With the Rapid Rewards updates, earning free seats is easier for some but harder for others. - Photo: Southwest Airlines

With the Rapid Rewards updates, earning free seats is easier for some but harder for others. – Photo: Southwest Airlines

Last month Southwest Airlines announced three updates to their Rapid Rewards frequent flyer program. Typically when travel and hospitality rewards programs are updated, it results in a net-negative for consumers. These changes, however, are more of a mixed bag. The updates have also resulted in some confusion. Following the announcement, I received a handful of notes from folks asking for further explanation. It seems that when it comes to Southwest, I’m The Points G… Um, I guess we’ll go with Guru? [Editor: We also considered Gangsta, Gentlemen, Gladiator, Gossiper, Goat, Grumbler, Grizzly, and our favorite Geezer] 

Let’s explore the changes together…

A Hong Kong Airlines amenity kit that could do some folks more good than sitting in a tub!

Over the years I have collected a lot of different airline amenity kits. Like, a lot, a lot. Even after giving many away to friends and letting house guests use whatever they want, I have more than I need, all living in some tubs, in my closet. I have always felt that they could be living a better life — doing good in the world. Sure, the containers are cool and I love my collection, but what is the end game here? Show them off when friends and family come to visit (a minority few would care)? Keep them around to pass down to future generations (they probably wouldn’t appreciate how cool they are)? Nah, I think I can do better. For a while I have thought about donating them to a good cause, but I wasn’t sure how. Now, I think I do — and I am taking you along with me!

I recently moved out to lovely Kitsap County (west of Seattle — a ferry ride away) and my “real” job gives me the opportunity to connect with non-profits in my community. Recently, I visited the local food banks and I realized that they all had a section that gave out toiletries. Some were well stocked, but many were not. Bingo! I have the supply…they have the demand.

Then my mind kept going. I bet many of you fine folks also have amenity kits that you collect, and maybe you wonder if there is something more you could be doing with them. If so, then I would like to help you find them a good home. Keep reading to find out how.

3 Red Arrows Taxiing at YVR

Truly a first-world problem: Do I livestream the arrival of the Red Arrows on my phone or capture the footage on my digital camera? – Photo: John Jamieson

Since the mid-1960s, the Royal Air Force Red Arrows have been the United Kingdom’s premier aerobatic display team. Under the RAF banner, the squadron has visited 57 countries and flown nearly 5,000 display shows.

In 2019, as part of their 55th-anniversary celebrations, the Red Arrows made their long-awaited return to North America. Following three days of position flying across the North Atlantic, the team arrived in Halifax on August 7th. After performing in New York, Chicago, Toronto, and Dallas, the team transitioned over to the West Coast.

AR writer/photographer Francis was also lucky enough to snap a few photos when they were in Seattle.

AR writer/photographer Francis was also lucky enough to snap a few photos when they were in Seattle

With receptions planned in the Pacific Northwest, AirlineReporter was invited to the Red Arrows Arrival Event in Vancouver, BC. I was fortunate to be in town during their visit and eagerly accepted the invitation.

Before getting into the meat of the post, yes I do actually have some Red Arrows swag to give away. For a chance to win, keep reading and some swag could be on your way! Now, a quick history lesson.

It’s been almost twenty years since TWA folded, but some of its employees still stay in touch. Every year, the Silver Wings organization of former TWA flight attendants hosts a get-together where they celebrate their shared history. The meetings usually rotate between U.S. cities, and this year there was only one logical choice: New York, thanks to the awesome new TWA Hotel that opened in May. If you’re one of the few AvGeeks out there who haven’t heard about it, the hotel is built around Eero Saarinen’s iconic TWA terminal at JFK and features historical displays, a rooftop pool with tarmac views, and more.

We got to join in for the Silver Wings meetup, and it was as awesome as we were hoping it would be. The turnout was incredible, and attendees were having a blast touring their old stomping grounds and seeing the old TWA terminal brought back to life.

Read on for a recap of the weekend and an insider look at the TWA Hotel, which — spoiler alert — is everything an AvGeek would want it to be.