:
Note that even with the long distance from BKK to the downtown area, a taxi should cost you under $20, where public transportation will cost just a few dollars. Also note many hotels will pick you up at the Airport – generally just follow the signs through to your baggage pickup and watch for the crowds of hotel pickup folks.

Taxi overcharging is one of the key things to look out for as you travel in and around major Airports in Southeast Asia such as Saigon, Bangkok, and Hanoi. It’s common for drivers to go “off the meter”, pretending this will save you money when generally the quoted rate will be higher – sometimes by as much as 5 times what you’d pay with a meter. If you do negotiate rates, be sure you and the drive have a very clear understanding of what you’ll be paying for the ride. This is especially true with Bangkok’s “Tuk Tuks”, the small taxis that are zipping all over the city. There are enough scammers in the Tuk Tuk trade that you’ll want to negotiate very, very clearly if you choose this type of ride, and avoid falling victim to the “helpful” locals who sometimes direct people right into Tuk Tuk or other scams. Generally you can be friendly and act friendly, but always be aware that overly nice and “helpful” folks are often … trying to sell you overpriced things.

http://www.suvarnabhumiairport.com/

Bangkok Airport (BKK Suvarnabhumi) “free” WIFI

Friday, March 4th, 2011



Pattaya to Bangkok Airport 040

Originally uploaded by JoeDuck

Bangkok Airport has a very odd system for “free” wifi which involves first signing up for a code card that entitles you to only 15 minutes of free internet after which you can buy more time. I’m skeptical of this type of system and would guess they’d do better by simply using advertising supported free WIFI.

Perhaps better for most than using this type of system is to find actual free unrestricted WIFI in one of the many restaurants located in the departure terminal. That said, if you only need to quickly check email and have a short layover, BKK’s free WIFI may be all you need.

Bangkok Airport BKK, Bangkok, Thailand

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011



Pattaya to Bangkok Airport 034

Originally uploaded by JoeDuck

Dozens of amazing art statues grace the halls of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport which serves all of SE Asia and beyond. Here you’ll find colorful and shiny Thai figures in various poses watching over the swirl of activity in this award-winning airport.

Upon entry BKK reminded me of Beijing’s airport design – massive large rooms with a sweeping grand architecture. In the halls past security BKK Suvarnabhumi is filled with stylish shopping as well as many dining choices from Burger King to upscale Thai venues. Our meal at a Thai restaurant was fairly good and reasonably priced for an airport, with a Pad Thai that was almost as good as some of the especially delicious ones I’d had in Bangkok and Pattaya.

As you roam your connecting airports be sure to check out the exhibits and art you’ll often find there. Let the airport be part of your destination experience.

Bangkok Airport BKK 023

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011



Bangkok Airport BKK 023

Originally uploaded by JoeDuck

Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport is a very impressive modern facility – one of the finest major airports in the world. At the international departure terminal over a dozen huge statues stand guard as you check in at any of many major airlines serving the facility. Over the next week we’ll profile this impressive airport in a special series about BKK Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok’s gateway to the world.

Air Mekong Meal, Vietnam

Friday, February 25th, 2011



Hanoi Airport to Halong Bay Feb 12 045

Originally uploaded by JoeDuck

The meal on Air Mekong was nothing to rave about, but given the shortness of this inexpensive flight I appreciated the tasty treat and the excellent service we received on our short flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi, Hanoi to Danang, and Danang to Ho Chi Minh City.

Hanoi Airport, Mekong Airlines

Friday, February 25th, 2011



Hanoi Airport to Halong Bay Feb 12 046

Originally uploaded by JoeDuck

We’ve been really impressed with the airlines and service in Vietnam, where three main airports serve this rapidly growing country. Ho Chi Minh City Airport in the South (named Tan Son Nhat International Airport), Hanoi Airport in the north, and Danang Airport in central Vietnam. There are other regional airports such as Hue, but the big three seem to be responsible for the majority of Vietnam’s growing airlines industry.

We flew Air Mekong and enjoyed quality service, new planes, and low prices. Vietnam seems to be moving forward in quality ways as they build the national airlines infrastructure needed to support their rapidly expanding economy.

Now.. if they can only fix up the roads….

Hong Kong Airport

Friday, February 4th, 2011



Hong Kong Airport

Originally uploaded by JoeDuck

This remarkable building in the Hong Kong Airport must be at least 1/3 mile long, taking you from gates to a food court via several moving walkways. The building seemed surprisingly quiet during our February trip through on the way to Saigon.

American Airlines (AA) tickets no longer offered on Expedia or Orbitz

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

This just in from American Airlines, who says they no longer offer tickets via Expedia or Orbitz due to a “commercial dispute”.      Currently held tickets purchased at those sites remain valid.

Expedia has chosen to no longer offer American Airlines fares on its website. Customers looking to compare flights or fares online should visit other travel sites such as Kayak.com or Priceline.com for the most accurate and up-to-date information, or you can always find our Lowest Fares Guaranteed and No Online Booking Fee at AA.com. American flights can also be purchased from a wide range of accredited travel agencies across the globe.

Tickets for air travel on American are no longer available for purchase on Expedia owing to a commercial dispute.  Expedia’s actions to remove American may mislead some customers to believe they have fewer choices, even in situations where American’s fares are lower than other airlines, or when American offers superior schedules.

As of December 21, 2010, schedules and airfares for flights on American Airlines and American Eagle are also no longer available on Orbitz.com or websites powered by Orbitz.com.