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6,700 flights daily to 336 destinations in 56 countries with around 952 aircraft...and counting. This is the new American Airlines as it exists, starting today, thanks to the merger with US Airways. These numbers officially bump AA up to the kingly level of "largest airline in the world."
Of course the taking of a title means there's another airline that can no longer claim the same. Today, American has kicked United off the pedestal for largest airline, but even they didn't reign all that long. Here's a recent history of the "world's largest airline" title:
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THERE IS. A BARBEQUE PIT. SHAPED LIKE A BOEING 777.
Take a second to process that, and then update your iCal to include the dates February 27 - March 1 2014, when this miracle of modern engineering will again cook up thousands of hot dogs and hamburgers during Houston's World Championship Bar-be-que.
The pit itself was born in 1999, designed by a Continental Airlines maintenance foreman and constructed by BBQ Pits by Klose. It's a 1:10 scale 777, now repainted with the updated United merger livery.
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We’ve all been there—you enter the credit card digits on what you think is awesome airfare, but just moments later you realize that really wasn’t the case. Thankfully Uncle Sam has got your back more than ever, as now cancelling flights within 24 hours of booking is pretty much the law. So if you realize your best friend can’t skip out of work, or if you see an even better fare less than a day later you can cancel your purchase—hassle free. We’ve rounded up some of the policies below to ensure that you can book first and figure things out later.
They call it their “risk-free guarantee” and they actually had this pretty generous policy before the new rules and regulations went into effect. Refunds are allowed for most tickets purchased directly through their website, as long as you are leaving from the United States, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Canada. Again, you can do it all online, and you will be credited back with a full refund—including any prepaid fees and direct ticketing charges—with no cancellation fee.
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If you’ve got a flight on United coming up over the next few months, you might be in luck. The carrier has been busy upgrading and refreshing some of their airplanes, and now it looks like a few of them are ready for some flying fun just in time for the warmer weather.
In total there’s 14 newly updated Boeing 767-300s, and these new planes now have a new United BusinessFirst section as well as some new stuff in the Economy cabin. They might not be totally new airplanes, but nonetheless we’re thinking that you’ll still be getting a chance to enjoy a whiff of that new airplane smell.
If you’re lucky enough to snag a seat up front, you might even enjoy one of the new lie-flat beds. Apparently they’re number one in this metric, as they’re eager to claim that they’ve got more of these seats than any other carrier—at least in the United States.
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When exactly did the E-Ticket get its start? This is something we wondered the other day, while happening upon a stash of some of our old Northwest Airlines (RIP) boarding passes (above). It seems like E-Tickets have just always been around and, indeed, even the internet is confused of their true history; AirTreks says it was Southwest Airlines in 1994, The Discovery Channel thinks it was ValuJet in 1993 and the IATA is sure that United was the trailblazer in 1994.
In any case, it's been quite a while since paper tickets were the norm and thank god for that. Gone are the days when travel agents used to call you to come pick up your little booklet of paper tickets. Gone are the days when you cared more about misplacing those than misplacing your secret pocket fannypack full of Traveller's Cheques. Gone are the days of always waiting in line to check in at the airport. Once again, we say thank god.
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Well that’s it—Continental Airlines is officially gone forever unless it's eventually reincarnated as some kind of low cost carrier long into the future. There’s still plenty of stuff to be done as United and Continental celebrate their newlywed stage, but this weekend was kind of the official end of the airline from Houston.
Sure there are still Continental planes flying around the globe, but they’ll eventually be heading into the hangar for some new United paintjobs. You can only buy tickets for a United Airlines flight moving forward, and if you head over to Continental’s website you’re just forwarded over to the new United website—which is kind of the former Continental website with a few different clip arts.
You’re probably getting a new frequent flyer number, but your frequent flyer miles are now being combined into a jumbo account. Hopefully the combination of your United and Continental points can now get you to your ultimate award flight redemption.
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The airline newlyweds over at United and Continental are still waiting for one of their best wedding gifts, as it’ll still be a little bit of time before Boeing hands over the keys to the airline’s very first 787 Dreamliner. The new plane is still rolling—slowly but surely—down the assembly line as engineers and workers finish adding wings, tails, bits, and bolts to ensure that each and every piece of the plane is ready to head up into the air. Things are progressing pretty well, and even President Obama got to swing by recently to check out United’s new bird; he thought the auto-dimming window shades were pretty nifty.
United’s first plane is expected to be delivered during the first half of 2012, but in the interim it’s time to start topping off your inaugural flight savings account. It sounds like United is already thinking about ways to cash in on its delivery flight, as the airline plans to auction off seats to the highest bidder for those wanting to sniff the new airplane scent in person. The flight won’t be the very first commercial flight, but rather will be the short and sweet delivery flight between Seattle and San Francisco.
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It's hard to imagine, we know...but a whole 12 years ago the internet did exist. It not only existed, but it was hot enough at the time for airlines to take notice, and begin shifting focus to things like online bookings, flight status, web specials andwe laugh nowpager alerts.
Last week, we gave you a peek at JetBlue's first functioning website from 2001, but today we're taking it back to 2000, the good old days before we had a laptop, before the TSA, and most definitely before September 11...
Last one to a newsstand to buy this week's issue of Bloomberg Businessweek is a rotten egg!
The cover you see above is not the only highlight of the current edition of the magazine; it precludes a full article exploring the finer details of the United/Continental merger. We especially love that the cover promises "a look at the complexity and the absurdity of making the world's largest airline." Face itthe "absurdity" is what will sell this issue, once you get past the risque airplane coitus front and center.
UPDATE: We just checked the Barnes & Noble newsstand to see that this issue, with the United merger cover and story, is from January 15 and already off the stands of course. BOOOO.
It’s already going to cost you a little more to fly to Europe, but it also might take a little extra time on the way back. This week there have been plenty of reports about transatlantic flights back to the nifty fifty taking a little detour to our pals up north in Canada.
The problem has been some crazy intense headwinds that have caused certain airplanes to burn way more fuel than usual, making a stop in spots like Newfoundland and Labrador necessary to pick up a little more jet fuel. Obviously this is a huge inconvenience for everyone involved, but especially the passengers who kind of thought it would be a nonstop affair all the way to the eastern coast of the USA.
The newly combined United is adding a few hubs here and there—like the ones in Newark and Houston that used to belong to Continental. However, their newest hub is one that lives entirely on the internets.
United just launched UnitedHub.com in order to provide plenty of answers, information, and other handy facts about the airline, the merger, and the joys of flying around in economy class. The future promises to bring more about their travel apps, check-in process, and how to interact electronically with the jumbo-airline, but for now most of the stuff has to deal with what’s coming and what’s changing.
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What's shaking at the Delta SkyClub...
Frequent flyers in your family don’t want one of those inflatable neck pillows, and they especially don’t want anything from the SkyMall catalog—well, probably. However, what they do want is access to an airline lounge, so they can think of you each and every time they escape the madness of the terminal in favor of a comfortable chair and an adult beverage. Sure, there's a significant annual admission to what lies beyond the automatic doors, so maybe you should just get it for yourself instead of asking Santa.
Here's a quck rundown of the pricing and features of the four major US carriers' lounges, just in case you're feeling extra generous:
· American Airlines Admirals Club Lounge
If you’re a big fan of American Airlines and their shiny planes, there’s no better lounge to access. Membership gets you free beverages—both boozy and not—as well as some snacks, WiFi, and access to computers and printers. There’s 40 clubs across the airline’s network with the majority in the nifty fifty. Getting in will set you back a cool $500 for the year, but if you just want to test things out before committing it’s $50 per visit. That way you can check out their additional food offerings, as select clubs have a little bit of a restaurant thing going on.