Photo of the Week!
F 8; 1/500; ISO 100; 37mm.
Shot near Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
The most common question I get from THF Consulting clients is: “what’s the difference between economy plus and premium economy? There is none, right?” While the names are quite similar, they’re not interchangeable; in terms of quality, the latter is miles ahead when it comes to the hard product… and in theory, the soft product too. The two nevertheless are better than regular economy, but that’s not always clear on paper. In order to maximize your purchasing power as a traveler/your higher flyer potential, it’s important to be aware of those differences so that you always know what kind of airfare you’re buying.
A recent review on the The Higher Flyer has prompted a few to ask: “what’s wrong with DoubleTree hotels?” and as a follow up: “why do you hate them?” Well, despite what my review of the DoubleTree in Madrid may imply, the answer is a resounding “nothing.” Nothing is wrong with Hilton’s business-traveler-centric brand and I’d gladly stay in one if presented the opportunity. That said though, these hotels don’t really lend themselves well to scenes of higher flying; they don’t evoke visions of luxury like Waldorf Astorias do, nor do they offer the incredible value that Hampton Inns do. DoubleTrees instead are synonymous with bland-yet-practical accommodations for the well-paid road warriors of the world.
Hilton as a brand doesn’t have a particularly aspirational reputation. Sure, its hotels are mostly comfortable and are more than serviceable, but the average Hilton usually lacks the glamour or pizzazz or charm that a mid-level Hyatt or a legacy Starwood property (RIP) might have. Hilton’s DoubleTrees are some of the worst offenders when it comes to generic corporateness — they’re typically marketed to business travelers, and utilitarian design doesn’t lend itself well to pleasing aesthetics — but the brand’s sole property in Spain is an obvious outlier. While “DoubleTree” might not evoke images of boutique luxury, the one in Madrid should very well challenge your assumptions.
American Airlines’s pathetic operational reliability record isn’t exactly a new development, and complaints have long been streaming in from major media outlets, “higher flyer” bloggers, and angry mobs in the Twittisphere. Now the Dallas Cowboys, as of the evening of December 22, have every right to complain as well. In addition to the delays that it has subjected its many millions of passengers to, AA has now failed one of the most famous (or rather infamous?) sports teams in the world.