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.

Booking a Last Minute Award Trip to Tokyo with American Airlines & United Airlines Miles

Buenos dias everyone! For a few months now, we’ve been talking about going to Tokyo in May, but we weren’t sure exactly when or for how long. When we were in Barcelona earlier this year, we picked up tickets to the Ghibli Museum for May 13 at the local JTB office, but that was all the planning we had done. This was largely because my partner just enrolled at Universidad Autonóma Metropolitana (UAM) in Mexico City, and classes started this week – but he didn’t get his class schedule until last Thursday! And it turned out he has an early morning lecture five days a week.

We knew that this Wednesday and next Monday were school holidays, so we had a general sense of how it could work, but we weren’t 100% certain how much class he would be comfortable missing until he actually went to class. Ultimately, we decided we could leave Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning and return on Monday, which would mean he’d miss two days of school for a five day trip.

It’s not a very long time to go all the way to Tokyo, but we really wanted to visit the museum and catch the end of wisteria season, so we decided to make it happen. As a result, I ended up booking some of the shortest-notice award tickets of my life – I made reservations on Monday afternoon for a flight on Tuesday evening.

Continue reading

Mexico Eliminating Customs Forms & Random Screenings for Arriving Passengers

Buenos días everyone. Before I arrived at Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City on Saturday evening, I was a bit irritated when the flight crew announced that they did not have customs forms on board. After I cleared immigration and proceeded to baggage claim in the customs hall, I was confused because I couldn’t find any blank forms anywhere. That confusion turned into surprise when I approached an American Airlines baggage agent and was told “We don’t use those anymore.” Sure enough, when I went up to the customs agent, she just asked me if I had anything to declare and told me to push the red button – thankfully the light turned green. Continue reading

USPS Lost my VirtualPostMail Package Full of Gift Cards & Credit Cards

Buenos dias everyone.  A few months ago, I wrote about VirtualPostMail, the service I use to receive, scan, and forward my physical mail. I typically have them collect items for me over the course of a few weeks, and then I select the items I want to keep and have them shipped to wherever I’m going next. Since I was heading to Washington, DC for work last week, I asked VPM to mail a package to my post office box in Washington, DC a few days before I was going to arrive. This package included several important items:

  • My replacement AT&T Access More Credit Card (since someone tried to hack my account)
  • My new Discover It Credit Card in a different design
  • My Amazon Prime Store Credit Card
  • 1 $50 Hotels.com gift card from Amazon
  • 2 $50 Petco gift cards
  • 6 iTunes gift cards from Staples (3 x $100 and 3 x $50)
  • 2 sets of Cabela’s gift cards I purchased from SVM on eBay
  • My Hyatt Explorist welcome packet
  • My new Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance card
A screenshot of 12 envelopes of various sizes from my virtualpostmail dashboard

Will I ever see these envelopes?

Continue reading

Gogo Devalues T-Mobile Free Hour In-Flight WiFi – now only Available on Domestic Flights

Buenos días everyone. On my last trip to the US, I tried to use the free hour of Gogo in-flight wifi access offered to T-Mobile customers, but couldn’t get the T-Mobile access banner to show up. When I reached out to their chat support team, I was told that the T-Mobile deal is not available on international flights on American Airlines. This was surprising to me, since I’ve taken advantage of it in the past on flights between the US and Mexico City – I thought perhaps this was standard language to keep passengers from expecting to find free wifi on transatlantic and transpacific flights, which mostly use Panasonic Avionics wifi instead of Gogo wifi. However, when I looked at Gogo’s FAQ page, there’s a section that explicitly defines the offer as being available for Gogo-equipped domestic flights:

We are giving all customers on a T-Mobile branded plan a free hour of Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi on your smartphone. This free hour cannot be used with a laptop or tablet. It works on ALL Gogo-equipped domestic flights. That’s on top of the free in-flight texting we introduced last year, which now includes free in-flight messaging with iMessage, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, and Viber—with more on the way.

Continue reading

ICYMI: Travel News Roundup for Saturday, May 6, 2017

Here’s all the news that caught my eye this week – let me know if you learn something new!

Airlines + Miles

The TSA is reportedly piloting a new requirement in Kansas City (MCI): forcing passengers to remove any paper products from their luggage. Yet another reason to get Global Entry if you don’t have it already. [Schneier on Security]

American Airlines has a new promotion where you can earn up to 10,000 points for transactions with their shopping partners. [Mommy Points]

American Airlines also announced that they plan to cram so many seats into their new 737 MAX planes that some rows will lose two additional inches of legroom. [CNN Money]

Hawaiian Airlines unveiled a brand and livery refresh. It looks pretty slick! [The Design Air]

JetBlue and Icelandair announced a frequent flier partnership. [USA Today] Continue reading