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This California in December thing seems to be a trend now that NPS works for a silicon valley company. What that means is a week-long delay in the start of our annual no fly nöel thing.

So how did 2018 stack up? Well the tripometer was up year over year after many years. And most of the travel was international. This year we visited:

  • London (twice)
  • Inverness
  • Stuttgart
  • Neuremberg
  • Tokyo
  • Kyoto
  • Oslo
  • Sardegna
  • Malta

Lots of time outside the confines of the broken United States and its Orange Caligula of a “President.”

Here’s the graph.

The annual tripometer. Trips are up for NPS.

Because of all of the international travel, we had some interesting impact on loyalty programs. It’s not even clear we’ll make inner circle this year at Kimpton (horrors)!

Other than the “not really Virgin America” we have no loyalty anymore for any airlines. Treat them all the same and let the chips fall where they will. Use money to “upgrade” by starting out upgraded. My my how things have changed.

A direct comparison of international business class shows United has the best service. Here are two examples.
Delta
United

Anyway, time to stay home by the fire for a while.

Delta does manage to trip over its feet doesn’t it?

On a multi-hop trip this week we ended up way overpaying to get an earlier flight (oops!) which put us in 1D in first class for an Atlanta to Chicago run. Nice flight with excellent service and some booze to boot.

Then the next day trying to be early again this time we opted to pay $75 for standy and the worst seat in the history of NPS! But it was fun.

Last row, no recline!

What a massive fall from grace. At least we got to get on the airplane first to stash our stuff.

So, does money matter? Yes it does. Does “status” matter? Hell no! You go capitalism.

Delta Business Class

May 4, 2017

Is Tumi better than Saks Fifth Avenue? That’s the main branding difference between United’s Polaris thing and Delta’s Business Class. All told, NPS still prefers the Virgin Atlantic business class to Europe experience. All of this is complicated by the fact that Virgin America was bought by Alaska in 2016. Every one of the alliances is re-aligning. No real loyalty left out there in airplane-land for NPS.

Delta and Tumi are a thing

The Delta pods are not quite as advanced as the United pods are these days, but they do lay flat. The tiny just out of reach touch screens need some ergonomic work (or a remote control).

Delta business class pod

The Virgin arrivals lounge at Heathrow (a Delta partner) is worth a visit. Hot showers and food that is slightly better than what you get on the airplane.

So delta will do. Pods make all the difference.

Even as recently as this morning, the twitter people at United were telling me how hard it was for them to install wifi. (Um, let me see if I care…nope.) Well they have it on this plane. That means Delta is not the only wifi game in my airplane universe. Good.

But be forewarned, if you are a mac user, avoid safari. Use chrome instead.

Unoted wifi and safari FAIL

United wifi and safari FAIL

It took me a bunch of experimentation to get stuff working. This makes airbus first class much better.

And a two word hint for the evil minded: ping tunnel.

Jif:Peter Pan::United:Delta

October 5, 2013

Are all airlines the same? When it comes to short hops on the east coast, I recently found out through some experimentation that the answer is no.

I am a longtime United flyer based at IAD. So I am pretty much stuck in a bad marriage. Watching United’s quality of service plummet and never recover has been a major disappointment. Jeff Smisek is one of the worst CEOs in history from an operations perspective.

Is Delta any better? Well lets compare notes.

Terminal B looks like this.

IAD Terminal B != Walmart Terminal A

IAD Terminal B != Walmart Terminal A

Terminal D looks like this. (FWIW, Terminal A is even worse.)

Terminal D has a gorgeous drop ceiling.

Terminal D has a gorgeous drop ceiling.

A United regional jet looks like this (vine).

A Delta regional jet looks like this (vine).

Delta has wifi. United has stories about how hard it is to install wifi in airplanes.

Delta operations at IAD are smooth and professional. United put us all on a plane, then deplaned us all due to an Easyjet computer operations error. Just amazingly bad. Easyjet is the worst United subcontractor of all, and there are a bunch of bad ones.

All told, Delta won this experiment hands down. Too bad IAD is a United hub. I’m stuck.

But in the end it is all just peanut butter.

Delta Net and other Wonders

September 30, 2013

Since cigital is opening an office in Atlanta, it looks like I will be flying down there more often. Flying to Atlanta is best accomplished on delta of course. So we left United at the gate, and here we are in the air.

So what do we think? Well for starters, Terminal B at IAD beats the bejesus out of Terminal A (which I call the “walmart terminal.”) It is modern, spacious, and has restaurants designed by something other than a chimpanzee.

IAD Terminal B != Walmart Terminal A

IAD Terminal B != Walmart Terminal A

Second of all, the delta flight left a bit early (better than on time) and has wifi available. (This is the first noplasticshowers entry posted from 35,000 feet.) I did have to pay to get moved into “economy comfort” or whatever they call this, and net costs $14 for this 90 minute flight.

Delta wifi.

Delta wifi.

All in all, things seem pretty similar to a United flight on an A320, but there’s net. I think that is good. Right?!