Nov 29

Monday, November 29, 2010 

I took my first “post merger” (announcement) Continental flight, BOS-IAH today. So far, not quite there yet.

First, the upgrade queues are not merged yet, so as a UAL customer, I’m at the back of the list. An uncomfortable place to be (literally) as I didn’t even manage to score their equivalent of an economy plus seat. Star alliance gold is the highest status Continental recognizes from UAL, which is pretty far down the list. I was about 8 for 2 spaces on the way out and this time much close, 2 for 1 space. No advance upgrades for UAL customers.

The BOS Club is attractive, but they have less goodies than the BOS RCC. Currently serving beer and wine only, and a few packaged snacks. The Presidential club is also effectively berift of outlets, so don’t plan to charge your devices there. It is probably easier to find an outlet in the concourse. I spent 10 years lobbying UAL for more outlets in RCCs, and each club remodel has brought more. Continental does win on wifi – just connect and go; no password hassle at all.

The IAH club is nice than BOS: fewer work pods but more comfortable seating and a few comfortable seats with outlets. The feature that Continental brought to UAL is free well drinks (not open wifi :-( The feature UAL is going to bring to continental clubs is no entry for amex platinum cards (starting late winter).

Continental charges $6 to watch their stupid DirectTV feed. Live broadcast TV is just as hopeless on a plane as it is on the ground. The days of people staying home to make sure they catch their favorite shows are long over, let alone hoping something happens to be on while you’re on a plane. That’s a minus.

The seat power seems to work right, that’s a plus. United has implemented Empower 110V 60hz plug in seat power, but they seem to have consistently derated it so you can’t run a 90W power supply on it for more than a few minutes without tripping the breaker. I like the old KID DC systems better – I have no problems with my W500 on them. But the Astronics 1215 systems on UAL planes seem to be cut back to about 75W per seat (this can be done via a 1176 AMCU, but I haven’t verified this yet).

Apparently the merger is supposed to get a little close to complete by the end of next year. Until then, I’ll preferentially fly connecting UAL flights over direct continental ones, at least long-haul. Once the merger is complete it’ll be nice to have such a large network with full elite privileges. Now if only we could merge Lufthansa and bring their culinary standards along…



Posted at 17:22:39 GMT-0700

Category: Media

Jesus Meme in Italy

Sunday, November 7, 2010 

One of the more awesome costumes at the Lucca Comics and Games festival was the Jesus Meme guy. Meme’s really are international!


Posted at 22:33:27 GMT-0700

Category: Media

Oh Those Funny Germans

Friday, November 5, 2010 

Germans and their odd obsessions. I had no idea that Hamburg was the center of “Brown Gold” in Germany.


Posted at 13:00:55 GMT-0700

Category: Media

FAIL Anti-Skid System

Tuesday, November 2, 2010 

I’ve never heard of an “anti-skid system” failing on a plane, but it seems to be the equivalent of anti-lock brakes. Today Carolyn and I were in Zurich, on our UAL 767 waiting to fly to IAD… waiting…. waiting… about 3 hours.

Then they come grab us and hustle all the 1st and business people off the nice, updated 767 and tell us to run to the ZRH-FRA gate a terminal away. Off we go: by the time we land in FRA our ZRH-IAD flight was on it’s way. At FRA we run a few miles through the terminal and get to a 777 (unconverted, old style seats) and lots of very unhappy people from the ZRH-IAD flight. But no problem, we get to IAD. I miss my 8:00 flight to SFO, but get on the 10:00, all upgraded and such.

Now I’m sitting on it… 30 minutes past departure time at the gate because… the anti-skid system is broken. 1000’s of planes over the years, never had a bad anti-skid system. Now two in one day: it’s an epidemic!

Posted at 19:38:07 GMT-0700

Category: Media