Tonight, I find myself back in San Francisco. After a little re-orientation, I can find my away around almost as effectively as I have never left. And the same restaurants still are good – a decade later. The major change, however, is how upmarket Geary Street and the area around Union Square have become – compared to when I lived there. Wow! Pictures forthcoming after the end of the trip…

Another Week, Another Flight

As I previously posted, I’m doing a lot of travel for work. But it’s mostly between Ottawa and Vancouver. This qualifies me to be an unofficial expert on the best ways to traverse the Star Alliance system in North America. Some observations:

  • Vancouver has an e-Border; great for Canadian citizens returning to Canada. You avoid the lines.
  • Vancouver is the only airport I have seen that allows for checking bags between the US and Canada without having to re-check them. More time saved.
  • Toronto still has the most flight selection – though they could really use a morning departure to Seattle (again)
  • Chicago offers the most connection options – but you run the risk of weather delays/cancellations; on the flip side, you clear US customs in Canada which makes for less connecting hassles.

And that’s all for now!

The Infrequent Frequent Flyer

I am traveling for work. More so than I have done in many years. But, for the first time in a decade – without any frequent flier status. I have been at least a Premier Executive on United Airlines since 2001 – with a few 100K years.

During the last year, I flew very little – given some interesting work dynamics. So, I’m not even a Premier. And to compound it, re-earning the miles has been made more difficult, thanks to issues getting credit for Star Alliance flights on Air Canada.

The aggravating and interesting things to note:

  • You have to be very careful to make sure the right program is getting credit. If your boarding pass doesn’t say it, it’s probably an issue – no matter what the agents say. Make them change it.
  • Checking in for the first flight on one mileage plan does not guarantee that number will be propagated to the subsequent flights – another glitch of the kiosk system.
  • Air Canada has a far lower bar for getting Star Alliance Gold status than United; perhaps I’m backing the wrong horse? But without it, no Economy Plus and complementary upgrades – which make a big difference on flying UA versus the same economy treatment on AC. And with the Continental merger, even more destinations I am likely to fly at some point.

Interesting ramblings. Now, back to work – and the trip.