American Airlines

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

Travel contests: because you can’t win if you don’t play

prizes

I’m a big believer in “you can’t win if you don’t play,” so here are a few contests to enter with great travel adventures as prizes:

From now through March 8th, 2013 San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is celebrating Scandinavian Airlines’ (SAS) new non-stop service to Copenhagen with a Facebook sweepstakes (and a strange little video starring hamsters). Entrants choose their favorite destination from one of 12 European cities served by SAS and the winner of a random drawing will be awarded two round-trip Economy Class tickets on SAS to the destination they selected. Enter here.

Also through March 8, American Airlines is having a contest with four grand prizes that include a first class trip for two anywhere the airline flies, a year-long Admiral’s Club membership, Five Star Service (“To whisk you through the airport like a star”), a Samsung Tablet, Bose headphones, first-class pajamas, and a $1,000 gift card. Enter here.

And, to welcome the terracotta warriors to San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum, Cathay Pacific Airways is giving away prizes that include a 10-day China tour and a chance to fly to Xi’an to see the iconic terracotta warriors in their homeland.  Enter here through March 18.

  • Grand Prize: 10 days/9 nights “Cathay Pacific Essence of China” tour, including a pair of roundtrip Economy Class tickets on Cathay Pacific to Beijing, Shanghai and a private sightseeing tour to view the real Terracotta soldiers in Xi’an.
  • 2nd Prize – A one weekend night stay at the Galleria Park hotel in San Francisco, plus pair of VIP tickets to see the Asian Art Museum’s “China’s Terracotta Warriors” exhibition
  • 3rd Prize – An Annual Family Membership at Asian Art Museum plus a copy of the official exhibition souvenir book

Good luck!

Travel tidbits: double miles, bonus points & more

American Airlines is sorry.

Sorry about a lot of things, no doubt, but definitely sorry about the service it’s been providing to passengers recently.

So in an effort to make nice, the airline is offering some nice bonus mile deals between now and the end of the year.

AAdvantage members will earn double miles on American Airlines, American Eagle or the American Connection carrier from November 16, 2012, through November 26, 2012 and earn double elite-qualifying miles and points for flights taken between now and the end of the year. You’ll need to register for the offer. Details here.

Want more bonuses?  Sign up for the “Thanks Again” program, which awards frequent-flier miles for parking, shopping or dining at participating merchants at the airports and at businesses in many towns. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport just joined the program and it’s a fair bet that your local airport has signed up too.  Do a search here to find out.

And here’s something fun:

This spring all Finnair airplanes will be decked out with special textiles and tableware bearing classic patterns from Marimekko, a Finnish design firm. Two of the airline’s long-haul aircraft will also be painted with a livery based on Marimekko designs. An Airbus A340 is already adorned with a floral print from 1964 and another plane will get its Marimekko marking in the spring.