2 Magical Words Will Help Get an Airline Upgrade Over the Phone

The insider secret to scoring an upgrade with miles? Just two little words.


We have never bought an upper-class seat; if ever we’ve flown anywhere up front, we’ve used miles to upgrade from economy. If you want to do that, call reservations and drop the name “revenue management.” The reason is that revenue management’s job is to make sure a flight is profitable, so they’re the ones telling [reservation agents] what they can say; they’re like Flying Club’s boss. Not everyone knows that this department exists, and by mentioning it you reveal yourself as someone who knows how things work and understands how seats are released. Say to the agent: ‘Have revenue management released any first-class seats for miles upgrades yet?’ When they say no, ask them to check or just be put through to revenue management so you can ask when they will release some, as well as how many seats are left. Politely respond like this: ‘You have 20 seats unsold?  Why aren’t you releasing them?’ Often by the end of the conversation they say, ‘OK, we’ll release one for you,’ or they might tell you to call back tomorrow. Doing that, we’ve had a pretty much 100 percent success rate.

There is a two-step calming ritual for nervous flyers, and Bagshawe swears by it.

Though I’ve never not taken a flight because I was afraid—that’s a slippery slope—there have been times when it really debilitated my life, when I’m shaking and crying to even get on a plane. So now I watch the fear-of-flying videos they have [on the in-flight entertainment system]. I watch them every time. I could recite the British Airways one, where the guy sounds like the one in Mary Poppins and says ‘Turbulence is never dangerous. We’ve all got families of our own to get home to.’ Then I practice a technique called realistic thinking. One of my children had chronic anxiety last year, and we learnt the technique together. It’s similar to positive thinking: Find something that is true, and you believe to be true, and repeat that over and over. During turbulence, for example, I think to myself: ‘How many times have you been through this on other flights and how many times has it gone wrong? Never!’

This oh-so-British practice will improve your quality of life in a small way.

In first class, I don’t want the little glasses of Champagne. I want a cup of tea. But the cups are tiny, so it goes cold, and I can’t stand cold tea, it’s an absolute pet peeve. So I bring a large mug on long-haul flights; it’s not fancy, but it has a photo of my village in the Cotswolds on it. I’m a mug fetishist: I normally fly Virgin, and they’re so into tea their mugs are the best—the biggest, out of anyone’s—but they’re still not big enough for me.

If you want to fly with your favorite fragrance, but are worried about breaking the bottle, here’s what to do.

I love the winter scent, by the White Company, which is literally the smell of Christmas for me—and I’m obsessed with Christmas. But it doesn’t come in small bottles or anything you can really decant. So I have the room spray, and I spray it on absolutely everything: my cashmere scarf, full of holes, that I travel with, always; the inside of my suitcase; any piece of hand luggage; inside my shoes; my socks. I go to town with it. If I am going to die in a twisted, white hot, melting fuselage at 30,000 feet, I want to do it smelling of cinnamon and cloves. I want to do it festively.

She judges any hotel by one in-room amenity.


I don’t care how fancy the hotel is, my room has to have a bath. I would absolutely look out on a car park and a wall as long as I could have a bath in my room, rather than a shower. I’ve changed rooms in hotels, taking a smaller one, so I could have a better bath. The best one I’ve ever seen was at the Post Ranch Inn in California. My favorite rooms are built into the cliff, right on the Pacific Ocean; it’s not even a view, because you’re in the view. They have huge, square baths, like a high-end hot tub. You could live in it, it’s so nice. It’s very deep, the water is very hot, and everything smells of lavender, which I love, and there’s a proper wood fire with logs. It feels a bit like classic Twin Peaks. That’s the most beautiful hotel in the world.

Here’s how to avoid bruises on old-fashioned train rides. (Yep, it’s something to worry about.)

We went on this train trip on the Orient Express in Asia after I had my last baby. My husband and I both love trains and everything old fashioned, and this was a really special trip: You get to sleep on the train for two nights as it goes from Singapore to Bangkok. It was so romantic, and everybody dressed for dinner. The dinner car was like something out of Downton Abbey. The train itself was gorgeous, of course, but the tracks are very old, narrow gauge and the train rattles around on it like God knows what. Walking down the narrow corridors, there would suddenly be a jolt and you’d be thrown against the wall. But a friend of mine in England had already warned me that it was a bone-rattler and suggested I pack Arnica for the bruises.

Making a tchotchke tradition is a great way to keep family memories.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BWrKYK0Dqcd/?taken-at=4403041

I’m obsessed with Christmas and always collect some kitsch bauble or other from the places I travel to.  It started with trips to Solvang, Calif. Before we lived full time in California, we would come out to visit in November when it was cold in London, and we’d drive up the coast to visit Solvang. It’s one of those Nordic-influenced American towns, where there are Danish pastries the size of small family cars, and it also has a year-round Christmas shop, Jule Hus. We’d go there and get little reindeers. Now we have all these kitsch things from around the world in our house at Christmas; it comes from my mother, who, in particular, has a thing for the naffest possible Christmas decorations. My brother got her one from Lourdes, which was an LED Jesus: You plugged him in, and he opened his arms and his heart flashed, then popped out. My sister lives in Singapore now, so she brings [more] back for us. A lot of the flashy ones, you plug in and stand on a sideboard like that. The best ones are from Asia.

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Wing-suit Pilot Pierces Helium Balloon As He FALL From the Sky

Incredible moment a wingsuit pilot flies through a helium balloon as he falls from the sky in never seen before stunt

This dare-devil took to the skies to perform a never seen before stunt where he flew through a helium balloon suspended in mid-air.

The wingsuit pilot manages to smash through the balloon causing an explosion of red glitter to prove he had hit his target.

The pilot, Marshall Miller, had never attempted the feat before and the video shows him succeed just metres away from the cliff top.

Pilot, Marshall Miller, had never attempted the feat before and the video shows him succeed just metres away from the cliff top

Pilot, Marshall Miller, had never attempted the feat before and the video shows him succeed just metres away from the cliff top

The humorous reaction of cameraman Tyson Henderson, 28, is a mix of shock and amazement at the jaw-dropping stunt.

Tyson, from Salt Lake City, Utah said: ‘I was so nervous because we had no idea what to expect since Marshall was the first person ever to hit a balloon in a wing suit.

‘When we hit the balloon we were all silent waiting to hear his parachute deploy.

‘As soon as we heard that it was a huge relief and there was nothing but pure stoke.’

The wingsuit pilot manages to smash through the balloon causing an explosion of red glitter to prove he had hit his target
The wingsuit pilot manages to smash through the balloon causing an explosion of red glitter to prove he had hit his target

The wingsuit pilot manages to smash through the balloon causing an explosion of red glitter to prove he had hit his target

The wingsuit pilot flew through the air towards his target of the balloon

The wingsuit pilot flew through the air towards his target of the balloon

The cameraman, Tyler, said he was nervous for Marshall and felt huge relief when he realised he had accomplished the feat

The cameraman, Tyler, said he was nervous for Marshall and felt huge relief when he realised he had accomplished the feat

Read more: MailOnline

Flight compensation: Doing THIS simple trick could get you HUNDREDS back after a delay

Flight compensation is offered to passengers after journeys are cancelled, overbooked or severely delayed.But many are in dire need of travel advice about how whether they are eligible for a refund.

Shockingly, only two per cent of almost nine million passengers entitled to refunds actually claim for them, according to figures from flight delay compensation company AirHelp.

Refunds can be worth up to hundreds of pounds, while affected travellers can receive additional expenses for everything from the cost of phone calls to overnight accommodation.

Many passengers are unaware of their rights ahead of their journey.

Paloma Salmeron Planells, a representative from AirHelp

Paloma Salmeron Planells, a representative from AirHelp, says passengers need to be aware of their entitlement when wondering whether to make a claim.“Many passengers are unaware of their rights ahead of their journey.

“This causes them to not submit a claim, which could be worth up to £520, or keep hold of receipts so that they can claim further expenses back.”

Paloma has explained the best travel advice for airline passengers to make sure they get a flight refund, plus any expenses.

ONE: Think before you book

Read the terms and conditions of your flight booking to make you aware of what you can and can’t claim for if it all goes wrong.

“We urge passengers to read up on their rights ahead of booking their flights so they’re aware of what they’re legally entitled to,” says Paloma.

cancelled flights passenger sad

Cancelled flights can ruin a holiday

TWO: Keep hold of your boarding passYou will need information on your boarding pass when making a claim, including your booking reference number, a six digit code which may contain both letters and numbers.

Failing that, use any flight document with the reference number.

THREE: Ask for advice

You can use online tools like the AirHelp website to check out your eligibility for flight compensation. They also have a mobile app, which allows you to check for refund eligibility on the go.

FOUR: Find out the ACTUAL reason for the delay

Paloma said: “The more specific the reason, the better. If they say that it’s due to ‘operational circumstances’ or ‘flight safety shortcomings,’ ask them for more detail.

“This information is important down the line if you decide to file a claim.”

FIVE: Note the RIGHT arrival time

This is not when the wheels touch down, but when the plane is actually at the gate and the door opens,” said Paloma. “If you’re more than 3 hours late, you could be entitled to compensation.”

 

Flight refunds claim compensationGetty

Flight refunds: most people don’t claim what they deserve

Flight refunds have been a hot topic in recent months.First, Ryanair announces it was cancelling 20,000 flights – leaving 700,000 passengers in the lurch.

It was left paying out €25 million in compensation to customers.

Shortly after, Monarch Airlines went bust – leaving 110,000 passengers stranded abroad, and cancelling 300,000 future bookings.

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What is the dark side of being an air hostess in India?

We took a look at a Quora thread that asked, “What is the dark side of being an air hostess in India?”

Well I have 4 of my sisters currently flying in the Indian Aviation companies and my mother was an ex-cabin crew. All my life I have heard loads of stories and the irritation coming right out. I guess I could qualify to answer this:

  1. Body clock – As Som rightly mentioned the body clock is disturbed majorly. I have seen my sister doing an early morning departure coming back home and going back again with a minimum rest(Usually 11 to 12 hours DGCA Approved). Also they are rosterred in such a way that they are flying six days a week with no fixed off also their timing change from flight to flight. But a lot of airlines are considerate enough to give enough rest time after a long international flight to get over the jet lag.
  2. Whiny Travellers – Again a point well raised by Som. To add to this even creepy passengers. Usually they get such passengers twice a week. Passengers ogling having one too many drinks acting too smart. Usually the ideology behind the duty of a cabin crew is totally misunderstood. They are treated as a low class servant/waitress/waiter. The primary duty of a cabin crew is not serving food and alcohol and entertainment of passenger, it is 110% safety and security of the passengers as well as the flight. There are robust examinations and regular refreshers for the same. So next time as passengers be more considerate rather than acting bossy.
  3. Family emergencies are usually taken care of which is not really a problem. But seasonal vacation when it is a peak season for travel like Diwali, summer holidays, Christmas etc. are a problem for the crew as they are usually on a flight on these days unless rosterred off. They are given birthday offs though.
  4. The pay is pretty decent compared to an average fresher in India but far lesser than the things that are coping up with. Pilots are well taken care of when it comes to pay in India.
  5. Yes indeed energy is one aspect where one can never let reduce be it bad passengers, scary weather etc. It is like what my very close friend mentions. It is all about putting up a show for a couple of hours after that you are back to your life.
  6. Health wise there are major set backs. Because of lack of sleep, untimely food, less consumption of water (leading to kidney stones my mother has those), loss of memory (Btw a cabin crew cannot be a legal witness as per the law, due to cabin pressure and altitude they tend to have a bad memory), fluctuation in weight.
  7. Bad fellow crew members, probably this happens more often than bad passengers. Team members acting lazy, unruly, dumbfound, careless, in panic, bossy, least bothered, etc. This is a regular the stories I have heard. Its like “If one crew member doesn’t do his/her job properly the whole team fails”, what a cabin crew friend of mine had said. In India usually people from certain areas of the country act more in the said manner. So usually the stereotypes come out.
  8. Emergency / death on board this would be a global thing but still is one of the dark side on the Cabin crew life. If during an emergency / death on board happens the Cabin crew in-charge as well as the first crew assisting needs to write a huge essay about it also needs to answer a panel with questions let alone the amount of CPR + defibrillator and seeing the person passing away right in front of you. Trust me the stories I have heard, no one would want to be in such a situation. Usually the cabin crew is debriefed and asked to take a week off to recover mentally/emotionally.
  9. Treatment by friends. Usually it gets annoying for them to answer all their friends. “No I can’t give you free tickets”, “No I don’t earn lakhs of Rupees a month”, and blocking the numerous friend request on social media. I have read the messages sent by randomest people to my sister, some of the funniest and worst English (more like hinglish).

All in All every career has a dark side but it is one of the most prestigious ones in India.

Note to Travellers : Next time you travel by any of the airlines even though you have shelled out a huge sum for that last minute ticket or booked prior to get a cheaper one, please treat the air hostesses and crew properly, you don’t own them. If they are smiling at you the least you could do is smile back and wish them a Good day. Try to be a part of their happy stories which they come back and tell their brother/sisters/parents/partners/friends.

Mom Lets the Kid Do What Ever He Wants Throughout the Flight

Passengers forced to endure ‘demonic’ child’s screams for eight hours after he throws mega tantrum on flight

giphyThe child reportedly ran around screaming almost the entire time on the flight from Germany to Newark, New Jersey

A disgruntled passenger filmed a “nightmare” eight-hour flight where a “demonic” child screamed almost the entire time.

The child can be seen climbing on top of the seats and screeching before the flight has even taken off yet.

But while many might have hoped the young boy may have settled down and watched a film – he doesn’t.

Instead he runs around the aircraft for almost the entire eight-hours while travelling from Germany to Newark, New Jersey.

It is not clear from the video which airline the boy and his family were flying with.

The child was screaming and climbing on seats before the flight had even taken off (Image: Shane Townley /Youtube)
Three hours into the flight the child’s “demonic” screams could still be heard (Image: Shane Townley /Youtube)

The video was uploaded onto YouTube last summer by Shane Townley who captioned it “demonic child screams and runs through an 8 hour flight”.

He wrote: “Watch as this kid runs and screams throughout the entire flight while the mother does little to nothing to stop him.

“3 years old on a 8 hour flight from Germany to Newark NJ. He never quits!”

In the video the child can be seen climbing on top of the seats while his mother asks him to sit.

The boy then starts his “demonic screams” as the video suggests, which takes over the plane.

The boy was running up and down the plane and would not listen to his mum (Image: Shane Townley /Youtube)
At one stage the child was even banging on the plane ceiling (Image: Shane Townley /Youtube)

Filming the noise from several rows back the screaming can clearly be heard.

Before the flight has even taken off yet the child’s mother desperately asks the flight attendant to “get the WiFi going so we can get the iPad going”.

She can be heard trying to calm her child down but he continues his screams, ignoring his mother’s pleas.

As the hours pass passengers can even be seen covering their ears as the unruly child runs up and down the aisles while screaming at the top of his lungs.

And it is a scene that continues throughout the majority of the flight.

Passengers had to endure the “nightmare” for the majority of the eight-hour flight (Image: Shane Townley /Youtube)

After leaving the plane to go into the airport another passenger can be heard saying: “What a nightmare, oh my God – eight hours of screaming” as they wheel their suitcase down the ramp.

Commenting on the clip one person said: “Sadly this is happening more and more on flights, unruly kids and babies and exhausted parents.

“Even noise cancellation headphones would not have drowned out this terror.

“Total lack of discipline..perhaps crew should have removed said child and parents for violating safety regulations.”

Another person wrote: “If this started before the plane took off, the plane should have taxied back to the terminal and kicked the kid and his parents off. This kind of behaviour is just unacceptable.”

And another suggested: “Call an exorcist.”

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Woman surprises husband with pregnancy announcement on flight from Tampa

When David Rose climbed aboard a flight to Chicago from Tampa International Airport, he had no idea what was coming his way.

I’ve been wanting to share this video for so long! This time around I really wanted to surprise David with the news of our new baby. I think I got him pretty good✈️
– Audrey Rose

Little did he know his wife Audrey was planning a huge surprise announcement: she was pregnant with their second child.

The day before the surprise, Audrey found out she was pregnant, but she wasn’t entirely sure. So the morning of the flight she woke up extra early (at 4:00 a.m.) and tested positive twice, so she knew she could set her plan in motion.

While her husband was in line getting coffee, she used that time to scribble a note to the flight staff.

 

This new app will let you bid on unsold airline tickets

Air Ticket Arena is a new UK-based start-up which launched on February 1 and gives you the opportunity to bid for last-minute plane tickets.

All you need to do is download the app and register. Once your account is verified then you can choose your destination and return date and the number of tickets you would like to bid on.

 Air Ticket Arena will let you bid on various different flights to try and get discounts
 It works by selecting the flights you want and the price you are willing to pay in advance

You can make a bid up to two weeks before the flight departs and up to the day of departure.

Once your preferences are selected, you can place your bid on how much money you are willing to pay for the flight.

One to two days before the flight departs, the airline will see how many unsold seats they have and will automatically book you on the flight if you have bid the same price or higher than the minimum price they are willing to accept for the seat.

The app is currently only available on Android but will be available for Apple users come March.

You can download the app here.

‘Hidden’ airline charges: Dirty tricks or customer choice?

Extra charges tallied onto advertised flight costs have become a bugbear of jumbo sized proportions for airline passengers.
Booking fees, baggage charges and a host of optional service fares are now common industry practice. Baggage fees were last year worth more than $3.3 billion to the American aviation industry, while fees for reservation changes netted U.S. airlines $2.38 billion in 2011, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
As a result, ticket prices that initially appear good value rapidly rise once an array of extra expenses are factored in to the equation.
“Additional fees for things like baggage allowance and seat selection can be above and beyond what it costs the airline (to offer these services),” says Chris Gray, deputy editor of UK-based consumer magazine Which? Travel.
“These are often sprung on customers at the end of a long booking process,” catching them out unfairly, he says.
John Heimlich, chief economist of U.S. aviation industry body, Airlines for America, holds a different view, however.
He believes airlines have no option but to employ ancillary charges. This enables them to streamline their costs and offer customers greater value for money in an increasingly competitive marketplace, he says.
He believes airlines have no option but to employ ancillary charges. This enables them to streamline their costs and offer customers greater value for money in an increasingly competitive marketplace, he says.
In Europe, budget carrier Ryanair began offering specific seats at an extra cost earlier this year. Its low-cost rival Easyjet has also started to experiment with the practice.
“(This is) something many airlines used to allow you to request for free,” says Gray. “So incurring charges for these now is irritating, especially for families who are told they have to pay to select seats so they can sit together.”
According to Heimlich, however, these charges again provide the customer with more choice in what they do and do not pay for.
He says: “In baseball stadiums, for example, you pay different prices for obstructed and unobstructed views.” This is now the same with airlines, he adds.
Credit and debit card surcharges
A common complaint of those booking plane tickets online is the unavoidable charges that often accompany paying for flights by debit or credit card.
The UK government’s trading and competition authority, the Office of Fair Trading, last week ruled that debit card surcharges must be included in the headline price of flights.
Budget carriers including Ryanair and Whizz Air have since agreed to amend their online booking policies to reflect this. But elsewhere the practice remains.
Flexing the plastic on Australia’s Jetstar adds an extra $8.60 to flight prices, while a similar transaction with Air Asia costs $6 in card-usage fees.
Prominent industry players such as British Airways ($7) and Air France ($7) meanwhile charge for those using credit cards to make online reservations.
“Surcharges for credit or debit card payments are … especially unfair,” says Gray. “We accept that retailers incur some costs when faced with things like processing card payments, but the charges passed on to the consumer are often excessive.”
The idea that customers aren’t aware of these charges doesn’t wash with Heimlich however.
He says, “I’m not sure where the confusion arises at this point … fees are fully disclosed on websites. In any case, the airline industry only endorses transparency (in these matters).”

What are the most frustrating airline charges you have been faced with? Let us know in the comments section below.

71 Feared Dead as Russian Plane Crashes Shortly After Takeoff From Moscow Airport

The Antonov An-148 plane operated by the domestic Saratov Airlines was flying to Orsk, a city in the Urals, and crashed in the Ramensky district outside Moscow

 Moscow: A Russian passenger plane carrying 71 people crashed outside Moscow on Sunday after taking off from the capital’s Domodedovo airport, Russian media reported.

The Antonov An-148 plane operated by the domestic Saratov Airlines was flying to Orsk, a city in the Urals, and crashed in the Ramensky district on the outskirts of Moscow. Russian news agencies reported 65 passengers and 6 crew were on board.

News agencies said witnesses in the village of Argunovo saw a burning plane falling from the sky.

A source from Russia’s emergency services told Interfax that the 71 people on board “had no chance” of survival.

The same news agency reported that the wreckage of the plane was spread over a wide area around the crash site.

The Russian-made plane was 7 years-old and bought by Saratov Airlines from another Russian airline a year ago.

Russian media reported that the emergency services were unable to reach the crash site by road and that rescue workers walked to the scene on foot.

A source at Domodedovo, Moscow’s second largest airport, told agencies that the plane disappeared from radars within two minutes of takeoff.

The Russian transport minister was on his way to the crash site, agencies reported. The transport ministry said several causes for the crash are being considered, including weather conditions and human error.

The governor of the Orenburg region, where the plane was flying to, told Russian media that “more than 60 people” onboard the plane were from the region.

Prosecutors opened an investigation into Saratov Airlines following the crash.

Here’s what you should know about using your phone on an airplane

Can You Text on a Plane? A Guide to In-Flight Phone Use
Can I use my cell phone on board?

Can I use my cell phone on board?

The short answer: Yes and no. Since October 31, 2013, the use of devices like iPhones and tablets is allowed on flights within the U.S., provided they’re in airplane mode while taxiing and in the sky. You’re allowed to switch on the Wi-Fi after an announcement is made—usually when the plane goes above 10,000 feet—that it’s safe to connect to the in-flight network on the growing number of planes that are equipped with that service. Passengers are not allowed to use the cellular connection built in to devices, but that rule may soon change: The FCC has proposed that airlines allow passengers to communicate over cellular connections. Even if approved, individual airlines would still be able to decide if they wanted to allow that level of connectivity.

So I can text on an airplane?

Not exactly. Since passengers still aren’t allowed to use the cellular connection of portable electronic devices, they can’t send SMS texts. Any communication has to be over Wi-Fi with a messaging app that provides similar functionality like WhatsApp or Viber. Of course, if your plane has Wi-Fi, you can also email, tweet, and update Facebook as much as the bandwidth aboard allows.

Can I make a phone call?

For now, that’s not allowed on domestic airlines. Many people think allowing voice calls is a bad idea, but some travelers don’t think it’d be a problem. After all, fliers have had the chance to make calls in the past—remember the Verizon Airfone that used to be installed in every row? Another reason voice calls might not cause chaos? They’re already allowed on some airlines.****

So some airlines do let you call from the air?

Yep, lots of international airlines, in fact, though many only offer the service on select routes. Among the carriers that let fliers chat in addition to text and browse the web are Emirates, Etihad, and Qantas. So far, there have been no major incidents traced to the fact that phone calls are allowed. Budget carrier Ryanair even discontinued voice calls because passenger interest in them was so low after trying the service in 2009.

Back to the U.S., why is it such a big deal that we can use our phones during taxi, takeoff, and landing?

Mostly it’s because the world has changed. When calls were banned 25 years ago, next to nobody had a cell phone; now, many passengers travel with multiple devices—and they use them as replacements for everything from newspapers to airplane novels to seat-back TV screens. For many shorter domestic routes, the phases of the flight during which it was previously forbidden to use devices added up to a significant portion of an entire trip. For business travelers, that’s lost productivity. For the rest of us, that was a lot of unnecessary boredom.

Awesome, I hate being unproductive and bored! But won’t my phone be dead by the time we land?

Airlines are adding more and more power plugs to keep passengers’ phones and tablets charged. To see if the aircraft on your flight has plugs—some now even offer handy USB connections—check with your airline or consult SeatGuru.com, which shows seat-by-seat info for all major carriers.

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