The End of

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Technology, Travel | Posted on 05-08-2010-05-2008


Not the end… just… a split! Still 100% Original Content.

I started this blog with no real intent. I just wanted to start a blog. Then as time went on, I realized I had two things I liked to blog about: technology and travel. And while I’m sure there are a handful of users out there who are passionate about both topics, like I am, Google has not been able to find enough for me :-) . So… I’ve decided to try something new! I’ve migrated all of my travel posts over to UPGRD! UPGRD is a network of bloggers / podcasters, and I’m now the author of the Cloud Commuting blog over there. Go check it out! What about the tech posts? Well… for now.. they’ll stay here! However, I just purchased a new domain, I’m going to build a site there for me to put all of my nerdy posts up that some people seem to love. With both of these sites, I’m going to adhere to one of my principals I used when starting this site: 100% Original Content. I’m not going to go the engadget style, as useful as it may be, of just linking to other posts and generating traffic for myself. I’ll do my best to add my own articles, blog posts, and other miscellaneous content pieces my own. Thanks to all! As of now, the individual travel posts already redirect to Cloud Commuting. I have no timeframe for getting NotQuiteMainstream up, but when I do, the tech posts will redirect to there.

Review: Hilton Beijing Wanfujing – An EXCELLENT Property

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Travel | Posted on 24-06-2010-05-2008


I’m writing this from the Executive Lounge of the Hilton Beijing Wanfujing hotel. Tonight will be my 8th consecutive night, and tomorrow I’m flying home nonstop on United 888 PEK-SFO. I have had a fantastic time in Beijing, but I’m ready to head back to the States. That being said, I’m definitely not ready to leave the Hilton Wanfujing! This is a truly elite property, and I cannot wait to return.

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Review: Sheraton Chola Chennai – A Great Way to Experience South India

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Starwood, Travel | Posted on 20-06-2010-05-2008


My trip to India included stops in Chennai, Mumbai, and Delhi. I really enjoyed every hotel I chose. Read on to hear about my experience at the Sheraton Chola Chennai!

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What Does a Toilet at the Chennai (MAA) India Domestic Terminal Look Like?

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Travel | Posted on 04-06-2010-05-2008


Videos speak louder than words. Enjoy. Point of clarification, though: In the video, I say it’s the Mumbai airport, but I think I was just shocked and confused – it’s the Chennai airport.

Flying from Bangkok, Thailand to Chennai, India via Jet Airways (BKK-BOM-MAA)

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Travel | Posted on 03-06-2010-05-2008


After my 1-day adventure in Bangkok, I was off to India for a couple weeks for work. My first destination was Chennai on the southeastern coast of India. There were no great Star Alliance routes from Bangkok to Chennai so I decided to fly Jet Airways, a United partner, via Mumbai. As a United partner, Jet Airways allows Mileage Plus members to earn RDMs, but you can’t get any EQMs. Also, only certain fare codes are eligible for RDMs. Read on for the report!

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Just one day to spend in Bangkok? Here’s a Great Way to Spend It!

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Travel | Posted on 02-06-2010-05-2008


Getting to India from the United States can be a bit of a journey. Rather than grimace at the thought of all those flights, booking a stopover in Bangkok seemed like a great idea. I could adjust to the time change, explore the city, eat some great Thai food, and then continue on my journey! Read on to know how I spent my stopover in Bangkok!

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SFO-NRT-BKK My First Experience in United International Business Class

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Travel, United | Posted on 29-04-2010-05-2008


I guess it’s been about four years since I first started traveling extensively for work. I’ve been a United 1K for most of that time, and that makes sense as I’m at about 400,000 lifetime miles. However, most of those miles have been earned on domestic routes! In fact, before this past trip, I had never flown internationally on United. Read on to find out about my first SWU / International Business Class experience with United! Read the rest of this entry »

The Trip of a Lifetime – Trip Report(s) Coming Soon!

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Marriott, Travel, United | Posted on 25-04-2010-05-2008


I just got back from an amazing trip to India / Thailand. I had about 7 days of work that I had to do in India, and I had never even visited Asia before. I set out to try and create an itinerary that maximized my ability to use my United SWUs, see various parts of the world, burn some Marriott points, earn some Marriott points, and have some time for relaxation! I didn’t really have any control over my schedule in India. That was determined by my meetings. However, I DID have control over the beginning and end of the trip, my routing, and what I did on my free days in India.

In the end, I came up with the following itinerary:

April 7: SFO-NRT-BKK on United

April 8 – 10: One day in Bangkok!

April 10: BKK-BOM-MAA on Jet Airways

April 10 – 13: Sheraton Chola Chennai

April 13: MAA-BOM on Kingfisher Airlines

April 13 – 15: Renaissance Mumbai

April 15: BOM-MAA on Jet Airways

April 15 – 16: Courtyard Marriott Chennai

April 16: MAA-DEL on Jet Airways

April 16 – 21: Leela Kempinski Gurgaon

April 21: DEL-BKK-KBV on Jet Airways / Thai Airways

April 21 – 24: Phulay Bay, A Ritz Carlton Reserve

April 24: KBV-BKK on Thai Airways

April 24 – 25: Marriott Resort & Spa Bangkok

April 25: BKK-NRT-SFO on United Airlines

Talk about a BUSY itinerary. SO much work to do, so much sight seeing to do, and so much relaxing to do! I think I did a great job of cramming it all together. I’m pretty exhausted now, and I’ll be working to post about one trip report per day, with pictures, of the whole experience!

The United Premier Snack Mix is Not Really Much of a Mix…

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Travel, United | Posted on 22-03-2010-05-2008


I don’t love pretzels. In fact, I somewhat dislike them. Most airlines stopped the peanuts due to the allergy craze, which seems to have come out of nowhere, and now they all serve pretzels. Lucky for me, my air carrier of choice serves a “premium snack mix.” I grabbed one at the RCC and stuffed it into my bag for a late night snack when I got to the hotel. Much to my chagrin, I opened it up and could only find pretzels! I dug through… still only pretzels! I decided to dump the bag out to see just how many pretzels were in there. Take a look at the pic below! Read the rest of this entry »

United Fails Miserably in Smoothly Rolling out Unlimited Domestic Upgrades

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Travel, United | Posted on 18-03-2010-05-2008


Just my luck… My business travel landed me a BOS-SFO flight on March 19, 2010, the day United Airlines is set to roll out unlimited domestic upgrades. While I suspected that flights on the 19th would be completely messed up, from an IT systems perspective , I had some hope reserved that United might use the time leading up to March 19th to properly prepare their systems for this. Oh silly me! Here’s my timeline…

  • I booked the ticket a few weeks ago, and I tried to use a confirmed regional upgrade to upgrade it instantly.
  • A couple days ago, I realized it hadn’t cleared early, so I called and had them remove the confirmed regional upgrade instrument, and instead put me on the UDU waitlist. The agent on the phone was a bit confused about how that would work. She spoke to her manager and then assured me that if she put me on the e-500 list, I would be automatically moved to the UDU list upon check-in. Cool.
  • I try to check-in online this morning, hoping to either confirm or waitlist my upgrade with UDU. No cigar. It wanted me to buy e-500s. Annoying.
  • I called UA three times this afternoon, each time speaking to a different agent, and being extremely polite, to try and see if they could figure it out to me.
  • The third agent didn’t want to talk to me so she quickly transferred me to “Web Support.” This means India. They told me they had “fixed” the problem. I checked my itinerary… Apparently fixing the problem means they pulled me off the upgrade waitlist. FANTASTIC. Now I would have to call again to get re-placed on the list, and my post on the queue would be lost.
  • I called an agent and had her waitlist me for the ugprade. She did. She advised me to check in after midnight.
  • Now it’s 12:36AM, officially March 19, and I’m trying to check-in. I get the screenshot I pasted above. How retarded is it that on the day United is phasing out e-500s, they’re actually trying to sell me some? To make matters more / less funny (depending on your perspective), I get the link to buy e-500s when I click on the “Unlimited Domestic Upgrades Now Available to Elite Members” link.

So do I try to call them again? Every agent has been useless thus far. Do I really think I’ll get a helpful one this time around? I guess it can’t hurt… I’ll give a call once more. This has been an awful experience, though, and I really see no excuse for it. They knew this was coming LONG ago.

UPDATE: They almost got it working… I tried again. This time it gave me the screenshot after the break. Read the rest of this entry »