The Short Final

Dominic is a travel enthusiast and self-proclaimed AA/PHL expert who aims to bring you news and inspiration about the best travel experiences, destinations, and industry insights without all the unnecessary fluff.

How to Detect (And Avoid) Phantom Award Space

Booking airline award tickets are a ton of fun, except when you transfer thousands of points/miles across programs only to find out that the award space you were seeing was a mirage. This phenomenon is widely known in the hobby as “phantom” award space. Here are some tips for ensuring that the seats you are seeing are actually real! For the purposes of this post, we’ll use a hypothetical itinerary: Dallas (DFW) – Hong Kong (HKG) in First using American Airlines miles (transferred from SPG). SPG points are valuable and the last thing you’ll want is to transfer 100,000+ SPG...

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The Full List of Airbus A350 Routes In North America

Note: This list will be updated periodically.  Fans of the Airbus A380, I delivered to you the full listing of North American A380 routes here. For those of you who are interested in the two-engined stallion that is the A350 (pretty sure calling this jet a stallion is an insult to the 757), here is the full list of North American A350 routes. If I missed any, drop them in the comments!   OriginDestinationAirlineNotes ICNSFOAsianaBegins August 2017 HKGEWRCathay PacificBegins 11/5/17 HKGSFOCathay PacificBegins 10/31/17 HKGYVRCathay Pacific TPEHNLChina AirlinesBegins 10/29/17 TPESFOChina AirlinesEnds 12/1/17 TPEYVRChina Airlines HKGLAXHong Kong AirlinesBegins 12/18/17 GRUJFKLATAMBegins 9/29/17 GRUMCOLATAM...

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How to Get to Venezuela

If you’ve been following the events in Venezuela lately, you are well aware of the ongoing crisis happening in the country. The situation is quite sad and to top it off, there are many Venezuelans living in the United States — approximately 270,000 according to (slightly outdated) census data. Many have families, friends, and other commitments that force them to return home. Major Airlines Pulling Out Within the last few weeks, multiple mainstream airlines announced plans to terminate service to Caracas (CCS), with two of them being US carriers Delta and United. Delta operated a 1x a week flight...

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How AA Executive Platinum Helped My Flying Anxiety

A few months ago I wrote about how I am actually a nervous flier. Today that fear of flying manifested to an actual action – I changed my flight. I was booked on AA613 from PHL-LAX on an old USAirways A321 with registration N189UW. Because I love torturing myself, I typically research the airplane I’m flying before I get on it. I sometimes do this when pondering whether to use a Systemwide Upgrade to find out if the first class is new and refreshed. After researching N189UW, I stumbled upon information that truly scared me: N189UW is nearly 16...

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Proof That American Airlines is Actually Making Changes to LAX Ops

Short post today, folks, but I wanted to let you know about this! If you’ve flown American Airlines over the summer to/from LAX, you’ve probably noticed the wildly inconsistent and often late state of the operations there. I’ve flown PHL-LAX every Sunday and Monday since June and can tell you that I’ve built up a pretty good sample size. Back in August, there were rumors of major changes at LAX for American. There was a feeling that the first major change would be to scheduling and I can say that I’ve witnessed this first hand – and it’s working out...

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Should You Fly Into Tokyo’s Narita or Haneda Airport?

If you’re planning a trip to Tokyo, you most likely have stumbled upon the dilemma of which airport to set as your destination – Narita (NRT) or Haneda (HND). I’ve gotten a few questions on what the differences are and which one you should realistically travel to so I’ll write this post as a simple head-to-head comparison based on a few important factors: distance to the city center, flight options, and lounges. Distance to Central Tokyo Haneda Airport is located approximately 10 miles from Tokyo city center whereas Narita International is closer to 40 miles away. As you can imagine,...

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JetBlue is Thinking of Implementing Widebody Airplanes

We had to see this one coming. JetBlue sort of runs the Southwest model with low-cost fares and pleasant service, but with the growth of Mint and the addition of new routes one would think JetBlue is looking to expand into deeper parts of South America and Europe. This notion was confirmed by JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes in a July earnings call. With popular destinations in South America and Europe largely outside of Airbus A320/321 range from JFK, JetBlue may be looking to wide-bodies to fill these routes instead of the A321LR, which has an advertised range of 4,000...

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Here’s How Airliners Cross the Atlantic Ocean

Ever wonder how airplanes cross the Atlantic Ocean, a seemingly desolate abyss outside the range of air traffic control? The answer involves Gander, Newfoundland, 10 imaginary highways, and a thing called a TCAS. Wendover Productions, a fantastic YouTube channel that explains most aviation topics in an easy-to-follow fashion, produced a video explaining how commercial airlines traverse the Atlantic Ocean each day: For those of you unable to watch the video, here’s the general gist. Each night, airlines contact air traffic control located in Gander, Newfoundland (the last ATC facility before the Oceanic crossing begins) and provide them with a...

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How Safe Are Allegiant’s Airplanes?

I came across an excellent article in the Washington Post related to the questionable safety record of Allegiant Air’s fairly old fleet and the general business practices of the airline. From my calculations, Allegiant has 53 active airplanes that are 20+ years old, with all but five of those being MD-83s. Shockingly, they also have six MD-83s that are 30+ years old. If you’re unfamiliar, Allegiant is a low-cost carrier based in Las Vegas that operates flights to a few large hubs, but mostly to smaller airports. The company’s CEO is Maurice J. Gallagher Jr., formerly the CEO of...

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Should I Let My Taxi Driver Use Square for Payment?

I was recently traveling on business and took a cab from DTLA to LAX. The cab driver was very friendly and we talked about a myriad of topics including, but not limited to, the time he transported Saudi doctors and they forgot $40,000 in a suitcase in the trunk (they got it back). I am, by nature, very skeptical of shady taxi practices. I’ve had to bribe drivers to drive me places and pay them to bring back my keys. I am especially on edge when I’m taking a taxi on my company’s dime. The last thing I want...

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