The science behind Delta Flight 2353’s 30,000 foot descent, and more

Sep 21, 2019

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Each Saturday, we round up the top miles, points and travel news that you might have missed on TPG this week. Here’s what you need to know.

Tropical Storm Imelda

Image courtesy of Fox 26 Houston
Image courtesy of Fox 26 Houston

It’s that time of year again, where inclement weather leaves travelers at the mercies of the skies. Here’s what’s happening in southeast Texas, and here’s what you should do if you can’t get into or out of Houston. (And read about how independent travel insurance helped TPG editor Andrea Rotondo recoup her costs when Hurricane Dorian ruined her 25th anniversary celebration plans in Europe.)

Plane going down fast? It’s not as bad as it looks (or feels)

Image courtesy of Harris DeWoskin.

Delta Flight 2353 made headlines Wednesday with a controlled rapid descent from 39,000 feet to just under 10,000 feet over eight minutes, which triggered oxygen masks to deploy throughout the plane. While passengers panicked, many pilots agree that the incident was well in hand. Our story explains the science behind what happened, and why you shouldn’t worry if you find yourself in a similar situation.

Politeness goes the extra mile when it comes to travel

Grandpa was right: You catch far more flies with honey than with vinegar. We can’t tell you why anyone would want flies. But we can — and do — give you some pointers on how to score the seat, upgrade, favor or amenity you want the next time you fly. 

Some drinks taste better in the sky

drinks on an airplane. (Photo by Getty Images)
drinks on an airplane. (Photo by Getty Images)

Why are some cocktails so damn good at 39,000 feet? And why do other drinks taste so bland, even when they’re your favorite on the ground? We’d tell you now, but that would spoil the secret.

Hot or not: This is how we’re scoring flight reviews moving forward

Rest assured, you'll find Singapore's first class on many routes.
Photo by The Points Guy.

TPG’s flight reviews are detailed, exciting and informative. Now, we’re debuting a new, data-driven system with more than 200 questions on the checklist. It’ll be a lot more work for our team, but will result in much more consistency for our readers.

United and Expedia are an item again

An analog 'flip' departure board showing destinations.
An analog ‘flip’ departure board showing destinations.

The travel world has its own celebrity relationship drama, and United’s feud with Expedia is currently off. Expedia filed for a divorce sued United for breach of contract back in April of this year, but decided to call off the lawsuit and even renegotiate a new agreement with the Big 3 carrier this week.

We tested every class on Virgin Atlantic’s new Airbus A350

Our TPG UK team has been making waves in the YouTube space of late with their viral review videos. This week’s is no exception: Virgin Atlantic just debuted a brand-new bird, and we were some of the first travelers on board to test out every single fare class — at the same time.

The best places around the world to shop duty free

Duty free. (Photo by: BSIP/UIG via Getty Images)
Duty free. (Photo by: BSIP/UIG via Getty Images)

Damn, it feels good to be a… data-informed shopper. Thanks to months of TPG research, our staffers combed the globe to gather duty free pricing information from airports around the world — just in case you’ve ever wondered where to score the best deals.

Google Fi now offers free international calls and 50% off Pixel phones

There’s no point in bringing a smartphone overseas if you can’t keep up with your life from your destination. TPG’s digital nomad JT Genter breaks down how Google’s proprietary phone plan may actually be one of the most cost-effective ways of staying connected while traveling.

Robbed overseas? You might be able to get your money back

KLM is banning checked bags from Cairo. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

This TPG reader recently had his rental car burglarized while traveling through Chile. Here’s how he got almost all of his money back.

This teenager gave his big sister the all-inclusive honeymoon of her dreams

Photo courtesy of the Santos family.

Shelby Santos saved her baby brother’s life, so he surprised her with five nights at a Sandals Resort on Good Morning America. Awww.

Featured photo by Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

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More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
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