Photo Review of the Avianca Lounge at Puerto Rico – SJU – Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport

Had a short layover at the San Juan airport. Now that American has closed their lounge (although their website still shows it open) there is not much choice. Using our Priority Pass membership we enjoyed this small lounge for a couple hours. It was very crowded but not terrible. It offers a nice self service bar and decent food. I was also happy that it had restrooms although most listings don’t show that feature.

I was disappointed with the cleanliness in general throughout the lounge. It wasn’t terrible but just below expectations. The wifi was good but no views of the airfield.

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Review of Laredo International Airport LRD

Nice small airport with mostly regional service provided by American, United and Allegiant. Parking and rental car operations effortless. Security opens an hour before the flights as a group activity. Reminds me of Killeen Texas. Good waiting areas with power. No lounges but nice cafe.

Should I buy the AA Platinum Upgrade offer or just do the UA Economy Plus Subscription?

So in 2017 I was Gold with American Airlines. I reached that again by mid year but managed to miss Platinum by a hair at the end of the year. I just didn’t see the profit in doing a mileage run. So far in 2018 I have some AA flights booked and some long haul award trips on AA but some of my business trips have been moved over to United for various reasons in this first Quarter.

So here comes the offers. I can buy up to Platinum on AA for $795

FireShot Capture 4 - Secure your eli_ - https___elite.americanairlines.com_eliterenewal_purchase.cfm

But after thinking about it I don’t think it’s worth that much to me. Sure I might see a few additional domestic upgrades but the main value is the MCE seats. And if I’m stuck flying United more than normal in 2018 I might be better off to just get an Economy Plus subscription for $499.

FireShot Capture 5 - Economy plus choose options I United A_ - https___www.united.com_ual_en_us_su

I’m not sure it’s worth it for either one. I actually wish AA would have given me a bit cheaper of an option to move up to Platinum since I was so close but at least I’m still Gold with a bunch of 500 mile stickers for now. I don’t think it’s worth it to do a status match with United either but we’ll see.

Iceland Air Coming to Kansas City MCI

I guess due to the recent subzero weather we’ve had in Kansas City lately, the Icelanders have been fooled into starting service from MCI to Iceland. And…I love it.

FireShot Capture 1 - Cheap flights to Europe & Iceland I Icelandair_ - http___www.icelandair.us_

https://www.kshb.com/news/local-news/new-airline-service-announcement-expected-tuesdayat-kci

Apparently per TV 4 in KC:

Officials with the Kansas City International Airport and Mayor Sly James announced Icelandair is coming to KCI this year.

Icelandair will bring seasonal transatlantic air service to Europe with new nonstop flights between Kansas City and Iceland. Beginning May 26, 2018, Kansas City-region travelers can fly nonstop from KCI to Icelandair’s hub at Keflavik International Airport near the Iceland capital, Reykjavik.

According to the Kansas City Aviation Department, Icelandair’s Kansas City service will offer three nonstop flights per week to Iceland with connections to and from more than 25 destinations in Scandinavia, the UK, and Continental Europe. ”

This is good news for Kansas City. The city plans to work through political issues and build a new single terminal airport that will likely be too small and made of too much glass in the near future. As my home airport I love that I can now fly to Europe directly without flying to a hub first. Great news !

Update***

It seems this service will start seasonally from May to September in 2018 with hopes to expand. The outbound flights will be M-W-Sat with Return inbound flights on T-F-Sun. The flight is just under 7 hours and will offer fares that include the ability to stop over in Iceland for up to 7 days without additional fees.

http://www.icelandair.us/news/story/icelandair-is-going-to-kansas-city/

 

Quick photo review of Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport in Texas GRK

Small airport but easy to get to and simple parking layout. Signage could be improved but you’ll figure it out.

Entrance drive.

Signage

First floor entrance.

Main hall.

Main check-in area on first floor. Spotless and new.

As you can see not a ton of flights but better than you’d expect. The only odd thing about this airport for me is that they don’t allow passengers through security until just before boarding times. So I arrived about 8:30am for a flight boarding at 10:05am but couldn’t go through security until 9am. This would be Ok but I was trying to get some work done on my laptop so I set up in the cafeteria type area and then had to shut down to go through security.

Cafeteria style area outside security. Like a bullpen. Airside gate area was about as big but without tables.

Old style jet bridges altough the longer gate 1 has a newer glass jet bridge.

Major feature for most food choices here in and out of security.

View from tarmac.

American Airlines Playing Games With Award Availability on Non-Stop Flights?

This isn’t an exact science but my theory says that AA plays games with award space to keep it’s loyal customers from booking the best non-stop routes with miles. So say you want to book an award flight from the USA to Europe. We’ll pick DFW to Madrid for an example. So I’m searching 11 months out for my example:

DFW-MAD

I’m thrilled because I found an actual non-BA flight with awards space for 2 passengers!

dfwmad

Now this is not bad but I don’t actually live in DFW so I’m willing to stage from my non-hub to other hubs like say Chicago ORD. Since I’d rather not have an extra leg I just want the ORD-MAD flight. It’s available as part of this booking, right?

Think again here is the ORD-MAD non-BA selections for this same date:

ORDMAD

Gosh that’s weird. Why isn’t that same non-stop Iberia flight available? Oh well it looks like I can just stage to JFK and pick one of the TWO Iberia flights for that date. Not as close for me and I’ll likely need to trek from LGA to JFK but it should work OK. At least I can save that extra leg from ORD, right?

jfkmad

Well think again. I’d have to fly to Boston I guess. Boston is not an easy connection for me but hey at least that one is available. Maybe I managed to corner AA enough into Boston? To me this is silly. It’s either a poor system that doesn’t work well OR….done intentionally to keep you from booking the best flights on awards for some odd reason.

bosmad

Delta Wants Elites to “USE” Miles Up

In a weak effort to try and hold onto elites… Delta is encouraging them to use up their Sky Pesos on upgrades. Actually the idea isn’t that bad on the surface. I actually find it weird that airlines don’t offer elites first pick up paying for upgrades. In my experience it seems random.

They don’t want you to “save them forever” although that’s what you need to do with Delta Sky Pesos to earn any decent reward travel. It’s a fun game to see if you can save them faster than Delta can devalue them. They have devalued award ticket redemption’s so much that all they have left are moves like this to try and hold onto elites that are hub captive in places like MSP or SLC.  It might work for some that don’t care about the value of said miles or have so many they’ll never use them all and don’t care about award redemption’s.

Sad

#skypesos

See the USA Today article link below for more about this story if you can stand reading USA Today for a couple minutes. It might even be non-Fakenews which can be hard to find in that free news flyer we often find on hotel hallway floors 🙂

https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/todayinthesky/2017/07/13/delta-tinkers-frequent-flier-miles-currency-more-seats/475642001/