American Airlines

Airlines + you = hurricane aid

hurricane-matthew-weather-channel

Courtesy the Weather Channel

As Hurricane Matthew continues to pound the southeast U.S. coast, airlines are joining in to encourage everyone to donate funds to help out those affected by the storm.

American Airlines – which has canceled thousands of flights this past week due to the storm – works with the Red Cross year-round and, though Oct. 31, 2016 is giving AAdvantage members who donate $50-$100 to the Red Cross a thank-you of 250 AAdvantage miles. Those who donate $100 or more will receive a 500 AAdvantage miles award.

Details on the American Airlines offer are available here.

United Airlines is also offering some thank-you miles in exchange for your donations to help with hurricane relief efforts:

The carrier is partnering with the Red Cross, Americares, Airlink and OperationUSA and is making five million bonus miles available on a match basis to MileagePlus customers who donate to these organizations through the online donations platform, CrowdRise.

Enter your MileagePlus number when you make your donation, and you can receive miles based on the size of your gift:

·Donate $50-$99 – Earn 250 bonus miles
·Donate $100-$249 – Earn 500 bonus miles
·Donate $250 or more – Earn 1,000 bonus miles.

United’s offer is available on a first-come, first-served basis for donations made here.

New/retro amenity kits for American Airlines

American Airlines new amenity kit

American Airlines has rolled out a new batch of what it is calling “Going for Great” upgrades and among the perks are limited edition amenity kits honoring nine airlines that have morphed into the modern-day airline: American Airlines, AirCal, Allegheny, America West, Piedmont, PSA, Reno Air, TWA and US Airways.

American Airlines Heritage TWA Amenity Kit

The retro-themed heritage amenity kits will be available through January 2016 for passengers in international Business Class or transcontinental First Class and are felt cases designed to be re-used as a mini-tablet computer case.

The airline plans to roll the legacy themes out in batches of three every four months.

In international Business Class the kits will contain a pair of socks and an eye mask styled with the colors of a specific airline, a toothbrush and toothpaste, mouthwash, headset covers earplugs, a pen, tissues, hand lotion, lip balm and wipes.

The amenity kits in transcontinental First Class will have socks and an eye mask with the airline branding, a toothbrush and toothpaste, earplugs, and personal care products.

International First Class customers will receive new, larger kits, containing socks and an eye mask, mouthwash, headset covers, a toothbrush and toothpaste, earplugs, pen, tissues and personal care products. Upgraded pajamas and cotton terry slippers will also be handed out.

As a nice bonus, American will also start handing out amenity kits in Business Class on its transcontinental service between New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as Miami and Los Angeles.

Airlines encouraging disaster relief donations

Heartbroken over the images and stories coming out of Oklahoma?

Oklahoma Tornados 2013

Courtesy American Red Cross

 

 

Airlines are joining in to encourage you to help out by donating some money or miles.

Here are a few that have posted notices on their websites:

Through June 30, 2012, American Airlines AAdvantage members can earn a one-time bonus of 250 AAdvantage miles for a minimum donation of $50, or 500 AAdvantage miles for a minimum donation of $100 or more to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. More details here.

You can also to donate to disaster relief through the Alaska Airlines Charity Mile Pool  and through Southwest Airlines, which is working with American Red Cross Disaster Relief to raise funds to help those affected by the tornadoes, as well as for military members and their families and other relief services.  

Carry-on only? Board early on American Airlines

TRAVEL SUITCASES

After running a test of the program in several cities, American Airlines has decided to make is official:

Passengers traveling with just one small carry-on that will fit under the seat in front of them will now be allowed to board earlier than other customers – before Group 2.

The program was tested in Austin, Baltimore, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Kansas City, Mo.,Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Washington-Dulles and the airline expects this new policy to speed up average boarding times.

No doubt it also expects to hear some whining from customers in Group 2 who will now  have to board a bit later in the process.

Breast-pumps not allowed on airplanes? Wrong.

DAWN AND ADY

 

Despite reassurances by reservation agents that using a breast pump at her seat was allowed, American Airlines passenger Dawnella Brahos says she was embarrassed on a recent flight from Minneapolis to Chicago when a flight attendant told her that plugging in the device was forbidden.

“She was speaking in a loud voice, reading a page from a manual and adamant that because it was not pre-approved medical equipment I could not use the pump at my seat,” said Brahos.

“I felt humiliated. Everyone pretty much knew my business at that point and she kept checking back and eyeballing me the whole time to make sure I wasn’t using the pump.”

On April 18, Brahos, a 38-year-old mother of three from Lowell, Ind., was on the last leg of trip to California with her husband. Her three kids, including one still on breast milk, were at home with her mom.

Before her trip, she spent hours on the phone talking to airline reservation agents and their supervisors, all of whom told her not to worry.

“I researched which airplanes had outlets at the seats so I could plug in my pump and I made sure that the type of breast pump I had – a Medela – was approved. I brought along a big Angry Birds blanket to cover myself with. And my husband and I even paid extra to make sure we’d get seats next to each other so I wouldn’t be sitting next to a stranger while using the pump.”

During three legs of the trip, Brahos had no problem using her breast pump during the flight and says helpful flight attendants even let her plug in the breast pump in the galley.

But on the final leg of the trip, Brahos said the flight attendant told her she could not use the galley nor use the pump at her seat. “She even said I was making up the fact that I had used the pump on previous flights,” said Brahos.

“A lot people are saying I should have used the pump in the bathroom, but airplane bathrooms are pretty disgusting places to try to use a breast pump. And even if I did choose to pump in the bathroom, we weren’t even allowed to get up from our seats because the flight was so rough.”

American Airlines issued an apology, saying it does not have a policy prohibiting the use of breast pumps in-flight.

“We apologize for the experience Ms. Brahos had on a recent flight. Our in-flight personnel are trained to handle these situations with professionalism and discretion… As with other devices that have an on/off switch, customers will be asked not to use them during takeoff and landing.”

“Our procedures advise our crews to ensure that mothers who are breastfeeding or using breast pumps have the privacy they need,” said American Airlines spokesperson Andrea Huguely.

La Leche League International encourages mothers to check with the airline if they plan to travel with a breast pump. Because “we clearly still have a culture that is not yet aware of the needs of breastfeeding mothers,” La Leche International spokesperson Diana West says it’s a good idea to print out and carry a copy of the airline’s rules with them when they travel.

Brahos received a $100 voucher from an airline representative at the airport after she complained about her treatment, but is planning on filing a formal complaint. For now, she says she wants the airline “to let moms do what they need to do.”

(My story Breast-pumping mom felt humiliated by flight attendant first appeared on NBC News