Should You Sign Up For A Credit Card During Your Flight?

If you’ve flown in the past several months, you know the drill. Usually, but not always, towards the end of the flight, the flight attendant will come over the PA system for an announcement. While most announcements are alerting passengers of turbulence or the need to store your laptop computers, this one is different. This announcement is a sales pitch, and there’s no way to avoid it.

Airlines and their employees take different approaches. Some, like American, usually start with some phony pretense like, “We’ve had several passengers ask us during the flight how they can earn more miles!”

While some of the employees play it a little fast and loose with the details about what you’ll get with those miles, you have to wonder if it actually might be a good deal?

Continue reading “Should You Sign Up For A Credit Card During Your Flight?”

Is It Worth The Extra Money To Book A Room Directly From The Hotel Website?

The hotel chains have spent a lot of money on marketing to try to get you to book a hotel room directly with them by using their website or app and have gone with the “carrot and stick” approach to achieve that goal. On one hand, they’ve gone out of their way to market special low “Member Exclusive Rates” that are only available to members of their loyalty program and “Best Rate Guarantees” that tell you if you find a cheaper rate after booking with them, they’ll match it and lower the rate even further. At the same time, the hotel chains penalize you for booking anywhere except directly with them. Some of these “sticks” are they don’t give you any recognition of your loyalty status or let you earn any points in their program when staying on externally booked stays. They’ll also only give perks like free WiFi if you’ve booked directly with them.

When I say you need to book direct with the hotel, I mean you use the hotel’s website, the hotel chain’s website, the smartphone app for the hotel chain, or by calling the hotel to make a reservation.

When I mention using an “external” website, that is basically everything else. Websites like Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Hotels.com, Priceline, Hotels Tonight, Hotwire and Booking.com are just some of them. If you’re completing the booking anywhere but with the hotel, it’s an external website.

Hotel search engines like Trivago, Kayak and TripAdvisor show you prices directly from the hotel as well as from external sites, so it’s best to use something like that to see who has the cheapest price.

So, should you only book your hotel rooms directly with the hotel even if an external site is less expensive?  Continue reading “Is It Worth The Extra Money To Book A Room Directly From The Hotel Website?”

180 Reasons You Should Use AutoSlash For Every Car Rental

Sharon and I go to Texas a couple of time per year to visit Schlitterbahn water park in New Braunfels. As the Austin/San Antonio area has been growing significantly, prices of airfares and rental cars have also been increasing. Because of this, I’ll try to lock in a rental car as soon as I remember to. I do have a list of ways to book a cheap rental car, I’m now only doing one of those steps.

I go to www.AutoSlash.com

Just by putting in some information about my rental, I quickly receive an email back showing the best prices for my rental.

This one, the news didn’t look that good. Continue reading “180 Reasons You Should Use AutoSlash For Every Car Rental”

It’s Possible To Get Work Done On A Plane With No WiFi

One of the comments from business travelers is they’ll only fly on airlines that provide WiFi onboard. That WiFi needs to be fast and it needs to be dependable. Paying a reasonable cost is a factor but if work is paying for the access then it’s not as much of an issue to these travelers.

I know there are people who hold jobs where they’re sending constant messages between one another, or where access to internet-based systems is necessary. Of course for them, WiFi is a dealbreaker. Sadly, not even if they pick the most reliable airline, there’s still a chance the WiFi won’t be in service, or might be working very slow on that flight.

But what about the rest of us? The ones who use the internet to work but don’t work on the internet? Can we still work on a plane?

I recently had a couple of hours to try and get some work done while flying. I managed to pull my head away from the window to grab my laptop.

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I folded down my tray table, which was a workable size. We paid extra for the Stretch seats on Frontier and I opened up my laptop.

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Yep, Still working on the ancient MacBook Air and not the brand new iPad Pro.

I decided maybe I’d try to write some articles. Of course, when I pulled up the browser tab for WordPress, it reminded me I had no internet connection.

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I just tabbed through the open windows and ended up at a Google Docs file I had open. Amazingly, it was still there. Even crazier was that I could edit the document and it told the changes were being saved offline.

Normally, if I wanted to write anything while offline, I’d just go to my notepad, MS Word or even an email message to type. However, I’d prefer to write in Google Docs. I tried to open an entirely new document, and it worked.

I typed away until the end of the flight when I needed to shut down the computer (I copied all my work to an email, just in case this didn’t work).

When we got to the airport, I connected to the airport WiFi (thanks to Austin Airport for the great free WiFi). My Google Doc uploaded to my account as normal.

I was amazed that I could be working on a web-based app with no internet coverage. I looked into this and it’s a feature of Google Drive apps when used with the Chrome browser.

If you aren’t connected to the Internet, you can still view and edit files, including:

  • Google Docs
  • Google Sheets
  • Google Slides

Save and open Google Docs, Sheets & Slides offline

Before you turn on offline access

  • You must be connected to the internet.
  • You must use the Google Chrome browser.
  • Don’t use private browsing.
  • Install and turn on Google Docs Offline Chrome extension.
  • Make sure you have enough available space on your device to save your files.

Open Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides offline

  1. Open Chrome. Make sure you’re signed in to Chrome.
  2. Go to drive.google.com/drive/settings.
  3. Check the box next to “Sync Google Docs, Sheets, Slides & Drawings files to this computer so that you can edit offline.”

Save Google Docs, Sheets & Slides for offline use

  1. On your computer, go to drive.google.com.
  2. Right click the Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides file you want to save offline.
  3. Turn on “Available offline.”

To save multiple files offline, press Shift or Command (Mac)/Ctrl (Windows) while you click other files.

Preview offline files

  1. On your computer, go to drive.google.com.
    • Make sure you turn on offline access first.
  2. At the top right, click Ready for offline Ready for offline.
  3. Click Offline preview.

Final Thoughts

I may be the last one to know about this but after hearing so many complaints about not being able to work on planes with no WiFi, I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to get some work one on this flight. I didn’t have a power plug but since I had the WiFi and Bluetooth off, my battery only went down to 65% for the 2 hours of work

I was always able to work by just typing text into notepad but the process of copying and pasting the text, and lack of proper formatting just made everything so tedious. The ability to look at my current documents, edit them if necessary and compose completely new ones while offline is a new thing for me and one I’ll be using again in the future.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

Frontier Says All Those Checked Baggage Fees Are Good For The Environment

Frontier is currently celebrating their “Green Week.” It’s a promotion that’s pointing out all of the environmentally friendly actions that the airline has made over the years. They even offered to fly anyone with the last name Green(e) for free, and over 1,700 people took them up on the offer.

It’s true that Frontier has the lowest carbon footprint per passenger mile of all the major US airlines.

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There are many things that airlines do to improve efficiency but Frontier’s advantage is the relatively young age of their fleet, which have more fuel-efficient engines and are lighter than their older counterparts.

But you know what Frontier is telling passengers on their planes is the cause for their supergreenness? Charging passengers all those baggage fees.

Continue reading “Frontier Says All Those Checked Baggage Fees Are Good For The Environment”