Saturday, November 5, 2011

Best and Worst Frequent Flyer Programs for Availability

(photo: recently issued a report comparing the availability of domestic coach tickets using frequent flyer miles. Based on a survey conducted by IdeaWorks, 6,720 test bookings were made on the websites of 24 of the world's largest frequent flyer programs during March and April 2011 for travel dates between June through October 2011.

These are the results showing the percentage of successful on-line award bookings for U.S. and Canadian programs among 20 top routes.
1) Southwest  99.3%
2) Air Canada  82.1%
3) JetBlue  79.3%
4) United  71.4%
5) Continental  71.4%
6) Alaska  64.3%
7) American  62.9%
8) AirTran  47.1%
9) Delta  27.1%
10) US Airways  25.7%

It's no secret that airlines do not publish the number of seats available for award redemption so this list is the closest to any hard data that passengers will have. Visit for the full article.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

One of the Best Signs Ever: Aloha Spirit Required Here

One of my friends emailed me this photo of a sign posted at the entrance to a Molokai grocery store called Friendly Market. It's a nice reminder that the Aloha spirit is not left at home nor checked at the door. I love this sign. Someone should market it and print it on t-shirts.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hotel Safe Security Flaw reports that the security safe in hotels rooms may be not as secure as one may think. The safes are commonly used by guests to store valuables such as passports, cash and jewelry rather than risk losing them by having to carry the items wherever they go.

A YouTube video (posted below) shows one hotel guest unlocking his safe by entering all zeros. The guest had forgotten his previously chosen password and the front desk advised him to the the "000000" security code.

The article includes comments from a customer service rep at a safe manufacturing company that being able to unlock the safe in this method is pure negligence on the hotel's part. The rep adds that every safe has a factory code, whether it is all zeros or all ones, and it is each hotel's responsibility to reset this factory code when they take the safe out of the box.

I've come to depend on these safes and now it appears these default passwords which may be common knowledge among hotel staff. However it is commonly reported that one other option is to ask the front desk to store extremely valuable items hotel's main safe. But even with this method I've read that in small hotels especially those in foreign countries guests should request to see the actual safe to verify its security.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

ANA Flies First Boeing 787 Dreamliner

The highly-touted Boeing Dreamliner flew its first commercial flight this month after much delay. Paying customers on ANA (All Nippon Airways), one of Japan's largest airlines, had the privilege of flying this inaugural flight from Tokyo to Hong Kong. Though the jet seats 264, only 100 were made available to the public. The balance of seats offered to a mix of journalists, airlines officials and industry workers.

The 787 is supposed to usher in a modern design for passenger comfort including:

Larger Windows. The feature is 30% bigger on the 787 compared to those on Boeing's 767 and positioned closer to eye level offering even passengers not seated by the window a view. The windows do not have manual shades but instead are darkened by a button control that electronically dim the light partially or completely.

Bigger Storage Bins. Designed to accommodate the standard carry-on rollers bags, the bins are 30% bigger than on Boeing's 777 aircrafts. Boeing believes the design allows passengers to more easily fit their bags into the bins that will help more flights take off on time.

Comfortable Cabin Environment. The Dreamliner is pressurized at 6,000 feet elevation in lieu of the 8,000 that is typical for most passenger aircraft. Combined with a higher humidity, passengers should experience less headaches, fatigue and jet lag that accompanies flying. LED lighting illuminates the cabin gently creating a more relaxing space.

Washlet-Equpped Lavatories. The ANA 787 has toilet seats with a warm-water bidet function in each class of service.

Other Features include:
Cabin Design. Vaulted ceilings help play off the larger windows to make the cabin feel more spacious.

Gadget Friendly. ANA offers USB posts and electric outlets at every seat.

Quieter Cabin. Boeing reports that cabin noise on the 787 will be lower compared to other long-haul jets.

One thing that passengers won't notice but the airlines appreciate is the Dreamliner's reduced weight and aerodynamic profile that will increase fuel efficiency up to 20%. Unlike the Airbus A380 which no U.S carrier operates, orders for the 787 Dreamliner have been placed by United and Delta. Critics caution passengers that the perception of the plane will depend on each airline tailors and customizes the experience. Visit to learn more about the artiness 787 Dreamliner.
ANA long-haul first class seats.
ANA economy seats.

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