Euro Trip 2019: Selecting transatlantic flights

Euro Trip 2019: Selecting transatlantic flights

This is the time of year, when it’s cold and gray, that my thoughts turn toward Europe and warm strolls along the Seine or dining at a sidewalk café in a charming Italian town. Thanks to points and miles, my wife and I have been blessed to take an annual trip to Europe, something we plan to continue in 2019. I have written previously about my approach to travel planning, but this year’s trip is different in a few ways which makes the planning process different as well. However, the first step was booking our transatlantic flights.

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Back-to-school bonus miles

With back-to-school upon us, the shopping portals for both American AAdvantage eShopping and Delta SkyMiles shopping are offering bonus miles for achieving certain spend thresholds during the back-to-school shopping season.

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New international flights coming to Atlanta

Recently, two interesting new international flights for Atlanta have been announced. As you might expect, one involves Delta Air Lines. The other involves a SkyTeam partner that would generally be similarly unsurprising. What was unexpected was the destination and aircraft for that flight.

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Using Amex Business Platinum Card airline travel credit for Delta gift cards

The Enhanced Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN offers annual $200 airline fee credits. If you purchase small gift cards, despite the card terms and conditions, you can use these credits for airfare.

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News Bits: Bonus Avios on Chase BA card, Delta considering lower transatlantic fares

Holders of the Chase British Airways Visa Card can earn an additional Avios per dollar on purchases of $1,000 until the end of the year. Also, competition from low-cost carriers is prompting Delta Air Lines to explore how it can reduce transatlantic fares.

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Delta fare sale on First Class

This move is not going to sit well with some of the bloggers that appear to think that premium seats on an airplane should not be sold so they are available as awards and upgrades. Yesterday, Delta Air Lines announced a sale on First Class within the continental U.S. and Canada. 

Delta Air Lines has a sale on First Class until November 1, 2016 (click to enlarge)

Book by November 1, 2016, and purchase First Class for an additional $39-$149* each way (based on a required round-trip Main Cabin ticket purchase). Then fly anytime from November 19, 2016, through January 2, 2017.
— "First Class Deals, Now Through Nov. 1" - Delta Air Lines email

Generally, I would not pay for domestic First Class simply because the prices are usually too high to justify the relatively small incremental value I receive on what are typically fairly short flights. As part of my recent European Gridiron Adventure trip, I had two segments in domestic First Class on American Airlines. That included preferred boarding, a bigger seat near the front of the aircraft, a drink before take-off, and a bag of chips. That's what I call small incremental value. 

The extra seat width was nice but that is the probably the only significant perk that would tempt me to upgrade to First. Legroom is typically not a factor as I usually get Comfort+. I get preferred boarding on Delta - though behind First Class and Diamond Medallions - thanks to my American Express Delta Sky Miles Platinum Card. That being said, upgrading to First for less than $100 might be worthwhile depending on the specifics of a flight.

I don't have any fly-away trips planned for the rest of the year, but if that changes before November 1, I will definitely consider whether an upgrade to First is worthwhile.

News Bits: AA integrates pilot scheduling, Gogo upgrading network, Delta adds seasonal Europe flights

News Bits: AA integrates pilot scheduling, Gogo upgrading network, Delta adds seasonal Europe flights

News tidbits from last week included American Airlines integrating US Airways pilots and planes into its scheduling system, Gogo upgrading its network for inflight WiFi, and Delta Air Lines adding seasonal service from Boston and New York to Europe.

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Qatar launches service to Atlanta amid drama

Qatar Airways launched its Doha-Atlanta service with an A380 superjumbo. While the airliner was greeted with the usual inaugural flight festivities, there was drama surrounding the arrival. Delta Air Lines, which it has been feuding with Qatar, controls the only gate that can handle an A380 and was not able to make it available to Qatar. The solution? Unloading the world's largest airliner with airstairs. Welcome back to 1963.

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Delta launches Comfort+ as a fare on select international flights

After debuting Comfort+ as a bookable fare on domestic flights last fall, Delta Air Lines has taken the next step. For flights on or after September 19, 2016 "to and from the Asia-Pacific and Latin America/Caribbean regions," customers can book Comfort+ as a fare rather than a seat upgrade option. 

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Delta picking up its toys and going home - WAAH!

Delta was upset that the Atlanta institution, the Fox Theatre, which the airline has sponsored for over 20 years, hosted a gala by Qatar Airways that celebrated the launch of Qatar's Doha-Atlanta route.  Delta took affront at this and decided to cancel its sponsorship of the theater, effective next year. I find this utterly childish and petty.

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