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Tim Foolery

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Category Archives: Travel

Twitter Engagement

When it comes to social media engagement with Twitter, I’m pretty passive. I join some Twitter chats and engage with some fellow travel bloggers that either mesh with how I travel OR are very different travelers than I am.

I don’t spend a whole lot of time on Twitter. But I do reshare blog posts several times a week and work on supporting (liking, retweeting, commenting) on some fellow bloggers, but it is limited.

Honestly, I don’t think much about Twitter.

I was surprised when I was notified yesterday that I crossed 1,000 Twitter Followers. It was a shock because I haven’t done much of anything on Twitter in December.

Twitter
Crossed the 1K Followers Threshold. Now what?

For all the other bloggers out there, how do you use Twitter? Do you see active engagement and traffic from Twitter? What drives most of your traffic nowadays? Do we follow each other? If not, we should – share your handle with me.

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United Airlines Wifi Refunds

Remember the days when your time on a flight was yours? You were disconnected from the world with no internet, no phones, no connections to the world below? Well those days are over.

Unfortunately with in flight Wifi, you are often plagued with slow downloads and frequently dropped connections. Some airlines have made it relatively easy to to get refund when the internet sucks. Here’s how you get a refund when the United Wifi fails on your flight.

Fortunately, you can do this all yourself, online. No need to call customer service and wait on hold for an extended period. United made it so easy to get a refund now. Maybe it is because their in flight internet is so hit or miss (at least for me over the last six months at least).

The Refund Process

First off, head on over to United’s refund page. This page handles everything from flight refunds, food, drink, upgrades and wifi (plus many more). The process goes much faster if you log into your MileagePlus Account, as most of the info just pre-fills into the forms.

United Wifi Refund
United makes it so easy to get a refund online.
United Wifi Refund
Flight info and receipts needed for Wifi Refund

It takes just a couple of minutes to submit the refund. Surprisingly, each time I submitted a refund, it has been granted and credited back within two business days. Every time I’ve requested a refund it was for a time where I actually had an issue on board. I may not have notified the flight attendant though. Sometimes the wifi works fine for 30 minutes or so, but is then dead for 30-45 minutes.

Despite all the issues I’ve had with United Wifi recently, I still attempt to work a bit on the flight. While it isn’t a perfect system, the ease of getting a refund makes me much less frustrated. However, I do miss the days were I could be completely disconnected while on a flight, don’t you?

Most Popular Blog Posts: 2018 Edition

Each new year, I like to take a look back at the prior year. I recently shared my 2018 Travel Year in Review, which showcased my various flights and trips. Today I’m going to take another look at my most popular travel blog posts in 2018.

Let’s start by defining the parameters. We’ll be looking at two posts 1) The post that was most popular in 2018, regardless of when it was published and 2) The most popular post that was penned in 2018.

Most Popular Post – Any Publishing Date

LATAM In Flight Entertainment (IFE) continues it’s reign as the most popular post viewed in 2018. In this post, I shared how useful LATAM’s App was for maintaining a distraction while flying. It surprises me that this continues to be such a popular topic, two years after it was originally published!

Most Popular Post – Published in 2018

This years most popular post doesn’t really surprise me. The content is beautiful. Not saying this just because I created it, but because my subject is utterly breathtaking. Vienna. The post titled The Most Instagrammable Places in Vienna was such fun to create too. I spent the better half of a day walking around Vienna, enjoying the late winter atmosphere snapping pics of beautiful and noteworthy places. I’ve heard from a handful of people who’ve used this guide during their visits to the city. Such a compliment.

The Wiener Staatsoper / Vienna State Opera House.
The Wiener Staatsoper / Vienna State Opera House.

I dig looking back to see how last year turned out. It’s helpful in not only planning for travel, but helps in curating content for future posts. What type of content do you want to see more of in 2019?

Travel: 2018 Year in Review

We closed out another year Last night. As with years past, I like to review my travel stats and share my Travel Year In Review. I spent my New Years Eve in Chicago, with friends who host a black tie New Years in their home. Last year I was in Denver so started off the year with miles already accruing, this year, not so much.

I mentioned this last year that the difference between coach and first class is getting more and more narrow and I continued to see that in 2018. Sometimes, first is even less than economy, depending on the route and how close to departure you are booking. Since booking in First Class gets you double qualifying miles, I was able to keep my Premier Platinum status with United. Here’s how my year ended up – with the previous four years included as a comparison.

By the Numbers: (2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013)

Total Miles Flown: 83,138 | 81,978 | 68,278 | 72,293 | 53,322 | 73,825
Total Segments Flown: 44 | 55 | 45 | 41 | 37 | 44
Cabin Segment Breakdown (F/B/C): 20/8/16 | 21/3/31 | 8/5/32 | 2/5/34 | 0/5/32 | 7/4/33
Airlines Flown (new airlines bolded): 5 (United, Austrian, Brussels, Air Canada, EVA, Singapore) 8 | 5 | 4 | 7
Hotel Nights: 73 | 84 | 69 | 67 | 56 | 71
Hotel Stays: 33 | 35 | 35 | 47 | 32 | 31
Airline Miles Redeemed: 367,500 | 85,000 | 0 | 155,000 | 37,500 | 105,000
Hotel Points Redeemed: 90,000 | 12,000 | 106,000 | 283,500 | 134,000 | 13,400
Countries Visited (new Countries bolded): 3 + 2 (Austria, Belgium, Canada, Singapore, Argentina) 3+3 | 3+2 | 6+1 | 8+1
Longest Single Segment: ORD-TPE @ 7,457 | ORD-TPE @ 7,457 | ORD-CDG @ 4,153 | ORD-HKG @ 7,787 | MUC-ORD @ 4,535 | ORD-PVG @ 7,056
Shortest Single Segment: MDZ-COR @ 288 | GIG-GRU @ 210 | CUZ-AQP @ 195 | CVG-ORD @ 264| YUL-YQB @ 145
Northernmost Airport: BRU (Brussels) | CDG (Paris) | CDG (Paris) | LHR (Heathrow) | ARN (Stockholm) | LHR (Heathrow)
Southernmost Airport: EZE (Buenos Aires) | BKK (Bangkok) | LPB (La Paz) | HKG (Hong Kong) | MCO (Orlando) | SGN (Ho Chi Minh City)
The most frequent non-home airport: PDX (Portland) | DEN (Denver) | Tie between EWR & LAX (Newark and Los Angeles) | BNA (Nashville) | YYZ (Toronto) | BNA (Nashville)

I flew enough miles to:
Circumnavigate the world: 3.3 | 3.2 | 2.3 times | 2.9 times | 2.0 times
Make it a third | a third | a quarter | a third | a fifth of the way to the moon

My 2017 Map. Where did you travels take you?

In Summary

How did your 2018 Year in Travel turn out? Did you keep your status – upgrade your status? Were you able to check off one – or more – of your travel bucket list items this year? What is in store for 2019? Do you plan on taking that one big trip you’ve been talking about, or are going to take many smaller trips to visit friends and family? If you want my advice, it doesn’t matter where you go, just go. Enjoy the journey. Experience the destination. Share a drink, a meal and a laugh.

Singapore Weekend By The Numbers: Was it Worth It?

A weekend in Singapore? From Chicago? That’s utterly crazy, right? Most people would think so, but not me. I love and adventure and I love to spend miles and points on truly unique experiences. If you haven’t read about my Singapore Weekend yet, you can do so by starting here.

Here are the critical numbers on the trip:

  • Time Spent in Transit/Flying: 44 Hours
  • Time Spent in Singapore: 68 Hours
  • Flight Segments: Five
  • Number of Airlines Flown: Three
  • Total Miles Flown: 20,300
  • Michelin Starred Restaurant Meals: Two
  • Airlines Miles Redeemed: 160,000 (United Mileage Plus)
My route to Singapore

So, was it worth it? Absolutely. I loved the journey to and from Singapore and I had a blast while exploring the City for the first time and can’t wait to return.

What do you think? Am I nuts for spending 160,000 United Miles for a long weekend on the other side of the planet? What crazy trips have you taken?