News And Notes For Thursday, March 14th 2013

Here’s what’s going on in the world of travel on a Thursday in March:

View From The Wing details 2 50,000 point sign-up offers that may be of interest to readers, the Virgin Atlantic American Express and the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card.  I’m not a collector of either of these currencies, but there are good reasons to get both.  American Express Membership Rewards points are definitely flexible and hold reasonable value for many travelers.  Virgin Atlantic is a bit more fringe based on the fact that they’re not part of one of the large alliances (though they are working on a strategic partnership with Delta that should ultimately lead to more award opportunities).  And, as Gary points out, the Virgin card is issued by Bank of America.  They don’t have a ton of reward cards so it’s likely if you have good credit this is an easy opportunity to score points.

Frequent Miler details a method he’s experimenting with to earn 15 points per dollar for home improvement purchases at Lowe’s.  While it might seem a bit crazy, if this works it illustrates how many different ways you can maximize the things you buy today to earn you awesome travel tomorrow.  While home improvement may not be as sexy as buying lingerie, it’s a popular category for most Americans.  Chase Ink Bold and your local Office Depot can be great friends to your mileage balance.

The European Union is working on changing its passenger rights legislation.  There are pluses and minuses here for consumers.  On one hand, the airlines are going to be required to respond much quicker in some instances, including how long it takes for them to respond to a complaint.  However, it’s unclear how the EU is going to enforce this since there are still claims outstanding from the volcanic ash incident 3 years ago.

Personally, I like the proposed change that shortens the time the airline has to find you an alternate way to your destination on their network (12 hours) before they’re required to re-route you on another airline if possible.  It still surprises me that the legislation requires some fairly significant compensation when there are severe weather delays.  While that’s being limited to some degree in the new form, if airports are closed and airlines can’t fly I’m sympathetic to the airline’s claim that they shouldn’t be liable to the degree they are now to provide compensation for passengers.

Bombardier’s new C-Series test plane was unveiled recently and is getting ready to start test flights in a couple months.  Bombardier has been known in the commercial travel industry for their smaller regional jets, and the C-Series plane is a full-fledged jump into competition with both Boeing and Airbus.  The new, fuel-efficient plane is set to compete with popular single-aisle aircraft like the Boeing 737.  We got a chance to be one of the first civilian groups to tour the C-Series progress on StarMegaDo3 a couple of years ago, so it’s great to see those plans come to life in something that will begin flying soon.  Join the discussion on Milepoint to see what frequent travelers think about the C-Series.

Airports Made Simple points out a tool that shows the current time all across the world on a color-coded map.  Nifty, though if you have an iPhone, you can just ask, “Siri, what time is it in New Zealand?”




  1. WRT the C-series video, he says the plane offers 28″ pitch and the passengers can still sit comfortably. Is this plane only going to fly in the Land of the Lilliputians or what? Comfortable with 28″ pitch? I don’t think so!

    1. Frank, I think the context of the 28″ pitch is the ultra-dense configuration in the stretch model. Most airlines are going to determine their pitch anyway. I will say, though, that the new thinner seats like Lufthansa is using in coach (where the magazine pouch is moved up top) feel a lot roomier than 28″. One thing I did like about the C-Series was that it afforded a wider aisle such that passengers can get around a beverage cart in the aisle.

      Regards, Edward Pizzarello

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