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Airline pilots and their extremely rigorous training

 Rathke A few of you may have had the privilege of visiting the flight deck of a commercial airliner, and found yourself fascinated by the myriad levers, buttons, and other mechanisms surrounding the captain and co-pilot. After seeing that instrument panel, have you ever wondered what kind of training a pilot has? Of course, they must have a flight license, but how do you study for it? How long does it take? Are there other requirements along with flight training itself? Here's a quick…

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6 tips for finding cheap airline tickets

  Travelers who are passionate about wandering to new destinations often put a hold on their exploration owing to expenses. In order to fulfill all their travel wishes, and to save money for their next trips, they need to cut down flight expenses. If your someone who wants to save on travels, cutting down on flight booking cost is one of the ways to reduce your expenses. Flight tickets costs vary depending on the day of the week, time of the week, and holidays. Follow these simple tricks to…

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Standing Tall, Guiding All: A Look at Air-Traffic-Control Towers

 Tiia Monto You’ve all no doubt noticed that building, at or near the airport, which  resembles a lighthouse. In fact, air-traffic-control towers are lighthouses of a sort, albeit much more sophisticated and with many more functions. But what's inside an air traffic-control tower? Does is have more than one floor inside? Why is it so tall? Are they all the same? Here's a post to clarify a few things about one of the most complex buildings at any post  

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  • Thanks for that, Donna! If at any point (while trying to follow those rules) however, you find yourself running into some trouble.... Fear not! First Class and Beyond is always there to help!!   :-)

  • Ari, I will never buy miles from an airline, even at 1.3 cents. And I didn't know any of your other general rules, but I will live by them from now on. 

  • Correct. That said, with the exception of El Al (and their "Matmid") program, I don't know any airline that charges to join their mileage program.

  • My general rules are:

    1) NEVER buy miles from an airline (unless a promotion puts them at a cost of 1.3 cents or less).

    2) NEVER redeem miles for domestic trips or any kind (unless they're short flights using BA Avios, or long cross-country business class flights using LH Miles and More).

    3) NEVER redeem miles for int'l coach tickets.

    4) Try to avoid flying on the airline whose miles you are using. For example, are you using United miles? Try flying on Thai, Asiana or Lufthansa instead!

    5) ALWAYS try to include a stopover (and/or open-jaw - depending on airline redemption rules) in each award booking. 

    6) If using bank points, make sure they can be transferred (at a 1:1 ratio) to airline partners.

    6a) ONLY redeem miles after they've been transferred.

    Following these rules will almost guarantee a five cent (or even 12-15 cent) valuation on each of your redeemed miles/points!

  • Thanks, Ari and Anil. You've confirmed what I know, which is, it's hard to know what your miles are worth. 20 years ago it was simpler to figure that out, so it was easier to determine if it's worth it to pay a fee (say, $75) for a frequent flyer credit card. Today, too many variables for a quick answer to that question, right? 

  • Certainly all airlines assign value to those miles. Some airlines even sell you miles to make up any shortfall (at fairly outrageous rates).  The Airlines also sell miles to businesses as a part of company promotions.  

    Award ticket for short haul turn out in favor of the airline; Award tickets for long haul international turn out in favor of a smart pax :)

  • Well Sam, this is not actually as simple as it seems. The very short answer is no: Your airline miles can not be cashed out for any value. That said, many credit card points (think AMEX, Chase, Capital One) can be - they often encourage people to use points to pay off bills or to redeem them for gift cards.

    Unfortunately, those CC points are often redeemed at a one cent value (as you mentioned). In reality however - when you really maximize the value of those airline miles or CC points on int'l business and first class flights - you can easily get 5, 7, 10 or even up to 15 cents of value out of each point/mile! That's generally where I (and my business) come in. 

  • Thanks, Ari. Something has been on my mind as I shuffle through my frequent flyer accounts. There used to be a fairly accurate monetary equivalent of loyalty miles in your account, so if you had 50,000 loyalty miles, you knew its approximate worth in dollars. (One mile equals one cent, or whatever it was.) Does that sort of equation exist today?  

  • Hi Everyone! I'm in the points/miles business, so if there are any questions out there feel free to send them my way!

  • Tried to send this from my iPhone yesterday. Bari and Brindisi are only about an hour away from each other. Just take a train or bus to the right airport. It will add about 2 hours to your airport commute. It shouldn't be a problem.

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