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Pay-to-plug coming soon to a flight near you

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Runway Girl Network has an… interesting/alarming/promising story about a new development in airline interiors – soon airlines will be able to charge you for using the at-seat power plugs.


It's just the next terrible addition to the nickle-and-diming price structure that airlines seem to be in love with these days. But given the horrible direction airlines are taking their Economy and domestic First cabins (removing all seatback entertainment, shoving in extra rows, shrinking toilets, etc) I guess the only thing left to say here is, "Welp, I guess I prefer a pay-to-plug seat over one with no power at all…"

(Quick sidebar here: can I just say how much I love that JetBlue has bucked this terrible trend? They're actually installing larger screens in Economy and they have blazing-fast, free Wi-Fi).

Oh but the horrors don't end there: a related invention from KID-Systeme has circuitry in the plug itself to let you charge for free in exchange for watching ads it serves…

A great way to shrink your carbon footprint

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I fly a lot and yet I absolutely care about the environment. I try to stay big picture and know that my decision to live car-free in a big city and not have children puts me well below the national CO2 average, but still, my flying definitely makes me look for ways I can do more.

When we lived in San Francisco, we installed solar panels on our condominium's roof and had CO2-free power helping to shrink our footprint. But here in New York that just wasn't an option until last year.


Community Solar lets apartment and condo dwellers have solar panels someplace other than where they live. New York both recently passed laws enabling it, but it’s taken some time to figure out the right way to make it appealing and accessible to urban dwellers. (California, Colorado, Massachusetts, and Minnesota all have Community Solar programs, but this is my first-hand experience with New York's).

The simplest approach – where you would spend several thousand dollars buying panels and then pay …

How to beat the JFK AirTrain price hike

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The already-expensive AirTrain to JFK is getting a steep price hike from $5 to $7.75 effective November 1st. (To quote a visiting friend, "there's not much public about your public transportation, is there?"). They're also raising the Uber/Lyft surcharge at the same time.

For years you've been able to buy a 10-ride pass for $25 – half off the $5 fare. The card can be used 4 times in rapid succession before it triggers an 18-minute waiting period, so it's feasible to use one card for groups of 4 or fewer. Unfortunately, according to 2nd Avenue Sagas and commenters on Streetsblog, the MTA is drastically shortening the 10-ride Metrocard's validity period down to one month in lieu of hiking the price to $38.75. The official meeting notes are here, but there's no word on what happens after the switchover if you have an already-activated card with say, 5 months remaining on it.

Since "affordable fares for airport workers" is the general idea behi…

Some good news from Aeroplan

Aeroplan has boomeranged back in to Air Canada from it's brief-ish stint as a standalone loyalty company. Since many of us have used Aeroplan for great Star Alliance rewards (they're an Amex transfer partner…) I've been curious to see what changes Air Canada would make once it was back in house.

Paxex.Aero has an interview this week with Mark Nasr, AC’s Vice President, Loyalty and eCommerce where he says the coming program redesign is still committed to offering "aspirational" luxury long-haul redemption opportunities while re-tooling domestic awards for a more revenue-based model. 

The whole interview is here.

FedEx is often better than checking a bag

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That's a picture my shiny roll-aboard Hideo Wakamatsu bag being unboxed after the FedEx delivery person dropped it off at my apartment. We just finished an awesome bucket-list trip with my parents to see the fall foliage in Vermont, so the bag is heavy with maple syrup, local spirits, souvenirs, and lots of dirty clothes.

Our trip involved a one-way car rental and a flight back home to JFK from Burlington on a Delta commuter plane, so we had a few decisions to make about how to get all of this delicious and heavy stuff home that's not allowed in a carry-on. None of us is a Delta elite or Delta credit card holder, so checking a bag meant ponying up $30 and then waiting around for the bag to show up on the carousel, which at JFK can mean anything from 5 to 45 minutes. In addition to the waiting, it also means more bags to schlep onto the AirTrain and then over to the J-train to get home.

I remembered the general rules from my 2014 article about shipping and decided to pop into …

Interesting developments from JetBlue

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A few JetBlue news nuggets:
JetBlue is going to start serving 2019's most important beverage: hard seltzerThey're adding Showtime, Spotify, and a bunch of other "bingeable" media onboard  They're completely leaving Mexico CityThey're forming a partnership with NorwegianTheir new A320s started arriving, and you can now pair your phone with the seatback TV For real, if White Claw hard selter ran for president right now, it would win. JetBlue is actually going to serve one of their competitors, but it's good to see them keeping up with food and bev trends. 

The Mexico City news is a bit disappointing but not surprising, since our flight there in February was practically empty. But the Norwegian thing is puzzling. Are they looking to eventually buy Norwegian if/when they go bankrupt like so many of the other transatlantic Low Cost Carriers?

I've been super excited about JetBlue's entry into the transatlantic market, but this might make things even m…

A little schadenfreude for your Wednesday

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Gary Leff has a hilarious story today about a self-proclaimed "social media influencer" who faked a letter from Cathay Pacific claiming she was entitled to free upgrades to Business Class due to her large number of followers on social media. Well, the staff at the airport in New York didn't buy it and straight-up kicked her off the flight.



We've all seen these days how your follower count can greatly increase your chance of landing jobs, winning online contests, and even help you get acting gigs. Horror stories of entitled "influencers" abound, as do everyman hero stories of shops and inns who defiantly stand up to this entitlement.

I feel like some of this social engineering is up wrapped around people's own egos – like it becomes a little game of measuring your looks and charm and popularity by how much you can get for free. There's heaps of crappy advice online about how to use this approach for free upgrades on airlines, but it looks like this g…