Air Travel News 2.21.12

Air, Air Travel News, Travel Products & Services — By on February 21, 2012 at 6:00 am

by Nancy Yeomans

LG Air Travel Editor

Look up in the sky! It’s a bird….it’s a plane! No….it’s your weekly air travel news! Here’s what’s happening in the world of aviation, from the ground up. 

Trading Gift Cards For Airline Miles

United Airlines recently announced their desire to exchange your unused gift cards from over 60 retailers for frequent-flier miles. That’s great if you frequently find yourself up, up and away, but what about those who don’t fly frequently? Earth-bound consumers have a handy alternative that will exchange gift cards for cash with no muss and fuss. Websites like GiftCardGranny can turn your plastic into cash by purchasing your unwanted cards. The same website also allows you to buy discount gift cards for a wide variety of products and services at up to 35 percent off the face value. The airline’s parent company, United Continental Holdings, launched on Monday their unique MileagePlus Gift Card Exchange. Payments vary, depending on how much demand there is for each card submitted. So how do you know which option is better for you? Here are a few thoughts on the subject.

Gift cards accepted for the program must have a $25 minimum balance and a maximum amount may be imposed.

It may be cheaper to purchase miles outright. BoardingArea.com ran a comparison and found the rate they were offered for their $25 Target card equaled 26.8 miles per dollar. That’s slightly less than the 28.6 miles per dollar you receive by purchasing miles. That doesn’t consider the 7.5 percent federal excise tax United levies on the amount of award miles offered.

Participants must register for United’s MileagePlus program before ascertaining the worth of their cards. Registration isn’t required to determine how much you’ll receive for your card.

According to United’s MileagePlus website, not all account types are eligible for this program.

Source:  Andrea Woroch/ Kinoliinc

Speaking Of Frequent Flyer Miles

There is such a thing as something for free. Even a free flight. In fact, even if you fly infrequently, you can still accrue miles in other ways. First off; never fly without collecting the mileage due to you. So many airlines are partners with each other you needn’t even add those miles to the account of the airline you’re flying with. In addition to the above new source to plump up your miles balance, there are some other tried and true methods to score free flights. Source: Fodors

Alleged Drunk Pilot

Last Thursday a 6 am Frontier flight heading from Omaha to Milwaukee was delayed due to the suspicion that one of it’s pilots was not fit to fly. The flight, operating as Chautauqua, was delayed for 2 hours while a crew replacement was found. The pilot in question never even made it through security. FYI: The FAA has a 8 hour pre-flight limit on alcohol intake for pilots. Source:  MSNBC

Free In-Flight Entertainment

If somebody has already filled in the Sudoku puzzle from the seat-back airline magazine on your next flight, there may be another option to while away your time. Your Gogo Wi-Fi equipped aircraft is going to be offering free First Class Solitaire, Monopoly and Mahjong Safari courtesy of Pogo. Sure, they’ll also badger you with offers to upgrade to more involved action, but if some mindless, time-killing entertainment is what you have in mind, you’re all set.  Source:  Jaunted

Less Planes In The Sky

Not since September 2001 have there been so few planes in the sky. We’re talking passenger aircraft here and there are several reasons for the downturn. Most responsible is the recession of the last 3 years or so. The higher fuel prices as of late are also a contributing factor. Source:  Yahoo

T-Shirt Talk

As most aircraft are full these days, Cafepress has a few items that should ensure a wide berth from your fellow passengers. No matter what your offensive behavior, their line of “Airplane Apparel” has a shirt to suit you. If you want to guarantee that you’ll be the lucky one with an empty seat beside you, try these on for size.  Snore, Talk, Sing, Armrest and Fart. My best friend could be wearing that last one and I’d disavow any knowledge of her.  Source:  CafePress

photo credit: Wonderdawg777/flickr

 

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