Take Alcohol to Drink on Your Flight

I was recently tipped off to one of the most unbelievable travel tricks ever. In this day and age of insane security, invasive procedures and removal of freedoms, here’s a bright ray of sunshine. With an unintentional loophole (maybe intentional with some of the drinking habits in Congress), you have the freedom to take the alcohol (or non-alcohol) of your choice on your flight with you.

I first had a discussion with a TSA supervisor about this a couple of months back. My clarifying question was in regards to the 1 qt bag of liquids you are allowed to take through security. The rule is that you can take as many containers that are less than 100ml (~3 oz) each that you can fit in a 1 qt Ziploc style bag. I then specifically asked if alcohol was allowed. The answer was a resounding “Yes!” In fact, he was enthusiastic about it.

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The Real Impact of Delta’s Skymiles Medallion Program Changes

Edited-SkyMiles

I received a survey from American Airlines last year. I expect they sent it to many of their
Aadvantage members. One of the questions was related to how I would react to a change in their reward program. Specifically, it asked whether I believed it was fair to base rewards on dollars spent on airfare instead of miles flown. At the time, I was open to the concept because I am based in NW Arkansas and XNA is known for being the most expensive airport in the nation. I figured that if anyone would benefit, those of us in NW Arkansas would.

Of course, American didn’t make that move and the merger with US Airways probably put a hold on any Aadvantage changes planned for 2014 and ’15. However, with Delta’s recent announcement of changes to their Medallion program, it’s clear that this is the direction airlines are headed. Delta is just the first major US airline to make the move. Virgin, JetBlue, Southwest and others have already made the change.

There are several subjects about this change that we could discuss, such as the social fairness of the model, the fact that elite status earning is still based on physical miles flown, and the other benefits they are adding to their program. However, since I’ve read several articles online and they are all missing the answer to one key question:

As a traveler, how does this impact me?

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FAA Rule Change: Angry Birds Allowed During Takeoff and Landing

For almost a year now, I’ve had a finished article about how to be a ninja on flights and use your mobile device (in Airplane Mode) during the entire flight. However, all of the controversy over my article: Take Alcohol to Drink on Your Flight, gave me pause about posting it. It was helping people break the rules, no matter how pointless the rules were. Luckily, it’s now totally irrelevant.

AA-Use-Your-Device-Anytime

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Pack Like a Ninja…a Travel Ninja

Packing is a skill you learn over time. I’ll admit, before I went to work at Pace, I used to be the guy that packed two suitcases for a vacation. I wanted to be prepared for any and every situation and I made sure I was. When I returned, I had only worn about 1/3 of what I took, and all that packing, unpacking and hauling was a waste of time. This led me to the conclusion that if I’m standing on a suitcase trying to zip it, it’s probably a bad thing.

This being said, good packing begins with a good plan. Here are my top tips for better packing, in chronological order.

Pick a color: black or brown
Q: What takes up more room than any other item in your suitcase?
A: Other colors of everything you’ve already packed.

If you wear both colors, you’ll need shirts, pants, socks, shoes and belts to match both. Women will have a hard time going with one pair of shoes, but keeping this in mind will at least help reduce “shoe creep.”

So, simplify everything by deciding whether this trip will be a brown trip or a black trip, then pack accordingly.

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Board Your Flight Before the Schmucks

Boarding early is one of the most attractive benefits of elite status. There’s always room for your carry-on, you’re not relegated to taking 1 step per minute down the jet-bridge, and you don’t have to squeeze through dozens of people to make it to seat 46B. However, elite status isn’t the only way to board early. Here are some other options to avoid the cattle drive onto the plane.

Avoid these crowds and breeze right by them.

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Shortcut to Executive Platinum

Reaching Executive Platinum is the pinnacle of reward status on American Airlines. You get unlimited complimentary upgrades, a 100% Elite mileage bonus, guaranteed seat availability on flights, and much more. The challenge is that it typically takes 100,000 miles or 100 flight segments to reach the Executive Platinum level. Unless you’re traveling internationally, or weekly, it’s a very difficult task.

While I’m not positive this will work for you, it’s definitely worth a shot. Following American’s issues lately, they’ve done a lot to try to keep their frequent flyers happy. Double elite qualifying miles was their first special offer, which was nice, but this one is much more appealing. This new offer will grant you Executive Platinum status if you fly 10 segments between now and January 1st, 2013. That’s less than 2 months, but it’s probably only 3 trips for a traveler flying out of a regional airport. The ironic part is that they sent this to me the day after I flew my 91st segment of the year, meaning I was only 9 segments from reaching Exec Plat.

Regardless of my situation, you might be able to benefit from it, so here you go. Head to http://www.aa.com/toAAdvantage.do?prefix=/AAdvantage&page=/registerForSpecialOffers.do&offerType=bonus, log-in and then enter offer code: THE2A.

If you didn’t receive the offer on your own, then they may not honor it, but it’s worth trying. Good luck!

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AA Bonus Miles and Discount from Hertz

It’s a company policy that we use Avis for all rentals. Unfortunately, my experience with Avis has been anything but pleasing. It’s inevitable that they will screw something up each time I rent with them. I’m a Preferred member, but my name is almost never on the board. They forget to put the paperwork in my car frequently, causing me to back up traffic. They even try to give me Excursions and Minivans, calling them “upgrades”. The only upgrade for those is the cost of fuel.

So when I noticed this offer from American today, I took notice. With the below codes, you can save 35% and earn 4 miles per dollar spent with Hertz. It’s a nice double dip that’s available until 11/30/12. The codes are: CDP# 217692 and PC# 172745.

Enjoy!

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Trick to Earn 2 Additional Bonus Miles per Dollar Spent with Your Citi AAdvantage Card

In past posts, I’ve mentioned the benefits of a credit card that earns you frequent flyer miles. The card I’ve used for the last three years is the Citi Platinum Select / AAdvantage World MasterCard. This post is going to tell you how to earn 3 miles per dollar spent (4 miles per dollar spent on AA purchases) for six months, up to 10,000 additional bonus miles, on your Citi AAdvantage card.

First, I’ll walk you through how I stumbled upon this offer.

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A Few Random Travel Pics

This week’s post is a quick one. Here are some things I’ve seen lately that I find humor in.

This lavatory is for women and Big Foot.

Exit Row for bad-asses only. If you need to stand up to use the emergency exit, sit somewhere else wimp.

She's a true Travel Ninja.

This really counts more as a FAIL. I ran across this nice closed bar that never closes when I was in Austin, TX last.

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Poutine: It’s Not a Dirty Word. Well, Maybe.

I traveled to Montreal this year for the first time. Several friends had told me that it was their favorite city in the world, so I decided to take a vacation day and check it out. What I didn’t consider is that my trip was in January and Montreal is freaking cold! Since I was battling negative temperatures, and all of the wonderful patios were closed, I had to search to find a way to truly experience Montreal. In comes poutine.

Let’s face it, poutine sounds like a dirty word no matter how you use it. After tasting it, I might make an argument that it is, but I’ll get to that in a moment. Poutine is basically the provincial dish of Quebec. It contains three simple ingredients: French fries, cheese curds and gravy. It is known as a comfort food, finding its roots in rural Quebec during recessionary times when families couldn’t afford finer ingredients. Today, poutine is available across Canada in small diners, pubs and even fast food restaurants like McDonald’s, A&W and Burger King.

Since I was in Montreal, the heart of poutine country, I decided to give the dish a shot. I tried to order it at Les 3 Brasseurs (The 3 Brewers) pub in old town, but the bar tender talked me out of it. Instead, she recommended a café a few miles away that is known for having the best poutine in Montreal: Resto la Banquise. I accepted her recommendation and made plans to eat lunch there the following day.

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