Information Round Up – US Lawmakers Oppose Cell Phones on Planes, Atlantis Bookable With Marriott Rewards Points & American Flies Its Refurbished 777-200

These are the stories that we’ve read over the last few weeks that didn’t really warrant a whole blog post on their own but that may be of interest to readers.

77 House Members Oppose Cellphone Calls On Planes

According to USA Today, a group of 77 lawmakers wrote a letter to the Federal Communications commission asking them not to lift the ban on cell phone calls on planes. The members are quoted as saying “Passengers making voice calls during flight could impact the ability of crew members – flight attendants and pilots – to perform their jobs, keep passengers safe and the cabin environment calm” they go on to add “Arguments in an aircraft cabin already start over mundane issues, like seat selection, reclining seats and overhead bin space, and the volume and pervasiveness of voice communications would only serve to exacerbate and escalate the disputes

These arguments put forward by the lawmakers echo comments received by the FCC and DOT when considering whether the ban should be lifted.

We’re not sure if cellphone usage would really “impact the ability of crew members – flight attendants and pilots – to perform their jobs” but we’re against the lifting of the ban nevertheless. Experience on public transport already show us that people, on the whole, are incapable of showing consideration to their fellow travellers and, while being forced to listen to one side of a phone conversation on your 20 minute bus journey is bad enough, just imagine what it would be like on a 5 hour New York – Los Angeles flight – it would be torture!

More on this story here.

Atlantis Paradise Island Is Now Bookable With Marriott Points

Earlier this year it was announced that the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas would become part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, and up to this point we’ve been waiting to find out what the redemption rates would be for those wishing to use their Marriott Rewards Balances on a trip to the sun.

The Marriott website is now showing the transition to the Autograph collection as complete but if you try to book a room with MRPs you are directed to call 1-855-696-4732.

The Points Guy reports that, for a random week-long stay in March 2015, the following redemptions were available:

Coral & Beach: 35,000 points a night (Category 7)

Royal Towers: 40,000 points a night (Category 8)

The Cove:  45,000 points a night (Category 9)

The Reef: Not available for points redemptions.

Resort Fee: There is a $20.99 resort fee per person, per day- even on point redemptions

Newly refitted American Airlines 777-200s are starting to fly

For a good  number of years American Airlines lagged behind it’s competitors with its Business Class offering on long-haul flights. While competitors were flying newer planes with lie-flat business class seats, AA remained in the aviation dark ages with angled-flat seats that few were prepared to pay premium rates for. That all changed when AA introduced its brand new 777-300’s with a fantastic Business Class offering – lie flat beds, 4 across seating, aisle access for every seat and a great entertainment system.

However, these planes have only been flying the more premium of American’s routes (to London and Hong Kong), the rest have been having to put up with the same old angled-flat seat we’ve been hoping to see the back of for years – until now.

Last week, American started flying the first of its refurbished 777-200’s on the Dallas-Santiago route and Flyertalker “TokinaMaso” has written up a great review of the inaugural flight together with some pictures of the new business class interior.

Why is this important? Well, it’s almost a certainty that some of these new retrofitted planes will start to appear on routes to Europe and, for those of you visiting one of Marriott’s European resorts, these planes could be an opportunity to travel in a little bit more comfort. The days of avoiding AA when traveling business class are truly over, it’s the rest of the US legacies (and BA!) who are playing catch up.