How to Stop Making Excuses

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Note: Six months ago, I read Ramit’s “Manifesto for 2018” and got inspired. I ended up cranking this out. Remember New Year’s? When you were going to lose weight, drink less, read more, save more, cook more, and maybe ride a unicorn (hey, anything is possible!)? But deep down you — and I — knew […]

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Emirates Flying A380 To Boston This Saturday, Service May Become Permanent

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Emirates is by far the world’s largest operator of the A380. The airline has over 100 A380s in service, which represents nearly half of all A380s in service (that means they operate nearly as many A380s as the other dozen airlines with the plane combined).

As a result, Emirates flies the A380 to some other airports that don’t otherwise get service from the world’s largest passenger jet. On top of that, they also operate an unbelievable number of A380 frequencies in some markets, like nine daily A380s between Dubai and London.

Lately we’ve seen Emirates make quite a few capacity adjustments on US routes, and it looks like we now have a hint of what the next one may be.

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Cathay Pacific Is Revamping Meal Service In Business Class

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While Cathay Pacific is generally regarded as one of the best airlines in the world, I haven’t been terribly impressed by their longhaul business class product. While they have excellent reverse herringbone seats throughout their longhaul fleet, there’s not much else that’s great about the experience. 

Their service flow has always felt robotic and impersonal to me, as everyone is served at the same time off a cart, and you really just feel like you’re part of an assembly line. The airline has realized this weakness for a while, and has been trying to figure out the best way to improve. They want to make sure that they can actually deliver on whatever permanent changes they make.

For example, last year Cathay Pacific offered dine on demand on select routes as a trial, and apparently it didn’t go well, because the airline decided against expanding the concept. I can appreciate that they were at least realistic — it’s unfortunate that they felt they couldn’t make it work, but I’d rather that then have them add it and the service flow is then a disaster. As I’ve explained in a previous post, a dine on demand concept doesn’t work for all airlines.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred Vs. Capital One Venture — Which Is Better?

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Two of the most popular mid-range credit cards are the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. The cards have similar annual fees, similar welcome bonuses, and are both rewarding, though they work in very different ways. I think both cards can make sense for certain consumers, but given how different they are, it’s worth understanding which card is better for your situation.

In this post I wanted to do a comparison of the two cards, so you can decide whether the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Capital One Venture is better for you. We’ll compare the welcome bonuses, annual fees, ability to earn points, value of points, and perks. Here we go:

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Should You Upgrade To The New IHG Credit Card?

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In early April, Chase made some major changes to their IHG credit card portfolio. They stopped accepting applications for the old IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card, and instead started accepting applications for the all new IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card.

A lot of cardmembers with the old IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card have been receiving upgrade offers, where they can earn 5,000 bonus points for upgrading and making one purchase with the card. @MickeyBoggs asks the following on Twitter, and I’m sure he’s not the only one with this question:

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My Favorite Business Travel Tech Tools (That AREN’T Airline Apps)

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I recently wrote about some of the paper backup items that I travel with, particularly when traveling to some of the more remote parts of the world. While it may feel a bit arcane to travel with a stack of printed airline reservations, I’ll probably keep hanging onto my paper itineraries for the foreseeable future.

That said, there are plenty of higher-tech items that I find equally valuable. Some are specifically designed for travel, others simply make business or personal travel easier, and still others are apps or functions that I have repurposed specifically for travel-related reasons.

So, as a follow-up to my recent piece, I figured I would share some of my favorite — and less obvious — tech tools that I rely on while traveling.

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Review: Cathay Dragon First Class A330 Shanghai To Hong Kong

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I’ve flown Cathay Pacific a countless number of times, but had never flown Cathay Dragon, which is Cathay Pacific’s subsidiary that operates many of their shorthaul flights, including flights to mainland China. While their product is very similar to Cathay Pacific’s regional product, perhaps what’s most interesting is that they have a first class cabin on a few of their A330s.

They fly the A330s with first class almost exclusively to Beijing, though also sometimes to Shanghai. At the time this was one of only three airlines I hadn’t reviewed in international first class.

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Review: Hong Kong Airlines Lounge Hong Kong Airport

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My flight from Hong Kong to Los Angeles was scheduled to depart at 12PM. However, when reviewing lounges I always like for them to be as empty as possible so I can freely take pictures, so I decided to the airport shortly before the lounge was scheduled to open (which worked out well for me, since it meant I could just work from the lounge before my flight).

The Hong Kong Airlines Club Autus Lounge opens at 6AM, so I arrived at the airport at around 5:30AM. Hong Kong Airlines departs from the midfield concourse at HKIA, which I had never been to before. I entered the terminal the same way I usually would when flying Cathay Pacific, and was through security and immigration within about 10 minutes.

Once airside I followed the signage towards gates 201-230, which are the midfield concourse gates. Typically this would require taking the train, though as it turns out the train doesn’t start running until 6AM. Fortunately there’s a bus running between the terminals from gate 520. So I headed there, and within a few minutes found myself in the midfield concourse.

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Review: Hong Kong Airlines Business Class A350 Hong Kong To Los Angeles

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Hong Kong Airlines just recently started flying to the US using their new A350s. As of now the airline flies to Los Angeles and San Francisco, and they plan to add flights to New York soon as well. Given that Cathay Pacific historically has a stronghold on flights between Hong Kong and the US, how does Hong Kong Airlines compare?

I boarded through the forward door, where I was pointed towards my seat by a friendly flight attendant. Hong Kong Airlines’ A350 business class cabin is entirely between doors one and two on the A350. The seats are in a staggered configuration consisting of 33 seats, spread across nine rows in a 1-2-1 configuration. The bright red finishes take some getting used to, that’s for sure.

In this staggered configuration, you have a few types of seats you can choose from. In the center section, seats alternate between being closer to one another, and being closer to the aisles. The center seats in the odd numbered rows are often referred to as honeymoon seats, because they’re so close together.

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Aegean Airlines’ Impressive Economy Service

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It’s rare that economy is anything to get excited about, though I do think airlines that try to differentiate their experience deserve some credit.

In the US I’d argue that service in economy is getting better rather than worse at the moment (I’m referring to the actual service, rather than legroom). For many years the “big three” US carriers served virtually nothing in economy due to cost cutting. They’ve very slowly been adding back amenities, starting with bringing back (very basic) snacks, like pretzels and cookies. Then they’ve even brought back free meals on select transcontinental routes, and free alcohol in extra legroom economy.

I’d argue that in Europe service in economy is getting worse rather than better at the moment, largely due to competition from ultra low cost carriers. Airlines like British Airways have moved to a buy on board model for food and drinks in shorthaul economy, and other airlines, like Swiss, are trialing it.

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