What Are Interline Baggage Agreements And Why Do They Matter?

Once you earn enough points and miles to book an award trip, you may quickly find out that booking a ticket from your home town to the decided destination on your preferred dates with the miles you have is near impossible. However, if you do find that trip, book it immediately and then run to the store to get a lottery ticket because it’s obviously a lucky day for you.

Rest assured, there’s going to be a time where you’ll need to fly from your home airport to the departure city for your award ticket. In award travel lingo, that’s called a positioning flight.

Choosing which airline to take for your positioning flight may make the difference between an almost seamless connection or a sense of déjà vu where you’ll need to do the entire airport check-in process all over again. That means you’d need to land, go to baggage claim to collect luggage, head back up to the departures lane, recheck your bags and go back through security. If your international flight is leaving from a large airport like JFK, LAX or O’Hare, you’ll also need to take a train between terminals with all of your luggage (except you can’t do that from O’Hare right now).

That is, unless the two airlines you’re flying have an interline baggage agreement. These agreements go into airlines’ booking tickets on the other airlines and accommodating delayed passengers as well, but what we’re interested in is the baggage rules.

Here’s a simplified list of the interline baggage rules for the major U.S. carriers:
NOTE: You’ll see the term PNR thrown around in these descriptions, which stands for Passenger Name Record. That’s the six character number assigned to your airline reservation. You can save several flights under the same PNR, even from different airlines. The issue we are discussing involves having two flights on different airlines with different PNR’s
Bold type is for emphasis on rules for two separate tickets.

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How To Go To New York City & Not Eat Like A Tourist

It’s been estimated that there are 24,000 restaurants in New York City, and that’s not including the other four boroughs – that’s just in Manhattan alone! A good bunch of them are privately-owned, non-chain establishments. So if there’s one thing that I just don’t understand, it’s when people come to New York City as tourists and eat the same food as they would at home.

“We couldn’t find anyplace good to eat so we went to the Olive Garden on 47th between 7th and Broadway. I love their salad and breadsticks!”

“We were thinking of going to TGI Friday’s but ate at the Applebee’s – it was right across the street from the theater.”

“We wanted to eat pizza while we were in NYC, so we went to Pizza Hut.”

Now, I can can see if people have kids in tow and the only thing they’ll eat are Chicken McNuggets. Or maybe they want to go to a touristy place if it’s a “name” that they may never get to go to anywhere else, like the Hard Rock Cafe, Planet Hollywood or Junior’s (even I sometimes eat at Junior’s LOL! Oh, their matzoh ball soup and cheesecake!). But did you know you can walk about 2 blocks away from Times Square and eat at the same places New Yorkers eat? And the food might not only taste better, but it may even be a little bit cheaper precisely because they’re not in the heart of Times Square (and paying Times Square rent) and they’re not catering to tourists?

In fact, there’s a whole block of restaurants just like that, and it’s a simple name to remember…

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Review Of Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge: Newark Airport

NOTE: Shortly after my last visit to the Air Canada lounge, they left the Priority Pass lounge network. 

Newark Airport – the place that stayed retro until it was cool again. Parts of Newark Airport look like you’re walking back into the late 1960s. I give them credit that they’re trying to refurbish the airport but most of the money has been spent by United to upgrade their base at Terminal C. The other two terminals have been left as a memorial to what airports used to look like.

Home to what must be the worst layout for a TSA checkpoint, terminal A is split into three bays, each consisting of several gates in a circular layout located at the end of a long hallway connecting the spokes to the main terminal. Each spoke has its own TSA checkpoint and there’s no way to go between spokes without leaving the secure area and going through screening again. So basically once you’re at your gate area, you’re stuck.

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Those flying from gates A10-18, home to Air Canada, JetBlue and Southwest, have few options once clearing security. You can sit at the gate or get food from Currito Cantina (Note from Sharon: I checked and nope, it’s not Burrito Cantina, with a B. It’s Currito, with a C. WTH is a currito?), grab a Boars Head sandwich or Ben & Jerry’s. The gate area is not the most relaxing of places to spend time, since it’s usually crowded, and that’s when there aren’t any delayed flights. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having to spend time around a bunch of people from Jersey when their plane is delayed. The phone conversations you’ll hear sound like outtakes from The Sopranos. (Remember, I grew up there so I can say that) 🙂

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However, there’s one more option of where to wait for your flight – the Air Canada Maple Leaf lounge.

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Where’s Your Happy Place?

Your happy place is where you just feel right. It may be somewhere you visit often or somewhere you’ve only been once. It’s a place that envelops you and covers you in a feeling of happiness and joy. It’s a place where you’re sad when you have to leave and all you can think about is how and when you’re going to get back.

Before Guinan shows up and reminds me that I’m stealing the description of the Nexus from Star Trek: Generations, let me explain.

Guinan TNG

A happy place means something different to everyone. Continue reading “Where’s Your Happy Place?”

Hotel Review: Courtyard New York Manhattan/Central Park

We’ve stayed at several hotels in Manhattan around the theater district. We’ve gone fancy, like the time we stayed at the Waldorf=Astoria and we’ve gone for the best value when we stayed at the Fitzpatrick Grand Central. This trip, we had a set of parameters we needed a hotel to meet. We didn’t want it to be too expensive and we wanted to be close to the Sheraton New York on 53rd St.

I was flexible with booking either a chain or independent hotel since I planned on using our Citi Prestige card to book our four-night stay and get one night free. A quick search turned up a hotel which had a rate which was almost too low to be believed.

Going to the hotel website, I confirmed the rate was real and booked a room with the Citi Concierge via email.

Here are the details of our stay:

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