Welcome to another edition of Overheard on the Plane. Big thanks to Kevin in New York who has contributed to Overheard for six weeks in a row, he definitely has the most entries in our current reader submission contest!

If you haven’t yet, check out Say What? Overheard on the Plane Editions 1-10 and of course keep sending in your stories for future posts to adam@pointmetotheplane.com. Remember to include the carrier and route as well as any other pertinent details and sources.  There will also be a contest in the next several weeks for best entry with a mileage prize awarded for any entries submitted June 16 – August 1.

Submitted (again) by Kevin One Liners Courtesy of OHEverywhere

Flight from Las Vegas (LAS) to Oakland (OAK)
Flight Attendant:  Ladies and gentlemen, we have finally arrived at a gate. Please make sure you have all your personal belongings before you disembark: iPods, cell phones, BlackBerrys, small pets, sweaters, sunglasses, and since we just came from Las Vegas, wedding rings. Make sure you get those back on folks.

Flight from Sydney (SYD) to Melbourne (MEL) on Qantas
Passenger to Attendant: Excuse me? They turned the movie off.
Attendant: Yes, we’re landing earlier than thought.
Passenger: Oh, but the movie wasn’t over.
Attendant: Sorry about that, but we need to turn it off for descent.
Passenger: But I was watching it!
Attendant: I am very sorry, but since we have started our descent…
Passenger, interrupting: But now I don’t know how it ends!
Attendant: They all lived happily ever after.

Flight to Austin (AUS) on Southwest
Flight Attendant (over loudspeaker): We will now be dimming the lights for the remainder of the flight.
(Lights dim)
Flight Attendant (in deep, sexy voice): Are you in the mood to fly now? I thought so..

Flight from Cancun (CUN)
Pilot: If you kids don’t calm down right now and stop throwing those damn pillows, I will turn this plane around and I will take you back to Mexico!

Flight to Denver (DEN)
Pilot (after taxiing to the gate for ten minutes): Let me know if you guys see something that looks like an airport.

Flight to Tampa (TPA)
Pilot: And just for sanitary reasons, please change your babies diapers in the bathroom, not on the pullout table in front of you, because people might stare.

Flight from Miami (MIA)
Pilot (during severely delayed flight): This is your pilot speaking, no word from air traffic control, but I just wanted to let you know…that I’m thinking of all of you.

Also, check out yesterday’s post for a chance to with 500 AAdvantage miles, we’ll now be picking two winners!

Posted by Adam | 2 Comments

Happy Friday everyone, in celebration of the weekend I’m giving away 500 AAdvantage miles if you can name the airport and terminal in the picture below.  All you need to do is leave your response in the comments section by 3:00 PM EST tomorrow (June 30th).  I’ll be using a random number generator to pick the comment number of the winner.  Good Luck!

Posted by Adam | 48 Comments

Beginning January 1, 2013, Emirates will operate two daily A380s from JFK to Dubai, replacing the current second flight operated by a B777-300ER.  The flight schedules are already loaded and include the following departures, giving US based passengers both a morning and evening option:

EK201 DXB JFK 0830 1350
EK202 JFK DXB 2300 2030+1

EK203 DXB JFK 0200 0720
EK204 JFK DXB 1040 0810+1

One of my favorite airline award redemptions has been my business class experience on Emirates.  The JFK – DXB route is easily one of the most requested redemptions on Juicy Miles and a route I’m emailed quite often about. Readers want to know how to secure a business class seat using their miles.  I was lucky enough to redeem with United Mileage Plus prior to UA ending their relationship with Emirates, however there are still a few options out there.

While you can no longer redeem United miles for Emirates flights, you can utilize JAL and Korean awards, with Alaska Airlines coming on board with redemptions in late 2012!  JetBlue is also said to be releasing their award redemption chart for Emirates later this year but I’m expecting the pricing to be extremely high.  Neither Korean or JAL are great about releasing seats but I’ve recently had better luck with Korean than JAL for business class redemptions. I’ve found sporadic business seats throughout the year on Korean with a few each month (loaded close to departure).  A Korean business class redemption costs 140k in business or 210k in first, you’ll need to open a Korean Air account and transfer your Ultimate Rewards points there once you confirm availability on Emirates .  If your willing to work a little harder and have some patience, JAL also allows for US redemptions at 130,000 points in business and 180,000 in first (you can transfer via SPG, wait until you confirm availability of course). When Alaska goes live late this year you’ll have several ways to accumulate miles for an Emirates experience (Alaska partners with AA, Delta, BA, Air France, Cathay, and Qantas amongst others). This link will explain more about how to earn enough Ultimate Rewards to get more than halfway towards the 140k (scroll to the bottom for Ultimate Rewards redemption options).

Korean

JAL

**Update  – Beginning October 1st, Emirates will be included on JAL’s distance based award chart which means business class from JFK-DXB will become only 85k miles! If converting from SPG that’s only 70,000 points*  See full details on the distance based award travel chart here, this is definitely one of the best redemption options on Emirates**

Posted by Adam | 21 Comments

Here’s a link which will allow you to book rooms at the Radisson Lexington Hotel from $89-$99 (think Sundays and Mondays) in NYC and qualify for the Radisson Big Night Giveaway. If you plan on actually visiting Manhattan the link also includes a free upgrade, while it saves a trip to NJ for those of you utilizing the “check-in check out” method.  If you use  topcashback.com then you’ll earn 10% off the pre-tax rate.  A $99 room on a Sunday July 8th totals to $117.10 with tax, though using topcashback.com the effective total drops to $105.39 (note using the link will earn me a referral bonus, feel free to start a conga line in the comments section with your own links) .  Not an amazing rate to qualify for the Big Night Givewaway promotion, but definitely a respectable and convenient alternative here in New York City. Why is it worth spending $105.39 to qualify for this promotion? Check out this previous entry for full details on the value of this promotion, the potential redemptions, and the terms and conditions. Remember, Radisson and Country Inn stays must be completed by July 15th.

In other Club Carlson news, there is now a similar promotion live for the Park Plaza brand titled Park Plaza Ultimate Night Giveaway.  Similar to the other promotions, the first 20,000 members to register will earn 50,000 Gold Points after completing a one night stay at any Park Plaza hotel now through August 28th. After the first 20,000 spots are taken members will be provided the opportunity to earn 15,000 points instead.  Check out full details and register for the promotion here.  The master Club Carlson promotion post has also been updated with these details.

Posted by Adam | No Comments

I’m away again this week with some of my new colleagues and after two weeks together I’ve completely given up hope that they will ever get downstairs at our agreed upon meeting time.  Our first night we agreed to meet in the hotel lobby each morning at 830am ready to head to the office.  However, we have yet to leave prior to 8:55am any morning!  As I’m a newbie I’ve been pretty lax on scolding them and I understand how rough mornings can be, I was definitely a serial add 5-10 minutes offender at my previous job, but 15-30 minutes late seems crazy.  Granted, I’ve appropriately adjusted my timing but there’s still a lag. I’ve heard some pretty interesting excuses upon calling their rooms around 840-845am each day:

  • The fire alarm went off after steaming my pants in the shower and I’m with housekeeping trying to get it to turn off.
  • I just switched from the Blackberry to the iPhone and completely forgot that the alarm doesn’t work when you turn off the phone.
  • The fish last night must have gone bad and I need some extra time with the bathroom.
  • I drank too much last night.
  • The shower only had cold water so I had to wait until it got warm again.
  • There was no iron in the room and I had to wait for housekeeping to come with one.

Granted, some of these are logical excuses that I may have used in the past to justify my 5-10 minute late arrivals, but it’s hard to understand 30+ minute late arrivals.  Lucky for me, the hotel front desk might have actually solved the problem for me this morning by embarrassing them.  The front desk clerk sees me each morning having my breakfast while I wait for the others to come downstairs and we had a joking conversation last week about how no one else is ever on time. This morning I received a 825 call that the alarm didn’t go off and that 15 extra minutes was needed.  I took some extra time and headed downstairs around 845 to grab breakfast.  The others arrived at 910am and the front desk clerk began to laugh after watching me roll my eyes at their apologies.  She called them by their surnames and told them politely that making other people wait is “considered rude in this part of the world” (as if they were form a different hemisphere).  I was actually going to have the same conversation today at work with them about valuing other people’s time!   They looked thoroughly embarrassed that someone else had noticed their lateness and joked that they’ve had a comedy of errors leading to their late arrivals.  She called them out on the fire alarm and the iron (which we had previously discussed), noting that each room has an iron and that no fire alarm was reported from any guest rooms!   That quieted them down and it was off to the office.  We’ll see how tomorrow goes…

Anyone else have a similar situation when traveling with colleagues?  How much additional buffer time is appropriate?  Going forward I think 5-10 minutes is fine but any longer is considered rude and I’ll call you out on it.   Anyone heard any other creative excuses?

Posted by Adam | 6 Comments

The FAA today released a YouTube video displaying the NextGen precision approach that JetBlue flights into JFK will begin flying in July.

What is NextGen? According to the FAA website “NextGen is the transformation of how airplanes traverse the sky. It affects all of us: from the pilots that fly the planes, the passengers who enjoy the flights and the controllers who ensure the safety. The thousands of planes overhead right now are flying indirect routes over radar towers. For close to six decades we have used this World War II era technology to transit the skies. NextGen is an upgrade to satellite-based technology. Piece by piece we are installing this new system. It is a consistent and persistent effort to bring airplanes and airports online with NextGen technology.  Satellite navigation will let pilots know the precise locations of other airplanes around them. That allows more planes in the sky while enhancing the safety of travel. Satellite landing procedures will let pilots arrive at airports more predictably and more efficiently. And once on the ground, satellite monitoring of airplanes leads to getting you to the gate faster.”

With regards to JetBlue @ JFK, “the unique procedures are designed to use a constant vertical descent in conjunction with a precise curved flight path to the runways, resulting in: reduced airspace conflicts with adjacent airports; stabilized approach path; shorter flight times for passengers; and reduced fuel consumption, noise levels and greenhouse-gas emissions”

In other discount carrier news, Spirit has released two coupon codes this morning, one for $35 off your next flight and one for $10 off your next flight. The $35 off requires a booking by 11:59 PM ET on June 27, 2012 and is good for travel from August 21, 2012 through November 14, 2012.  The $10 off  requires a booking by 11:59 PM ET on June 27, 2012 and is good for travel from July 4, 2012 through August 20, 2012.

Posted by Adam | No Comments

I’m working in Toronto this week and noticed a special MasterCard Priceless Toronto offer that includes 15% off NYC fares and 10% off London fares for Air Canada bookings through June 30, 2012.   I registered for the promotion (I didn’t even have to enter my MasterCard #) and tested out the promo codes on US routes.  The 15% off code appears to be working for travel originating in New York meaning that  flights from LGA/JFK/EWR to anywhere in Canada are covered using the code.  I next tried to apply the code on a US to London itinerary via Toronto/Montreal and was promptly denied. Travel must be between London and Canada, though you can being your trip in either location. Both offers are valid on travel through December 14, 2012 and all tickets must be purchased by June 30th.

Full offer details below…

Offer 1: New York City 15% off

• Save 15% on any Air Canada published Economy or Executive Class® fare with promo code between Canada and New York City. The discount is valid for travel on new bookings between May 14 and December 14, 2012 on Air Canada operated flights.

Offer 2: London, England 10% off

• Save 10% on any Air Canada published Economy or Executive First® fare with promo code between Canada and London, England. The discount is valid for travel on new bookings between May 14 and December 14, 2012 on Air Canada operated flights.

To take advantage of these offers, click on the Get Promo Code button and log in or register to receive your personal promotion code from Priceless® Toronto. To get your discount, use your promo code to book your ticket(s) at aircanada.com/priceless by June 30, 2012, and purchase with your Mastercard. Offer is valid on new bookings.

Posted by Adam | 3 Comments

Finding low level business class award seats on Delta is a rarity, finding Delta low level award seats to Europe during prime summer travel is almost impossible.  This weekend I received two Juicy Miles requests for tickets in July or August from New York to Paris in business class.  I accepted the challenge and begrudgingly began working with the broken Delta award calendar.  For the first time in months I was actually pleasantly surprised with what I was seeing, the calendar was actually showing low level award availability for a few select dates.  The next step was to ensure the calendar wasn’t presenting false information, for each date I went through the entire booking process until payment…yes 100K business and 50k economy seats were truly available for booking!  Here’s what I found (readers shoot me an email at adam@pointmetotheplane.com if you redeem on these dates and the availability disappears so that I can update the listing for others. Remember the calendar may still show availability for a few minutes until the inventory has been updated so go all the way through the process before you get too excited.  If you’re flying from outside New York you’ll also need to find low level availability to NY.  It’s much easier to do this by performing a separate search and then piecing your domestic trip together with the transatlantic crossing, feel free to email with any questions) :

Departure
Business (50k) – June 28 & 29th
Business (50k) – July 10, 11, 16, & 17th
Business (50k) – August 1, 13, 14
Business (50k) – September 4 & 5

Economy (30k) -  June 28 & 29th
Economy (30k) -  July 7, 8, & 10th
Economy (30k) – August 11

Return
Business (50k) -  July 2, 3, 10, 11, & 25
Business (50k) -  Aug 21, 22, & 29
Business (50k) – Sept 27

Economy (30k) July 24, 25, & 26
Economy (30k) August 25 &26
Economy (30k) September 9, 13, 20, 21, & 23

Posted by Adam | No Comments

Welcome to another edition of Overheard on the Plane. Big thanks to Kevin in New York who has contributed to Overheard for five weeks in a row!

If you haven’t yet, check out Say What? Overheard on the Plane Editions 1-9 and of course keep sending in your stories for future posts to adam@pointmetotheplane.com. Remember to include the carrier and route as well as any other pertinent details and sources.  There will also be a contest in the next several weeks for best entry with a mileage prize awarded for any entries submitted June 16 – July 1.

Submitted (again) by Kevin One Liners Courtesy of OHEverywhere

Flight to Chicago (ORD)
Pilot (after a bumpy landing):  Ladies and gentlemen, that landing was not me or the plane. That was our co-pilot–he’s required to complete one landing a month. And he blew it. Welcome to Chicago.

Flight to Colorado Springs, CO (COS)
Pilot(standing at the door to the plane after pulling into the gate): Shit! I totally didn’t mean to park here!

Flight to Vancouver (YVR)
Pilot: … and if you have any comments or questions, go ahead and look me up on Facebook.

Flight to Honolulu (HNL)
Pilot: Welcome to Hawaii! I’m going to tell you all what my mom told me when I turned 18: get your bags and get out.

Flight from Seattle (SEA) to Oakland (OAK)
Pilot: We’ll be flying with our team of flight attendants today, and of course we’ll be looking forward to the great service they provide (awkward laugh)…the great service they provide to you, of course.

Flight to Orlando (MCO)
Pilot: Welcome to JetBlue! I am your captain, Greg, and sitting next to me is your co-captain… also Greg.

Submitted by LindaB in GA

Flight from Atlanta (ATL) to Phoenix (PHX)
Flight Attendant (to passenger discussing the 2 items rule):  The flight attendant recalled that back when they allowed a diaper bag in addition to your carry on and personal item, a woman boarded with a roll-aboard, a briefcase AND a diaper bag. The flight attendant stopped her and said “ma’am…only 2 items are allowed” at which point the passenger pointed out she was carrying a diaper bag, which was exempt from the rule. Only problem, spotted by the astute flight attendant, was the woman was missing a baby!

Delta Flight from LaGuardia (LGA) to Orlando (MCO)
Flight Attendant was struggling with introducing  the flight crew and resorted to first names only. The reason? The pilot’s last name was Hiyjaque – pronounced, you guessed it, HIJACK.

Submitted by Burj

Delta Flight from JFK to Paris (CDG)
Flight Attendant (while experiencing turbulence the seatbelt sign goes on): Please note the captain has turned on the seatbelt lights. When the seatbelt light is on please remain….*DING* Seatbelt Light Goes Off …  O.K. it is off now…those of you who were ignoring it can go back to what you are doing….

Posted by Adam | One Comment

Starwood is running a special through August 3rd with rates at properties throughout Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam pricing at almost 50% off the standard rates.  I was able to find rates at the Le Meridien Bangkok (previously reviewed here) for under $90 USD per night in July and August and under $80 USD per night at the  Le Meridien Angkor in Cambodia during the same time frame.  The Le Meridien Angkor routinely has pre-paid rates priced around the $95-$100 mark, meaning the 50% really applies to the standard rate and not the best available rate.  The Le Meridien Bangkok is a little bit of a better deal as their rates can reach into the $150 – $250 range depending on the season.  However, remember that both of these hotels offer fantastic SPG Cash & Points options – 1600 points and $30 for the Le Meridien Angkor & 2800 points and $45 for the Le Meridien Bangkok.   This sale makes it a toss up (depending on the rate for your selected days) between using Cash & Points and taking advantage of the sale. Valuing SPG points at 2.5 cents totals the Cash & Points option to about $70 at the Le Meridien Angkor and $115 for the Le Meridien Bangkok.  Either way I’m a fan of both of these properties and you should be able to score a room for a reasonable price.  The sale is also valid at the W Retreat Koh Samui (reviewed here), though 50% off the standard rates there still make for an expensive stay, the cheapest rate I found over the next three months was $399 a night using the sale code.

Posted by Adam | 4 Comments

American is offering 100 AAdvantage miles for installing their Summer Miles Challenge App .  Every bit counts… click here  for other overlooked ways to earn free AAdvantage miles.

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