LOT Polish launching direct flights between San Francisco and Warsaw beginning in August 2020

LOT Polish is introducing a new flight that I’m very excited about – direct from San Francisco to Warsaw, Poland.

The flight, which is set to start on August 5, 2020, will initially have the following schedule:

Mondays and Fridays:

  • LO35 Warsaw to San Francisco departing 11:35AM arriving 2:30PM
  • LO36 San Francisco to Warsaw departing 4:25PM arriving 1:00PM (+1 day)

Wednesdays and Saturdays:

  • LO35 Warsaw to San Francisco departing 5:20PM arriving 8:15PM
  • LO36 San Francisco to Warsaw departing 10:10PM arriving 6:45PM (+1 day)

I flew LOT Polish from Chicago to Budapest last year and had a great experience and I’ve been wanting to see Poland, so I’m sure I’ll take advantage of this flight!

As low as $2,003 round-trip for business class between San Francisco and Europe on American/British Airways

There are some great business class deals to Europe right now from San Francisco! I recently booked one-way from Paris, France to San Francisco (via Lisbon) on TAP Portgual’s new A330neo for $1,160, which I considered to be a pretty good deal.

But if you’re looking for round-trip travel, you’re in even more luck. Using Google Flights, I was able to find the following deals:

  • San Francisco to Barcelona for $2,003 (April 6-14, 2020)
  • San Francisco to Lisbon for $2,034 (April 7-16, 2020)
  • San Francisco to Budapest for $2,040 (January 1-9, 2020)
  • San Francisco to Brussels for $2,040 (April 7-16, 2020)
  • San Francisco to Milan for $2,063 (January 2-9, 2020)
  • San Francisco to Paris for $2,082 (April 7-16, 2020)
  • San Francisco to Berlin for $2,084 (April 8-16, 2020)
  • San Francisco to Mallorca, Spain for $2,129 (April 7-16, 2020)

These are just samples, and although the lowest prices are largely for the middle of April, you can find other fares for only a few hundred more within a few months of those dates.

This would also make for a great status trip run — the San Francisco to Paris deal above would net you 23,996 elite qualifying miles (EQMs) and 9,510 award miles on American Airlines.

Japan Airlines introduces seat map that tells you if you’re sitting next to an infant

With this announcement, Japan Airlines may now be my favorite airline in the world.

In a move that is sure to please almost every passenger, Japan Airlines has announced that they will now include an icon showing whether your seat is next to a child aged 8 days to 2 years old. The icon looks like this:

Baby

This benefits passengers who don’t want to sit next to a screaming a child and parents who don’t want to bother noise-sensitive travelers.

In a statement released on its website, Japan Airlines (JAL) said:

“Passengers traveling with children between 8 days and 2 years old who select their seats on the JAL website will have a child icon displayed on their seats on the seat selection screen.”

The only downside seems to be that the baby icon won’t appear for those who book their travel outside the JAL website (such as through the Chase platform or with partner award miles). That said, I think this is a great offering and hope other airlines follow suit!

United MileagePlus miles will no longer expire

Effective immediately, your United MileagePlus miles will no longer expire (and if your miles were set to expire in July/August 2019, United will be re-instating them).

It’s interesting how United is switching its loyalty program to be more and more like Delta’s – first, by introducing dynamic pricing for award tickets¬†and now by eliminating expiration dates for miles earned.

While it may sound good that your miles will never expire, United miles are now worth less because of the switch to dynamic pricing, so the recent changes are a mixed bag. Aside from that, Delta’s SkyMiles have the worst redemption values of all the miles of the major U.S. carriers, so United’s adopting of Delta’s reward model makes me a little nervous.

What are your thoughts on United making it so that MileagePlus miles never expire? Let me know in the comments!

SFO is shutting down its main runway for 20 days with significant delays expected

SFO will be shutting down its main runaway for 20 days beginning on September 7th, prompting United to send out a text offering free ticket changes to San Francisco travelers.

According to the text from United, “Delays of 30 to 45 minutes on average are expected for all flights after 9 a.m., with some flights delayed by up to 2 hours.”

I had no idea about this planned construction but I lucked out (*knocks on wood*), having booked a trip leaving SFO on September 6th. However, now I will definitely expect a delay on my flight home on September 11th.

If you have a choice, try to book through Oakland or San Jose while construction is ongoing. Otherwise, be prepared for an average of a 30-45 minute delay (though, of course, you’ll have to be at the airport waiting just in case you’re on one of the few flights that takes off on time!).

Cathay Pacific CEO resigns after refusing to give names of protesting employees to Chinese Aviation Authority

At a time where corporate profit and greed seem to dominate the headlines globally, Rupert Hogg, the now former-CEO of Cathay Pacific airlines, stands out as an exception.

According to the Taiwan News, Mr. Hogg was asked by Beijing authorities to hand over a list of all Cathay Pacific employees who participated in the recent Hong Kong protests, and Mr. Hogg responded by submitting a list with only his name on it.

I think this is a really bold and awesome move and that whoever replaces Mr. Hogg will follow his footsteps if asked for similar information. Although, admittedly, I’m not an expert in Chinese law (but did take one class in law school!), I think the idea of giving out employees’ names for participating in protests is offensive, and that Mr. Hogg made the right call.

Employees who feel looked after will, almost always, look after their employer. This makes me even more excited to fly Cathay in November, although I’ll have to see if Mr. Hogg’s replacement takes a similar stance (and if Hong Kong’s airport will even be open by then).

SFO bans the sale of plastic water bottles

Effective August 20th, San Francisco International Airport will become the first American airport to ban the sale of plastic water bottles. The decision to prohibit the sale of plastic water bottles is related to a San Francisco ordinance banning the sale of plastic water bottles on city-owner property and is part of a broader plan to eliminate carbon emissions, most landfill waste, and increase energy use efficiency.

As a frequent traveler who doesn’t always fly with a refillable water bottle (shame on me!), I’m slightly bummed by this but know it is the right move. I’m happy that it will push me and other travelers to bring our own water bottles.

I wouldn’t be surprised and hope to see other airports implement similar bans in the near future, with my guess that Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, Denver and all Hawaii airports being the most likely to follow-through with a similar prohibition.

What do you think of the plastic water ban? Let me now in the comments!