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No Fly Nöel 2018

December 27, 2018

2018 was an interesting year for travel. We stayed close to our 20 trip goal (miraculous), but still managed to hit Argentina, Africa, the Bahamas, New Zealand, and Australia, not to mention a bunch of domestic travel. From the highest winery on the planet, to walking on the Serengeti. Pretty not bad.

Here is the trip-o-meter for 2018.

Because of all of the international flying, we racked up lots of United frequent flyer miles. It will be interesting to see how this goes in 2019 now that we are finished with the silicon valley corporation (whose travel policies, frankly, sucked). Our best bet is less Germany and more Europe this year, but we shall see. We may miss Nuremberg, but we won’t miss the reason for going there!

2018 was our first trip in international First class. Here is our report.

The United lifetime ticker stands at 1,736,206 miles. Yowza. Hopefully our 146,879 miles will keep us in Global Services next year.

Sadly, our love affair with Kimpton is over. Kimpton just became too IHG too fast to retain any loyalty. Oh well, we will miss our great industry friends who I am sure we’ll see from time to time.

Just remember the rule! NO PLASTIC SHOWERS!

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.

And Now No Fly Nöel

December 18, 2015

True. We have not been on an airplane since November. But all these trips to Washington and Philly in cars are encroaching on our no travel respite.

Now it’s time to rest our bones beside the fire. Even if it is a really big fire and we’re dancing.

Solstice Fire 2014

Solstice Fire 2014

This year was the lightest travel year on record since 2002 with only 21 trips (not counting the last three!). Travel is becoming manageable, and that’s good.

Tripometer 2015

Tripometer 2015

Thanks for reading NPS! Salubrious solstice to all.

Travel was thankfully almost reasonable this year, down to thirty trips off last year’s forty-two. (FWIW, we’ll shoot for 25 in 2015.) But we did do an out of character trip in December, delaying the start of no fly noël by a few days. We’ll make up for it somehow.

tripometer for 2014

tripometer for 2014

In 2014 we finally gave up completely on United airlines which topped its awful 2013 behavior with an even worse 2014. Bye bye United. You are too broken to pay money.

So lets sit by the fire and regain our sanity. Maybe with a Liberal or two. Then we’ll do it all again.

United Gold->Platinum Ripoff

February 10, 2014

This week, United sent me some dead tree mail “offering” a “limited-time opportunity to ensure Platinum status for 2014.” Seems that I only flew 68K miles on United, so I need 7000 more to make Platinum this year (what used to be 100K).

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 3.34.51 PM

Guess how much United wants to charge me for that? $1449.00

Wrong.

United, after 1.5M miles and ten years of 100K status, you have sealed your fate with this nonsense. I’m flying any other airline I can find this year. Too bad IAD is a United hub.

Jeff Smisek somehow managed to break the United loyalty program.

No fly Noel 2013

December 1, 2013

No question about it, 2013 was a rough year of travel. My plan to do around 30 trips turned into a complete FAIL with a 40% higher than planned 42 trips. Ouch.

In 2014 I am getting serious about travel reduction. My plan for next week is to create a centralized travel plan for 2014 WAY ahead of time and stick to it. You heard it here first—I am shooting for 20 trips max next year. Truncated air travel will be accompanied by revitalized business-related guest house usage at Coal Stove Sink. It’s better to have guests here at my house than it is to fly around too much. I guess that will mean fewer talks as well.

The 2014 Tripometer does not lie: TOO MUCH TRAVEL

The 2014 Tripometer does not lie: TOO MUCH TRAVEL

To add insult in injury in the too much travel department, United airlines continued to suck throughout 2013. I am not a fan of busses, and airplanes have become busses somehow. Just awful.

Even with all of those trips, I managed to accumulate only 68,691 miles on United which means my status is going to drop to Gold (where because of my lifetime 1,527,990 miles it will bottom out forever). United, I am done with you. (Hey Jeff Smisek, you suck so much you just lost a loyal customer.)

Fortunately I had much better luck with hotels. Kimpton rocks my little travel world. Hopefully I can keep that going in 2014.

For now, I look forward to resting my weary bones beside the fire during December. Much needed battery recharging begins now.

Four years ago, I was upgraded on every United flight I flew across the country except for one. Then came the era of Jeff Smisek (2011, 2012), mostly likely the worst CEO of a major company in the United States.

These days, getting an upgrade on United is impossible. Who cares about loyalty when you can cram your customers on broken old airplanes because they’re pretty much stuck with you?! I used to kinda like United about the same way I liked Honda. Now I just feel ripped off and stuck in a very bad airplane marriage.

I gotta tell you, flying across the country on United equipment in “economy plus” is not a happy experience. I am an unsatisfied customer.

And all of the United employees I meet think their boss sucks too.

JEFF SMISEK, please retire. Pretty much anybody could do a better job than you are doing.

All your suck are belong to Jeff Smisek, worst CEO in America.

All your suck are belong to Jeff Smisek, worst CEO in America.

Introducing TravelCloud

January 19, 2013

It’s pretty obvious that I should have been categorizing and tagging posts since I started this blog back in late 2009. Today I “tagged and bagged” 2012, 2011, and 2009. I ran out of energy to do 2010! I’ll do it one of these years, promise.

What categorization gives you, fair noplasticshowers reader, is a way to cut through the massive content pile on the blog. Two of my favorite tags are:
horrible
cocktail recipe

Snapshot or TravelCloud on 1.19.13

Snapshot or TravelCloud on 1.19.13

To the right you can see the actual TravelCloud. And you can click on it too.

No Fly Noel 2012

December 2, 2012

It’s December, and that’s a good thing. No fly noel begins on December 1st. A break from relentless travel is just what the doctor ordered. Well kinda. I am flying to New Orleans next weekend for a leukemia cup event since Team Tartan won the cup this year. It’s not work though, so it doesn’t count!

Travel was up one notch from last year, and that’s bad. I’m looking for another 10% reduction somehow. The Coal Stove Sink hack seems to have played up to its max (17 guests again this year) and no fly July and no fly Noel hold firm.

2012 Tripometer.  The data show that trips are up.  That is bad.

2012 Tripometer. The data show that trips are up. That is bad.

During 2012, I flew 100,323 miles (so far…one trip still to go, and two segments not yet recorded by United whose computer system is blazingly slow). Speaking of United, did I mention that UNITED AIRLINES SUCKS?! I meant to say that. 2012 was even worse that 2011. Astoundingly awful. Lets review:

  1. United off to a Pedantic 2012
  2. United Express Random Number Generation
  3. No Upgrade for You -or- United Sucks in 2012 Too
  4. United: Small Patch of Light Replaced by Darkness
  5. United Express: Mesa vs Shuttle America, Mesa Loses
  6. United Airlines Sucks in Advance
  7. How Does United Suck? Let us Count the Ways
  8. Frequent Travel is for the Birds: United Still Sucks
  9. United International Travel Not What it Used to Be
  10. A, O, Way to Go United
  11. United Sucks: One Third the Airline for the Same Full Price -or- All Your Regional Upgrade Certs Are Belong to Us
  12. United Regional Travel Woes
  13. How United Airlines Deals with Sandy
  14. United Airlines Still Sucks: Global Premiere Upgrade Useless Again
  15. United Airlines New Low: 2012 Service Sucks

Holy cow, 15 entries about why United blows chunks?! I guess 2012 was worse than I remembered. I really need to fly a different airline.

It should be very clear why no fly Noel is important. Must retain sanity and rest my weary bones beside the fire. Then I can do it all over again in 2013.

No fly July 2012

July 16, 2012

After a two week delay (including a trip to Athens on United), no fly July has finally arrived.

No flying means no hotels. No hotels equals no strange showers at all (plastic or otherwise). See you after August 20th.