Archive for the Airlines Category

American Airlines fare sale to the Far East, and AAdvantage Gold Elite status for $721.20

Posted in Airlines, American Airlines, Deals with tags , , , , , on January 16, 2012 by getgowing

American is having a sale to Beijing, Shanghai, and Tokyo.  Book by January 30, 2012, start your itinerary by March 31st, and complete it by April 30th.  Here are some sample one-way fares:

JFK-PEK (with stops) for only $376 each way

For those like me that want to get the most mileage for your buck, there are very loose routes, where you can go JFK-LAX-ORD-PEK.  In my example below, I picked the absolute cheapest fares, while trying to use the farthest connections allowed at those fares.

Outbound: JFK-MIA-ORD-PEK (8866 miles)

Inbound: PEK-ORD-MCO-JFK (8528 miles)

Total mileage = 17,394 miles.

If you take into account the DOUBLE Elite Qualifying Miles, register free here, through January 31, then you will bring you to a grand total of 26,260 Elite Qualifying miles (In my example, only the outbound would qualify for the double Elite Qualifying Miles).  Enough for AAdvantage Gold Status!  All for only spending $721.20.  AND you get to see Beijing, and probably the Great Wall.  Get in while the fares last!

JFK-PEK (with stops) for only $376 each way


Another free 24-hour Gogo In-Flight Internet code

Posted in Airlines, Promotion with tags , , , , , on January 1, 2012 by getgowing

I am giving away one code good for 24-hours of internet access in-flight to two random lucky readers.  It is valid on any Gogo wifi enabled airline/aircraft.  The code is good until January 3, 2012.

To be in the running for the code, you have to “Like” my facebook page, Get Gowing on Facebook.  I will use a random number generator to pick the winner.  I will email you the code, so please comment with your email address attached to your comment.  Deadline to enter is 11:59pm Eastern Standard Time, 01/01/2012.

Holiday Giveaway! Free 24-hour Gogo In-Flight Internet code

Posted in Airlines, Promotion with tags , , , , , on December 24, 2011 by getgowing

In the holiday spirit, I am giving away one code good for 24-hours of internet access inflight to one random lucky reader.  It is valid on any Gogo wifi enabled airline/aircraft.  The code is good until January 3, 2012.

To be in the running for the code, you have to comment on this post, and tell me which of my previous posts is your favorite.  You must also “Like” my facebook page, Get Gowing on Facebook.  I will use a random number generator to pick the winner.  I will email you the code, so please comment with your email address attached to your comment.  Deadline to enter is 11:59pm Eastern Standard Time, 12/25/2011.

Shortcut to Elite Status benefits, incl. waived checked baggage fees

Posted in Aegean Airlines, Airlines, Deals, Miles, Travel Tips with tags , , , , , , , on August 28, 2011 by getgowing

For most people, the act of flying (airports, checked baggage fees, TSA screenings, and middle seats) can be a painful experience.  When you fly enough with an airline to attain elite status, many of those painful experiences go away.  Elite passengers don’t pay for bags, have expedited check-in and security lanes, access to more coveted seats (bulkhead, exit row, window & aisle seats towards the front of economy), and even get to board earlier so it almost guarantees them overhead space, at the very least.

Unfortunately, most of us leisure travelers don’t attain any status with an airline because we only fly a few times a year.  Well I have recently stumbled across a solution to remedy this.

The three main airline alliances: Star Alliance, One World, and Sky Team represent the majority of the airlines around the world.  And within those alliances if you have elite status on a member airline, there are reciprocal benefits for all the other airlines in the alliance.  When you become elite on a Star Alliance airline, you also become that airline’s elite member, as well as a Star Alliance Silver or Star Alliance Gold elite, depending on what level you achieved on that individual airline.  In regards to United States based airlines, US Airways and United/Continental are members of the Star Alliance.  Using United as an example, their entry level Premier gets Star Alliance Silver, while their Premier Executive and 1K elites get Star Alliance Gold.

United MileagePlus partial elite benefits chart

Usually, you would need to fly 25,000 miles in one calendar year to attain status on either of those airlines to achieve their entry level Elite status.  And then you would need to fly another 25,000 miles in the next calendar year to re-qualify as an elite for the following year.  Well, also in the Star Alliance is Aegean Airlines.  Aegean holds the key to the elite status door that so many of us usually can’t open.

When you fly one airline in the Star Alliance, most of the time you can credit those miles to another member airline within the alliance.  (Same goes for One World or the Sky Team Alliances)  For example, if you took a flight on United, you could “bank” those miles to Aegean Airlines’ Miles&Bonus frequent flyer program instead of to United’s MileagePlus frequent flyer program.  The key to Star Alliance Silver or Gold is the mileage levels needed to attain status on Aegean Airlines.

ONLY 4,000 miles for entry level status!

Only 16,000 more miles for one full year (not calendar year) after you attain Miles&Bonus Blue status, for a total of 20,000 miles for TOP TIER alliance status!

As you can see, qualifying for Aegean Airlines’ elite status is astoundingly much easier than any other airline I’ve ever seen.  And an Aegean Airlines’ Blue member is a Star Alliance Silver gets certain benefits when flying United, such as:

  • 1st checked bag free
  • Priority check-in area
  • Priority boarding
  • If you’re nice, you may even be able to get Priority Baggage Handling just by asking the agent when checking your bag (meaning your bags are supposed to be the first ones that come out at baggage claim)
  • Better customer service treatment when things go awry, like when weather affects things, or when a flight is oversold.

What being a Star Alliance Silver does not do is make you a United Airlines Premier member.  By looking at the chart above, Premier members would also get complimentary first-class upgrades when available.  By being an Aegean Airlines elite, you are only privy to the benefits granted to Star Alliance Silvers.  A slight difference.  Even the baggage fees alone make it a worthwhile deal.  If you took two domestic roundtrips and checked one bag, that would be $100 in baggage fees.  The waived baggage fees is a big benefit, though for me not waiting in line for anything is one of the biggest benefits of being an elite.  When I first became an elite, I was accustomed to showing up around 2 hours early for a flight, allowing 20-30 minutes for checking-in, and another 20-30 for security.  Now, its rare that I spend 20 minutes total doing all of the above.

If you flew one transcontinental round trip (NYC to Los Angeles), that is already 4950 miles.  For the price of one roundtrip, you could already be an elite.  HOWEVER, there is a catch.  (Of course it couldn’t be just that easy)  Not all tickets earn the same amount of miles.  The deepest discounted tickets that leisure flyers purchase (on United/Continental or US Air) may only earn 50% mileage instead of 100% mileage, so it would take about two NYC-LAX roundtrips to qualify.  So if you wanted a ticket that earns 100% mileage on the same flight, you would have to spend a little more.  If you know you will be taking this flight again in the next year, and the ticket only costs $40 more, you would still be saving $10 in baggage fees next year. ($25 fee each way, $50 total for a roundtrip)

Here is the chart describing what each fare earns on Star Alliance partner airlines when banking the miles to Aegean.

To determine how many miles your ticket will earn, check either the fare basis code, the fare class, or the booking class of the ticket.  It is a single letter, sometimes in parenthesis…or if it is a fare basis code of several letters and numbers, it is the first letter in that code.  Go to the chart from the above link, find the corresponding airline that ticketed your itinerary, and see where that fare class is.

Sign up for a new Aegean Airlines Miles&Bonus account here, and if you want to try this method for elite status, assign your Miles&Bonus number to your next flight instead of banking it to the operating airlines’ program.  New signups to Miles&Bonus also get a 1000 mile bonus for enrollment (not used for elite qualifying purposes, only for redeeming for awards).

If you have multiple accounts over various airlines, hotels, car rentals, etc., read my previous post regarding Award Wallet.  It will simply your life….never have to remember another password again….and show you your mileage/point balances as well as expiration dates….All in One Place!

This can be a complicated topic for the uninitiated.  Feel free to ask me any questions via
, Facebook, or the comments below.

100 possible FREE Continental OnePass Miles / United Mileage Plus

Posted in Airlines, Continental, Miles, Promotion, United with tags , , , , , on July 6, 2011 by getgowing

Continental has a promotion supposedly targeted to their branded credit cards, giving away 100 Continental OnePass Miles, but it never hurts to try even if you aren’t targeted.  Every mile counts towards that free business class trip to an exotic destination!  Here is the promotion registration link.  Registration ends August 30, 2011.  As a data point, I don’t own any Continental credit cards and I was able to successfully register.

If you do get these miles, don’t forget that right now you can freely transfer your miles between Continental and United until they officially merge the two frequent flyer programs, so these essentially could be 100 United Mileage Plus miles as well.  Continental OnePass will officially end at 2011 year’s end.

If you are not a Continental OnePass member yet, sign-up here.

Free 1,000 Delta Skymiles for mobile check-in

Posted in Airlines, Delta, Miles, Promotion with tags , , , on July 3, 2011 by getgowing

All you need is a smartphone and a Delta flight, and you’re pretty much set.  Just register for this promotion here, and have a flight scheduled between June 30 – September 7.  Use the Delta mobile-app to check-in to you flight, and you should be ready to go with an extra 1,000 bonus miles!  Here are the official terms & conditions from the registration site:

Terms & Conditions

Eligibility: To participate in this offer, SkyMiles members must register online between June 30 and September 7, 2011. To earn bonus miles, promotional registration is required for each qualified SkyMiles member. Members must register for this offer before checking in through the Fly Delta app for a Delta marketed and operated flight between June 30 and September 7, 2011.

Bonus Offer: Check in through the Fly Delta app for a Delta marketed and operated flight between June 30 and September 7, 2011, and earn 1,000 miles. One bonus per member. Must enroll in this promotion prior to check-in. Codeshare flights operated by carriers other than Delta are excluded from this offer.

Travel Period: Check in for travel must be between June 30 and September 7, 2011.

Promotional Reference Code: Please refer Delta customer service representative to 97061724.

Award Travel: Taxes and fees for Award Travel are the responsibility of the passenger and must be paid at the time the ticket is booked. Award Travel seats are limited and may not be available on all flights or in all markets.


If you are not comfortable with using just a electronic boarding pass, or you airport is not equipped with eboarding pass scanners, you can still use this method to check in, then use your regular computer to print out your boarding passes, or get another copy at a kiosk at the airport.  Every mile counts!

(I know some of you probably already know about this….I’ve been a little busy.  Sorry!)

Delta Airlines Atlanta to Frankfurt (ATL-FRA), June 2011

Posted in Airline Lounge, Airlines, Delta, Trip Report with tags , , , , , , on June 30, 2011 by getgowing

This is the 2nd installment of my second almost-’round-the-world trip for 2011.  Here are some previous introductory posts, trip reports, and live posts during my travels:

Delta Airlines
Flight #14
Atlanta (ATL) – Frankfurt (FRA)
June 14, 2011
Departure: 16:42 (scheduled 16:30)
Arrival:  07:48 (scheduled 07:40)
Duration: 9’06”
Aircraft: Boeing 767-400ER
Aircraft Registration: N833MH
Seat: 18A (Window, Economy Comfort)
Miles flown on this trip including this flight: 5,359


Just connecting from EWR, so was already checked in.


As usual, to take advantage of the current American Express promotion (expiring on June 30, 2011) I did the ATL Delta SkyClub tour.  My previous flight was gated at Terminal A, so my order was the 2 lounges in Terminal A, the 1 lounge in Terminal T, the 2 lounges in Terminal B, the 1 lounge in Terminal C, and finally the 2 lounges in Terminal E.  Since my gate was in Terminal E, I made the lounge closer to the TGI Fridays my home after my lounge run.

When I was approaching the first Terminal E lounge (closest to Fridays) there was a Delta agent standing there directing all incomers to use the other lounge around the corner.  Weird I thought.  After checking in to the farther lounge, the agent just gave me a handful of 300 bonus point certificates (which I previously mentioned here)…which is how I ended up with 13 certificates when there are only 8 lounges in Atlanta.  Sweet.  Free points.  Always good.

This lounge is mostly one large open room, but it has the best view in ATL if you are interested in looking at a wide-body aircraft up close.

The nose of the plane is so close the windows, if they could open, you could almost reach out and touch it.  I stayed here for a little bit, had some more Sweetwater 420 Pale Ale, crackers, and cheese, then went to my gate to make sure I was first in line if they needed any volunteers.  My gate was E4.  The gates are farther apart in the E terminal because this is where most of the international flights board, and so there needs to be more waiting area space for the increased passenger capacities.  From the farther lounge out to gate E4, it must have taken a good 5-6 minutes.  It wouldn’t surprise me if the distance I walked was at least 1/4-1/2 a mile.  I thought I would never get there.  I arrived about 2 hours before the flight was scheduled to take off, and there was nobody working the gate yet.  There were only a few passengers waiting.  After about 10 minutes somebody came to start setting up to “open” the flight to gate control.   Before coming to the airport, I did some research on available inventory for the flight, and it looked promising, though not guaranteed, that they may need volunteers.  She took note and remembered me if she needed anybody.  As there was still an hour before boarding, I made my way back to the lounges to wait in comfort….even if it did require another long round trip walk.

This time, the closer lounge was available, so I made my final check-in for my last 300 point certificate.  Later, I found out from my seatmate on the plane that there was a guy that kinda went a little crazy, or needed some medical assistance, and had to be escorted out.  So I assume that’s why they weren’t letting anybody else in temporarily.  This lounge is a bit smaller that the other E lounge, but it does have showers available.  For about 45 minutes I again enjoyed my last Sweetwater 420 PA for a few months.


I left the lounge a little early just in case they needed me and they needed time to process everything.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t oversold enough to need any volunteers.

Our Boeing 767-400ER from the gate waiting area

After the passengers that needed assistance, families, and BusinessElite passengers, I queued up and took my seat.  (For the record books, this flight number, DL 14, is the lowest flight number I’ve taken to date)


On this flight I would be getting to try out the new Economy Comfort seats that officially rolled out for purchase June 1st.  For a few weeks prior however, they were already installed in some aircraft and able to be used and selected for free by all Medallions.  Now, only Platinum and Diamond Medallions can select them for free.  Golds get them at 50% off, Silvers at 25% off.  And General Members pay full price.  The main perks of Economy Comfort are 4″ of extra leg room, 50% more recline, free spirits (beer and wine are already complimentary), and being able to board earlier and not have to fight for overhead space.

Boeing 767-400ER Standard Economy legroom

Boeing 767-400ER Economy Comfort legroom (not a picture of my actual seat)

The legroom difference might not look like much (if you click on each photo, you’ll get a better view of the difference), but its definitely noticeable enough where I don’t have any worry about my knees when the person in front of me fully reclines.  I didn’t take my laptop out but I would still be watchful if I had my computer on the tray table and the person starts to recline.  The seat may still hit the top of your screen.  I thought I took pictures of the differences in recline, but I either lost them or didn’t take them.  On my flights home, I have Economy Comfort seats again so I’ll be sure to snap pics then.  This plane also had power ports (AC & USB) for every seat in Economy Comfort.  It seems these seats require a little more oomph when trying to recline versus regular seats.  Just don’t be afraid to push a little harder while holding down that silver button.  Of course as a courtesy give the person behind you warning when you are reclining.

This aircraft has power ports for the entire forward section of economy, not just Economy Comfort.  Both ports are located underneath the seats, in the center (at least for the double seating to the outside of the aisles).

My seatmate's ports were slightly broken when we found it. Mine was the lighted up one on the right.

On this aircraft, economy also has personal entertainment on each seat headrest.  Delta is working on reconfiguring their planes so that all their long haul flights have individual in-flight entertainment in economy.  In the meantime, you may want to avoid flying their Boeing 747-400s to Asia as they still use projector screens for economy.


Service started a little later than expected, since there was some rough wind.  Nothing special, standard service….drinks first, then the choice of meal.  I chose the chicken with some mashed potatoes.  I forget what the other meal was.

There was a small salad in the plastic container. I'll usually never turn down free food....the chicken tasted marginally better than it looks in the picture

As most eastbound flights to Europe are red-eyes, service slowed to allow for sleep soon after dinner.  I would have appreciated a refill on my red wine, but I suppose I should have used the call button if I really wanted it.

When I got to my seat, I struck up a conversation with my seatmate, Thommy.  He was a hairdresser who owned his own salon somewhere in Frankfurt.  Thommy was heading home from Monterrey after giving a clinic to teachers who teach hairdressing.  Pretty cool, I thought.  I inquired some more, and he says he does this all over the world, a few times a year.  The economy has scaled back his traveling, but he still goes out every once in a while.  Much of his travel was because he is a free-lancer/consultant with a major hair product brand.  He also said he’s even competed and won in international hairdressing competitions, like when the World Cup was in Osaka.  I didn’t even know there was a World Cup for hairdressing.  Through our conversation I also learned that there is the World Championships for hairdressing (I don’t know the actual names of these events) and that one of them are really artistic cuts and styles which you would not usually see on the street, and the other is for more “normal” styles.  Anyway, we ended up sharing information and said that when I’m around in Frankfurt he would show me around a bit and get some good German food.  (I know what might be on some of your minds…..he has a wife and an 11 yr old daughter)

I managed to get about a good 5 hrs or so of sleep before breakfast came around.  I don’t know how, but I forgot to take pictures or write down what the choices were, too.  Sorry.  Wasn’t exceedingly good or bad if I don’t remember anything about it.  The one really REALLY annoying thing that does stand out was whenever drinks were being handed out, one of the stewardesses was in charge of the coffee, tea, or water.  She would walk up and down the aisles robotically saying “Coffe tea water!”  (If you’ve ever been to the boardwalk in Wildwood, NJ, you know how annoying the recorded message “Watch the tram car please” can get.  This was WAYYY worse, and it wasn’t recorded)


Getting off the plane was fairly quick, though I took my time a bit.  Thommy were still engaged in conversation all the way through from when we woke up all the way to when the jetbridge pulled up.  Even though I took a few extra minutes getting off the plane, he waited just after the jetway for me.  We continued to talk and he gave me suggestions on where I should go in Frankfurt for my 6 hour layover.  Once we got to immigration, we separated into our respective EU / non-EU passport lines.  Similar to Amsterdam, you do not need to fill out a landing card when flying into Frankfurt.  I got my stamp, and was funneled into the baggage claim area.  I went to an agent to make sure my bag was on this flight and not stranded in Atlanta somewhere, then I was off to explore Frankfurt!

Go to Get Gowing on Facebook to see more photos on this segment of my trip.

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