Author Archives: Tonei Glavinic

About Tonei Glavinic

Tonei Glavinic is an Alaskan travel expert, educator, social justice advocate, and digital nomad currently based in Mexico City. Find them on Twitter @tonei.

Will you be at Aviation Geek Fest in Seattle this Weekend?

Buenos dias everyone, I’d love to know if any of our readers are going to be at Aviation Geek Fest this weekend! This unique event is hosted by the Institute of Flight (best known for the Future of Flight Aviation Center and Boeing Tour) with support from Airline Reporter, and is billed as “the most important event for commercial aviation fans from around world.”

The author (wearing a hoodie with yellow, orange, red, and grey stripes) standing in front of an airplane tail. The tail is orange with a grey numeral 8 in the background and the numbers 747 in white in the foreground.

Tonei standing in front of a Boeing 747-8i tail at Aviation Geek Fest 2016

Some highlights of this year’s schedule include:

  • A Friday night social on the Strato Deck at the Future of Flight Aviation Center, overlooking the Paine Field flight line
  • VIP tours of Boeing’s Everett and Renton aircraft facilities, as well as one of several aerospace engineering companies (I’m going to be visiting Esterline)
  • Opportunities to explore the Future of Flight Aviation Center and the Museum of Flight
  • Box lunch aboard a vintage American Airlines 727

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Singapore Airlines Partner Award Chart for Alaska Airlines Flights (Sweet Spots to Hawaii, Canada & Mexico)

Buenos dias everyone. As first reported by Scott at Travel Codex, Singapore Airlines’s Krisflyer loyalty program has released a partner award chart for flights on Alaska Airlines. It seems confusing at first, but once you understand the full picture, it makes more sense.

Alaska’s route map is split into five zones:

  • Zone 1: West Coast
  • Zone 2: Mountain West and Canada
  • Zone 3: Midwest
  • Zone 4: East Coast, Southeast, Cuba, Costa Rica, and Mexico
  • Zone 5: Alaska and Hawaii

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Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Airport Guide & Airline Lounge Locations

Buenos dias everyone! A friend recently asked some questions about an upcoming connection through LAX, and since there have been so many changes at that airport this year, I decided to write up a quick guide in case anyone else has an upcoming trip.

The Basics

LAX has 9 terminals – numbered 1-8 and TBIT (Tom Bradley International Terminal). TBIT and terminals 4-8 are connected by tunnels and bridges post-security; terminals 1-3 are not connected to anything. Note that if you’re going to TBIT and you have TSA PreCheck, there is no PreCheck at TBIT – you can go through the PreCheck lane in T4 and then walk to TBIT via the terminal connector (which conveniently drops you off right next to most of the lounges).

LAX Airport map from lawa.org

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Trip Report: ANA 787 Business Class MEX-NRT

I had a work trip to Hong Kong in June, and I asked the people booking my ticket to put me on the new ANA nonstop from Mexico City to Tokyo-Narita. This flight launched earlier this year with ANA’s 787 Dreamliner, and is one of the only options to get to Asia from Mexico City without transiting the US (which requires early departures and long layovers). Luckily, the ticket got booked into a fare class that’s eligible for mileage upgrades, so I was able to use 28,000 ANA miles (transferred from Membership Rewards) to upgrade from Economy to Business.

I flew the reverse in economy in May coming back from Tokyo, so I was excited to see what business class would be like on this flight. The flight departs Mexico City at 2:20AM and arrives in Tokyo around 6:30AM the next day.

At the MEX Airport

I wasn’t able to print a boarding pass online for this flight. I arrived at MEX just before the cutoff time for checked bags, so there was no line at the ticket counter (but even if there had been, there was a separate checkin line for Business Class and Star Alliance Gold customers). Checkin was fast and efficient, and I was on my way to security in just a couple of minutes.

Since both of the Star Alliance lounges at MEX (Avianca and United) were closed at this hour, my boarding pass indicated that I could access the Grand Lounge Elite, a 24-hour Priority Pass lounge. The lounge was so far away from the gate though that by the time I went through security and had my immigration paperwork processed, it wasn’t worth trekking down to the lounge before the flight started boarding. I bought a big bottle of water (since there’s nowhere to fill a reusable bottle with drinkable water) and waited for boarding to start. Continue reading

How to Request Mexico Tourism Tax Refunds for Mexican Citizens, Residents & Transiting Visitors [UPDATED September 2017]

Originally Posted in January 2017 – Updated with new data points in September 2017!

Buenos dias!

If you or someone you know has a Mexican passport or resident card, they might be leaving money on the table when they purchase airline tickets to/from/through Mexico.

When you purchase a plane ticket to Mexico, the fare has a tourism tax built in – similar to US customs and immigration fees.  This fee goes toward the cost of immigration processing and the arrival / departure card required for foreign visitors. The fee is 500 Mexican Pesos, which is roughly $28 USD. (The fee increased from 390 pesos at some point in 2017). On your ticket receipt you may see this referred to as UK (the IATA code for this tax) or DNR (the Spanish abbreviation).

Screenshot from ITA Matrix showing the Mexico tourism tax

Screenshot from ITA Matrix showing the Mexico tourism tax – tax and exchange rate as of December 18, 2016.

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