Psst! 3 SkyMiles secrets

I'm all for pinching pennies and paying the lowest airfare whenever possible. But the reality is that a few passengers account for a majority of an airline's profits. Shouldn't an airline's reward program reflect that reality?

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SkyMiles defiled

Caving to the protests of its stingiest customers, Delta Air Lines is revamping its SkyMiles program to what it calls a more "customer-focused transformation meant to simplify the Medallion qualification process." I've checked out the changes and I have a different opinion: I think it's accelerating Delta's path toward bankruptcy.

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Want an upgrade? Say 'thank you'

For most Americans, the Thanksgiving holiday is synonymous with travel. For me, Thanksgiving means more than that. More than the traditional Thanksgiving dinner with cranberry sauce, someone carving the turkey, and the fight over who gets to pull the wishbone.
It means a lot of request for Joel's airline upgrade techniques.

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The myth of bad airline service

Everyone talks about bad airline service. But what about good service? The nation's newspapers, Web bloggers, and airwaves are full of stories about the plummeting state of flying. Every day, my e-mail "in" box fills with airline horror stories. So I wonder: am I the luckiest person in world?

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Shut up!

The day is coming when the last vestige of serenity - the aircraft cabin - will become polluted with ring tones and annoying conversations.

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Deceptively worthless miles

Why go for the miles when loyalty is what really counts?
Face it: miles are all but worthless. In 1999, I wrote how air miles have become akin to a second national currency

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Web sites' brave last days

The days of third-party travel Web sites are numbered. The biggest misconception in travel is that you have to shop around for the lowest rates and fares. This simply is not the case.

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Facing my critics

My past columns have stirred strong feelings among travelers. Whether you think, as one writer states, I'm "full of caca" or I am intelligently stating a case, it's good to have something to think about. My objective is to promote a clearer way of thinking about travel.

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Fighting their way back

The intensely competitive airline market and the success of the economy carriers are forcing traditional airlines into a reality check.

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Network airlines: not dead yet

Open any major newspaper, listen to any financial report, or read any number of Web sites offering travel advice and you'll be sure to hear about the demise of the major network air-carriers. For years, travel pundits have proclaimed that the economy airlines (Southwest, JetBlue, AirTran Airways, Frontier Airlines, and Independence Air) are the Darwinian equivalent of natural selection. Well, it is time to call a spade a spade.

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