//
archives

Mark Mercer

Expat aging sometime-ski-bum former corporate tool. Currently living in the beachside aging resort town of Atlántida in Uruguay. Sometimes skiing and teaching in Breckenridge, Colorado, USA. Location and velocity cannot be simultaneously observed.
Mark Mercer has written 41 posts for The Fuzzy Wanderer

We’re coming back in late-March 2017

The Fuzzy Wanderer has indeed been, shall we say, “fuzzy” lately. With no new posts for years, recent multiple off-line times due to hosting changes, and an antique-in-internet-years layout. Which you are still looking at right now. Sorry, been busy, it’s only 3 blocks to the beach and it’s been summertime here in Uruguay. But autumn is blowing in, here in the Southern Hemisphere, and with that will be a whole bushel of updates along with some new material. And maybe even back to regular posting. Meanwhile all my older articles and commentary are once again (finally after 4 months!) back online.

Welcome change to London Heathrow for Star Alliance Airlines Passengers

Unlike some other travel writers and air travel commentators, I’m still a big fan of airline alliances. Those are the large, multi-airline, varying degrees of cooperation, groupings of airlines, promising “seamless travel”, “earn and redeem across our network”, “global recognition”, and other buzzwordy come-ons that often fall short. But not always. Of the three big alliances, oneworld, Skyteam, and Star Alliance, the latter, Star, is my favorite. Not only nor even primarily because it is the biggest, not because it’s the oldest, but because it is by far the most integrated. They come closer to delivering more of those cloudy benefits than do the other two, in my experience as a traveler and in what I read as an analyst of the travel scene. They are definitely doing so with this move.

Artist rendition of the completed T2 LHR Star Alliance common checkin area

Artist Rendition of the completed LHR Terminal 2 Common Check-in area. Courtesy Future Travel Experience. Click the image for Ryan Ghee’s article.

Star’s “Move Under One Roof” initiative – something they all talk about, but *A (as it’s often abbreviated on sites such as Flyertalk) is doing so much more with it. This initiative in London, at London’s premier international airport, Heathrow, really outdoes everybody. Read the story from Future Travel Experience, watch the video in that link, and then read on here. Continue reading »

Denver nonstop to Panama means 1-stop to South America

From USA Today:
United Airlines to add Denver-Panama City nonstop

This would have been great news for me in 2012, when I did a few flights between Colorado and Latin America.  To Uruguay in my case,  where I now live.  I took United’s Star Alliance and Mileage Plus partner Copa on one of those flights, starting with a United connecting flight to a Copa Airlines international gateway. But had to fly to Washington Dulles (IAD) to connect to Copa.

three side-by-side shots - Aerial view of hub showing relatively small size, a line of Copa 737s at gates, and a night view of the airport

Copa’s Hub of the Americas

From Panama, Copa Airlines has nonstop flights to many cities in South America, even to under-served Uruguay at our Montevideo International Airport (MVD). (Posted edited to expand information, add some links and images, after initial posting from WordPress’ inadequate mobile app.)

Continue reading »

Super price $627 on Uruguay to US flights – Book it now!

As many of you know, I now live in Uruguay, in a beach town about an hour from its capital, Montevideo. One of the issues in being an immigrant to a new country, or being an expat from somewhere else, if that’s how you consider yourself, is the cost of getting back “home”. Even if you don’t consider your country of origin your actual home anymore, you likely have family, friends, and other reasons to visit it. For many Uruguay expats, the USA is their home. Fares to and from the US to anywhere in the Southern Cone of South America are often awful. Uruguay one of the worst for finding deals, due in part to losing our national airline Pluna and limited options with other airlines. Darn rare to find under $1000 USD for a round-trip (“return” in non-USA English) flight. Often much more.

How does $627 sound? Continue reading »

Delta and United FF Grinches for the New Year

Bad news for United and Delta Frequent Flyers hoping for “aspirational” awards.

3 United planes and 1 Delta plane at adjacent gates - tailfin view

United and Delta planes – click for the linked Businessweek article.

If you’re still undecided about your 2014 Frequent Flyer earning and spending strategy to maximize future awards and benefits, give United and Delta another look. A look in your rear-view mirror as you say “see ya, wouldn’t want to be ya” while switching to a better program for you.

If you, dear reader, are among the “I only fly Southwest, bags fly free, no change fees!” crowd, this article is not for you, but thanks for stopping by. You are, sadly, likely deluded about the value of flying Southwest vs one of the international-network-affliated airlines, including being naive about “no change fees” (ever try to make a same-day change on Southwest and get soaked for hundreds of dollars difference between your “full credit” and their “same-day walk-up fare”, compared to $25-75 on those airlines with change fees but same-day-confirmed discount changes?) and “bags fly free” (ever wonder why they refuse to show their fares on comparison sites? Often higher by at least a bag fee, sometimes two) but that’s a topic for another day and another snark. Bottom line: You’re not getting to Thailand or Kenya or Austria or South Africa or Australia or Uruguay, ever, with awards earned by paying money to Southwest to fly on Southwest. Some of us want to go to those places. Some of us live in those places. 

For the rest of us, who may well want to travel somewhere outside of the domestic USA and its near-environs, and may want to gain awards on airlines other than the airline on which we’re suffering to fly, read on! “Real” frequent flyer programs with real international award opportunities are important to smart travelers. United and Delta just gave us a kick in the pants. Time to kick them to the curb! Continue reading »

Visiting Uruguay? Get the only dedicated English guidebook.

Great resource for visitors & expats! New revised 2nd version! All other Uruguay English-language guidebooks are just re-prints of Uruguay chapters of general South America or Argentina guides. This Bradt guide is a full-length all-Uruguay guidebook.

Visiting Colorado? Get the best guide to Breckenridge!

Written by former Breckenridge Historical Society guide Lisa Marie Mercer.

Books by Travel & Fitness Writer Lisa Marie Mercer

Categories

Archives

A service of Southern Cross Web and Social Marketing.
server scw03eu01gspar
%d bloggers like this: