The Short Final

Dominic is a full-time consultant who aims to bring you news and inspiration about the best travel experiences, destinations, and industry insights without all the unnecessary fluff. Focus is on American AAdvantage and Starwood / Marriott loyalty programs.

Philadelphia Needs More Trans-Atlantic Competition

Philadelphia has always been a USAir town and of course now an American Airlines town. This is both good and bad. Unlike many, I actually like American. Of course, I’ve had a share of bad experiences, but overall the airline has been good to me. However, I couldn’t help but notice how high fares are to Europe out of Philadelphia. The reason for the high fares is the sore lack of competition on trans-Atlantic routes. In the map below, the blue routes are those that American operates with no competition. The red routes are those that American competes over...

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Review: Bluffworks Wrinkle Resistant Dress Clothes for Men

I recently met with the nice folks over at Bluffworks about putting some of their “wrinkle resistant” business clothing through the paces. I’m on the road alot for work and having to iron my clothes is such a pain. Flying to a client site on a Monday morning dressed in my business attire and showing up looking like a wrinkled mess is usually the norm. As much as I try to take off my suit jacket and fold it neatly during the flight, it usually gets wrinkled one way or another. I don’t take reviews and recommendations lightly, especially when it...

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How to Master ExpertFlyer (Part 2): Finding Awards

Last week I gave a brief rundown of some of the basics when working with ExpertFlyer. In this installment, I’ll dive deep into how to use ExpertFlyer to find award space. Other posts in this series: How to Master ExpertFlyer (Part 1): The Basics How to Master ExpertFlyer (Part 2): Finding Awards How to Master ExpertFlyer (Part 3): Predicting Your Upgrade Chances How to Master ExpertFlyer (Part 4): Seat Maps, Alerts, and More ExpertFlyer allows you to search a particular airline for award space. Before we begin I think it’s important to understand the concept of inventory when it...

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My AMEX Platinum Concierge Success Story

I consistently see mixed reviews when it comes to the effectiveness of the American Express Platinum Concierge, which comes as a complimentary benefit to Platinum cardholders. The Concierge is touted to be able to get reservations at booked restaurants, concerts, etc. A few weeks ago I decided to put the Concierge to the ultimate test. Zahav is one of the best restaurants in the country. Chef and owner Michael Solomonov is a famed master at creating delicious Israeli-inspired dishes. Some of Solomonov’s other restaurants are Federal Donuts, Goldie, Dizengoff, and Rooster Soup Company (which donates 100% of profits to...

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How to Master ExpertFlyer (Part 1): The Basics

This is part one of a multi-part series aimed at helping you use ExpertFlyer to your advantage: How to Master ExpertFlyer (Part 1): The Basics How to Master ExpertFlyer (Part 2): Finding Upgrades How to Master ExpertFlyer (Part 3): Predicting Your Upgrade Chances How to Master ExpertFlyer (Part 4): Seat Maps, Alerts, and More ExpertFlyer is one of the best tools for planning award travel. One of the complaints I hear most about ExpertFlyer is how it’s somewhat complicated to learn and understand, which is why I thought it would be beneficial to put together a mini-series on how...

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Listen: Philly Air Traffic Control Clears World Champion Eagles for Landing

If you know me you know I’m a huge Eagles fan. Born and raised in South Philadelphia I’ve been waiting for this my whole life — albeit not as long as some old timers! It’s truly an exciting time in Philly. After the Super Bowl, the Eagles team departed on American flight #9475, an Airbus A330-200, from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to Philadelphia (PHL): Seeing as there was no shot I was going in to work after the parade, I went to Philly airport to welcome the Champs home. As you can imagine the atmosphere was electric. The fans weren’t...

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What to Do if You Have No Time to Travel?

Look, we’re all genuinely busy. Most of us have demanding jobs that require most of our time and energy. If you’re like me, the work never really stops. One of the biggest complaints I hear from people is how they don’t have time to travel, and that’s okay! Allow me to offer you a couple of tips for when you’re feeling bogged down and held prisoner by your commitments. Take advantage of weekends There’s no need to take long extended vacations. Weekends are your best friend! In fact, fellow Boarding Area blogger Sam Chui maintains a full-time day job and...

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The Weekender: Quick Jaunt to Portland, Maine

One of the reasons why I started this blog is because I wanted to share stories about destinations, culture, and food/drink. I’ll aim to share some insight into a new destination every couple of weeks or so and I’ll title each installment as The Weekender because these places are able to be done in a weekend without much effort. The first installment takes us to beautiful and crisp Portland, Maine. The Weekender will be written by me and from my own personal experiences. This way you can rest assured that I’m not just feeding crap information. Every place mentioned in these...

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The First Things You Should Do as a New Business Traveler

One of the first things you’re told (at least that’s my hope) as a new employee in a traveling role is to sign up for loyalty accounts. You wouldn’t believe the number of points and miles I see left on the table by colleagues. My hope with this post is that you learn these basic tips and don’t make the same mistake. Sign up for Loyalty Accounts Your first step is to begin signing up for as many loyalty programs as you can. If you feel overwhelmed, you should start with thinking about which airline dominates your home airport...

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A Portable Battery Pack Caught Fire on An Aeroflot Flight

Aeroflot flight 1182 (tail VQ-BPU), a five year old Airbus A320, from Moscow to Volgograd landed safely as normal, but while taxiing to the gate, a passenger’s portable battery pack caught fire (also called a thermal runaway). Thankfully, this mishap didn’t happen in the air because as you can see from the video below, it was a pretty scary ordeal.   According to the AvHerald: Surrounding passengers poured bottles of water over the device temporarily extinguishing the flames, the thermal runaway however continued, the device re-ignited. Cabin crew finally reached the device, passengers and cabin crew poured additional water...

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