After 10 flights, a review of United’s Silver elite status

Using a status match that took only 15 minutes to complete, I received United’s lowest level elite status a few months ago.


At SFO, on one of the 10.

Here are the benefits of the various levels of United elite status.

The benefit I cared about the most was getting free access to United’s Economy Plus seats, which have a few extra inches of leg room.

Even as a lowly Silver, each United flight I take I’m put on the list to be upgraded to First or Business class.

How’d I do on upgrades after 10 flights? Not well. 0/10. Continue reading

3 essential features of Google Flights & how to use them

Without a doubt my favorite travel tool, Google Flights is where I start researching any flight I want to take.

Though Google Flights has dozens of features, here are the three that any traveler can use:

1. Discover trips.

Know you want to take a trip but not sure where to go on your budget? Just put in your airport of origin and approximate dates, and Google Flights will make some suggestions for you.

Screen Shot 2017-11-28 at 3.54.08 PM Continue reading

Dance floor legroom & Carolina lovebirds. Charlotte to SF in AA economy plus (A321)

The mid-60s North Carolina couple next me were heading to San Francisco for the first time, celebrating their 25th anniversary, and their party had already started.

Vodka/Red Bull with Bud Light was their go-to for refreshment on the 5+ hour flight (die-hard Stoli loyalists, they settled for the Texas-made Tito’s vodka).

I knew I’d picked an exit row seat, but I had no idea there’d be a small dance floor in front of my row: Continue reading

Hotel review: Hilton Helsinki Kalastajatorppa


That may be the longest word I’ve ever typed.

The Hilton Helsinki Kalastajatorppa’s name is about as long as the trek to get to it from the airport, but it’s a classic, waterfront hotel that can be enjoyed for just 25k Hilton Honors points per night.


Let’s call it Kal, short for Kalastajatorppa. Continue reading