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Welcome to the middle of the work week and a very strange week in travel thus far. We’ve seen some fantastic deals, some interesting travel restrictions and a real shift in business model for a few carriers. So you can remain the envy (butt of all jokes) to your friends, with the most up to the minute knowledge of the airline industry, we’ve got the most important travel stories of the day…

Etihad Now Selling Lounge Access. Yes!

Etihad Airways will begin offering paid lounge access in many of their very best lounges around the world including: London, New York, Sydney, Melbourne, Abu Dhabi, Paris, Manchester and Dublin. This is great news for anyone flying economy who wants to seriously improve their enjoyment before their flight! While overcrowding could be an issue in Abu Dhabi, capacity shouldn’t be majorly affected, making this a solid business move and a nice passenger opportunity. Details here. Expect $50 per visit.

Earn Virgin Atlantic Miles Shopping At Waitrose…

Ok, this may fall a bit random in the coverage, but I love Waitrose. It has personal meaning to me and is the super market I’ve favored when in my wife’s home town in the UK. Needless to say I was thrilled when Virgin pinged to say that they now offer Flying Club miles for in person shopping at Waitrose! You’ll earn 4 miles per £1 spent after registering any (and all) payment cards you may use while shopping. Watch the miles stack up! Register here.

Two Great Points Purchase Opportunities…

Alaska Mileage Plan Miles and Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints are two of the very best currencies in the business. SPG points can be converted to airline miles with more than 30 airlines at a 1:1 ratio, and for every 20,000 you transfer you get 5,000 bonus miles. They can also be handy for hotels. Alaska has amazing uses on partners such as Cathay Pacific, Qantas, Japan Airlines and more at exceptional rates, greatly hedging costs versus paying for a cash ticket. You can currently get a 40% bonus on Alaska points purchases and a 30% bonus on SPG points purchases. These numbers are near record high bonuses and represent excellent value. Buy SPG points HERE. Buy Alaska Mileage Plan miles HERE.

Electronics Ban Extends To U.K…

The U.K. is joining in on the electronics ban, which seems to now be sweeping the globe as a result of credible intelligence. Unlike the U.S. ban, the U.K. ban does not include Abu Dhabi, Dubai or Qatar. The issues raised from the ban are significant, since many discount carriers operated flights to some banned areas. Will passengers be required to pay extra to check their bag now? How will families entertain children? What about rampant theft and poor handling of baggage? Obviously safety is the paramount concern here, as it should be, but this is creating quite a large mess for those traveling from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Tunisia. Check with your carrier for best practices in dealing with the new challenges. Details of the ban can be found here. Gary Leff even argues (compellingly) that the U.S. ban is entirely nonsensical and perhaps related to protectionism for U.S. airlines against foreign competition…

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