The Short Final

Dominic is a full-time consultant who aims to bring you news and inspiration about the best travel experiences, destinations, and industry insights without all the unnecessary fluff. Focus is on American AAdvantage and Starwood / Marriott loyalty programs.

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 is for the expense to get rejected on my expense report and I’m suddenly stuck with a $60 cab bill. On this most recent trip I mentioned above, we arrived at LAX’s Terminal 6 and it was time to pay. I always use a corporate credit card and get a receipt. This time the driver pulls out his cell phone and inserts a Square reader into his headphone jack. I’m very aware of Square and I trust the company, but being a fraud examiner by trade, you can imagine I’m analyzing the angle here. I’m wanting to know what would be a malicious reason for this cabbie to use Square rather than his regulated credit card machine. I couldn’t think of anything aside from credit card skimming, which is obviously...

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Project Fi: A Unique Method for Using Your Cell Phone Abroad

Short post today, but I wanted to share a workaround I’m doing for my upcoming trip to Italy. I currently have the old AT&T unlimited data plan costing around $30 per month so my incentive to change carriers is very low. In the past, I typically just purchased the AT&T International Plan (not smart) or bought a local SIM (smart). Enter, Google’s Project Fi… You may have heard about Project Fi, a Google product that is changing the cell phone industry. Essentially the way it works is you pay a flat $20 per month for unlimited talk and text and...

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Adak Island and the 737 Combi

One of the things I love doing on my free time is opening up Google Maps and searching around the world for places that I’ve never heard of (I swear I do other things, too). One place in particular caught my eye recently – Adak Island. Adak Island is a remote island located in the Aleutian Islands chain, which is situated in between the Bering Sea and the North Pacific Ocean. Adak is Alaska’s southernmost town and is home to a whopping ~400 people. Given its central location between Japan and the United States, Adak actually served a very important purpose during the Aleutian Islands Campaign in the early 1940s. On June 3, 1942 the Japanese raided Dutch Harbor, located in Unalaska (think Deadliest Catch!). As part of the Allied response, U.S. forces set up shop on Adak Island, located some 140 miles from Kiska Island, a Japanese stronghold used to launch attacks on the U.S. mainland. From their position on Adak, U.S. and Allied commanders were able to capture Kiska and other key Aleutian islands like Attu. Adak Naval Air Station was a U.S. military facility up until 1997 when it was closed and incorporated. U.S. authorities then added roughly 200 Caribou to the island to aid in famine relief. You guessed it – is now a popular Caribou hunting destination. How to Get There The only way to...

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The Oldest Active Commercial Airplanes in the U.S.

As the new wave of airplanes are filtering through the ranks (Airbus A350, A380, Boeing 787), I thought it would be cool to take a look at the oldest airplanes still being actively flown by the major U.S. carriers. I gathered some data and did some number crunching and chart making, like the good little consultant I am. A day after I started writing this post, American Airlines announced they would retiring 20 MD-82/83 airplanes to the Aircraft Boneyard in Roswell, New Mexico. I’ve updated my dataset to reflect these changes. Here is the chart of the number of active aircraft 20 years and older being flown by major carriers: And now broken down by aircraft family: Here is the same information separated into aircraft family and broken down by airline. No surprises here with Delta having mostly old MD-80/90. American’s MD-80/90 number was 20 higher prior to yesterday so they helped themselves by sending those old dogs to the boneyard: If you’d like to track where these geriatric pieces of metal fly, just copy and paste any of the below registration numbers into FlightRadar24.com or FlightAware.com!   AirlineModelManufacturerFamilyRegistrationDate BuiltAge Alaska AirlinesB737-4Q8BoeingBoeing 737N756AS199224 Alaska AirlinesB737-4Q8BoeingBoeing 737N760AS199224 Alaska AirlinesB737-4Q8(C)BoeingBoeing 737N762AS199224 Alaska AirlinesB737-4Q8(C)BoeingBoeing 737N763AS199224 Alaska AirlinesB737-4Q8(C)BoeingBoeing 737N764AS199224 Alaska AirlinesB737-4Q8(C)BoeingBoeing 737N765AS199224 Alaska AirlinesB737-490BoeingBoeing 737N767AS199224 Alaska AirlinesB737-490(C)BoeingBoeing 737N768AS199224 Alaska AirlinesB737-4Q8BoeingBoeing 737N769AS199323 Allegiant AirB757-204WIN.BoeingBoeing 757N901NV199224 Allegiant AirB757-204WIN.BoeingBoeing 757N902NV199224 Allegiant AirB757-204WIN.BoeingBoeing 757N903NV199323 Allegiant AirB757-204WIN.BoeingBoeing 757N905NV199422 Allegiant...

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Does American Airlines Know What They Are Doing?

I am currently writing this post on my flight from Philadelphia to Los Angeles (though it’s being published a day later) aboard an American Airlines (formerly US Airways) Airbus A321. I’ve taken this trip twice per week for the past 10 weeks and there has been WiFi on every single one of those flights. I overheard a couple of passengers behind me talking about how this particular flight didn’t have WiFi service so I was curious and tweeted American to find out. I could’ve just asked a flight attendant, but I wanted to know if HQ knew. @AmericanAir hey!...

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