Tag Archives: flight

Airline iPhone Apps Could be Worth a Million Miles

If you are a frequent traveler, you know how important it is to get great deals. You likely are a member of a (or several!) airline rewards programs, such as those that Delta and American Airlines have. Did you know, though, that the airlines also offer iPhone apps to help you plan your travel and pass the time? Additionally, the two aforementioned companies just happen to want to give you a million frequent-flier miles to use.

American is offering the Mobile Million contest. Just download and install their app by October 15th, play a few games of Sudoku within the app, and you could win one of many prizes, including the grand prize of one million AAdvantage miles.

Delta’s contest, One App. One Million Miles. runs until the end of this month. The prize, of course, is one million Delta Sky Miles after using their app.

Are you a frequent flier? Which members-only programs do you belong to?

Gogo Inflight Problem

The other day, I was on an Alaska Airlines flight to Dallas, TX (on my way to speak at OpenCamp). My dendrites were quite thrilled to discover that the plane was WiFi-enabled. Yay! I realize that some people refuse to pay for in-flight Internet, but… the alternative is to “bored” the plane. Get it?! Anyway…

I fired open my Web browser on the iPhone and was greeted with a simple fee structure for the day:

Okay, $7.95 sounds quite doable. I was expecting it to be a bit more, to tell you the truth. Then, I wondered if I should just sign up on my iPad (since I’d be able to browse the Web easier with a substantially larger screen). That’s when I was smacked with this:

Wait a second. It’s the same Internet, it’s the same access point, it’s the same time of day, it’s the same flight – and somehow, Gogo Inflight wants to charge me $3 less on the iPad versus the iPhone? Something smells fishy – and it’s not the fish from First Class.

Yes, this “pointless” price discrepancy really pissed me off. Most people would use one device over another, never thinking of using both – and, certainly, they’d expect to see a quick explanation of the limitations of either usage model. I wondered, then, if Gogo Inflight was profiling (!) me – thinking that since I was an iPhone owner, I could afford to pay more – versus the iPad, which was seemingly being detected as a laptop?

Then again, can’t a laptop “do more” than an iPhone? Why charge more for one over the other? It made absolutely no sense to me – but before sharing my extreme disappointment with the world (via this blog, since I initially tweeted my concerns), I waited to hear from one of their representatives, who kindly explained:

I’m Caitlin, I work on Gogo Inflight Internet and I saw your tweets about the issue that you had with pricing yesterday. I’ve copied Mike on this email, who works directly with our customer care team. We’re both genuinely sorry that you had a frustrating experience, and wanted to take the time to try to explain what happened.

Our prices are based on both device type and flight time, as our team communicated on Twitter. You can see the basic pricing structure here. However, if flight data is not available, as sometimes happens on our equipment, we automatically default to the lowest price available for that device. It sounds like what happened with you yesterday was that the mobile site (which your iPhone would see) was able to give you the correct price based on flight time. However, your iPad, which runs on our laptop site, didn’t get that data and automatically gave you the lowest possible price. We try to always err on the side that benefits the customer, so you got a lower price since we couldn’t find the specific flight data.

Additionally, purchasing on a laptop, netbook, or iPad actually allows you to switch back and forth between that device and any mobile device, although you can’t use both devices at once.

Sorry, guys – but I don’t buy it. In fact, I’m even more confused now.

Why is Gogo Inflight charging less to allow the user to do more?! That’s Caitlin’s assertion: if you buy access from the iPad (“laptop”) for $4.95, you can switch between devices in-flight, but if you buy access on your iPhone for $7.95, you’re stuck with one device?

Dude. Seriously. Gogo Inflight needs a serious altitude adjustment.

Every person should pay the same amount for a flight, regardless of device. Once access has been paid for (once), let the user flip between devices so long as only one of them is on the network at any given time – lest they pay extra for a second device.

Anything less than that is just… devicist.

Crazy Airplane Passenger

Back when I posted my rendition of airplane safety instructions, my fellow passengers likely thought I was a little odd. However, this lady makes me look like a completely sane and calm person. This lady, however, may have mixed some type of happy pills with an alcoholic beverage or two. I’m thinking perhaps she was afraid to fly. Maybe she took something before boarding to help her get through until landing. What else would explain how crazy she got on the airplane during the flight?

The poor guy next to her is praying that the airplane will crash and make the crazy woman go away. He likely asked for several Xanax pills of his own when they landed. Speaking of landing… she apparently turned even more crazy as they began their descent.

What do you do to pass the time on a long flight? Have you ever done something completely random, silly or crazy? I’d love to hear stories (or see videos!) from trips you’ve been on where you encountered an interesting fellow passenger.

What’s the Problem with American Airlines?

This post was written by my mom, who was more than a bit peeved when American Airlines lost her luggage – only to find out that they mishandled it. If you’ve also had a problem with American Airlines, be grateful to know that you’re not alone.

When a person visits another country, they will likely purchase items from that country as souvenirs. As tourists in Jamaica, my girlfriend and I purchased 3 bottles each of Jamaican Rum to bring home (one of which is unavailable for purchase in the States). These were wrapped and packed in a heavy cardboard box with cardboard placed in between the bottles. Before going through customs in Miami, we opened our luggage to make sure the bottles were still intact. They were. My girlfriend’s luggage made it to the Dallas / Ft. Worth airport with all the bottles unscathed.

My luggage was lost between Miami and Dallas, apparently taking another plane ride.

The first time I called to check on the status of my luggage, around 12:30am, I was told it had arrived at Midnight and that I would be called before it was delivered to my son’s house. The implication was that it would be delivered that night. The next morning, I called again to check on it and was told that it would be four to six hours before the truck would deliver anything. When the luggage finally arrived (WITHOUT me receiving a phone call), I found broken bottles of Jamaican Rum which had spilled all over my suitcase and the contents inside. Luckily, I always pack many of my clothes in plastic bags; however, my suitcase and some items didn’t escape the sticky mess.

Since we are understandably required to put any liquids over 3 ounces in checked baggage, this eliminates “hand” carrying and protecting fragile liquid items. However, my girlfriend’s checked luggage made it through with everything intact – bottles and all. This tells me that the EXTRA plane ride, EXTRA baggage handling and the (four to six hour) truck ride took a toll on my bottles and broke them.

When I called the American Airlines customer service line for recompense, I was told that American Airlines wasn’t responsible for broken bottles and alcohol. I asked the representative for her manager’s name and phone number and was given the name – but was told the manager had only a FAX number to reach her!

I didn’t ask American Airlines for an arm or a leg – I only asked for the cost of my Jamaican Rum. This amounts to about $36. I didn’t even ask for anything for my possibly-ruined luggage or the contents! (I’m rethinking that though!). I was told unequivocally “NO” even though my luggage traveled extra miles, received extra handling, and likely a long, bouncy truck ride. I find this type of customer service incomprehensible. I worked in customer service for over 15 years and always tried to work out problems to benefit both the customers and the company. I am very upset with American Airlines’ policy, with the lack of ability to talk directly to a higher authority, with the loss of my luggage (which I truly feel caused the breakage), and with my ruined items.

Would I think twice about flying American Airlines again? You bet – and you might think twice as well.

KermitRocks: @jboeckman has a beef with American Airlines too. Don&#39t get him started. I&#39m sure he&#39d be happy to help your mom.

about 4 days ago

nathangilder: Looking forward to your mom&#39s blog post 🙂

about 4 days ago

nerdseyeview: more for that AA guest blog? 4 hour delay IN SEATAC? http://is.gd/nX8W or ANOTHER guest blogger #AASUX ? i&#39m in.

about 4 days ago

phuzion: I don&#39t know the details of the situation, but maybe you should have her contact Consumerist?

about 4 days ago

hpduong: i&#39ve been flying American Airlines on and off for the past year and half and it has always been TERRIBLE

about 4 days ago

CA20K1: Try Singapore Airlines. It&#39s a great way to fly 😉

about 4 days ago

UncleJohn97420: She must not watched the A&E show.lol I would never fly with them. (Airlines was a show on A&E bout America Airlines.)

about 4 days ago

KyleVanKooten: that&#39s right.. Better stick with Southwest!

about 3 days ago

pcasey44: – I am still angry at AMR. They lost my passport and my mother&#39s at a checkpoint on the way back to US from Virgin Islands.

about 3 days ago

caseygotcher: @ianmcnaughton is twittering on his unhappiness with them too

about 3 days ago

ZenTigerpaw: Ouch. That I gotta read.

about 3 days ago

pcasey44: – AMR lost my mother&#39s passport at checkpoint on return from cruise. That was her final cruise, she died shortly after that.

about 3 days ago

DC616: yelling at your chest? LOL!

about 3 days ago

MorningMist: AA has alot of not so happy customers they are what I call a cheap hotel of airlines. Low amenities with low service.

about 3 days ago

donsmith: American is on my bad list too.

about 3 days ago

jboeckman: Don&#39t get me started on AA, I had a very bad experience when I went to a conference in Chicago.

about 3 days ago

limelight: Who really enjoys flying? Seriously! If it wasn&#39t so convenient I&#39d elect to take my car cross country in my underwear.

about a day ago

How to Win a Zero G Flight Giveaway

Remember when I went flying in Zero G a few months ago? It was so much fun, I convinced Symantec to sponsor a ticket for ONE of you, too! This is finally your chance to experience the feeling of zero gravity for yourself. Fly Zero G and rule the Geekosphere!

To qualify for this giveaway, you must:

  • be registered on geeks.pirillo.com
  • have received at least twenty five (25) comments to their profile on Geeks
  • have at least twenty five (25) Profile followers on Geeks
  • have given at least forty (40) Profile comments to other Geeks on Geeks
  • have created at least 10 Original Blog posts with 100 words or more on Geeks
  • have commented in at least ten (10) Blog posts made by other Geeks on Geeks
  • have uploaded or embedded at least ten (10) Videos on Geeks
  • have submitted at least 10 Original Events on Geeks
  • have responded to at least twenty (20) Forum posts on Geeks
  • have created at least five (5) Forum threads on Geeks
  • have actively participated in at least 5 Groups on Geeks
  • have invited at least ten (10) friends to join the Geeks community (with legitimate email addresses) through Geeks
  • be subscribed to the YouTube Channel at http://youtube.com/lockergnome
  • at all times have been in compliance with the Geeks terms of service: http://geeks.pirillo.com/main/authorization/termsOfService?noBack=1

Act quick: the deadline is on January 10th. Official rules are posted here (if you had specific questions, they’re likely answered therein).

Zero Gravity Flight: Prize includes round-trip, coach class air transportation for one (1) from any airport in the U.S. to launch city departing February 20, 2009 and returning February 22, 2009; one (1) standard hotel room for two (2) nights/three (3) days; ground transportation to and from the airport; ground transportation to and from the Zero Gravity Flight launch facility; and meals. Approximate retail value (“ARV”) up to $7,500 USD, depending upon winner’s point of travel origin and airfare fluctuations at the time of taking the trip. Any differences between stated and actual value will not be awarded. Selection of airline and hotel are solely within Prize Provider’s discretion. All other expenses not specifically mentioned herein are solely the winner’s responsibility. Expenses related to acceptance and use of the prize and not specified herein are the sole responsibility of the winner. All travel must be taken on dates specified; no alternative travel dates are available or prize will be forfeited and may be awarded to an alternate. All travel subject to availability and restrictions. Winner must sign and return a travel release before any ticketing of travel occurs. Winner is solely responsible for obtaining all necessary identification and/or governmental travel documents (e.g., a valid U.S. driver’s license, passport, etc) required for travel to launch city. (Approximate Retail Value: $7,500 USD).

What is the Future of Air Travel?

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Flying is an excellent way to travel. However, there is much room for improvement, wouldn’t you say? What kinds of things would you like to see on airplanes if you could choose? We had a good time in my chat room discussing this, and throwing around ideas. Some of them were a tad over-the-top, but these are the five things we all agreed on.

  • Outer Space We’ll be there. I don’t mean just flying to the Moon. I mean we’ll be able to take our crafts higher and higher, and be able to get to our destinations much quicker.
  • Luggage Tracker I can’t imagine not wanting to have something implanted into your luggage so you can keep track of it at all times. It would be kind of cool to be able to broadcast that, wouldn’t it?
  • Internet Access I had this once. I was on a connection by a Boeing flight. It was a test flight, flying around Mt. Ranier. The Internet was free-flowing, and it was truly awesome. It would be great to have Internet access, and some kind of powering station. Heck, even a USB port would be good. We could have our iPod going!
  • Massages!!! Imagine being on a flight, stressed out and in a rush. You could plunk down some money and get a massage. I would totally do that in a heartbeat. Airlines could heal their financial deficits by offering paid massages!
  • In-Flight Competitions and Gaming You’re not going anywhere. Why not have a LAN party on the plane, and have gaming competitions against other passengers? Have fun on the plane. The best flight I ever took was a trip from Seattle to NewYork. It was a red eye flight. I was in between my wife Ponzi, and a friend. Everyone had their own television screen, pulling in Satellite tv. It was so excellent! Airlines seriously need to offer some type of mindless entertainment.

I know the cost of travel is going up rapidly. The whole industry is in trouble. It needs to concentrate more on consumers. Given a choice between spending a lot of money or not, and possibly postponing a trip due to cost… there’s no contest. It’s a no-brainer. You cannot raise prices without raising expectations as well.


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How to Choose the Best Airline

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Do you travel by air often? Are you going to be flying in the near future? What airline do you choose? How do you know which is best? Here are some tips to help you decide the next time (or first time!) you will fly.

  • If the airline is new to you, you may want to look up their safety record and look at the ways they are criticized by others. If the airline has a crappy safety record and their maintenance allegedly sucks, you may want to give that airline second thoughts. A good place for this is Wikipedia.
  • You may want to look at reviews of this airline If they allegedly have crappy service and the pilots don’t seem well trained, you may want to reconsider your decision to fly with this airline. But don’t let just one review convince you, only really get concerned when there are several reviews criticizing the same issue.
  • If you have flown this airline before and you had a pretty bad experience while the reviews are mostly good, you may want to give this airline a second chance; it could just be that one crew.
  • I know this may sound silly, but research the type of plane you are going to be on; the airline website when you are looking at flights will usually give you the plane model (e.g. 757, 737, A320, etc.). You can look at passenger comfort reviews of the plane and see what type of plane would be your best choice.
  • And last, but not least, check out other airlines’ prices. You don’t want to spend $1000 on an airline that is the same quality as an airline that offers $100 for the same thing.


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How to Travel

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Along with the holidays comes travel to visit friends and family. Here are some great tips sent in by a community member to make your traveling a bit easier.

  • Always plan ahead of time. This will always come in handy especially when holidays come. This is a very famous tip. It will save you money and you will get flight or room ahead of time while late people (people who plan at the same minute as the trip) will have to look and look for a flight or room.
  • Buy online airplane tickets. You should shop online because you don’t have to go over to the place where they sale the ticket and shopping online will be right in front of you and you might even save gas money.
  • Car or bus travel. If you can’t find or afford airplane tickets take the bus or drive your car. This will save you money but this will probably waste gas money but you save money on the airplane ticket so you don’t waste money.
  • Don’t waste money before the trip. You should always save money in case of things you need to eat on the way things you want to buy to remember the trip. The only thing you need to buy before the trip is food and drinks if you are on a car or bus.
  • Get a travel agent. Usually they can find great deals and save you money and can get you a lot of fun with less money the average person spends without a travel agent.

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Airport Delays

pt is sending out a warning: “the airports are fzcked today, tell everyone to get to the airports like 3 hours in advance, my flight took off without most of the people because of the lines, and now we’re playing the standby game for the day… so, i might not make it to the party tonight, fyi – but i will be at the airport drinking as soon as the bar opens while i wait to dull the pain.”