Showing posts from March, 2015

One of the most useful amenity kit items EVER!

I flew JetBlue's new Mint product last month (and last summer) and I found their Birchbox amenity kit to be more of a product sampler for Birchbox than it was a true collection of things you might need during the flight. That said, on my latest trip they did add something that I think everyone else should copy: device screen wipes. We all know that our iPhone screens have more bacteria than most toilet seats yet I'm personally a bit afraid to clean them with anything other than a dry microfiber towel for fear that I'll mess up the screen coating with alcohol or acetone or Windex... I really liked having something I knew was safe to use to give my phone a cleaning at the same time I used the hot towel to clean my own hands...

interactive explorer of airport codes

Here's a fun little website that gives the back story on a bunch of airports' three-letter codes.

Major delays in 2015 at JFK

Gothamist is reporting long delays for JFK flights due to construction and upgrades. The disruption is supposed to last through the end of 2015. Put that "Search nearby airports" button on Kayak to work!
Sadly this was the year that we decided to switch to JetBlue for all of our transcon flights. JetBlue's official statement is here. I've often thought that the coast-to-coast redeye is actually too short of a flight when you have a comfortable bed like JetBlue Mint Class has... If only they could hurry up and get FAA approval for these new seats that allow you to recline during takeoff, I wouldn't mind an extra two hours in my seat :)

Emirates JFK-Milan 2-for-1 special is back!

Emirates is running a 2-for-1 promo for summer travel on their direct JFK-Milan flight. That works out to:
$650 per person in Economy $1900 per person in Business Class
and they've just put an A380 on this route, so you'll have the full double-decker experience. It's a great price for summer fares to Europe. Book before March 26th for travel this summer (June 27 - August 22). These are special fares so you can't upgrade them.

Details are here.

JetBlue expanding their Mint First Class network

Per this link, it looks like JetBlue is going to be expanding the network for their new Mint First Class product. It's unquestionably the best First Class product for USA domestic flights and now they're expanding it to the Caribbean.

UPDATE 4/2016: They've announced yet another expansion!
UPDATE 7/2018: They're adding mint to St Maarten, St Lucia, and Libera

My trip reports for Mint are here and here.

Canada getting its own "Fancy Domestic First"

Great news! It looks like Air Canada is going to start offering a lie-flat product on domestic transcontinental flights. Other than the JFK-YVR flight on Cathay Pacific, there aren't a whole lot of options for an internationally-configured plane on a domestic North American run. The official announcement is here. A breakdown of all the flights is here.

Alaska flights no longer earning MQDs

The Delta – Alaska 'Battle in Seattle' continues... Now Delta has decided that as of April 1st, flights on Alaska will no longer earn Medallion Qualifying Dollars.

Details here.

Visiting Washington DC Cherry Blossom Festival

(updated 30 March 2019)

I'm a big fan of 花見 (hanami), the Japanese custom of viewing sakura cherry blossoms. It's a great way to enjoy the beginning of spring, shake off winter, eat some sakura mochi, and (if you're doing it according to custom) reflect upon the ephemeral and fleeting nature of life – the "peak" blossoms only last about a week. 
In 1912 the mayor of Tokyo gave 3,000 cherry trees to the city of Washington DC as a symbol of friendship between the two countries. With 100+ years of sakura history, it's no surprise that DC has the USA's largest cherry blossom festival. Given their location and climate, their blossoms come in a full month before New York's.  The current prediction for peak bloom is:
🌸 1–6 April, 2019 🌸
ℹ️ TIP: here's a little decoding chart for the Park Service's various bloom stages
Given the fickle nature of the actual bloom date, the festival itself is nearly a month long. Many of the events are fun even wit…

Long haul flights coming to LaGuardia?!

For a big chunk of the New York city population, LaGuardia is vastly cheaper and faster to get to by car/taxi than JFK or Newark. When it's not rush hour I can be there in 20 minutes from my house. JFK is twice that. Newark is even more. While it has crummy public transport options and is a complete dump, there's something to be said for a small airport that's close to home.

One of the big downsides to LaGuardia, though, is that there's a perimeter limit on the airport – Denver is about as far as you can fly. The Wall Street Journal says that this rule might be lifted soon though.

I'm really curious what routes this could enable. People thought Virgin America was crazy when they decided to launch Newark–Los Angeles service when they already offered JFK–LAX flights, but the Newark flights quickly became profitable, so I'm wondering what the conventional wisdom here even is. Given that, I'm wondering if the fancy domestic First Class planes might do well ther…

JetBlue Mint, 6 months in...

I've been a cheerleader for JetBlue Mint since it launched in Summer 2014. The legacy carriers had all upgraded their premium SFO/LAX-JFK service to lie-flat beds in the past 2 years when JetBlue came along and one-upped them by adding closing-door suites on their first foray into premium cabins. I snagged an introductory $499 flight from LAX back in August and I flew them again on a round trip this past week, JFK-LAX was at 11am, the flight home was a redeye that landed at 5:07am.

Here's a few of the things that changed between August and February:
United, Delta, and American have all dropped their fares on this route from $3500 round-trip to about $2300. I love competition!JetBlue listened to feedback and upgraded to much better headphones (Brooklyn-made Grado SR60e headphones)The LAX departure gate now has several of the JFK T5-style high counters with lots of power plugs so people can charge their devices and work while they wait.They've added a coat check service to T5