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United Airline offers International WiFi (from HKG to EWR)

by Captain G on Oct.15, 2014, under Airlines

On my recent United flight from Hong Kong to Newark, I was caught off guard by the availability of WiFi being offered for an international route. And of all the airlines in the world, it was United offering this service. I was skeptical as we were flying over China and all I got was “Internet is unavailable.”

However, once I left China airspace I was successfully able to connect to the Internet using my Mileage Plus credentials. After I logged in, I see the cost to buy Internet services for the entire flight ($17) or by the hour which I believe was $4.99 per hour. The HKG to EWR flight was about 16 hours.  I was able to get service 4 hours after takeoff which leaves me 12 hours of flight time for around $20. I didn’t have to urge to check email and opted to sleep.

I believe United’s international WiFi is an awesome offering for those who need to stay connected with work while on a long haul flight. The $20 for 12 hours seems to be a fair price as well. However don’t expect to have broadband service as dial-up or 2G speed is probably more likely the norm.

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One2Free offers the best prepaid mobile data plan in Hong Kong

by Captain G on Jul.22, 2013, under Business Tools, Business Travel, Vacation

If you’re visiting Hong Kong without a global roaming plan, buy a One2Free prepaid SIM upon your arrival at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG). One2Free, a subsidiary of CSL has the best prepaid voice and fastest mobile plan available. This is an update from my previous post where I said Peoples offering the cheapest prepaid mobile data plan in Hong Kong).

You can pick up a One2Free pre-paid SIM at the 7-Eleven or 1O1O (mobile phone shop) at HKG Terminal 1 Arrival Hall. The two shops are located in between Arrivals area A and B as indicated in this map:

One2Free has the following prepaid mobile data plans with speed of up to 7.2Mbps (around 4G speed):

Prepaid Plan


Approx. USD

Hourly Pass



Day Pass



7 Day Pass



30 Day Pass for 5GB



To signup for one of the plans listed above, you’ll need to know One2Free’s SMS codes. Below is a quick list of codes for your reference:

Note that you may get throttled to 3G speed once you have exceeded 1GB of data usage. However, One2Free’s service will probably faster than your roaming plan. For your information, One2Free’s voice rate is around HK$0.30 per minute and around HK$0.80 per SMS.

If you’re an American, you should make sure your phone is unlocked before you leave the country. Check out Big A’s tip here.

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Which is the best Visa/MasterCard for travelers?

by Captain G on Dec.26, 2012, under Travel Partners

I know most business travelers are American Express Platinum or Starwood (SPG) credit cardholders. However we all need to carry a Visa or MasterCard in our wallet just in case we are traveling outside of the US where AMEx isn’t accepted.

I have a Nordstrom Visa card which carries a fairly low foreign transaction fees and my perk is a $20 certificate for 2,000 points earned (2 points per $1 for Nordstrom purchases and 1 point per $1 on everything else). I found an expired Nordstrom $20 certificate today and called Nordstorm credit card to see if they can send me a replacement. I spoke to a representative, then a supervisor and neither budged. I even told them that I would cancel my card and they did not seem to care. On principle I am going to stop using this card.

Another lesson learned from this experience is not to age anything - points, certificates, etc. This sentence is actually directed to the Coach who loves to save his points :-)

Now I have an empty credit card slot in my wallet and want to know the community’s recommendations for which is the best Visa or MasterCard to serve as my backup to my SPG AMEX. I’m leaning towards one of the Chase Visa cards at the moment.

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