Super Cheap Tickets To Italy Are Back, Delta’s New Mini-Hub and Christopher Elliott’s Not-So-Mini Ability To Manipulate The Truth

I’m giving away lounge passes and drink tickets.  Leave me a comment and help me clean up my desk!

The Best of the Rest is my effort to summarize all the travel/miles & points stories that interested me on a daily basis but didn’t have time to write about  in length.  Culled from over 100 blogs/authors I follow, some are passed along without comment, while I add my analysis to others.   This is your shortcut to find out what’s going on in the travel world without having to read dozens of travel blogs to get all the best info.

Here’s what I’m reading about today:

Cheap Flights of The Day: Puerto Rico on sale from both coasts.  $229 from the East coast.  And, $295 from the West coast.  And….

Two roundtrip tickets to Italy for just over $1,000!  This isn’t the first time they’ve run this offer, but I think it was $1200 last time?

Is Delta growing a mini-hub in San Jose?  This would strike me as a better move almost 20 years ago, as tech has spread out quite a bit over the past decade.  I like SJC as an airport, though.  It’s never really very crowded, making it a reasonable airport to connect in/arrive at.

United is giving out free lounge passes for folks who donate to their Toys for Tots drive.  A good way to help out a child with a happier holiday and get something valuable in return.

Christopher Elliot is made at American Airlines for their hold policy.  Now, I’m not saying I’m View From The Wing, who does a good job of pointing out many of Elliott’s inaccuracies.  But, if you’re going to beat up on my favorite airline (and be wrong), I need to weigh in.

American Airlines offers a 24-hour courtesy hold on any fare.  They do so because DOT gave all the airlines a choice of either offering a 24-hour hold or giving customers 24 hours to cancel a ticket they book.  Elliott thinks American is doing something nefarious:

American had a chance to do the right thing when it harmonized its policies with US Airways. It decided that this customer-unfriendly policy would serve it best, and I have no doubt that it has. But it made the wrong call.

Reasonable people can disagree on which policy is better for a specific traveler.  But, neither is customer un-friendly.  And, from a basic economic sense, would you rather have an airline take your money and then have to ask them to return it, or would you rather they gave you an extra 24 hours to pay them?  Uh, yeah.

Hyatt is opening an Andaz property in Scottsdale, Arizona.  That’s a great market for that brand, and I’m always happy to see a new full-service property from my favorite brand in the US.

How much does it cost to earn 1.2 million miles?  I’m pretty impressed Frequent Miler hit this goal.  Wish I was going to Necker Island as well!

11 Comments

  1. Good post. I agree with you on Chris Elliott and AA. They have a very good policy I think. Reading Chris Elliott is like reading the Huffington Post. Its mostly biased opinions and you never know what you can believe.

    1. Dan, I usually walk past Elliott’s posts, but this one was a bit too cheeky for my taste. I can understand why some favor one approach over the other when it comes to the two different paths for 24-hour consideration. But, AA has had that policy long before DOT weighed in with the requirement.

      1. What’s funny is, over on Flyertalk, a member posted a screenshot of a comment that no longer exists on that Elliott article. It points out the fact that AA had that policy long before DOT required it. Elliott doesn’t like when someone corrects his misinformation. And no, it wasn’t accusatory or even smart aleck, so he deletes them.

        1. Ashton, wow, that’s pretty ballsy. I don’t delete comments here, and more than one or two folks have pointed out when I’m wrong. Gotta wonder where he gets all the traffic? Just from people complaining and him sympathizing?

  2. I’ll take Elliot’s side on this one actually, precisely because every other airline in the US has taken the other option. I even fell afoul of it about a year ago, booking a ticket and then canceling because I kept searching and found a better deal. Luckily American eventually agreed to refund the thing after many months of asking, but they were under no obligation to do so. I consider myself pretty savvy at travel, certainly moreso than the average American, and even I didn’t know American was an exception to the 24hr refund rule – why would we expect the average traveler to know that?

    1. How is it an exception? Why would you want to bring AA’s better policy down for everyone simply because you made a mistake? Why not have all airlines do Holds; that way you won’t be confused next time.

      1. Ashton, it is pretty sad that some see AA’s policy as a detractor. I can understand why you might prefer one over the other for your personal needs, but to say that giving a customer more time to pay is a bad thing really just doesn’t compute.

        1. Ed, Elliot clearly takes the argument too far in calling it ‘nefarious’ but I would be genuinely curious to know how many infrequent fliers end up losing out on cash, tickets, or both because they cancel without being aware of the different rules that apply to AA tickets versus the rest of the industry.

      2. It’s literally the definition of exception. Every other airline will allow you to cancel and refund a fare within 24h, no questions asked. Only AA stands alone.

        Agreed that it would be preferable to make every airline follow the hold rule rather than the refund one. I’m glad you know the difference in AA’s policy, but I don’t think the average consumer is aware of it. Hence, it is worse for those that book, attempt to cancel as per the industry standard, and are unable to do so.

        1. Stephen, this has only been an industry standard for a few years. Prior to that, AA was virtually alone in allowing a 24-hour hold. I’m sure some customers do make a mistake and book a ticket thinking they have 24 hours to cancel. I truly hope the government wouldn’t penalize those of us with reasonable comprehension and reading skills by forcing AA to change the policy.

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