This week’s deal is just for Celebrity Captain’s Club members. Celebrity has announced that Captain’s Club members at the Classic tier and above, enjoy exclusive, newly lowered fares and save up to $1,500 per stateroom on Europe cruises and up to $1,000 on Alaska cruises. Celebrity’s offer is valid on ocean view and above staterooms on cruises that depart April – October 2015. You’ll need to book by November 30, 2014.

cruise deals, celebrity captains club benefits, captains club discounts, celebrity cruises discounts, celebrity cruises deals

You’ll need to book at, and be sure to add your Captain’s Club number to the reservation to get the best deal. I noticed some decent cruise deals on Alaska itineraries, but I think the 12 night Greece and Turkey cruise may speak to me the most.

Offer Terms

Prices are per person, cruise only, for stateroom category 08 and based on double occupancy. Loyalty Discount Offer “Offer” applies to Europe and Alaska cruises departing Apr. – Oct. 2015 (“Offer Cruise”). Cruise must be booked Nov. 12 – 30, 2014 (“Offer Period”). Offer is applicable to Captain’s Club members Classic level and above. Offer is based on itinerary and sail nights; Alaska cruises and Europe 7-9 nights: ocean view and standard verandas $500 per stateroom; Concierge Class and AquaClass staterooms $750; suites $1000 per stateroom. Europe 10 nights or more: ocean view and all verandas $750 per stateroom; Concierge Class and AquaClass staterooms $1000; suites $1500 per stateroom. Offer is applicable unrestricted standard cruise fare per stateroom, based on category booked; applicable to ocean view and above categories. At least one person in the stateroom must be a Captain’s Club member, Classic tier or above.

Valid membership number must be provided at time of booking. New members may book onboard without a membership number but must provide the membership number by Dec. 10, 2014 to be eligible for the Offer. Offer is available to individual and non-contracted affinity and promotional groups, which must be named and deposited during the Offer Period. Offer is not applicable to charters, incentive, meeting or contracted groups. Offers are limited to one per stateroom and apply to cruise fare. Unless stated otherwise, all prices and offers apply to new individual bookings, are subject to availability and change without notice, capacity controlled, not combinable with any other offer, including, but not limited to, 123GO, Pick Your Perk, air offers, Exciting Deals, Category specials, Seniors, Resident, Interline, travel agent, and employee rates. Single occupancy guests are eligible for offers. Refer to for complete terms and conditions.

I posted over the weekend that I was conducting an experiment with US Airways. In summary, I took my first flights with US in a few years on Saturday and Sunday in search of an answer to the question – “Can a 30 minute flight to Charlotte just be a cost of doing business?” I’ll soon post an answer to that question, but in the meantime, I wanted to share the details of an “issue” I experienced during my weekend quick trip with US Airways.

aadvantage 2015, aadvantage, dividend miles, new aadvantage program, aa us reciprocal upgradesAs background, I am an American AAdvantage lifetime Gold member. Along with that comes Oneworld Ruby too. As you are likely aware, AA and US are offering reciprocal elite upgrades until AAdvantage and Dividend Miles are merged next year. The way it’s supposed to work for an AA elite flying on US Airways is that you are presented the opportunity to upgrade when checking in if upgrade space is available, or you can add yourself to the upgrade list. When I booked my reservation, I dutifully inserted my AAdvantage # into my reservation, and all was well until I attempted to check in online the day before my flight. It was my lucky day as there was lots of upgrade space available – for $79. I’d read on one of the blogs, which one I’m uncertain at the moment, you go through the upgrade process, and it looks like you might get charged, but when you select a seat, you get a “$0″ balance owed. Don’t quote me on that, because it didn’t work out that way for me. Instead, US Airways wanted $130 to upgrade my entire trip. No way around it.

Once I arrived at Charlotte, I spoke with an Admirals Club (US Airways) agent about my reservation. She confirmed my suspicion, US Airways was not “seeing” my AA Gold/Oneworld Ruby status. She tried deleting, and re-adding my AAdvantage number. Frankly, she tried a couple of times, and could not have been nicer and more helpful. Upgrade space was available on my next flight, and she confirmed it for me. I tried again at the RDU Admirals Club Sunday morning. They have a US representative in the club, and again, she could not have been more helpful….but no luck. She could not even put me on the upgrade list for my flight because US did not “see” my Gold status. She even confirmed I was showing up correctly in AA’s computers with one of her colleagues. I was stuck with my Zone 5 boarding pass, but I presented my AA Gold card along with my boarding pass when they called for Oneworld Ruby/Gold/US Silvers and all was well.

I’m speculating this could be a bad data push of AA elite data to US. It could also be something on the US side. One thing is certain, I’m apparently the first case of this being a problem that any of the agents I spoke with were aware of. I’ve reached out to AA via Twitter, and I’ve stumped them too. I’m going to give the AAdvantage folks a call on Monday, and I’ve emailed US Airways too. My advice – if you have a US reservation that you’re crediting to your AAdvantage account, call US and see if they have your correct status. I’ll let you know how this gets fixed.

-MJ, November 17, 2014

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The winner of the two United Club passes is commenter #45, Ed. Ed will compare and contrast the United Club to the Centurion Lounge in a satirical review. Love it!

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My short-haul domestic life has begun to wear on me. :) I’m typing this at the RDU Admirals Club. Today, I’ll fly home to Atlanta via Charlotte, then off to DCA in the morning. Thankfully, I’m home the week of Thanksgiving, before leaving on our Quantum of the Seas cruise! I’m past due for a vacation. It’s been a busy week here at MJ on Travel, let’s take a look.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

-MJ, November 16, 2014

Today, I’m flying US Airways from Atlanta to Raleigh with a connection in Charlotte. Yes, that’s a tiny bit out of my way, but there is a method to my madness. First, I need to fly to Raleigh. Delta was pricing about $80 higher than US Airways when I shopped flights. I value my time so $80 would not have been enough for me to book away from Delta for this trip under normal circumstances. However, these are not normal times. I once said that I could consider a 30 minute flight to Charlotte a cost of doing business. I’m not there yet, but when this opportunity presented itself, I thought why not? So…I booked a US Airways roundtrip from Atlanta with a connection in Charlotte.

The Plan

I’ve purposely booked excessive Charlotte layovers in both directions so I’ll have time to check out the lounge situation and general airport environment. Charlotte has always been a favorite airport of mine, but it’s been years since I’ve flown through there. I’m going to check out both the flight experience as an AA Gold flying on US Airways, and the Admirals Clubs at Atlanta, Charlotte, and Raleigh. I’ll post about my flights, the lounges, and some concluding thoughts. Back when I was flying US Airways more regularly, I referred to them as the most underrated airline in America. I caught much grief from my buddy The Weekly Flyer about that comment. :) We’ll see if things have changed since the merger with American.

-MJ, November 15, 2014

us airways reviews, american airlines, aadvantage

Contest Closed – Winner TBA

I have two United Club passes that I’d love to give to you. These passes are good through June 2016. Seems like a fun idea for a quick contest with simple rules.

  1. Comment to this post with an idea of what you intend to do with the passes.
  2. You may comment more than once.
  3. Keep it clean.
  4. Contest closes at 11:59PM on Saturday, November 15, 2014 EST.
  5. Follow me on Twitter (@MJonTravel) and like me on Facebook (mjontravel). This really isn’t a requirement as I’m not going to monitor it, but you can’t blame for trying. :)

I will choose the winner of the two passes randomly using on Sunday and announce the results here. Share with your friends and retweet too. Good luck!

united club pass, united club, united club passes, free united club

-MJ, November 14, 2014


This Best of MJ post originally appeared on November 13, 2011.

It’s no secret that I like to cruise. Frankly, if I ruled the world and had unlimited funds, I’d spend the majority of my time at sea…granted, on my yacht and not a cruise ship…but still! I love cruising. That’s why I was extra excited to finally have the opportunity to sail aboard the largest cruise ship in the world, Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas. Better yet, MrsMJonTravel and I would be sailing on Allure for not one, but two cruises, 14 nights total.

Suffice it to say, both of us have been anticipating our back to back (B2B) cruise for a long time as we booked it over 1 year before we sailed. Why 2 weeks? Well, we figured with a ship so large and so chock full of things to do, we would need that much time to sample everything. That idea proved to be a wise one. There was plenty to keep us entertained on board. In fact, there was a 7 day stretch that we did not leave the ship other than our brief “in transit” exit between cruises. No, I didn’t get bored. By the time the cruise was done, I was partying until 2am every night. Don’t laugh…I’m not 20 anymore so that’s an accomplishment! This ship was just so great in so many ways that I hardly know where to begin. But there is one thing I want to get out of the way at the beginning. I want to dispel a few myths, rumors, suspicions, fears, and made up worries about a ship so large.

I remember quite well sitting in the computer lounge of another RCL ship a few months ago listening to some crank gripe on and on about Allure. “I’ll never sail on Allure. Too many people. Too crowded….blah blah….” First, Royal Caribbean has obviously given some thought to crowd control. During our first week, there were over 6,300 guests, and nearly 2,200 crew onboard. Did I ever feel overwhelmed with people? NO! Not once. Did the elevators get a little busy after a show….sure! Were the promenade parades packed? You bet. But they always are. The public spaces on the ship are so well laid out, that crowding was never a problem in my experience.

The most amazing statistic from 2 weeks aboard this beautiful ship? For me, it was the fact that we never had trouble finding a pool chair. When was the last time you could say that on a cruise? Not only are the onboard spaces well designed for managing large numbers, but the embarkation/disembarkation process was well planned throughout. Terminal 18 in Fort Lauderdale is huge, with security lanes and check in desks as far as the eye can see. Curbside to cocktail time for us? 25 minutes. And 10 minutes of that was spent waiting in the wrong line behind some people with way too many questions. There, I feel better now that I’ve gotten that off my chest!! So let’s dive in.

Booking the Cruise

We booked with our Travel & Leisure A-List super-duper Virtuoso travel agent, Michelle Bemis, of McCabe World Travel in McLean, Virginia. You know how I feel about travel agents. Find one you like and stick with them. Can I book a basic 7-night cruise by myself? Sure! But wait until you see what we’ve got booked for next year! Work with an agent, even if it’s just a simple cruise. They’ll have your back, and when it’s time for a more extensive vacation, they’ll have a better idea of your tastes when you’re about to embark on a more complicated adventure.

Getting to the Cruise

We flew into Fort Lauderdale the night before on US Airways. Sometime between booking and travel, US Airways dropped the afternoon nonstop to Fort Lauderdale on Saturdays, and moved us to the 10am nonstop. That just would not work for us, so I called the airline and they put us on a connection via Charlotte departing Washington National (DCA) at 3pm. That worked fine, but we were just a tiny bit later arriving Fort Lauderdale than I would have preferred. In other words, our late arrival limited the time available to enjoy our great pre-cruise hotel, the W Fort Lauderdale. At least we were there. NO WAY would I ever risk flying in the day of for a trip like this. Do yourself a favor and fly to your port the day before you depart. That’s the cheapest kind of travel insurance you can buy.

Pre Cruise Hotel – W Fort Lauderdale

I’m not nearly pretty and cool enough to love W Hotels as much as I do, but somehow they just work for me. So when I was able to snag a reasonable rate at the W Fort Lauderdale, I jumped on it. After grabbing our bags, we cabbed to the hotel, arriving about 15 minutes after departing the airport. The place was hopping. No sweet suite upgrade for us, but we did get a pretty nice “Mega Room.” After dumping our bags we headed down to Steak 954 for dinner. We were both famished after our flight, with US Airways’ famous snack basket not really fitting the bill for dinner! I won’t review the meal, but suffice it to say that Steak 954 rocked! I can’t wait to go back. Since this is a blog about a cruise, I won’t spend much time on a hotel review, but here are a few shots of our room.

It’s Time to Cruise!

I reserved a car to pick us up at the hotel at 10:45am on the morning of October 23rd. It was a typical morning, slightly overcast, and not too warm. Regardless, we were about to see the biggest cruise ship in the world, Allure of the Seas!

I don’t know if my iPhone 4S does Allure justice, but I snapped a photo from the street as we drove by anyway! The anticipation was building. By 11am, we were unloading our bags, and walking inside Terminal 18 at Port Everglades. The terminal, obviously built for a crowd, was huge and handled our 6,300 guest sailing with relative ease.

Royal Caribbean has obviously made plans to deal with a crowd. The number of security lanes and check in positions is large and guests are processed very quickly. Everything is handled at your first check in point, including pictures for your SeaPass card. Once you check in, there’s no stopping (except for a welcome aboard photo) until you are onboard the ship. It was during boarding that I noticed the first benefit of our new Crown and Anchor Diamond Plus status. The lines getting onto the ship were starting to bog down just a tiny bit, so personnel were asking customers to have a seat in the waiting area for “just a few minutes.” When they saw our SeaPass cards with “Diamond Plus” on them, they just waived us on ahead. Within minutes, we were walking aboard the world’s largest cruise ship!

And then, it was time for the first cocktail! The world’s biggest margarita aboard the world’s biggest ship. How fitting. Came with a price to match, but hey, we were on vacation!

You can read more about day 1 here.

Our Stateroom

Our Central Park Balcony stateroom, 11197, was a standard balcony room. While efficiently designed and comfortable, I found it to be slightly smaller than other standard balcony cabins I’ve experienced. I’ve read about a lack of storage space onboard Allure (and Oasis), but I did not find that to be the case. Perhaps that’s because we’ve learned how to pack appropriately, or maybe storage space is like food, subjective. We had plenty of closet, shelf and drawer space to unpack our belongings, and we simply put our empty luggage underneath the bed. If you’re prone to travel with a super-sized bag, it might not fit underneath so laying it in the closet might be an option. I also noted a few bags stored on balconies. My favorite little feature? A dual iPod/iPhone charging dock and alarm clock. Here are a few pictures of the stateroom.

For the second week of our cruise, we chose to switch to a Boardwalk Balcony stateroom, 14325. The room itself was identical to the stateroom photographed here. Of course, the vibe from the Boardwalk is different, and a good bit more lively. If you don’t like a little noise, don’t book a Boardwalk stateroom. Central Park on the other hand was almost eerily quiet except for the piped in bird noise. The only exception to that rule was when the pool band was playing. The music wafted down, throughout the park, and frankly, I liked it. If you can’t stand cruise ship pool band music, keep your balcony door shut. Since the rooms were essentially identical, I didn’t bother with photographs. But here are a few shots of the Boardwalk.

The verdict on our staterooms is that next time, we will stick with an oceanview balcony. We wanted to try both of these options because they are something you can only enjoy on Allure or her sister ship, Oasis of the Seas. We enjoyed both staterooms, but if I had a complaint, it would be that you lose your connection with the sea. We could actually see the ocean from our Boardwalk balcony, but our Central Park balcony could have just as well been a room at the local Marriott looking down on a courtyard. Central Park was extremely quiet, and since the ship barely rocked at all, it would be easy for one to forget that they are on a ship at sea. Don’t let this scare you away from either of these stateroom types, just be aware of what you are getting. Either are worth trying once, and who knows, you may prefer them. One other note, if at all possible, from now on we will keep the same stateroom for a B2B cruise. Having to pack your stuff on the last night of cruise 1 takes away from part of the joy of a B2B.


There will be no lack of food aboard your Allure of the Seas cruise. There are over 20 dining establishments of some description on board, many of which are included in the price of your cruise. Others require a small, or sometimes not so small upcharge. Many disagree with me, but I always advocate at least one visit to a specialty restaurant when cruising on ship that offers them. For a reasonable fee you can enjoy a 5 star meal that would cost far more on land. In other words, our meal in Chops Grill which cost $30 dollars each plus a bottle of wine, would likely have cost $300 dollars at the local Morton’s Steakhouse.

During the first cruise, we were assigned to a table for 2 on deck 3. Our servers were very nice and obviously worked hard to deliver their service. During the meal on the first formal night, we both received appetizers of escargots and lobster bisque that were less than hot. I let the head waiter know. They weren’t so cold that I sent them back (should have in retrospect) but they just weren’t up to par. The head waiter certainly offered to replace them, but I really just wanted her to know that they had an issue moving the food from the kitchen to our table in a manner that ensured they arrived at the appropriate temperature. The next day, I received a call from the maitre’ de apologizing again, and even offering to move us to a different table. I let him know that was not necessary, but I appreciated the phone call. We did not receive any additional “cool” food for the remainder of the cruise.

The highlight of our main dining room experience came during the second cruise. Not only was the escargot hot, we were blessed to be served one of the best waiters we’ve ever had, Steve (Table 148, October 30, 2011 voyage in case RCL is reading). I can’t say enough good things about Steve and the service provided during our second cruise. You can bet we noted this in our survey at the end of the cruise too. My favorite dining room foods for the week were escargot, lobster bisque, lobster, and prime rib.

We tried 2 of the 3 “high end” specialty restaurants on board, Chops Grille ($30 dollars per person), and the uber chic 150 Central Park ($40 dollars per person). We just didn’t have time to get to Giovanni’s Table, the Italian restaurant. I know….14 nights just wasn’t enough. If you are a “foodie,” you will likely love 150 Central Park. Our 6 courses were expertly presented and tasted wonderful. I really loved our main course of venison. But for me, the highlight of our specialty restaurant experiences was Chops Grille.

I love me some steak, especially high quality cuts of beef expertly prepared to my liking, and that’s exactly what I received in Chops. Better yet, we were served by Sharlon, who must surely be one of the top waiters at Royal Caribbean. He happened to be on Voyager of the Seas 6 years ago when we sailed that ship, and I’m convinced he served is in the Portofino restaurant on board. He’s still great! Here are just a few pictures.

Yes, that’s red velvet cake. You might wonder what happened to the steak? Well, I was so excited I just dove right in without snapping a picture first. I figure you can get along without a picture of a half eaten steak on here. I’ll try to do better next time! :)

Another favorite spot of ours was the much less formal, but very tasty Rita’s Cantina. Open for lunch and dinner most days, we enjoyed our welcome aboard lunch on day 1 at Rita’s as well as that gynormous Margarita you saw earlier in the blog. Our best visit to Rita’s came on day 1 of the second cruise, also known as MrsMJonTravel’s birthday. We booked ourselves and the 4 cruising companions that joined us for the second half of our journey into Rita’s Fiesta for dinner on night one. Rita’s Fiesta is a package deal offered several nights of the cruise. For $20 dollars per person, you receive chips and salsa, and a 3 course dinner along with 3 cocktails. That might be the best deal on the ship that isn’t free. They turn up the party a bit, and it was a good way to celebrate a birthday. No, this isn’t me. I just watched from behind my margarita.

Another dining highlight of the cruise was our favorite drinking establishment, Vintages. While several Royal Caribbean ships feature the Vintages Wine Bar, Oasis and Allure were the first RCL ships to introduce a tapas menu at Vintages. Tapas are purchased a la carte at Vintages, but that did not dissuade us from trying them. In fact, we ate dinner at Vintages on 2 of our 14 nights onboard Allure. Here are a few pictures of the wine bar.

The service we received in Vintages was among our best on the ship. You can enjoy your wine inside the bar or outside at any of the several tables. We enjoyed at least one glass of wine in Vintages on most nights of our 14 night vacation.

The Cruise Experience

This blog will be structured a little differently than most of my cruise reviews as I actually managed to write a blog most days of the cruise about that day’s activities. Here are the links by day. Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5Day 6Day 7Day 8Day 9Day 10, and Day 11. For the last few days of the cruise I decided to disconnect from “the grid” for a bit and really relax, so I’ll cover St. Maarten and our last sea days here. But really, this cruise was far more about the ship than the itinerary for us, so that’s where my thoughts are focused. But not to be forgotten, I did make it to my favorite little dive bar in St. Maarten, the Get Wet Beach Bar.

No, I didn’t just drink the Heineken at the Get Wet. MrsMJonTravel and I did a little shopping. In fact, we stopped by our favorite jeweler in town, Joe’s Jewelry International, home of both our wedding bands. We like Joe’s a lot. Quality and service have been excellent. Not to mention, they send us Christmas cookies every year. :) So do stop by Joe’s if you’re in St. Maarten.

After St. Maarten, the final 2 days of the cruise are spent at sea. Some people don’t care for sea time, but I love it. It’s a true opportunity to relax and enjoy yourself. Suffice it to say, there’s plenty to do aboard Allure of the Seas. MrsMJonTravel zip lined high above the boardwalk while I watched.

Then there was pool time…at our favorite…. the Beach Pool. Did I mention that we were always able to find a pool chair? Of course, a final glass of wine at Vintages, and a great dinner with our new favorite waiter Steve. Our 14 amazing nights on Allure drew to a close way too rapidly.


Much like boarding, disembarkation was a breeze. We requested a later time slot as our flight wasn’t until 2pm. We spent part of the morning in the Concierge Lounge, and the rest in the Amber Theater. Sometime before 10am, our tag number was called, and we walked off the ship. Our bags were waiting, we collected them, and queued for Customs. In a flash, we were outside the terminal and in a taxi for the short ride to FLL. Once our tag was called, the exit process was approximately 15 minutes. Back to life, pouring my own wine, and waiting in line for a taxi home at DCA.

Parting Thoughts

I can’t close this post without mentioning our awesome AWESOME concierges, Marina and Rahim. Never before have I been so well cared for. Not that we had a lot of issues to tackle, but they graciously and expertly went about fulfilling any request we had. I can only hope we have the pleasure of sailing with them again. Also deserving of mention, our stateroom attendants Evelyn and Sen, Sarita in the spa. All of these fine people went out of their way to ensure we are happy. I wish service like that we experienced on Allure of the Seas existed everywhere, especially in Washington, DC. Oh well, all the more reason to cruise again soon!

If there’s one thing I could instill in anyone that reads this blog because they are curious about cruising on the world’s largest cruise ship, it would be this. Do not be intimidated by Allure’s statistics, size, and sheer awesomeness. OK…Silversea and Yachts of Seabourn, this is not. But open your mind just a little and go into this cruise knowing it won’t be like any other. Even if you find yourself preferring more intimate ships, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you tried something different. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Allure of the Seas is…..shockingly awesome!

I am in the midst of a rather intense few weeks of work and travel. I’ll be posting new content regularly, but filling in some spots with “Best of” posts from time to time. How does a post get qualified as “Best of?” Pageviews, comments, and intuition. This post originally appeared on November 13, 2011.

You might imagine that I am frequently asked how to pay for a cruise with miles or points. My typical answer is that it’s possible, it will take more points than you like, and don’t do it unless you live in Florida and never want to fly anywhere. With those qualifiers out of the way, you can apply some travel hacking principles to cruising. When it comes to cruising, I’m an admitted ship lover. I don’t care where the cruise sails to, I just want to be on a ship. I love the fact that my hotel sails on blue water to multiple interesting places. In truth, I’ve walked on a ship and not left for 7 days. That’s how I roll. There are just too many opportunities to relax aboard a floating hotel. The peace of not caring about ports of call makes me uniquely qualified for cruise hacking.


Step One

Focus on shorter cruises. There are tremendous deals in the 3/4/and even 5 night cruise market. Sub-$50 per person per night rates abound. A favorite of mine is the 3/4 night Bahamas cruise market out of Miami. There are no less than three cruise lines with three different ships serving the market. You can walk onto a Royal Caribbean cruise on Friday, off on Monday and stroll over to a Carnival or NCL ship. Then rinse and repeat based on price.

Step Two

Focus on the right points currencies. Barclaycard Arrival Miles and Chase Ultimate Rewards are best. There are reasonably large new account bonuses for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus, Chase Sapphire Preferred, and Chase Ink products. On the spend side, you’re always earning 2.2 percent with Arrival Plus as long as you redeem for travel, and you’ll get a 20 percent discount on redemptions for using Ultimate Rewards.

Step Three

Keep an open mind. You are not going to get Lufthansa first class type redemption values out of redeeming for a cruise. On the other hand, the way airline programs are going, redeeming for a cruise may become a semi-reasonable option. It depends on you and your personal circumstances. Further, there are some limited innovative spending strategy opportunities that are available at sea. I don’t think they are going to perpetually fund your life at sea, but they might make a few miles for you or meet some minimum spend requirements. More on that after my next cruise. In the meantime, you might be interested in my 30 Days of Boat Drinks series.

-MJ, November 13, 2014

The Forward Cabin reported yesterday that Delta is updating its first class seats on its domestic aircraft. I haven’t seen the new seat coverings yet, but TFC provided a photo snapped by a Delta flight attendant. Photo credit to The Forward Cabin.

delta first class seat, delta first class interior update

I think it’s an attractive looking update. Even the stitching in the seat has the “widget effect.” I reached out to Delta about their plans, and they responded that “Delta has started to install updated seat covers on its domestic aircraft in the First Class cabin. The updates are scheduled to be complete in mid-2015 and will be installed as part of our ongoing commitment to product improvements.”

That means we’ll be seeing these new seat covers on other domestic aircraft as well. While I haven’t seen one of these new interiors yet, a mid-2015 completion date means we won’t be waiting long. Have you flown on an aircraft with the new seat coverings yet? What did you think? I kind of like the new interior touches with the dark blues and burgundies…..and of course, the widget.

-MJ, November 13, 2014

I’ve done more than my share of pontificating about why I think the idea of “complimentary” upgrades to first class for most elites is a bad idea. As I’ve said before, I’m not an economist, but did take a few college courses which doesn’t qualify me as an expert. That said, the basics of supply and demand really come into play here. You could look my upgrade list from last Wednesday which placed me at 21 of 55 as a Delta Platinum Medallion. For that matter, we could throw in my experience from this Wednesday as well, 22 of 50+ for the record. I was entertained when the flight attendant took my HOOU coupon and remarked that “everyone has one of these today.” No kidding!


The truth is, sometimes comp upgrades work out, and sometimes they don’t. One thing I’ve left out of some of my posts on my preference for the “non complimentary” upgrade is that upgrade success can be very market specific. I know that’s not news to the frequent flyers among us, but it is a factor…. a big factor for me. While I think it’s beyond a little ridiculous that I was number 22 of 50+ on a Wednesday afternoon upgrade list, it is what it is. It’s the day after a federal holiday, and I was flying to Washington, DC. I’ve also cleared into F on more than few flights to DC, so I digress.

My point is that upgrades and success rates are dependent on a lot of factors, but all things being equal, I think it’s better to “pay” for an upgrade with some kind of scrip whether that be money, miles, or some kind of upgrade credit. It controls demand, and I honestly believe it provides better results for a bigger number of people of the mid and lower elite tiers….scientific evidence to support my theory or not. :) Feel free to disagree.

-MJ, November 12, 2014

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