News Roundup: Free First Class Upgrades for Brits, Gogo for Life, and Charlie’s Angels

Finally. It’s Friday. If you’re looking for a way to occupy your time as you wait for the weekend start, you might find these items interesting:

Airline Stuff

Free First Class Upgrades for UK AAdvantage members

Destination David posted this offer in the milepoint forums about “a complimentary one-way upgrade to First Class when you purchase a round trip Business Class ticket on a transatlantic flight”.

Go here to learn more

Royal Bank of Canada AAdvantage Bonus offer

If you live in Canada then here’s an offer that you might find interesting: 30% Bonus from October 5, 2011 through November 30, 2011 when you redeem RBC Rewards Points for AAdvantage Miles.

Go here for details

American Airlines Pilots Retiring
Last month an unusually large number of pilots took early retirement, causing American to cut back their schedule. Dallas Morning News reporter, Terry Maxon, speculates that there may be more retirements ahead. From his post at the Airline Biz Blog:

We had 111 American Airlines pilots who retired at the end of August. There may be a bunch more retiring at the end of September, which is Friday.

One senior Boeing 777 pilot told me this week that he expects this month’s retirements to be twice last month’s 111 departures. Everybody he’s flown with in recent days seems to be retiring, he said. A worker at his layover hotel said there were retirement parties every night for pilots who were working their last international trip.

Go here to read more

American Airlines and Preferred Seats
You probably already know this, but American recently introduced Preferred Seats. Janice Hough at Consumer Traveler speculates in her article “Is American Airlines moving towards charging for all advance seat assignments?”.

Now with the “Preferred Seating,” all front-of-the-plane aisle and window seats, except exit rows, will be available for anyone willing to pony up the extra charge for them…Those of us who are suspicious of the airlines see a growing similarity to Americans’ “oneworld” partner, British Airways.

Not sure that I agree with her conclusion, I think that if American was going to start charging for advance seat assignment, that they would have done it when they introduced Preferred Seating. Still though, I never thought about the fact that American might move to align their fees with British Airway’s and her suggestion doesn’t seem impossible.

Go here to read more.

Admirals Club relocates Philadelphia Admirals Club

The Philadelphia Admirals Club is moving and will co-locate to the British Airways Galleries Lounge on September 29, 2011, further strengthening the joint business relationship between the two carriers.

Go here to read more.

American Airlines and Charlie’s Angels
Don’t be surprised if Charlie’s Angels is your favorite show. Charisse Jones over at USA TODAY writes in her article “Index Weighs Consumer Attachment to Brands” about a recent research study that measures the emotional attachment that consumers have for particular brands and television programs:

What do American Airlines and the new fall television show Charlie’s Angels have in common? Apparently, a large number of consumers who love them both.

Turns out that in addition to having frequent flyer miles that they can’t use, people loyal to Delta are strongly attached to the CBS program Unforgettable.

Go here to read more.

Other Stuff.

Win Lifetime Service from Gogo Inflight Internet
While social security may not be around in 40 years, you can still plan for retirement by reducing your future inflight wifi expenses and winning “lifetime wifi in the Gogo Land on Top of Things Sweepstakes:

Grand Prize: A $10,000 VISA gift card, good wherever VISA is accepted and free Gogo inflight WiFi Service for life, up to 40 years (“Service”). Service awarded in the form of a $10,000 check (in addition to the $10,000 gift card), which represents the approximate present value of purchasing unlimited monthly Gogo passes for 40 years at current prices. (Approximate Retail Value: $20,000)

Go here to enter.

Is English Spoken More Slowly than Other Languages?
If you’ve ever traveled to a non English speaking country you may have noticed that the native language sounds much “faster” than English. The bookofjoe is one of my favorite blogs and it was there that I read this exert from Jeffrey Kluger’s September 8, 2011 article in Time Magazine:

It’s an almost universal truth that any language you don’t understand sounds like it’s being spoken at 200 m.p.h. — a storm of alien syllables almost impossible to tease apart. That, we tell ourselves, is simply because the words make no sense to us. Surely our spoken English sounds just as fast to a native speaker of Urdu. And yet it’s equally true that some languages seem to zip by faster than others.

Spanish blows the doors off French; Japanese leaves German in the dust — or at least that’s how they sound. But how could that be? The dialogue in movies translated from English to Spanish doesn’t whiz by in half the original time after all, which is what it should if the same lines were being spoken at double time. Similarly, Spanish films don’t take four hours to unspool when they’re translated into French. Somewhere among all the languages must be a great equalizer that keeps us conveying information at the same rate even if the speed limits vary from tongue to tongue.

Go here to read the Time article.

Some Tech Stuff.

AAdvantageGeek Cornerstone Strategy
Here’s something that’s kind of interesting…..Like a great number of sites, I use Google Analytics on my blog to provides some basic stats about visitors, such as most read articles, sources of traffic (links or search engines), web browser types, what you’re wearing (just kidding), and some other information. Google Analytics doesn’t provide personally identifying information but one of the things it does report is the number of visitors from a particular location. I was looking at the stats and out of curiosity decided to see which states have the most readers. Here are the top 10:

1. California
2. New York
3. Texas
4. Illinois
5. Florida
6. Massachusetts
7. Virginia
8. Pennsylvania
9. District of Columbia
10. North Carolina

I thought it was interesting (though I shouldn’t be surprised) that these states pretty much confirm the results you might expect to see as a result of American’s Cornerstone Strategy that focuses their service to and from the markets of New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas/Fort Worth and Miami. Not sure that you can read much into these numbers, but thought you might find it interesting too.

Round the World Trip Comparison Tool
Boarding Area’s own Wandering Aramean has a really cool tool to help you compare the prices of the various RTW fares available from the big 3 airline alliances.
Go here to check it out.

Airport Geek Airport Code iPhone Game
Here’s a little iPhone App that test your knowledge of U.S. IATA airport codes. I thought I’d do better than I did, but my highest score is 760 points. Which is embarrassing when you consider that the highest score, wich belongs to tsaardvark, is 1,520 points. In my defense, I’l like to say that there are some pretty obscure airports listed. I guess I haven’t spent enough time traveling on American Eagle.
Go here for more details.

Off topic: This is why I use a Mac
I’ve spent the better part of my life looking for two things: a putting game and a perfect email client. While I’m still looking for the perfect putter to help my game, I think I may have found the perfect email client with Sparrow. It’s just this incredibly clean, simple, easy to use software that does exactly what it should and nothing more. A sort of anti-Outlook approach to email. It’s only available for Mac and it’s usually priced at $10, but Cult of Mac has launched a new deal hub and they’re selling it for $6.

Anyway, if you’re a Mac user go here to take a look at Sparrow. You can find the Cult of Mac discount offer here.

Have a great weekend!


  1. Great roundup of news & other interesting items. I, too, totally geek out with Google Analytics… checking it almost as obsessively as my miles & points balances.

    • Hi Darren,

      Same here. I find the analytics really fascinating. A few more items that I thought were interesting or amusing:

      More visitors use Firefox (32%) than Internet Explorer (28%) and Chrome (21%) is a close third place.
      Two thirds of all visitors from Microsoft’s corporate network are coming to my blog from Google instead of Bing and 15% are using Chrome instead of IE:-)

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. I will throw your viewer stats off a little, seeing as I am in the Canary Islands. Also, I am guessing you meant to say viewers by state, not by city?!

    • Hi D,

      Doh! You’re right, I meant to say “state” instead of “city”. Thanks for pointing that out to me. It seems that the more obvious the mistake, the more likely it is for me to miss it:-) Glad I’m not an accountant.

      Hope everything’s great in the Canary Islands and thanks for commenting!

    • @ NYBanker – You’re right. After I read your comment I realized that I should have looked a little deeper at the stats to see which cities have the most readers. Unfortunately, their isn’t a way in Google Analytics to view by metropolitan area.

      Here are the top 10 cities (in order):

      1 New York
      2 Chicago
      3 Dallas
      4 Los Angeles
      5 Washington
      6 San Francisco
      7 Austin
      8 Philadelphia
      9 Miami
      10 Ft Worth

      Out of curiosity, I thought I’d look up a few of the cities where American’s competitors have a big or dominant presence.

      Here they are along with their readership rank from the full list of 500 U.S. cities:

      12 Houston
      17 St. Louis
      18 Boston
      22 Denver
      26 Phoenix
      31 Atlanta
      37 Charlotte
      39 Portland
      45 Minneapolis
      57 Pittsburg
      86 Orlando
      126 Salt Lake City
      128 Memphis
      280 Detroit

      Not sure that there’s much I can learn from these stats except that Homer Simpson was probably right when he said “Oh, people can come up with statistics to prove anything. 14% of people know that.”

      I was surprised to see Houston at number 12, I’ll have to remember not to make any more disparaging comments about Houston drivers.

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