A Delta flight manages to land without landing gear, Amex clawbacks continue to spread, a second look at Disney’s Swan Reserve and how to make it out of Amsterdam alive. All that and more in this week’s Saturday Selection, our weekly round-up of interesting tidbits from around the interwebs (links to each article are embedded in the titles).
When pilots say that they made something, “by a nose,” it usually isn’t literal. Last week, though, a Delta flight into Charlotte (CLT) took it to another level. On Wednesday morning, a Delta Boeing 717 inbound from Atlanta received a “nose landing gear unsafe” warning when approaching CLT. They aborted the landing and took a fly-by of the air traffic control tower to confirm whether or not the front landing gear had deployed. It hadn’t. So, they calmly informed the crew and passengers that they would be landing without their, uh, landing gear (I pity anyone who had an extra cup of coffee that morning). Incredibly, “It was a smooth landing and pilots and crew were amazing. Calm and collected in the cabin and everyone remained calm.” Now that we know you only need one set of landing gear, let’s all hope that Spirit and Frontier don’t get any cost-cutting ideas.
Last week, Nick wrote about a wave of Amex Rewards Abuse Team (RAT) clawbacks that were starting to ripple through the community. At the time, it seemed as though the RAT folks were targeting people who had heavily purchased Visa and Mastercard gift cards and Safeway using the 4x grocery and/or the 5x referral bonus on their Amex Gold. This has been an interesting situation, as it seems the RAT effort is primarily directed at using gift cards towards the grocery category bonus as opposed to a sign-up bonuses (SUBs), which are seemingly much bigger fish. In any event, there’s been a bunch more data points since Nick’s original post, including Vinh at Miles Per Day’s personal survivor story.
I have lots of Disney fans amongst my family and friends. These are the folks who get season passes, get wistful about the closure of “Honey, I Shrunk the Audience” and can passionately debate Disney “land” vs “world.” The Swan Reserve opened in 2021 at Disneyworld and is a Deluxe Resort on Crescent Lake, with boat and bus transportation to the parks. When it opened, it was greeted with a flurry of “ooohs” and “aaahs” from the Disney crowd, giving another, sorely-needed, points option along with the aging Swan and Dolphin properties (and it might have the best location of the three). But how’s it doing now, almost two years after opening? Benji at Miles to Memories was recently there and gave his take on how things are holding up.
Wanna know what the Dutch word for “3 hour airport queue” is? “Schiphol.” Ever since pandemic restrictions eased last Spring, Amsterdam’s international airport has been plagued by incredible delays, primarily due to being terminally short-staffed at passport and security stations. How bad was it? Last Fall, there were reports of it taking as long as 6-7 hours to get from front door to gate. It sounds like the situation has improved this year, but we still see routine reports of folks arriving a couple of hours early and missing their flights. Matt over at Miles Earn and Burn has a great tip for getting through the “crazy uncle of airports” by signing up online and getting a QR code for a security time-slot several days before traveling. It doesn’t help with the unpredictable passport line (maybe there’s two crazy uncles?), but still could save you an hour or two on a bad day.
Iberostar is a family-owned Spanish resort brand that’s primarily known to tennis fans as the hat that Rafael Nadal’s uncle Toni wore without ceasing for 20 years. Last November, IHG and Iberostar announced a “strategic partnership” with the promise that the first Iberostar properties would begin to be integrated into the IHG program by December 2022. Like many IHG timeframes, this got pushed out a wee-bit and, last week, IHG announced that Iberostar was now a part of the rewards program. Sort of. Not all Iberostar properties are online, you still can’t redeem IHG points for free nights, use confirmable suite upgrades or apply food and beverage rewards. However, you can earn points and get a 2pm checkout “subject to availability.” I’ve always been curious about Iberostar (primarily because of Uncle Toni) and I’ll look forward to exploring the brand further once it’s full integrated into IHG One…probably in late-2028.