A security "incident" and passenger detention led to an hour delay on my recent Norwegian flight. That started a domino effect, eventually leading to a cancellation and of me needing to cash in some self-insurance plans to keep the trip alive. The ...


Getting decommitted: Tales of a Norwegian cancellation at Gatwick

Maybe the work action on the London Underground this past Wednesday was a harbinger of things to come for my travels. It was relatively easy for me to work around, taking the bus 2 miles to Victoria Station and the Gatwick Express train service rather than the Central Line. But my planned flight on Norwegian from London to Berlin most definitely did not end the way I’d expected it to go. As in I never did get on a plane.

Gatwick loves its central shopping and dining area, holding crowds of passengers in the center of the terminal until just under an hour from departure. No relaxing at the gate and finding a quiet corner is a challenge. By the time I made it over to the announced gate for my flight the inbound aircraft was just arriving and boarding had commenced, with “boarded” passengers moving from one side of the waiting area to the other, crowding in to a small staging area between the counter and the entrance to the jet bridge. That was also when I noticed a few...

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Flying in the aisles on Pakistan International Airlines

Most conversations about aisle access in flight are about business class travelers and not wanting to climb over a seat mate. For Pakistan International Airlines it means something completely different. A flight from Karachi to Medina on 20 January 2017 flew with 416 passengers on board, despite seats (including crew jump seats) for only 409. An extra seven passengers were issued hand-written boarding passes and reportedly stood in the aisles for the four and a half hour trip, according to BBC reports. More likely they stood in the galleys based on implications that they were off-duty crew denied jump-seats, but it is still all sorts of bad.

Pakistani publication Dawn quotes the captain of the flight pushing blame for the overloaded aircraft to the cabin crew, “After takeoff when I came out of cockpit, Ms Turab informed me that there were some extra people who [had been] boarded by the traffic staff… I had already taken off and the senior purse did not inform me about extra...

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Norwegian’s cheap 737s across the Atlantic are here!

Norwegian is set to commence its Transatlantic 737 service this summer, announcing routes, launch dates and, perhaps most important, incredibly low fares to entice travelers to choose carrier and its operations from smaller gateway airports in New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island. As is typical for the company these days the launch is not a timid move. Ten new routes will fly starting 15 June 2017, connecting five cities in Ireland and the British Isles with Hartford; Providence, RI and Newburgh, NY.

The new 737MAX routes from Norwegian.

The new 737MAX routes across the Atlantic from Norwegian.

Only two of the routes – Newburgh/Stewart to Edinburgh and Dublin – will see daily service in the Summer to start. Most of the rest of the flights will operate 2x or 3x weekly. In total the ten routes will see 38 weekly round trip services, moving between 5 and 6 737s back and forth aircraft across the Atlantic each day. During the winter season that number drops to 25 weekly frequencies and only the Newburgh/Edinburgh...

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Reducing the emphasis on points in the new Marriott Rewards program

Worried about points value in the new, combined Marriott/Starwood Preferred Guest program? VP Loyalty Thom Kozik’s presentation at the Loyalty 2017 conference in London this week probably won’t ease those concerns. Points are still part of the program and the value proposition, of course, but Kozic believes that they will be de-emphasized as the program evolves in the coming years.

“Points are not the point”

There is way more to loyalty than just earning points. In fact, much of the conversation at the conference has been about how points and loyalty are very different concepts. For Marriott that means a focus on recognition and opportunities far more than reward night redemptions. Kozic called attention to the company’s experiential award options and the opportunities those offer to members. He also acknowledges that the current implementation of that effort is far more about once-in-a-lifetime experiences (e.g. Super Bowl tickets) than everyday travel...

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Two new paint jobs join the JetBlue fleet

JetBlue introduced two new paint jobs this month as part of its 17th birthday celebration. One shows off some of the company’s whimsy (and, not surprisingly, is my favorite of the two) while the other pays homage to the airline’s New York City roots.

Some of the items with a bigger story on the new JetBlue Blueprint livery (image courtesy of JetBlue)

Some of the items with a bigger story on the new JetBlue Blueprint livery (image courtesy of JetBlue)

The new “Blueprint” livery is the first special livery to fly on the company’s Embraer 190 fleet. It offers something of an x-ray view into the aircraft, showing off the cabin, overhead bins, cargo and flight deck. The contents are fun in general but it turns out that there are a few inside jokes included in the collection. The teddy bear in the overhead bin is not just along for the ride; it is a reference to a bear that used to exist at company headquarters. The french press coffee maker is a nod to one frequent customer who used to travel with such, making his own coffee on board. Plus a bunch of other...

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