Triangle Trip

Tag: ORD

How can the Red Carpet Club offers free alcoholic beverages but not WiFi?

by on Aug.10, 2011, under Airlines, Business Travel

I was recently at United’s Red Carpet Club in Chicago O’Hare (ORD) Terminal C, which brought back fond (and some not so fond) memories from my past. I’ve spent many hours at this Red Carpet Club during the late 1990s and early 2000s; I’ve even watched a Super Bowl here.

During my recent visit, I went to the bar to order a beer because I had a few extra Red Carpet coupons left. I was very shocked when the bartender told me alcoholic beverages (bottom shelf only) was complementary. Top shelf alcohol still requires a coupon or cash! I am not sure if this was a holiday season thing or if it’s a change in policy. I was quite impressed.

I then started my laptop and try to get on WiFi. There were two WiFi providers at ORD — T-Mobile and Boingo. Both required me to login or sign up for a day pass for US$7.

How can the Red Carpet Club offer free alcohol and not WiFi?

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(Fly) Clear needs to address the following issues to stay in business

by on Mar.04, 2009, under Business Travel, Travel Partners

I have been using (Fly) Clear since mid-January 2009. My Clear membership has saved me on a couple of last minute to the airport, high blood pressure runs to the gate. The ability to skip the amateurs at the TSA security line is wonderful but it is not worth $199 per year. I was fortunate enough to get this year’s membership for free thanks to Starwood. Here are the reason why $199 is not worth it for any traveler:

1.  Clear is not available in major cities/airports – take a look at this list. How can Clear expect me or anyone to invest in them if they are not in the US’s #2, #3 and #4 cities. As a frequent commuter in and out of LAX, Clear is no where to be found. I have seen “coming soon” signs forever. Below is the latest screenshot from Clear’s website stating it will be at LAX by winter 2009.


Clear is also not in Chicago or Houston or Dallas which are huge hubs. I can use Clear to get into Candlestick Park but I cannot use it to get through LAX, ORD or DFW security. If I may also add that LAX TSA checkpoint is the worst in the nation. LAX security has limited space available to unpack your personal items before the checkpoint and repack your items after screening. LAX is also a top 5 worst airport in the US.

2.  Clear registration requires me to provide all sorts of personal data in exchange for skipping a line. Who are these people fooling? When I use Clear, the agent still requires me to show him/her my Clear ID and match me up against my fingerprint (for some, their retina). What’s the point of giving Clear my fingerprint when I have to provide an ID. Shouldn’t my fingerprint be tied to my ID?

3.  When you have airline status, skipping the TSA security line does not really help you much. The $199 membership fee is just too steep for business travelers with status. $199 a year definitely does not make sense for the casual travel. However, if Clear partners with the airlines to offer the following benefits to travelers without status: priority boarding, waiving baggage fee or getting a slightly better seat. Now that is a true value proposition. $199 per year to skip someone once awhile is just not worth it.

4.  Increase customer loyalty to gain adoption. I have not seen any referral programs or benefits for me to renew my membership. After what I have pointed out so far, I see no incentive for me to renew my membership when it ends this December.

We have just provided a month worth of free consulting to the Clear team via this post. I look forward to hearing from Clear management as this post can potentially save their company and jobs.

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Top 5 Airports in America

by on Jan.15, 2009, under Airlines, Business Travel

A follow up to the post of the worst airports in the US, here’s a list of the best airports in the US. We used the same evaluation criteria to come up with this list:

#5. Washington DC Reagan (DCA) – DCA is extremely easy to get in and out of since it is located in Arlington, VA and only 3 miles from DC . The DC Metro is linked to the airport and takes you right into DC after only a couple stops. The one bad thing about DCA is the curfew they impose on flights past 10pm. US Airways is the main carrier with other carriers like American and United flying primarily only to their hub cities. And if you are luckily enough you may run into your congressman.

#4. Las Vegas (LAS) – We are not rating LAS as a top 5 simply because it’s in Las Vegas and you can play Wheel of Fortune while you are waiting to board the plane. We truly believe LAS has a lot to offer and is quite efficient. Although there are no public transport from the Strip to LAS, it is quite convenient to find a cab in Vegas. Cabs do however need to take a big loop around the private airport to get to LAS. Rental car returns can be quite painful as the return facility is out of the way. Then again, why are you renting a car in Vegas?

The security lines are very efficient. They have a line dedicated to travelers with status. Once you pass security, you board a tram that comes every minute. It is super efficient. All terminals (1 to 4) have food courts and a wide variety of shops for you to spend more money. Flights out of Vegas are rarely delayed (can’t say that about coming in though). And if you were delayed, there is always time for you to head back to the casinos to make another withdrawal! You also can’t beat the slot machines right in front of the gates.

#3. Orange County (SNA) – Orange County’s snobby neighborhood imposes a curfew at 11PM meaning you may end up at LAX if your flight to SNA is delayed. Oh… the planes are also required to shut off their engines after take off. Aside from these two minor issues, SNA is the preferred airport in So Cal. Its short term and long parking facilities are within walking distance of the airport. The streets leading to SNA are very well organized, and traffic lights are synchronized. You can get to SNA from all major freeways and there’s now a toll road access (73). I am going to omit the public transportation part here since we’re dealing with So Cal…

The security lines at SNA are quite efficient. Once you pass security, the gates are right in front of you. Food selection is decent given the size of the airport. The airport is also extremely clean.

#2. Chicago O’Hare (ORD) – We need to give the city of Chicago a great deal of credit for its ability to connect an airport with the amount of traffic to a large city. Despite the flight volume and bad winter weather, ORD is very good at getting planes on and off the ground.  Not only do the United and American hub terminals offer great food, Terminal 2 which houses all the Hodge podge carriers at ORD has good selection as well. The terminals are also connected via a walkway which has food and art work. And the international terminal is relatively new.

It is also easy to get to ORD by public transit. The ‘L’ (elevated train) takes you from ORD directly to the loop for USD 2 – that’s cheaper than a cart for your luggage at JFK. To and from the city via the blue line is 45 minutes guaranteed.

Cab lines are very well organized at arrivals. To handle the Monday morning rush, ORD has police directing traffic at the departure ramps.

#1. San Francisco (SFO) – SFO is first by only a close margin. Transportation to and from SFO is awesome. There are tons of signs on the highway as you’re getting close to SFO. The stretch of 101 traffic by SFO is pretty light. You can get to and from the city to SFO via can for less than 30 minutes. BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) takes you directly to the Terminals. It is only $3.50 one way to get you to SF and for $7 or so, BART can take you as far as Fremont. SFO’s tram system is also extremely fast and efficient. Trams connect long term parking and rental car facilities. If you don’t like the tram, you can always walk from terminal to terminal.

Food courts are abundant at SFO. All types of cuisines are available in the International terminal before you board. For domestic flights, you can find food courts once you have passed security. Security screening is also very efficient. United and American in Terminal 3 both have Status lines to separate the travel professionals from the rookies. Clear is also an alternative at SFO.

SFO does not have many delays. And if you are delayed, there are plenty of shops around for you to do window shopping or help out the economy 🙂   SFO also has updated art exihibits featuring from new technology to movies to wineries.  SFO

We welcome your feedback and counterpoints.

Statusmonger and Captain G

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